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Yet another amazing toy from Flair - the manufacturers of the Sylvanian Families!
This set consists of the green Morris Minor Family Car and the Touring Caravan. The two items can be purchased as a set or individually and there are a variety of cars on the market in different makes and colours.
There are currently two versions of the caravan, the one pictured above that is cream and green to match the green car and the modern version with the wooden panelled caravan that is packaged with the blue car.
The car is green with chrome effect bumpers and grill, and wooden panels to the doors. There are two removable baby seats and a hamper that sits on the boot of the car for luggage.
The caravan is packed full of features.
It attaches to the car via a tow bar. On one side there is the door and steps up into the caravan, the other side opens up completely to reveal the interior of the caravan.
First you have the kitchen - the floor folds out to give the Sylvanians more space, there is a sink and drainer, cooker, two drawers, a clock, cupboard and fold out ironing board with iron. Lots of accessories can be found in the kitchen including cutlery, cups, kettle, stew pot, oven glove and plates. Then there is a bathroom with sink, fold out toilet and a shower cubicle. Lastly the living area has a sofa that folds out, two drawers, board games, and two bunk beds in the roof with sleeping bags.
There is a compartment in the floor to store all of the accessories in when the caravan is on the move.
This set is a lot of money - RRP £49.99 but can be found on offer occasionally for £34.99 which is a great price for the toy considering the detail that has gone into the designing of it.
The car and caravan can be found in almost every toy shop selling the range including Toys R Us, Amazon, Argos, Smyths etc.
Add on items
There are many sets that accompany the car and caravan. Ingrid's Camping Set goes well for that camp site feel. The BBQ set also comes with a table and chairs for when the Sylvanians like to eat outside.
This is the most modern bakery in the range - previous releases include the Oakwood Bakery and the Village Bakery.
This bakery is a lovely building with lots of character! It is 'run' by Christopher Appleblossom the squirrel and includes over 100 accessories.
The furniture inside is fitted and cannot be removed. This includes a stove, counter, shelves in the window and the dough machine - when the watermill is turned outside the dough mixes inside too.
The accessories include a till, various delicious cakes, breads, sandwiches, a gingerbread house, bake your own portrait cookies that are shaped like various Sylvanian Families characters including a rabbit and bear, baking trays, baguettes, baskets, utensils - the list is endless! I would even go as far to say as there are probably a few too many accessories in this set but as with all small pieces, some tend to go astray and sucked up in the hoover.
The Watermill Bakery is currently still available to buy and the RRP is £39.99
Height - 25cm
Length & width- 30cm x 20cm
This product is really well made and sturdy even for little children. As there are so many small parts they recommend this product for ages 4+. It is a welcome addition to our collection as every village needs a bakery :)
The Rose Cottage is the second smallest house in the Sylvanian Families range (the smallest being the carry case cottage)
It features a lovely pink/red roof, cream walls and light wood effect front door with a front porch. Inside the house there are two rooms, one downstairs and one upstairs that have a ladder that attaches onto the top level. The pack usually contains a figure, cooker, table, 2 chairs and a bed to get you started.
Although the house is fairly small, you are able to fit a cooker, sofa and a table and chairs on the bottom level and the top room will take a bed, wardrobe and toilet with sink.
As with all Sylvanian Families products, they are not cheap but this is definitely the best home for a little girl or boy to start with as it does not take much to fill it.
The great thing about the Rose/Bramble/Applewood cottages are that they stack on top of a few buildings such as the Applewood Department Store, Village Store, Toy Shop and the Village Bakery.
My little girl loved this basic house as her starter home and still plays with it alongside her other items after many years!
This house has been discontinued from the range but can easily be picked up second hand. They have since replaced this home with the Sycamore/Daisy cottage that can be purchased for around £24.99 and if purchased from the official shop you get a free pack of wallpaper too!
Ashton and Parsons Teething Powders
When our daughter was reaching the milestone of getting her first teeth she was teething quite badly. We had stocked up on Calpol, Bonjela and various teething bits and bobs before the event occured but they just didn't seem to hit the spot. Nobody wants to see their children in pain!
Whilst I was pregnant I heard alot of family members and friends raving about teething powders so set about trying to obtain some. There are various ones on the market - Boots do their own brand ones but after reading the reviews it seemed as though these were a lost cause, Nelsons have Teething Granules but again these didn't seem to achieve good results.
Then I can across lots of positive reviews about Ashton and Parsons Teething Powders. Trying to find somewhere that stocked them was another matter as we needed them immediately! Ebay are flooded with them but we were unable to wait days to receive them and the added expensive of postage made them twice the price as in the shops. Apparently there is a shortage of them from the suppliers. We range around all of our local Boots and small chemists but everywhere had no stock. We finally found them in a Lloyds Chemist an hour away from our home! So after making the two hour round trip (any parents will agree that this is worthwhile to stop a screaming baby!!!) we had four boxes to hand!
What are they?
A teething remedy that comes in a powder form that you tip straight into your baby's mouth.
