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New Moon is the second installment in the Twilight saga. Assuming you have already seen/read the Twilight movie, I won't go into lengthy detail but to suffice: Bella (human) has fallen in love with Edward (vampire). The movie begins after the battle scene in Twilight. Something happens (won't put a spoiler in!) that causes Edward to leave Forks just after Bella's 18th birthday. He tells Bella that he is leaving with his family but not her. Like the first Twilight film, we hear the story from Bella's point of view. When Edward leaves, she is devastated and promises not to do anything reckless. Bella becomes depressed as she has also lost her best friend which is Edward's sister Alice. In this film we see more of Bella and Jacob's relationship as it blossoms without Edward in the way. We see Jacob fall for Bella. In this film we see a lot of Jacob and learn more about his character, who and what he becomes. Victoria returns intent on killing Bella. Bella begins to take risks thinking it will make Edward return but it has the opposite effect, leading to dire consequences. There isn't as much fighting etc in this movie but plenty of angst and turmoil. It is a brilliant, gripping movie just like it's predecessor. Definitely worth watching!
I loved it! When Twilight first came out in the cinemas, I didn't see the big fuss. Nor did I see the fuss when pictures of the actors were everywhere. Then, in 2011 out of boredom when it happened to be showing on tv, I started to watch it (having missed the first 10 mins). Twilight is the first movie in the Twilight saga based on books penned by Stephenie Meyer. There are 4 books in total, though there are 5 movies as the final novel "Breaking Dawn" was divided into two movies. I hadn't read the books when I started watching the saga, though I have now and LOVE them. The story begins with Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart) moving from sunny Arizona to famously rainy Forks because her mother has remarried and wants to go travelling. Her father is the chief of police and has a strained relationship with Bella. They are very alike but also very silent and awkward which makes it difficult for them to communicate with each other, though they love each other deeply. There are a few good scenes with Bella and her new friends - Jessica (Anna Kendrick) encompasses 2 of the characters from the book. The dialogue is witty and modern and enjoyable to watch. Bella then meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and his family. Like all the other students, she is intrigued at these pale students. Edward initially gives Bella the cold shoulder, acting like he hates her, and this perturbs Bella. In reality, Edward is a vampire and Bella's blood "sings" to him - it has a more potent scent than other humans and he struggles to control his desire to kill her. As the movie progresses, so does Edward's desire to protect Bella and this scares him. There is an important scene where he saves her life and this is the turning point. He realises he wants to be with Bella as he loves her, however unlikely the pairing. Most of his family are supportive, despite the risk it poses to them. Edward and Bella begin a passionate relationship and the love story unfolds. It is really easy to relate to, despite the whole vampire stuff. All is going well until a group of vampires notice Bella and decide to hunt her down and kill her. It is a powerful love story and very enjoyable to watch. Is it true to the book? Actually yes. Unlike many books-cum-films, Twilight is very much a copy of the book and it is brilliant. If you've read the book you will definitely recognise a lot of the dialogue and scenes. I had never heard of Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson before Twilight, but I have to say they are very fine actors. I have seen each in different films now and they are brilliant. I couldn't think of a better actress to play Bella - Stewart gives off the awkward, shy, misfit Bella brilliantly (whilst being gorgeous!). Pattinson's angst and inner turmoil are well acted and he is the perfect fit to Stewart's Bella. Not forgetting the other characters of course - Edward's sister Alice (played by Ashley Greene) is the perfect physical description as per the book (apart from her height, in real life Ashley is much much taller than Alice should be) and is a fine actress indeed. She handles the witty, perky dialogue brilliantly and is the kind of girl you'd want as a friend. Edward's other sister Rosalie (Nikki Reed) is also played well, the sarcastic and unsupportive nature is acted perfectly. Brothers Jasper & Emmett (Jackson Rathbone, Kellan Lutz) are also played well and there are stellar performances from father Carlisle (Peter Facinelli). Mother Esme is played by Elizabeth Reaser and adds a pleasant, warm feel to the family. All in all, I was suprised myself at how much I enjoyed this film and I am now definitely a Twi-Hard! Does it appeal to men? Well sure, it does have a hint of love-story "chick flick" about it, but there is also a very good action scene, plenty of special effects etc to draw the men in. The writing is superb and the film is a credit to Meyer.
I am a big fan of the Ikea Expedit range of storage. I think it's relatively cheap, looks good and great at it's job. I began with the small 2x2 Expedit, in white, which cost £20. It's worth noting that the basic colours are £20 but as with most Ikea stuff, the price goes up with the colour (high gloss for example would be £45) They come in a variety of sizes - 5x5 like the picture above, 4x4, 2x2 or 1x5. All are in the same colours - white, black, black-brown, birch, oak. I then purchased the 5x5 like the picture above, for my daughter's playroom. They all assemble the same way, with dowels and an allen key. Whilst the small one took a few minutes to assemble and is a one person job, the bigger one took half an hour and is really a 2 person job, as it requires a lot of holding/moving. Actually assembling it is very straightforward and the pack comes with all you need. It's a case of slotting dowels into pre-drilled holes then tightening it all with the allen key and the screws at the bottom, and slotting the shelves in. The units can be free standing (as they are finished on all sides) or wall mounted. Our small one is free standing but the big one is wall mounted - we didn't seem to get any fixings to do this so hubby had to make some brackets for it. The rectangular ones can be turned on their sides if that suits you. The units come with felt "feet" which are felt pads that prevent any scratching to your floors, very handy! The expedit range is handy for all sorts really. We use the small one to store dvds and bits and bobs, and the one in my daughter's playroom is home to her toys and books. You can buy fabric boxes (Drona, £2.50 in green, black, red or pink) which are designed to fit in the squares, we have these on both expedits and they look great and are really handy for storing small items. You don't have to have one on every square either, we have 2 boxes diagonally on our small one and it looks great! There are a range of doors that are designed to fit on the squares too, as well as other inserts and drawers. It's great for making things look tidy or holding small items. There are also wicker baskets - but at £15 each I won't be buying them given that the expedit was £20 and if we filled it, we'd pay £60 in baskets!! Very good for books, ornaments, photos, anything really. Well worth the money!
