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So what is spread betting, well I'm doing it right now on a screen behind this review. I will attempt to provide an overview of the principles of spread betting and my experience of it for you.
* Financial Spread Betting *
Spread betting is a way of trading on a financial market (I trade on three european markets) or a product such as a share or a commodity without actually owning the share. As an investor it allows you to bet on whether the price of say a market or commodity will go up or go down in value.
If you think a particular market/share will rise in value then you'd buy into it (this is called going long) and the aim is that you then sell it at a higher price. If however you think the market will fall in value, then you get in there and sell it first (this is called going short), and buy it back at the cheaper price. My husband and most of my friends don't get it (they think I'm a genius and who am I to enlighten them otherwise lol) but it is quite simple once you understand it and I'll give an example of a trade shortly.
Your profit or loss will be the difference between the price at which you buy and the price at which you sell. You don't own the shares when you spread bet you are betting solely on the price movements. You can therefore make a profit from a falling market if you are selling as well as a rising market if you are buying although I have to admit it's much nicer and better for ones conscience when you make a profit from the market value going up!!
* How it works *
For example you are spread betting on the FTSE 100 market (I trade on markets rather than shares of a specific company but it works the same way). For every point the market moves in your favour you win multiples of your stake and for every point it moves against you, you lose multiples of your stake. You can choose the value of a point when you place your order. A point can be worth a minimum of £1 but can obviously be much higher (providing you have sufficient funds for the trade more to come on that shortly).
As I type this the FTSE 100 is at 4213. So say I want to place an order to buy (go long) at £2 a point. I will set my markers (these are your limits of how much you are prepared to lose or gain in this trade) for the purposes of this illustration I'll say I want to make 20 points profit (£40) and I'm only prepared to make a loss of 10 points (£20).
Instrument - FTSE 100
Type - Market
Amount - 2 £/pt (2 pounds a point)
The currently value shows on the screen i.e 4215 (sell price was 4213 buy price is 4215).
Then you select sell or buy - Buy
It asks you to confirm your order by placing it and it's done.
I'd then place another order with my markers so that when the value of the FTSE hits either 4235 my limit price or 4205 my stop price the second order would come into effect and take me out of the trade with either a profit or a loss, hopefully a profit.
Instrument - FTSE 100
Type - OCO (This is an order cancels order - if the limit order is activated it also removes the stop order created at the same time very important!! - You could also just place a stop order so that it will take it out at the maximum loss you are prepared to take and you watch the market yourself and manually sell when the value has gone up sufficiently. The market does fluctuate though so it's in my opinion more risky although it can be fruitful if you're not greedy. If you do this make sure you cancel your stop order when you come out of the trade manually.)
Direction - Sell (I'm buying in this example so when the value of the market hits my markers I want it to bring me out of the buy trade by selling it back either for more or less money than I bought in to the market for).
Amount - 2 £/pt
Limit price - 4235
Stop price - 4205
Duration - GTC (I use this function which means good till cancelled. This order will run until it's activated unless I chose to close it early).
Then you just confirm your order by placing it and it's done and will come into effect when the market value (or share value as applicable) hits one of the markers.
You can also place GSO orders (guaranteed stop order) which as the name suggests will guarantee to stop your trade at the stop price limit. This means if you left a trade going over night and then when the markets opened in the morning it had gapped significantly (i.e it was 4208 when the market closed but when it opened it opened at 4190 well below your stop price) instead of loosing a lot more than you were prepared to before the stop price order could be activated the GSO would sell the shares at the original stop price so you wouldn't loose all that extra money but this does cost extra to set up and a GSO order can not be placed in the last hour of trading. There may also be a ratio percentage of the value of the market which calculates your minimum stop price which may be more than you are prepared to loose when using this function, on the positive side if the market gaps in your favour you end up earning more than you set out to!!
As you can see if my trade hit my limit price marker another order would come in effect and sell my trade back for £2 a point. I'd therefore have made £40. If I had traded at £5 a point I'd have made £100 but could have lost £50 and so on. The value you set your point at in any trade is dependent on how much funds you have available in your trading account and how much money you're prepared to loose and what you would consider a worth while trade to make a profit on.
Funds in your account is obviously necessary when your trading. When you have a trade running your actual available funds will be lower as there will be an amount put aside for your margin.
Spread betting is a leveraged product which means that you only have to put up a percentage of your total exposure to the market this figure will show as your margin.
For example I've currently got a trade running on a German Cash market. I'm selling (going short) at £2 a point with a limit marker of 60 points, a stop marker in this instance of 30 points. My margin amount for this trade is £80 (which is 40 points).
It will cost you a different amount to buy into the market/shares than to sell and this difference is the commission/fee that the brokers make, various markets will have different prices. For example the FTSE 100 was at 4213 this will be the sell price to buy price was actually 4215.
* My experience *
I work full time from home managing a trading plan for a client on three European markets. Obviously I can't go into details of his plan as that would be unprofessional he has spent a long time working it out and half a year paper trading before he approached me to trade for him.
There are lots of ways and means to trade over the phone, online, a package on your computer (which is what I run) and you can also have bets set up automatically but my client wanted someone to watch the market all day which is what I do.
