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My toddler seems to have accumulated quite a few books from the 'That's not my...' series. When he was around 7 months he was given 'That's not my tractor' by a family friend. He was already obsessively interested in anything with wheels so this book really took his interest.
'That's not my tractor' is a touchy-feely book published by Usbourne. It was written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells. The board book comprises 12 thick, chunky pages which are perfect for babies to handle (and near impossible to tear!).
The book is filled with brightly coloured pictures of tractors. Every tractor has a textured patch for babies to feel. The texture patches are made from varying materials, including: soft padded rubber, corrugated card, fine sandpaper, Velcro, glossy PVC and shiny holographic card. Each page features a simple 4-5 word sentence. This book concept helps babies develop sensory and language awareness.
My little boy thoroughly enjoyed going through the book, touching the patches and turning the pages. Another nice aspect was pointing out the little white mouse who appears in random places as you progress through the book. Followers of the 'That's not my...' series will notice him popping up in all the other titles.
The language used in this book is very basic and so suited to the young audience. Little listeners will be able link the descriptive words to the textures. For example, "That's not my tractor. Its trailer is too rough." (when the baby touches the trailer in the picture they will feel rough sandpaper). This book is also great for introducing colours as every page has a brightly coloured background.
Overall, a fab first book for babies which combines words, pictures and textures. Recommended!
Book Dimensions: 16.4 x 16.2 x 2 cm
Made with paper from a sustainable forest.
Current Price: £3.48 (from Amazon
Other titles in the series include: That's not my....(Puppy, Car, Dinosaur, Train Truck, Monster etc.)
I was going to buy some Johnsons baby bath from Tesco but noticed Halo's Baby Bath on special offer. The packaging advertised it as being chemical-free and suitable for sensitive skin. My son suffered from mild eczema as a baby and even though he hadn't had a flare up for some time I was still careful about the skincare products I chose. I purchased one 250ml tube for £1.02 (normal price at Tesco was £1.54).
*** About Halos n Horns ***
The Halos n Horns company was founded by Leila Wilcox. Her son used to suffer from red, blotchy skin after his bath and sometimes flare up with eczema. In 1995, she decided to cut out a long list of chemical nasties from her little boy's bath time routine. It worked amazingly well and soon his skin began to clear up. Leila went on to develop the Halos n Horns chemical-free skincare range for children. Her main mission was to create a child friendly, affordable alternative to the costly specialist products on the market. The Halos n Horns range would be free of chemicals linked to eczema, asthma and other health risks.
*** Packaging ***
The product comes in a white, flexible plastic tube which is easy to squeeze. It has an easy-to-open blue flip lid. The logo and text on the tube look a lot like children's doodles (with cute faces drawn in the letter 'O'). This design fits the product range very well. On the front of the tube it highlights the fact that the product is dermapaedic, hypoallergenic and kind to eyes.
The back of the tube gives a full list of ingredients, as well as mentioning some known nasties that it does not contain. It states that the product is made with natural conditioners and plant-based cleansing ingredients.
*** Performance ***
I squirted some Halo Baby Bath into the water whilst running my son's bath. I then put a little bath cream on a sponge to give him a thorough wash. Halo baby bath has a mild, sweet smell that is pleasant and not too strong. It wasn't as perfumed as Johnson's baby bath or shampoo. I washed his hair with the bath wash as the packaging said it could be used as shampoo as well. It also said it was kind to eyes so I didn't have to worry about it stinging him.
The results were very good. The Halo bath wash left my son's skin soft and clean with a nice sweet smell. The only disadvantages were that the didn't lather up very well or create many bubbles in the bath water. However, I felt that these factors were ultimately unimportant.
Discovering this product range has been a bit of an eye opener. It's really made me think about the host of chemicals used in many baby skincare products. Given the choice I would now much prefer to pay a bit more for a product that is kinder to my child's skin, than opt for a cheaper alternative full of chemicals. Overall, I have been very impressed and would recommend it.
*** Ingredients ***
Aqua, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamide DEA, Acrylates Copolymer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Glycol Distearate, Diazolidinyl Urea, Parfum, Laureth-4, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Denatonium Benzoate
Does Not Contain: SLS. Phthalates. MIT. Parabens. Triclosan. Propylene Glycol. SLES.
Not tested on animals.