A small white box with a plain blue label with a baby on top of the Ashton and Parsons label. On the front of the label it reads: A herbal product traditionally used in infants for the symptomatic relief of the pain and stomach upset associated with teething. If before first use you find end seals are broken, do not use and return pack to the address on the box. For Teething with a Smile! The back of the box states what is in the powders and what the product actually does - Ashton and Parsons Infants' Powders are intended to soothe the child; check stomach disorders; correct the motions; relieve restlessness, fretfulness and similar troubles incidental to the teething period and are useful in delayed or unduly prolonged dentition. Mothers may enjoy ease of mind in the knowledge that these powders are reliable and contain nothing harmful.
How to Use:
Our daughter was just under 6 months old when we first started using this product so we could only give her half a powder at a time which is not very easy to do as each powder is folded up in paper but as they are only herbal I wasn't worried if she had a little bit more. Once your child is over six months you can up the dose to one powder. The box states to give the powders dry on the tongue, morning and night. If your child is restless or fretful then you can repeat the dose every one, two or three hours if necessary.
I thought it would be difficult to administer the powder but found it quite easy when your child's mouth is wide open screaming! They must be quite tasty as it only took a few powders for her to realise what was coming and opened her mouth willingly and seemed to get quite excited at the thought of them!
Do they work?
Work? They are like magic! As soon as the powders hit the tongue and gums she quietened down almost immediately. Very rarely have I found the need to give her another after an hour. One of my friends children had a problem with her little boy not sleeping through the night (he was 11 months old) One night she gave him a powder before bedtime and for the first time since he was born he slept all through the night! It certainly does settle them.
How much are they?
Well that is the question. For something that works so well you would expect them to be quite expensive, but they are not. Each box has 20 individually wrapped powders and they cost just £2.79, just 13p a powder. Compared to our products that do the same thing this for me is the best value.
This is the thing, it is not easily available on the high street but I have managed to find them in a few Co-Op and Lloyds Chemists. If you see them I would advise that you purchase a few packets so ensure that you are not left without any when you need them the most! Alternatively they are quite easily available on the internet at various online pharmacies.
As a parent I believe this are a must in your baby kit as teething can be very hard for parents as well as your little one. I would give this product more than 5 stars if I could, it really is a brilliant product!
I must admit I even used this myself when I had toothache and this actually worked on me too!
I'm sure the thought of having a baby and the costs involved freak a lot of people out but for me I knew that this would not be a problem. I have always been one to save money on a day to day basis so naturally this was the route that I was going to take with the little one.
Various baby bibles and the internet tell you that you will need this and that and the list is longer than your arm and amounts to a small fortune. You may think that 9 months is plenty of time to get everything sorted but when you get the morning sickness weeks out of the way and the last few weeks where you may be very tired out and possibly even immobile, throw in a few special occasions (maybe even Christmas!) and you are left thinking where did the time go!
So, starting from the beginning I would suggest that if you suffer from morning sickness invest in some seabands. They are available on Amazon, Ebay and local chemists and cost around £6. I thought these were quite expensive as I just didn't think that they would work but they did their job perfectly. They are stretchy cuffs that fit on each wrist and have a white ball that pushes on a pressure point on your wrist.
Clothes for your little one
I was lucky enough to be given a few few new born clothes from a colleagues daughter. This was my first baby so I had no idea how many vests, babygros, sheets etc I would need. Although I did think that I had quite a bit already without having to buy anything.
I would advise you to accept gifted clothes as babys can be in newborn clothes for a matter of weeks so it is not worth spending £6 or more on 1 babygro. Also, we received so many outfits, many of which we did not use as newborns do not like to be pulled about while you are dressing them. If you are not lucky enough to know anybody that has recently had a baby try your local freecycle site. I received three black bin bags full of clothes ranging from 0 months right up to 9 months. I have hardly had to buy clothes for my daughter for the first year of her life saving me hundreds of pounds.
My list of essential items of clothing are:
5 babygros (pop up the front ones work best rather than the ones that have to be put over their heads)
5 plain vests - preferably long sleeved
Scratch mitts (although I never felt the need to use these and many babygros have these built in)
Coat or Pramsuit depending on the season
Without taking the fun out of shopping for a changing bag (I did it too) they are really not worth the money and within months you will be wanting to swop it for a small one or throwing some nappies in your handbag. I would advise signing up to the Boots website and getting the parenting club bag free with a purchase of Pampers nappies.
Next go to the Asda website and sign up to their baby club. When you do this you can download two vouchers for the Huggies Newborn Starter Kit. This has a packet of size 1 nappies, a pack of baby wipes and a hat. In this box there are also vouchers for money off further packets of nappies. The boxes usually cost £5 and you get them for free. If you get your family and friends to sign up you should manage to get yourself enough nappies to see you through the first stage! Even though our daughter was 8lb 8oz when she was born these nappies fit her until she was about 2 1/2 months old.
