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killiefan

killiefan
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Member since: 17.05.2011

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      27.07.2011 22:37
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      No physical edge

      I picked up a packet of these lucozade energy tablets when I was in Boots as I thought they may well come in handy in my quest to start going out for regular runs again. I used to go running regularly and once managed to drag myself round a marathon course but due to work and family commitments I really struggle to find the time or energy anymore. I picked up my packet of lucozade energy tablets to see if they could give me a bit of a boost when I went for a run.

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      Aim of the tablets
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      These energy tablets from lucozade are designed as a convenient, easy to consume source of carbohydrates to give increased energy and performance in endurance sports like running, football and tennis amongst others where a high level of endurance is needed. They are designed for use before, during and after exercise to top up the body's energy stores to help with recovery and endurance.

      The recommendation for these is to use one tablet every half an hour along with about 150ml of fluid although personally I don't take any water with me on a run unless I am going to be out for more than an hour which certainly hasn't been the case for a long time.

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      How does the packet look?
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      The packet of lucozade energy tablets is a very dark orange, a bit like the colour of the original lucozade drink and has a lot of orange bubbles floating about the packet. The word lucozade is on the packet in large yellow writing and on the side the packet has the statement Giving you a physical edge. I won't bore with any more details here as there isn't much more to say about the packet.

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      The tablets
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      In the packet of lucozade energy tablets you get fourteen tablets which are a long rectangular shape with the word lucozade across the middle of them and the word energy across the middle on the underside of the tablet. The tablets are a very light yellow colour and look very chalky. If you sit one of the tablets down with any sort of force at all you will notice some of the chalky powder on your work surfaces.

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      Taste test
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      When I popped one of these lucozade tablets in my mouth I noticed that it started to melt and crumble quite quickly, it's hard to explain the flavour but it is certainly not the nicest taste that I have ever experienced. I would definitely not buy these for the taste alone, even worse comes after you have finished the tablet as I found that you are left with a very unpleasant and bitter aftertaste in your mouth. Maybe this is why they recommend that you take 150ml of liquid, more than likely to try and wash away the nasty aftertaste that you are left with. I have tried drinking a bit of water after eating one of these tablets but I found that I was still left with the horrible taste in my mouth.

      Taste wise I was definitely not impressed with the lucozade energy tablets.

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      Nutrition and ingredients
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      The packet of lucozade energy tablets has a total of 179 calories which works out about 13 calories per tablet which I don't think is too bad for an energy product. Given the fact that if you are using these energy tablets you will more than likely be doing some physical exercise at the time and burning a lot of calories off as well, I don't think the calories in these are anything to worry about.

      The main ingredient in these energy tablets is Glucose (Dextrose) 90%. Contains lactose.

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      Did these tablets give me a physical edge?
      **********************************

      I have already mentioned how I really did not like the taste and aftertaste of the lucozade tablets but I would forgive this if they proved to be super and give me a physical edge as advertised on the packet.

      I had one energy tablet before I went for my run and as recommended had it along with a large glass of water which I would always have before a run anyway. Off I went with another lucozade tablet in my pocket to have along the way. I have to say that I did not feel any different from normal at this point but I didn't really expect much at the start of my run anyway. About twenty minutes in to my run I decided I would have my second energy tablet, again it sort of crumbled and was quite easy to eat while exercising. I admit I wasn't expecting much of a difference but even with this low expectation level I ended up disappointed as I felt absolutely no energy boost whatsoever. All that happened was that I ended up running along with the horrible aftertaste of this energy tablet in my mouth and actually feeling more sluggish than I normally would, as I felt as though I could feel this tablet sitting in my stomach.

      In answer to my above question, no I certainly did not feel any physical edge at all from my energy tablets.

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      Price and availability
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      If after reading my review you decide that you would still like to give these lucozade energy tablets a go then I bought my packet in Boots for the price of 65 pence. They are also available in most pharmacies and are available usually between the prices of 50 pence to about £1.

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      Verdict and recommendation
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      Based on my experience I will definitely not be purchasing the lucozade original energy tablets again as I did not like taste and got absolutely no energy boost from using them while exercising. As you can probably guess I would not recommend these energy tablets at all.

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        23.07.2011 15:50
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        Nice bedtime story.

        Another favourite bed time story in my house is Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear! by Catherine Walters. This book is a big hit with my children, especially my son who loves any books that have bears in them. It is a book which we got as part of a set of four books but is more widely available as a single book.

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        About the book
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        Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear! is a 32 page hardback book written and illustraded by Catherine Walters. The book was first published in the UK in 2003 by Little Tiger Press. The cover of the book shows a picture of little Alfie bear cuddled into daddy bear as they make there way home in the dark night after a long adventure. The sky is dark on the cover with parts of it being lit up by the moon and stars. The cover is very well illustrated and gives a really good first impression of the book.

        *****
        Story
        *****

        Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear! is based around the little bear cub, called Alfie who at the end of a long day is not at all sleepy and does not want to go to bed yet as it is still light and he wants to be awake like the owls and the wolves. Mother bear decides to take Alfie and his baby brother and sister out to the lake for a bath to make them all sleepy for bed but this only makes Alfie more determined as he sees all the fish that are still awake and playing in the lake. After they all go home Alfie is still too wide awake and gets sent outside as his noise is keeping the babies awake, he then goes on an adventure involving a pack of wolves before his father comes to find him and take him home. By this time Alfie is so tired that he falls asleep as soon as he arrives home and gets put in his bed.

        I believe that the story in this book is excellent for young children, from the age of about two upwards and it is especially good for bedtime reading as they will see all the bears going to their beds. Also if, like my son, your children like bears in their stories then they will love the main characters in this book.

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        Illustrations
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        Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear! is also illustrated by Catherine Walters and in my opinion the illustrations have all been done to a very high standard in this book. All the bears including Alfie, his mother and father and the baby bears have been really well done and their fur is very well detailed, especially when the pictures show the bears up close. All the other animals in the book, including the wolves, owls and fish are extremely well detailed, you can see that a lot of care and attention has been given when they were being drawn.

        The background is also very well illustrated with the dark night sky which fits in really well with the story. When the bears are in the lake the water looks really good with the moonlight hitting off the water in the pictures. Loads of detail has been given to a lot of the pictures here with the mountains and trees in the background looking good and there is grass and flowers in the picture which also looks really good and fit in perfectlyto this book.

        In my opinion everything in the book has been illustrated excellently with very detailed drawings and really nice colours which fit in with the story and you can tell that a lot of time and effort has been put into the book in this department.

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        Price and availability
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        Time to Sleep, Alfie Bear is widely available and you should expect to pay no more than £5 for it. Looking online I can see it available on Amazon for £4.01 with free delivery which I think is a really good price for a children's book of this standard.

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        Do my children like the book?
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        This book appeals to both of my children for are four and two, it is especially popular with both off them at bedtime due to the storyline here although they have been known to pick it up to have a look at it at various point of the day. We have had the book for a while and it still remains a very popular book in our house. My son in particular really likes it as he love books that have bears or any other animals in them as the main characters.

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        Recommendation
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        I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good bedtime story for their children. It is a great quality book which has a good structured story suitable for young children, the book is really well written and illustrated and is one that your children will keep going back to again and again.

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          22.07.2011 10:05
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          A cheaper alternative.