*** Where To Buy ***
The Halos n Horns range is available across the UK from: Tesco, Somerfield, Sainsbury's, Ocado, Waitrose and Morrisons.
I bought 'Ten Little Ladybirds' for my nephew's first birthday and it luckily turned out to be a really big hit. A few years later, with a toddler of my own, I came across a copy of this book at a NCT newly new toy sale. Despite being pre-owned, the book remained in excellent condition. It was priced at 50p so I didn't waste any time snapping it up. This book has turned out to be a firm favourite in our house and very much loved by the smaller residents. Due to the extremely durable pages in the hardcover version it is still going strong after 5 months of frequent page turning.
'Ten Little Ladybirds' was written by Melanie Gerth and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. It is an extremely cute countdown book aimed at pre-schoolers. The book contains 10 touchable plastic ladybirds. It is just 24 pages long, which is an ideal length for young children - as they can so easily get bored.
The book begins: "Ten little ladybirds sitting on a vine, along came a butterfly and that left..." (now flip the page). The story continues: "Nine little ladybirds skipping on a gate, along came a caterpillar - and that left...". It goes on in this fashion until one little ladybird is left and she decides to fly home. The final two pages show a brightly painted scene full of garden creatures (plus the other nine ladybirds who hot-footed it away earlier). Apologies for the ending spoiler!
The book is illustrated with cute, brightly coloured cartoon style drawings. Due to the tactile nature of the book, toddlers can use their fingertips to count out the ladybirds. As they progress through the book the ladybirds gradually disappear. 'Ten Little Ladybirds' is an ideal learning tool and teaches toddlers to count backwards in sequence. The sing-song rhymes make this simple little story all the more enjoyable for a young audience. It is not a very wordy book (with one short sentence on each page) so just right for toddlers.
This book is recommended for children aged 3 years and upwards. I do, however, feel that it is probably better suited to slightly younger children. This minimum age is likely to be down to the fact that the plastic ladybirds could be considered choking hazards if removed. This is obviously not a problem if children are always supervised with the book. The ladybirds are very firmly attached to the pages so it would take a very determined child to prize one off.
Overall, a fun and enjoyable read for young children. Highly recommended!
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Gullane Children's Books (7 Jul 2008)
ISBN-10: 1862333505 ISBN-13: 978-1862333505
Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18 x 1.4 cm
This title is widely available from all good bookshops. The board book version is currently priced at £5.48 from Amazon. The hardcover book can be bought for just under a tenner from there. If you look around the shops you can find several books with a similar format: 10 Friendly Fish, 10 Tiny Tadpoles, 10 Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars etc.
Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puddings are always on our shopping list. The whole family love them with roast dinners, sausage & mash and even lamb chops! We have a pack of Aunt Bessie's original Yorkshire puddings in the freezer at all times. They are a yummy addition to hot meals in the week and are quick and easy to prepare. The puddings cook in just 4 minutes and taste absolutely delicious filled with gravy!
I usually buy a pack of 12 Aunt Bessie's original sized frozen Yorkshire puddings (220g) from Tesco. They are widely available from supermarkets big and small. Aunt Bessie's packs of 12 puddings are currently priced at: Tesco (£1), Asda (£1.19) and Sainsbury's (£1.20).The original puddings are a good size, I usually serve 2 per adult and 1 per child with each meal. Besides the original small sized puddings, you can also buy midweek minis and giant puddings (which fill a dinner plate!).
Aunt Bessie's boast that their puddings are made from best quality store cupboard ingredients, and contain nothing artificial. They are made with: Wheat Flour, Water, Free Range Egg, Vegetable Oil, Semi-Skimmed Milk and Salt. They are therefore suitable for vegetarians.
Conveniently, the puddings can be cooked straight from the freezer. Simply arrange them on a lined baking tray and pop onto the top shelf of a pre-heated oven (200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6). The puddings are ready in just 4 minutes. It's best to serve them immediately as they can cool quite quickly.
The only other brand of frozen Yorkshire puddings I have bought have been Tesco own brand. These seemed slightly smaller, were a bit harder in the middle and didn't taste anywhere near as good as Aunt Bessie's to me. Aunt Bessie's puddings have a lovely golden crispy edge, yet the centre remains soft and perfectly cooked. I have attempted to make my own yorkshire puddings in the past and they have never turned out as tasty as Aunt Bessie's. The packaging describes them as perfect every time and I have to agree!