When I was pregnant with my daughter, we wanted a rocking chair for her nursery for those night-time feeds! When we went to Ikea on one of our many trips, I took a rest on a Poang and I loved it! The Poang comes in 2 sizes - child size or adult. Both are identical apart from size. There are a few colours to choose from but not all appear on show in the store. There is a matching footstool for £35, and the chair itself costs £75. They still sell on eBay for near that sometimes! The wooden frame is good quality, not likely to chip or break very easily. The fabric cushions have machine washable covers and are a bit fiddly to get off but no more so than normal cushions. They aren't the softest of materials but they are comfortable. The chair comes flat packed with all the tools and accessories you need. You basically screw together the wooden frame (watch out though, the screws are cheap and round off easily) and then arrange the cushions on top, which attach with velcro straps. It's more of a 2 person job and takes 10-15 minutes or so. The chair is quite lightweight, there is nothing supporting the back of it, and it is not designed to be a rocking chair. However, you can actually rock on it as the front of the frame is bendy. I wouldn't recommend vigorous rocking but a gentle rock is fine, I did it all the time with no problems. All in all, it's a nice chair to relax in, ideal for conservatory or baby's room. It's not the most comfortable chair in the world but it is pretty comfy.
When I moved into my new house we decided to get rid of our large coffee table in favour of something smaller, yet couldn't find anything suitable. On a trip to Ikea today, I came across their "Lack" side tables. They start at £5 for birch or white colours, and range all the way up to £15. They come in high gloss black, brown-black, birch, oak, white, high gloss pink and I purchased the high gloss pink one for £10. It was surprisingly light and I could carry the box one-handed. Assembling it was easy! You get 4 double ended screws (they're probably not called that and hubby will murder me for calling them that, but you know what I mean, a screw that is a screw both ends). There are picture instructions on the box but it can be easily assembled in a few minutes by one person. Even I managed to do it, having never built a flatpack (or anything) ever before! You simply insert a screw into the pre-drilled hole on the leg, twist it in a bit, insert the other end into the pre-drilled hole on the table, and twist it in. Four legs, job done. The quality isn't amazing, I can see this being easily chipped, but the table seems sturdy enough. It is 45cm high, 55cm square. Pretty basic little table but decent enough. Being gloss, it can leave fingerprints so needs cleaning often to look it's best, but it is very easily wiped clean. I was impressed with the finish, for a cheap table it doesn't look as cheap as you'd expect. It's lightweight so easy to move around. I use it for a coffee table but I can imagine it has many uses - toddler's table, side table, etc. in almost any room. Five from me!
Hungry Horse pubs seem to be everywhere and everyone seems to think they are cheap, good value and good quality food. I have a Hungry Horse a few minutes drive from me and have been there a handful of times. I like their promotions that children eat for £1 (with an adult paying for their main meal) during school holidays and also on 2 regular days a week. I also like the fact that they have plenty of booths for kids. What I don't like is that they show cBeebies in the booths, ON MUTE. Whilst I understand that they obviously don't want to hear Mr Tumble full blast, it seems ridiculous as kids can't hear the show and get bored (which defeats the object given that the tv is there to entertain them whilst they wait for food). I also don't like the lack of baby changing facilities - nowhere you can change a baby and tiny cubicles which make it hard to go in with your toddler. What I also hate is that EVERY time I have been to one, if you ask for a large diet coke with no ice, they leave literally 3 inches of the glass at the top empty. If you have ice, they fill to the top. Basically to save coke/money. It is ludicrous. I thought it was a one off but noooo, every time I go that happens. I've been to a few Hungry Horses and cokegate is common. However the food is good value, they offer "big plate specials" (not that big but bigger than normal). Steaks are cheap, they have a good selection of burgers and desserts as well as normal pub food. The kids' menu is not very varied but there are healthy choices on there, although the only drinks are fruit shoots or ribena! There are lighter options if you're not very hungry and a selection of sandwiches, an all day breakfast and a few curries. There isn't LOADS on the menu but definitely enough to choose from. What I do like is the kids' play area - unsupervised of course but plenty for the little kids to do. There's a park in the garden for the bigger kids but I have never used it as I just don't fancy my 4 year old being knocked around by the many kids that frequent it. The food is not good quality. The mash is often hard with a peculiar taste. The peas are rock hard. Things are often missing (lamb shank with no mint sauce as promised for example). The chips are ok, the steaks are bearable and the kids meals are generally ok if you don't have mash. The desserts are nice but average. The all day breakfast is revolting - overdone cheap sausages, 2 stringy fatty rashers of bacon, 2 slices of almost stale bread, a hash brown soaking into the beans and becoming disgustingly soggy and the rest is just cheap. Would I go there again? Er, no.
