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Member since: 08.02.2009

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    • More +
      02.04.2009 23:43
      Very helpful



      Love it! Love it! Love it!

      Oh my! If ever a series had me spellbound it was 'Larkrise to Candleford'. I had read the book, written by Flora Thompson, many years ago at school. It had somehow embedded itself into my mind and lingered over the years because this beautifully presented and sensitively performed portrayal of this book brought feeling flooding back that I had for the characters in the book.

      The actresses and actors were stunning in their parts (for instance Julia Sawalha who played one of the main characters, Dorcas, the Postmistress at Candleford Post Office). Another perfect character match was Dawn French, who was hilarious as a lowly cottager with her many children, getting up to all sorts of mischief and trouble due to her liking of a drink or two (or three, or more). The eldest daughter of the Timmins family, Laura, who also lived in Larkside gained a post at the Post Office in Candleford which was a very posh area and therefore her family were very proud of Laura. The series takes us through the ups and downs of each, both Larkside and Candleford and its residents.

      I have yet to see a series so wonderfully and delicately portrayed by such a convincing cast. As it was set in the latter part of the nineteenth century, things were slower and more refined than today and had me mesmerised. They talked to their bees and thanked them for their honey! How cool is that??? Can you imagine the mass producers of honey in this day and age, thanking the bees, I think that is so fabulous!

      Having no Boots or Superdrug, or indeed trusty doctors surgeries, they concocted their own little remedies with the herbs growing by the wayside. The thing is, havent we just turned right round and gone back to that with our herbal concoctions at Holland and Barratts etc?

      The one thing that Larkrise to Candleford taught me is that I would much prefer to live their lives than ours now. Okay we have all mod cons and painfree this and that but where has genuine neighbourlyness gone, reaching out to people in real need, talking from the heart to your loved ones, these things are very thin on the ground now.

      To sum it up, the whole series of Larkrise to Candleford, I think, touched many people and made them think about life. I am grateful to the producers of this series for giving real character back to television. Roll on the next series! Love it! Love it! Love it!


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      • More +
        31.03.2009 22:34
        Very helpful



        Would always look here first if I needed anything.

        Home and Bargains has only just come to our town. I have used it before but further afield, now I have only to travel three miles and Im there. Its a belting little shop (well biggish shop) with a massive selection of everyday items plus furniture (ie:-shelves, computer desks, bathroom cupboards and lots lots more). Usually these are in flatpack form but the prices are amazingly affordable and the quality not bad at all. I am sitting typing this review on a H&B computer desk and its every bit as stylish and well built as its much more expensive rivals.

        I spent a lovely hour or two today erecting and using my brand new stand-in greenhouse (clear tent and frame style). Its absolutely amazing and only cost me £l9.99. It has four large shelves and zip-up each side doorway that can be rolled and held back with ties on hotter days. I have been in it today and enjoyed every single minute of it (probably because it was such a bargain price and I have always wanted a greenhouse). I now await with eager anticipation the first signs of life in the 25 trays of veg and salad seeds I have sown today. OOOOH! its chickens next. Going very green in my old age.

        Going back to Home and Bargain. There is a wide range of toys, not just tat but known names like Mattel and other such household names. The toys in this section are amazingly cheap compared to other stores and is an excellent place for mums to buy birthday presents for their offsprings constant party invitations. I dont know about you but my grandchildren seem to go to a party at least 3-4 times a month! It can get a little expensive to say the least.

        They do manage to sell just about everything, tools, bedding, slippers, socks, gardening needs, dried and silk flowers, pictures, lamps, bathroom accessories etc etc etc! I went again today and got extra things for the new greenhouse. Some plant labels, compost, a dibber and plant ties. The bill came to £4.25. I rest my case!

        So, friends, if you havent tried Home and Bargain yet and you have one to hand, dont be put off by the look of the place, its not decked in the window like the posher stores but you will most certainly find a bargain here.

        Oh forgot to add, cat food, dog food, human tinned food, biscuits, sweets, books, you name it, they'll have it. Happy mooching!


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        • What's In Your Bag? / Discussion / 75 Readings / 72 Ratings
          More +
          25.03.2009 00:52
          Very helpful



          Organised chaos!!!!

          I received a brand new handbag as one of my Mothers Day presents so I will confess now all the sins I have carried around with me in my old bag for the last 6 months.

          Firstly there is my purse, a brown wallet type, you know the kind of thing, holds credit cards and notes plus cash. It is rather large but not because I have a lot of money (just the opposite), more like I have so many bloomin store cards and payment cards (ie Water Rates, Matalan card, etc). Then there are the house and car keys on a keyring filled with little hearts and stuff with 'love you nanna' on them, havent the heart to remove them.
          8 years ago I would have had cigarettes and lighter but I gave up when I had a heart attack 8 years ago (hint hint to you smokers out there!).

          Theres a little zipped pocket inside where I keep a pack of plasters (of all things) Now you never know when you will need a plaster, either for yourself or someone else! I have a lipstick, a small perfume, small pack of tissues, 2 pens and a pencil. All packed into the little zipped pocket.

          Another thing is, I carry unpaid bills with me so I wont forget to pay them, quite a little wad of them, then I forget theyre there and get red reminders!

          My mobile phone is usually in my pocket but sometimes its in my handbag, especially when the weather is warm and I havent got a coat on. Im trying to be really honest here without looking like a twit but Ive just found a wooden peg at the bottom of my bag, goodness knows where it came from or why its there, the mind boggles???????????????

