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Sorry review incomplete - will try to edit and amend (again & again!!!) asap Unlike their Daddy, we have noticed as our three spaniel boys get older they get much much hairier. Old big old boy Bracken (14 yrs) has become so hairy, with his brown and white colouring he looks like some kind of rare breed sheep. The longer brown around his head and ears bits have gone golden at the ends and it looks like he's had a few highlights put in, and while this looks really cute, the poor old boy is bound to be absolutely boiling as the weather turns warm. Meanwhile, in parts his hair was so long that he would collect all kinds of debris and detritus in his coat which was often thorny and spikey and must have bothered him so much until we spotted it and cut it off. As summer has got closer, and he's began to pant a bit, I thought it might be a good idea to invest in some doggy hair clippers. We used the largest attachment, which was about one inch thick and it had long tapered comb-like teeth, and clipped in the direction of growth. We did this gradually ? the clippers did not cut to the length of 1 inch ? I think it was because there was lots of slack in the hair because the attachment was so big. The comb went through the hair smoothly which the clippers cut sharply and quickly. It also cut straight through many slightly matted clumps, however some really thick areas required a quick snip with the scissors. We took it slowly and paid particular attention to the areas where the hair was thickest and longest ? mostly round his neck and shoulders, tummy and butt.The results were better than expected too, the cut was very neat and uniform. The clipper was easy to clean, and everything was tidied away nicely in the case ready of another day. Paws up from all of us.
I have read countless reviews on the Fun Edition Carex hand washes - and wanting to add some frivolity to hand washing I decided to give the Cola Bottles variety a try! I usually use blue Carex, so it is a brand I am happy with - and reassured of its quality and antibacterial properties. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty, and dirty they do get, as I am allergic to many types of rubber gloves. My time at home is mostly divided between dog care and food preparation, so it's really important that my hands are well cleaned in-between each activity. Of course, there is the extra mucky business of dog food preparation and that's when I really need a good scrub. I took the really extravagant step of washing my hands there and then, even though they didn't need it and I was quite delighted and amused at the lovely sweet cola scent! The bottle advised two squirts, but I found one was enough. The bottle claims that the hand wash kills 99.9% of bacteria, it is dermatologically tested, and warns to avoid contact with natural stone and stainless steel. Since I use this in the kitchen over a stainless steel sink I was a bit concerned but nothing horrible happened. The bottle is also recyclable. Just now a 250ml bottle is half price at Tesco for 90p. So how wash it when my hands were actually dirty! Not just as much fun, I'm sad to say. The smell got mixed in with whatever I had on my hands - and the result wasn't often pleasant. For example, oniony, garlicky hands and cola bottles to do not mix well, and I found the same with other strong smelling foodstuff such as tuna or herbs. However, curry and cola did seem to go well together, and as far as post-doggy care, the smell and the lather were great for cleaning up my hands. The real test was off course the doggy-dinner preparation - if I have any bones, rough cuts of meat or left overs they all get boiled up, and when cool I strip every morsel of meat off the remains to make a big gooey, greasy, gunky, gourmet meal for the mutts. Unfortunately my hands are always in a really bad state after doing this and poor old cola bottles was just not tough enough to shift the grease and the smell - so I resorted to the standard scrubbing brush and washing up liquid. I have to do this usually anyway, so I wasn't that surprised or disappointed that cola Carex wasn't just heavy duty enough. I've now switched the Cola Bottle Carex to the bathroom, where it is much nicer to use. I would recommend it for general hand-washing, but for especially pungent food preparation the scent doesn't work too well. Thanks for reading! Also posted on Ciao under same user name.