I was unlucky enough to be involved in a car crash recently (a minor one, thank goodness) but taking no chances, decided it was essential to replace my daughter's car seat. I take car seats and safety VERY seriously, her last one was a Britax which was one of the safest money can buy. My daughter is in the car a lot, but even if she wasn't, to me it is still important to buy the best, safest seat you can buy, because you can crash at any time, whether it is to the shops down the road or a long journey. After much research and consulting Which?, I decided on the Maxi Cosi Priorifix. Which? rated this very highly (a best buy) and gave it amazing safety results in their inspection and crash test. It is a group 1 car seat, suitable from age 9 months to approximately 4 years, which is 20lb-40lb or 9-18kg. The Maxi Cosi Priorifix retails at approximately £250, though we bought it on offer from Mothercare at £210. You can buy it from most baby stores and places like Halfords. It comes in black, blue or red. You can buy 'summer covers' (keeps the seat cool in heat) in the same colours or white, and you can buy replacement black covers for anything from £25-50. They used to do a pink version but this was discontinued. As my daughter is pink mad, I actually bought a pink seat second hand and swapped the covers! The seat is Isofix which means it is exceptionally safe. It is recognised that Isofix is the safest way to install a car seat as it becomes part of the car and does not move or rotate in the event of an accident. All cars made after 2005 have Isofix as standard, and many cars made before then do too (my old 1999 Golf has it). To check if your car has it, simply slide your hand between the seat cushion and back cushion on either the passenger or driver's side of the back seat. If you can feel 2 metal hoops, then you have Isofix. Some cars even have 'Isofix' labels on the seat or gaps in the fabric to indicate where the hoops are. Once the seat is attached to these hoops, it becomes part of the car's chassis. Some Isofix car seats have a leg prop and the Priorifix is one of these. It is an additional safety feature that makes the seat even safer. The seat itself looks like any other group 1 car seat except for this leg and 2 metal prongs that stick out of the back of the seat. It can be installed with the seatbelt instead of Isofix if necessary, but some research points out that this affects the overall safety of the seat. The seat is heavy to lift, but presumably you wouldn't be changing it often or carrying it about. It is well padded and cushioned, with harness pads and padded wings that offer side impact protection. There are 4 recline positions easily adjusted from the front without moving the seat. The harness has one-pull adjustment and is height adjustable. There is a clip either side to hold the harness out of the way whilst moving your child in or out of the seat (very handy!) and the cover is machine washable and easy to remove. Installing the seat I actually found very hard. My husband managed it in a couple of minutes but I struggled. To fit the seat you press the button on the leg prop (it will be red to indicate the seat is incorrectly fitted). You will then see the 2 metal prongs at the back of the seat - each of these prongs clicks onto an Isofix hoop in the car. You hear an audible click for each prong. You then hold in the button on the leg and push the seat back until it rests against the car seat. You then pull out a clip on the leg (this can be stiff) whilst at the same time firmly pushing the leg all the way out and down until it meets the floor of the car. Once this is done correctly, the light on the button will turn green, indicating a correct fit. It is this part that I struggled with - I spent forever trying to get this stupid leg to be flush against the car floor and turn green. However my husband fit the seat perfectly within a couple of minutes, so maybe it's just me! To remove the seat, you press the button on the leg, open the clip and pull the leg up (it will turn red). You then simply pull the car seat away from the seat and take it out. The harness is easily adjustable for height, and very comfortable. The recline has 4 positions and I really like this mechanism because on previous seats when they were installed they either had to recline or not, you couldn't change it without removing the seat. The Priorifix however, has a lever at the front of the seat underneath it, you pull it and it will click with every position. It doesn't recline flat but it does go most of the way there, it is so easy to do you can do it one handed and it is very handy for long journeys. This seat is supposed to last until age 4. My daughter is 4, 94cm and 30lb but I cannot see her outgrowing this anytime soon. Apparently kids stay in the seat until they reach the maximum weight (40lb) and/or are way too tall (if their ears are level with the top of the seat, that is the maximum height they can be for that seat apparently). My daughter tells me that this is a very comfy seat and she loves going in it. The only flaw is that the seat is quite high up, which is great because kids get a view out of the window, but can make getting them in the seat quite tricky, particularly if you have a hatchback like we do. It's not really easy for them to get in it themselves so I have to almost fold my daughter in lol. All in all, you can't put a price on safety!
Despite this being released almost 2 years ago, I only got round to watching it on DVD last week. It is certificate 15, and directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg. It runs for 113 minutes. All of the original American Pie characters are present - Michelle (Alyson Hannigan), Jim (Jason Biggs), Oz (Chris Klein), Heather (Mena Suvari), Vicky (Tara Reid), Stifler (Seann William Scott), Jim's dad (Eugene Levy), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and a few of the other regulars like Nada, Stifler's Mom etc. The film is based 13 years after the gang graduated and follows the main 5 characters though is mostly from Jim's viewpoint/story - he has now married Michelle and they have a 2 year old son. The reunion takes place in their old hometown and the guys decide to have a weekend of fun, ending with the reunion. It seems that none of them bar Stifler still live in the same place - Oz is now tv famous, and the rest all seem to live far away from each other. However it is nice to see all the old faces getting together, including some of the regulars like Jessica, Nadia etc. It's nice to see what they have all been up to and how they have changed. The weekend sees most action for the male characters as it is them who go out together. There's a few bits about first loves and old flames, plenty of the typical comedy moments and sexual innuendo, much like all the other films. The film sees all the characters reflect on the past 13 years and their futures and come to various realisations. The film contains a lot of profanity and sexual comments. There is also a fair amount of nudity although most of this is concentrated in a few scenes that run together. I was surprised this was a 15 certificate due to the nudity (which is male and female bits). All in all, it's not the best film in the world but it is worth a watch, particularly if you enjoyed the original films. Nice to see the old cast back together one last time and find out what they've been up to.