          Just having a last feel round to see if there much else, oh yes an assortment of small change loose at the bottom along with a nail file, a watch and two safety pins.

          On the outside of the bag there are various pockets and such. One holds
          a few family snaps and a screwdriver (a tiny one but handy- what for I dont know).

          Finally in the last pocket there are 6 mint imperials, a little worse for wear, 20 or so School Sports Vouchers for Tesco and about the same for Sainsburys.

          Think thats about it really. Just bits of fluff and mess at the bottom. Must make an effort with my new bag!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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          • General / Discussion / 67 Readings / 62 Ratings
            More +
            23.03.2009 02:40
            Very helpful



            Reviewing me!

            This is a biggie! But here goes, I will give it a try and be as truthful as I can.

            1. My Hero~~~ is Martin Luther King, for obvious reasons. He was without a doubt one of the worlds most sincere and caring human beings.

            2. My Favourite Sound is~~~my grandchildren laughing and if Im allowed just one more my cat purring! Bliss!!!

            3.My Favourite Smell is~~~~lilac, reminds me of my dad who loved it too.

            4.My favourite place to be is in my vegetable plot (when the weather permits)

            5.The happiest moment of my life~~~ of course, the birth of my children.

            6.My favourite song is 'Baby Love' by The Supremes. Reminds me of my teenage years, first love etc.

            7.Saddest moment~~~losing my wonderful mum! I thought I would die with grief.

            8.Dream Job~~~I always wanted to teach Art but due to the lack of call for Art teachers when I was young, I veered off into the secretarial world.

            9. My favourite newspaper ~~~ is The Daily Mail. Tried the others but always go back to the good old Daily Mail.

            10.My favourite celebrity~~~ is Sharon Osbourne, dont ask me why, I just adore everything about her.

            11.Have I any siblings?~~~ I did have a sister who, sadly, died of breast cancer 8 years ago and I loved her with all my heart.

            12.Have I ever been in hospital?~~~apart from the three visits to give birth to my children, I have had tonsils out, appendix out, heart attack, and a triple heart bypass. So yes, I have been, quite a lot.

            13.Have I ever broken a bone or had stitches?~~~ No stitches but broke my leg in 2 places when I was 35, doing a parachute jump! I hit a chicken run.

            14.Do I believe in angels, ghosts and demons.~~~ yes! all three, the first is good, ghosts and demons are bad. But I believe they exist.

            15.What is my hair colour?~~~ it used to be auburn but now its grey.

            16.Am I religious?~~~ no Im Christian, theres a BIG difference. Religious people usually end up killing each other, Christians dont do that!

            17.What would I change about my personality?~~~ To not worry so much, I tend to lie awake nights worrying.

            18.Have I any regrets?~~~ many, too many to list but nothing really major.

            19.Ever been in love?~~~ Oh yes, most definitely. Deeply in love.

            20.Most treasured possession?~~~My mums wedding ring.

            21.Nicest thing anyone has ever done for me?~~~Pushed £80 through my door when my kids were young and my husband had left for another woman, and I didnt know where the next meal was coming from. Never found out who.

            22.Dream Car?~~~ Any car that is roadworthy and mechanically sound.

            23.Favourite Celebration?~~~Surprise 60th birthday party given by my son and his wife, they had dug out all my old friends from way back. It was magic.

            24.Where do I hang out?~~~ At home mostly, and in my garden pottering.

            25.What school did I attend?~~~ Girls Grammar School in Mid Cheshire.

            26.What annoys me?~~~Ignorance and rudeness, especially to those less fortunate.

            27.Do I recycle?~~~ Oh most certainly!

            28.My favourite sport?~~~ used to be horseriding, then squash, now I cant play sports any more but I walk a lot.

            29.Who was the last to upset you?~~~I cant remember, think it was a distant family member who was being unkind about someone I love

            30.My hobbies?~~~ I bake, cook, ice cakes for special occasions for people. Garden, play games with my grandchildren.

            31.Last joke I heard was:-~~~I honestly cant remember.

            32.Three places I have been on holiday~~~ Isreal, Greek Islands, Criccieth.

            33.Shower or bath?~~~ Bath everytime!!!

            34.What do you swear you'll never do?~~~ get a tattoo!

            35.Most embarassing thing I ever did was~~~ go into carwash with back window of car open, water poured in and I leaned back to shut window and brushes flattened my then wet hair to my face, the back of the car was swimming and I had to drive home like that .

            36.Favourite quote is~~~'Having a child means having your heart walk about outside your body for the rest of your life! ' (Barbara Johnson)

            37.Favourite holiday~~~without a doubt Israel every time!

            38.Childhood toy?~~~Muffin the Mule puppet.

            39.Pets?~~~2 cats, Herby and Shady, 2 Guinea pig, Conker and Fudge, and 3 very large goldfish. (as grandchildren live with me).

            40.Savoury or sweet?~~~ Savoury.

            41.Hot or cold~~~hot.

            42.Favourite drink~~~ Cuppa.

            43.Favourite food~~~roast beef dinner and all trimmings.

            44.What do I hate the most?~~~freezing cold weather.

            45.My favourite colour?~~~green

            46.What did I do last night?~~~Ironing, reading.

            Enough already!!!!! You must be bored stupid by now. Thanks for reading.


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            • More +
              21.03.2009 01:05
              Very helpful



              A decent pizza for the price.

              I thought I could try to review the Thin and Crispy cheese and tomato in this range. On the box it is described:- A thin and crispy pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, garnished with parsley.