          We have recently been trying to combat rising prices, by trying to find a few cheaper items on the supermarket shelves, to help stop our weekly shopping bill from rocketing. It is amazing the difference that you can make by just choosing a few cheaper alternatives which are often the same quality as the premium brands and one of the things which we have started buying is Tesco naturally lemon washing up liquid. This washing up liquid is definitely not part of the Tesco value range, it is far better than that and more like the premium brands.

          The 500ml bottle of Tesco naturally lemon washing up liquid costs 85 pence, which compares well next to the dearer alternatives which can cost about £1.40 for similar sizes of bottle. This is not a huge saving when taken by itself but if you change a few of the items on your shopping list then you will notice quite a difference at the checkout. The bottle itself is quite plain, it is see through with a very small amount of writing on it and a small picture of a lemon, very plain but it does the job. On top of the bottle is a cap which you pull open to squeeze out the washing up liquid.

          The washing up liquid itself is quite clear with a yellowish tint to it. The washing up liquid is lemon, as far as I am aware lemon is the only variety of washing up liquid available in this range.

          The smell of the lemon is very faint; it is a pleasant enough smell but not very strong which is a good thing in my opinion as you do not want your dishes smelling like lemons after they have been washed. The lemon smell is quite natural, it doesn't smell too artificial at all. Although it smells nice I haven't done a taste test, this may sound strange but my mum sometimes tells the story of how I drank a bottle of fairy washing up liquid when I was about two. Apparently the doctor just said not to worry, it would give me a good clean out!

          When using the naturally lemon washing up liquid a small squirt seems to be enough so the bottle does last well. The liquid is not all that thick but it foams up well when you run the water on it and it seems to last well when you are doing the dishes. One thing that I have noticed is that this washing up liquid is not too harsh on your hands, which is especially good in my view as I have quite sensitive skin on my hands and they can often get dry and sore with some other products.

          All in all, I would recommend the Tesco naturally lemon washing up liquid, a good alternative to some of the more expensive brands.

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            14.07.2011 22:55
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            A nice children's book.

            My children both love books, they have a huge collection of them as we have always encouraged them with books and have bought a lot of books. One of their favourites is Dilly Duckling by Claire Freedman. This book is a touch and feel book which means that a lot of the pages have things that you can touch for instance if you touch Dilly Duckling it will feel like you are touching the duck's feathers which will add to your child's enjoyment of the book.

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            About the book
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            Dilly Duckling is a children's book written by Claire Freedman and illustrated by Jane Chapman. The book was first published in 2003 and is published by Little Tiger Press. The cover of the book is really well illustrated with a picture of Dilly Duckling running along the grass chasing her feather, the cover is very colourful and will appeal to your child with the bright duckling on there as well.

            *****
            Story
            *****

            The story is based around Dilly Duckling who is out for a walk along the river with the mother duck and all the other ducklings in the family. Dilly is at the back of the line and gets distracted watching a big blue butterfly, she then gets separated from the rest of her family when one of her feathers blows away and she chases after it to try and catch it and get it back. As Dilly chases after her feather she has lots of adventures along the way and meets up with a couple of other characters in the book, Spike the hedgehog and Nibble the mouse who help Dilly along the way as she tries to catch up with her feather. At the end of the story she gives up and goes home empty handed only for her mother to explain how all her feathers will eventually fall out so that she can grow her adult feathers.

            I believe that this story is very enjoyable for young children, my children have really enjoyed this book many times before. The touch and feel part of the story is also a nice inclusion and your children will also like touching Dilly Duckling and her feather on each of the pages in the book. There are also a couple of other things in the book which are touch and feel like a flower, luckily the hedgehog is not part of the touch and feel.

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            Illustrations
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            Dilly Duckling is illustrated by Jane Chapman and I believe that the illustrations have been done to a very high standard in this book. Dilly duckling is very well drawn and you feel as if you can read all of her expressions in this story. The other animals including all the other ducks and the hedgehog and mouse are also very well illustrated, the spikes on the back of the hedgehog look particularly real. The animals are all very colourful and there are also various insects and fish in the book as well.

            The background in this book is also really well illustrated. The drawings including the sky, the grass, the flowers and the river with the reeds running alongside are all very well drawn and very colourful which I think is really important in a children's book.

            Overall I was very impressed with the illustrations in this book, everything is very detailed and colourful and done to a very high standard.

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            Price and availability
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            The RRP on the back of the book is £5.99. I am not sure where we picked this book up or how much we paid for it as my children have so many books but I can see that Dilly Duckling is available on Amazon at the price of £3.78 including postage, £4.07 from play and £4.99 from waterstones. These prices are all online and may differ from shop prices but I believe that this book is well worth picking up for these prices and offers really good value.

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            Do my children like the book?
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            This book appeals to both of my children who are four and two, the story and the characters in the book appeal to both of them. My children both like the touch and feel element of the book although this means that story time goes on a bit longer than normal as they both want to touch the duck on each page. My children also like the fact that the book is so colourful and enjoy pointing out the different colours.

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            Recommendation
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            I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good story for their children. It is a great quality book which has a good structured story suitable for young children, the book is really well written and illustrated and the touch and feel parts of each page will add to your children's enjoyment of the book.

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              05.07.2011 22:33
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              Excellent value.

              With family life being as busy as it is with both my wife and myself working full time as well as being kept really busy with our two young children we were wondering about the best way to eat well instead of eating out of the freezer all the time. We noticed a couple of times after eating at my mums place that she had been making a few things in her slow cooker, so we decided that buying one for our own home might be a solution to our problem and help us out. A few of the slow cookers that we had looked at seemd to be quite expensive for what you were getting until we found this slow cooker in Tesco's, which was available for what seemed like a very low price of about £16 at the time. This seemed like too good a price to miss so we picked one up in our local Tesco's. I say it seemed like too good a price to miss, but I see that the slow cooker is currently reduced and Tesco are selling it for £10 at the moment which is superb value for money in my eyes.

              The Tesco slow cooker that we bought has a 3.3L capacity which is on the smaller side for slow cookers, so if you have a big family or cook for larger groups then you will have to consider looking for a larger slow cooker. This one is definitely big enough for our family of two adults and two small children and we have used it in the past when we have cooked for four adults and there has been plenty of food to go round for us all. Any more people than that and a bigger slow cooker would definitely be needed to cook your meals.

              This slow cooker will not take up much room in your kitchen, we don't have that much space but when our slow cooker is not in use it tucks away well in a small corner under one of our kitchen cabinets. The slow cooker looks decent and definitely looks far better than you would maybe expect for the price that you will pay for this. It doesn't look cheap in the slightest and should fit in well with any modern kitchen. The slow cooker is an oval shape and has a silver finish on the outside with a removable black ceramic pot inside and a glass lid on top all of which seem extremely well made.

              The slow cooker has three heat settings which are low, high and warm. When on the low setting you can put your ingredients in the cooker and leave it to cook overnight or during the day if you wish, usually for about ten hours or so I would say. We have used this heat setting many times, putting our food in the cooker in the morning before going out so that it is ready for us when we return home in the evening. The high setting will cook your food a lot quicker if you have less time although you generally, depending on what you are cooking, will still have to make sure you are giving it about four or five hours. Finally here, the warm setting is just for use to keep your meal warm once it is finished cooking. These heat settings are definitely quite basic and more expensive slow cookers will have a lot more options I guess, but for the price here you get everything that you need.