We often have folk staying at Spaniel Hall, and I always like to be as hospitable as possible and be sure that there is something nice to eat with a few drinks before dinner. Rather than just throwing a few crisps or nuts at them I like to do something a bit more interesting and creative, and either make dips or nachos ? for which tortilla chips are required.Many premium brands are expensive ? and so covered in flavour dust you could write your name on them ? while this is ok if they are on their own, if you go to the trouble of making dips or nachos then all this flavour is really wasted ? and in fact can get in the way of any nice flavours of your own.Always the tight-wad, I tried the Tesco Everyday Value Tortilla Chips to see how well they did the job.A 200gm packet is just 46p. The chips are slightly salted and not as big as the premium brands. 100g contains 472 calories. As with all TEV products the pack design has been updated.On their own, whilst the texture is fresh and crunchy, they are very tasteless, dry and bland ? however this does give you a good canvas with which to work.My favourite dip is homemade houmous ? I usually do a couple for variety (sun-dried tomato and chilli & lime are my favourites) ? and of course the tortilla chips are served cold with this. When I am making nachos I whack the chips into a warm oven for a few minutes, load them with chilli and cheese, and then stick them under a hot grill just to get the cheese melting. Because they are so small, I keep heating time down as they could go soggy or burn more easily than larger thicker chips.I'll usually but about three or four bags at a time ? if I'm going to the trouble of making something nice to go with them I want it to be worth my while.They are pretty grim on their own, but if you are using them as an ingredient or serving them with something tasty then they are perfectly ok. It's therefore hard to know what to award these point wise ? if you wanted to serve them alone I'd say two stars ? with something else, then I'd give them four ? so I'll round it off to a nice triangular tortilla chip shaped three!Thanks for reading.
I'm terribly negligent of my skin care -I?d rather have an extra half hour in bed than properly cleanse, tone and moisturise or whatever people do nowadays. I?m especially lax at makeup removal ? after a night out and a few shandies I have a magic pillow case that removes all traces of makeup which are left once I collapse of an evening!I therefore don?t spent a lot of money on skincare (I spend it on the shandies instead) and I was delighted to see that in the Everyday Value Range Tesco Facial Wipes were just 50P! The photo shows the old Tesco Value pack ? as with all the TEV range they have been updated and feature nice little pink make-up and beauty motifs.In each pack you get 25 ? like all wipe packages there is a little resealable opening at the top to remove wipes individually and keep the remainder moist.They have a lovely smell ? the pack says they have aloe and camomile extracts, buy I can?t quite detect either in the scent. They smell very light and fresh ? other wipes I have bought tend to be a sickly sweet fragrance but these are lovely ? although they may be a little bit perfumey for some.I have not had any sensitivity at all to these wipes, and even though you are warned to avoid the eye area I rub away at old mascara with no sting whatsoever. To be so cheap they are quite substantial and on those evenings when I do remember to take off a face of make-up (usually the nights when I am the driver and have laid off the drinks) one is sufficient to do the lot.I took some away on an urgent trip recently and found they were great for a quick all-round freshening up whilst travelling, and now keep a pack in my bag for when I need a handy wipe for hands or face. On the subject of driving, I also gave the dusty inside of my car a bit of a clean with a couple while I was sitting waiting for my MOT ? and they brought the dashboard up a treat I must say.The pack advises to use with 3 months but even I?m going to get through a pack quicker than that. Users are also advised not to flush them down the loo.If you like a bargain and are not bothered by sensitive skin I would definitely recommend giving these a try.I?m no great authority on skin care, and don?t take much time or effort on my own (probably too late anyway) but these are easy, pleasant to use and effective.Passed the MOT by the way! Yay!Thanks for reading! Also posted on Ciao under same username.
I recently bought these as a treat for my three Spaniel boys. As serial chewers they have excellent teeth and oral hygiene, so I bought these primarily as a treat, and if there were added benefits of dental care then that was a bonus. I'm always looking out for treats that will last longer than a quick gulp, so I thought if these are designed for chewing then hopefully my dogs would spend a bit of time eating them. The sticks are approximately six inches long, with a red coloured centre, running through the chew like a stick of rock, and are surrounded by a beige coloured, plastic-looking substance with raised lines which make it look like a cog when viewed side on. . They look very artificial and reminded me of something that was made by Lego or Mecanno and wouldnt look out of place in a box of childrens building blocks.The boys always know by the tone of my voice when I call them for a treat so they were already very excited when I reached them a stick each. Very unusually for them, they hesitated before tucking in.One seemed not to like his at all and let it drop - then looked at me for a tastier alternative - meanwhile one of his bros snatched the one he'd left. I would not buy these again - my dogs are healthy enough and a treat should be an exciting experience - which these obviously were not. Thanks for reading.