Huggies have always been our preferred brand as we have had very few accidents with them and they are good value when Tesco, Boots and Sainsburys have their 1/3 off events. I would advise against buying Sainsburys Little Ones Nappies as they are not elasticated at all so offer little protection from accidents.
The cheaper option for cleaning your baby is cotton wool and water but this can be a little messy. Throughout my pregnancy we stocked up on wipes as I feel this to be an essential for me.
My list of essential changing items are:
Newborn Size 1 Nappies (we must have used at least 10 packets)
Top and Tail bowl or a little plastic pots for holding water
Baby Powder (some people advise against this)
Hooded baby towel
Again this can be a very expensive area with cots ranging from £30 up to £300! We purchased our cot on Ebay for a mere £8.50. A lovely Mama's and Papa's one which was still on sale for £150. All we had to do was purchase a new mattress. Our extravagance was the cot mobile as Fisher Price do a lovely rainforest one but we bought it for £20 again from Ebay. 8 months on this is still being used.
I was getting stressed about cot sheets, flat sheets and moses basket sheets as I was being told by various family members that I would get through at least two a day. This was not the case and I am glad that I didn't stock up as they are quite expensive! I purchased some Muslin squares from Tesco and used these under her head in the event that she was sick. They are are good as burp cloths to save your clothes, make shift bibs etc.
The best tip was to use a pillowcase for the moses basket mattress as the work just as well.
Don't spend a fortune on a moses basket either. Our daughter was in hers for just 9 weeks and seemed a little bit of a waste of money. See if you can borrow one or certainly look for second hand ones.
My list of essential nursery equipment are:
Cot & mattress (make sure the mattress is a good one as they could be using it for 2+ years)
2x Fitted Sheets
Baby Sleeping Bag (this stops baby's from kicking off their covers in the middle of the night)
Wipeable Changing Mat
A suitable chair or swing
Taking Baby Out
We could not afford to buy an expensive travel system that cost hundreds of pounds so we purchased one from ebay. Initially we loved it but when we actually tried to shop with it it was a nightmare. We couldn't get it around shop aisles and we would end up taking half of the shop with us! So we did end up buying a brand new stroller (which was one of the only things we purchased brand new!) Strollers now days are suitable from birth and are very lightweight and will see your baby from birth until they are able to walk about.
Baby slings are brilliant as it allows you to be hands free and when your baby is a little older then can face outwards. They are also good for babies that develop colic and do not like being left alone. They allow you to carry on with the housework etc.
Invest in a good car seat that will last you as long as possible. Apparently it is best for your baby to be rear facing up to at least 16 months as it is safer should you be involved in an accident.
We also purchased a mirror for the car that fixes onto the headrest to allow you to see your baby in the rear view mirror.
As they say breast is best but I was so ill after giving birth that I didn't feel up to it. This would have been the cheapest method of feeding and wouldn't need any of the equipment that I am about to list!
We were given a bottle cooler and warmer made by Lindam by a friend but never used this. We found that it would warm the bottle too much which is not good when you have a baby screaming for its feed!
We tended to use a jug of hot water to warm the bottle but after 6 months I got inpatient and thought I would try warming the bottle in the microwave which I wished we had done from the beginning. You have to give it a good shake afterwards to disperse any hotspots but it takes around 30 seconds to heat to a suitable temperature.
We have found that 8 bottles are sufficient enough - this enabled us to make the feeds all in one go so they were ready for the day ahead. We went for the Avent Gold Bottles but wished we had invested in Dr Brown bottles as our daughter suffered from colic for the first 7 weeks which was awful.
We also purchased the Tommee Tippee steriliser which allows you to sterilise 6 bottles plus dummies etc in around 5 minutes. (I would advise against this one as we have had nothing but trouble with it but I will save that for it's very own review!)
Find the cheapest reputable brand of dummies you can and stick to them! We made the mistake of purchasing the mam dummies as I liked the designs but cannot get her to have any other dummy now and they are one of the most expensive brands! They do sell their own range of soother savers though which are a godsend when you are out - no more dummies on the floor.
Essential feeding items list:
Thick cotton bibs (I dislike the plastic backed ones as they are not very absorbant)
A few items that are a must - calpol or similar for after their innoculations, saline nasal drops for stuffy little noses that they just can't blow, Ashton and Parsons teething powders are amazing but quite hard to get hold of, bonjela, a syringe for giving medicine, oilatum for any skin complaints.
And the all important item that doesn't cost a thing - LOVE! At the end of the day it is all they need. There wasn't all of this fancy stuff around a hundred years ago so don't worry that you don't have the newest most up to date stuff. It really does not matter!
When I found out that I was pregnant last July to say I was happy is an understatement. Like many women, some of us know from a very young age that we are just meant to be a mother. Sounds cheesy doesn't it!
I was a little scared at first even though it was a planned pregnancy so as many newly pregnant women probably do - I browsed the internet. One of the sites I found and ended up using regularly was www.babycentre.co.uk This website is supported by Johnsons Baby which I found very reassuring as this is probably the leading baby brand.