              The manual which comes with this Tesco slow cooker does not have all that much information but the cooker is very simple to use and anyone will be able to use this without really having to look at any manual at all. It really is as simple as switch it on, fire in your ingredients and wait for them to cook. The manual gives basic instructions and gives the usual sort of warnings for using electrical equipment, I don't usually bother too much with manuals anyway.

              We have used our slow cooker to cook a variety of meals for ourselves, there are certainly plenty of different meals you can make in it. We have made meals like stew, chicken curry, chilli, sausage casserole and soup but there are huge amounts of things that you can make. In my opinion everything that we have cooked in the slow cooker has tasted much better than before with the meat being particularly tender. The one thing that we have stopped cooking in the slow cooker at the moment is curry as we were convinced that we could still smell it from the cooker no matter how much we cleaned it. I have also found that anything that we have cooked in the slow cooker has cooked through evenly which is a big plus point.

              The ceramic pot and the glass lid on this slow cooker are both dishwasher safe and we have washed ours in the dishwasher a couple of times although usually we wash them both by hand just to be on the careful side. Both the ceramic pot and the glass lid need to be handled with great care as if either of them were dropped I would expect them to smash into several pieces.

              I would have to completely recommend this slow cooker as it is superb value, I thought that £16 was superb but the £10 price that it is currently selling at is even better. I struggle to see how anyone can make any money on something like this at this price, especially as it appears to be so well made. My thoughts about whether we would use a slow cooker or not have certainly gone as we have had ours for a few months now and I would say we use it about two or three days a week. The slow cooker takes a permanent place in our kitchen and if it ever got broken or stopped working for any reason I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another of these.

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                30.06.2011 12:39
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                Quality jigsaw puzzle.

                The fairy fantasy jigsaw puzzle was the first thing that we ever purchased by the maker Melissa and Doug. We purchased this a couple of years ago from a small independent retailer when we were on holiday in the Dumfriesshire area. The jigsaw looked really bright and colourful and appeared to be really good quality so we bought it for my daughter who was two at the time. We had never heard of Melissa and Doug at the time and thought that we were purchasing a one off jigsaw puzzle that we wouldn't be able to purchase anywhere else, not realising that Melissa and Doug were a popular American toy manufacturer who have a huge range of mainly wooden products including jigsaw puzzles and play food sets.

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                The jigsaw puzzle
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                The jigsaw puzzle that we purchased is a 48 piece puzzle called Fairy Fantasy. The puzzle is set on a wooden base, which makes building the puzzle easier for your children as all the wooden pieces fit perfectly in to the wooden base. The wooden base also makes it easy for storage, the puzzle sits on top of my daughter's bookcase. The 48 wooden pieces are of a good size and when finished the puzzle is quite big measuring 40 cm x 30 cm and about 1 cm in thickness.

                The design on this jigsaw puzzle is, as the title gives away, a fairy fantasy. In the background you have a castle complete with a princess standing at the front entrance to the castle. There is a winged horse taking to the sky, a dancing unicorn and also three fairies so this puzzle is definitely one for the girls. In the background on the puzzle you have the night sky which is a kind of red colour complete with the moon and to add some more splashes of colour there are several trees, grass and a path leading to the front of the castle.

                The puzzle is very colourful with the fairies wearing bright outfits and the whole fairies and princess in the castle scene is one that will appeal to girls who will especially love this jigsaw puzzle.

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                Price & availability
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                As I mentioned earlier I thought when we were purchasing this jigsaw puzzle that it was a one off but that is definitely not the case. Having a look online I can see that this jigsaw puzzle is widely available, it is listed on Amazon for £7.99, crafts4kids at £7.50 and play for £9.50 as well as being available on a lot of other sites. I believe that this jigsaw puzzle is excellent value for money at these prices as it is very high quality and should last for years.

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                Quality and durability
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                I have been hugely impressed with the quality of any of the items that we have purchased from the Melissa and Doug range and this jigsaw puzzle is no different at all. The quality of this jigsaw is superb, we have had the jigsaw for about two years now and it is still in excellent condition. Over the last couple of years this jigsaw has been completed over and over again and it has managed to last without any damage at all. The wooden pieces and the wooden base are all solid and very well made, I guess that there is a risk of some of the pieces being lost as there is no box to store the pieces in but we have managed to not lose any at all.

                Overall here I am very happy with the quality and the durability of this jigsaw puzzle.

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                Who is it suitable for?
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                My daughter was two when we first bought this jigsaw puzzle and with a bit of help at that point she was able to complete the jigsaw. We would show her where a lot of the pieces were to go and sometimes help her to put some of them together. By the time that my daughter was three she was able to complete the jigsaw by herself quite comfortably. Based on our experiences I believe that the Fairy Fantasy jigsaw puzzle is suitable for children from about age two upwards.

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                Benefits
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                Your child will really enjoy building this jigsaw puzzle up but there are also other benefits as well. For young children who are likely to enjoy this fairy fantasy puzzle other benefits include basic skills like hand-eye coordination as they learn to work with small pieces of jigsaw to put them in the correct place on the puzzle. It will also help them to improve their problem solving and reasoning skills as they learn to do the puzzle, deciding where each piece should go.

                *****
                Verdict
                *****

                I was hugely impressed with the Melissa and Doug fairy fantasy jigsaw puzzle overall. The quality of this wooden jigsaw is superb, you can see that it is very well made and built to last. The puzzle itself is very detailed and colourful, the fairy and princess scene really appealed to my daughter. Being available for roughly £8 this jigsaw puzzle also offers really good value for money and I would definitely recommend this.

                *****
                Finally
                *****

                For further information please see www.melissaanddoug.com

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                  23.06.2011 12:13
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                  Fantastic family value.

                  When we were wondering about when the right time was to start taking my daughter to the cinema we were introduced by a friend to an offer at Odeon cinema's called the Odeon kids cinema club. My daughter was not quite three at the time and we were unsure about taking her to the cinema due to the high cost involved, especially as we were unsure whether she would sit through a movie at the time and we also didn't want her to be noisy and annoy people in a normal showing at the cinema.

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                  What is the Odeon kids cinema club?
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                  The kids club at the Odeon is, as the name gives away, a showing of a children's movie which is aimed at children and families. The Odeon kids cinema club at my local Odeon runs on a Saturday and Sunday morning with the selected movie starting at 11am, there are also extra showings on each morning during the school holidays as well.

                  The movies that show at the kids club are never the newest ones that are out, for instance looking at the listings over the next few weeks, two of the movies coming up are Yogi Bear and Tinkerbell and the great fairy rescue both of which came out a few months ago. The films usually show at the kids club shortly before they are due to come out on DVD. We always keep an eye on the listings to see if there is anything showing in the next few weeks that we would like to see as some of the movies in the kids club are PG listed and a bit too old for my children who are four and two.

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                  How much does it cost?
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                  Cost was a big thing for us as there is never that much spare money with a young family and this is one area where the Odeon kids cinema club was a huge winner for us. Each child admission costs £2.50 and comes with a free adult ticket as well so any time I have been with my daughter it has cost just £2.50 for the two of us. A couple of weeks ago we also took my son for the first time so for two adults and two children we got in for £5 in total which I think is excellent and superb value for money.