My daughter is 3 and Peppa Pig mad! She was given the "Peppa Pig Complete Art Pack" for Christmas and immediately fell in love with it. What could be better - it combined her love of Peppa with her love of drawing, painting etc! The age range on the product is 3 years+ but I don't see why younger kids couldn't use it if supervised as all kids love to colour etc! The art pack is widely available at most toy shops, though I haven't seen it in any supermarkets. It is currently priced at £6.99 in Toys R Us which I think is really reasonable - I know that the materials themselves are cheap but the fact that it's Peppa means you can expect to pay more, and the price really isn't too bad! The pack is actually a blue plastic carry case with a handle. It's not the most robust of things but it does the job. When you take it out of the packaging, you simply fold the pack in half and it clips together with a small popper button. The only flaw really is that quite often you notice something falling out even if it was placed in correctly! On the front of the case is a picture of Peppa and her friends. The art pack has 60 pieces: 12 Felt tips Eraser (rubber) Pencil sharpener Paint pallette Paintbrush Pencil 15cm ruler 12 wax crayons 12 colouring pencils A small sponge Scribbling pad All of the items have the Peppa Pig logo and/or pictures on. The paintbrush is just blue and the pencil is long and unsharpened. I am not sure if the items are subject to change though, as my daughter's did not come with a scribbling pad?! Not that I recall anyway! The felt tips are chunky and easy for little fingers to use. They are not mentioned as being washable but I have managed to wash them off clothes a few times (you should obviously check yourself, don't take my word for it just in case!). The rubber, ruler and sharpener are as you would expect, though the sharpener is possibly too small for very young toddlers to use. The pencil is long and unsharpened which is a bit annoying if your little one expects to use it immediately, though it only takes a moment to sharpen (as long as you have a bin nearby to catch the shavings!). The crayons are thin, very thin, and snap quite easily but that is typical of many crayons to be honest. They are adequate for use, and my daughter has no problems with them. I wasn't really sure what the small, rectangular white sponge was for, my best guess was it was either to paint with or perhaps to help wet the paint pallette? My daughter has used it both ways so I suppose it doesn't matter much! Both the pencil crayons and felt tips come in a variety of colours and shades so there are plenty of possibilities - red, orange, brown, blue, black, green, pink, purple, yellow, etc. The pencil crayons are short and slim as you might expect. The paintbrush is very slim and blue - perhaps a chunkier paintbrush would have been better especially as this set is aimed at young toddlers. Each item has it's own slot in the case. The paint pallette is annoying - it is fixed into the case so can't be removed. This means it gets very messy! You need to wet the paint as they are small watercolours in circle shapes. The paints themselves are fine, they are your average watercolour paints to be honest. They do last a VERY long time as well which is brilliant. However I found that the case had to be left open for a long time to dry, as even attempting to move it caused water to leak behind the plastic and onto the front cover, smudging the picture on the case. In addition it was hard to keep the water and watery paint from going over any of the other materials or plastic as they are all so close together and toddlers aren't the most careful of painters! Again it does not say it is washable but it has washed out for me personally, but obviously check yourselves and don't take my word for it! All materials are non-toxic. Having said that, it is good value for money and my daughter uses it all the time. She likes the fact she can carry it with her to different rooms, or when we go to visit family etc. She can also take the individual bits out and use them elsewhere. I would recommend it - but beware the paint!
My lovely 7 year old tabby is the best cat in the world. She adores my toddler, never has accidents in the house, nice quiet indoor cat. Until we moved house. Enter new carpets and hello scratchy!! Desperate to save my carpets (and my marriage!) I searched high and low for a fix to this scratching before she teared my carpets apart. I couldn't confine her to a room because downstairs is open plan (archways instead of doors) and the stairgate is no opposition for her! When I next visited the vet I was told that she was probably scratching due to stress (new house, new carpets/smells, she was at a cattery for 4 days prior to the move also) and she recommended Feliway. I admit I was sceptical at first as it was so expensive, but I later found the diffuser on Amazon for £19.99 including one refill (not one extra, just one in total). The refills are expensive at £14.99 so I was hoping not to need it for long. There is also a Feliway spray available in travel size (15ml), 30ml and 60ml. The 60ml is approx £20 and I bought one of these from Amazon for the stairs. So what is Feliway? Well it is a plug in diffuser (or spray) that mimics the natural pheremones of cats. You know when they do that adorable face-rubbing thing? Well they are leaving behind their scent, to make their territory known, secure and familiar. The same goes with scratching - there are tiny glands underneath the claws that secrete a pheremone. The idea is that Feliway smells EXACTLY like this pheremone and as such, the cat will no longer need to wee/scratch etc to leave a scent. The other function is that it helps to calm cats, which is useful for when cats are stressed/agitated or when they have a big change in their life (new home, pet, baby etc). It can also help calm multicat households where the cats don't get on! We used it in the cat carrier for trips to the vets (as Socks hates the vet with a passion) and found it worked so well she had a nap on the vet's table! The diffuser and spray work in the same way, the only difference is that the diffuser covers a much wider area. It is suggested to last on average 30 days, but up to 90 days if not used continuously. I found it lasted just shy of 30 days being used most of the day and all night (only really switched off when Socks was asleep or out). The spray is handy for stairs and I found one squirt per step, 3 times a day for a week worked wonders although it was time consuming so the diffuser was needed instead. I had the diffuser plugged in the hallway which is carpeted, as is the stairs and upstairs (downstairs is laminate). I would've plugged it in on the landing but I have a curious toddler so thought better of it! The scent isn't strong to humans and to be honest I couldn't smell it. It only works for cats so if you have dogs it will have no effect. You plug it in and it's ready. The spray however, you should make sure that you leave the spray about 15 minutes before introducing the cat to the area to allow the alcohol in the spray to dissipate, as that can be a strong offputting smell to the cat (and indeed to me haha). According to my vet, it is recommended to use the spray for at least 1-2 weeks, preferably three weeks, three times a day every day. The diffuser is recommended for at least a month and then perhaps only the odd day or week thereafter. I personally used the spray for a week and the diffuser for three weeks and haven't used either since (apart from the spray when going to the vets which I use every time). So does it work? Well I can't attest to the urinating behaviour as Socks never did this, though I hear it does work. What I can agree to is the scratching - Socks never scratched again, not even a little bit. I think during her period of stress this really helped, as it was the stress that caused her to scratch. I am thoroughly pleased with this product. Yes, it is very expensive - but a hell of a lot cheaper than new carpets! I will definitely continue to use it should we ever move, introduce new furniture etc. It really did work! I must stress however, that Feliway is for stressed, agitated or unnerved cats. It will not stop scratching behaviour if the cat is doing it out of habit, boredom or play. Nor will it stop urinating behaviour if it is out of habit. All cats scratch, and most only do it outside, so if it is unusual behaviour for your cat to be doing it inside on your lovely new sofa, give Feliway a try! Sometimes these behaviours are due to a medical reason, so you should always check with your vet as urinating can be due to stones or infection, and scratching can be due to the cat being distressed from pain. Always better to be safe than sorry!