I start work at 8am and finish when two out of the three markets I trade on close at 4.30pm. Part of the plan I follow is to review what the markets do every 10 minutes and based on what has happened I'll either put in an order for a trade or do nothing. (That's why I have time to sit and write reviews in between trading or wash up, iron, read etc obviously I'm actually on dooyoo reading reviews lol).
Obviously I get paid to sit here all day and watch the markets. If you are doing it for yourself you will need to consider how and when you'd trade, do you have the time to sit and stare at your computer all day and watch the markets or would another option be more suitable.
This last month has been quite turbulent at times. On Friday I made over 400 points in profit but yesterday I lost 150 points. Personally I've found from the plan I'm following that we start off with a pot of funds it goes up a bit then down a lot then back up a lot and at the end of last month we ended up pretty much in the same position. This is partly caused by the markets yo-yoing up and down so my limit (profit) markers never quite hit before I change the trade...very frustrating!
Of course your experience may well be different as it will depend on your own plan, the markets or companies you spread bet on etc.
You can make a profit and the more money you have in your funds account the more money you can make a point worth. For instance say our plan is to trade at £3 a point but in a years time we would be able to trade at £5 then £10 a point so you can rapidly earn lots of money but obviously loose lots as well. A trade I carry out today at £3 a point might be worth £120 but if in a years time trading at £10 a point it would be worth £400.
I normally average from around 4 trades up to 15 trades a day across the three markets I watch, this is very dependent on the market though and there are no obvious times that you'll place a trade or patterns of when your trade will hit it's markers.
* If you're thinking of spread betting *
Research your markets. Once you've found a market your interested in watch it and I'd recommend paper trading it for a while to see how it runs what its average rises and falls are. If a market never rises much above 40 points before it changes again (they go up and down all the time) then there's no point setting a limit marker of 100 points as it will rarely hit it unless you are in for the long haul. I trade on a day to day basis so want a quick turn around in trades.
Paper trading is where you follow the market and write down (or put on a spreadsheet) what trades you would have done and then you can see if you'd have made a profit or a loss. It's a very good way to get to grips with the market and how it behaves (although they can be unpredictable and erratic especially in the current climate). This will also help give you an idea of realistic profit and loss markers to aim for.
If you are seriously interested in having a punt a spread betting then there are courses, books, magazines and seminars available to help you understand spread betting and work out your own trading strategy.
For instances CMC Markets offers free seminars and webinars to help you learn about spread-betting. I also recently saw on their website that they would give you the opportunity of having a free days trading on one of the FTSE markets any losses you make they'd cover and any profit you make you get to keep, (I think it was no more than £2 a point value on trades though)!!! Unfortunately I can't seem to find it on their site now but if you are able to find this generous offer or a similar one with another company I'd advise you take them up on the offer once you've learnt more about spread betting so that you don't waste the opportunity.
* Finally *
Don't bet with money you can't afford to loose!
This review is meant as an overview and introduction to spread betting. If you've found it interesting and think it may be for you I recommend you investigate it further before you start trading.
There are many ways to trade and brokers to use. CMC Markets has a great web trading platform as well as one that is installed on your computer (which I use as it gives even more analytical tools although it only works on windows so I have to boot camp my mac book to use it..oh the shame of it!!). I have found CMC Markets to be very friendly and helpful over the phone as well as having a very usable trading platform but I have only used them and there are other companies providing similar services out there.
I could go on and on but that would take forever and no one would read the review as it would be too long lol!!!
Here is a list of companies that you may find helpful.
The Harbour Lights Cafe at Look & Sea is a great cafe located in Littlehampton, West Sussex and the café is the main focus of my review. The cafe is positioned along the River Arun and over looks the harbour area. It is a pleasant place to start or end a walk along the river and sea front. It is two minutes walk from the town centre and the train station. There is a car park very close by which charges 65p 1 hr, £1.35 2 hrs, £1.95 3 hrs, this car park gets busy quickly and during the summer season is often full.
* CAFE *
The cafe is airy, clean and modern which helps provide a pleasant atmosphere; it's also lovely on a warm day when some of the doors are open. Sometimes it can feel a little crowded as it does get very busy on a sunny day in or out of season in particular around lunch time.
Staff members are pleasant and polite. When you enter the cafe it's wise to find a table first as you'll need to give a table number when placing an order for food. Although the cafe is often busy so far we have always managed to find a table (and there have been a lot of so fars!!). Seating is available either inside or outside enjoying the patio area overlooking the river and moorings along the marina. It has an outside seating area which goes around two sides of the building, if you choose the section in front of the cafe you will find yourself sat close to a road leading to the car park and Life Boat station which maybe isn't quite so nice although it is interesting to watch boats and lifeboats going in and out this side also tends to be more windy and we prefer to sit the left side of the café which faces the river.
Opening times for the cafe are 9am to 5pm although out of season (i.e winter) it closes slightly earlier at 4.30pm.
It also apparently runs as an evening bistro although despite living very close by we've never managed to find it open in the evening. I'm presuming that the bistro is open occasionally out of season but is open more regularly during the summer season.
* FOOD *
When you go to the counter you are met with a very appetizing array of pastries and cakes if these don't tempt you I'm sure something from the menu will!! Food orders are freshly prepared and will be brought directly to your table from the kitchen. If it's just drinks and perhaps a little treat in the shape of a cake that you'd like these will be handed to you on a tray to carry over to your table.