              These pizzas are to be found in the fridges section (not frozen) but the product can be frozen if needed at a later date. I paid £2.99 at Sainsburys for this but the promotion was for Any 2 toppings for £4.50. They are oven cooked in l2 minutes and suitable for vegetarians. The box shows slices of the pizza and a half section of the actual pizza, really attractively packaged in 100% recyclable packaging.

              There is an allergy advice warning on the back of the package, informing the purchaser that the product contains milk & wheat gluten.

              Nutritional information:-

              Energy 257 kcal
              Protein l2.lg
              Carbohydrates 36.5g
              of which is sugars 3.7g
              Fat 7.og
              of which saturates 3.7g
              mono-saturates 2.1g
              polyunsaturates 0.7g
              Fibre 2.2g
              Salt 0.85g
              of which is sodium 0.34g
              all the above are per 100g


              Pizza Base; Mozzarella Cheese (2l%) (from cows milk); Tomato Sauce (l4%);Cheddar Cheese (5%) (from Cows Milk); Parsley
              Pizza Base contains: Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Salt.
              Tomato Sauce contains: Tomato (94%), Onion, Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Salt, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Parsley, Black Pepper, Chive, Basil.
              Made using Vegetarian Rennet.

              Cooking instructions: From chilled (l2 mins)
              From frozen (l8 mins).

              If freezing freeze on day of purchase.


              The flavour and crispiness was really good for the price. I dont think any other manufacturer could beat the quality on price or flavour.

              We all love it, but should it not be to your liking in any way there is money back promise and careline number on the back of the box.


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              • Essentials / Magazine / Newspaper / 51 Readings / 47 Ratings
                More +
                20.03.2009 22:59
                Very helpful



                Essentials has it all for less.

                I very often buy Essentials as its one of those magazines that always has something of interest in it. Such a large variety of contents is unusual in such a cheap (in comparison to others the same quality) magazine. It sells for £2.60 Monthly while most of its rivals are between £3.00 and £3.99 Monthly.

                The Editor is Jules Barton-Breck and the first page has her Welcome to Essentials spread, this month she talks of 'escapism', how its good to have little crushes on famous people. She herself developed one on Elvis, owing to her mothers' music collection and the massive 'thing' she had about him. Also how to save £20 on the news-stand price of Essentials and a Free Avon goody bag worth £27.00.

                The contents page is next showing all the different subjects and sections of the magazine:- April issue is as follows:-

                FASHION SHOPPING:- Affordable luxuries.
                Your under £30 wardrobe makeover.
                Mix, match or clash, bags and shoes.
                Fashion fixers.

                REAL LIFE:- All about you.
                Boot camp got my body back.
                Life changing moments we'll never forget.
                Spring clean your life.
                Who was your first crush?
                Your top tips.
                Lifes little essentials.

                HAIR AND BEAUTY:- Lovely new hair!
                Copycat cult buys.
                Beauty secrets.

                YOUR HEALTH HANDBOOK:- pull out section including~~~~~~~~

                Bye bye jelly belly.
                Anti ageing secrets.
                Fast food that wont make you fat.
                IBS under control
                Health updates all the latest health news.

                HOME AND FOOD IDEAS:- Great value bedlinen.
                Cant afford designer?
                Style on a budget.
                Whats new in store.
                Food bites.

                CONSUMER KNOW HOW:- Secondhand, call it pre-loved.
                Easy ways to do your bit.
                Sanity saving tips.
                HOLIDAYS:- Escape..........treats to cheer you up!

                IN EVERY ISSUE:- From The Editor.
                Treat yourself.
                Coming next month (sneak preview)

                COMPETITIONS:- Win a fabulous necklace.
                Win a cool kitchen gadget.
                Win a Viviene Westwood break for two in
                New York worth over £3,000
                ......Plus loads of freebies to be had.

                My favourite section is the cookery. The recipes look fantastic.
                "Boned leg of lamb with herby breadcrumbs", "Melting Med Bake", "Amaretti chocolate fridge cake", to name just a few. The section is too long to name the whole array of recipes. There is one I cant wait to try, its Salmon and Broccoli Filo tart, shown step by step, with very clear instructions. I looks amazing.

                The natural cleaning tips on the 'How to' page are fascinating. Must try them. Example:- Three ways to get rid of fridge pongs!

                1. Leave a few pieces of bread (white) on a plate
                in the back of the fridge for a few days. The
                bread will absorb the odours. Goes without
                saying to throw the bread out afterwards.

                2. Soak cotton wool ball in vanilla extract and put
                on a plate in the fridge.

                3. Put a small bowl of coffee grounds in the
                fridge and it will absorb nasty smells.

                The final few pages are really different, they show all kinds of luxury breaks at varying prices, under £10, under £20, under £30. Places to eat, savings on spa treatments. A n extremely wide selection of places to visit for a little treat. With summer round the corner, I think we are all due a little treat or two, dont you?

                To sum up, I think Essentials has it all, I simply cannot think of anything theyve missed out (even a small crossword with prize). It is crammed with ideas and bits and odds and sods that people love to read about. Hints, tips and recipes all bang up to the minute and superbly presented in this trendy little mag. Happy reading!


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                • More +
                  09.03.2009 00:23
                  Very helpful



                  A culinary treat to woo your tastebuds.

