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takeachance
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    • Soft Eating Liquorice / Sweets / 63 Readings / 62 Ratings
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      21.07.2010 21:49
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      If you like liquorice then this is the King of Liquorice

      I suffer with low blood pressure and one old wives tale is to eat some liquorice when feeling a little light headed.
      After hearing this I went on a mission to find a liquorice treat.
      Ive never been a big fan of liquorice, always imagining that chewy hard glossy black stuff (no disrespect to liquorice allsorts).

      My search took me to Waitrose where my eye was caught by Darrell Lea soft eating liquorice. RRP £1.99 these were actually on a 99p offer so it seemed rude not to try.

      THe packaging is like a brown paper bag with a black and grey stripe pattern along the top and bottom. It clearly says 'Australia's Darrell Lea soft eating original liquorice' on the front of the packet and has a lifesize picture of two pieces of the liqourice to tempt you.The back of the 200g bag has all the ingrediants and nutritional values and a little bit of the history of Australias Darrell Lea.

      In the early 1900's, Harry Lea began selling handmade sweets from a push along cart in Perth, Australia. The business grew and by 1927 he had opened his first shop naming it after his son Darrell.
      Wht made the shop unique was that the confectionary was freshly made each night and sold out by the end of the following day.

      Darrell Lea's liqourice is made using no artificial colours or flavourings. It is cooked gently to seal in moisture creating its unique soft texture and fresh taste.

      Ingredients include wheat glucose syrup, wheat flour, molasses, treacle, raw cane sugar, maize starch, vegetable oil, liquorice extract, natural aniseed oil flavouring, salt.

      100g contains 302 calories, 3.2g protein, 67.5g carbohydrate of which 34.8g sugar, 1.8g fat, 0.7g fibre.

      I must mention the aroma that hits you as soon as you open the bag, its truly delightful. The bag inside has a greaseproof layer. It contains approx 20 pieces of liquorice. Each piece as big as your little finger.
      The first piece I tried I was amazed at how easily i bit through it there was no tugging and pulling it was just soft and moist and both the flavour and texture are truly divine.

      The best thing is that really 2 pieces is enough to quench a sweet craving and alot less calories too!

      I cant really say that its helped with my low blood pressure but I now always have a bag of this in my cupboard and on another plus side my daughter really doesnt like it so I know that theres always a supply in the cupboard!

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        16.07.2010 21:30
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        Gotta be worth a shot

        After battling with my four year old for the best part of three months EVERY bedtime I was at my wits end. It was after reading a review on here that I thought my amazon voucher could be put to the best ever use.

        Four weeks ago I purchased the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind for £23 from Amazon. I must say that life has since taken a calm turn.

        This blackout blind is quite unique in that it can be made adaptable to fit any window up to a maximum size of 135cm by 200 centimetres.

        It arrives ready in its own travel bag which is a great idea as this truly is a portable solution to the early light mornings and late light nights!

        THe blind can be used as soon as it arrives, simply pull the elastic and button up (much like kids adjustable waist clothing) then attach to the window using the suction cups! - No cutting to size, no drilling, no fixing!

        I thought that it would be a bit 'ugly' but the star pattern all over, although subtle is great for a childs room.

        As previously mentioned weve now had this a month and I must admit that Ive yet to take it down proving that the suction cups do work and it does indeed do the job its intended for.

        Now Id like to rave that this is the best thing since sliced bread but I should make you aware of any downsides as thats the main point of this site!

        As the glass on a window is set into a frame and because obviously the suction cups do stick out a few centimetres there is a very small line of light allowed in all around the edge of the blind and Ive found myself trying to stick masking tape around the edge of the blind.
        Obviously that solution didnt really last long and weve learned to live with the little bit of light allowed through as the 99% its blocked out has made such a huge difference to our lives. No more arguing every bedtime. Nice calm quiet bedtimes. You parents out there will appreciate how important that is.

        So how could this blind be improved? Perhaps if the suction cups would stick to the PVC which they currently dont , also perhaps if it came in different colours as its only available in black which in the recent heat hasnt done anything to help keep the bedroom cool ... but saying that we wouldnt be without our Gro Anywhere blackout blind now!

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          10.05.2010 22:17
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          It is what you make it!

          We booked a last minute Bank Holiday break at Golden Sands, Haven Resort in Mablethorpe. Booking just six days in advance we still managed to find a bargain on their website of a 6 berth Fri - Mon Bank Holday break for £149.

          3 nights accomodation, entertainment during the day and all evening at just £25 a head, to put it into perspective.

          We found the location very easily as it was well sign posted before reaching Mablethorpe. Checking in was a doddle and it literaly took us three minutes to check in and take our keys.

          Finding our caravan proved a little more difficult, mainly due to me holding the site map upside down methinks!