Here is where I have to admit that we are in fact creatures of habit when it comes to eating here. We have some favourite dishes that are so good we tend to eat those every time with the odd except of course.
When we enter the restaurant we find a table (often outside when the weather is nice), then place our order at the counter. On the whole the staff members are friendly and polite. There is one person who very rarely cracks a smile although we have witnessed it but they are never rude and always serve us in a polite manner.
Our food normally arrives within 10 to 15 minutes, understandably if it's busy it takes a little longer but when this has happened we have been advised of this and the person serving our food has apologised, even then it's not a horrendously lengthy wait.
Here are the meals we normally order and can highly rate:
French Toast with maple syrup and bacon £3.95 - This meal comes served on a rectangle plate. There are 4 triangle shaped pieces of golden french toast (2 full slices halved). In between the triangles are 3 pieces of bacon and this isn't your cheap watery type bacon but tasty thick bacon tinged with colour. The french bread and bacon are generous covered in maple syrup. I'm never convinced that there will be enough bacon and maple syrup to go round but I'm always pleasantly surprised and always full. I highly recommend this dish, whenever my husband is tempting me to go over to the cafe for a bite to eat he always gets me when he starts to talk about the french toast.
Harbour Eggs Benedict £4.75 - When I'm looking for a filling breakfast and my sweet tooth is asleep I opt for this satisfying savory option. Generous slices of honey roast ham are served on toasted ciabatta with 2 poached eggs covered in hollandaise sauce. The dish is attractively presented and definitely fulfills my expectations of a great eggs benedict.
Sussex Smokie £4.75 (light bite) - Now when you are first presented with this dish you may think as we did and most people we convince to try it do how will this possibly fill me up. The Sussex Smokie is served in a small ramekin dish with toasted ciabatta (one ciabatta roll cut into two) and salad. The smokie's ingredients are smoked haddock and prawns in a cheese sauce (not a thick sauce) and the top of the dish is covered in grilled slightly golden cheese. By the time you are half way through your light bite you realise that it is going to fill you up and you will have just about enough ciabatta to dip into the cheesy fishy gorgeousness. One thing to bear in mind with this dish is that it can be quite salty so if you don't like salty dishes I would recommend you avoid this dish.
* MENU *
The menu is split into several sections as follows:
Breakfast (served until 12 noon daily) Prices start at 80p for Toast and Marmalade and go up to £6.75 for a Harbour full english. As I previously mentioned my absolute favourite is Fench Toast with bacon and maple syrup at £3.95 which is so so yummy.
Sandwiches (come served in white or seaded brown bread, a lightly dressed salad and crisps) Range from £4.50 for mature cheddar and tomato to £5.95 for Fresh local crab filling (when available).
Jacket Potatoes (served with a lightly dressed salad) Prices start at £4.95 for Mature Cheddar Cheese & Tomato Relish and go up to £6.50 for Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese. There are the standard fillings you'd expect to see with Jacket tates along with fillings such as Mixed Beans and Goats Cheese (£5.75) and Sweet Chilli Chicken (£5.75).
Paninis (or for those in the know Paninos :) - Italian style baguette grilled and served hot with lightly dressed salad and crisps.) All paninis are £4.95 and you can add chips as an extra for £1.00. Filing options range from the standard offerings such as Home Baked Roast Ham and Tomato to Shaved Pastrami, Gherkin and Mustard.
Gourmet Burgers (6oz beef burgers made from British beef and served in a floured bap with crisp salad leaves, mayo and also come with chips and a mixed salad). There are two prices for burgers either £7.50 such as the veggie burger (made from lentils, carrot, courgettes, mushrooms, gruyere cheese and nuts) or £7.95 like the Cheese & Bacon burger.
Starters or light bites (one of my most frequently ordered sections after breakfast). Prices range from £3.95 for Soup of the Day (with a roll and butter) to £4.95 for Duck Rolls (three delicious oriental duck savouries in filo pastry on mixed leaves with a warm plum sauce). Our all time favourite is Sussex Smokie at £4.75 as previously mentioned.
Dressed Salads and platters - Salads available include Roasted Chicken and Bacon Caesar Salad at £6.75 to the more expensive Fresh Local Crab Salad (subject to availability) at £10.95.
Main meals - Most of the main meals are priced at £6.95 with the exception of a few which are priced up to £7.95. There are 12 main meals on the menu which has the typical fare you would expect such as Fish & Chips, Ham and Egg, Whitby Scampi it also sells meals such as the very tasty Thai Fishcakes and Seafood Florentine. The cafe also offers a traditional Sunday lunch for £7.95 from 12 noon every Sunday.
Vegetarian options are available across the menu a few examples of which are Spinach and Goats cheese bruschettas, Veggie Burger, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Paninis and a vegetarian full breakfast option.
Side dishes can also be ordered, salad, cheesy chips, garlic bread, a selection of vegetables etc.
There is also a selection of kids meals (for under 12's only). These range from Jacket Potato with cheese and salad for £3.50 to Lasagne, Chips and salad for £4.75 with the usual suspects in between such as sausages and mash, beef burger and chips etc priced at £3.75.
Desserts (very important section!!)
There is a daily dessert blackboard adjacent to the counter that shows the days desert selection. Desserts such as vanilla panacotta with poached pear, black cherry & cream pancakes, crumbe of the day, chocolate fudge cake are available, apologies if I'm making you feel hungry.