The website is split into 8 different sections:
I didn't use this part of the website as I was already pregnant but it does feature a lot of useful information for couples who are trying to conceive, an ovulation calendar and useful contacts incase you feel as though things are just not right.
I used this section on a daily basis. I found it fascinating that you could track your babies progress week by week from week one up to week 40. Like at 6 weeks your baby is the size of a bean and at 16 weeks the size of a pear and the exact weeks that they open their eyes and their taste buds develop! Each weekly update (sent to your chosen email address) contains detailed information not only about how your baby is growing but also what is happening to your body and how to cope with it. There is a due date calculator that the user fills out when you first sign up to the website to allow these updates. It is very accurate and I went into labour one day after my calculated due date!
To make sure the dads-to-be are not left out there is also a section devoted especially to them that features videos, blogs from other dads and articles on how they can be useful during the pregnancy.
There are also articles on the ideal foods to eat and also what not to eat during your pregnancy.
There is also an app that you can download on your phone which is a shortened version of the full website.
Labour and Birth
When I was asked to write my birth plan by my midwife I didn't really know where to start so I once again turned to babycentre. There was a template that you could amend to suit your requirements. This section also helped me to decide what kind of pain relief I wanted (just gas and air as I am afraid of needles!)
I must admit that I didn't take advantage of the birth section of this website as I was quite poorly for a few weeks after the birth of my daughter and didn't go near a laptop but midwives' were on hand with any questions that I had. Now that I have seen what is in that section I would have found it very useful.
This is my favourite part of the website. Once again you receive your weekly updates on the progress your new baby should be making such as when they are likely to smile, sit up, laugh, crawl etc. Obviously every child is different and babies do things in their own time and at different paces so I would advise other parents to just use this as a guide. I guess this is why in the later months they split the milestones into sections - what all babies can do, what most babies can do and what a small amount of babies may be able to do.
As my daughter is only 8 months old I have not used this section yet but my friend has a toddler and this has helped her deal with fussy eating, helping to establish a routine, the terrible twos and sorting out the enormous task of choosing the right preschool.
Takes you through eating and behaviour problems, the best way to discipline you preeschooler and a section on games your child will love playing with you.
A great place where you can make friends and speak to other women who are in the same boat as you. Features the most heartwrenching stories, people asking or giving advice, funny stories, polls, a place to share photos of your little one etc.
Now this one is pretty self explanatory. This section takes you to links for everything you could ever need for your baby from nappies and wipes, to clothing, nursery furniture and car seats.
I have probably spent hours and hours on this website. I find it much more informative than a book, it is free to use and it literally has thousands of useful pieces of information that would take numerous books to explain. There is a search function so the information you require is easy to find.
Other than the 8 main categories the home page has regular competitions that you can take part in, a baby name tool, gender calculator (although I'm not sure you should trust this 100% as my daughter should have been a boy!) photo wall and I'm sure there is even a programme that you can use to alert all of your loved ones that your baby has arrived!
So if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or already have a child then this website is the greatest tool that you will need to help you on your journey to mother/fatherhood. Being a parent is difficult at times and it is nice to have some backup from people that don't know you when you feel like asking what you feel to be a silly question!
As a new mother I like to purchase toys for our daughter that are suitable for her age, well constructed, bright and fun to play with as well as being educational. Fisher Price's Laugh and Learn range fit the bill perfectly. The products are suitable for both little boys and girls and include a smart phone, soft puppy, a chair, interactive table, tea pot and a camera.
Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Cookie Shape Surprise
This product is a Cookie Jar which features a very jolly face with a nose that makes sounds and lights up when it is pressed. The jar has five shapes cut out around the sides where the shapes can be inserted. The purple lid on the top of the jar can be taken off so the shapes can be retrieved.
A sensor is located just inside the top of the jar so when a hand enters the jar music is played. There are two settings - shapes and numbers. Both tunes are very catchy but my daughter absolutely loves the shapes song and her face lights up every time it is played. It goes like this 'Shapes are in my cookie jar, triangle, heart and star, there's a circle over there, here's a square! (sorry!) Two noise levels are also available to keep parents sane.
The five shapes consist of a Yellow Circle, Red Heart, Green Triangle, Blue Square and a Purple Star. My daughter also uses these as teething toys too!
Depending on what setting you have set when the shapes are put through the holes the cookie jar either states the shape or the number that is on the shape.
At 8 months old my daughter is a little young for the learning aspect of this toy but I know that this toy will grow with her and she will be able to put the shapes through herself and name the shapes just like my nephew did with this toy as he was growing up.
Fisher price states that this is suitable for children aged 6 - 36 months. It takes 3 AA batteries - these are supplied ready to go when purchasing the item.
This is available at a variety of stores including Amazon, Toys R Us, Boots, Early Learning Centre, Tesco and Argos. The best price is £12.97 which is a very good price for something that is so well made.
I would give this 4 out of 5 stars as I don't have to worry that my daughter is going to choke on any parts, it is going to last a fair few years and it's a delight to watch the smile on her face! The only thing is it is quite heavy and she has hurt herself a couple of times.
