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As a busy self employed website owner, wife and mother to two busy girls, I am always looking for ways to save myself some time when it comes to dinner, without compromising on taste or feeding the family something super-processed. Imagine my delight when I discovered McCain lightly spiced potato wedges!
Whilst browsing my local Sainsbury's store in Cowes I spotted a pack of McCain lightly spiced wedges on offer for £1 a pack, so I decided to give them a try. As a rule I don't buy ready made oven-baked potato products, as we like to make them from scratch (I own a recipe website!), but we lead busy lives and once in a while it is nice to have a bung-in-the-oven option available. At £1 a bag I thought I could take the risk.
The wedges come frozen and get cooked in the oven for approx 18 minutes on 220°C / 430°F / Gas Mark 7, which in anyone's book is a quick accompaniment to a meal! They are lightly spiced with natural flavourings such as paprika and onion powder and are tasty without being too hot and over-powering. All my family enjoyed the flavour, even my husband who isn't a fan of spicy food. The texture once cooked is light and fluffy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, with the skin holding the wedges together. We have served them with pies, battered fish, sausages, fish fingers, you name it!
Now the only problem I find is that when they are not on offer they are very expensive - upwards of £2.10 for a small pack that makes about 3 meals for us. If you can get them on a BOGOF offer or a price drop then they are worth stocking up on. At 187 Kcals for 100g they also won't break the diet bank if you are watching what you eat.
In summary, the cost is prohibitive for having these tasty little morsels every day, but they are a must for any busy home's freezer, as a staple meal accompaniment for those busy nights when you just don't have time to peel potatoes for chips or mash.
On first reading Hy-Genies ought to be a handy product for every mother to keep in their bags. I have two girls, one of whom is potty training, and we spend a lot of time at the weekends visiting attractions, bars and restaurants and exploring our local surroundings - in short we use a lot of public toilets! You know how it is, sometimes these toilets leave a lot to be desired - you really wouldn't want your children touching the door handle or the toilet area. For these occasions having a pack of Hy-Genies in your bag is a God send - 2 handy anti bac wipes, a sachet of hand sanitizer and some hand lotion for afterward, when out in the clean again!
My main problem with the packs is they just aren't big enough or cost effective (£1.99 for a 2 wipes and 2 small sachet pack!). With a potty training 3 year old we spend half our day in the toilets trying to go! We would get through hundreds of these little Hy-Genies packs in one weekend, which just isn't doable for us.
For me these are a great emergency item to have in your smaller handbag when you don't have your full complement of tools, but I will mainly be sticking with having a full pack of wipes, a little bottle of hand sanitizer and some hand cream in my main large handbag, which will last us much longer as a family and also won't break the bank!
Read more at http://www.thebabywebsite.com/review.Hy-Genies.htm#kPclOtg5Y70dMpzQ.99
I am always looking for great products to use on my family, especially medical products, which are based on natural ingredients and old fashioned techniques. This cream ticks all those boxes.
We are all taught at an early age that tea tree oil is great for all sorts of things. As children ours mothers used it on cuts and grazes, as teenagers we applied it to spots to dry them up, and now as mothers and fathers we use it as a natural antiseptic, bite and sting cream and an all round first aid essential.
This cream is light, easy to apply and absorb and a little goes a long way. a 50g tube will last a really long time I think, even in my family of four with 2 boisterous girls who seem to need it for one thing or another at least once a week.
The cream retails around the £5 mark, but as stated earlier a little goes a long way. Compared to other over the counter treatments which , while they may be cheaper, you need a lot more to get any effective benefit.
The cream has a lovely, soothing aroma which both my children love and don't mind the cream being applied at all.
The box has a natural, old fashioned way about it which I rather like. It doesn't look too clinical or medical, but more of an alternative therapy type of product.
All in all if you have a family you really need a tube of this in your first aid kit. I bet you use it as much as we do and even replace some of your other products with this one, effective, versatile little tube.
As a family of four - husband and two daughters (aged 2 and 5) we are always looking for ways to stretch the family budget. In some places we are happy to buy budget brands - pasta, kitchen towel etc - but in some areas you really can't scrimp and buy a non-branded product. Rose's Lime Cordial is one of these occasions.
At almost £2 for a 1 litre bottle Rose's Lime Cordial can never be called inexpensive! A bottle for us lasts about 4 months though so doesn't feel too much of a luxury not to consider buying it. Rose Co first brought lime juice form the West Indies as far back as the 1860s! It is amazing then to consider that the cordial still exists and is still a brand leader.