                  Just after Christmas, when everything was getting back to normal after the festivities I was mooching about in W.H.Smith in my local town when I spotted this book among the reduced display near the door. At first I thought it might be a mistake as Rachel Allen is a superb first class cook and her books arent usually reduced in the vast array of 'sale' books. I took it to the till and yes, I was not mistaken at all, I only paid £7 for this instead of the real price of £20.00.

                  Now I am a real fan of this gentle lady and her recipes, having watched her on television in both her own programmes and Saturday kitchen, which I never miss if I can help it. She seems to be a very popular TV chef but also, according to the book, teaches regularly at the world famous 'Ballymaloe Cookery School'. She and her husband, Isaac, live at Cork with their two young sons and family dog.

                  Rachel has written this particular book, called 'Rachel's Food for Living' with friends and family in mind. She has taken all her and her family's favourite recipes and tried to share them with us through this wonderful book.

                  The book contains over a hundred recipes. Food you would curl up on the sofa with, food you would serve your friends and food for your children. Food, in fact, that builds memories and nostalgia for the future.


                  Food for the Soul.

                  Childhood Favourites.

                  Making Memories.

                  Something to Celebrate.

                  The Lazy Sunday.

                  An Elegant Afternoon.

                  Food for Romance.

                  For the Love of Chocolate.

                  Classic Dishes.

                  Obviously I haven't tried more than a fraction of them yet. But those I have tried (i.e Smoked Fish Pie with Hard boiled Eggs), have been delicious.

                  This delightful book is full of beautiful relaxed photos of her lovely family. Just going about their daily lives, not posed. Kids rolling on the grass etc.
                  She is wonderful at describing a dish and as a little addition on each page she adds one of her 'Rachels handy tips' (i.e:- If you are worried about flaming the brandy, add the stock at the same time. However, if the flames do get out of control, cover with a fire blanket- never add water)

                  There are plenty indulgent recipes in here for the foodie, and the homely types who like to potter and cook and eat ad infinitum. But there is also a good array of calorie concious and vegetarian dishes to appeal to the whole spectrum of tastes.

                  The Making Memories chapter is great. Full of lovely kiddie food like Banana and Chocolate Bread and Butter pudding, which my own grandchildren loved.

                  I am absolutely dying to have friends for supper soon to try 'Roast Loin of Pork stuffed with Prunes and Apples with a Calvados Sauce' or maybe I could try it for a Sunday lunch. There is so much in here to tittilate your taste buds. The Baking section is amazing. Recipes include:-

                  Sweet Scone with homemade Blueberry jam (sounds divine)
                  Iced Vanilla Cup Cakes.
                  White chocolate buns.
                  Oaty shortbread (these taste delicious)
                  Greek Almond crescents. and much much more...........

                  Last week I made Rachel Allen's Leek, Potato and Blue Cheese Soup. Oh my goodness, this is to die for. I know I will make it over and over again. I served it with garlic bread slices toasted under the grill and sprinkled with just a touch of the cheese. Yum.

                  What is really nice about this book is that you can have something very simple or something exciting (like Arabian spiced rack of lamb) or just a few traditional British teatime treats.

                  Rachel's gentle personality seeps throughout the pages of this book. Her gentle Irish lilt and her warm smile seems embedded into it. I have loved what I have made up to now and I know for certain that you would too. Whatever your tastes, likes and dislikes you will find something good here.

                  Rachel's Food for Living is published by Collins and costs £20.00 at leading bookstores and online prices vary. Some special promotions (as with the book I purchased) will enable you to obtain this at a much reduced price although it is worth every penny of its £20.00.

                  I will leave you with a quote from Rachel on the back page of her book
                  'Food has the amazing power to stir many happy memories - it can make us feel uplifted or energetic, nostalgic or loved. Great food is the best gift. I heartily agree with that, how about you?


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                  • More +
                    08.03.2009 02:32
                    Very helpful



                    Would buy again, but not too often.

                    These 'The Fabulous Bakin' Boys Cupcakes' (bit of a mouthful to say, but nice size to eat, especially for a child), were a real bargain today when I paid £l.25 for a pack of 6 plus get a pack free. The normal retail price for a pack of 6 of these tasty little buns is £2.00 per box (or at least they were before Christmas). The price has taken a real tumble in the last couple of months and they are a really fantastic bargain.

                    Each little iced cake is individually wrapped. Nice if for taking to work, or for a child to pop into lunchbox (along with something healthy like a banana I hope). They can be purchased in three flavours, either in a box of all chocolate or a box containing lemon, raspberry and chocolate.

                    They have no artificial flavours or colourings added. Imperative for the wellbeing of children (and adults if it comes to it). Which means, as it says on the box, 'Totally grumpy free!'

                    Another asset to add to its plus side is that they are also baked in a totally nut free zone. Now this is important. Especially to parents who have children with nut allergies.

                    The cupcakes are described as 'A Moist Vanilla Sponge with a Chocolate (or lemon, or strawberry depending which you purchased) flavour topping.


                    Chocolate flavour topping 31% , Sugar, Vegetable oil, Fat Reduced Cocoa Powder, Wheat flour, Whey powder (from milk), Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin, Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate), Natural flavour, Wheat flour, Humectant (vegetable glycerol), whole egg powder, maize starch, dextrose, salt, raising agents (E541, E500, E341) Emulsifiers (E477,E471 Preservative (Potassium sorbate), Citric Acid, Stabilizer (Xanthan Gum.)