New from Kraft foods comes the Belvita Breakfast Biscuit. This new product has been developed to be aimed at females between the ages of 25 - 36 who have a habit of skipping the most important meal of the day - breakfast. You may have seen the tv adverts starring Johnny Vaughan and Lisa Snowdon promoting this brand recently. I saw this and thought that I would really like to try them to see what all the hype is about.
Belvita are available in two flavours - Milk and Cereals and Fruit and Fibre. They have been designed to release carbohydrates steadily over four hours to keep to going until lunchtime without the need for a snack in between.
The biscuits are packaged in a cardboard box in bright eyecatching sunshine yellow. The box is much smaller than I expected it to be. I'm guessing I thought it would be the size of a cereal box. Inside the box is six packs of four individually wrapped biscuits. I feel it would have been better to make 7 packets but maybe they left one out so that you can have your cooked breakfast or a bacon sarnie on Sundays! The biscuits are oval and fairly large with embossed wheat heads on the top and a sprinkling of oats.
Taste & Smell
These taste slightly like Nice biscuits which have a slight coconut flavour to them. When you look at them they definitely do not look like a replacement for breakfast. Rather just a few biscuits to enjoy with your tea! I thought that there is no way that four biscuits will keep me going until lunchtime but I was pleasantly surprised. It states on the box that you should eat them alongside a yoghurt, cup of tea or coffee or a piece of fruit for a balanced breakfast. They are great for dunking in tea or a glass of milk too. Each biscuit has 56 calories which basically works out about the same as a bowl of cereal if you eat the whole pack of four.
Price and Availability
I purchased these for £2.19 which seems fairly pricey but when you break it down between the 6 packs it works out less than a chocolate bar. They are widely available at all major supermarkets.
Pros & Cons
I did find that they had an odd aftertaste when I consumed them with a drink - much like sick and they are quite dry.
I found that they achieved what they were made to do - be a good alternative to breakfast for people who may not be able to stomach milk or a bowl of cereal in the morning. They are great if you don't have time to sit down for breakfast as they are handy to eat on the go.
I don't think I would be purchasing these for everyday use as I do like my cereals but are great as an alternative. I give these four Dooyoo Stars out of five.
As Tesco are currently offering these for just over £1 I thought I would try the Fruit and Fibre variety of these biscuits. I have to say, these ones are delicious! They are not as dry - they have more of an oily feel to them but still have the same amount of calories per biscuit. There are plenty of raisin pieces and I find this variety a lot more filling. Now that I have tried this flavour I will upgrade my rating to five stars and will be more likely to purchase them regularly now.
~ Boots Natural Collection Juicy Lips Lip Gloss ~
The Natural Collection is made exclusively by Boots and their vast range features everything from body creams and lotions, shower gels and shampoos to lip glosses, mascaras and foundations. The Natural Collection I feel is aimed at teenagers due to the funky packaging, neutral colours of their cosmetics and fun combinations of their fruity body products. Great for girls that are just experimenting.
I never spend extortionate amounts on make-up as I tend to find that the cheaper brands work just as well. On my latest trip to Boots I was amazing at just how cheap this range is. Most of the items were £1.99 and they also offer 3 items for £5! One of the items that I purchased in this offer was Juicy Lips!
~ The Packaging ~
As most lip glosses, this is packaged in a clear glass tube with a white lid. The design is very pure and simple with just the Natural Collection logo gracing the front of the tube. On the back it reads 'Juicy Lips. Intense colour and shine with juicy flavour' followed by the Boots address details and website address.
~ Juicy Lips ~
The Boots website only feature three of their colours/flavours which are vanilla, toffee cream and raspberry ripple. The one I purchase is called Barley Sugar. The scent is gorgeous but hard to describe what it actually smells like. I chose this one because I was after a natural nude colour and this one fitted the bill perfectly. Shimmery particals adorn this product which really makes your lips look luscious and help them stand out.
Upon first use I found the product was rather thick and hard to get it onto the actual applicator. After pumping the wand in and out of the tube a few times this became a little easier. Now, I really am not a lover of lip glosses. I find them really sticky and uncomfortable to wear and frustrated when my hair gets stuck to my lips all the time. This product is different. It glides on easily, almost like a lipstick. It is non-greasy and stays put fairly well as long as you are not eating or drinking. It does leave a gritty feeling on your lips which I imagine is down to the shimmer particals.
The one thing I am unhappy with is that I don't feel it gives the intense colour that it promises. This almost just looks clear on me apart from the glittery effect. I may have chosen too pale a shade so I will definately be trying another one. That said, it does leave my lips feeling fresh and hydrated.
~ Price and availability ~
As mentioned above, this product costs £1.99 for an 8ml tube. It is a product exclusive to Boots and Boots.com and you will receive 4 advantage card points with this purchase.
If you haven't tried this product before then I would thoroughly reccomend this brand. A 5 star rating from me!
