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      26.03.2011 21:24
      Very helpful



      tesco table salt

      I was filling up my salt cellar so decided I would write a salty review.

      I do0 not like seeing a huge plastic milk bottle like container of salt on my table, I decant my salt into a small salt shaker cellar that matches my pepper one.
      The750gsalt container from Tesco that I have is plastic it is cylindrical it is white and has blue words and a blue picture of a plate and a knife and fork on it. The cap is blue tooThe cap has 2 small flip up lids about 1cm square one revealing a square hole for pouring the salt out of the other revealing 6 small holes more suitable for shaking salt out of slowly although beware the salt does not sprinkle out of these holes too slowly and you might swamp your chips in salt.
      The salt in this shaker has an anti caking agent added so I have never known it clog the holes it runs freely. This salt needs to be kept in a cool dry place to ensure its free running.

      Although I prefer to have the salt that I use on the table in a nicer smaller salt cellar I have known people use this direct on the table. I do use mine for adding to foods while I am cooking .I tend not to add much salt to food while cooking but something's do require a little to bring out and enhance the flavour.

      I do use this Tesco salt mostly for adding to food. I have been known to use it to make play dough with but I usually use the larger 1kg value bag
      I use this Tesco table salt to make a gargle for when I have a sore throat, good to use if you get an ulcer too.

      Table salt can be used successfully for cleaning too I can remember mother using salt for several cleaning tasks it was frequently used in Victorian times. Mum would make a paste of it to clean brass and copper.
      Salt is useful for cleaning lots of dirt and grime especially fresh red wine.

      http://www.lowsalt.info/serv03.htm has 101 uses for salt

      Salt is fairly cheap and you do not use much at a time. It is recommended that you do not consume more than 6g a day. Prepared foods often contain a lot of salt so you can cut down by not sprinkling so much on foods.

      Tesco table salt is only 21p reduced from 27p for a plastic bottle shaped shaker/pourer 750g container of Tesco table salt Saxa salt in a similar container cost 41p. I have previously reviewed Tesco value salt which is presented in a 1kg bag.

      Unless you really need a lot of salt or have a decent storage jar I would recommend this over the cheaper1kg value salt I talked about a few days ago. This 750g in the tub is much easier to store and pour. Yes I would recommend this salt its container is fine and the salt tastes like many other.


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        23.03.2011 21:11
        Very helpful



        Dolls house furniture

        My granddaughter is slowly furnishing her sylvanian house. She now has the country living room set. Her Sylvanian rabbits can now sit on the sofa and read a magazine.

        There is an arm chair to match the sofa these are a wooden structure with flowery upholstery. They look quite comfy if you are only a few inches tall.
        A fireplace which glows comes with this set it needs an AAA battery inserted into the space at the back to make it glow. There are a few logs available if the fire should burn out. Some fire dogs (little shovel and coal tongs) come with this set.

        There is a small coffee table, a telephone unit with a cupboard underneath. There is a magazine rack.
        Some accessories come with the furniture a telephone, a clock, some magazines lots of extras to make the living room cosy.

        Looking at the furniture it really is a time piece looks very similar to my parents furnishing very Victorian. My parents now dead would be 90 years old. The wooden clock for the mantelpiece is identical to one we had.
        There are about 35 pieces in this set they are all realistically detailed.

        This set because of the size of some of the pieces is suitable for those over 4 years old.
        It is a bit of a tight squeeze to get all these pieces arranged in Beechwood hall my granddaughter's house. I imagine it would overflow the smaller sylvanian house. My granddaughter plays with this set in her house arranging and rearranging the positions of the furniture. She positions her sylvanian people who then read the books talk on the phone or play with the fire, the naughty sylvanian children get told of for this. A chair and a cup of tea offered to visitors. Through her play I can see exactly what goes on in her real life.
        I am sure this house could be used for a play therapy session.
        My granddaughter does use her imagination as the queen came visiting one day another day a fire started.

        I do not think this will withstand a lot of rough play but with average play will be fine for many years I expect some small pieces might get lost. I expect my granddaughter and I will have many happy hours playing with this .

        The RRP IS £18..99 but this set can be bought at several shops including http://www.spmodels.co.uk for £17.95


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          22.03.2011 18:46
          Very helpful




          I just made some play dough (recipe at end of review) and used some Tesco value table salt. This was not the one pictured here in a plastic tub but one in a clear plastic bag Dooyoo seem to have got the picture to this product wrong even though I requested it with the correct one. This is a value product and has Tesco red writing on it with the blue stripes. The tub pictured is not labelled as a value product although I suspect it is the same salt different quantity different packaging.