Nutritional Info. (per baked pudding)...
of which sugars 0.3g
of which saturates 0.2g
*** About the author ***
Shirley Hughes (b.1927) is an English author and illustrator. She has written over fifty books which have sold more than 11.5 million copies, and illustrated more than two hundred. She began work as an illustrator during the 1950s and 1960s. In 1960 she wrote and illustrated her first book, 'Lucy & Tom's Day'. She is probably most well-known for her book series featuring Alfie and his little sister Annie-Rose.
Shirley Hughes has received several awards for her work, including: Kate Greenaway Medal 1977 for 'Dogger', Eleanor Farjeon Award for Services to Children's Literature 1984 & OBE for Services to Children's Literature 1998.
*** Story ***
Alfie wins the race home but accidentally locks himself in the house alone! His mum and baby sister, Annie Rose, are on the other side and can't get in. Lots of friends and neighbours come to help rescue Alfie, but he has plans of his own. Find out if Alfie can solve the problem all by himself. An energetic story for 3-6 year olds.
*** Verdict ***
My mum used to read me Shirley Hughes books when I was little and I remember the stories with great fondness. Her books were always beautifully illustrated with incredible attention to detail. The pictured scenes were always very true-to-life with the pushchair crammed full with baby paraphernalia, the cat on the table licking the breakfast bowls clean and a house full of toys! The stories themselves would always have a humorous twist, guaranteed to captivate a young audience.
I visited the library with my 2 year old last week and saw 'Alfie Gets In First' sitting on the shelf and had to get it! I thought that my little boy would enjoy it as a bedtime story and wanted to see if Shirley Hughes books were as good as I remembered.
We sat down to read the book that evening and I was pleased to find that my memory of the Alfie books didn't let me down. The story itself was full of excitement and the colourful drawings were just as thoughtfully produced as I'd remembered from all those years ago. My little boy especially liked looking at the highly detailed pictures and loved calling out familiar words. The double pages in the book acted like a split-screen (with Alfie's mum and sister on left-hand pages and Alfie stuck inside on the right-hand pages). This clever idea certainly adds interest for the audience. It's a very sweet and believable story which, needless to say, ends happily with lots of cups of tea!
*** Where To Buy ***
First published in 1981.
New edition published in August 2004 by Red Fox.
Currently available on Amazon.co.uk for £3.98.
Or get it for free from your local library! If the book isn't on the shelf it may still be possible to order it in from another local library using the inter-loan scheme.
I bought an ELC wooden post box for my 1 year old last Christmas. It was priced at £15, but I saved £3 with a ELC birthday club voucher. I was specifically looking for a role play toy and liked the fact that this was a solidly designed wooden toy, that looked like it would last.
The post box is brightly painted, complete with mock collection timetable on the front. The set includes five coloured wooden letters (painted: blue, orange, pink, yellow and green). The post box has a hinged door so that the letters can be easily removed by the child to post again (and again, and again!). The entire post box is made from wood and has rounded edges, making it child friendly. The post box set is suitable for ages 6 months - 3 years.
At 2 years old, my toddler still enjoys a game of post box every now and then. As the wooden letters are coloured I am able to suggest different colours for him to post. This gives him the opportunity to learn whilst playing, and he enjoys the praise when he gets it right. Once the letters are all posted the game can start over again. The post box door is loosely hinged (with elastic rather than a metal spring) - this means it won't snap back quickly and trap little fingers!
The letterbox hole is the perfect size for the letters and other thin objects, such as crisps and biscuits. There is a fairly large space inside the letterbox. This leads me on to say that it's worth checking the post box regularly as it can frequently turn up lost things!
Although not the cheapest toy, this has certainly been good value for money in terms of cost per play. It has been extremely well used and still looks in great condition. I will storing this away for baby number two! Overall, highly recommended.
* It's also worth mentioning that by joining the ELC Big Birthday Club you get sent a 20% off voucher around birthday time and also a 10% off voucher at Christmas. Signing up is easy to do, simply complete the form on their website.