The juice can be diluted as a soft drink - not too sweet and not too sharp. How we use it though is as a topper for lager - the classic lager and lime loved by everybody's grandmother in a half pint glass!
The cordial is even By Royal Appointment to Queen Elizabeth II.. So if it is good enough for the Queen it is surely good enough for us!
By adding this lime juice to lager it takes the edge off - especially if it isn't a particularly premium quality lager you are about to drinks.
As a cordial you don't need very much of it diluted with water to make a very refreshing soft drink. I would imagine this cordial could also be used in a number of cocktails, but we haven't managed to go down this route with it yet.
The cordial is thick and rich green in colour. Some of the lesser brands are much more watery in texture and colour and produce, as such, a more watery, less intense lime flavour. A little of this really does go a long way, so give it a go ext time you fancy a refreshing change!
When my 5 year old daughter had her birthday party last year people asked what she would like as gifts. I stupidly said the same thing to everyone - "craft kits". The result was we ended up with around 30 different girlie craft kits and are still only really scratching the surface of them now nearly a year on! With all the after school activities, relaxing weekends and time visiting friends and family it is very difficult to find an hour or so of dedicated time to sit down, without her 2 year old sister, and do a good craft kit with my eldest.
One we tried recently was the Crayloa Friendship Bracelet kit. I believe it retails under £5 and to be honest it shows in the quality of the kit. It contains 1 long length of elastic cord, several very long skeins of coloured thread and 2 strips of ribbon. The box also contains 2 packs of sweet, pastel coloured beads and an instruction booklet. This was my biggest bug bear - for a kit aimed at 5+ the instruction booklet was pretty useless. It was simple and step by step but the methods used to make some of the different types of bracelet were very fiddly for much small fingers, and my daughter (and !) quickly got frustrated.
The booklets suggests all manner of ways of creating the pretty bracelets - winding thread around other threads, knotting the ribbon and all kind of knots that presumably only sailors know how to do!
In the end we ended up just using the beads, along with some of the beads in our own stockpile, along with thee elastic to make some simple bead bracelets. I am sure this is not how the kit was meant to be used, but it was just too fiddly for us.
In summary, a nice inexpensive kit if you need to stock up on beads and elastic, but unless your child is a bit older they may not actually find the friendship bracelet making part of the kit that simple to do.
As a busy self employed mum of 2 daughters (aged 2 and 5) I am always looking for ways to stretch the family budget. We like to economise on essential items so that we can spend the savings on fun things like treats, days out and holidays. Kitchen paper towel is one area where I am very happy to buy an economy brand, rather than spend the extra on a branded variety.
We use Tesco Value Kitchen Towel. It comes in the usual Value pack with blue stripes and the pack contains 2 large rolls. It usually costs around £1.25 which compared to other branded products is really very reasonable. The towel is plain white and has no pattern, but to be honest who actually looks at the pattern when they are frantically clearing up spilled orange juice from the breakfast table?
Granted some of the branded items claim that their towels "do plenty" and you can use one sheet to clear up the contents of an entire bathtub, but Tesco Value Kitchen Towels make no such claim. They are basic, bog standard towels. They will happily wipe up grease splatters from around your frying pan, but don't expect to be able to mop your floor with one sheer.
The towels are more than adequate for most everyday kitchen and dining requirements - spills, wiping hands etc and for me they are well worth the money. If you want something a little bit more stylish or luxurious then there are many other brands fighting to take your money!
My daughter, age 5, loved tortilla chips, but they can be very expensive! She likes them on their own in her lunchbox, with dips as a snack at the weekends and covered with cheese and goodies for a party snack! As we get through as many as we do I like to buy the cheapest I can, without having to compromise on quality. My daughter is a bit of a food snob and will soon tell me if the quality isn't up to scratch anyways!
As a result we buy Tesco Value Tortilla chips all the time. They cost £0.46 so wont break the bank. They are branded as being "lightly salted" and I think that's a fair reflection, when compared to other similar chips. They do have a light coating of salt but certainly don't seem to have the lashings of added flavourings and MSG that some others do.
They are the traditional triangle shape and hold it well. They are crisp and ideal for dipping - they took a good amount of sauce! They also make great cheese tortillas when topped with cheese and ham and peppers and popped under the grill for a few minutes.
They obviously aren't an everyday essential, as they are quite salty, but they do make a great treat. We always serve these at parties and no-one ever knows that they are Value branded.
All in all a very versatile little tortilla chip!