                  Of course the Odeon will be hoping to make a bit of money out of you from the extras like drinks and sweets but if you want to be a bit tight like we have been known to be, then you can always sneak in your own drinks and sweets for the children.

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                  Booking
                  ******

                  You have a couple of choices to book your seats for the Odeon kids cinema club. Firstly you can view the movies online and book your seats online, if you do choose to book online then you will be charged a card handling fee of 75p per ticket. Your second option is to turn up at the cinema at the time of showing and pay for your tickets there and then. I have always found that there is plenty of seats available when we arrive but I guess at busier cinemas it may be worth using the online booking system to make sure that you are getting your seats booked to avoid disappointment if the showing happens to be full.

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                  Our experience
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                  We have been to the Odeon kids cinema club a few times now and have seen a few movies there with my daughter including Toy Story 3, Shrek the Third, The Princess and the Frog and Tangled and she has loved the whole cinema experience. She was also taken recently by her nursery with her friends which she also loved. As mentioned we took my son recently for the first time, as at the age of two we felt that he was just about ready to sit long enough, he was getting a bit restless by the end of the film but he seemed to enjoy it as well and we will take him back again as soon as we spot another movie that we think he will like.

                  My children both enjoyed getting to sit on the big seats in the cinema and having a cup holder attached to their seats to put their juice cups in.

                  *****
                  Verdict
                  *****

                  I feel that the Odeon kids cinema club offers fantastic value for money and believe that the price of £2.50 for an adult and child to go to the cinema is excellent. At that price you are not losing much if your child gets bored or doesn't like the film and wants to leave early. The noise level is obviously a bit higher than any normal visit to the cinema but it is more relaxed and a good time to introduce your children to the cinema. If they want to ask you something about the film then it is absolutely fine, nobody bothers with a little noise which is good.

                  I would recommend Odeon kids cinema club and we will definitely be making regular visits to this in the future.

                  *****
                  Finally
                  *****

                  For some further information about this please see-

                  http://www.odeon.co.uk/fanatic/kids/

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                    16.06.2011 16:41
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                    Quality puzzle

                    I came accross this dinosaur chunky puzzle when looking through items in the Melissa & Doug range on Amazon. My children had previously had a couple of items from the Melissa & Doug range and I had always been very impressed with the quality of the items as they always seem to be superbly well made. I ordered this chunky puzzle as it looked perfect for my son as I was looking for things that I could get him for what was going to be his first birthday at the time.

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                    The puzzle
                    *********

                    The dinosaur chunky puzzle is made out of thick pieces of wood, the wooden base of the puzzle has indented spaces for the seven wooden dinosaurs that you get with the puzzle. Each of the dinosaurs that you get with this puzzle are different colours from each other so that your child can easily tell where the dinosaurs are to go as each space has an identical picture of the dinosaur that belongs there. The dinosaurs are also made out of thick chunky wood which makes them easier for small hands to work with.

                    The wooden dinosaur pieces are able to stand upright due to the chunky make, this means that if your child wants to stand them up and play with them simply as toys for pretend play then they are also suitable for this purpose giving them another use.

                    The puzzle and the dinosaurs that come with the puzzle are all very well illustrated, they are well drawn with good detail and colouring. The background of the puzzle is brown to symbolise the muddy land that the dinosaurs are living on, the sky is a deep orange colour and there is a volcano erupting in the background. The seven dinosaurs are a variety of colours including yellow, green, orange and purple.

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                    Price & availability
                    **************

                    I bought the Melissa & Doug dinosaurs chunky puzzle from Amazon where it is still available for the price of £7.99 with free delivery which seems very reasonable compared to some of the other prices I have seen, for instance it is listed on play.com for £ 16.99. I think that the £7.99 price is good but believe that if you are paying anything more than £10 for this puzzle then you will be paying more than you should be.

                    *******
                    Durability
                    *******

                    As mentioned above this chunky puzzle is made out of thick solid pieces of wood which make it very durable and able to stand up to any treatment your children will throw at it.. The dinosaurs are also solid and there is no way that they are going to break unless you take a saw to the wooden pieces.

                    *****************
                    Who is it suitable for?
                    *****************

                    As seems to be the way with all toys or games it is stated that this is suitable for ages 3+. In my opinion this is very strange as I believe that this puzzle is far more suitable for younger children. I bought this for my sons first birthday and he was able to enjoy playing with the dinosaurs almost straight away and with a bit of help was soon figuring out where to put each of the dinosaurs in the puzzle. I believe that by the time that my son is three or older he will not be interested in this puzzle too much and will be more interested in toys aimed at slightly older children so I would y that this is suitable for ages one and two.

                    *******
                    Benefits
                    *******

                    As well as getting enjoyment from this chunky puzzle I believe that there are several other benefits your child will get from playing with this. They will learn some problem solving and reasoning skills by finding which dinosaur goes into which space and they are also going to develop their hand to eye coordination and fine motor skills when they are putting the dinosaur blocks into the correct place on the puzzle.

                    ******
                    Verdict
                    ******

                    Like other toys or puzzles that my children have had from the Melissa & Doug range I believe that this dinosaur chunky puzzle is superbly well made and well worth paying slightly more for. The puzzle is solid, very well illustrated and the chunky pieces are perfect for small hands which helps them to be able to complete the puzzle.

                    I would definitely recommend this dinosaur chunky puzzle for children aged between one and three.

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                      14.06.2011 17:04
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                      A great bedtime story.

                      Looking through my son's books in his bookcase it is easy to see a theme emerging as nearly all of the books have bears in them and one of his favourite books is 'Bedtime For little Bears!' by David Bedford. My children have always loved their bedtime stories which have become a big part of their bedtime routine, and as the title of this book will give away, this is a good story for reading to them before bedtime as it is all about the little bear and all the other animals in the book getting ready for bed.

                      ************
                      About the book
                      ************

                      Bedtime For Little Bears! is a 32 page hardback book written by David Bedford and illustrated by Caroline Pedler. The book was first published in 2007 by Little Tiger Press. The cover of the book is really well illustrated with the book being a dark blue colour for the night sky, at the bottom the baby Polar Bear is show on the back of the mother Polar Bear as they explore before going to bed.

                      ****
                      Story
                      ****

                      Bedtime For Little Bears! is based around the Polar Bear cub who at the end of a long day exploring is still not tired and would like more time to explore in the snow. Mother Bear decides to take the little Bear out to see what other animals are getting ready for bed in an attempt to tire out the little Bear. Over the course of the 32 pages in the book little Bear gets to see what other animals are doing before going to bed including the owl who is stretching her wings, baby hare having a bath in the snow and little fox being cuddled to sleep by his mother. By the time the Bears get home little Bear has become so tired that he is already asleep.

                      I believe that the story in this book is excellent for young children and it is especially good for bedtime reading as they will see all the animals getting ready for their bed. Also if, like my son, your children like bears in their stories then they will love the main characters in this book.

                      *********
                      Illustrations
                      *********

                      Bedtime For Little Bears! is illustrated by Caroline Pedler and I have to say that I think it has been done perfectly in this book. Mother and little bear are both very well created and their fur is very well detailed, especially when the pictures show the bears up close. All the other animals in the book, including the foxes, whales and owls are extremely well detailed.