*** About the company ***
Pintoy manufacture a wide range of award winning, high quality wooden toys that provide hours of play value. All Pintoy products are made in Thailand using rubber wood from properly managed plantations. These forests are ecologically protected and when the trees are cut down the forests are re-planted.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
We had a Pintoy baby rocking horse passed on to us from my brother, as his 4 year old had long outgrown it. It was originally bought from John Lewis for around £40. My little boy was 18 months when he got it and loved it from the first moment he saw it. 6 months on and the rocking chair has definitely become one of the most well loved toys in his collection.
The baby rocking horse is beautifully made from high quality rubber wood. It is painted in bright primary colours. There are fours rubber stoppers on the actual rockers to prevent damage to the floor - a very useful feature indeed! The rocking horse is suitable for ages 12 months and upwards. The seat back can be adjusted and the safety rails are removable when the child is ready. These clever design features allow the toy to adapt as the toddler gets older and grows in confidence. The rocking horse dimensions are: 52cm (H) x 30cm (W) x 73cm length.
It has provided hours of fun for my toddler and has lasted extremely well (especially after quite heavy use from two children). It is a few years old now and still looks in great condition despite the amount of rocking back and forth the poor old thing has had! It is traditional in design but has useful modern features as outlined above.
I wanted to find an affordable, lightweight stroller for taking away on holiday. After searching online the quinny zapp seemed to fit the bill perfectly, and come highly recommended. Quinny zapp pushchairs retail at £120-£150 in the shops. I ended up getting one from eBay for £60 as we didn't need it to be brand new.
The quinny zapp is a compact, stylish 3-wheeler pushchair. It is suitable for children aged 6 months to 4 years (maximum weight 18kg). It is one of the smallest folding pushchairs on the market and will fit into even small car boots. The folded dimensions are: (L)69, (W)27, (H)30cm. It is very light in comparison to many other strollers, and weighs just 8.8kg. It can be used in combination with a Maxi Cosi car seat to make a travel system for infants - adaptors are available for this purpose.
The quinny zapp is quick and easy to put up and collapse. There is suspension on all wheels - making for a comfortable ride. It has a handle height of 106.5cm. The sun hood is detachable. It has a 5 point safety harness which can be adjusted for the perfect fit. The brake system is simple but effective. Simply press the red pedal above the right wheel to lock the brakes. To release the brakes, press the grey pedal above the left wheel.
We got a strawberry red quinny zapp from eBay but it comes in a range of colours (including: black, orange, blue and lilac).Our quinny included a rain cover (which attaches with Velcro straps) and a travel bag. The travel bag features a long strap making it easy to carry the quinny over your shoulder when not in use.
One of the first things that stood out with the quinny zapp was it's extremely easy manoeuvrability. This is largely down to the front wheel being able to rotate 360 degrees. Our main pushchair at the time was a hefty Graco Quattro and in comparison the quinny moved almost effortlessly. It felt light as a feather and could be set up and collapsed with minimum effort and in no time at all. The pushchair is well designed and looks modern and funky, as well as being ultra-practical.
For pavement pushing the quinny zapp is a real dream - it is an ideal city stroller. However, it is not recommended for rough terrain. I made the mistake of taking our quinny on a stoney park walk. It didn't handle the ground or dips very well at all. Another point I must mention is that the quinny zapp doesn't recline. When my son falls asleep in the pushchair his head sometimes flops forward due to the set angle. Due to this I unfortunately can't give it full marks for comfort.
Storage is also limited to a small fabric basket that can be fitted under the pushchair, and a bag for the back. It's only suitable for a light load so I always ended up carrying the change bag separately. As a practical plus point the pushchair is very easy to wash. The seat cover slides off the steel frame and can be machine washed on a cool setting. The wheels are quick release so can be removed easily for cleaning when necessary.
We ended up liking the quinny zapp so much that it became our main pushchair when we returned from holiday. We now have a quinny freestyle for rough terrain and day to day use (as it reclines and has lots of storage store). I refused to part with the quinny zapp as it has proved so invaluable. It still gets lots of use on holidays and for city strolling.
I started coming out in a nasty red rash with certain deodorants. It happened with more than one brand and I was puzzled which ingredient might be causing the allergic reaction. I took a trip to Boots to try to find a product that would be as gentle as possible on my skin, and still offer effective protection as a deodorant. After speaking to the lady at the pharmacy counter, and explaining the problem, she directed me to the Bionsen range which was hypoallergenic. Following her advice, I selected a Bionsen 100ml pump spray deodorant to buy at £2.65. It wasn't the cheapest deodorant on the shelf but I knew it would be well worth the money if it worked and didn't cause the rash.