          This salt costs 23p for 1 kg bag which is cheap, cheaper than chips.

          To open this bag I cut the corner with a pair of scissors I did not use it all so sealed it with a wire twist. Then I put the bag inside a plastic tub I did not want salt spilling in my cupboard. This salt is much like other table salts it is white and grainy.
          It contains an anticaking substance so that it will pour easily I have never had any caking problems with Tesco value table salt , but I remember someone who had a damp storage cupboard keeping a few grains of uncooked rice in the salt cellar.

          While I had this out I refilled the salt shaker on my table. This salt is ideal for any recipe that needs salt.

          This salt would have been fine for my mum to use when she salted beans to preserve them. In the days before freezers were common salt was used a lot to preserve foods. Going back to the late 50's early 6o' s to preserve a glut of beans my mum used to slice fresh runner beans and put them in a jar which she would then fill with salt water (brine). This would then keep the beans so she could use them in the winter months when there were few fresh vegetables. This method would be called pickling. Going back to those days there were fewer supermarkets and less fresh vegetables available imported from other countries.

          However I will not be preserving beans like this.

          *Removing stains
          Tesco table salt or any other table salt can be used for helping clean those disastrous spillages of red wine. I have in fact used it for this unless cleaned quickly red wine will stain. I had a glass of red wine that was spilt on to my oatmeal carpet and I ran around clucking in despair like a headless chicken, oh no what do I do. I then remembered that salt is an old remedy.
          I dashed to the kitchen and got some salt .I then sprinkled it liberally over the wine. I then looked on the internet to see the recommended procedure Apparently you leave the salt on the wine stain for 15 minutes then clean with a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/cup water.
          I went back to my carpet and the salt had absorbed some wine as it had gone pink. I got my vinegar and water and cleaned and scrubbed. This method was sucesful
          I just looked on the internet and found a site for uses of salt in cleaning. Some look handy so will try and remember some and use the website http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/uses-for-salt-cleaning-your-house-ga.htm has lots of good tips.

          Another way I have used to salt is as a gargle. I often get sore throats and was recommended by a doctor to gargle with salt.
          I have been doing that this last few days with this salt as I have had a horrible sore throat an red and nasty with a furry tongue , gargling with salt water is not very nice really.
          See http://blog.beliefnet.com/freshliving/2009/04/ why-salt-water-gargling-helps-your-throat.html For why, I also know that it is recommended sometimes for tooth ache that is caused by infection see http://www.buzzle.com/articles/sore-tooth -remedy-recipe-for-salt-water-gargle.html for info.

          *Recipe for play dough
          1 cup of plain flour
          * half a cup of salt
          * 1 cup of water
          * 1 tablespoon cooking oil
          * 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
          * Food colouring or scents as desired
          Mix all ingredients well and stir over a medium heat. When it becomes a thick soft dough remove from heat and knead it when it is cool
          Place all the ingredients in a microwave container and cook for one and a half minutes in a microwave. Stir the mixture and then microwave again for one minute

          *Back to Tesco table salt. This is a refined salt chemical name sodium chloride It tastes like other salts .I sprinkle some onto my chips. Salt is important in the diet but do not eat in excess or it can do harm The Government's Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for salt is 6g. Do remember though a lot of prepared foods already contain lots of salt.

          A 1 kg bag of Tesco's salt costs 23p . Tesco's salt is also available in a 750g plastic pouring tub(the one pictured )


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            22.03.2011 13:30
            Very helpful



            Alift the flap book about Spot the dog

            Where's spot? I believe it is the first book That Eric Hill wrote in the Spot series. It was first published in 1980. Spot is a puppy dog and his mother Sally and his friends are in the books about his adventures. There are many books about Spot and his adventures which came after this book.

            I read the hard back copy to some children last week the book also comes in a soft back and a board book version. There is also a DVD of this story. I believe ther is a book with a CD ans a soft spot dog toy too.