The cafe also sell specialty ice creams (delicious Movenpick ice cream from Switzerland made with fresh cream, fruit puree and fruit pieces with no artificial additives) and sorbets. Rum Raisin, Swiss Chocolate, Maple Walnut, Cappuccino, Vanilla Dream, Mandarin & Cranberry, Strawberry & Raspberry Sorbet. Prices are £2.95 for two scoops and £3.95 for three.
Harbour Lights sell a variety of beverages such as tea, filter coffee, cappuccinos, latte, espresso's and hot chocolate which if you are feeling decadent can be served with cream and a flake. I can't tell you how lovely it is to sit in the cafe drinking one of those hot chocolates after a bracing walk along the beach and there's no guilt after doing all that exercise!!
There is a selection of soft drinks available including a display fridge full of refreshing cold drinks such as fruit juices and Elderflower presse.
They also sell a range of wines and beers, all beers are served in 330 ml bottles except Carling which is draught and available as 1/2 or a full pint. For licensing reasons alcoholic beverages are only available when supplied with food. Wines can be purchased in the following measures 175ml, 250ml or by the bottle.
* OTHER FACILITIES *
* Littlehampton Visitor Centre:
To the right of the entrance is the Littlehampton Visitor Centre that has attractive and well presented displays and information about the area including pictures of the beach covered in snow and the river frozen over. There is also a small gift shop in this area with seaside type paraphernalia, postcards and children's 'pocket money priced' toys.
* Look & Sea Heritage Centre and Viewing Tower:
This is open from 10am. Entrance to this is paid for in the visitor centre and costs £1.50 per adult, £1.00 per child and children under 5 go in for free. If you have a holiday at home card (you are eligible for one if you live in the area) then you get a discount on entry and this also applies to any friends who are with you. Our daughter loves the viewing tower, which provides a magnificent 360 degree panorama view out towards the sea. There is also the Ship to Shore Gallery which should keep most people entertained for at least half an hour as you find out about the area, view information and pictures of ship wrecks nearby, play a pirate board game, and even have a go at navigating a boat through the river...remember to open the bridge!!
* Conference/Function Room:
There is a conference room that fits 60 people in and is available to hire at a reasonable price. If you require food this is provided by the café. I recently hired this room for our daughter's birthday party and can confirm it can accommodate 24 five year olds along with parents.
* SUMMARY *
This café is in a great location with convenient parking nearby. This is by far our favourite place to 'do lunch' or breakfast and we often end up here to treat ourselves with a hot chocolate after a walk along the beach and river with friends. The food is fresh, tastes very nice and is in my opinion reasonably priced. The cafe has an inviting feel and pleasant atmosphere and in our experience the staff members are polite. I would definitely recommend this café if you are visiting the area.
I know this is quite a long review but I hope all the information has been interesting and useful to you.
Look & Sea
63-65 Surrey Street
Telephone: 01903 718984
I had a little extra in my bank account a couple of months ago and was so fed up with my old iron that I decided to set a budget of around £50 to invest in a new good quality one (this iron can now be found at a lower price). I didn't originally set out to buy the Beville Extreme Steam but when I went to Argos it was one of the few irons available.
The Breville Extreme Steam 2400w (model no VIN010) weights 1.5kg which is about an average weight for irons. It does feel a little heavy compared to some irons I've had in the past but it is comfortable to use.
The iron has some great features including an easy front fill illuminated water tank (picture a boy racer with lights under their car but on an iron), pre-set programs which are digitally selected. The cermaic soleplate really helps the iron to move smoothly across your clothes as you iron them which makes ironing easier.
It has seven standard heat settings each selected by pressing - or + on the controls along with a 100g steam shot and 40g constant steam and a button to easily turn the steam on or off. The iron has a water level indicator and a dry tank alert shows on the digital display screen when you're about to run out of water.
The iron also has an auto shut off which beeps to warn you when it's going to shut off, however I've found that my iron just keeps beeping every few minutes, which gets annoying although admittedly if I didn't get distracted by the TV it wouldn't happen anyway!!
The 3 meter power cord makes moving the iron across the board easy without having to use an extension cord. The iron has space to wrap the cord around it at the bottom however I haven't been able to do it very successfully as it just seems to slip off.
The iron is anti-scale, very importantly it's anti-drip and comes with a self clean function.
*** EDIT ***
* Additional information/facts:
This iron has a water tank capacity of 350ml. This is the average tank size for irons of this weight (1.5kg) although many irons up to 1.7kg have the same water tank capacity. Irons with a weight under 1.5kg in general tend to have a smaller tank capacity although this is not always the case.
Argos has a useful compare function on their website so if you are buying an iron from them you can easily check various irons and their functions at the same time.
This iron has a vertical steam facility which comes in very handy if you want to refresh an item although I have never used it as I haven't had the need to so I can't comment on how well this function works on this iron.
The iron is self cleaning which means that there is no real need to do anything, the anti-scale appears to be incorporated within the self cleaning function. This means that on a day to day basis the iron looks after itself. Of course if you live in a very hard water area you may prefer to use distilled water rather than normal tap water although I have not experienced any problems when using normal tap water and tap water can be used in this iron.
Overall this is an efficient iron which is easy to use and was worth the £50 I spent on it.
