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As an average kind of person when it comes to hygiene ie my house is clean but not in a maniac kind of way, I've noticed a change in my household habits since becoming a parent.
There is no doubt you become more aware of hygiene whether at home or when out and about from the moment you welcome a newborn in your home!
We all know germs get passed on via handshakes and touching door handles amongst other things. Unfortunately washing your hands is not always possible.
I came across this Cuticura Original Hand Hygiene Gel when shopping in Bodycare about 2 years ago.
At only 99p for 100ml the bottle is a handy size to fit into a handbag, a changing bag or a car door pocket.
It is an item I now buy without hesitating.
It has proved extremely useful after changing baby's nappies when out and about and when having no access to water, soap and towel.
I use it when working in hospitals and at petrol stations too after I've filled up.
I also use the gel after doing the recycling (I always keep a bottle in my car for that effect).
I've found these little bottles go a long way as you really only need a small amount. You just need to squirt a bit of gel in your hands and rub over palms, fingers and back of your hands until dry.
The smell is not unpleasant, it reminds me of that of a cucumber.
It claims to kill 99.9% of germs within 15 seconds.
It is non-sticky but it does contain alcohol so be careful not to rub your eyes after use and do not apply on broken skin or else you will feel the pain!
Overall, I cannot fault it and I couldn't do without it especially when I'm out and about.
Why did I get this book?
If you read my previous review on Jason Vale's 7lb in 7 days you will already know that he went from being a lazy junk food addict (like most of us!) to a fitness guru.
He nicknamed himself the Juice Master. If you read any of his books you will soon understand why.
After doing his 7 day detox, I researched on Amazon which of his other books may be worth buying.
I decided to get this one after reading the very positive feedback on it.
What is the book about?
Ignore the smug looking Jason on the front cover and get reading.
After the contents page and a short intro comes the recipes page.
I think what Jason Vale did with this book is very clever. The layout is incredibly attractive with colourful pages and bold text printed on high-quality thick paper.
There are recipes aimed at kids. For every recipe, Jason explains what each ingredient is good for.
You then have a part on a 3 day detox which I may try when I feel like it again.
And then comes my favourite part of the book: the juicy pharmacy! This is where I think Jason was very smart. As he says it himself he's not a doctor but he suggests some juice recipes for common ailments.
I was glad to find out he has a juice recipe against hangover, migraine, and cold (or anyway to help you feel better when you have a cold) to name a few.
He also has some beauty ones which will allegedly help you strengthen your nails or your hair, clear your skin, boost your memory, get rid or cellulite depending on the juice you'll decide to make.
Some of you may be dubious but since getting into juicing I personally love going back to this book for tips and one thing is sure I've never felt poorly after drinking any of the juices.
I often find I feel full of energy afterwards.
This book contains a vast amount of juice and smoothie recipes. Over 100!
So if you're not too keen on the idea of having juice, I suggest you try the smoothies. They're very yummy!
I have only tried about a dozen juices and smoothies but am determined to work my way through most of them.
This book is original, colourful, straight to the point and simply informative.
It may be worth mentioning that there is even a sexy juice section including a natural viagra recipe!
At the end of the book you will find a very useful chart with fruit and veg (with photos) and what they are good for.
I do believe the more you learn about each ingredient's role the more you will be motivated to get juicing.
This is what motivates me anyway.
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely, for the reasons mentioned above.
Where can I buy it?
This book is currently available on Amazon at £8.29, which is well-worth it in my opinion.
Why did I get this book?
I got this book free with the Philips juicer I bought for my husband's birthday in September.
When I saw the title I chuckled and thought "another rubbish diet". I read it anyway and liked the tone straight away.
Jason Vale used to be unfit, he used to smoke a lot, he used to be lazy and addicted to fast-food. He decided to do a complete u-turn and to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
What is the book about?
The first part of the book is mainly about giving the reader a kick up the backside. You may decide it's not for you or you may do what I did: read it, get motivated and get on with the 7 day detox.
The detox lasts 7 days and consists of drinking only freshly-made fruit and veg juices and water and herbal teas in between.