            This book suitable for pre and early years age children. With supervision (so the flaps do not get torn out) a 1 year old or even younger would like this book.
            Spot is a lovely golden honey puppy with a dark brown spot on his tummy and a dark tip to his tail , his mummy Sally looks similar she has 3 spots on her tummy

            The Front cover with the title "where's spot" it shows a picture of Sally looking in a box for him. There are 22 pages in this book each one showing Sally looking for Spot. It's dinner time spot. You and your child help find spot lift the flap, is he behind a door? Is he in the grandfather clock? Is he under the bed? is he under the mat ? . Eventually after looking in many more places we lift the flap to the basket. I will not spoil you in suspense and tell you if spot is there enough to say that Spot does go to eat his dinner on the last page

            Spot has many Animal friends you will meet them in this book as they are under the flaps we discover them as we read the book. There is a monkey, a hippopotamus, a snake, a bear and many more.
            I enjoyed reading this book to the children letting them open the flaps. It is a lovely simple book with lots of repetition. The pictures are bright and bold the pages uncluttered. There are Just a few words on the pages like is he under the stairs, introducing in, under, behind.

            Although this spot book is quite old now it is not dated it isas good to read to children now as it was to my daughter 30 years ago
            The only snag with it like all lift the flap books is that the flaps night get ripped so be armed with the sellotape.


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              16.03.2011 18:26
              Very helpful



              A travel book about the tirkish coast Kas to Demre

              This review is one I published on Amazon recently

              Turkish coast Kas to Dalyan sunflower complete guide

              I have often used the Sunflower guides and a couple of years ago when we went to Turkey we used this one. At Easter we are due to visit Kas and the surrounding area so I have been reading this book again.

              I have found this book easy to read, with the information clearly set out. At 210 x1150 x12 mm it's a reasonable size easy to put in a rucksack pocket.

              This book includes information about travelling to and around the area. The description about the driving in this area is quite accurate driving with caution is recommended remember to sound your horn before going round a blind bend to make oncoming traffic aware of you.
              There is a chapter about walking. About the best times to walk, about maps, tips about nuisances, dogs, snakes and ticks and about equipment you might need.
              There a chapter on where to stay hotels, guest houses, aparthotels, campsites giving you an idea what to expect. Food and drink is described the type of place to eat and rough prices, about the types of food /meals available.

              The book goes on to describe 16 walks in good detail. These are from various places on the coast from Demre (east of Kas) west to Dalyan.
              We have walked some of these walks and as with other walks from the Sunflower series it is always good to have an expectation that you may get lost. Without the book we would have had very little idea where to walk.

              The descriptions of the walk are quite detailed with reference to natural features.These walks are gernerally easy to follow but sometimes its not always easy to follow instructions like:- The path continues over stony ground then drops down to a huge plane tree by a stream. Or pass some old terracing and come to an old olive tree. Then the path drops to a track follow this round the hillside. There are lots of olive trees which one does it mean? The old olive tree may have been bulldozed down and a new track made. All the ground is stony. We have successfully completed walks working out what the directions are saying.

              There is an address in the book so that readers can tell the authors of any changes they encounter and those changes are added to new publications of the book.
              A new publication of this edition is expected soon.

              There are sections on all of the main towns and the archaeology in this area giving adequate descriptions.
              There is a fold out map in the back of the book which has all the towns and main roads marked on it shows rivers and has a code that marks where the walks are that the book describes.

              This book really gives information you need about visiting this area its customs and law; about what to expect from hotels and eateries, information about the towns and about the walking and the wildlife. There is good information about the ancient sites and the beaches which ones are sandy and which are rocky. Yes I would recommend this book of the region


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                15.03.2011 07:18
                Very helpful



                A my little pony toy

                I was playing with my granddaughter's My Little Pony Ponyville Ice Cream Shake Diner last week and decided it is about time I told you all about it.
                This set along with the other my little ponies is made by Hasbro an American multinational toy company. Hasbro has its roots in a textile company founded by Henry and Helal Hassenfeld in 1923. My little ponies have been produced since 1983

                My granddaughter now 5 has, had this toy for a couple of years now. Due to small parts it is suitable for a child aged over 3 years old a child who is past the mouthing and eating everything stage.
                My granddaughter has one and I can see her playing with hers not so much now but until she is about 7 years old possibly even 8.

                ~Price and availability
                I looked on line to find the price and most places say it is unavailable. However http://www.toyopia.co.uk have it for £9.99 price used to be £19.99.
                I think this toy worth £9.99.

                ~Description exterior.

                Made of plastic the ice cream parlour stands about 20 cm tall looks like an ice cream milkshake in an orange glass. This milk shake parlour unclips and the body will hinge open right out horizontally.