I often need a quick tasty and healthy snack at work and I often keep a stash of Asda flavoured couscous. It''s practically instant - just add boiling water and leave to stand for a few minutes, or if you like it piping hot give it a few secs in the microwave. This particular flavour is Spicy Vegetable and contains grains of couscous, flavouring power and a tiny amount of dried vegetables.The packet suggests cooking it on the hob by bringing a pot to boil then allowing to stand on the heat for 5 minutes, but I prefer to make mine in a large mug. The packet contains 2 servings at 196 calories per serving. Despite being very greedy I find that a full pack is too much - but half a pack is is not enough, so I buy a lot of packs at a time and empty them into a big jar which I keep in the cupboard at work. The flavour is very tasty, but not especially spicy so I add a couple of drops of Tabasco to liven it up. It is suitable for vegetarians, contains gluten and wheat and my contain traces of nuts, peanuts and/or sesame seeds. Often have this in the evening as part of a main meal, but make up the whole packet, and use half to make a cold couscous salad. The pack advises not to reheat, keep refrigerated if using cold and consume within 24 hours. It contains no artificial colours, flavours or hydrogenated fat - would wholly recommend this as a quick snack taht''s tasty & healthy too. Thanks for reading.
A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with IBS ? Irritable Bowel Syndrome ? or as I sometimes call it when it flares up Irritable B*tch Syndrome. As any of you who have it, it is unpleasant, painful, embarrassing and often manifests itself in a number of different ways.Usually, mine is the sort that makes me a ?runner? ? at home, at work, in the street or in the supermarket ? and I have to find a loo immediately. It's painful and very inconvenient but always short lived, and providing I can find a loo easily, apart from being drained and weak, I can manage it well enough.However, sometimes my IBS affects me in the opposite way and I am unable to go and for the days (and days) of constipation, I have been given Movicol.Each sachet is 13.8g and contains some stuff called ?Macrogol? which increases the water content of poo making it soft and easy to pass.Recommended Dosage for Constipation.A few weeks ago I experienced what could be called normal constipation. I'd been ill from a nasty virus, and as my diet as my appetite took a dive and I could only stomach certain simple foods. I took a couple of sachets, but it didn't have the desired effect of making me go quickly and urgently.
(sorry but wont let me add remainder of review - I'm off to bed)
I'm reviewing this Tesco tinned dog food under the heading of the Chicken in Jelly variety and focusing particularly on it, but am also considering the Tesco tinned dog food range as a whole as I usually but this in a multi variety pack.
A pack of six tins costs £2.78, and an individual tin is 47p.
With my Tesco shop I'll usually include a tray of assorted tinned dog food. I'm not brand loyal at all, so I'll buy what's on offer and if nothing specific is cut price, I'll go for the Tesco own label.
The tin design is different to the one above, and interestingly, the word "Premium" has been dropped! It still appears on the dry food in the range, but can't be found on the cans of wet food now.
I wonder why.
As far as wet food goes I much prefer homemade doggy dinners - even if it is only meat scraps or liquid from boiled up bones - and their daily main food source is a complete dry food especially for working dogs which we buy in bulk.
I do feel that a doggy dinner is incomplete without even a little wet food - if only to add variety in texture, so sometimes it's the supermarket choice that gets served up.
The tin I have beside me on the table (well washed out I assure you) gives hardly any information at all. It simply states that it is "complete & balanced nutrition" and is "fortified with vitamins & minerals". I buy in multipacks so perhaps individual tins do give more information, but I'm not sure.
However I did get this information from the Tesco.com website under product details:
Typical Values 100g contains
Vitamin D3 250.0iu/kg
Vitamin A 1250.0iu/kg
The tin didn't say how much actual chicken it contains - but looking at the nutritional information one ingredient certainly stands out - MOISTURE!
To me this really points out the purpose and potential of the food - it's simply something wet to add in.
The fat isn't particularly high to be honest, but the protein is very low for something that we usually refer to as "doggy meat". Indeed, the bottom few inches of the tin contain nothing but jelly, and are completely devoid of "chunks".