                    These are not only baked in a nut free zone but are suitable for vegetarians and the packaging is totally recyclable)

                    The total pack weight is l92g and each cupcake contains:-

                    Sugars- l0g

                    Fat - 7g

                    Saturates -3g


                    The above is out of an average adults Guideline Daily Amount, based on a diet of 2000 kcal.

                    I must admit these little cakes are very tasty, although I feel one is enough as they could tend to be a little sweet and sickly if you overindulged.

                    At the time of writing there is a promotion on the back of the pack that offers 50% off family holidays at Haven, enabling a family to have a short break for only £99. It is unclear on the box what connection this has with The Fabulous Bakin Boys Cupcakes it just says to phone 0871 230 1912 or visit haven.com/fab. There are tokens on the packs that just say FAB points www.fabpoints.co.uk. Its quite unclear what one has to do in order to get the 50% discount on the Haven family holiday

                    Oddly they have an 'its good to talk' site @ www.bakinboys.co.uk where it says 'Problems or praise or if you just need a shoulder to cry on (all very sweet and all that but we're talking about a pack of cakes here, hardly a crying matter!) it continues:- 'if you want to talk put pen to paper and write to, The Fabulous BakinBoys, Avenue 2, Station Lane, Witney OX28 4YT. I am actually tempted to write to see just what the heck is going on with this.

                    Anyway, its not a bad little cake. Not a bad little price, but a bit of a dippy company by the sounds of it!


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                    • General / Discussion / 65 Readings / 64 Ratings
                      More +
                      06.03.2009 01:35
                      Very helpful



                      Dont vegetate grow vegetables.

                      Dont know if Im stepping into unknown territory here but Im probably somewhat older than most of you and you will find me on the boring side of things if I talk only about me! So I may veer off to something else along the way. Anyway I will start by saying I am an optimist, I always always try to look on the brighter side of things. I suppose life has moulded me that way, at times its been rocky and difficult and Ive learnt not to let it pull me under. I did have a wonderful childhood, fantastic loving parents and though not much money we had lots of happy times together. I married quite young (19) and l8 months later I gave birth to my first son. A joy! Still is. He would do anything for anyone. He writes and performs his own music, he has a site on here (Marbury) and can be downloaded from itunes. My second baby was also a boy and he (after a difficult birth) showed classic signs of autism, and after many difficult and upsetting times has achieved so much in his 39 years, he has his own little house, living independently with one carer. Needless to say, I am very proud of this fact. Lastly ten years after my second little boy was born I had a beautiful little girl. During her life she has battled many addictions, drugs, drink and self harm. All due to an attack by older girls when she was walking through a park with her school friend at the age of l4. She has been free of all addictions for 4 years and lives with me and her two children (ages 8 and l0). Her children have been with me since birth as she was then unable to care for them. Oh and I forgot to mention the most lovely and loving daughter in law a woman could have. She married my first son and they live nearby also.

                      Just goes to show that unconditional love always works out in the end. There was a time when my daughter was so bad I couldnt have here near the children for nearly a year because she was so messed up. Now shes a sweetie pie!!!

                      I know lots and lots of you dont believe in God. BUT just let me add that I know that I would never have survived my life without Him.

                      Perhaps you are wondering where my husband is in all this! Well he went off with one of his lady friends (I did take him back l8 times) but enough was enough after that. We parted when my little girl was just a baby and I havent married again. I couldnt go through anything emotionally with a man again. So I remained divorced and am till this day single.

                      In 2001 I had a heart attack, right out of the blue in a charity shop in the town. I had my grandson in a pushchair and everyone thought I was drunk I think because they moved away instead of helping me. Eventually I got help, an ambulance and a friend to take my grandson with her. I had to have a triple heart bypass. Ihated being incapacitated as it were. Couldnt stand being cooped up in hospital and everyone saying 'take it easy', I needed to get back home and LIVE!!!!

                      That is just what I do LIVE!!! I have a wonderful family, some poor souls have no-one. I have my sight, mobility and hearing. I may not have as much energy as before the heart attack but I manage. I love to cook, make jam, chutney, sew. I ice wedding cakes (my passion). I enjoy my grandchildren and children to the full. I grow my own veg, am thinking seriously about getting some chickens for fresh eggs. I love life. I really do and hope I havent driven you all to distraction with my ramblings. Take care and Godbless.


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                      • Whirlpool AWOD5526 / Washer Dryer / 34 Readings / 32 Ratings
                        More +
                        05.03.2009 23:08
                        Very helpful



                        First class product

                        I purchased one of these in November last year. It cost me £219 from Sainsburys online plus 428 Reward points (which was rather nice) with a delivery fee of just £l9.99. Other sites sell them, of course, but prices range from £219 to around £269.99 with delivery prices that vary vastly.

                        This washer is front loading and takes a capacity of 5.99kg in weight. It has a child safety device on the inside of the door. Which is a brilliant idea.

                        The User Manual provided has a great deal of information contained in it. i.e:- Water Hardness Chart, advice on detergents to use on different types and weights of fabric. How to load, add detergent and fabric softeners, how to use bleaches and dyes and which compartments to add them to.

                        The machine itself is very contemporary in design and simple to use.
                        Minimum housing dimensions are:- Width: 600mm
                        Height 850mm
                        Depth 600mm

                        This all-in-one washer/Dryer has 10wash presets i.e Delicates, wool,Hand wash plus Extra Settings: Quick wash, Extra Rinsing and Spin.

                        Though I havent had cause to use them yet, the After Sales sticker can be found inside the door with all the information needed to contact the manufacturer should there be a problem. Like I say, no problems as yet, and this washer is the easiest yet most efficient I have used to date.