          Actually once we'd found our number it was quite nicely located only a short four minute walk from the shops /arcades/ entertainment and a mere seven minute walk to the pool.

          Anyway back to the caravan. It was only a Standard that we had paid for so we weren't expecting too much but were actually pleasantly suprised. The van seemed fairly new and clean and the floors were vinyl - Yippee - I cant stand other peoples dirty carpets full of stains and pet hairs !

          A six berth consists of two bedrooms, 1 double with an en-suite toilet (but no sink) and a twin. The other bed is a bed settee in the living area.
          The bathroom had a decently powered shower sink and toilet and I must say looked clean enough to use straight away.
          The living area as mentioned consisted of the bed settee as mentioned, a table and benches, a large wall mirror, a small tv, a gas fire and a partitioned kitchen area which included gas oven and microwave. There was enough crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils for the six of us.

          We werent planning on spending much time in the van, it was simply somewhere to lay our head so we were suitably happy with the acommodation. Friday night we went straight out to find some tea on-site.
          At this site there is a fish and chip shop, pizza takeaway, spar shop and an on-site pub with full pub menu for adults and children.
          During our stay we tried the fish and chips and ate at the pub, both of which were good.
          I must also mention the 4-5 odd leaflets we were handed for various Indian and chinese restaurants that delivered to the site. We did attempt to order an Indian on one occasion but were told that the wait would be an hour.

          During the day there was plenty of entertainment for all ages. From indoor craft / activities and games to more adventurous outdoor activities all on site. Some activities were free and others ranged from £3 - £10+.
          What we soon discovered was that alot of these activities were fully booked by Saturday.
          We did manange to book the children into two paid activities. Power jets in the pool area which at £3 for 1/2 hour were fantastic fun and were available for ages 4-8.
          The second activity was only for the older child. Rope walking was for ages 8+ and I must admit was very scary! My 9 year old neice was a fantastic sport and completed the course but I must say that as a spectator my nails suffered!

          It didn't really matter that we couldnt get into any other activities as we used the free pool daily. I must say it was one of the nicest pools for families in a resort like this that we have ever seen. Its a beach pool and even at the deepest end is only 1.2 meters. The long water slide was a huge hit with the children too. My only gripe would be that there are only 6 showers for all to use and there was a queue every day. There are also only 2 hairdryers available to use but Im assuming the lack of facilities is because everyone is under a 10 minute walk from their van.

          There are also bikes to hire on site and a free indoor play area which was very convenient to pop into whenever a storm cloud passed!

          The evening entertainment started at 6pm with a character show which I must say was extremely loud. THe younger children ( 4 and 5) in our party enjoyed this every evening but it was a little young for the 9 year old although she was soon tempted down to the dance floor with the disco and party games. The staff are really good with the children and try to include as many as possible.
          Next up was the obligatory Family Bingo! This really is just a bit of fun with prizes ranging from sweets to stuffed toys.

          As well as all the activities on site the park is well positioned a short 5 minute walk across the road from the beach. The beach was clean and absoloutely full of shells which kept the girls busy for hours.

          The only thing that really let us down was the typical British weather and we are now counting the days to our holiday to the Meditteranean !

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            05.05.2010 19:47
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            Interesting stuff

            I purchased the National Trust Butterfly Observatory just before christmas in SAinsbury. Alongside alot of the christmas aisle, this was reduced to half price at £7.50.

            My four year old daughter crazes me for pets but unfortunately Im not that way inclined and as shes not old enough to look after pets herself we only manage a goldfish. I Thought that this would be an ideal stocking filler and would almost pass as a pet?

            The box, pictured above, measured 30cm x 30cm and is emblazoned with the national trust 'oak leaf' logo. It picures two girls clearly amazing at the butterflies in the observatory.

            On opening the box on christmas morning, we found it to contain the netted observatory, a pipette, an instruction booklet and a coupon to send off and redeem for your caterpillars.

            We have had to wait for the spring as the caterpillars needed warmth with a minimum temperature of 10c to thrive.

            We filled in our coupon for the caterpillars and had to post it along with £3 for the postage. The caterpillar eggs arrived within a couple of days. They arrived in a cardboard box which contained a plastic container with 5 caterpillar eggs. The lid has small air holes and on the bottom of the container was what looked like a layer of wet sand but this is in fact the food for the caterpillars.

            We were instructed to keep this container upright and out of direct sunlight which we did. I must say that we were disappointed at first as for a week to 10 days nothing seemed to happen but after this the caterpillars did seem to grow daily at an alarming rate before our eyes!
            My daughter though wasn't really fussed as there was nohing to do except observe!
            Mummy was quite repulsed, 5 huge fat hairy caterpillars in the living room wasn't my idea of a cute pet either!
            Id say at their largest the caterpillars were as long and wide as my little finger. They would often catch the corner of my eye whilst circulating their pot!