On one occasion I did get a can that contained nothing but moisture (neither jelly or gravy - just water). I can't fault Tesco's customer service as they gave me a full refund on the whole pack of six which I had bought, but it did emphasise to me how big an ingredient this is in "wet" dog food.
While writing the review, I realised as a multipack that the majority of info would be on the surrounding wrapper so I hauled it out of the bin just to check and sure enough, it was there. I don't think it is necessary to list out all the ingredients, but it is interesting to see that the actual Chicken content is only 4%.
When I give this to the boys they each get one third of a tin, and the rest is dry food. While I'm not impressed by it they boys love it - no matter how good their dry food is, they would really miss something wet alongside it. I put it in the middle of their dry food and it's always the bit they eat first. Sometimes depending on the season, I'll add a little cold or hot milk in with the meal - I did try this once without adding the "dog meat" but they knew the difference, and while they ate their dinner they weren't too pleased.
I'll continue to buy - and use this. There is obviously plenty of flavour in it and I feel that each dinner does need a variety in texture. I would not recommend it as "complete" dog food, and would be much happier if the tin didn't make the claim.
For what is it - wetness, texture and flavour - fine, and I would recommend it as such, but no matter how much the boys seem to love it I think it is wise to consider this as simply a doggy dinner "garnish".
I'll give it three stars, because the boys like it so much - but their recommendation comes a lot higher than mine!
Thanks for reading.
Because positive confirmation and attention is so important to my boys I will always have a treat of some kind or other in the house (or in my pocket) to slip them. I do like to make sure that they differentiate treats from meals - and are aware of the significance of getting a treat as opposed to getting their dinner.
I don't buy Bonios all the time, but often have a stash in the house. For me they fall into the category of a "snack" - which is something the boys don't get very often, but is useful to have around for specific feeding requirements.
Made by Purina the website says that they are available in 375g, 650g, 1.2kg, 5kg and 12.5kg boxes, but I usually only buy the 1.2kg box which is currently priced at £2.95 at Tesco. As with other products I keep an eye out for a special offer and tend to stock up when the price is lower.
The ingredients are: Cereals (30% whole wheat), Derivatives of vegetable origin, Oils and fats, Minerals, Meat and animal derivatives.
The nutritional value is:
Crude Ash 4%
Crude Fibres 1.2% (love this - I imagine row of Bonios saying swear words!)
Feeding instructions suggest the following according to your dog's weight:
7kg 1 Biscuit
15kg 2 Biscuits
30kg 4 Biscuits
As with all feeding instructions is advised to have plenty of fresh drinking water available. Owners are also told to supervise the dog when giving him or her the treat. I know what they mean, but it makes me chuckle to think of them sneaking into the house when we are asleep and indulging in an unsupervised midnight Bonio feast!
I can't for the life of me see what they find attractive in these. They look so dry and large - I usually give the boys a small biscuit as their treat. Apart from the bone shape, nothing about these seems to say "dog" to me - they look just like a bone shaped digestive! There also no variety in colour or shape - and although the dogs don't notice, it does seem a bit boring to me that there is such a lack of variety. They don't smell meaty or dog food like to me - just smell a bit like brown bread.
However they absolutely love them! They are gone in two seconds flat - for the size I would like to see more time spent enjoying and eating them - but that's my boys' fault, not Purina's!
I feel they are slightly too big for a treat but good for a breakfast, after a big energetic walk or swim, or a weekend night snack before bedtime (they usually get their dinner earlier on a Saturday or Sunday when we are not at work). They are also also handy if for some reason dinner time is stalled or delayed, as a Bonio each will keep them appeased for a short time at least.
I'll often break them in half, not being mean, just to make them more of a treat size.
I also really like to have some Bonios in if I know any children are coming to visit. They always want to play with the boys and give them a treat, and a Bonio each is great, as due to their size a child can hold them at one end - and the boys can grab them with the other. My boys are very gentle, but sometimes kids are a little nervous of their big greedy mouths - plus a big biscuit means they don't get slobbers all over their fingers! I do bear in mind that these are a big snack and ration dinner portions accordingly!