                        There is excellent information on transport/handling and electrical connection.

                        This machine has EC Declaration of Conformity and conforms to the following European Standards:

                        73/23/EEC voltage directive
                        89/336/EEC Electromagnetic Compatability directive
                        93/68/EC CE Marking Directive.

                        Water Inlet:-

                        Cold water only.

                        Water tap:-

                        3/4" threaded hose connector.

                        Water pressure (flow pressure) 100-1000 kPa (l-10 bar)

                        Inside the instructions and User Manual pack is the l2 Month Guarantee registration card or you may opt to apply for the 8 year parts and other extended warranty applications. If you reply promptly (within 28days) you earn a chance to win a KitchenAid Blender (only in UK). This means you pay £34.50 for 8 years peace of mind which works out at roughly half a penny a day.


                        I was so pleased with the performance of this machine that I purchased (a month later) a Whirlpool No Frost Fridge Freezer. Whirlpool are, it seems, getting the reputation of being a most reliable and efficient company.

                        The thing I really love about it is that there is a very good 30 minute cycle that cleans exceptionally well and for a quick cycle is the one I tend to use the most,in this credit crunch era.

                        The whites and Boil cycles are fantastic. I know the detergent plays a big part, (I use and always have used Persil non bio), but gosh the results with this little machine are really noticeably better.

                        I didnt know that Whirlpool made so many different appliance i.e:- Microwave Ovens, Hobs, Cookers (both freestanding and built-in), Dishwashers, Tumble Driers including lots of American Washing and Drying machines.

                        I would highly recommend the purchase of this machine. Its well worth all of its money and more. I cannot fault it.

                        Cleaning and maintenance:-

                        The filter is located at the back right hand corner of the machine and needs to be cleaned two or three times a year. It is easy to remove by simply unscrewing and pulling forward. The soapdrawer should be cleaned when necessary (I do it once a week) and is simple to remove. The machine is much quieter than any I have previously owned (and Ive had a few in my 60 years).


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                          03.03.2009 22:08
                          Very helpful



                          Generally Im a happy person

                          There are tons of things that make me happy but I will start with the things that make me really really happy!!

                          Top spot has to go to 'having grandchildren'. Wow I wasnt prepared for the emotional tidal wave that would cause. I would do absolutely anything for those two little people! The joy they have brought to me is immeasurable.

                          My cats make me very happy, they are such characters and always have lots of affection and unconditional love to give me. They make me smile when Im sad and comfort me when Im lonely.

                          Summer makes me very happy. I tolerate (and sometimes endure) the wintertime, but oh I am such a Summer person. I adore feeling the sun on my face, being outside most of the day (and evening). This winter has been so harsh and bitter that this summer will be all the sweeter.

                          This list isnt in a graded order or anything. Just random things and people that make me very happy.

                          My Autistic son maked me very happy. He lives independently, with a carer and has just sent me his first email, here is an extract from his very first ever email:-

                          "Hi mum Im very pleased that you can send each other emails back to each other. I have been looking up old pop video from decade of the 80s. I get the real pleasure out of it. Glad ur back on the mend everyones using the internet these day I love you mumxxxxxxx"

                          His spelling is brilliant but he never understood punctuation, bless him but I reckon that not bad from a lad who I was told when he was three would never read or write. God is so good.

                          Speaking of God, yes He makes me happy. Its a personal thing but He does. Im not preaching, I would never do that, Im saying it because He has answered so many prayers for me. He does exist, I know it for sure.
                          He also is the one that gives all the things and people that make me happy. I have so much to be grateful for.

                          Kind people make me happy, you know the ones, when you're walking down the street and someone gives you the most beautiful smile, just out of the blue. I want to run and hug them, they bring such happiness to people. Not much to give away, a smile, but it can turn a miserable day round.

                          Cooking makes me happy. I adore cooking. Come to my house and I will make you welcome and cook you something nice. I love trying out new things in the kitchen and coming up with new ideas for recipes.

                          Driving makes me happy. The car I drive is a little white Skoda (I know, I know, but theyre good little runners). It cost me £100 3 years ago and has hardly cost me anything since only the odd tyre and windscreen blades. When I get in it, I always marvel at the fact that I can move from one place to another flying down the middle of the road on a seat on wheels. Like some kind of magic carpet. We take so much for granted these days dont we?

                          Think Ive covered most of what makes me happy, of course my own kids do who are well grown up now. They make me very very happy, and proud.

                          I hope this review had made someone out there a bit happier too. After all, lifes too short isnt it??????????


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                          • Room 101 / Discussion / 53 Readings / 50 Ratings
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                            02.03.2009 01:19
                            Very helpful



                            Would need a ballroom to fit them in!

                            This is a good one! What a great idea to have a virtual room to stuff all the trash and rot of life into. Mine would have to be the size of a ballroom. Here goes, a list of the stuff I would like to put in there:-
                            1. All child abuse, in any form, on any level, and the perpitrators.

                            2. All drug dealers, of all drugs including weed!

                            3. All drink drivers, who will risk the lives of innocents to save the price of a taxi home at the end of a night out.

                            4.Greedy business men, including bank managers who pay themselves huge sums of money and retirement settlements. Sitting on their vast fortunes to the detrement of the underlings who have worked beneath him/her.

                            5.All tyrants and world leaders who believe they are God and invincible! Who drag down their poor countries and sap the life blood out of their people.