Oh my goodness I could not wait for this to be released in the cinemas! I absolutely adored the first films and was desperate to see this. Finally persuaded my hubby last week! It's certificate 12A which after seeing it I felt was appropriate, runs for 115 minutes (not including trailers). Before seeing the film, I read the book also called Breaking Dawn, which covers both parts of the Breaking Dawn movies. It is a really long novel, and was extremely gripping, so I was looking forward to the film. If you haven't seen it, I won't be giving any spoilers so worry not. There will be details of Breaking Dawn Part 1 so if you haven't seen that, don't read this! However you really do need to have seen Breaking Dawn Part 1 in order to understand Part 2, as it picks up where the first movie left off. We see all the expected characters, though in my opinion there is much more of Bella and Edward and not very much at all of the other characters. We begin with Bella, whom is now a vampire and has just awoken after being 'turned' and giving birth to a baby girl, Renesmee (Renee from Bella's mother, Esme from Edward's). Renesmee is half human and half vampire. Her heart beats (although differently to a normal human) and she has blood in her veins. However her growth is incredibly fast (she is literally a five year old within a few months) and can survive on human food and/or blood. She has the characteristics of a vampire, but appears more human than the other characters. She is a beautiful little girl with Bella's eyes. At the start of the movie, Bella has literally just awoken in her new form. She has to come to terms with the end of one life, and the beginning of her new one as an immortal. She has an unquenchable thirst and desire for human blood and an incredible strength that all newborn vampires have. During the movie, Bella has to reveal herself and Renesmee to Charlie, her father. How will he react, will he notice? Will she be able to control her thirst? Will Renesmee? Trouble begins when Irina, Edward's cousin, spots Bella, Renesmee and Jacob playing and assumes Renesmee is an immortal child - something illegal in the vampire world, something so forbidden it requires the harshest of punishments. Irina runs straight to the Volturi where Aro decides he needs to intervene, and that his intervention means the Cullens must die - all of them. He will save only those whose gifts he desires. Will the clan suffer this dreadful fate? What can they do to stop Aro? This film is just as amazing as it's predecessors, but much more gripping. I was literally on the edge of my seat for some parts. There are some brilliant comical moments with Charlie and Jacob, as well as Bella and Edward. These really help to bring the move alive. (Pardon the pun). The only downside for me is that we don't see a great deal of the other characters, even Jacob has a smaller role. The movie almost centers on Bella and Edward - which is fine as it really works, but it was a shame not to see more of the others. We do get a few prominent scenes with some of the characters though not all. The level of acting is outstanding. Kristen Stewart (Bella) and Robert Pattinson (Edward) really come into their roles, their acting is so natural and believable. We also see some fantastic acting from Ashley Greene (Alice) and Michael Sheen (Aro). Whilst I think the acting has been brilliant throughout the saga, this final film will make you gasp, laugh and cry and that's not just from the storyline, simply from the believable acting. Pattinson in particular has some outstanding moments, and Sheen is oscar-worthy in a certain scene, you absolutely hate him whilst being shocked and upset at the same time! What amazes me is the special effects. If you see Peter Facinelli (Carlisle) in other shows you will be gobsmacked at the transformation he goes under to become Carlisle - you'd never recognise him! There are a lot of subtle touches and a lot of special effects as you would expect - the wolves phasing from human to wolf, the vampires' speed and agility, Renesmee's rapid growth etc. all are seamless and believable, done very well indeed. At the end of the film is a montage of all the characters featured in the five films - with the soundtrack song "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. The song is beautiful and goes so well with the montage. This really touched me, and it was nice to see a tribute to all the actors who had worked so hard to make these movies. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. After the film I was in awe, shocked and overwhelmed. It's one of those films where you just go "wow" and have to take a minute to go through what has happened. I loved it so much I saw it twice! I am actually sad the series is over, because it was so brilliant and will be missed. The slogan "the epic finale that lives on forever" couldn't be more apt! The only downside (sorry) is that it does lack a lot of stuff from the book. Without spoiling it, there is a major thing in the book that isn't even hinted at in the movie, all I will say is that it involves Jacob and his pack. In addition, some of the key things in the book have been left out of the movie or altered. It sometimes felt a bit rushed, but I suppose this cannot be helped. I wish I'd read the book after seeing the movie instead of before! It makes no real difference because the movie is amazing and you wouldn't know unless you'd read the book first, but it was a shame it couldn't have been put in, making it longer than 115 minutes (can you tell I never wanted it to end lol)
When trying to conceive, my doctor advised me to take folic acid for at least three months before becoming pregnant and for at least the first trimester, in order to minimise the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida. On my way home I stopped by Asda and noticed Pregnacare Plus in the medicine aisle. It was distinctive as it comes in a white bottle with a pink lid and pink label, or a white box with green and pink text as the above picture. It was described as being the "original fully comprehensive multivitamin tablet, which delivers all the essential nutrients for pregnancy including the recommended level of 400mcg folic acid plus an additional Omega-3 capsule to provide a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which contributes to normal brain and eye development of the foetus" and to be honest it did seem to contain the highest amounts of some of the vitamins compared to other brands. The box contains 28 multivitamins with 400mcg folic acid and 28 omega-3 tablets with 300mg DHA. (DHA is basically a fatty acid). You can expect to pay around £10 online, up to £15 in shops but in supermarkets they are often on offer for around £10. Widely available in chemists like Boots, Superdrug, independent chemists and supermarkets. Pregnacare Plus is well known and described as the leading supplement for conceiving and expecting mothers and the one midwives recommend most, so I knew