Purina focus a lot on the benefits of Bonios to your dog's teeth, as the bumph in their ad on Tesco.com reads: "the Bonio biscuit with its crunchy oven baked texture helps to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy. This will help to scrape away the plaque and to reduce tartar build up on your dog's teeth". As with most treats they are eaten really quickly, but the bigger the snack the more munching time is spent so I am glad that the boys are getting even just a short moment of tooth cleaning.
I'm happy to give the boys a Bonio from time to time - they are really handy to have for those snacking occasions.
I'll give Bonios 5 stars - they are good quality and very enjoyable for my dogs. They absolutely love them, but I do keep an eye on their consumption and don't give them as freely as other treats.
Thank you for reading.
Many people who know me also know about my three spaniel boys, and often when they have dog products that can't be used they kindly think of me and donate them to us.
One thing I have been given twice recently is Tesco Everyday Value Dog Mixer. I was gifted one bag by someone whose family dog had sadly died and they didn't want any leftover food to go to waste - and I got another bag given to me after someone got their Value product designs mixed up and thought they had bought a bag of cat litter!
Like all TEV products the packaging has been updated from the picture and now features little doggy motifs instead of the old red/white/blue Value logo.
Taken from Tesco's website, the ingredients are (unspecified) cereals ,oils and fats ,minerals, and the nutritional composition per 100g is: Protein 10.0g, Fibre 3.0g and Ash 4.0g.
The bag is 4kg in weight and costs £1.98. Tesco advise this food is intended to be fed along with fresh or canned meat, and of course, drinking water should always be available.
The individual pieces are small, round and are biscuit-like in appearance, and as far as dog food goes smell quite inoffensive.
Each evening our boys' dinners are about one-third meat and two thirds dry. As working dogs we usually feed them on a high protein dry food which we get in bulk, and put some wet home cooked meat or canned food in the centre of this (rather like the way people plate up a curry).
I dished up the TEV mixer in the same way, and unusually for them, the boys hesitated - for a split second only - but noticeable enough. They ate the lot however but I could tell that their usual dry food was missed a little. The following evenings, I cut the TEV with their usual dry food and gave them extra meat until all of the TEV was finished.
As hungry - and greedy - dogs, unless they are ill, they never refuse food of any description, but it was clear that they noticed a difference. I think it is most likely that the smell didn't excite - their regular dry food stinks to high heaven.
Whether or not they were aware that there was a lower protein content I can't say, but until the bags of TEV were finished they did get more meat mixed in.
Like people, different dogs have different needs, and as my guys eventually move towards old age and retirement I expect their feeding may need to be altered. I wouldn't rule out this as a mixer, but just for now they are back to their regular one. Having said that, I wouldn't dissuade any dog owners from giving this a try, bearing in mind that it is not a complete dog food and that variety in feeding is key.
I very much appreciate being given a couple of bags of this, and it certainly wasn't wasted. It's not a product I would buy for us - but it is worth considering depending on your dog's needs.
Thank you for reading.
My legs were dancing for joy when leggings came back into fashion. Being of the "apple" shape, they had considerably helped me through the nineties, as I could hang out skinny legs, whilst covering the bumpy top half with a nice long top.
I spend very little time and not a lot of money shopping for clothes on the whole - I find I am either in my uniform or jammies these days - but otherwise I like a tunic top, leggings and boots.
I've many clothes from Asda - there is one within walking distance from where I work. The quality and price are fine for my needs, and one thing I buy quite often are these leggings.
They are quite simple - in plain black with an elasticated waistband, and made of 96% Cotton, 4% Elastane. They are available in sizes 8 - 18 and are priced at just £6 a pair.
Right Leg - The Things I like about these
They are really comfortable and very elastically - I would be a size 12 in a trouser but I buy a 10 because my legs are very thin (pity the rest doesn't match!). I like them to be tight on the leg but there is still enough "give" in the elastic waist. My legs are quite short, but I like to have plenty of length so I can tuck the leggings well into my socks as I absolutely hate the horrible chill when a little bit of skin gets exposed! The waistband is nice and high too, so I can tuck all of me in - before covering the result with my long top. They wash really well - I just sling them into a regular 30 degree cotton cycle then tumble or dry on the radiator. Even after plenty of washes they still retain plenty of elasticity and black colour.