                            6.Cheap and nasty TV channels that make you want to bring back good old
                            Mary Whitehouse values to our telly programmes.

                            7.Plastic celebrities whose only claim to fame is the fact that they look like barbie dolls. They cant string a sentence together never mind produce any talent.

                            8.Opening a new magazine to read and having half a dozen or more useless pieces of paper float to the floor, the usual junk type stuff advertising old ladies shoes, or double glazing. I usually shake them out in the shop and leave them on the shelf!

                            9.Dogs that bark incessantly, day and night, driving all around to distraction and making it impossible to enjoy a rare relaxing hour or two in the garden.

                            10. Lousy drivers who cut your up on roundabouts or overtake on a bend.
                            Riskers of life and limb who care not a jot for anyone but themselves.

                            11. People you hold shop doors open for who dont even acknowledge you exist! And others that return a smile with a scowl, and make you feel stupid.

                            12. All racial haters who think they are superior to other races and colours.

                            13. Most types of junk food (ie donner kebabs) that clog up people arteries and cause serious health problems.

                            14. Leaflets left under car wipers while one is shopping.

                            15.Canvassers trying to get you to join a catalogue or buy a mobile phone.

                            16. Having store cards offered in almost every shop you visit

                            I could go on forever with this but I think I have said enough, dont want to bore you. I think my ballroom is getting a little crowded already!


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                            • Emergency Dinners / Discussion / 55 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                              26.02.2009 23:54
                              Very helpful



                              Always keep a few up your sleeve.

                              Got to have a go at this one. Had so many emergency dinners to cook in my lifetime, I have a few up my sleeve I produce from time to time.

                              Firstly, my emergency pizza! Always, when needed for a quick meal, or unexpected guest, I never seem to have any pizza bases in the freezer and havent the time to knock up a batch of pizza dough. One thing though that I do seem to always have because of the amount of curries we eat, are naan breads. U know, those lovely puffy, harp shaped ones that are always reduced at the end of the day, and you sling them in the bottom of the freezer for use at a later date. Have you ever made a pizza topping on one of those (or two or three depending how many you need)???? Well believe me if you do, you will do it again and again. They are scrummy. Just blend a can of chopped tomatoes, tablespoon tomato puree, couple garlic cloves and a couple of teaspoons of cornflour to thicken (not forgetting seasoning to your taste). When blended to a smooth creamy mixture, put into microwave and heat till thickened. Spread on the top of each naan and cover with a topping of your choice, then grated mature cheddar cheese, or maybe mozzarella. Believe me these are delicious. Well worth a try. Bake as per usual for pizza (about 15 minutes).......

                              Another lifesaver for me is my pressure cooker. Especially if you need to tenderise meat quickly. I very often tenderise cubed casserole steak fried in a little oil to seal the flavour, with a glass of red wine and a couple of beef stock cubes and half a pint water, all placed together in the pressure cooker with a sprig of thyme, a couple of bay leaves out of my garden. I cook on high for about 20 mins and then add onions, carrots, swede, whatever you fancy and make a beef casserole to finish in the oven while you keep your guest entertained. If needed to be served quicker, then put the whole lot back in the pressure cooker and cook for a further 8-10 minutes. Perfect 2with mash and veg and a nice big glass of red wine.

                              For an extra quick lighter meal, I sometimes take one baking potato per person and bake through quickly in the microwave. When soft I cut each in half lengthways and scoop out the hot soft potato into a bowl big enough to mix the amount you have. Then take a good couple of handfuls of grated cheese, a generous blob of butter (or something lighter if you wish), salt and ground black pepper and mash or cream together until smooth. Divide mixture into empty shells of potatoes and top with another good dollop of grated cheese. Place under a hot grill till bubbling and brown.
                              Serve with a green salad, fresh salsa or whatever tickles your taste buds!
                              The potato filling in this recipe can be adapted to whatever you may have in. A can of tuna, some crispy fried bacon chopped, it is absolutely gorgeous with a can of red salmon added (juices and all). We all usually have something we can use.

                              As a special treat for a sweet I sometimes do individual pavlovas. What? you may say, "the merangue takes hours to cook" Not my way. I just take the whites of two or three eggs, add and keep on adding icing sugar to the egg whites until you have a playdough texture and roll into little "sprout " sized balls. Place 2-3 at a time of these into a microwave on some baking parchment, and cook on high for about 20-30 seconds (watching all the time so they dont burn) They make absolutely beautiful merangues that with my raspberries (grown in my garden and frozen) served individually as little pavlovas, go down a treat with lashing and whipped cream.

                              Could go on forever with this one but will finish now and hope that you try one, if not all of the above when next you,re decended upon by uninvited guests.


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                              • More +
                                24.02.2009 02:06
                                Very helpful



                                New toys for old? Naaaah!

                                I was born in l945 just at the very end of the war. Toys in those days were few and far between but my sister and I (she was 2 years older than I) always had a few toys to play with. When we tired of these we would make things like 'dolly peg dolls', using odd bits of material scraps ,donated by our mother as she was a dressmaker, to dress them up. We drew sad or smiley faces on them, according to the character they were to play in our little games. We would find some limestone and play hopscotch (as kiddies do to this day), or heavenly bliss, someones dad would allow us all to play 'house' in their half empty garden shed.

                                When I was about 7 we got a television delivered to our house and we stared in amazement at Muffin the Mule and Andy Pandy. I remember fondly the Christmas I opened a long box shaped parcel wrapped in green paper. Inside lay a beautiful metal handpainted Muffin the Mule puppet. Oh I was over the moon! The sheer ectasy of each clickety clack noise as I walked him across the living room, his little metal hooves clipping the tiled floor. OOh I thought I was the bees knees that year! I was the envy of the other children in our little village.