It sounds like torture but I was amazed at how full I felt after drinking each home-made juice. There are a lot of avocados, bananas and pineapple involved and that's already quite filling.
I'm not going to say it's easy. It wasn't. But come day 3 I was used to the routine of juicing 5 times a day and didn't feel like raiding my kitchen cupboard.
I'd advise you to clean your juicer straight after use or it can be a pain if you leave it on the kitchen side as you won't feel like cleaning it later on in the day.
The second part of the book tells you what food you need to buy. There is a shopping list of essential items (fruit and veg) and some optional stuff which you can easily find in Holland and Barrett.
Once you have done all the shopping and armed yourself with willpower and determination you can get on with the detox.
What I liked about this book is that Jason Vale warns you about every possible feeling you may experience while doing the detox (both physical and mental).
Each day of the 7-day plan is different. You get to try varied fruit/veg juices and if you get bored of them, Jason even suggests different ones you can replace the ones on the plan with. I like this as I'm not usually one to be told what to do, so that gave me some flexibility.
All along the book, I enjoyed the motivating no-nonsense tone. Every day, I'd reread some pages to keep myself motivated.
J.Vale explains what each juice will do to you, what effects they will have on your body.
Once you've finished the 7 day plan, which I think is quite an achievement, Jason Vale suggests some menus for the following 2 weeks so your body can get back to eating solid food.
I know it may sound crazy or dangerous to some of you but I did this detox and I'm still here. Best of all I'm lighter, don't stuff my face anymore and think carefully about what I eat now. I can also fit into my size 10 jeans again and I have more energy than before.
It may or may not be for you but as long as you find the willpower, you can do it.
Where can I get this book?
You can buy this book on Amazon for £3.99. The original price was £6.99.
It was published in 2006.
The ISBN is 0-00-777165-7
1)What did you do in 2008 that you have not done before?
2) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, 2 friends. One in April and one in June.
3) Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my husband's granddad.
4) What countries did you visit?
France and Spain.
5) What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
6) What dates will you remember from 2008?
My son's first birthday, my best friend's wedding
7) Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was recovering from Post Natal Depression in the early part of 2008
8) What was the best thing you bought?
Our living room's carpet, it's very comfy.
9) Whose behaviour has merited celebration?
Anyone who's been kind and generous.
10) Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My 2 younger brothers' who sponge off my parents.
11) Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, car, utility bills, food.
12) What did you get really excited about?
Travelling to France with son and husband, visiting a friend in Barcelona
13) What song will you remember from 2008?
Starlight (by Muse)
14) Compared to this time last year are you ..happier, fitter, more productive.
Happier, fitter, more productive
15) What do you wish you had done more of?
Seen some of my friends/family more
16) What do you wish you had done less of?
17) What was your favourite tv programme?
18) Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year?
No. Hate is a waste of energy.
19) What's been the best book of 2008?
I don't know but the best ones I read in 2008 where Gentlemen and Players (Joanne Harris) and the stars' tennis balls (Stephen Fry) but they weren't written in 2008.
20) What was your greatest musical discovery?
Vanessa Paradis' latest album (that's not a joke)
21) What did you want to get in 2008?
22) What did you want and didn't get?
More hours in a day
23) What is your favourite film of the year?
None that are worth mentioning, I didn't go to the cinema last year
24) What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
We had a nice dinner party. I was... it's none of your business!
25) What political issue stirred you the most?
The situation in Congo, the global crisis to name a few.
26) Who was the best person you met?
No one in particular, my friends and family are good people
27) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008?
Don't waste time arguing and make time to see friends and family as life's too short.
I am not that familiar with Lush products anymore and haven't bought any for some years now.
However, for my birthday a few weeks ago my dear sister-in-law sent me a Lush parcel containing 4 different products including this one (I've not tried the other 3 so won't be reviewing them yet).
After running a suitably hot bath, I grabbed the butterfly bath bomb from the box as it looked quite appealing. Half pink and half lilac with bits in. I read the label in the box telling me the bomb contained jasmine flowers, cornflower petals, larkspur flowers, everlasting flower absolute, ylang ylang oil, sodium bicarbonate, citric acid and fabric butterflies.