Wrong Leg - The Things I don't like
At £6 a pair you know you're not going to get great quality. I find that although the colour and the elastic are fine, the material itself thins out after lots of washing. After a while they almost begin to look see-through, and though they don't go baggy, they do become a tad transparent. Mind you with a long top, long boots and short legs there's little actual legging to be seen. They are also quite easy to pluck or put holes in them - I'll often wear boots with buckles or studs, and I find if I sit crossed legged or on my feet, I'll easily put a hole through the thin material.
I think at the end of the day you get what you pay for - they don't last long and soon end up tied in a series of knots to become a doggy tug-of-war game. I suppose I could invest in more expensive, better quality leggings and get more longevity - but I'm so clumsy (especially trying to prove that I can still do a full Lotus after a few shandies) I'd probably end up puncturing a good pair with protruding decorations on my boots eventually anyway.
They are perfectly adequate for me, and if you have similar needs and a small clothing budget, yes I would recommend them, and because Asda is so handy I will buy again - but don't expect great quality and you'll not be disappointed.
Thanks for reading.
My three spaniel boys are very typical - in that they will eat almost anything! It seems no matter what they are offered they will woof it right down, so when I give them a treat I want at least to feel it is something special and good for them too.
I bought Winalot Shapes at first when they were on special offer: before I'd just bought own brand snacks or even just threw them a few scraps of people food as they seem to eat anything I give them with relish, but I did feel like a better owner by giving them something that I perceived at least to be of better quality.
Winalot Shapes are crunchy dog biscuits in a variety of 6 different flavours - and of course, shapes! The box/bag points out the different benefits of each one:
Heart shape - Antioxidants to help natural defences
Fish shape - Omega 3 & 6 for healthy skin & coat
Flower shape - Iron to help support vitality
Bone shape -Vitamin D and Calcium for strong teeth and bones
Star shape - Vitamins to support good health & energy levels
Kennel shape - with Fibre for a healthy digestion
It's quite cute that they have different Shapes to support specific relevant benefits - I'd often thought a lamppost would be a good one for a healthy urinary tract!
The daily feeding guide offers advice on how many biscuits to give according to size:
7kg - 10 biscuits
15kg - 13 biscuits
30kg - 15 biscuits
and suggests that "Shapes can be fed at any time of day as a treat, reward or tasty addition to your dog's meal". It is advised that fresh drinking water should always be available.
We limit the amount of biscuits to about 6 each a day - not because we are big meanies, but just to be sure that they know the difference of being "treated" and getting a meal. We usually feed each dog one at a time - again not to be mean, but if they are handed more than one they tend to let go and drop a biscuit, and then there is a scrambling match and a lot of "grrr"ing!
Despite the special offer being long gone, I still continue to buy these for my boys for a variety of reasons.
Nutrition - Winalot shapes are produced by manufacturer Purina, and I can feel confident that as a respected pet food company I can give my boys a tasty but healthy snack. As I said, they will eat anything, so unless it is a homemade doggy dinner, I have to put my trust in the manufacturer to know that what I am giving them doing them good - as well as giving them a treat.
Price (if you buy a big bag) - Shapes are available in two sizes: the 800gm box currently priced at Tesco at £1.79 and the larger bag weighing 2kg and costing £3.25. The Tesco website helpfully works out that the latter is £1.63 per kg - as opposed to £2.24 per kg for the 800gm box, so since there is a significant saving on the larger bag (and since I have three hungry boys) it makes sense to go for this. This also compares really well with own/other bands when buying biscuits on the supermarket shop.
Smell - theirs not mine. The big difference between these and other biscuits I have got for my boys is that they really seem to pick up on the Shapes' smell. As springer spaniels they have great noses, and although they will eventually sniff out any treats I have hid in my pocket, they seem to detect these right away! My oldest dog (who is the Daddy) is a sleepy old thing and I often wake him up gently by putting one of these at his nose - even before he opens his eyes his nose has a little twitch and he licks his lips!
Whether or not this means that Shapes are a superior product I don't know, but it is reassuring to think that the boys easily identify these as a treat, and that they excite their sense of smell as much as their tastebuds!