As a very busy mum of 2 daughters, self employed business owner and ritual workouter, I am always on the go! I also seem to sweat more than anyone else I know, any time of the year! I walk miles every day on the school runs / shopping trips / playgroup sessions and often used to come home with wet, smelly underarms!
I had tried all the deodorants known to man, nothing worked! I even had one prescribed by the doctor, but that one was SO strong that it burnt my underarms until they felt like they had been living on the sun for a year.
I was thrilled to be chosen for the Dove trial on BzzAgent. On receiving the deodorant I was shocked to see it wasn't a traditional spray or roll on, but something rather different. It came in a click canister, with a wheel at the bottom to apply the deodorant to the applicator top. It had a REALLY creamy, luxurious texture and consistency. It also had a really fresh, just got out of the shower smell.
As suggested on the box I applied the deodorant to my underarms (2 clicks of the wheel to each arm) before going to bed. I also reapplied again on getting out of the shower the next day, just to be sure. It didn't burn my arms like sprays can and it didn't feel wet like some roll ons can.
After a long walk to school, town and home I noticed that my underarms didn't feel anywhere near as wet as usual and I didn't notice any odour either - only the fresh smell of Dove.
I am going to continue to use this deodorant every day and see how it fares during the summer months - but at the moment it bodes really well!
Definitely worth a go, despite the hefty price tag (rrp £5.09) if wetness and underarm odour are a problem for you, as they were for me!
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and almost 2 years old - we have a house full to bursting point with books! Most of them get passed down from my eldest to my youngest, but some are enjoyed by them both equally. The Mr Men and Little Miss Collection by Roger Hargreaves is one of these.
One of my eldest daughter's absolute favourites in the collection is Little Miss Chatterbox! The story revolves around a pink Little Miss with blonde bunches. She is a VERY talkative soul who sets out to find a job. The story follows her on her various travels to find gainful employment - in a hat shop, in a bank, in a restaurant etc. However with each position she chats more than she works and is ultimately given her marching orders. She does find a useful job though as a talking clock operator, which seems to be the perfect profession for someone with such a way with words!
The illustrations are bold, bright and colourful and are enjoyed by both my daughters. The book itself is not too long, making it an ideal bedtime story book. There also aren't that many words on a page, which means my eldest can practice her reading skills with it too, with a little help from a parent.
These stories really have stood the test of tine, especially in my house!
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and almost 2 years old - I am always looking for ways t get good quality, functional items, but without spending a fortune. The Ikea Antilop Highchair fits neatly into this category.
When my eldest daughter was small, maybe 2 years old, we started to go away on weekend trips to see family or to stay in caravans on the coast. Invariably when staying in B&Bs or small hotels the rooms can include a travel cot but not usually a highchair. My daughter at the time was a very active, mischievous soul, so to get 5 minutes of peace she was happy to sit in her highchair and watch 5 minutes of her favourite cartoons - scandalous I know! However, there was no way we were going to be able to squeeze her huge highchair that she had at home into the boot of our car - not without having to leave the buggy and clothes at home! A friend recommended the Ikea Antilop highchair so we went to take a look - loved it instantly! For £10 you really couldn't ask for much more.
The highchair seat is made of robust, rigid plastic. It was only available in white when we first ought our, but we now have a red one for our youngest. The legs are made of steel and come off entirely, making it very easy to fit into a small boot. To reattach the legs you simply insert each leg into the slots in the base of the chair, and the spring posts pop through specially designed holes and hold them in place. There is a detachable harness lap strap which goes over the child's legs as security in case they try to get out.
There is an optional extra white plastic tray for the chair which costs £4 and is also easily detachable - great for when the child wants to eat at the table with everyone else. The tray is a good size and easy to wipe clean.
I wouldn't recommend this highchair for very small babies as there isn't a proper 5 point harness to keep them in. I also wouldn't recommend this for long periods of time, as it is only hard plastic with no padding. But I guess you could add a cushion! There is no foot plate on this chair which some may not like, but for me it was a bonus as my youngest likes to push up on foot plates in cafes etc and tries to get out that way. With no foot plate she cant get the leverage needed to escape!
All in all a perfect travel highchair, although it has now become our only highchair now my youngest is older and doesn't use it as much as she would have done as a baby.
Width: 58 cm
Depth: 62 cm
Height: 90 cm
Seat height: 55 cm
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and almost 2 years old - I live in a house filled with toys, most of which are plastic and noisy - you get used to it! Some of my eldest daughters toys were robust enough to get handed down to her sister, but some weren't. If I was planning to have any more children (which I'm not!) I imagine this Bruin tractor and trailer set could have happily been handed down, as it is great quality.