            Soon enough we saw silk threading around the pot which to be honest the first time I noticed I thought that they were going mouldy! On reading the instruction booklet I was made aware that this was quite normal.

            After around six weeks, which was longer than the suggested three to five, three of the caterpillars became chrysalides and hung themselves onto the bottom of the lid. They are to be left to fully develop at this stage for seven days and it is important that they are not disturbed. At this point mummy had to call upon brother-in-law because I wasnt brave enough to open the lid.
            The chrysalides need to be gently laid in the observatory. Apparently it is common for them to be shaking at this point! It is a natural instinct that they have to scare off predators.
            Id say that this 'chrysalides' stage took another two weeks which is probably why my daughter totaly had no interest in these at all.

            The chrysalides then become really dark and within 24 hours the butterflies emerge. Id like to say that I wasnt interested but it was quite amazing. YOu can actually see the butterfly wing colours through the 'shell' at this point.

            Once the butterflies are fully formed you must put some natural habitat around them in the net. THings like leaves, twigs, flowers or fruit. You also need to feed them at this stage which is really interesting.
            AS the less likely to make mess, I fed them the suggested orange cut into quarters but you can also feed them apples, bananas or a sugar-water using the pipette provided.

            We managed to 'raise' three butterflies out of the five caterpillars we started with. We are currently enjoying watching them in the observatory but it is suggested that after a few weeks they are released back to their natural environment.
            The butterflies are 'Painted Lady' and are orange, red and dark browns.

            I have tried to explain to my daughter that it will be kind to let them go shortly and she has already decided to catch some ladybirds and put them into the observatory!

            I think that at age 4, my daughter is a little young to fully appreciate this but for an older child it really is educational and engaging.
            Actually the box does state suitable for children over 7 years.

            I do believe that I got a bargain but would be a little disappointed had I spent £15 then a further £3 on this. Afterall, £18 would almost buy me a rabbit wouldnt it?
            In saying that we are enjoying this christmas gift in May when many other christmas presents are already long forgotten at the bottom of the toy cupboard.

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              19.04.2010 19:06
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              Fantastic activity book, value for money for 3-7 yr olds

              After borrowing '1001 things to spot in fairyland' from the library and having hours of fun with it with my daughter, I decided that it well deserved a purchase.
              Shopping around I found that the individual hardback Usbourne 1001 things to spot book retailed at around the £5 mark with RRP of £7.99.

              An amazon search unearthed this little gem. For just £5.49 a paperback version of the A4 sized book containing 4 of the hardbacks in one big bumper sized 132 page book.

              1001 Animals to spot.
              1001 Things to spot on the farm.
              1001 Things to spot in the town.
              1001 Things to spot Long Ago.

              For those of you unfamiliar with these activity books the general idea is that each double page spread has a scene depicted of either animals, farm or town etc. Around the outside of the large pictures are 10 smaller pictures with a number next to them. These are what you must find within the large picture and the number next to them tell you how many of that item you must find.
              As an example '1001 Animals to spot' is split into 13 scenes.
              On the farm
              On safari
              In the desert
              In the arctic
              In the woods
              In the ocean
              In the rainforest
              In the garden
              In the outback
              In the swamp
              In the mountains
              By the sea
              Childrens farm.

              The first scene, On the farm is pictured over a double spread. Around the outside are ten small pictures. A puppy, a duck, ducklings, lambs, hens, foals, chicks, cows and calves. Next to each smaller picture is a number. THis is how many of each object you need to find in the scene.

              This is repeated on every page / scene so as you can imagine there is hours of fun to be had from this book.
              My daughter is 4 but in my opinion she may have enjoyed this from age 3 with help from mummy. Although it is not actually necessary to be able to read because of the pictures I find my four year old sounding out the letters. It is great to see her so engrossed in a book. As well as encouraging children to study the pictures and read odd words this book is excellent at encouraging counting also. I often find my little one trying to count whilst spreading her fingers across the page so she knows which items she has already counted.

              Unlike the very pink and girly fairyland book 'The Big Book of Things to Spot' would be enjoyed by both girls and boys.

              I would highly recommend this book as a value for money 4-in-1 edition for boys or girls aged 3 -7.

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                15.04.2010 20:40
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                Greggs or the Bakers oven - its all good

                Our Bakers Oven was recently taken over by Greggs. I was quite upset as The Bakers Oven was somewhere I'd go if in town with my young daughter for a quick bite and a break. With a fast turn-around, large aisles for the buggy and pastries galore I always favoured it to Mcdonalds and the like. For this reason I didn't visit it when it became Greggs for a good few months.

                Needs must though, those with young children will understand. Constant loo breaks, drink breaks, snack breaks and the like are enough to turn your shopping trip into the most stressful experience ever.