                      The background is also very well illustrated with the sky which starts off a light colour of blue in the book with some orange through it, turning a darker shade off blue throughout the book as it is getting later. Towards the end their are a lot of stars twinkling in the sky which are again very well drawn and add to the effect in the story.

                      In my opinion everything in the book has been illustrated excellently with very detailed draings and really nice colours which fit in with the story.

                      ****************
                      Price and availability
                      ****************

                      The RRP on the back of the book is £10.99. I can't remember where we picked this book up as my children have so many books but I can see that Bedtime For Little Bears! is available on Amazon at the price of £9.99 on hardback although if you prefer you can get the paperback version on Amazon for £4.49

                      ***********************
                      Do my children like the book?
                      ***********************

                      This book appeals to both of my children who are four and two, we have had this book for a long time and they often end up going back to this one when they are picking a bedtime story. My son in particular really likes it as he love books that have bears as the main character.

                      **************
                      Recommendation
                      **************

                      I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a good bedtime story for their children. It is a great quality book which has a good structured story suitable for young children, the book is really well written and illustrated.

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                      • More +
                        08.06.2011 22:39
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                        Enjoyable golf game.

                        Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is the latest version of the annual series of golf games which are released by EA. Like most of the sports games which EA release annually there are usually a few changes each year and this time the main changes are the inclusion of a caddie and also for the first time the inclusion of Augusta National, which is the home of The Masters tournament.

                        One thing that has become noticeable with the Tiger Woods games over the last couple of years is that although the game still carries the name of Tiger Woods, they seem to be distancing themselves from him a bit. For instance last year they included another player on the cover of the game for the first time when Rory McIlroy was pictured alongside Tiger and this year Tiger has been taken of the cover completely, replaced by a flag, for the first time.

                        ********
                        GAMEPLAY
                        ********

                        The first thing I would say about any game in the Tiger Woods series is that they are instantly playable, you do not need to be an expert gamer to get into these games. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is no exception and I believe that anyone could experience this as their first tase of the series and be able to play it straight away due to the gentle learning curve.

                        The controls in Tiger Woods 12 are very easy to use. After setting up your shot, you pull the left analogue stick back and forward to swing your clubs. After hitting your shot you can push the analogue stick in a chosen direction and tap one of the buttons to create spin on the ball, for instance if you want to create backspin. The putting is also done with the left analogue stick and this can be a bit trickier. The putting is a bit harder than in previous Tiger Woods games and I have experienced a bit of the yips on the greens missing a few times from close range. The greens on Augusta especially can be a bit unforgiving. In my opinion this makes the game a lot more realistic.

                        The only disapointing thing to do with the controls is more to do with what they haven't done, and for me that is the fact that it is not compatible with xbox kinect. I think that kinect would be perfect for a golf game and hope that they may use that facility in the future.

                        One thing which will help new players is something which has been introduced to the series for the first time this year and that is the introduction of a caddie. Just like a caddie would do in real life, in the game the caddie will give you options and offer his advice as to what type of club to use and shot to go for. Mostly the caddie will give you a couple of options including a risky shot which may include going for the pin with the risk of ending up in the water, he may also give you a safer option as well which could mean laying up short of the green. The caddie will also help you on the greens and give his idea of where you should line your putt up to. As your experience grows, so does your caddies experience and he will get better at helping you. I think that the inclusion of the caddie is an excellent addition although you do not have to go with any of their choices and can make your own shot decisions instead.

                        In Tiger Woods 12: The Masters there is a career mode in which you start out as an amatuer player. This career mode is called "The Road to the Masters". First of all you design your own player and name them which takes about five minutes or so. Your career then starts on the Amatuer tour, progressing to the Nationwide Tour. If you get through these you then get to play on the Q-School where you get a chance to qualify and earn your PGA Tour card. Once on the tour you play alongside all the pros like Tiger Woods and try to win tournaments and get your rankings up. Once you get your ranking inside the top 100 you earn your chance to enter The Masters.

                        The career mode is excellent and you get some genuine satiafaction as you progress through the various levels and start to move up the ranking. One major gripe that I do have with EA, and one that I hope they will not repeat in the future, is that on four of the tournaments on the PGA tour you cannot enter unless you download the courses on xbox live as these are not included as standard. After shelling out £40 for the game I think they are being very unreasonable to make you download four extra courses at a total cost of around £10. I certainly would not pay this extra cost and instead choose to skip these tournaments.

                        As you are progressing you get rewards for various things like getting birdies and hitting fairways and greens. This is called XP or experience points and you can use your earned XP to upgrade your golfers skills, for instance increasing ths distance you are able to hit the ball or making your putting skills better.

                        Another gameplay mode which exists in this game is called "Masters Moments". This is a good addtion and gives you a chance to play as some of the greats of golf and recreate some of the best moments in Masters history.


                        Gameplay rated 18/20

                        ********
                        GRAPHICS
                        ********

                        In my opinion the graphics in Tiger Woods 12: The Masters are excellent. There is a noticeable difference even from last years version of Tiger Woods. The courses and scenery around the courses is all stunning especailly on the Augusta National course which i guess EA have possibly put even more effert into than anything else in the game as this course is their main focus this year.

                        Everything has far more detail than ever before down to things like the grass which has a much more 3D feel and quality to it. Everything is designed really well including all the golfers and caddies who are really well detailed.

                        Graphics rated 17/20

                        ******
                        SOUND
                        ******

                        In a golf game there is never going to be a great deal to mention regarding sound at all. In this one they have used real commentators Jim Nantz and David Feherty. Not widely known here, they are more aimed at the American market I guess as they have been regular presenters and commentators at the Masters in America for years. They don't say all that much but then again you don't expect much noise in a golf game. The other person who speaks to you in the game is your caddie who regularly gives you ideas and instructions.

                        Sound rated 14/20

                        **********
                        ONLINE PLAY
                        **********

                        There are a variety of online modes which will keep you interested once you have played the career mode. These online modes include daily tournaments in which you play a chosen course and post your score online against everyone else who has taken part in the tournament. Usually when you play in one of these there is about 1000 other people who have taken part and whose scores are displayed on the leaderboard. Similar to the daily tournaments there is an option to take part in a weekly tournament in which you have to complete four rounds rather than one

                        Another online mode that you can play is called 'Play The Pros'. This is where you play the same course as is currently being played on in the USPGA tour and you post your scores against the real life pro tournament scores.

                        The main online mode is where you set up games with other players who are online and compete against each other in games like matchplay, strokeplay and two versus two. One problem you get here is people quitting early if they are losing.

                        The online modes are very good and will keep you playing the game in the hope of improving against other players online.

                        Please note that if you buy the game second hand EA will charge you about £10 before you are able to play the game online.

                        Online play rated 16/20

                        ***************
                        VALUE FOR MONEY
                        ***************

                        I bought the game for £40 the weekend it came out but definitely have had my value for money already out of it, as it is a game that is easy to pick up and play at any time and has a very long lifespan due to the long career mode and also the online play. The price will come down and I have already noticed it advertised at about £25 online. One thing that brings the value for money down a bit is the sneaky trick of making some of the career events on downloadable courses only which cost extra.