I smelled it and enjoyed the musky yet flowery scent. I then threw this Lush Butterfly Ball into the bath to enjoy the show while wondering whether it would have any nice effects on me.
The bath bomb disintegrated in a fairly rapid time (I'd say around 2 minutes maybe less). It turned the bath water into an uplifting pink colour while scattering what looked like tiny bits of seaweed. It's nicer than I make it sound actually. It certainly gave the bath a healthy organic look!
I thoroughly enjoyed dipping into this. It left my skin feeling ultra soft and with a very pleasant smell. I felt truly pampered despite only staying in the bath for 10 minutes!
Be warned though, you will have to give your bathtub a good clean afterwards as it will turn pink and the "bits" tend to stick to it too.
On the plus side you will be left with 2 lovely fabric butterflies. I have saved them and will use them again when making home made cards.
Although not a vegan myself, I was introduced to this recipe by a vegan friend of mine and was very impressed with the result.
This is a pasta and veg dish which is easy to make and is not as dull as it may sound!
I dare you to try it whether you're a vegan or not.
For this recipe you will need:
- swirl shaped pasta
- olive oil
- Provamel cream
- red onion
- yellow/red pepper
Cook the pasta in a pan while warming some olive oil in a wok.
Wash all the vegetables and dice them, pour them into the wok. Cover the wok and keep on medium heat. Stiring now and again.
When the vegetables are well cooked add the Provamel cream and stir.
Drain the pasta and add them to the veg.
Stir well until the pasta/veg mixture is creamy.
I have a bit a of a sweet tooth and therefore enjoy baking more than cooking.
Here is a very easy homemade tiramisu recipe which I tried the other day. I picked some advice from 2 different recipes found in my many cookery books and decided to go for this as I was missing some ingredients such as the marsala.
- 150g sponge fingers
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- few drops of vanilla essence
- mascarpone cheese: I found that 250g was not enough so would recommend you get 300-350g. It's sold in pots of 200g.
- 175ml of strong black coffee
- 2 tablespoons of marsala. I used rum instead.
- 1 tablespoon of brandy
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. I used fairtrade organic cocoa as I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to cocoa/chocolate but you can use any really!
Mix the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy. Add vanilla essence and fold in mascarpone until thick and creamy.
Make a strong black coffee then mix with the alcohol in a bowl. Dip the sponge fingers until they have absorbed enough liquid to flavour them without going soggy.
Place the soaked sponge fingers in a glass serving bowl (or glass square dish).
Cover with some of the mascarpone mixture.
Add another layer of sponge fingers and cover with more mascarpone.
And so on.
I manage to put 3 layers of each.
Sift the cocoa over the top.
Cover with cling film and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.
It will taste much better if you make it the night before as it will have set more.
This serves a generous 4 portions or 6 small ones.
I would like to write a review on Tomy Pop to the rescue because it has proved a success with our 22 month-old son at Christmas and he's not stopped playing with it since (well, apart from when he's asleep).
It comes in a bright yellow cardboard box which contains a little garage. The aim is to place the 3 cars (a green one, a red one and a blue one) into their space, which are colour-coded and place the 3 colour-coded people's heads on their respective garage roof.
Then you can show your little one how to play: just whack the little characters with the plastic hammer provided. The heads will fall into their respective cars and drive off.
Although it is battery powered (for sounds), I must admit we have not used batteries yet and our son is just happy whacking the characters and chasing them to put them back into the garage again and so on. No doubt he'll enjoy it even more when we use batteries.
It may not be everyone's cup of tea but our son loves it. And the clever boy (aren't we proud!) puts the heads back on the correct roofs according to their colours. So this is a good toy for learning to match colours.
The characters are very cute and made of sturdy plastic, which is just as well as they'll get knocked on the head many times!
I bought this from Home Bargains and it cost only £7.99.
I also saw it during the 3 for 2 sale in Boots where it cost £12 if I remember well.
I'd recommend it to boys (I don't have girls so I can't say whether they'd like it but they probably would) who like cars and hammers!
