Review : HiPP Organic

HiPP Organic sent me a range of their products for my granddaughter, Megan, to try.  As she is seven months old they gave me some samples from their Stage 2 range:


According to my daughter, Megan has loved ALL of the samples and Mummy's mind is at rest because of the organic ingredients that HiPP lovingly use in their food.  The rice cakes have been great to keep in the cupboard here at Nana's house for when the anklebiters visit.

One great bonus is that all the jars and their lids are reusable - less waste and a great opportunity to store home-cooked food in exactly the right quantities.

HiPP Organic have masses of information on their website, including the ingredients they use, the HiPP Organic Baby Club and lots of expert advice.  You can also find HiPP on Twitter and Facebook.

Pink Friday 5 - Is Your Bra Comfy?

My final Pink Friday post is from T-J (mentioned fleetingly in Pink Friday 4).  T-J runs her own specialist bra fitting service which offers advice for women, specifically for mastectomy/post surgery patients and plus-size ladies.  You can find lots more information about T-J on her 'About Me' page on her Bra-Blog.

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Moving On Up

I read this tweet from Mr Paparazzi this morning and had to laugh.

Songs don't 'storm up the charts' any more.  They go straight in at number one or they are considered a 'flop'.  I had a quick check to see who she is up against this week and according to eli.com the competition is in the form of Judy Collins and Tim Buckley (can you hear that owl too?  Who? Who?) so I think old Chezza is safe.

I want to ride my bicycle - with Tesco Direct

I'll never forget finding my dad, hiding out in the garage, respraying my old bike to give to my sister for her Christmas present.  I was about 8 years old.  I felt a mixture of emotions; sadness because I realised that she wouldn't have a 'new' bike and excitement because I was now 'grown up' and knew what my sister was getting for Christmas.

I Failed!

I was pointed in the direction of the practice version of the UK Citizenship Test online last night (yes, I was bored and it was mentioned in one of the questions on Channel 4's "Million Pound Drop").  This test covers aspects of British history, society and culture and is a requirement when applying for settlement in the UK or full British citizenship.  The test took me just over 7 minutes but you have a full 45 minutes if you need it.

A massive THANK YOU and a warm welcome

Hello readers and welcome to the new look Typecast blog.  If you're reading this post in an RSS reader, please click through and have a look.  It has been the culmination of a throw-away comment on Twitter on Saturday night, kind-hearted help from a few fellow bloggers and tweeters and the donation of a free domain name.  Oh, yes... did you notice the new web address for the blog?  You are now reading "I Am Typecast" - how's that for fancy?  Also, you will possibly be wondering how on earth you ended up reading one of your favourite blogs on a new web address, without actually navigating to it.  That's because all of the hard work has been done for you.  Everything is automatically redirected so just carry on doing what you're doing as the old "typecast2000.blogspot.com" address sends you to here.  You can, of course, change your bookmarks if you really want to.

I WANT MY CHIPPY LUNCH!

I don't know whether this is just Blackburn or if it's happening all over the country but I am DISTRAUGHT that there are no traditional chip shops open on a Saturday lunch time.  Kev wanted a portion of chips to go with some left-over curry, Michael and myself wanted a meat and potato pie (possibly with some peas on top) and Jake wanted a dab butty.

PINK FRIDAY 4 - Painting By Nipples

Everyone is always looking for something a little different to raise awareness and donations for charity and let's face it - sitting in a bath of cold baked beans is so 'last year'.  So when I found out that my fellow #FridayTwiz-er, the lovely Jane Fox of  Fired4U, had organised an evening of 'Painting By Nipples' I was intrigued.  She tells me that is going to be very much like children's hand and foot printing but using *ahem* alternative body parts...