Availability and prices: RRP £54.99
www.Amazon.co.uk £34.26 eligible for free delivery
www.electricshopping.com £41.09 including free delivery
* Summary of personal experience:
+ This iron is a little on the heavy side when moving across my ironing however this does not make it uncomfortable to use in fact I find it quite comfortable.
+ I'm sure you will find as I have that the position and size of the refill hole in this iron makes it very easy to fill without spilling water. It comes with a refill jug with a spout which also makes it easy to fill the iron.
+ The water tank is illuminated but it doesn't really make much difference in being able to view how much water is left to be honest but does look pretty if you like that kind of thing.
+ I have found programming this iron very easy. It has 7 heat settings. I can quickly and easily change the heat setting by pressing either the + button if I want to increase the temperature and - to reduce the heat. The digital display clearly shows me at all times what temperature/fabric type I have my iron set to.
+ The steam function adjusts the amount of steam suitable for the fabrics within the program you select but I am also able to use a steam shot if I need more steam although I have found the constant steam function to be sufficient. You can also turn the constant steam on and off again by the press of one button (this button has a picture of steam on it).
+ The iron comes with a 3 meter length cord which makes it much easier to use as you can move it around your clothes without having to use an extension lead. I have found from previous experience that an iron with a short cable is difficult to use and irritating and so the length of this cable makes it much easier and pleasant to use.
+ Overall the iron is great to use. The irons functions are easy to use and the ceramic plate means it glides easily over the clothes I'm ironing. It requires less effort to use and provides good results.
I decided enough was enough and I wasn't going to put up with my wonky cheap ironing board any longer. So just before Christmas I decided it was time to really invest in a good ironing board to try and make the chore of ironing a little easier on myself.
I brought the Vileda Caprice Ironing Board with Heat and Steam Management from Argos for just under £45. A big investment but in my opinion worth it!!
* Features and Experience *
One of the features of this ironing board is the Heat and Steam system which makes ironing more efficient and quicker...isn't that what any woman or man wants from their ironing board.
The Heat and Steam system is in effect the 10mm thick felt underlay which retains and sends the heat back into the item your ironing. It's the equivalent of putting foil under the cover of your normal ironing board (I haven't personally done this so I don't know how it compares). In an ideal world this would mean that you'd only have to iron one side of the item however personally I still feel I need to iron each side once to get a well pressed item.
The board has a really useful sized ironing surface, (Length is 140, width is 45cm). Which gives a great amount of space for ironing items from clothes to bedding. It comes with a fitted cotton cover and as mentioned above a 10mm thick underlay, the underlay also helps to make ironing smoother.
The ironing board is multi-position and has a height adjustment of up to 96cm and when folded it's height is 170cm.
One fantastic feature is the release levers which are on both sides of the board making it so much easier to adjust the height and fold it away when you've finished with it (great feature for left and right handed people). The ironing boards I've had in the past have only ever had release levers on one side and I would never go back to a cheaper ironing board with less features again!!
The release levers on both sides are connected by a thick steel rod and the handles are made of thick dark grey durable plastic and appear to be good quality.
The board is very stable and a delight to use (if ironing can ever be delightful).
The frame is made up of large tubal pieces of metal (see picture above) and are painted a metallic grey colour. Bearing in mind the size of the ironing board and the thick metal it is constructed of to make it so stable it is in my opinion only marginally heavier to carry than a normal ironing board.
This is a slightly larger sized ironing board and does have as part of it's design two small wheels to make it more easy to move. The two wheels are positioned at one end of the ironing board, one on each end of the foot (the wheels are positioned above the pointed end of the board). The wheels are made from the same plastic as the levers and are bolted securely to the frame.
One downside of this ironing board is that because it's quite big it does take up more storage space and so some people may not be able to store it where they normal store their smaller ironing boards. My experience however it that it fits snuggly in my airing cupboard and I haven't had a problem.
There is a retracting iron rest with silicone pad. Both the plastic rest and silicone pad can be wiped clean and the silicone pad can also be easily removed and replaced (there are little holes in the iron rest which the silicone pad slot into).
The cover on the board is very secure and doesn't not move around. This is because there is a piece of elastic that goes around the inside edge of the cover which can be secured and tightened using the plastic toggle attached to it (the toggle is located at the pointed end of the board).
I have not had this board long and so haven't needed to wash the cover yet. I have looked on the cover but can not see any label advising if and how it can be washed. However if you did wash it you would be able to use the elastic/toggle system to refit it securely to the board which is probably what I will do when the time comes. Replacement covers are available and these can be washed.
This ironing board comes with a manufacturer's 10 year guarantee, against complete frame failure due to rust.
Other features of the ironing board:
Suitable for irons and steam generators.
Leg locking device for safe and easy storage.
Moulded foot caps for extra stability.
* Summary *
Although this is one of the more expensive ironing boards available on the general market; the quality of the board and frame along with the stability
and work surface available in my opinion justifies the price I paid for it. I am very happy with it and hopefully won't need to buy a new ironing board for quite some time!
* Availability *
Ironing Board available from:
www.argos.co.uk £44.79 collected or an extra £4.95 delivered
www.homebase.co.uk £44.79 free delivery
Ironing Board Covers - Vileda Flexi Fit Covers (this cover fits the caprice board)
http://www.homewareheaven.com/memberproduct.asp?id=13&p=866 £4.99 plus delivery costs (This site takes most cards & paypal)
This is a great recipe book written by a Dinner Lady no less which is packed full of easy to make and tasty family meals. Recipes are written out clearly and are easy to follow. Jeanette Orrey gives you the ingredient quantities to make the meals for serving 4 or 96 people!!! Yes I did write 96 it isn't a typo.