                The top of the milk shake parlour looks like a bubbly strawberry ice cream it has a cherry on top. A pink straw fits into the top of the milkshake. There is a window picture for take out in front of this window a small orange and pink section of road can be attached. There is a swirley ice cream parlour sign that sticks out from the side of the building.

                ~Pony and car
                A pony comes with this set Hasbro who make my little pony call her Scootaloo. This small orangey coloured pony with purple tail has 2 wigs. Her hairstyle can be easily changed one removed from her head and the other one positioned.
                A pink convertible car comes with the set. The pony fits in it and can be driven ([pushed to the window and order a milkshake to take away.)

                ~Interior description.
                The parlour opens up completely and the ponies can go inside to have plastic treats. There is a counter to be served at. The inside mainly pink striped has pictures of the milkshake vending machines on.

                There a few accessories with this set including a tray , a pizza box and a pizza , a bag of chips, a blender, a milkshake, an ice cream float and a pink hat.
                All these accessories add to the play scenarios.

                ~ Play value.
                This set will encourage motor skills and spatial awareness but mostly imaginary play. My granddaughter uses some of her other ponies with this set too. I get offered milkshakes and chips. I get asked or my pony gets asked which flavour milkshake, my granddaughter asks her pony which milkshake it wants and she replies for it too.
                So my granddaughter is practicing her skills at serving and also choosing her food at a restaurant.

                This seems to be quite durable my granddaughter's set about two years old it does get played with sometimes, not maybe her favourite but does get used. When she grows out of playing with it I think it will be in fit condition to pass on to another.

                Would I recommend?
                Well if your child likes my little ponies then yes if you can get it


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                  12.03.2011 09:25
                  Very helpful



                  Oats packaged by Tesco

                  Q) Why have I got a pack of Tesco value oats in my food cupboard when I do not really like porridge?

                  A) It's because I use them for baking. I use them in flapjacks and add them to fruit crumble mixes.

                  These oats cost 75p for a 1 kg bag , Tesco Scottish porridge oats cost 99p per 1 kg bag Quaker oats cost £1.58 for a 1 kg box. There are several other brands of porridge oats available too at a variety of prices.

                  The oats are in a simple clear plastic bag. This has the standard Tesco value labeling blue and red.
                  I open my packet with a pair of scissors and decant into a storage jar otherwise I tend to get oats all over my cupboard.

                  *Allergy advice
                  May have nuts and sesame seeds due to the factory where it's packaged using those products. Contains Gluten, Oat & Wheat

                  359 k cal per 100 g. 8.5g fibre, 8.1g fat full details on packet. Oats are good as they fill you up and release energy slowly.

                  Opening the bag I sniff, it's a dry smell not unpleasant not outstandingly yummy really words fail me it's a cereal smell oaty.

                  Small light brown rough flakes

                  I sometimes use these oats for sensory play with special needs children. The texture is rough and fibrous when not cooked, its softer yet fibrous when cooked.

                  Oats are use in many dishes as well as for porridge. I have made flapjacks and other biscuits using Tesco value oats. They are ideal for coating fish.
                  There are many recipe's at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/oats
                  I think these oats work as well as other oats that I have used.

                  As I mentioned earlier I use these for sensory play with special needs children. Allowing children to play with dry or wet oats allows children to explore the properties through touch. Oats are good as it does not matter if the child eats them. Adding oats to playdough (flour, water, salt home made recipes are on line) makes a god textured playdough to explore.

                  Unlike some of my students I have not tasted uncooked oats. The taste can not be that fantastic as after a few fistfuls of them my students do not eat many, unlike when we use custard or other cereals like rice crispies or cornflakes.

                  As I said I do not like porridge but I like the oaty flavour that these oats add to biscuits and my crumble it's a wholesome flavour.

                  Yes I would recommend these for baking and sensory play


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                    10.03.2011 22:55
                    Very helpful



                    A microprotien steak

                    I bought some Quorn peppered steaks from Tesco they are on offer £2.32 a pack or 3 packs for £5. Sainsbury's has the same price and offer. Each pack has 2 steaks in it.

                    Quorn is suitable for vegetarians made from mycoprotein (fungi) it is low in fat high in protein.

                    Each steak weighs 98g and has 107 kcal. They are a decent size for a meal. They are presented on a plastic tray in a card sleeve.
                    These steaks are shaped a bit like a teardrop and are coated in a green and red pepper and cracked black peppercorns. They look a brown colour.