*** Product Description ***
Bionsen spray deodorant offers gentle, long-lasting freshness. It deodorises even most sensitive skin without preventing perspiration. Bionsen neutralises the bacteria responsible for bad odours, ensuring a natural sensation of freshness that lasts all day.
Bionsen deodorant is made using Japanese spa minerals which help to nourish and protect the skin. It is aluminium free and parabens free. Bionsen is hypoallergenic and clinically tested. It does not contain alcohol. The Bionsen formula offers a more natural alternative to those concerned about the possible links with breast cancer.
*** Ingredients ***
Aqua, Alcohol Denat, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Caster Oil, Parfum, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Triclosan, Lactic Acid, Copper PCA*, Zinc PCA*, Manganese PCA*, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Geraniol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Citral, Farnesol, Benzyl Alcohol, CI 60730. *Thermal Salt Complex
*** Packaging ***
The packaging is simply designed and looks modern. The container is made from clear plastic and contains blue liquid deodorant. This is very useful as you can easily see when it's running low. The blue plastic lid is easy to remove. The packaging is 100% recyclable.
*** Performance ***
The product has a light, fresh fragrance that doesn't over-power. It is very easy to apply with the pump spray container. It gives good coverage with 1-2 sprays and doesn't feel too sticky. It dries quickly and won't leave white marks on clothes, like some spray deodorants. It works very well and I'm pleased to say doesn't bring me out in a rash. It does what it says on the label and remains effective for 24 hours of normal activity. However, if you were working out at the gym or going clubbing you would certainly need to re-apply!
*** Where To Buy ***
The Bionsen deodorant range includes: a spray can (150ml), pump spray (100ml), roll-on (50ml) and deodorant stick (40ml).
Bionsen products can be bought online or from the following stores: Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.
*** Manufacturer ***
Guaber UK Ltd,
Harmill Industrial Estate,
*** Verdict ***
I'm extremely pleased to find an effective deodorant that doesn't bring me out in a rash. It has a pleasant, soft fragrance and lasts really well over the course of a day. The packaging is nicely designed and allows me to quickly see when the product is running low. I feel the performance justifies the price, which is slightly above average for 100ml of spray deodorant. I have continued to use Bionsen deodorants as they have proved to be the perfect solution for my allergy.
I bought a pack of Tommee Tippee gummy teethers from Lloyds Chemist when my son was around 6 months old. He was going through a particularly bad time with his teething at that point and the product caught my eye. Previously I'd relied on Bonjela teething gel, applied on the finger- this was backed up with Calpol or Aston & Parsons herbal teething powder on really bad days. He also tried Bickiepegs but didn't take to those at all. The gummy teethers looked new and different and at £4.99 for a pack of 2 worth trying out.
Gummy teethers look a bit like dummies. However, the part that goes in the mouth is a flat semi-circle, made from soft clear rubber. It has raised dots on one side and raised lines on the other. The teether has a small easy to grip handle, ideal for little hands. Gummy teethers can be cooled in the fridge before use - the perfect remedy for hot, sore gums! The teether can also be used for applying a thin layer of teething gel.
Tommee Tippee gummy teethers are Stage 1 teethers, suitable for early teething. They are specially shaped for little mouths and designed to soothe tender gums before first teeth appear. Tommee Tippee also offer other teethers in their range: Stage 2 (icy bite keys teether), Stage 3 (smiley face teething mirror) and Stage 4 (the toothy peg teether).
Gummy teethers are available in pink, purple, green and blue. They are widely available in the shops and can also be found in Asda and Tesco supermarkets. Each teether comes with a clear plastic clip-on cover to keep it clean - this is particularly useful when taking it along on outings. The teethers are suitable for all forms of sterilisation, I just popped them into the steam steriliser with the baby bottles.
My son got on really well with the gummy teethers. Like the dummy, it gave him extra comfort to have something in his mouth - it was also a good shape and size. Best of all the teether gave him a lot of relief from teething discomfort. He especially enjoyed chewing on it chilled, straight from the fridge. The teething gel was still used, as was the pain relief syrup and powder, but the gummy teether certainly helped a great deal.