Jeanette Orrey is a school dinner lady passionate about changing peoples eating habits for the better and has been doing her thing in the school kitchens long before the wonderful Jamie Oliver joined the revolution.
When she first started working in school kitchens the food was basically good, if a little boring. But over the years, bureaucracy and economics took over, and the food they were allowed to serve in school began to suffer. What the government deemed 'best value' unfortunately meant the cheapest, packet mixes, pre-cut and pre-packed vegetables and frozen 'free-flow' meat (probably from several different animals, and even more countries) became the norm. Thus began the era of the processed dinner and the demoralisation and de-skilling of dinner ladies.
Fortunately in 1999 the government passed legislation which became active in April 2000 allowing secondary schools three options for running their catering services. They could either continue with the local authority system, get an external company to provide the whole service or run every aspect of the process themselves. When the choice was extended to primary schools, with the help of the headmaster Jeanette's ladies in the kitchen decided to 'go it alone'. Hence why this recipe book is also written for other dinner ladies and people catering for larger numbers than the average family home!!
After making such a difference within her school Jeanette now desires to help provide a cook book that will teach us and our children at home. We all want to give our children the best start in life, and obviously food plays a key role in their development, both of the body and the brain.
Children, more than any other age group, 'are what they eat'. With todays increasing time pressures for parents and children alike, preparing a good home cooked meal might seem daunting, especially when there are so many ready meals available. But cooking at home is so satisfying, and can be so much fun. Involving the children, too is important - they're never too young to help or to learn - and by eating together as a family, you are laying the foundation for a lifetime of health, pleasure and sociability.
Jeanette Orrey's work and this cook book are a simple and non-pushy message of common sense. Good, nutritious food is easy to obtain (once you know how) and easy to cook. The recipes here may be to some a little plain (although at least they aren't all full of ingredients you have to specially go out and buy and then never use again!!), but they are tasty and not at all difficult to make at home. And most importantly for those of us with fussy-eaters at times, these recipes have all been tried and tested - and approved - by that most notoriously difficult group of all - the children themselves.
Foreword by Jamie Oliver
Section 1 - Just a dinner lady
This section of the book is full of topics such as starting to cook, cooking for others. She also talks about the school system, sourcing local ingredients, changes in the curriculum, children in the kitchen etc. This section is informative and interesting. The book is full of pictures that the children have drawn and have been incorporated into it which I think is charming.
Section 2 - School Dinner Recipes
Now don't be put off by this title. When you see a heading like that it might give you a flash back to some awful school dinners you had to endure or maybe more pleasant memories such as pink custard....yum!!
However this section is full of great recipes which are suitable and appealing to all the family. I have found that the recipes make healthy and good value meals and many of them have become main stay recipes in our home which I make again and again. Like many cook books you will find some familiar adaptations of recipes you know for example chilli con carne. I love the recipe for chilli con carne in 'The Dinner Lady' much more than any others I've used, this one also uses baked beans (tesco's value is what we usually use) instead of kidney beans which goes down very well in our house.
Chicken and Turkey
Pork, Beef and Lamb
Eggs and Cheese
Vegetables and Salads
Puddings and Tarts
Cakes, Biscuits and Scones
My favourite pudding recipes have to be the Primary Choice Sponge (the school children named it) which is a sponge cake topped with the most delicious golden syrup, chocolatey icing mmmm, I've also made this without the drinking chocolate and it is absolutely scrummy. The carrot cake is also a delicious moist yet light carrot cake which tastes absolutely wonderful when topped with Nigella Lawsons cream icing.
There is also a small section at the back of the book containing information about resources, further reading, home freezing, portion control and index.
This is a simple cook book full of easy to make, friendly to the pocket tasty recipes for all the family.
The Shack - One of my top five best books ever!!
When my friend lent me this book I really wasn't sure about it and didn't read it. I find books on this kind of topic i.e a child being abducted and other such things personally very difficult to read. However my friend persisted in encouraging me to read it and so I did and I can't truly describe how much I love this book....it is AMAZING!!!! It is in my humble opinion well worth a read!! In fact I've brought around 7/8 copies (I've lost count) to lend or give to people.
Okay Mossy we can tell you like it...7/8 copies that's commitment....but what's it about???
It is about a guy called Mack (Mackenzie) whose youngest daughter Missy has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.
Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.
The story is told by Willie a close friend of Mack's. It is a fictionally book written as though it is a true story.
The book is written by Wm Paul Young and has sold over three million copies.
The shack is the No 1 New York Times Bestseller (Fiction - Paperback).
The Shack is a book that all sorts of people would enjoy reading just because it's a great story. Some people may even find that their outlook or ideas are challenged or even changed by reading it.
I absolutely 100% whole hearted commend this book to you. As I write this review and think about this book I have tears rolling down my face...I kid you not that is how much this book effected me!!!!
The Shack will make you laugh out loud, chuckle inside, cry, question, get angry and much more. I (someone who reads a bit but can find it slow and painful at times) found this book so easy to read, it's not exactly a lengthy heavy weight book anyway, but I just couldn't put it down...which to me is a sign of a good book.