                    Allergy suffers need to be aware that they contain Barley Malt Extract, Gluten, Wheat, Eggs, Milk and may contain Nuts.

                    I put 2 packets of my 3 in the freezer and cooked 2 of the steaks under the grill they took 12 minutes , will take a bit longer if cooked from frozen .
                    These Quorn steaks can be microwaved or cooked in the oven they are fine on the barbeque, so a good option for veggie friends.

                    These are good just served with chips and a veg or even just in a large roll or baguette with some salad. Or could be served with boiled or roast potatoes and vegetables.


                    The flavour is quite spicy, it's peppery but not hot. I personally am not over keen on peppers but I liked these a lot and will willingly eat more.

                    When cooked the outer coating slightly crisp the centre moist and soft they are quite succulent. Not really meat like

                    I thought these were a good product great for a quick meal.


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                      09.03.2011 23:27
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment



                      A playmobil warrior

                      I believe this hard plastic dragon warrior only joined the troops last year. I bought one at Christmas to join the other dragon warriors to defend a castle where I often play (alongside some children of course)

                      This dragon warrior at only 7.5 cm tall fearlessly joins the other dragon knights. The helmet he wears is black with some red markings it has horns on top to make him look fearsome. Removing the helmet he reveals his smiling face with those two dot Playmobil eyes. This warriors arm will move up and down not bending though.

                      His red clawed hand easily holds the axe or sword in fact he can hold one in each hand to fend of the enemy.

                      The warrior stands in black boots with red trousers the uniform of the Dragon knights. He will stand to attention or bend at the waist his legs move together, his body will turn.
                      A yellow gold belt is around the black jerkin that he wears over his red shirt.
                      Yes this warrior certainly looks the part.

                      This Playmobil dragon warrior is suitable for a 4 year old and over my grandson aged 7 still plays with his Playmobil castle and knights. Playmobil is still suitable for children up to the age of around 10 depending on the individual child of course.

                      This warrior costs from £2.50 at Amazon. The price at http://www.playmobildirect.co.uk£2.49 I found it several places on line for around £2.50.

                      Playmobil figures are durable I would expect this one top last well too.

                      I would recommend the warrior for a child who likes playmobil and knights and dragons.
                      It is a good addition to the other playmobil dragon, castles and knights will give more opportunity for imaginary play, for setting the scene at the castle.


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                        06.03.2011 18:23
                        Very helpful



                        A white porcelain diner set

                        I decided I needed some more everyday dinner plates so while in Aylesbury after work I visited the Home Store and More shop on the Cambridge close retail park. I decided to buy some very cheap plates. I did not want a patterned ones most of the cheap patterned plates were not to my liking they looked cheap, so I decided on a classic white.

                        My eyes and pocket were drawn to a plates as well but at that price it was worth it to get a matching set. Most of my crockery except for my best Denby are just oddments and do not match.
                        I felt happy that my new crockery would not break in the boot of the car on the way home as it came tightly packed in a cardboard box which is mostly white with a picture of the crockery on it A red band at the top of the box and a black band at the side gives information That it contained Sabichi super value 12 piece white porcelain dinner set. I wedged it securely behind some coats and other bags in the boot of the car.

                        Getting the box of crockery I open it. There was nothing broken in between the plates and the bowls were sheets of corrugated card. This set was well packaged.
                        I was pleased with the look of the 4 dinner plates when I took them out of the box. They were nothing exciting really just plain white. These are a large sized diner plates 27 cm in diameter which is slightly wider than some of the other diner plates in my cupboard.
                        These plates have a 4 cm wide rim. The plates are about 3mm thick so not thin like my bone china and not thick like some of my more earthen ware plates
                        The only markings on these plates are the words Sabichi living printed in the centre of the base of the plate.

                        I have had several meals off this plate and it does hold a good portion. Although not a stunning design and as nice as my Denby plates I will be quite happy to use this if needs be when entertaining.
                        It is not a heavy thick plate. I washed up in hot soapy water and it has washed well. Although I have no dishwasher (except my husband) the manufacturers say its dishwasher safe. I have not yet used in the microwave but it is also microwave safe.
                        The side plates identical in look to the dinner plates. They are 19 cm in diameter these again are a larger side plate than most of my other ones. I have used one of these once to have my breakfast toast on. I have lots of other small side plates.