However the smell isn't that strong to me. I'm well used to handling various substances that having dogs inevitably requires, and don't mind them one bitl, but these biscuits don't smell offensive or yukky top me in any way at all.
It might be just because the boys associate Shapes with a treat, but the on occasions when any of them have been sick and refused their dinner, they will always munch away on a couple of these. Again I am confident that even though they are only eating a little, what they are eating has plenty of important nutrients included.
I don't think that my dogs would dislike any snack that was offered to them - I just think they like Shapes a little bit more than some others.
I would definitely recommend these as a treat - and they boys' noses recommend them too!
Thanks for reading.
On a weekend away I usually take two bags; one small, one big. The small one contains a toothbrush and a pair of knickers - the big one contains my carry-out of beer, wine (and a flask of ready-mixed Black Russian for Baron Spanielmeister) plus all the treats I usually don't allow myself, like crisps, nuts, snacks, sweeties and chocs.
I remembered seeing a review on Dooyoo of Scampi Flavoured Fries recently, so while I was buying my naughty treats in B&M Bargains for a recent break, I bought a multipack of snacks which contained 3 packs of Scampi Fries and 3 packs of sister snack, Bacon Fries. The multipack was just 99p.
It had been DECADES since I'd eaten either, so I couldn't wait to get to the Hotel, spread a huge bath towel over the bed, unpack my goodies, pour a drink and start my holiday picnic!
Scampi Fries are sold under the brand name "Smiths" - I remember Smith's Crisps from when I was little, but as the parent company is Walkers, then the crisps are no more. However the Suits in Marketing wisely kept the Smith's name for these snacks, as I imagine their main target market is the nostalgia seekers like me!
The pack is smaller than a crisp packet and weighs 27g. Each bag contains 127 calories, 5.7g of fat and as the caption boasts "Cereal Snack with a Delicious Scampi & Lemon Taste". I don't think the design has changed since back in the day, except for the addition of the nutritional details which includes the allergy advice "Contains Milk, Wheat, Gluten, Soya. Made in a factory that also handles: Barley, Celery, Mustard".
The Fries were much as I remember in taste - a very definite scampi taste, but not quite lemony - more like vinegar instead. If you imagine a hollow fish finger, drenched in vinegar then this is probably a very accurate description of the flavour.
The smell is a really strong one - a bit like the whiff off fish & chip paper - so if fish is your thing you'll like these, but if not, I could understand the smell being quite off-putting.
The texture meanwhile is somewhat different - I remembered them being light and flaky, and kind of melty in your mouth, but the ones I had were rock hard. They were crunchy, rather than crispy, but not unpleasant at all - it just meant that I had to "refresh" myself a bit more heavily to wash them down. The manufacturers seem to appreciate this as the illustration on the pack shows a pint of beer, a glass of white wine for the lady, and a soft fizzy drink which looks like cola, but Baron Spanielmeister assures me is a Black Russian.
The smell, flavour, texture and the "serving suggestion" picture on the packet all point towards the notion that these are a "grown-up" snack and although I ate them as a kid, any children I know would probably avoid these.
I'll give them 4 out of 5 - they are a nice bit of nostalgia, but just not as nice as they seemed in the past.
Few things ever are!
Thanks for reading.
Recently I've been reading many of Amazon's recommendations based on previous purchases, and to be honest, they have been ok, but it's been a few months since I really got into a book.
A colleague at work (based on books I had lent him in the past) highly recommended "The Knife of Never Letting Go", but as I had quite a few novels to work through I didn't rush to get a copy. It was only just before Christmas that I saw one in a local charity shop one lunchtime and thought, oh yes, I must give that a go. I picked it up for about 99p, and when I brought it back into work my colleague was really enthusiastic and told me I had to start reading it immediately and report back on my progress and thoughts.
I quickly finished the mediocre book I was on and started this one.
"The Knife of Never Letting Go" is Book One of the trilogy entitled "Chaos Walking". It is aimed at older children/teenagers - I loved "The Hunger Games" and "His Dark Materials" (which I'd shared with the guy who put me onto this) - but I'd never heard of the author (Patrick Ness) or the titles so despite a high recommendation I was open-minded but not expecting too much.