Kinder Bueno Eggs
Easter is upon us and the shops are as always swamped with delicious egg shaped chocolate. The list is endless and is sometimes hard to choose but when I stumbled across the latest release from Kinder I just had to try them.
Everybody remembers the hollow Kinder Eggs from when they were young! Although the chocolate was rather yummy you only really wanted them because they had a toy inside. Many years later they introduced the Kinder Bueno Bar. Two sticks of delicious wafer and hazlenut filling covered in chocolate which was aimed more towards the grown-ups. These eggs are based upon those bars.
The eggs are sold in bags that hang up on the shelves with the likes of mini-eggs. The design of the bag is along the lines of the original Kinder Egg. The distinctive orange bottom with white on top with a clear window in the middle of the bag which allows you to see the eggs. Each individual egg is wrapped in gold embossed foil with the Kinder Bueno logo on the front and the back. Each bag contains around 12 eggs so these are really good value for money and are great for mini Easter Egg hunts.
Kinder describe these eggs as 'Crispy Chocolate wafer eggs with a milky hazlenut filling'. They measure 3 1/2 cm x 2.5cm so are much smaller than a Cadbury's Cream Egg.
The chocolate is very smooth in appearance when you unwrap the egg. The smell is gorgeous - you can really smell the hazlenut filling. When you bite into the egg you a greeted with a wafer layer which is immediately beside the chocolate and the cream filling is in the middle.
The egg tastes identical to the Kinder Bueno bars and are very soft and quite literally just melt in your mouth. They taste much naughtier than they really are - 57 calories per egg and 3.8g fat. The downside is that they melt really quickly so are not great for younger children.
Cost and availability
These are available at all larger supermarkets down the 'sweetie' aisle and are priced at £1.99 making them around 13p each.
If you are a lover of all things Bueno then make sure you grab these before they disappear for another year!
Special K Mini Breaks - Zesty Lemon
I am not a lover of Special K cereal and have never seen what all the hype is all about. I find it fairly bland and tasteless but that's just my opinion. When I was doing my online shop recently I came across Special K Mini Bites on offer for just £1 a box. As they offered various flavours as well as original I thought I would give Zesty Lemon and the chocolate ones a go.
Mini Breaks are packaged in a cardboard box and contain 5 freshly sealed foil packets. Each packet contains 24g of mini breaks so basically the same size as a packet of crisps. The design is based on the Original K cereal box so is easy to spot amongst other snacks on the shelf. The are the ideal size for popping into your children's lunchbox and are great for a quick sweet treat.
Mini Breaks are small squares made up of cereal and topped with oat pieces. They are very crunchy and are a perfect alternative to other diet food snacks. They are very sweet and in my opinion they taste of cheesecake. The lemon flavour is very zingy but not to the point of being un-edible.
The best thing about them is that they contain just 98 calories which works out to 5% of your recommended daily allowance. They are a great treat at any time of the day and mine replace the normal bag of crisps that I usually take to work with me.
The downside is that there is only about 10 - 12 pieces per pack and they seem to be gone in no time. It would probably be better to have a pot of dried cereal on your desk to pick at. I also don't like that I am left with a weird texture in my mouth from the flavouring - it's hard to describe really.
The normal price of these are around the £2 mark which is not a bad price but there are cheaper products on the market that would be a little more filling. They are also available in chocolate and original flavours.
Blistex Intensive Moisturiser
No matter what the weather my lips feel constantly chapped. They dry out in the winter due to the cold, and in the summer from the heat. When this happens I cannot help but pick at them and then this makes them sore and straight away end up regretting it! This winter has been particularly bad as it has been so cold even the skin around my lips have felt tight and cracked.
I needed an intensive moisturiser to help sort out my problem as Burts Bees, Vaseline and similar products just did not seem to work. They made the area look worse as the products were greasy and intensified the problem.
Blistex started in 1947 by a family that was in the business of developing lip care products. Their aim was to create quality products and they soon became an innovative leader in the lip care sector. The range includes coldsore creams, intensive moisturisers, lip massage gels, lip balms and lip glosses.
On their website they also have top tips to help prevent chapped, dry lips that I thought I would share:
* Prevention is better than cure. To avoid chapped lips or cracked lips always wear a lip balm and reapply often, especially after eating or drinking.
* Avoid hot, spicy and salty foods.
* Drink lots of fluids to keep your body's hydration levels high, even in winter.
* When walking in the cold or wind wrap a scarf around the lower part of your face for extra protection.
* Avoid repetitive lip biting or sucking.
You should also avoid licking or wetting the lips as this will dry them out further.
Blistex is a well known brand by all and so is their packaging. Their logo is simple but eye catching. The intensive moisturiser is packaged in a small box with a tall backing card with a big pair of luscious lips on the front. Inside the box is a set of instructions. No other lip product that I have purchased before has ever contained instructions so you know that this means business! The tube itself is tiny - the packaging makes this look as if it is much larger. The tube is made of plastic and is easy to squeeze. The lid has a flat bottom so you can stand it on on a flat surface when not in use. The lid is ribbed and screws off to reveal an angled dispenser to make it easy to apply to your lips.