From the back cover - In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book! (How very true!!!)
I was searching online to double check how many copies the book had sold and I saw a link to a review titled "How God messed up my religion - The Shack a book review"...I haven't read the review yet so don't know what the rest of it was like but the title made me laugh!!
I could go on and on about it, tell you my favourite bits from the book (but that would probably spoil it...if you read it then ask me and I'll tell you the ones that made me chuckle, laugh and cry...which would be pretty much all of the book to be honest).
I don't want to say anymore except I love this book, give it a read, if you enjoy it half as much as I did then you'll probably be buying copies to lend to people as well.
For more information see www.theshackbook.com - There is also a 'The Shack' facebook group.
Available from just about everywhere.
Amazon, Tesco etc - £4.95
Play.com - £4.99 (free delivery)
Purashop.com - The Shack Audio Book - £13.99 (free delivery)
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of trying this let me introduce you to the scrummy Thorntons Continental Sicilian Lemon Bar.
The bar is coated with luxurious white chocolate with milk chocolate for the base. The white chocolate is decorated with milk chocolate attractively latticed across the top of the bar.
The filling is made using whipped lemon puree with double cream which makes a light zesty mousse and truffle apparently reminiscent of the lemon groves of Sicily.
When you take a bite through the crispy white chocolate you experience the zesty lemon mousse which hits your taste bugs and makes them water (it's making mine water just thinking about it).
These bars are very chocolately, sweet and zingy. You can't eat more than one they are very very nice but can get a bit sickly.
The Continental Lemon Sicilian Bar weighs 38g (I managed to save one I purchased at Kings Cross this morning all day so that I could weight it when I got home....just so that I could tell you all!!!) and costs around 68p depending on where you buy it. As well as being sold in Thorntons many other shops including supermarkets now stock Thorntons products.
These chocolates are suitable for vegetarians. They contain milk, soya, gluten and wheat and may contain nut traces.
Typical values per bar 192 kcal, Carbohydrate 20.8g of which sugars are 20.2g and Fat 11.3g of which saturates 7.8g.
You can also buy Continental Sicilian Lemon Mousse chocolates from the chocolate counter at a cost of £3.00 per 100g or as party favours at £2.15 per 100g (these are in much larger quantities i.e 65-85 rather than just a few).
So will one of Gordon Ramsay's Sunday Lunch recipes be on your dinner plate?
I love cook books, I love cooking, baking and eating!! I've watched a lot of Gordon Ramsay's TV cookery programmes and finally decided to get one of his cookbooks.
My first flick through 'sunday lunch' was exciting. The layout is fresh and unusual, the main meals are followed with recipes to serve with it which I love.
However when I actually sat down to have a good look I found that there weren't as many meals as I originally thought that I would actually cook. How many of them would I really have for sunday lunch??
Now don't get me wrong everybody has different tastes and there are normally some recipes in every cook book that I wouldn't make but personally I was a little disappointed with this cook book.
On the plus side:
It does have some great recipes
A really useful feature is the main recipe followed by recipes for side dishes
The 5 ways with recipes feature is fab!!
(5 ways with - cabbage, potatoes, onions, greens & carrots)
The book has 25 menus, each featuring a starter, main course and a pudding, plus a timetable and alternative recipe and menu suggestions and lots of tips from Mr Ramsay. My book also came with a DVD which was specially shot and shows Gordon cooking a delicious summer Sunday lunch.
For those that like to know - contents:
5 ways with...cabbage
Classic sunday lunch
5 ways with...potatoes
Keep it simple
5 ways with...onions
Salmon in a parcel
Surf 'n' turf
Essence of Italy
Quick & easy
5 ways with...greens
5 ways with...carrots
Paella for a crowd
Words cannot express how much this book saved my sanity and made life a lot easier and happier for my daughter and me during our second attempt at potty training.
We were the first in our group of friends to have children and so since using it myself I always recommend this book and lots of our friends have also had great success with the book!
I first attempted to potty train my daughter when she was almost 2 years old, after three very stressful and wet days I was ready to pull my hair out when my mother in law said why stress yourself out put her back in nappies for a while....minutes later my daughter was back in her pampers and calmness was restored.
I couldn't bare the thought of going through that experience again and so decided I needed a little help. I found Gina Ford's potty training in one week. I picked it because the title gave me hope, it wasn't a huge book and importantly it was reasonably priced. I'm so glad I did.
By the first afternoon of 'potty training the Gina way' my daughter was sitting on the potty herself and doing a wee without me having to ask her if she needed to go. Now don't get me wrong we had accidents and the odd wet patch along the way BUT I couldn't believe how easily she took to using the potty and how well the plan worked.
In the book Gina Ford sets out a simple and easy to follow programme which works quickly and helps avoid many common pitfalls that parents experience, wish I'd read it the first time!!
Gina's unique approach to potty training is firstly to prepare your child in advance as well as telling you what signs to look out for to show you that you child is ready to start potty training.
Signs to look out for are:
The ability to understand and follow simple instructions
Interest in dressing and undressing themselves and the ability to pull pants up and down
Ability to point to different parts of their body when asked
Ability to sit still and concentrate on a toy, book or video for 5-10 minutes
The second part is a seven day programme which leads parents step by step through the potty training process providing lots of useful guidelines and tips along the way such as:
How to deal with accidents
How to make potty training fun for your child
How to reward
What to do when you go out
What to do at sleep times.