To go into any detail of developments right from the first few chapters would act as terrible spoiler, so I'll only go into what I was initially told and what can be read from the back cover.
Todd Hewitt is the only and last boy in Prentisstown. While he was infant a mysterious disease struck the town and all of the females including his mother were killed, while the men were left with their "Noise" - everyone could hear each other's thoughts all of the time. Meanwhile animals could speak and their Noise could be heard also.
Todd is only one month away from his 13th birthday when he officially becomes a man.
One day, at the swamp near his home he makes a startling discovery - and when this becomes common knowledge he is compelled to leave the town quickly for his own safety. With only his talking dog Manchee for company he has to literally run for his life, pursued by the powers and people that rule Prentisstown.
Not knowing what he is running from - or running to - he must leave his childhood, and all that he has ever known to be real - or true - behind.
I'll stop right there - because as soon as these events occur and the stage is set, then the extraordinary story begins, each chapter with its own shocks, surprises and cliff-hangers that lead immediately into the next. It is a classic page turner of the type that I hadn't read in a very long time, and I would hate to deprive any reader of the action and revelations to come, so instead I'll focus on the style and technique that also contribute to making this such an amazing book.
Todd Hewitt - the last boy.
As the main character and narrator, the book reads in the way that Todd thinks. As he is aware of his "Noise", he knows that his thoughts cannot be hidden, so unless he is alone his ruminations and feelings are never private. He tries to keep his thoughts hidden, by covering or blocking this, and although many characters have learnt to employ a certain discipline over their Noise, as a boy (and as a truthful, honest and emotional character) this is a skill which Todd has not mastered. I found myself at times willing him not to think or feel certain things as he would inevitably betray himself.
He is acutely aware of his status as the last boy, and is very much an outsider - all other boys who have reached the significant age of 13 - albeit only recently - shun and look down on him. At first he just seems like a bored, dissatisfied teenager, but just as his loneliness and isolation begin to become apparent, he is immediately thrust into a world of confusion, mistrust and hurt as the story - and the truth unravels.
Meanwhile, in a world where all books are banned and have been destroyed, Todd's language - and its spelling - has changed accordingly: "cuz", "kinda", "tho", "thru" all enhance the text as Todd speaks and
Unlike the Daemons of "His Dark Materials", the animals - despite being able to talk - are just how you would expect animals to be. Crocodiles simply say and think "Bite" - whereas with sheep, their only thoughts and words are "Sheep". Manchee, as a dog, has much more to say for himself - and these words beautifully reflect exactly what you would expect a talking dog to say. He is excitable, loyal and brave - his main interests are his master, food and sharing the pleasure he gets from having a good poo!
Aside from urgency in the storytelling through suspense and cliffhanging chapter endings, Ness also creates atmosphere and pace through the text itself. Noise is often written in bold and a different typeface- sometimes it screams, cries and sobs through blocks of text made up from Noise alone, in varieties of text printed chaotically.
Meanwhile, large sections are made up from lists of short lines - usually when Todd is questioning, trying to rationalise or just plain panicking. The words are written in a manner that makes you read them with both an urgency and delay - just as such thoughts emerge. I've seen this technique before when it has just been used as a "filler" but in this novel this is absolutely not the case.
Reeling from the impact and shock of "The Knife", I have started Book Two "The Ask and the Answer" - it too continues in the same vein, as I expect Book Three "Monsters of Men" will do also. While I can't put it down either, I am continually bracing myself as the knocks of Book One really hit me hard.
"The Knife" is a good read but not an easy one, despite being aimed at younger readers. It is a roller-coaster of events and emotions, at times it is amusing and heart-warming - but at other times brutal and heart-breaking.
Along with "The Hunger Games" and "His Dark Materials" it has become one of my favourite books of recent years, and is as engaging and gripping for an adult readership as I imagine it would be for teens.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book - playful at times, disturbing at others - and its impact will stay with me for a very long time indeed.
If you're not lucky enough to also get a copy in a charity shop for 99p, you can buy the book from Amazon in Paperback for £5.59 (new), Used from 1p (with added P&P) or for Kindle for £4.74. The whole Trilogy new in paperback can be bought for the special price of £16.77.
Thanks for reading.