I wanted to get a good tooth brushing routine going with my son as soon as possible. I started very gently brushing his gums and first teeth as soon as he started teething. Our health visitor gave us a baby dental care pack that contained a soft bristle toothbrush and Aquafresh Milk Teeth toothpaste. We carried on using the same brand of toothpaste as he was happy with it, and still within the age range. It comes in a 50ml tube and is currently on offer at Boots for £0.97 (usually £1.29). It can be found in all major supermarkets and chemists.
Aquafresh Milk Teeth toothpaste has been developed for 0-3 year olds. It provides gentle fluoride protection for baby teeth and gums with a calcium formula. It is sugar-free and has a mild, minty taste. The other children's toothpastes from Aquafresh are: Little Teeth (4-6 years) and Big Teeth (6+ years). Milk Teeth has the lowest fluoride content in the range. Children aged 0-3 who have cavities might need extra protection from a higher fluoride toothpaste (it's worth checking this with the dentist).
I use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste now that my little boy is 2. When he was a baby we started off with just a smear of toothpaste on the brush, so it has been gradually built up. His teeth get brushed twice a day and one tube seems to last us ages. He's recently gone through a stage of really disliking his teeth being brushed. We got through it by brushing our teeth alongside him and encouraging him to copy. A new Winnie the Pooh toothbrush also helped ;)
I would definitely recommend Milk Teeth toothpaste. It is specially developed for 0-3 year olds, reasonably priced and widely available in the shops. My little boy also likes the taste which has made the task of getting him into a good tooth brushing routine much easier! No fillings yet so I can also report that it's been very effective for us.
*** Ingredients ***
Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sorbitol, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Phosphate, Sodium Monofluorophosphate, Sodium Saccharin, Aroma, Carrageenan, Calcium Glycerophosphate, Limonene.
Contains: Sodium Monofluorophosphate 0.4% w/w (1000 ppm Fluoride).
I always buy Muller Little Stars yoghurts as part of our big family shop. My 2 year old loves them and the nieces and nephews (ages 2 to 9) like eating them when they visit too. Muller Little Stars packs are almost always on offer at Asda & Tesco, with the deal usually being two Little Stars multi-packs for £2.50. Normal price is around £1.50 per multi-pack. Muller Little Stars range includes: Smooth Yoghurts, Fromage Frais and Fruity Jellies.
Each multi-pack contains 6x85g pots. The smooth yoghurt multi-pack contains a good selection of flavours (2x Blackcurrant, 2x Raspberry & 2x Strawberry). Muller Little Stars yoghurts are made with 100% natural ingredients and contain real fruit puree. It's also good to know that your child gets 11-12% of their RDA calcium, per 85g serving.
The best thing about Little Stars yoghurts is they are a healthy, delicious treat that is convenient too. They can be offered at breakfast time, as a snack, as part of lunch or as dessert after tea. The pots are small so ideal for little hands. They suit a wide range of ages due to the smooth consistency and are great for weaning. The yoghurts have a rich, creamy taste with a nice fruity flavour. They are fairly easy to open but I still help my little boy with the lid just in case!
Muller Little Stars often have pack promotions. Currently you can collect 4 tokens (one from each multi-pack pack) and redeem them for a free Peppa Pig book worth £3.99. I've just ordered one and all you need to do is enter the codes online, pick the book title and fill in your name and address. There's no postage to pay.
Another nice touch by Muller is that the cardboard packaging often has a print-out to turn it into something fun. Just add scissors and sticky tape!
Contains: Milk, Free From Artificial Colours, Free From Artificial Preservatives, Free From Nuts, Suitable for Coeliacs, Suitable for Vegetarians.
Valued Opinions (https://www.valuedopinions.co.uk) is a market research website that rewards members for completing surveys. The information gathered from these surveys helps influence the development of new products and services. Honest consumer opinion is very valuable to companies who want to understand how their customers think.
Valued Opinions is a member of ESOMAR (The World Association of Market Research Professionals) and a company partner of the MRS (Market Research Society).
*** Signing up & Surveys ***
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Rewards typically range from 50p to £2 per survey and are always clearly stated on the email invitation. The reward will depend on the estimated completion time - surveys can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes. It is up to you whether or not you choose click the email link and take part. If you do not qualify for a survey, or the required number of respondents has already been reached, you will still receive one entry into the quarterly prize draw for £250. You also get a prize draw entry for responding to each 'Hot Topic' survey.