                Its a simple compromise . "Let mummy shop for an hour and we will stop at Greggs for a pastry on the way home."
                In my mind it could be worse, chips, sweets and chocolates are all too easy to use as bribery and somehow a ribena and sausage roll doesn't seem as bad.

                Greggs was founded as a family bakery business on Tyneside in the 1930s and now boasts 1400 shops across the UK. These shops are all Greggs owned and not franchised.

                Greggs boasts that it bakes afresh daily and serves quality food at great value prices to a million customers a day. Its best seller is the Greggs sausage roll, selling approximately 140 million each year! The only products it has to buy in are crisps and drinks. This way they can keep costs down and pass on their low overheads to us customers.

                Typically you will find bread, sandwiches and rolls (with just about any filling imaginable) cakes pastries and biscuits, pasties and sausage rolls as well as coffee, juices and fizzy drinks. Thet are all exceptional value but none more so than their value meals and offers. A breakfast roll and a freshly ground coffee for just £1.99 or a meal deal or a freshly prepared sandwich, drink and crisps for £2.99.

                As well as the restaurant area you are free to visit and purchase from front of shop for a quick takeaway.

                I have always found the staff extremely helpful and the service to be very quick. Its child friendly and smells great and doesnt leave a huge dent in your purse.

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                  31.03.2010 22:11
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                  Worth the £2.99 I paid but you can probably get these ideas for free on the internet

                  In an attempt to keep the little darlings busy this easter holiday, despite the appalling weather I happened upon this activity / cooking book.
                  It was actually in the bookclub at work for £2.99 and instantly grabbed my attention with its bright yellow cover featuring lots of easter goodies.

                  We have quite a collection of Usbourne books and they are always a hit with both myself and the children. This delightful paperback A4 sized book is 32 pages long and contains 16 different craft / cooking activities:

                  Chirpy chick cakes
                  These are easily made using a basic cake recipe then decorated using yellow coloured butter icing and different sweets to make the eyes and beaks. They required adult superision but kept the children entertained and the end result was really quite good.

                  Flower sweets
                  These uber-sweet sweet are made with icing sugar, egg white and lemon flavouring. They dont require cooking and from the picture looked really easy to make but they were sticky, messy and far too sweet to eat! They do however make pretty decorations!

                  Sticky Easter Cakes
                  We havn't made these yet as from the ingredients they didn't appeal to me. They contain semolina, cinnamon and almonds and are sticky as they are then smothered in lemon syrup.

                  Sunshine Toast
                  My daughter and I actually made these at mums for a mothers day breakfast a few weeks ago. Literally you cut out a shape (heart or flower for example) from the centre of a slice of buttered bread, place on a buttered baking tray and gently tip a pre cracked egg into the shape. Bake in the oven for 6-7 minutes. The shape you cut out is great for dipping in the yolk too!

                  Easter Truffles
                  These look really colourful but we havn't tried them yet. Truffles made from chocolate drops, double cream and vanilla rolled over sugar strands.

                  Marzipan eggs
                  Another one that we probably wont try as they arent something we'd eat but they look good for decorative use. Made using marzipan and colouring and shaped as your little ones would shape play dough!

                  Easter Fudge
                  These look great as a gift but we have yet to try them. The fudge is made using icing sugar, marzipan, milk, butter and vanilla. The picture suggests wrapping each piece in cellophane, tying with ribbon and placing in a gift box.

                  Coloured eggs
                  An all time favourite from yester-year, I remember making these in school many decades ago!Hard boil the eggs for nine minutes then cool before decorating. My favourite is to use a wax crayon to draw a pattern on the cooled egg shell then stand in a glass of coloured water until the shell colours. It makes a very dramatic egg, and best of all it can also be eaten!

                  Easter cake
                  Quite why its an easter cake I am unsure of apart from the yellow icing and chicks to decorate as its a standard cake mix but it shows some good ideas in decorating.

                  Chocolate nests
                  Yay.. my favourite. How many of us hasnt melted chocolate and added either shredded wheat, cornflakes or rice krispies to make our nests for chocolate eggs.

                  Easter fruit bread
                  A mixed spiced loaf, this would appeal to me but perhaps not the children.It requires kneading, prooving twice and lots of hard work and I cant see it being much fun for youngsters. How on earth would you keep them occupied for the two 45 minutes prooving times?

                  Easter Daisy biscuits
                  We have made these and they are yummy, but again after making the mixture there is a 30 minute wait whilst it goes in the fridge. There is then the cooking and cooling wait before the fun decorating can begin.

                  Cheesy Chicks
                  These don't appeal to me so we havn't tried them but I guess they will make a change from the sweet stuff.

                  Wrapping Ideas
                  There are some great ideas here from making bunny boxes for storing the easter eggs to pretty cellophane sweet wrappers.

                  Easter Tags
                  Drawing, colouring and painting these instructions are for tag making but we have used the ideas for card making too.