                        Value for money rating 16/20

                        *************************
                        OPINION AND OVERALL RATING
                        *************************

                        I would recommend Tiger Woods 12: The Masters to anyone who likes sports games and also anyone else looking for a more relaxed but enjoyable experience on xbox. It has made subtle positive changes rather than any huge strides on the previous games but is overall a very good game and one I will be going back to for a long time to come.


                        Overall Rating 81/100

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                        • More +
                          08.06.2011 08:18
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                          A good play centre

                          Monkey Bizness in Glasgow is a soft play area which is located within the Xscape centre in Braehead, Glasgow. It is part of a national chain of Monkey Bizness centres located across the UK including Edinburgh, Hull & Sheffield amongst other locations. I had never heard of Monkey Bizness before until I came across a deal on offer on a website called 'Living Social'. With my daughter's fourth birthday just around the corner at that point, i thought that I would purchase the deal and use it on her birthday as a family day out.

                          *******************
                          What is Xscape centre?
                          *******************

                          Xscape centre is the location for Monkey Bizness, Glasgow and I will just mention it briefly as the centre has a lot going on inside and would require a seperate review. In brief it is an action and adventure centre located in the Braehead area of Glasgow and includes things like an indoor snow slope, rock climbing, ten pin bowling, adventure golf and an odeon cinema.

                          Also in the Xscape centre there are various places to eat including TGI Friday's, Frankie and Benny's, Nando's and Bella Italia amongs several others. There are a few shops in there as well aimed at the active amongst us, including Evans Cycles and Trespass.

                          ********************
                          Pricing at Monkey Bizness
                          ********************

                          As I mentioned previously I purchased a deal online on a group purchasing site called 'Living Social'. The deal which I purchased entitled us to entry for two adults and two children as well as two large pizza's and two side order's to share for the total price of £15.

                          This turned out to be quite a good saving as the prices if paying on the day turned out to be quite expensive in my opinion and if we were paying for it all seperately it would have cost about £39. The prices for entry which are listed on the website are as below:-

                          PEAK
                          Under 1 - Free
                          1-3 years old - £6
                          4 years and over - £7
                          Adults - £1

                          OFF PEAK
                          Under 1 - Free
                          1-3 years old - £5
                          4 years and over - £6
                          Adults - £1

                          I am maybe being a little harsh in judging Monkey Bizness as expensive, but I am judging it against other softplay areas which I have taken the kids to which usually charge about 3 or 4 pounds each for the children and nothing for adults.

                          There was also a monthly special offer on listed at the entrance which was entry for 2 adults and 2 children and family cheeseburgers and chips for £20. This sort of offer does make Monkey Bizness better value for money as entry alone for the four of us would have added up to £15.

                          ********
                          Play areas
                          ********

                          In Monkey Bizness there were two main areas. There was one area for four year olds and over and one area for under four year olds.

                          The area for the older children is quite big and includes the usual mix of climbing areas, slides as well as an area where they can kick soft balls about with goalposts and baskets to throw the balls through.

                          The smaller play area aimed at the younger kids included ball pits, smaller climbing areas and a couple of slides for them to go down. With my children being aged two and just turning four, they were more than happy to play in this area.

                          One really good plus point in favour of the play areas in Monkey Bizness was the level of cleanliness. A lot of soft play centres do not seem to be the best when it comes to cleanliness but Monkey Bizness's play area's and play equipement were all very clean.

                          ***************
                          Eating and drinking
                          ***************

                          As previously mentioned our deal at the centre included two pizza's and two sides. We ordered a four cheese pizza, a ham pizza, curly fries and garlic bread which suited the kids as well as ourselves. On the menu the pizza's were about £8 each and the sides about £4 each which I feel is quite reasonable. The food was of a high standard, the pizza's were well made and tasty. Other choices on the menu included toastie's, sandwiches and burgers amongs other things.

                          We ordered a couple of coffee's which were reasonably priced at about £2.50 each and a jug of juice which was a large jug of diluteing juice for £2.

                          ****
                          Staff
                          ****

                          The staff member who was working at the entrance was very upbeat and explained where everything was situated within the centre, she was also aware of the offer we had purchased and explained to us where to go to order our food. Staff at the food counter were also very pleasent and happy to assist.

                          *****
                          Verdict
                          *****

                          We were very happy with our visit to Monkey Bizness in Glasgow. We wouldn't rush back as it is quite far from where we live and there are certainly cheaper options locally, but this was a special occasion and we would go back for something similar in the future.

                          My children both had really good fun, the level of cleanliness was very high and the food and customer service were also both of a high standard, so on the basis of all of these things I would not hesitate to recommend Monkey Bizness.

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                          • livingsocial.com / Internet Site / 59 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                            07.06.2011 17:03
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                            A top group purchasing site.

                            *****
                            INTRO
                            *****

                            Livingsocial is one of the growing band of website's which offer consumers cut price deals through group buying. The company is based in Washington D. C. and offers various local deals accross USA and Europe so that you can pick and choose deals close to where you stay.

                            LivingSocial is a relatively new brand offering its first daily deal in July 2009 and growing to an amazing 26 million+ email subscribers worldwide now. This does seem huge although I guess the majority of that number are in the USA.

                            I joined the site a few months ago at the same time as I joined a few other group buying sites, subscribing to the site's email alerts for Glasgow deals and more recently Glasgow family deals as well. Up until now livingsocial is the only one that I have purchased from and I aim to give you my opinion based on my experience so far.

                            *************
                            HOW IT WORKS
                            *************

                            When you sign up to livingsocial.com you will enter your email address and pick your city from the list on the site. Your email address will then be used to send you a link to the daily deal on offer for your city of your choice. These deals will give you hugeley discounted offers for various things like restaurants, beauty treatments, spa days, hotel stays, yoga courses, days out and a whole list of other random things.

                            If you wish to buy any of the offers then you can login on the livingsocial site using your email address and a password that you will have set up on registration. Once logged in you can then make your purchase using a debit or credit card. Livingsocial works on a voucher scheme, so you can then print out your voucher to take to the retailer to use on the day. From my experience any deals that you purchase have a long expiry date, any deal that I have purchased on livingsocial has had an expiry date of at least 6 months.

                            When you buy your deal you are then given the chance to send a link of the deal to as many friends as you wish. If three of your friends that you send the link to go on to make a purchase of the deal, then you will be given the deal free of charge at this point. I have never tried this but I believe that if you manage to get three of your friends or family to buy the deal it would be excellent to get yours for free.

                            To use your deal either print out the voucher from the livingsocial site or if you have an iphone you can access your voucher on the free iphone app and show it to the merchant when you visit.

                            ***************************
                            HOW MANY CITIES ARE INCLUDED?
                            ***************************

                            When you first look at the areas listed on livingsocial.com you are greeted with a huge list, as this includes all the American areas mixed in with everywhere else including the UK cities, all in althabetical order. Once you have chosen your city in the United Kingdom you can then see a list of the UK cities included seperately.

                            From what I can see this is a list of about 18 cities and that includes London, Cardiff, Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle listed in no particular order. You will get emails specific to the city of your choice although there is nothing to stop you buying a deal for one of the other cities which is particularly handy if you fancy a night away somewhere.

                            *************
                            FAMILY EDITION
                            *************

                            A relatively new feature on livingsocial is the family edition deals on offer. These family edition offers are again specific to some of the cities and are in addition to the daily deal for each of the cities involved. The name may give it away with the family addition offering, as you have guessed, special deals aimed at families and can include offers like kid's karate lessons, ten pin bowling, family portraits, days out and childrens parties amongst other offers.