Well, I'm afraid I am going to write a more negative review than the previous 2.
Becoming a teacher has always been something I wanted to do from as far as I can remember.
Because I love languages I thought it made sense to become a languages teacher. In a secondary school.
After working a bit in translation I went back to uni to do a PGCE (post graduate certificate in education).
That alone was extremely hard and demanding. I'd often go to bed at 12am/1am to finish planning lessons and making impressive resources to impress my mentors in order to pass.
Then I found a job fairly easily in a decent school. Teaching is very time-consuming. I would get to work for 7.30am and not leave before 5.30pm (school ended at 2.30pm) and I would still have marking and more planning/resource making to do at home in the evening. Some days I couldn't face it or was too tired.
I never managed to fully enjoy my free time at weekends and on holiday as I always had marking and planning on my mind.
Yes, as a teacher you do get a great deal of holidays but if you're a conscientious teacher, chances are you will spend half of your free time working.
I ended up having virtually no social life and only my teacher friends could understand what I was going through.
I changed school to move back up North and ended up in an average school. The behaviour was shocking, the discipline nearly non-existent. It's as if the senior team had given up on school rules.
When you're in such a school and you're a young woman, you've got no chance.
On top of the heavy workload, I ended up chasing up pupils who failed to attend detentions (nearly all of them).
The senior team didn't care enough. I could have hit my head against a wall, they wouldn't have done anything.
As you may have gathered, I am no longer a teacher.
When I was, I was grateful for the good pay and the holidays but after 5 years of teaching, I was going down a dangerous road called depression and decided it was time for me to quit.
I now earn less but I feel more in control and I've got my self-respect back.
Only go into (secondary school) teaching if you have nerves of steel.
I really admire those of you who can stick at it.
I did not know what psoriasis was until I started suffering from it a few years ago now.
When I was 16, one of my classmates was doing my hair during break time and remarked out loud that I had a big dandruff problem as she peeled off flakes as big as a 5 p coin from my scalp. Needless to say I was very embarrassed as I was not even aware of it before she pointed it out.
As days went by, my scalp became more irritated and felt hot too. It was also covered in red patches. Although I tried not to scratch my scalp, I noticed I had scabs which just appeared for no apparent reason.
My mom decided to take me to a specialist who prescribed me some kind of special shampoo but told me that there was no real cure for psoriasis. So this is how I found out about psoriasis.
I was very upset about what the specialist said as he did not seem to care much and I felt very distressed at first. I tried the shampoo but it made my scalp very greasy and only helped relieve the itching to a certain extent.
Later on I just accepted psoriasis was part of me. The specialist had said that sun exposure would help temporarily but that symptoms would reappear come winter season so I was fine in the summer only.
After about 4 years, my mom took me to this "healer" and amazingly I didn't experience psoriasis again for several years. He told me stress had triggered psoriasis and when I look back I do believe he was right. I had experienced a big emotional shock just before having psoriasis.
But since then, I'm afraid it has come back and I feel it's a way for my body to say "Help, I'm stressed". So I tend not to worry too much about it. I use mild shampoos and try to see how I can lower my stress levels. I now experience psoriasis on my scalp about 2 to 4 times a year and have come to accept it but it can be upsetting at times. However I know my case is not that bad compared to other cases and I consider myself lucky the psoriasis has never spread further than my scalp.
Having purchased settees on 2 separate occasions from DFS, I thought I'd give you my view on them.
We first bought a fabric settee 5 years ago when we lived in Norfolk. The shopping experience was pleasant enough. The store we bought it from was spacious enough but not huge so we didn't struggle too much to decide and picked one fairly quickly. At the time they offered one year free credit, which we took.
The settee was sturdy and comfortable and we got some good use out of it for 3 years. It survived a move to Yorkshire but unfortunately our cats liked to dig their claws in the fabric and my husband made a massive rip on one of the arms by trying to unsuccessfully move it upstairs.
So here we are back in DFS, a different store this time. Much bigger. Our heads were spinning at the sight of so many beautiful settees and chairs. They sure know how to arrange them so you are automatically attracted to them. My husband had to reason with me a few times as I felt like buying some really big settees, which he assured me wouldn't fit into our new house.