                  For £2.99 I guess the amount of time its kept us busy is value for money but there a quite a few ideas we will not be trying. The pictures look a little dated and on closer inspection this book is around 7 years old so I guess an update would be beneficial. The RRP is £4.99 but I wouldnt spend more than I did on it.

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                    26.03.2010 22:58
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                    All little girls love fairies and all little girls will love this book!

                    My four year old chose this book in the library six weeks ago and weve renewed and kept it ever since!

                    THe Usbourne 1001 Things to spot in Fairyland is a fantastic pink, busy A4 sized hard back but cushioned covered book.
                    It forms part of a 13 book series of Usbourne 1001 Things to Spot and is by far the most girly.

                    THe book consists of 32 pages and 13 scenes. Each scene is a double page spread depicting a type of fairyland or activity.
                    Fairy feast
                    Enchanted waterfall
                    Moon dance
                    Fairy school
                    Magic market
                    Secret garden
                    Fairy palace
                    House fairies
                    Rainbow fairies
                    Treetop fairies
                    Fairy treehouse
                    Fairyland workshop
                    The snow queens ball .

                    Now each scene is a really busy picture. Colourful and eyecatching there is plenty to talk about and look at but the aim is to find the list of hidden things to find within the picture which range from strawberries to fairies, butterflies to bluebells.
                    All in all, yes youve guessed it, there are 1001 things to find.

                    Illustrated by Teri Gower, this book is colourful, bright and cheerful. It is difficult to put down once you have commenced searching!

                    I bought my daughter the Wheres Wally books for christmas and we find them frustrating and they make us cross-eyed but these really are a delight and far better suited to her age range. I believe that they are helping with her concentration, reading and counting all whilst having fun!

                    MY four year old loves this activity book and mummy has never known her so quiet for so long. THe crafty little madam is even offering to go up to bed alone only for mummy to catch her half an hour later under the bedcovers with this book. In this household it seems to have replaced 'tv' time and my daughter will ask for this book instead of her beloved Charlie and Lola!

                    We perhaps know this particular book by heart now but I will definately be looking to invest in some of the other books in the series, the likes of which include animals, pirates, wizards and the sea to name just a few.

                    Each book retails at £7.99 but are available at m & s or Amazon for around the £5 mark and of course in all good libraries free of charge for a limited time!

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                      24.03.2010 12:33
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                      Definately worth its money but then I didnt pay for it did I ?

                      I have been using the Aurora DT85V Electronic Calculator at work now daily for the past three years. Its one of those things that I take for granted. Its always waiting there for me in the morning and it has always worked, yet if it were to disappear it would highly disrupt my day.

                      This calculator is a large desk calculator measuring 140cm wide by 198cm long. It has large protruding buttons that measure 1cm square for ease of use even for fat fingers!
                      No, seriously, I have long nails and often find it difficult to use smaller, flat or rubber buttons but there are no such problems with this. I have pounded away on this calculator for years yet the numbers on the buttons remain clear (unlike my keyboard which now has 4 blank keys!).

                      It is predominantly dark grey but has a black tilted display end making it easy to view from all angles. (For those of you that like to work lying down!) We have lights on constantly in the office but thanks to the tilted display feature they do not reflect on the display area.
                      The display screen is clear and large measuring 10cm x 3cm. The actual digits display at 2cm high and in bold black.

                      This calculator takes 1 x LR54 battery but also features a 3 ½ cm solar panel. In the years that I have been using this I've never had to change the battery so it has an excellent life span.

                      Amongst its features, this calculator includes a square root key, 3 memory keys, a double zero key and my favourite and most used a backspace correction key.

                      This calculator was provided by work but looking online it retails at £14.99 or up to a whopping £32 on Amazon!

                      Ocassionaly my daughter pops into the office and likes to sit and bash about on its keys proving it is hard wearing and robust!

                      I shall be looking after my trusty calculator and locking it away each night now I know the price!

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                        23.03.2010 22:52
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                        they dont look as nice as they do on the packet

                        Aaaggh. Ive had three seperate guys round to price me up some building works and fit a kitchen and it seems I scare them off as not one has comeback with a quote ... Anyhow I digress slightly but am STILL on the microwave bl@@dy meals!

                        On offer in Asda for 3 for £3 these noodles I thought would make bit of a change for me.
                        They are sold beside the dry noodles and can be recognised by the orange plastic pouch with the Sharwoods logo in bold on the front. The back of the pouch provides the cooking instructions and a recipe suggestion alongside the nutritional information and list of ingredients. They have a long shelf life in excess of 10 months.

                        Sharwoods sweet chilli microwave noodles are ready in just two minutes. Simply tear top of the pouch, squeeze the plastic pouch to loosen the noodles, stand them upright in the microwave and cook for two minutes.