                            At the moment the family edition is not currently available in all of the cities on the site. It is currently showing as available in nine of the eighteen cities listed including Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and London.

                            I personally think that the family edition is a great plus for the site and will help anyone with a young family who is looking to save a bit of money while still experiencing days out and other things together.

                            ************************
                            SITE DESIGN AND NAVIGATION
                            ************************

                            Starting with the layout and look of the livingsocial site, I have absolutely no complaints with the set up and find it very easy to follow. The site is very well designed, everything is very straightforward. When you log in using your email address and password you will first of all be taken to the current deal for the city of your choice, in my case this is Glasgow.

                            You can then also choose to see deals on offer for other cities, this feature will show you the six cities closest to your chosen city or you can pick from cities further afield as well.

                            A nice touch on the livingsocial site, at least on the Glasgow page anyway, is a picture of the city taken from above which appears in the background. Also at the bottom of the page on the Glasgow page is a link called '365 things to do in Glasgow'. As you can probably guess, this updates every day of the year giving you information about a different place in the city to visit.

                            Getting about the site is very easy, there is a link to be able to see your unused deals with the option to print these deals. Once you have used a deal you click on a green tick icon to say that you have used the deal and if you click this in error you can click another icon to say it is unused. There is also an option that you can click on to view your purchase history so that you can view previous deals that you have bought. If you want to buy an offer you will be asked if you either want to use the card details previously used on the site or if you want to pay with another card.

                            I feel that the site is very well designed and user friendly.

                            **********************
                            MY DEALS AND EXPERIENCE
                            **********************

                            I have used livingsocial over the last few months and have purchased a few deals during that time, all of which I have been very happy with. I will detail some of the deals that I have purchased to show you the kind of offers and savings which are available on the site.

                            My first purchase was for a softplay area called Monkey Bizness in the Xscape centre in Braehead. This deal offered entry for two adults and two children to the centre as well as two large pizzas and two side orders to share. The price for this offer on livingsocial was £15 compared to the £35 value of the deal giving a 57% saving. I won't bore you with the details of this as I have reviewed it previously but we went for my daughters fourth birthday and had a great day out making this well worth the £15. This deal had an expiry of twelve months from when I purchased it.

                            Another purchase that I have made was on an offer available for the Riverboat Casino in Glasgow. This deal offered steak dinner, sides and a glass of wine each for two as well as a £10 fortune bet and a casino magic tuition session with the croupiers. This deal was showing on offer for an amazing £23 compared to the £75 value giving a 69% saving. This deal was a no-brainer for me as we have previously been to the Riverboat Casino for a meal and knew that the quality of the meals served there is really high. I have also enjoyed a couple of nights out there so snapped this offer up. This deal had an expiry of six months again giving you a long time to use the deal.

                            Finally I will tell you about a third offer that I have purchased from livingsocial. This was a family photo shoot including one 16x12 inch print, four 10x8 inch prints and four 6x4 inch prints for the price of £30 compared to retail price of £396 saving 92%. Doubting the £396 retail price I clicked through to the photographer's website to double check where indeed it states package value to be £396. To me this was excellent value, I guess the photographer hopes you will buy further prints to help boost their income from this. This deal was on offer under the Glasgow families section.

                            Based on all of the above, I believe that I have had excellent value for money on any deal that I have purchased on livingsocial.

                            **************************
                            VERDICT AND RECOMMENDATION
                            **************************

                            I have been very happy with all the purchases that I have made on livingsocial and have made a big saving on each of them. The deals are easy to use after buying them by simply handing over your voucher or showing your voucher on your iphone to the retailer. I also believe that the site is very user friendly and easy to navigate and based on all of these things I would definitely recommend this site to everyone.

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                            • Indesit BAN12NF / Fridge / 36 Readings / 34 Ratings
                              More +
                              07.06.2011 13:29
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                              An excellent fridge freezer.

                              When we moved to our house more than three years ago we needed to buy a few new appliances for our kitchen including a new fridge freezer. It needed to be big enough for a young family but also within our tight budget which we had set for moving to our new home, especially as there were so many other expenses to think about at the time.

                              After looking about at a few fridge freezers we opted for the Indesit BAN12NF 260 litre frost free fridge freezer which we bought from Currys. Although available in white we opted for the silver version of this fridge freezer as it was the one that was going to fit in with all the other appliances in our kitchen.
                              This particular fridge freezer has an energy efficiency rating of A, which means that this fridge freezer is one of the most energy efficient on the market which was certainly one of the things that sold this fridge freezer to us. Another selling point was the fact that this Indesit fridge freezer was completely frost free meaning that there would be no build up of ice inside the fridge or freezer, meaning no defrosting needed here. I believe that this is a huge plus as defrosting any freezer has to be one of the most dreary jobs available.

                              ****************
                              Price and availability
                              ****************

                              We bought this Indesit fridge freezer in Currys over three years ago and from memory it was about £300. Having a look online I can see that this model is available in Currys at the moment for £279.99. It is listed at the same price with Dixons, £299.99 with Comet and is much higher priced at £359.99 with Asda.

                              **************
                              How does it look?
                              **************

                              This fridge freezer is 175 cm in height, 60 cm in width and 65.5 cm in depth. The one that we bough is silver in colour and looks very stylish as far as fridge freezers go anyway, as far as I am aware it is only available in white or silver. I have seen the white version which also looks good, the silver one was more suitable for us to fit in with everything else in our kitchen.

                              The handles on the doors of the fridge and freezer compartments are indented on to the doors which means no ugly handles sticking out which I also like. Overall then I am very happy with the look of this fridge freezer, it is big enough without taking over our kitchen and also looks stylish enough.

                              ********
                              The fridge
                              ********

                              The fridge compartment makes up the top part of the fridge freezer and accounts for more than half of the total size of this fridge freezer. The fridge has two drawers in the bottom which have good storage space, we currently use one of these drawers for salad things, with the other drawer being full of yoghurts and other things for the children. The fridge has three shelves which can be moved to suit your own requirements, giving you more or less space on each shelve if you want to fit in some taller items for example. There are three compartments in the door, the bottom one having more space to fit larger bottles like your milk. The middle shelve in the door has a bit less space, fitting things like jars of jam and the top shelve has a lid that closes down making it suitable for things like cheese. In the top one there is also an egg tray to store your eggs in. I have always found the fridge to have ample storage space and it is definitely big enough for us.

                              This fridge has Hygiene Control which is a film which lines the walls of the fridge to stop any bacteria or mould which is another excellent feature in my opinion.

                              When you open the door on the fridge compartment there is a large bright light situated at the back of the fridge which lights up helping you to see what you need to find. When you open the door to the fridge you will also see the temperature knob which you turn to put the temperature up or down. The door on the fridge does not automatically close when you leave the fridge open so you will need to make sure that you remember to click the fridge door closed.