Unlike any other lip product that I have used, this is in the form of a cream which I found a bit weird. It has a thick consistency but melts with ease once it comes into contact with your lips. As soon as it touches your lips it leaves behind a cooling feeling and after a minute or so they will start to tingle. It also has a minty smell and taste to it which is unusual.
I would advise applying this using a mirror as if you put too much of the cream on it does not absorb very well and you are left with white lips which can be quite embarrassing!
This started to work after just one day and within three days my lips and the skin around them were smooth with no splitting or soreness. It's a miracle!
Price and Availability
I purchased this product in Tesco but have also seen it for sale in Boots, Superdrug and chemists. At £3.29 it may seem pretty expensive for the tiny 5g tube that it comes in but it really does last for ages. I have had mine for three months and still just around half of the tube left.
I give this product 5 Dooyoo Stars out of 5 as it does exactly what it says it does, is fast acting and leaves you with soft lips within days.
I am not a huge biscuit lover, I much prefer cookies, cakes and sweets. I don't drink hot drinks either so am not an avid dunker but when I saw these limited edition Oreo's at Christmas I just had to have them.
Oreo's originate from America, one of the few products that have been popular over here in England. The plain Oreo's are available in a snack tub, individual packets or a normal pack.
These limited edition chocolate covered Oreos come boxed and are individually foil wrapped in two's for freshness. They are available in two flavours, white chocolate and milk chocolate.
I like the fact that they are individually wrapped as this keeps them fresh and stops you from eating too many. Believe me - two are plenty as they are rather sickly due to the chocolate coating.
For anybody who has never encountered an Oreo, they are chocolate flavoured biscuits with a creamy solid filling sandwiched in the middle. These particular Oreo's are then fully coated in chocolate.
They also melt easily so if you are giving these to children expect them to be smothered around the mouths and across their faces!
Despite being very sweet the white chocolate covered Oreo's are my favourites.
Oreo's 'Twist it, lick it and dunk it' slogan does not work in this case unless the milk you are dunking it in is hot (this by the way is delicious!)
These are per biscuit:
5.7gFat of which
So each packet contains a whopping 228 calories.
Price and availability
I have found both white and milk chocolate versions in my local Sainsbury's and local petrol station for just 99p for a box of 8 lots of 2 biscuits - 16 in total. I guess this is a good price considering the make and that they are sealed individually. I have just read in another review that they paid £3.49 - I definitely would never pay that for them!
I would go for the white version every time as I feel the milk chocolate ones lack that chocolate flavour. Next time you pass them in your local make sure you give them a try.
I always like to have a pack of biscuits in my bag for when I am on the go and feel a little peckish. Usually I am a big fan of McVities Go Ahead Biscuits and bars but on a trip to my local Factory Shop I spotted these on the shelf. They looked identical to the Go Ahead packs but the packaging was different and they were so much cheaper - just 50p for 5 lots of three individually wrapped biscuits.
Unlike the notorious green packaging for the Go Ahead range, Fruit and Form have a pale cream background and earthy complimentary colours for the logo. The biscuits are packaged in small see-through packets each holding three biscuits with the Fruit and Form text printed across the cellophane.
The first thing I noticed about the biscuit is that it did not have a sugar coating like Go Ahead biscuits do but the raisin pieces were included. There seemed to be more pear pieces poking out than the chocolate chips. The biscuit was very pale, as if they had not quite been baked properly.
I was not impressed once I had the first bite. They tasted savoury and quite bland. By the time I had finished my first biscuit I did rather enjoy it. They take a bit of getting used to but they have just the right blend of sweetness from the pear and savoury from the plain chocolate. And they are only around 55 calories per biscuit.
I wouldn't say that I prefer these over Go Aheads but they are a refreshing change for those who do not like such sweet snacks.
Hopefully McVities will start to sell these in our local supermarkets.
As mentioned above I have not seen these for sale anywhere other than the Factory Shop so maybe they have been imported from somewhere but the packaging is all in English. Maybe they will become more readily available soon. They are also available in Apple and Apricot and Forest Fruit Flavours.
Hold My Hand
A Mother's Journey
First of all, if you have not read this book then you really must! Anyway, back to the review........
I was given this book by a family member who thought I would enjoy the book. Having not heard anything about this book before or the author I discovered that it was a true story. This is one of my favourite genres as it gives an insight into how difficult life can really be for so many others in the world and how they learn to hope in a variety of situations.
Reading from the back of the book:
It was the start of a remarkable journey for Glenys and Scott. Although Scott came out of the coma with his personality intact, he could only move one arm.
The doctors held out no hope that he would improve but Glenys was determined he would one day walk again. Taking care of Scott herself, she attracted an amazing number of volunteers who helped with the therapy she devised, giving their time freely and in turn learning from Scott's bravery as he gradually improved.