                        So far so good, they smelled quite nice and there were no pans to wash! After cooking I transferred to a plate where they 'slopped' out of the pouch with a greasy squealch. Perhaps I didnt loosen them enough before cooking but they were quite stuck together in a mass of sticky / greasy looking worms.

                        To say the least they didnt look very appetising. THe pack suggest that it will feed one or two as an accompaniment. I was going for the whole 250g portion. Suprisingly they actually didnt taste as bad as they looked. The noodles were soft and there was a delicate flavour of chilli with a hint of garlic. I remember trying to see how hot they would be on the packet in the supermarket, but the packaging gives no indication of wether the noodles are hot, mild or low heat. To my taste these were very mild in heat and there was a what I can only describe as a 'metal' aftertaste.

                        So, not too great looking, OK but not great tasting and finally two hours later and Im starving and currently munching my way through a bowl of cereal.

                        I guess for price and convenience, these were ok. Perhaps also to add to a meal like a stir fry for example but not so much for eating as a fullfilling tasty meal.

                        The pack, as I mentioned weighs 250g and contains the following nutritional values:
                        404 kcal
                        10.6g protein
                        70g carbs
                        of which 16.6g sugars
                        9g fat
                        of which 1.8g saturates
                        5.6g fibre
                        3.30g salt equivalent

                        Ingredients include: water, wheat flour, 2.9% red chilli, lemon grass, salt, soy bean oil, rice bran oil, tomato puree, lactic acid, garlic, lime leaves.

                        For those with intolerances these noodles contain wheat, gluten and soya and are packed in a factory handling peanuts.

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                          12.03.2010 20:18
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                          The best meal Ive had out in a LONG time!

                          After being taken to Flamas South American Flame and Grill in Hampton by her boss for lunch, my sister just had to have her birthday bash there to enable the whole family to try it! She was and is hooked!

                          Flamas opened in July 2009 and offers its customers exciting and totally unique South American mouthwatering and authentic dishes from across South America.

                          When we arrived we almost drove past it and thought it looked very small but once inside were pleasantly suprised. It was suprisingly big and spacious and very warm in looks and feeling. The large screen above the bar accentuates this with its larger than life log fire screen.

                          There were 12 of us in the party and we were given a lovely table to one side of the restaurant. It was nicely set, our waitress was really friendly and it was child friendly!

                          We took advantage of the lunchtime menu which is an all round bargain! One course is £6.95 and two courses for only £8.95. We all opted for the latter to ensure we got a good taste of the menu.
                          We needn't have worried about leaving hungry either as the portion sizes were big even on this incredible offer. There were five starters and five mains to choose from including fish, chicken and steak.

                          I chose the 'calamares empanizado' which was tender baby calamari dusted in light seasoned flour, served with salsa picante and a wedge of lime.It was divine, the calamari almost melted in my mouth and my four year old enjoyed it too. Other starters available included chicken tortillas, hot chicken wings and duck with a jack daniels sauce. It really was difficult to decide.
                          For my main I chose the oven roasted salmon which was mildly spiced to perfection and served with rice. Again I thoroughly enjoyed my food and would recommend to one and all.

                          For the younger diners there is a childrens menu for £4.99 which includes a meal, drink and ice cream. What is unique and a refreshing change is that its not fish fingers or chicken dippers or even sausages, the children actually get to choose food like mum and dads in smaller portions! Fajitas, quesalidas and burritos.

                          Unfortunately due to a birthday cake being produced we didnt get to taste the delights of the dessert menu also due to the fact that my brother-in-law was footing the bill it seemed a little impolite to order from the specialised cocktail menu but I will be revisiting shortly with the girls to make sure I get my dessert and cocktails.

                          Being there with young children, I made various trips to the ladies and have to say its one of the poshest and cleanest public coveniences that ive had the pleasure of spending a penny in and thought that this was worth a little mention.

                          You can find out a little more about this restaurant at flamas-restaurant.com where you will also be able to put in a reservation request.

                          If I had one little niggle about this restaurant its that they do not serve on a Sunday lunchtime ! Crazy wasted opportunity if you ask me ...

                          Opening Hours
                          Mon:
                          closed

                          Tue - Sat:
                          Lunch 12pm - 3pm, Dinner 6pm - 12pm

                          Sun:
                          Dinner 6pm - 12pm

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                          • Walls Micro Sausages / Meat / Fish / 55 Readings / 51 Ratings
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                            08.03.2010 13:07
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                            Definately worth keeping in the fridge or freezer for a quick snack

                            So, I am awaiting quotes for my brand new kitchen and in the meantime am still living out of the microwave and toaster. Its been twelve weeks and the meals are becoming more and more unappealing.
                            Thank goodness for good old mum having us over 4-5 times a week!

                            Anyhow imagine my delight at coming across these little beauties. Microwavable sausages !? It couldn't be true could it? Sausages that could be cooked in the microwave and were from a well known brand ? There had to be a draw back and I was assuming it was a compromise on taste.