immediately that this would be the one I chose. You can start taking it at any time during pregnancy, but ideally you should begin three months before falling pregnant (basically as soon as you start trying for a baby, as it would be difficult to pinpoint exactly three months before you conceive), during pregnancy and right up until the end of breastfeeding (if you breastfeed) or until after birth if you bottle feed. Each multivitamin tablet includes the exact recommended dose of folic acid (400mcg), vitamin B12 and Zinc, which support neural development and cell division in the early stages of pregnancy. The tablet also contains a wide range of vitamins at the exact level recommended for the foetus so it is moderate, not excessive (too much of certain vitamins can actually be harmful to a pregnancy so it is recommended that you use a pregnancy specific supplement such as this). They also contain Vitamin D,E,C,B1,B2,B3,B6,B12,K,Iron, Selenium, Magnesium, Iodine and Copper. Each Omega-3 tablet contains 300mg of DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which helps brain and eye development and nervous system development in the foetus and newborn. These do not smell fishy, though they do have a slight taste so better to be washed down as quick as you can! You are supposed to take one of each tablet once a day (so one multivitamin and one omega-3 tablet) on a full stomach, swallowed with water. The multivitamin is quite big, bigger than your average paracetamol and it can be difficult to swallow (and will leave a nasty taste if you make several attempts to swallow it!) so I used to take a big gulp of drink when swallowing that one. The Omega-3 is smaller and has a silky texture so is much easier to swallow. Whilst they may seem expensive, these really are premium supplements. Some pregnancy supplements do not contain the same amounts of vitamins, or the exact dose as recommended by experts (including Vitamin D, which is essential and ought to be taken at the correct dose). I dread to think how much I spent on these vitamins, but they are definitely worth it if just for the peace of mind knowing that you are doing all you can to ensure a healthy body and pregnancy. These do not replace a healthy balanced diet, they should be used as a supplement to a healthy diet not a replacement! It is worth noting that these vitamins do not use swordfish, marlin or tuna based fish oils in the Omega-3 tablets. This is because these types of fish are not recommended in pregnancy (apart from tuna in small amounts) I would advise these tablets to anyone.
Having a Peppa Pig obsessed three year old daughter, I knew that most of her birthday and christmas (as they are only a few weeks apart) presents would be Peppa related and I picked up "Peppa Pig - Guess With Peppa" in my local Tesco especially, priced £14.99. This seems to be a fairly standard price, though the closer you buy to Christmas, the more expensive you may find it! (Don't you just love it when they hike up the prices late November, then in January they announce a 'half price' sale, despite the fact that the 'half price' is the price the toy actually is for 11 months out of the year!!) Guess With Peppa is made by Inspiration Works, a well known educational toy brand. It comes in a simple box with plastic packaging which is relatively easy to remove, although it did require scissors (why do they package toys so much when they know how keen kids are to open them?!). The toy itself is yellow with a blue base. The base is a blue ring which folds for easy storage but also acts as a stand for the main part of the toy. The cards fit into the back of the unit for storage. It requires 2 AA batteries which are not supplied. The recommended age is 3-5 years, though after using it with my daughter I would say that it is better suited to the lower age group of that bracket, possibly even better for 1-3 year olds. The aim of the game is to teach the child about colours, quantities, observation and logic. There are five games to choose from - four which involve discovering colours, quantities, etc. and one which involves guessing. There are 8 double sided picture cards that feature the well known characters from the Peppa Pig show, and there is a plastic Peppa Pig that sits in the game when not in use and also for the guessing part. When I opened the game, I was annoyed to discover that the cards are held together in a plastic band (not elastic band, a plastic sleeve type thing) which was fine, apart from the fact that when the factory was sellotaping the band together, they ended up taping onto one of the cards. Thus when I tried to remove the tape, it ended up ripping part of the picture of the card off, and that was with the most gentle removal! Not a good start! The games are basically Peppa asking you to insert specific cards into the console, for example "who is riding on a bike?" the child then selects the card with a picture of Emily Elephant riding a bike and puts it into the console. Peppa sounds encouragement such as "well done", "fantastic" etc. The problem with this is that the cards are double sided and it isn't immediately clear which side is supposed to face Peppa, so when you insert the card sometimes Peppa will say you're wrong when in fact it is the right card but facing in the wrong direction. An easy mistake for adults to make let alone a frustrated toddler. There are buttons on the console for repeat, yes or no which are used in the game. For example, when Peppa is "guessing" the child can press yes or no to continue the game and help her to guess. The other games involve the child searching for a specific colour ("who wears an orange dress?") or number (how many xxxx are there" etc). There is a slide button to select the games. The cards are accurate depictions of the characters as are the voices so children will love it. The games themselves are very simple, much too simple for my three year old who was bored within a couple of minutes - this is why I feel the game is probably best suited for younger children, perhaps age 1-3, as the games are easy enough for them and they will probably get more enjoyment and excitement from it. Herein lies another problem - the educational value of the toy. As we all know, when children love a programme they tend to know a lot about it. If I asked my daughter randomly what colour dress Mummy Pig wears, she would answer correctly. Likewise she knows which characters like what. So when Peppa asks a question, is the child searching for the answer or just knowing it from memory? In addition, once the game has been played once or twice, the child knows the answers anyway. Within a couple of minutes my daughter was no longer even looking at the cards, when Peppa asked who was riding a bike, she simply said "where's the emily card?" I suppose it is a fun toy for the pictures and sounds, but the educational value is somewhat lacking, and the age range is definitely wrong. 1-3 years at a maximum would be more suitable.