                        The bowls also with a 4 cm flat rim are a matching pure white with no makings except Sabichi living written underneath.
                        The depth of the bowl with sloping sides is not very great only about 2 cms, looks like a deep saucer really.
                        I am glad now that I bought this Sabichi 12 piece white porcelain dinner set. It is cheap enough that I do not worry that the grandchildren might break it. A simple white so it will go with any other tableware and food looks good on it too.
                        I bought my set for £5.99 from Home store and more. I notice on line Amazon say this wide rimmed set not available through them however at http://www.sabichi.co.uk it is available at £13.50.

                        The dinner set that I have is very similar to the one in the photo except that the bowl is as I described above not like the one pictured I think the one pictured is from a Sabichi set called Blanc.
                        Sabichi make many dinner sets of various sizes and colours there are a couple of other white designs one the embossed Dot Dinner Set this has more of a classic bowl shape and there is a set called Blanc which has straight sided bowls. On line these are more expensive than the £5.99 I paid in the Home Store and More shop.
                        Thanks for reading


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                          28.02.2011 19:06
                          Very helpful



                          Dried thyme packaged sold by Tesco's

                          Have you got the Thyme? I have, I have some Tesco dried thyme I just added a sprinkle to the casserole that I am going to cook today.
                          This Herb comes in a black lidded square base flat sided jar containing 16 g it fits nicely on my spice rack. I could buy a replacement today for 50p compared to Schwartz at £1.12 for 11g.

                          This jar of Dried Thymes sits in the herb section at Tesco on or off line.

                          I opened my jar it has a hole for pouring the thyme out of not a small sprinkler holes.
                          It smelt good, a summer smell like walking through herbs on the Chiltern chalk land where I live. I pour some out tiny little chopped portions of leaves. .

                          I add Thyme leaves to any casserole, or sprinkle some on pork or lamb chops when cooking them. If I am roasting chicken sometimes I add Thyme , if I were to make stuffing from old bread crumbs I could use thyme as it is an ingredient in some commercial stuffing's .

                          How much do I use? that's difficult to say as I rarely measure . Dried herbs are stronger than fresh ones I would use about 1/2 less dried Thyme as opposed to fresh. For a beef casserole I would add ½ to 1 tspoon for 250g beef. It goes well in a tomato dish I sometimes add tomatoes to my beef.

                          Thyme is very aromatic I love the smell of foods while they are cooking with it. The Thyme taste is very distinctive gives a lovely aromatic taste to foods.

                          There are lots of recipes using Thyme at http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes.

                          The Tesco dried Thyme is as good as any other dried Thyme that I have used. Do be warned if you have allergies reading the label I discover that it may contain traces of nuts and sesame seeds I guess that's because the factory produces them too.
                          There is usually a good long best before date on this product , mine is out of date but it still smells fairly strong , The older it is the taste will not be as strong so I shall use a larger quantity in my cooking and try and finish the jar.

                          I do have Thyme in my garden it grows well I do use it for cooking, not sure why I bought the dried Thyme.

                          Thyme is a short woody shrub grows well on dry soils it has small leaves. In ancient Greece it's a symbol of courage a sprig of thyme often given by the women to warriors before going to war. Perhaps I should give some to my husband before he goes in to teach his unruly class at school

                          Thyme is often alluded to in fairy and magical stories William Shakespeare Quote: "I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows." Spoken by Oberon in Act 2, Scene 1 about where Titania sleeps.


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                            27.02.2011 19:56
                            Very helpful



                            A clock shape sorter toy

                            Tick tock, tick tock its time to make the Melissa and Doug Shape clock. This shape sorter puzzle clock is one I have at work.

                            It is suitable for over threes. I think a 5 -6 or 7 year old would still get some use from it.
                            This clock is made from wood. It is durable will last a long time, suitable for home or early years provision. Ours is in a classroom and gets quite a bit of use. The hands still go round easily and it looks in good condition the paint not chipped.
                            The clock shape sorter is a good size 9" in diameter and 2 ¾ "thick

                            It is really attractive to a child as the wood has been painted bright but not garish colours. The inner of the clock has coloured markers every 5 minutes the quarter past , half past quarter too and o clock is marked on The hands of the clock which are easy to move are different colours one red one blue, the longer red hand has the word minute written on it the shorter blue one hours. These hands are not too loose and will stay in the position they are put.
                            The numbers are written around the inner circumference of the clock this will help your child place the shaped number pieces in the correct place. The clock face is a realistic analogue face.
                            Around the outer circumference of the clock 12 shaped holes have been cut out. To go into these holes are 12 shaped pieces these are all a different shape and colour. Each one has a number painted on it. These pieces are not too difficult for a 3 year old to position.