We picked up this play set for my youngest daughter's first birthday from Toys R Us. It is by the Bruin brand, which is Toys R Us own brand, similar to St Michaels in Marks & Spencer. We paid around £13 for this set and thought it was great value.
For that price you get a large (19 x 41 x 16cm) plastic tractor with attached trailer, five plastic animals (chicken, horse, pig, cow and sheep) which all fit into their own slots in the trailer, lights and sounds on the tractor, associated animal noises when the animals are correctly slotted into their place, AND the tractor plays Old MacDonald and actually moves when you press the button! Now what toddler is going to be able to resist that!
As mentioned there is a shape matching element to the set, whereby the animals only fit in one space each in the trailer, so need to be fitted into the right one before the child gets to hear the right sound. When the child pushes the seat in the tractor cab it plays Old MacDonald. When the steering wheel is pushed it makes a honking noise ad the front headlights flash. When the funnel on the front of the tractor is pushed down the tractor trundles off on its own for a while - it even works really well on carpet and goes slowly enough that a toddler can crawl along with it.
The set is made of robust plastic in bright primary colours. The scoop on the front of the tractor can be moved manually. It takes 4 x AA batteries, but really doesn't eat them like some toys - I think we have only replaced ours once in a year.
My youngest child loves this tractor, and so do all her friends and cousins when they come to visit - it is always one of the first toys to be got out and played with. What greater recommendation can there be!
Well worth the money.
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and almost 2 years old - I have gotten through my fair share of baby and toddler feeding equipment. Some has stood the test f time and been handed down from one child to the next, and some hasn't. Sometimes I have used one brand with my eldest, and found a better one by the time I get to my youngest - this was not the case with the Tommee Tippee first drinking cups.
I used these cups with my eldest daughter almost 5 years ago and I am still using them today with my almost 2 year old, as a travelling cup when we are out and about. They can be picked up in places like Tesco for between £1.50 and £2 and really are worth the money - although it is a VERY reasonable price compared to the price of some of the cups out there!
These cups come in a wide variety of colours - we have always had pink ones but you can get yellow, red, orange, blue and I have even seen a lovely lime green! They are made of tough plastic with 2 slim handles, one on either side, making it very easy for little hands to grip them securely. There is a spout, with no "sucking action" valve attached fitted to the top with 3 little holes for the liquid to come through. The spout folds down into a recess on the lid to prevent spilling if dropped. These cups also don't leak - I have one of these in my handbag at all times and it has never let me down.
My daughters both picked up how to use these cups very easily, as there is no strong valve to suck through and work out how to manipulate to get the liquid out - they simply tip it up, suck a little and voila! Water (or juice, or milk or whatever).
I use this cup mainly for water now, but I did use it for milk when my children were weaned off their bottles at about a year old.
I have microwaved our cups every day of their lives, so they hold up well to the abuse. They don't seem to like dishwashers though, as it seems to shrink the plastic slightly and makes the lids very tricky to get off, so I wouldn't recommend the dishwasher every day. That being said they are easy to clean and don't have too many fiddly parts to get into and scrub.
I get through quite a few of these, mainly because my children liked to nibble the spouts, so no fault of the cup itself. We always have at least 2 on the go at al times!
So for a very reasonable investment these cups really do stand up to all the abuse toddlers can throw at them. Cheers!
As a mother of 2 daughters - 3 years old and almost 2 years old - our house is full of toys, and in particular Disney branded toys! My eldest daughter got very into Toy Story when we went to Disneyland Paris last year and she met Woody, Jessie and some of the other characters. She was thrilled, as you can imagine, when Toy Story 3 came out and we bought it for her in DVD. If you haven't seen the film, in contains all the usual characters you would associate with the films - Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Hamm etc - but there are also some new characters introduced - the toys that live in the daycare nursery, and those owned by the little girl, Bonnie. Mr Pricklepants falls into this latter category.
Mr Character, as I say, is a toy owned by Bonnie - a little girl whose mum works at the daycare nursery. Mr Pricklepants, as you can see, is a Hedgehog! He is a German lederhosen wearing Hedgehog! Only from the imaginations of Disney and Dreamworks would you get such a combo! In the film he is depicted as an "actor" who takes his adventures with Bonnie very seriously and gets into his character with gusto!