Paulton's Park is a good 3 hour drive from where I live so it's somewhere I've only been to once. It's located in Hampshire, just off J2 M27, well signposted. I went with my husband and daughter who was a month away from her 3rd birthday. She is Peppa Pig obsessed, so we mainly went for the relatively new attraction of Peppa Pig World. The main thing that attracted me to Paultons is that it is aimed at the younger children, which I found is a novelty! Car parking is vast and there are more than enough spaces including plenty of disabled spaces. The park opens at 10.30am (although dates and times vary during the year so definitely check this on their website before making any plans) and if busy there are staff directing you where to park. You can hire buggies for the day for a nominal fee which are suitable for the under 5s or just for moving your picnic box around! Pushchairs are welcome but you do have to leave them unattended to join in the rides. When you arrive you either join the queue to purchase a ticket (£24 per adult, £21 per child, £21.50 for seniors, children under 1 metre tall go free). It is worth noting that if you book in advance you get the tickets for about £3 cheaper each, and you skip the queue and go straight in where they scan your barcode on your booking confirmation or on your iPhone. The theme park is not massive like you would expect, but it is pretty big so definitely worth spending a whole day there and getting early. Upon entering the park there are toilets close to the entrance which I was pleased to see were VERY child friendly. They had toilet lids that had the option of being child toilet seats (you know, the toilet training type), baby changing stations and child-height sinks with child-friendly soaps and child-height dryers. As many parents will agree, this is a novelty! For such a busy park I noted that the toilets were surprisingly clean! For ease of reading I shall discuss Peppa Pig World first. ----PEPPA PIG WORLD--- Upon entering Paultons, there are clear signposts directing you to all the attractions including Peppa Pig World, which is a short walk across the park (less than 10 mins). On the way to Peppa Pig World there is a park with a sandy floor and climbing equipment. My daughter rushed straight to this, as did many children and you could hear parents sighing "all this way and they go to the flipping park!" haha. There is a big sign welcoming you to Peppa World and you can instantly see lots of bright colours, lights and the characters. It is very themed, each ride has a name - for example, "Miss Rabbit's Balloon Ride" with a picture of the character on the sign. It is worth noting that for many of the rides throughout the park, children must be 90cm tall to ride. There are 7 Peppa rides which are: 1) "Windy Castle" - this is a hot balloon type ride which is slow and doesn't go too high, seats adults and kids 2) "George's Dinsosaur Adventure" - children get to sit on a dinosaur as it rides round a track a bit like a carousel type thing, seats one child only 3) "Daddy Pig's Car Ride" - a car ride that goes round a short track with various Peppa sounds, not powered by you, it's an automated ride, can seat adults and kids 4) "Grandpa Pig's Little Train" - same as above really but with different scenery, can seat adults and kids 5) "Grandpa Pig's Boat Trip" - my daughter loved this, it's pretty much a dingy which floats around a pool (you don't steer it) - can seat adults and kids 6) "Peppa Pig's Balloon Ride" - a balloon ride a bit like Windy Castle really, but does more spinning, can seat adults and kids 7) "Miss Rabbit's Helicopter Flight" - a helicopter ride similar to the balloon ride, can seat adults and kids All the rides are slow enough for young children. My daughter loved them all! The main bit to mention is that this bit of the park is often busy, and even if it's not packed, there is between a 30 minute and 45 minute wait for each ride. When you join a queue you will see a sign saying "45 minutes from here" for example, and it is true to it's word! This is probably the reason why seeing Peppa World took nearly all day! I was not pleased with the waiting times at all as we found we had a minimum 35 minute wait for each ride which is a nightmare if your child wants to go on more than once! I was gobsmacked that this is how it works given that it is aimed at the very young, who as we know are not very patient! In every queue you can expect to see crying babies, crying toddlers, tantruming toddlers, running off toddlers, and if you're lucky, sleeping ones! A brilliant part of Peppa World is the mockups they have of the characters' homes. You can see Peppa's house which is a mock up of the house on the hill as you see in the programme. You can go inside where there are Peppa, George, Mummy & Daddy Pig figures (you can't touch them) and can take photos etc. This is lovely for the kids as they can say they've been in Peppa's house! There's also Grandpa Pig's house, Grandad Dog's Garage, the School, the Library and the Campervan. All of these are identical to the ones you see in the programme and excellent for photo taking. The rides offer photos that are taken mid-ride and priced at the extortionate rates you would expect. You can purchase them from Pedro Pony's Ride Photos. There is also something called Peppa Pig's Magic Studio which is one of those places where you can be in the picture and put yourself in a Peppa picture. There is also Peppa Pig's Toy Shop, a huge shop dedicated to Peppa. It wasn't extremely overpriced though it was more expensive than you could buy elsewhere. It sells stuffed toys in various sizes, t-shirts (including 'mummy pig' and 'daddy pig' for mummies and daddies!), caps, umbrellas, purses, cutlery, plates, bags, toys, everything you could possibly imagine. Naturally