                            This clock is a good learning aid. A younger child not able to tell the time will use it as a shape sorter learning the different shapes and colours. Do remember to talk to your child while he/she is playing with this tell them the names of the shapes and colours soon they will know them. Your child will be practicing their eye hand coordination and spatial awareness.
                            The numbered pieces are also useful for teaching number and counting
                            As your child matures this can be used as an aid to tell the time start at the o'clocks repetition will help your child learn.

                            There is a card that comes with this toy several ideas for activities and games. To help learning the time.
                            We get lots of sticky fingers on this clock it's easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
                            This is a good clock the RRP IS £9.99. I looked on line and many toy shops are selling for around the £9 or £10 pond mark.
                            Yes I defiantly would recommend this toy. Melissa and Doug a good maker of toys, educational and durable.


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                              25.02.2011 18:44
                              Very helpful



                              Bathroom for the Sylvanian families house

                              One of the essential rooms to furnish in a new house is the bathroom and we bought the Sylvanian family a small bathroom for Beechwood hall. My daughter bought the house for her daughter for her birthday and we bought some furniture sets.

                              The small bathroom set comes in small plastic bags inside a card box I hope daughter kept the box for keeping the bath in when granddaughter no longer plays with it.
                              This bathroom is suitable for a child aged 4 years old and older. It is not for a child who still mouths everything due to the small parts.

                              Although Beechwood hall looks a very smart house the room that is most suitable for a bathroom is very small, there are 3 rooms upstairs 2 larger ones have been assigned as bedrooms. We judged that this small bathroom would fit. The bigger Sylvanian Country Bathroom or the cottage bathroom set too big unless we were to use the second bedroom instead. The nursery bathroom is one suited to the school not Beechwood hall .

                              My granddaughter has bought her Sylvanian house here to play with when she visits I have also played with it at her house too, we rearranged the furniture made the bunnies and the cows wash and bathe. (No water was used)

                              No animal figures come with the small bathroom set and there is no toilet either that has to be bought separately. Included in the bathroom set is a roll top bath, a hand basin unit with a mirror, bathroom scales, a bath tidy and lots of small accessories there the essential bath duck some soap, a sponge , toothbrush mugs and toothbrushes, toothpaste, a perfume bottle . There's a bathmat and two towels too. Everything you need, except the toilet. It will be difficult to fit the toilet in when my granddaughter gets one, still I expect much fun will be had rearranging the furniture and the rooms.
                              All these are well detailed could be miniatures of the real thing. The taps on the bath and sink are really lovely. They do look a little bit old fashioned styled but then the whole of Sylvania is very traditional and old fashioned that's part of its charm.

                              This set has play value there's lots of imaginary play possibilities my granddaughter tells her Sylvanian rabbits to brush their teeth and then helps them, she then tucks them up in bed and reads them a story. I find it fascinating watching her play and listening to her using her funny twee little voice talking for the animals instead of her real voice. Parents could use this as a tool to help them encourage their children to wash and brush their teeth.

                              While playing with this set and the Sylvanian family your child is using their gross and fine motor skills, eye hand coordination and their spatial awareness.
                              The RRP of the small bathroom set is £12.99 Sainsbury's is selling it on line for 8.99 at http://www.sainsburys.co.uk I expect large Sainsbury's have it. Tesco has it for £9.99. The one with free delivery at Amazon costs £13.70

                              This set looks and feels durable I expect some of the small accessories might get lost.
                              I anticipate playing with my granddaughter and this bathroom in her Sylvanian house for several years before she grows out of it, even then my granddaughter might keep it as the house animals and bathroom are so nice.


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                                25.02.2011 08:41
                                Very helpful



                                sticks of cinnamon bark

                                Bear with me while I continue sorting my herb and spice cupboard out. The next item is a Jar of Schwartz cinnamon sticks. These are left over from Christmas I bought them to make some mulled wine.

                                Schwartz cinnamon sticks are in a glass jar, the jar like other Schwartz herb jars a cylinder with a ridge bottom and top for easy gripping. This design looks attractive, the twist lid orange.
                                This cinnamon spice jar fits well on my standard spice/herb rack
                                I only have 1 cinnamon stick left but I think there were 5 about 6 or 7 cm long
                                Opening the jar it smells good that lovely woody spicy smell.