So we went for a corner leather settee with matching chair. Gorgeous. We couldn't wait to have them delivered. We got given 2 years free credit just over 2 years ago. We waited 13 weeks instead of the up to 12 weeks delivery time.
We paid a high price for a sale item (ok, I know, DFS always have sale on...) £1200 which I finished paying off only recently.
The lady in store assured us the quality was superior and that the settee wouldn't sag. Well, we're by no means overweight but the settee is sagging and we don't even sit on the sagging part that much.
At first, the settee looked great and was comfy, it's still comfy to a certain extent but is sagging which I don't think you should expect from a settee + chair at that price.
I am looking into our paperwork now to see if we have any come back on this and will amend my review accordingly.
But having read a few reviews on their customer service I'm bracing myself!
Q. How did you discover Dooyoo?
I was looking for reviews on a product (I can't remember which one) and came across Dooyoo. I've not looked back since and come here to find reviews on products/places I'm interested in.
Q. Why did you join?
I joined because the reward system seemed very appealing and I liked the idea of an online community giving advice on anything and everything.
Q. What was your very first opinion on?
My printer, Canon Pixma MP220. Not the most exciting review but I have since learned how to write them better (I hope!).
Q. Did you find it easy to get the hang of Dooyoo?
I found it surprisingly easy thanks to the straightforward layout of the site and the support of some members who messaged me and commented on my reviews.
Q. Did you read other opinions before you posted your first one?
Absolutely. I read a few at first then decided to write my first ones. I then took on board whatever advice I got from fellow members. I still read reviews daily (when I find time) and write when I'm inspired.
Q. Do you write no/some/many comments?
I do write some comments when I feel like it. If I don't think my comment is useful, I don't bother but I like to be encouraging.
Q. When you click on the list of Newest Reviews, do you read your friend's opinion no matter what they're on/according to subject?
I usually read newest reviews at random regardless of whether I know the reviewer or not. Although I now avoid some members who have not rated me back.
Q. Do you write your opinions in one sitting?
Very rarely. I usually make a cuppa tea, stretch my legs, check for product details (on boxes for instance), etc.
Q. Do you use a spell check?
I don't but once I've submitted my review I re-read it and amend mistakes. I do check for mistakes before sending the review but it seems that I only spot mistakes once I've submitted it!
Q. Do you think you can improve you chances of a crown if you suck up to a guide?
Not at all. I haven't tried and won't. I did get the travel guides to read one of my reviews as it was at the bottom of my review list and because I thought I'd re-written it well but they didn't seem particularly impressed so I'm no longer aiming for a crown, although, yes it would be nice to have even just the one.
Q. Are you a member of a forum or chat room?
I am a member of my local forum but I don't tend to go on it much now.
Q. Does it get to you when members praise or condemn you?
Yes, I admit it does but I will do my best not to get affected by the negative ones and I'll try to just take useful advice on board.
Q. What did you do with your spare time before joining Dooyoo?
I used to spend more time on Facebook but you don't get rewards for doing so! Therefore here I am now.
Q. What do you wish for the future?
I would like to carry on having a go at writing reviews, hopefully helping some members decide whether a product is good or not for them and I will carry on checking reviews to find out more info on things I would like to buy or just out of interest. And maybe one day, I'll get a crown but I've kind of given up to be honest.
A friend lent me this DVD as I've been too lazy to go to the gym or go swimming lately.
Davina decided to make this DVD with the 2 personal trainers who helped her achieve a great figure after she gave birth to her second child.
I wasn't sure I would enjoy this as very frankly I'm not a great fan of Davina. I used to like her but then became a bit annoyed at seeing her on TV all the time.
But in all fairness I haven't seen her on telly for a while so I tolerate her again.
Having attended a few workout sessions at my gym I can tell you this DVD is very complete.
There is an intro explaining what you will do, some advice on what to have at hand (mat if you're on a hard floor surface, water to rehydrate, 2 weights such as baked bean cans and a chair).