*** Rewards ***
When you collect £10 in your account you can request a high street voucher. Simply go to the 'My Account' page to do this. Reward partners include: Marriott, Amazon, Tesco, John Lewis, HMV, Marks & Spencer, Boots, Argos, Waitrose Wine Direct, Ocado, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridges, Outfit, Topman, Topshop and Wallis. If preferred, you can donate your rewards to one of the participating charities listed on the site. These include: World Vision, WWF, Amnesty International & British Red Cross.
*** My Verdict ***
I have been a member of Valued Opinions for well over a year. In that time I have probably averaged about £10 a month return. This was greatly helped by qualifying for a 38 week specialist survey which paid £40 on completion. I am a member of various other market research panels (Lightspeed, Toluna, Pure Profile, One Poll etc.) and have personally found Valued Opinions to be the most rewarding. I usually get emailed 1-2 surveys per day and try to respond quickly before places fill up. Last year I left my rewards to build up in my account then cashed out in Oct/Nov ready for Christmas shopping. Whilst, it may not make you a fortune it was certainly a nice bonus to have these vouchers ready to put towards presents.
My 3 year old nephew is a huge Postman Pat fan and is always watching it on TV. When I asked my brother what he'd like for Christmas last year it came as little surprise that he wanted something Postman Pat. I managed to find a Postman Pat friction van in the Boots catalogue for £10. As it was an 'order in' product not held in stock, I arranged for 2 vans (including one for my little boy) to be delivered to my local store. This was before the new SDS Postman Pat show had started so it was much harder to find Pat toys in the shops. Since getting the vans I've spotted them in several shops (including Toys R Us) ready to buy straight off the shelf.
The red van is a good size and made of sturdy plastic. It's a friction powered toy - simply place on the floor, push it along a little and watch it journey across the room. The side doors on the van open and close and are fun for children to play with. The set includes Postman Pat and Jess the cat figures which are removable from the van. My little boy loves taking the figures in and out and swapping them round to give Jess a turn in the driving seat. The back doors on the van are sealed shut which I felt was a bit of a design oversight. Most Pat fans would probably have liked to load and unload the mail - so that was slight shame.
The toy is recommended for ages 3+ and is very easy for pre-schoolers to use and understand. My son has had hours of fun with it and still takes it everywhere with him (although we frequently lose poor Pat and Jess). The van design is nicely detailed and, just like the one in the original show, has the Royal Mail logo on the sides and trademark PAT1 number plate.
The Pat friction van has definitely proved to be a very robust toy and has endured lots of dropping and throwing. Everything is still working and complete and the only thing that shows it's age (we've nearly had it a year) are the number plate stickers looking slightly tatty. As it's been such a favourite toy I would have no hesitation in recommending it. Unlike a lot of children's toys it doesn't require any batteries so that's a bonus too!
I've just polished off a bowl of Carte D'or Triple Chocolate ice-cream which is currently half price at Tesco (£1.49 for 900ml tub). Usually we get tesco own brand ice cream on offer (2 tubs for £3), so it was nice to try Carte D'or for a change. I've tried the vanilla flavour in the past and thought it was the nicest I'd ever come across (with Kellys vanilla ice cream coming close second - yum!).
Carte D'or Triple Chocolate is a combination of chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream and a velvety chocolate sauce. The ice-cream is topped with delicious dark chocolate pieces (made with 70% cocoa from Ecuador).
As a bit of a chocoholic, I was expecting a lot from this ice-cream. The consistancy of the ice cream was good and the real chocolate pieces gave it a little added crunch. It was quite rich (especially with the addition of the thick chocolate sauce) but wasn't too sicky. I definitely felt that it lacked the luxury flavour that I'd found in the Carte D'or vanilla ice cream which I really thought was something special and worth paying extra for. I've equally enjoyed tesco's own brand chocolate ice cream - which is much cheaper - so was a little disappointed in Carte D'or this time. It doesn't come close to Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate which really is a treat for chocolate lovers!
Carte D'or Triple Chocolate was very nice but lacked the luxury, indulgent taste that I'd expected from this brand. I'd definitely buy it again but only if it was on offer.