                                These cinnamon sticks are ideal for making an infusion, for spicing up mulled wine or for adding flavour to apple juice cinnamon cider is good

                                I wanted some ground cinnamon but did not have any so pounded a cinnamon stick with my pestle and mortar made 2 teaspoons full of ground cinnamon from one stick.

                                Another use of cinnamon sticks is for adding smell to your decoration and presentation. A bundle of these tied with a red ribbon looks good on table or on Christmas tree, add a dried orange or apple slice to make it really nice.
                                I have seen candles with cinnamon sticks stuck around them

                                Swartz cinnamon sticks are good however I do not think they taste different from the ones packages as Tesco own which I have had before. However Schwartz is a good reliable range and usually the one stocked in small shops as well as supermarkets

                                A Jar of these Swartz cinnamon sticks will cost £1.48 for 13g that's £11.38 / 100g

                                Cinnamon sticks are made from tyhin rolls of the inner bark of the cinnamon tree.
                                Apparently cinnamon was used by Egyptians in embalming.

                                Would I recommend?
                                Yes because my mulled wine infused with these was good,
                                There are many recipes for mulled wine on line I can not remember which I used.

                                Mulled wine uses red wine cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon peel, vanilla pods, honey, ginger. Smells and depending on the recipe can taste good, but I have had some pretty dire mulled wine in my time too.


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                                24.02.2011 08:03
                                Very helpful



                                Small marshmallows

                                I wanted to make a rocky road biscuit cake/bar one of the ingredients are marshmallows. When in Tesco's I bought fiddes Payne pink and white mini marshmallows.

                                These cost me £1.09 for a 200g bag that's 60.6p per 100g . I could have bought the smaller100g bag of dr Oetker marshmallows but they were more expensive at £1.29 for only 18g working out at £7.17 per 100g
                                At Asda I notice they are 98p per packet.

                                The Fides Payne mini marshmallows come in a pale pink and darker pink striped plastic bag. I snipped the corner of the bag to open it.


                                There were lots and lots of Small pink white cylinders of min marshmallows about 1.1/2 cm long 1 cm in diameter. They had no icing sugar dusting.
                                Look a little but like dense polystyrene packaging. Or a little more romantically little clouds or soft pillows.
                                There is about an equal mix of white and pink coloured marshmallows.

                                I could not resist popping one into my mouth.


                                The texture is soft and spongy, quite chewy. They do not discover in my mouth, one piece can take quite a time to stay there if you let it otherwise its one gulp and its gone.

                                *The taste
                                Sweet no real flavour of anything but sweet.

                                Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Gelatine, Modified Starch, Dextrose, Natural Colour (E120), Flavouring.
                                It says flavouring but I can not detect anything other than sweet.


                                It's really strange I can find no calorie /nutritional info on the bag at all. I looked on line found no calorific info there either, most odd.

                                There are many recipes using marshmallows. These mini ones are a bit too small to toast around the campfire but great for baking sweet treats or decorating cakes and trifles. Melted marshmallows are strange they go a bit elastic/rubbery strange texture

                                There are several recipes on the packaging of these marsh mallows or look on line at http://www.campfiremarshmallows.com loads of recipes there.

                                A favourite recipe is to add a few mini marshmallows to chocolate crispy cakes
                                I have also used these to decorate cakes the white ones look a bit like snowballs or make a type of rocky road.

                                I crushed 200g digestive biscuits could have used rich tea biscuits instead. melted 200g chocolate, 135g of margarine and the 2-3 tablespoons of golden syrup, stirred in the crushed biscuits and 100g marshmallows, I also added some raisins, could have added nuts but didn't do not like nuts.
                                When mixed I put in baking tray and cooled, when cold cut into lots of pieces.
                                This is a lovely chocolaty biscuit bar with chewy marshmallows mmmmm.

                                Children seem to like marshmallows these little ones good for helping them practice fine motor skills and that pincer grip when picking them up. Working with special needs children I have to think of ways to inspire -encourage movement. These mini marshmallows are also fun to put into a hot chocolate drink they float and melt. Here we are learning about changes and the effect of heat.

                                Fiddes Payne is a relatively new company established in 1993, selling herbs and spices in 1999 they started producing home baking items.
                                Would I recommend these mini marshmallows? Yes they are fun


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