You're also warned not to do this if you're feeling unwell or have any aching body part.
The exercising starts with the compulsory warm up which I found was the perfect length and got me ready for the next stage.
Then you have legs & bum, which I enjoyed although I found it hard in parts.
You then move on to the upper body, which I found great. I often wish to tone up there and don't know what to do, this had lots of fairly easy exercices which I'll be able to do again on my own.
The next part focuses on abs. Personally I found it mostly hard but to be honest, I've always been rubbish at working out that part of my body.
Finally you have a cool down session which enables you to relax and stretch your muscles gently.
You're free to do the workout in one go (about an hour) or to only do the warm up + any of the parts + the cool down (about 20 minutes).
I did it all in one go, struggled in parts but managed till the end. Davina, Jackie and Mark Wren do give a lot of encouragements and I think it did help me carry on.
I didn't find Davina that annoying and both trainers are very likeable. Jackie who's on the left of the screen does the exercises in an easier way for those who can't keep up with Davina and Mark so you don't feel let down.
I am now planning on doing this again in a few days.
You're advised to work out 3 times a week and watch what you eat. Davina says she eats 3 healthy meals a day.
I won't be doing that as I am a believer in eating every 3 hours otherwise my sugar levels are all over the place.
So all in all, I think it's a great workout DVD and would highly recommend it.
Amazon currently sells the DVD for £13.99 new or £9.95 from the marketplace but if you're lucky you'll probably get it cheaper from Ebay or charity shops, which are full of workout DVDs. Or you could borrow it off a friend like I did.
My husband loves cooking and every now and then, on top of his impressive collection of cookery books, he will buy BBC Good Food.
The last one he purchased is the December issue. It costs £3.10, which you may think is a bit steep but I can assure you it is good value for money.
There are 218 pages, some of which are of course ads but most pages are not.
I was struck by the beauty of the photos. The food is shown in all its splendour and I challenge anyone to look at them and not feel like trying one of the recipes.
This issue is obviously focused on Christmas but the recipes are so varied that you won't find the same old boring Christmas recipes.
BBC Good Food suggests original recipes, easy to make and fairly cheap. The desserts look amazing and every time I turn a page of the magazine it makes me want to have a go at cooking or baking even more than I bother to do usually.
They also suggest alternative recipes to Christmas pudding. I personally hate the traditional one and don't actually know many people who like it. Well, there is a recipe for a chocolate Christmas cake and it looks easy to make and delicious.
My birthday's coming up soon and rather than go to a restaurant I think I wouldn't mind preparing a meal highly inspired by BBC Good Food. First I would make the pineapple, fig and ginger chutney to be served with cold meats then I would have a go at the Salmon en croute and finally for the best part of the meal, I would make a sticky clementine cake with cheesecake cream.
My mouth's watering by just looking at the beautiful dishes.
Whether you're a skilled cook or a beginner, give it a try. It will give you inspiration.
You will find a lot of advice on what wine to buy and where to buy kitchen gadgets. Cookery courses are also advertised.
As a bonus, in the December issue, you also get a free 2009 Calendar with great pictures and a recipe for each month.
I would highly recommend it and subscribing to it would probably make a nice gift to anyone who enjoys cooking or wishes to get better at it.
I have eaten quite a few times in Pizza Express. In 2 different ones to be precise.
Everytime I have had a nice experience.
The staff are always efficient. Some could do with smiling a bit more maybe. I do find they try to act posher than they are sometimes, but that's just my personal view.
Consequently I have not felt as relaxed in there as say Frankie & Benny's but the food has always been great.
I have found the waiting time is reasonable from the moment you order and between dishes. I don't mind waiting when the result is good anyway so I have no problem with that.
On a recent visit, I went with just my husband and found the decor perfect for a romantic dinner.
As I said the food was very good and we were very impressed with the shared dessert: baby figs with mascarpone. Absolutely out of this world.
The prices are what you would expect from a restaurant of this kind. Personally I find them sometimes a bit dear.
I would recommend it to anyone. I can't comment on how child-friendly they are but I'm sure I've spotted some high chairs in there so they have the necessary equipment.