kids are drawn to it and you leave bankrupt. For food, there is Daddy Pig's Big Tummy Cafe which serves light meals and snacks at extortionate prices. Another attraction is Miss Rabbit's Ice Cream Parlour - though I was saddened to see there is no further sight or mention of Miss Rabbit and it is in fact, a normal ice cream parlour serving basic ice creams at extortionate prices. There are also a couple of soft play areas, designed for young kids and with a cafe inside for the grownups. We didn't get chance to go into this and didn't fancy it much as we wanted to go on all the rides, but it looked big and fun. You can also stay at the attached hotel and they regularly run offers, more info can be found on their website. There are a few game stalls dotted around with the characters' names. These are expensive. One of them was a Candy Cat throwing game where you throw balls into a bucket to win. The signs and indeed the staff's instructions were very unclear and despite me winning (according to the signs and instructions) I was told I did not win. I later complained and was told that on my next visit I could claim a free teddy. When I then said I didn't know if - or when - I could make the hour journey again, I received no further reply. Poor customer service but this is from a contractor that runs the games not Paulton's. ---THE REST OF THE PARK--- I was pleased to see that the rest of the park also caters for young children, however it also appeals to older children, teenagers and adults alike. There are 10 'thrill' rides, of which some have a minimum age / height so are not suitable for under 5s, and are the usual theme park type rides like log flumes, roller coasters, pirate ships, vertical rides etc. These are great for older kids, teens and adults. There are 5 rides for younger children (under 5s) which are typical carousel type rides - a ladybird, tractor and rabbit. These are the kind where a child sits in the cart and it goes round in a slow circle. There's also a gentle seal ride which is basically a floating type ride where the child sits in a seal and gently floats around a small circle - this is nice but it does go down a slight hill which terrified my daughter. There are 8 family rides which are things like trains, helter skelter, go karts, tea cups and a gentle rollercoaster. I would say these are suitable for younger children but perhaps not the more nervous kids as the rollercoaster is possibly a bit too fast for them. There are a handful of attractions too - panning for gold which costs £2.50, adventure golf, two parks including one for the under 5s, an interactive 'dinosaur' land with 13 dinosaurs and various noises, trampolines (fixed into the ground so suitable for all), one of those rides where you go into an inflatable ball like a hamster's wheel on water, a water park (no deep water just jets that splash the kids, stationary water guns etc and seats nearby for adults, closed in the colder months. We didn't use this as a lot of older/bigger kids were running riot and I was worried my toddler would be knocked over), there is a train that everyone can sit on that takes you all around the park and lasts about 15 minutes or so. It is worth noting that nearly all rides have a minimum height or age restriction, or need an adult to accompany children. Signs and measuring charts are at each ride and the attendant will measure children who appear to be too small. There are a few places to eat selling light meals and snacks but they are expensive - a salad is just shy of £5! There is very limited choice too, the kids meals are chicken nuggets or sausages with chips for example. However as you are most likely taking them to Paulton's for a treat, I suppose treat food is ok just this once, as is paying an extortionate amount for an ice cream! We arrived at 11am and stayed until closing, it really did take that long to do everything. Getting out of the car park took almost half an hour as it was so busy, but to be expected. All in all, a great day out and I would go again - if it were nearer!
I've always bought Andrex, always considered it superior to other brands (even though my hubby swears he can't tell the difference between this and Asda's own - but then again, he loves to save money!) I use the Andrex Kids wet wipes for my daughter when she uses her potty. I normally get the regular Andrex, but this one was on offer so I thought I'd try it. Andrex comes in 4 packs, 9 packs, 16 and 24. It is usually on offer in Asda or has "3 free" rolls for the same price. This particular pack was on offer at Asda for £4 for 9 rolls, so I thought it was worth a try. Andrex comes in various colours - pink, white, patterned, cream etc. and the packets are different colours so you don't get mixed up (ie. this 'gorgeous comfort' pack is a dark blue packaging and patterned (sorry quilted) tissue). You also get 'puppy points' per pack which can be exhanged for days out/attractions when you collect enough. On to the verdict... well I was very surprised and pleased. The tissue is very thick, much thicker than you would expect and certainly much thicker than leading brands. This means you use less so it lasts longer - bargain! It is mega soft, so I agree with the "quilt" branding it has. It is so soft I would even use it on my toddler's bum! It is easy to pull off a sheet as the perforations are there and it takes only a light tug (note to self: rememeber this when daugher uses the loo!) I absolutely rate this toilet roll but there is one big problem that I have come across, and that is that it blocks your loo because it is so thick. If you use a lot, and you flush, it easily blocks your loo, which is something you wouldn't experience with the thinner varieties. Having said that, it is still superbly soft and although expensive, well worth it.