                              *********
                              The freezer
                              *********

                              The freezer compartment makes up the bottom part of this fridge freezer and is slightly smaller than the fridge but still has enough storage space for me and my family. When you open the freezer there are three large drawers for storage. The drawers are all very deep and each are able to store a lot of food, the only drawback with this is that you have to sometimes do a lot of digging through the drawers to find what you are looking for. On the top of each of the drawers there is a blue plastic ice tray attached which you can take off the top of the drawer to make some ice. This is quite a nice feature and saves you some space as the ice trays are built in to the drawers in the freezer.
                              I have found the freezer to have plenty of space, certainly enough for our family of two adults and two small children although if you have any more people in the house than that you may need something a bit bigger.

                              *********************
                              My experience and verdict
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                              My experience of the Indesit BAN21NF fridge freezer has been very good so far. I have owned this fridge freezer for about three and a half years and it has always worked perfectly well with no breakdowns or faults at all to report which I think is excellent. At £300 I believe that I have already experienced excellent value for money from this fridge freezer and hope that it will continue without any faults for a long time to come.

                              Both the fridge and freezer have plenty of space and the fact that you can move the shelves in the fridge to fit in larger items means that I have never had a problem with fitting things in so I am very pleased with the storage in this product.

                              This fridge freezer also looks great, I particularly like our silver one and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a stylish but affordable fridge freezer with plenty of storage space.

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                              • More +
                                03.06.2011 15:52
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                                (Rating)
                                9 Comments

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                                A quality cookie set.

                                I had previously came across a couple of items from the Melissa & Doug range and been very impressed with the quality of the items. With this in mind I had a look online at the various items they offered and spotted the Melissa & Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set.

                                Young children seem to love pretending that they are making things with pretend food, I certainly have seen that my children like to make things and serve them up to each other and anyone else who is about so this set seemed ideal. This cookie set looked really good and something that would fit in well with the cottage my daughter has in the backroom of our house which has a play cooker in it.

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                                What is in the box?
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                                The Melissa & Doug cookie set comes complete with twelve cookies which are made out of wood and twelve toppings for the cookies which are again made out of a nice quality wood. The toppings are either white or brown and are painted with sprinkles, icing or what look like small sweets, so that your children can serve different kinds of cookies to each other. The cookies and toppings fit together with the Velcro which are attached to them, these are easy for your children to put together and are also easy for them to separate when they want to.

                                Also in the box you get a baking tray which the cookies can be attached to, again with Velcro. There is also a small oven glove for your children to wear, for them to use to put the tray in and out of their pretend oven, a wooden knife to slice the toppings of the cookies if they wish and a wooden spatula to serve the cookies.
                                Finally there is a toy cookie tube to give you somewhere to store all of the cookies.

                                As you can see there are plenty of items in the cookie set to for your children to play with, and it is all of a very high quality standard and realistic. This set is made out of high quality wood and you can tell as soon as you see it that it is going to last. The pieces have all lived up to the sometimes rough treatment that my children have dished out and the cookies do not look any worse for it.

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                                Price and availability
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                                I ordered the cookie set from Amazon where it is selling at the moment for £14.26 with free delivery. I have also noticed it online at Play.com where it is slightly more expensive selling for £16.99 again with free delivery. It is also listed online at the official Melissa & Doug store but is listed in $'s there so I won't list the price here but it is roughly the same price as the price listed on Amazon.

                                This may all sound a bit on the expensive side but I reckon it is worth paying for as everything in the box is of a very high quality and it is certainly built to last.

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                                Who is it suitable for?
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                                This cookie set is certainly suitable for pre school age children as my four year old and two year old have had lots of enjoyment out of it. They have fun playing together with it serving each other with cookies or using them in a picnic to serve their cuddly toys. As well as pre school age children I would say that older children will enjoy playing with this as well, possibly up to the age of about seven or eight.

                                As well as playing with this by themselves I have found that my children also enjoy getting the adults involved as well serving them up with cookies.

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                                Verdict
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                                I definitely recommend the Melissa & Doug cookie set as it is a high quality play food set which my children have had lots of enjoyment playing with. It is all very well made and unlike some of the plastic alternatives these wooden cookies are going to last for a long time. The utensils which come with the set also add to the enjoyment as your children cut or serve the cookies and again these are built to last.

                                It may be a little on the expensive side but I believe that with this set you certainly get what you pay for.

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                                • Tesco Wooden Train Sets / Baby Toy / 81 Readings / 78 Ratings
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                                  31.05.2011 16:47
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                                  10 Comments

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                                  A great first train set

                                  I believe that every little boy should get a train set to play with so when I spotted the Tesco 56 piece wooden train set, available for the price of £10 when I was browsing for Christmas presents for my children it was one of the first things that I picked up. The box does state that the train set is suitable for ages 3+ which seems to be the standard on any toy, but I reckoned it looked suitable for my son who was not quite two when I bought it. And for anyone who is thinking it, yes I also believed that it looked like it would be a fun toy for me to play along with together with my son.

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                                  What's in the box?
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                                  When you open the wooden train set box there are 56 wooden pieces which I believe is excellent for £10. Included are 22 pieces of wooden track which are made out of real wood as well as a large plastic bridge which builds into the track as well for the train to be pushed along. When fitted together the track does not take up too much room which is good if your house is overrun with toys like ours seems to be most of the time.

                                  Also in the box you get one little train and three differently coloured carriages which all attach to each other magnetically, you can also buy extra trains or carriages in Tesco if you want to add extras to the set. There are also six wooden signs which include a stop sign and a traffic light sign and there are some wooden buildings, four wooden people and six wooden trees to make up the scenery.

                                  All of the pieces in the box are of a high quality and well made in my opinion. The one thing I would say here is that the people and animals are just coloured pieces of wood made in the shape of people or animals but I reckon it would be quite good fun to get your children to paint these to personalise the set a bit.

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                                  Getting started and using the set
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                                  The Tesco wooden train set is very easy to set up and from opening the box you can have it all set up in roughly ten minutes or so. The wooden pieces all fit together very easily and make different sizes of tracks depending on whether you use all the pieces of track or not. My son who is not quite 2 1/2 yet is able to put the pieces together although he usually makes the track go in as close to a straight line as possible. He equally enjoys playing with it like this or when it is set up properly in a loop, pushing the train along the track.

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                                  Who is this suitable for?
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                                  As I have mentioned this wooden train set states that it is suitable for ages 3+ but from watching my son and daughter playing with the train set I believe that it is fine for younger children as well. There are a few smaller bit of wood like the signs so I guess you just have to keep your eye on any smaller children in case they try to put any of the pieces in their mouths. Also any dads or anyone else who is playing with this train track alongside their children will enjoy it as well. I would say that this is suitable for ages 2 upwards, just remember to give your children a shot!

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                                  Opinion
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                                  I believe that the Tesco wooden train set is excellent value for money at the bargain price of £10. The only reason that I have knocked one star off the rating is that when my son was fitting the pieces together one of the wooden joins broke off meaning that one piece is no longer any use. That is not too big a concern as you can buy replacement track very cheaply in Tesco and it may just have been my son trying to hard to fit the two bits together that made it break.

                                  Watching my children playing with this train set it is very clear that they really enjoy it and they can spend ages just playing away either by themselves or together which is very nice to see. As well as playing with the wooden pieces that come with the set my children also like to put a lot of their little people around the track in the background.

                                  The fact that the track is easy for small hands to build whilst still being strong enough to stay together is really good and gives my children a sense of achievement when they have built it which is really good.

                                  Overall I think that this is an excellent first train set, very cheap as it is just £10 and does not need any batteries, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

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