                            I found the Walls microwave sausages in the refrigerated section of Asda. They are recognizable by their stylish blue box with fat brown sausages on the front, they certainly look appealing in the picture. They cost £1.98 per box from Asda and recently I spotted them in Tesco for the same price give or take a penny.
                            They are a little more costly than the regular banger as you only get 6 sausages per box instead of the usual eight links. The weight is 275g. As a comparison Wall's regular pack of 8 thick pork sausages weigh 454g and cost around £1.99.
                            As per the cooking instructions provided on the box, two sausages should be microwaved for one minute. All six will take only two minutes twenty or as these are freezable three minutes thirty from frozen.
                            Just pop them on a microwavable plate, cover with a sheet of kitchen roll and away you go!

                            One of my favourite things about these sausages is that in the box the six sausages are packaged in two's enabling you to open them fresh at any point if not cooking six together.
                            The shelf life was dated a good two weeks later so they remain fresh if not needed. The sausages are a light brown in colour, fairly thick and wrinkly and not too appealing uncooked. In fact they look like left over cooked sausages cooked the day before. But after a minute in the microwave they are plump, brown and wholly inviting! I was seriously impressed, they have such a golden even colour that would be impossible to achieve cooking regular sausages.

                            Obviously the most important factor is the taste and again I was not disappointed. They smelt good and were tender. They were not gristly nor were they greasy as I expected. To be honest they reminded me somewhat of café sausages with their even golden colour and plump exterior. They were actually really 'meaty' tasting and had a good texture to them.

                            Nutrition information per 100g : 330 kcal , 67% pork, fat 25.3g, fibre 2.3g.

                            I shall definitely be purchasing these again. They are so convenient, taste good and less washing up always makes me a happy bunny. Imagine cooking sausages with no fat running or spitting and ending up with a plump even coloured banger that tastes good ... you've just imagined a Walls microwavable sausage.

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                            • More +
                              02.02.2010 17:32
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                              Mamma please forgive me

                              Note to mum - Do not read this review! I promise to start cooking again properly once I have purchased a cooker!!

                              Some of you may know that Ive recently moved house, I have no heating, no kitchen, no shower ...
                              For above mentioned reason and for being a single working mum Im often in a hurry to produce a snack from thin air that requires no cooking.

                              Morrisons chicken flavour instant noodles were one of those things purchased months ago which came to light from the back of a cupboard when I packed to move. For this reason I cant recall the exact price but Im sure that I wouldn't have been tempted had they been priced over the 25p mark.

                              THese noodles are actually made to be cooked on the hob by adding the flavour sachet to 190ml of water and bringing to the boil before adding the 85g of dry noodles. Simply simmer for approximately 3 minutes or until liquid has absorbed.

                              Microwave instructions are not included but as needs must in this household I simply improvised. I placed the noodles and flavour sachet into a microwavable bowl and added 190ml of boiling water, covered and vented and cooked in the microwave for two minutes.

                              The noodles were as perfect as packet noodles get, the flavour was chicken-like and the noodles were soft and good to eat, not stodgy or sticky. Perfect for a quick snack and in my opinion better than a pot noodle. The portion is fairly small but a good snack or enough to accompany a piece of chicken or the like (microwave sausages at the moment here!).

                              These noodles come in a green Morrisons branded sachet with a forkful of noodles pictured on the front. They are suitable for vegetarians, produced for Morrisons and come with long shelf lifes of 1 year +.

                              Ingredients: Noodles - wheat flour, vegetable oil, salt.
                              Flavour sachet - salt, sucrose, wheat flour, yeast extract, flavourings, onion powder, dextrose, garlic powder, ground spice, malic acid, herb and spice extracts, vegetable oil, succinic acid.

                              Allergy Information: contains celery,gluten, soya.

                              The nutritional information wasnt too clear as it doesnt state wether its the dry or cooked product but 100g contains 197kcal, 5.2g protein, 31.1g carbohydrate of which 1.5g are sugars. 6.3g fat of which 1.6g are saturates. 1.3g fibre, 0.5g sodium and 1.3g salt.

                              I wouldnt have them often but they arent too unhealthy and a tasty bargain.

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                              • Kellogg's Krave Cereal / Breakfast / 74 Readings / 72 Ratings
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                                02.02.2010 14:16
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                                With or without milk I Krave these!!

                                We all think were getting a bargain when we buy something on offer even if we didn't realise we needed the product to start with!

                                Ive recently switched supermarkets from Tesco to Asda in a bid to save some pennies but in reality I come home with products not on the list.

                                Last week, one such thing was this Kelloggs Krave. Kelloggs' new family arrival in the form of crispy cereal shells with a hazelnut chocolate centre - hereon in re-named " little pillows from heaven". I have re-named them such as I am an instant fan. Totally unlike any other cereal these actually curb my sweet cravings!