Through the pain, even when his situation seemed hopeless, Scott never lost his love of life. His unquenchable spirit, his mother's imbue, his story with a powerful message of hope. Written with warmth and peopled with wonderful characters this is an inspiring book that stays in the mind long after the reader has finished it.
The book begins with Glenys being awoken in the middle of the night by a phonecall from a hospital in Australia. They are calling to inform Glenys that her youngest son Scott has had an accident which resulted in a head injury. When they learn that she is in fact in Germany the doctors advise her to hurry as Scott may not last the night and they are due to take him in for an operation to relieve pressure from an internal bleed on his brain. Glenys is unable to find any information out as to how the accident happened or if it was an accident at all. All they can tell her is that he was found at the bottom of the stairwell of a block of flats where he rents an apartment and must have either fallen or was pushed.
Glenys rushes around gathering everything she would need on her trip including some personal posessions belonging to Scott and her other sons. Not knowing how long her trip would be for she says goodbye to Stefan knowing that she may never see him again.
Getting a Visa also proves very difficult. As it is the weekend when the accident happens she is constantly told that she will have to wait until Monday when someone will help her and that she would need to make an appointment. Glenys finally makes some headway when she bullys a member of staff to give out a personal number for the person in charge and manages to get them to write a letter to fax to the airline after tugging on a few heartstrings.
Upon reaching the airport the airline tells her that the letter is not acceptable. Glenys says that she has a sick son that she must get to in Australia as he is likely to die very soon. Only when Glenys threatens to stand on the customer services desk and scream so all the other passengers can hear how she is treated do they agree to stamp her passport. She is told not to under any curcumstances to leave the aircraft at any of the stop off points until she reaches Australia.
On the plane journey over to Australia Glenys looks back at her life when her children were growing up. Full of both happy and sad memories it gives an insight into how close a knit family the four of them really are. Glenys was a single parent and moved many times to provide a better life for Scott, Jonathan and Sammy.
After a very long trip she is greeted at the airport by an Australian police officer that has been sent by the hospital to deliver her to Scott.
It is quite clear that Glenys shares a special connection with her son Scott. The day before his accident she goes on a boating with her boyfriend Stefan and his two brothers when she discovers later that night that her eye is severely swollen and badly bruised. She has no idea how it got there and puts it down to an allergic reaction from a bite on the lake. It is only when she sees Scott that she notices that he is also sporting the same swelling and black eye. This is just one of the many ways Glenys knows that her son is in danger and continues throughout the book.
Scott is in a coma when Glenys arrives and she spends all day everyday with him talking and reading to him, massaging his muscles and rocking him in the bed to prevent bedsores forming. From an early age Scott has been allergic to almost all medicines. He has a bad reaction to the drugs that they have given him and he takes a turn for the worse but Glenys advises them to stop giving him the drugs and let him ride the infection out on his own.
After what seems a lifetime, Scott starts to respond to his mother's voice by squeezing her hand on command. When he awakens he is unable to speak but Glenys helps by showing him flash cards and works many hours to help him. Slowly, bit by bit his speech returns. She really is invaluable during these months in hospital. She makes many friends whilst staying with Scott. They even visit regularly when their friends/family have been discharged.
Once Scott had recovered as well as he possibly can he is discharged from the hospital into his mother's care. Without any help or aftercare from the hospital whatsoever they are on their own. His left clavical was never set properly from the accident so he hasn't have any movement at all on his left side. Glenys only being just over 5 foot and weighing around 8 stone she is unable to lift Scott on his own which is a huge problem when they arrive at their apartment. She enlists the help of three burly men and the taxi driver to help carry him in. Knowing that she will need the help of volunteers she spends time handing out leaflets to passersby asking for volunteers to help with Scott. Be it minutes or hours they had to spare. Within a week there are strangers knocking at their door offering help of any kind which is gratefully received.
The taxi driver also returns and escorts Glenys back to the hospital to 'borrow' a wheelchair from the hospital as they would not allow them to take it from the hospital when he was discharged.
Medical care was costly - far more than Glenys could afford seeing as she wasn't working and could not claim benefits - but with the help of a volunteer from the hospital they managed to sneak Scott in and have both of his legs cast without being caught. This proceedure was done to give Scott more mobility in his legs so that he would eventually have the strength to walk again.
Immigration catches up on them and they are forced to leave the country where they have made so many friends. With now money to make the trip home to England friends and volunteers hold a variety of charity events in aid of Scott and the trip. With all the donations they are able to make the trip and once again they will be on there own with no help and Glenys will have to start all over again and rely on the kindness of others.
Scott is such a curageous man. He keeps going where other would have given up. Not a day went by without him being in pain but he soldiered on with his physio and was determined to walk again. He had his highs and lows but took every day in good spirits.
Glenys shows how strong your love for a child really is. You would cross the world for them, give up everything, spend day and night with them - she really is an inspiration.
This has to be the best book I have ever read. It had me in floods of tears one minute and I was laughing the next. This book has inspired me, has restored my faith in people's willingness to help and I will definitely never forget all the lessons that it has taught me. It is certainly one to add to your list of books to read in 2010.