                                Funny but we never felt deprived, we had very little in the way of entertainment as kiddies toys, as such, were for the more privileged classes, but my dear parents always saw to it that there was something special in our sacks! A couple of years later there was a very large bride doll staring at me as she stood in a silver box at the foot of my bed when I woke. To my young eyes she was the most beautiful doll in the world. I still have her now, in my loft, shes been loved bald! One eye doesnt shut, and her arms and legs have dropped off. Im 63 but I still love that doll like she was brand new.

                                My grandchildren this year had the most fabulous gifts, as everyones do. They are of a different era and, bless them, they had a wonderful Christmas but as for me, I look back on those, maybe less colourful and technological gifts with a deeply grateful heart.

                                One day I returned from Primary School (my first year I think) to a beautiful handmade horse on wheels standing in the back garden. My dear dad had lovingly made it in his dinner hours at work, handpainted, saddled the lot. I consider myself richer for these memories. I was very blessed.
                                Yesterdays toys take a lot of beating!!!!

                                Toys these days are a lot safer, mainly made of plastics. Brightly coloured creations to tempt the heart of any little person, with suitable ages on boxes. Ours were probably not so safe, but we seemed to come to no harm. A cardboard box would become a dolls house, or a car. A dolly tub full of water waited for us on a hot summers day at school. In we'd go, both of us, with only our knickers on!

                                My only regret is that I cannot take my grandchildrens , chubby little hands and walk back in time to show them how we played then. They would love how we played dens and even the girls had home made bows and arrows that never fired more than 2 foot. Our imaginations were given full reign and we wandered, quite safely, to the outskirts of our village. No fear then of being abducted. How sad the children of this day and age have not got that same sense of freedom and safety. I do hope I havent bored you and that I have given you a glimpse of my early years and the toys we played with.


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                                • Autism / Discussion / 61 Readings / 53 Ratings
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                                  23.02.2009 02:46
                                  Very helpful



                                  Worth every minute.

                                  I dont know where to start with this one. Its a painful and long hard trek that takes me back to the birth of my little autistic boy 39 years ago. I am now a pensioner and hope you will forgive an odd blip or two over the years where I may have forgotten some dates etc. All I can do is relate my story to best of my ability. Here goes!

                                  For the sake of anonymity I will call my wonderful son Stefan. Obviously this is not his real name which I feel for his sake should remain unknown. One warm Saturday evening mid September in l970 my little boy wonder was born in the maternity wing of Slough General Hospital. He was my second baby ( the first also being a little boy)

                                  At the last doctors appointment (no luxury of a scan in those days) I was informed that I would be admitted to hospital to try to turn the baby round as he was lying in a breach position. An extremely old gentleman doctor appeared when I had been admitted and said he had been called out of retirement while the usual doctor was off sick. He pushed and shoved my tender tummy (bearing in mind that my little breach baby had kicked my lower abdomen so much that it was very tender). I was given a knock out injection and some procedure or other was carried out to turn him round.

                                  On awakening I was informed that the baby would not turn and I would have to have a breach birth. To cut a long story short, my labour was induced and I started to bear down. At this point I was wheeled down to theatre for my delivery. ( I was afterwards informed by a little Chinese nurse that one leg was already born at this point in time), and they made me SIT IN A WHEELCHAIR all the way there.

                                  The elderly doctor then pushed my baby right back inside me which caused me to have a massive contraction at which this doctor shouted "dont push you bloody stupid woman!!!!" Yes! That is exactly what he said, forgive my french. Eventually after much pain, and no form of painkiller my beautiful little son arrived, very disgruntled and affronted at his hasty journey into the world.

                                  Now in those days husbands in the delivery room were unheard of and therefore they could treat you however they liked with no-one to witness the abuse. Not that my ex husband would have been any good (we were married then!) . He was down at the nearest pub celebrating whatever I produced and eyeing up the local barmaid with whom I later found he was having a full blown affair.

                                  This is how my little Stefan was hustled into the world. No dimmed lights, calming music, kind voices. Just the bright theatre lights and the booming voice of this gereatric doctor.

                                  I often wonder if Autism is caused partly by something untoward happening at the birth!

                                  At three years old he was not doing what my friends babies were.
                                  He couldnt be bothered to talk. Was difficult to control and showed no love back for all the love lavished on him by me. I felt I spent my young life picking him up of the floor after one of his massive temper tantrums then having to explain his handicap to the people who were tut tutting all around us.

                                  Dont get me wrong, he is the most charming and handsome person, with the manners of an angel when hes happy, but let one thing be wrong, the tone of someones voice, the high pitched scream of a child and hes a raging bull who injures himself (never anyone else). He never ever hurt anyone else in his life.

                                  Id better finish soon as I will run out of page space. He was diagnosed autistic at 5 years old and went to a special school locally which was amazing. Then on to sheltered work. Now he gardens at a stately home with a team of his friends with similar disabilities to his own.

                                  He lives independenty with one carer as I became unable to care for him on my own due to the fact that I had a heart attach and heart surgery. He has his own little house (purchased via the services ) and is reasonably happy. ~That is as happy as an autistic person can be, in this sometimes unthinking and cruel world. I could go on but better not. Suffice to say we love him to bits, and we think he loves us too!


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