                                The crispy cereal shell is made of oats, wheat and rice and inside is a smooth hazelnut chocolate centre. Imagine your favourite cereal then cover them in Nutella .....

                                Their advert is accurate "When you want a tasty breakfast, nothing hits the spot like chocolate .. here's something that's so undeniably good that its worth getting out of bed for" ....

                                The box is a brown chocolate colour with the Kelloggs brand name clearly visible and the name KRAVE emblazoned across the middle with a whirl of chocolate pieces, hazelnuts and milk enveloping the name. There is no uncertainty as to what this box contains and the design is certainly eye-catching amongst the other cereal boxes.
                                The box is recyclable and the plastic cereal bag is recycled in some places.

                                Currently on promotion as a new product each 375g box can be bought for a mere £1 whilst the RRP is £2.49. 375g contains 12 x 30g servings but these are so moreish both with or without milk that you will never stop at 30g.

                                Ingredients included are cereal flours (oat, rice and wheat), sugar, vegetable oil, hazelnut (4%), chocolate (4%), fat reduced cocoa powder, dried skimmed milk, milk, sugar, salt, almonds, colour, emulsifier, antioxidants, niacin, iron, vitamin B, Riboflavin and folic acid.

                                Now with something so good there has to be devilish side and it comes in the form of fat, calories and salt in this cereal. Its certainly not for the fainthearted most literally!

                                Per 100g these devilish pillows of heaven contain 440kcal, 8g protein, 66g carbs, of which 29g are sugars and 37g are starch. Fat a whopping 16g of which 6g are saturated fats, salt an even higher jaw opening 1.15g, sodium 0.45g and fibre a lowly 4g.

                                I have compared these 'sins' to another chocolate cereal as it wouldn't be fair to compare against the shredded wheat or weetabix of this world so compared to Weetabix chocolate Weetos which contain per 100g 377kcal, 8.4g protein, 74.7g carbs of which 23g sugars. Fat 4.9g (compared to 16g!) of which saturated account for only 1g (compared to 6g!).Fibre 6,2g, sodium 0.09g and salt 0.23g.

                                As you can see these are certainly not a healthy option, not really something you'd want to eat every day yet I have!! Even reading back the evidence, I sit here munching them dry as if Ive been possessed! I console myself with the fact that at least its not a packet of biscuits before me ..
                                My saving grace is that the box only contains 375g and is nearly gone. Please God let them be full price next time I shop!

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                                • More +
                                  31.01.2010 12:16
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                                  I like the idea, ive read great reviews but am still on the fence

                                  Bendaroos were highly advertised this christmas and they looked huge mess free fun! My 9 year old niece was the first to ask for them and I managed to get the full set for under £20 delivered but this prompted my four year old to start asking for Bendaroos too.
                                  Well, Spin Master the manufacturers really were on a money spinner here and they released many smaller sized theme packs.

                                  One such pack was this 'cute pets' pack that I purchased from Amazon for £4.99.
                                  For this you will receive a colourful card box containing 80 Bendaroos and an instruction leaflet. The Bendaroos are split into seperate colours individually packaged in air tight resealable bags. The colours are split as follows: 8 white, 16 yellow, 16 orange, 16 blue, 16 hot pink and 8 black bendaroos sticks.
                                  The only reason its called a 'cute pet' pack is the pictures on the box and the suggestions on the leaflet but in reality these can be made into anything your imagination will allow!

                                  Basically these magical sticks are wax covered, bendable, poseable and flexible whilst being safe to use and mess free. Simply roll, wrap, twist, bend or fold them to make your desired shapes. They join and stick simply by pressing together. The larger packs contain tools for cutting and pressing / joining the Bendaroo sticks but the smaller theme packs do not. The tools in my opinion are not necessary hence these theme packs are good as a starter pack but also good as an add on pack to your collection.

                                  The instruction booklet included in this pack has instruction diagrams to make a cat, rabbit, bear and a dog. They tell you how many of each colour bendaroo sticks are required and how many you will need to cut for example make the black bendaroo stick into black dots for eyes and nose. If you dont have the cutting tool then scissors cut these very easily.

                                  Bendaroos are aged 5+ and not suitable for children under 3 due to choking hazard. As previously mentioned this set was purchased for a four year old. She has enjoyed playing with her Bendaroos but hasnt been able to make any of the pets unaided, instead she is happy twirling them and making pretty patterns.
                                  I have attempted the pets and have to say that I found the wax didnt really stick against itself very easily BUT we are in a house currently with no central heating and I am giving this the benefit of the doubt as I think our 'room temperature' is just too cold for these to work properly.

                                  Our Bendaroos are currently away awaiting the spring but will definately come out again when the temperature has risen in our household!

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