The book was well laid out and easy to understand. It also contains really helpful case studies and a question and answer section.
I found the plan easy to follow and adapt to my child. Personally there was no way my daughter would sit on a potty for more than 15 seconds let alone 15 minutes during the preparation stage so I went straight to the bribes on that one. We also found that it was worth buying two potties and having one upstairs and one down.
If you are reading this because you are stressed out from trying to potty train or your reading because you want to avoid the trauma that everyone talks about when you mention the words 'we are about to potty train....' Then I thoroughly recommend THIS BOOK!!
Divine Milk Chocolate Bar - Heavenly Chocolate with a heart!!
Where do I begin to sing the praises of this chocolate. Divine milk chocolate is made with the finest Ghanaian cocoa and cocoa butter which gives it the most smooth, creamy and delicious flavour! It truly is divine!! It is available in 100g and 45g bars although it's most commonly found in supermarkets in the 100g size (oh dear...more chocolate to eat what a shame!!)
So you saw the title, am I promising guilt free chocolate consumption. Well yes the finest Fairtrade ingredients go into all of the Divine chocolate range including these luscious milk chocolate bars.
Divine Milk chocolate is suitable for vegetarians and is also now certified Kosher. It does not contain wheat/gluten but as they are produced in a factory which does produce items containing wheat/gluten they are unable to guarantee that the chocolate is completely gluten free.
The wrappers are elaborately decorated with traditional West African Adinkra symbols which appear on crafts and fabrics all over Ghana and each symbol has a different meaning. Inside each wrapper is the meaning of one of the symbols.
Divine chocolate has brought an affordable range of Fairtrade chocolate into the UK mainstream market. It pays a Fairtrade price for all the cocoa used in the chocolate sold. It raises awareness of fair trade issues among UK retailers and consumers and aims to act as a catalyst for change within the chocolate sector.
What is even better is that Kuapa Kokoo the farmers co-operative that supply the outstanding cocoa own 45% of Divine Chocolate Limited while the rest of the business is also owned by other ethical partners. The organisation Kuapa Kokoo aim's to increase power and representation within the market for the farmers. Bring social, economic and political empowerment. Enhance women's participation in all it's affairs and have environmentally sustainable production processes.
All this from a yummy bar of chocolate....
Go on give it a try!!
We brought our 4 year old daughter a Nintendo DS with some Christmas money and as she loves Ariel one of the games we brought was this one.
There's some strange currents under the sea and your job as Ariel is to help your friends, find members of Sebastian's Barnacle Band along with finding human treasure along the way...one thing Ariel always has time for!!
There are lots of activities to do and items to collect as you travel under the sea.
My daughters favourite thing to do in the game is to find human treasures and collect tiger shells. As an adult I also enjoyed playing the game with her. Some of the challenges are really fun such as blowing bubbles (by blowing into the microphone area) and singing notes to open the treasure chests.
The game involves lots of reading. This is a good thing if you have an older child as it helps them to develop and continue their reading. Unfortunately because our daughter has only recently started to read she isn't able to play this game on her own.
Other game features:
You can save your game and start where you left off next time you want to play.
Multiplayer option means you can invite your 'mermaid' friends to join the session you are running and play with you.
The game is rated as 3+. In my opinion it's most suited for children over 6+ who are more easily able to play this game independently. However younger children will enjoy playing it if they have an adult to help them with reading all the conversations and instructions.
I have to say that because my daughter isn't able to play this game on her own it doesn't get used as much as some of her other games, however I'm sure as she continues to improve her reading she'll no doubt play it more.
We brought this for our daughter who absolutely loves Disney Princesses and this game did not disappoint!!
The aim of the game is to restore the Magical Kingdoms of your favorite Disney Princesses. The Princess levels are organised by difficulty. Ariel's kingdom is the easiest, followed by Jasmine's and Cinderella's. Snow White's kingdom is the most difficult. Each kingdom has three chapters.
The game is well narrated and my daughter was so excited when Ariel spoke to her!!
Your adventure begins at the Castle of Gentlehaven where you are able to create your own heroine character. You can easily customise her dress, hair, eyes, skin tone and shoes, you're also able to add a variety of accessories. My daughter really enjoyed being able to change her character's outfits. You are able to return to this section during the game if you want to change outfits.
Once your character is ready you are then able to practice the basic moves required for the game. Such as jumping, interacting with characters, magic twirls, casting magic etc. This is a very useful feature especially if a younger person is playing the game. This feature can be skipped if you prefer.
Now you're dressed and ready to go, you can access each kingdom by entering the painting found in each of the Princess's alcoves. My daughter was able to navigate the game fairly well. If you do get lost just look for the path of gems which will lead you back in the right direction, there is also a helpful pixie to assist you.
My daughters favourite part of the game by far was swimming with Ariel!!
Another useful feature is the auto-save function which saves your game each time you move past a key event. You are able to reload the game from the main menu when you next want to play it.
There are different modes of play, one player, or you and a friend can join forces to save the kingdoms using the two player function. There are also mini games which challenge your new found skills.
This game is rated 3+. Along with the Wii remote you will need a Nunchuck to play this game. The game has a classic princess soundtrack (if you've watched lot's of princess dvd's you'll know what I mean!!).