We got my eldest daughter this cuddly bean bag toy from The Disney Store for about £7. It is about 13cm tall and one of the most tactile objects you will ever hold! He is round and podgy and a great size for little ones to hug. His body is brown velour, with his "spikes" being made of an incredibly soft fluffy material, which makes you want to stroke his hair the whole time! As I mentioned he is wearing green German shorts with braces! These too are very soft and are stitched to the body, so cannot be removed. His face is embroidered and beautifully detailed - no danger of plastic eyes dropping off though as they are stitched in, making it a safe toy for younger children.
The quality, as you would expect from the Disney Store is really good. After a year of play and adventures with my eldest there is no sign of wear on Mr Pricklepants. No stitching has popped, his hair is still pristine and he has even been in and out of the washing machine without incident.
All in all a lovely addition to any Toy Story toy collection for a very reasonable price.
As a mother of two daughters - 5 years old and nearly 2 years old - I am always on the look out for toy ideas that they can play with together. This isn't as easy as it sounds! Generally my eldest likes to play with toys that have a million small parts, and my youngest likes to eat and lose them! One thing they both agree on though is the range of plastic and wooden food that we have and the tea set accessories to go with them. To add to this set we bought my youngest the Zanussi Pack Away Kitchen playset for Christmas.
We managed to pick this up half price at Tesco for about £30, which didn't seem too bad at all. It comprises a kitchen playset with oven, hot plate, hobs and sink. Also with our set came a kettle and a toaster. As well as these items, also included were some accessories for the set - saucepans, lids, some plastic food, cutlery and salt and pepper shakers (which make a pleasing rattling sound when shook).
The kitchen unit has some good sound effects and spoken phrases to enhance the role play experience - depending on which saucepan you place on the hob it determines whether you are frying an egg in a frying pan or cooking some soup in a saucepan, and makes the appropriate noises. When the oven door is closed it makes a clicking sound and the voice says "shall we roast a chicken" or some other related phrase.
There is a switch inside the unit that I assume determines the volume and on/off, but I am afraid we never worked out how to turn ours down - it really is rather loud!
The kettle that came with the set has a mechanical switch on the top to make it sound vaguely like it is boiling. The toaster that also came has 2 slices of pretend toast which "pop" out of the toaster when done. Both of these items are fairly basic but serve the purpose, especially when you are two!
The quality of the pans and accessories is good and they feel quite robust. The kitchen unit itself doesn't feel all that stable, so probably not ideal if your little one isn't that stable on their feet yet - I am sure it might topple quite easily if leant on in the wrong way.
The kitchen all dismantles and packs away into itself for a handy means of storage and transportation - ideal for taking to nanny's I imagine for a long weekend!
All in all the quality isn't too bad, the role play potential is quite good and the accessories are fun. However the stability of the unit could be better and the sound effects really are quite loud. Good value for the money and hours of pay opportunities to be had.
Assembled Dimension Units cm
Assembled Dimension Depth 34
Assembled Dimension Height 92
Assembled Dimension Width 56
Assembled Weight Units kg
Assembled Weight 2.5
Batteries Included Yes
Battery Type 2 AA
Colours and Styles May Vary Yes
Electronic Features Sounds
Number of Batteries Required 1
Power Source Battery only
Product Weight Units kg
Product Depth 35 cm
Product Height 56 cm
Product Width 14 cm
As a busy mother of two daughters - 5 years old and almost 2 years old - I am always looking to get the best quality products for the best price.
Nappy sacks are something nobody wants to spend a fortune on, so I thought I would give Tesco value nappy sacks a go - at £0.35 for 300 it seemed like a very good value deal!
These nappy sacks come in plastic packaging which you have to rip open to get into, which is my first bug-bear as the nappy sacks all spill out and it gets messy very quickly. The sacks themselves are blue in colour, whilst still being slightly transparent so you can see what's inside - should you want to!
My biggest problem however is the smell of these bags! Now I know that due to the probable contents of nappy sacks, you really want some nice little fragrance to take away some other not-so nice little fragrance that might be present - but does it RALLY have to be THAT strong?? My family and I fin the smell of these bags completely overpowering and quite nauseating. My husband is asthmatic and the smell is so strong that he can tell if I have left a pack of them in the room he is in, because they physically make him wheeze!
The quality of these bags is fine and they serve the purpose they were designed for quite well, but I really wouldn't recommend these if you have any kind of chest condition o asthma! Otherwise, go ahead - they are a great price for something you are ultimately going to put in the bin!