My Life In Film

Fellow blogger Pippa (from over at "A Mother's Ramblings") asked me if I'd ever thought about my life as if it was a film.  Strangely, she wasn't the first person who had asked me this question so I have decided to elaborate on my original answer somewhat.  My life story HAS to be conducted in the style of a musical with a cast of thousands - each trial and tribulation fought through the medium of song.  And just like I mentioned in the original interview, I'd tap dance at some point too.

Review : Playskool Gloworld Musical Gym

I was asked if I would like to test the Playskool Gloworld Musical Gym with my granddaughter, Megan and jumped at the chance.  At seven months old, Megan is becoming very aware of her surroundings, loves tummy time and is almost crawling.  Her frustration at being static has been distracted by the wonderful stimulants on the playmat.

The Playskool Gloworld Musical Gym has a variety of toys that can hang over the play gym or be detatched for interactive play.  All have sensory and tactile features such as satin pull tabs, felt patches, lift-up flaps and the obligatory mirror (Megan's favourite).  There is also a variety of music and even a musical mode that is baby-movement activated.

The play gym is suitable for overhead play (from 0 months onwards), tummy play and sit-up play and requires two AA batteries (not included).  It is also fully machine washable which, as we all know, is a massive bonus where babies are concerned - especially Little Miss Dribble Chops (our Megan!).

Review : Aunt Bessie's

News of my recent review posts has reached as far as the lovely people at Aunt Bessie's.  I was sent some vouchers and asked to buy and test some of the well-known food range as part of their "host-a-roast" challenge.

I must admit that we love our Sunday dinner together as a family and I am very proud of my cooking skills, even if they don't extend much further than basic home cooking.  It is also an opportunity to give Kev the day off because he prepares our evening meals during the week.

I chose to buy our favourite elements of Sunday dinner from the range so that we could compare them fairly and to see if they would make Sunday (or even Christmas) dinner a less stressful affair.  Dinner last week was gammon cooked in the slow cooker overnight, gravy, stuffing and the following:


Aunt Bessie's homestyle roast potatoes
I was really looking forward to these as we love our roasties in this house.  They were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside as promised after 30 minutes of cooking but there was a distinct difference between the small potatoes and the larger ones - the larger ones tasted every so slightly underdone.  We also felt that there wasn't enough in the packet for us all to have a few each (I have growing boys who can eat me out of house and home) because one very large potato took up most of the weight of the pack.  I have since found out that Aunt Bessie's make a "mid week mini roasties" product which may have suited our preferences better.
7/10

Aunt Bessie's honey glazed roast parsnips
Hubby's favourite and these make a lovely change to other veg that we usually have (cauliflower, broccoli, sweetcorn).  I roasted them for the recommended 30 minutes and the smaller ones were great with lovely crispy edges.  The larger ones could have done with a few extra minutes so, again, sizing caused a bit of a disappointment.  They tasted lovely though - the honey glaze was sweet but not too overpowering.
7/10



Aunt Bessies mashed carrot and swede
I wimped out with these and followed the instructions for the microwave (3 minutes) but found that they needed slightly longer.  They "mushed" up well but we found that the taste of the swede overpowered the carrots - we would have preferred it the other way around.  They needed a touch of butter and black pepper too but that may be just the way we like them.  No effort needed to actually make it though.
8/10

Aunt Bessie's irresistible yorkshire puddings
I am always amazed at frozen yorkshire puddings, no matter who they are made by, simply because of the way they have risen and how they retain their crispiness.  They always seem a bit too perfect.  My own yorkshire puddings are legendary and the recipe is used and loved as far afield as South Africa so these had a lot to live up to.  They took exactly (the recommended) four minutes to cook, were really crispy and kept their shape when filled with gravy.
8/10





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If the team at Aunt Bessie's were looking for general feedback I would say that they have to watch the cuts of vegetable in the packets.  The "average" cooking time doesn't work for the mixture of large and small cuts of food and you risk overcooking or undercooking some of the products.  The whole point of using pre-prepared food is to make life easier and for the food to taste as near to perfect as possible.  I know they represent the "rustic" look of home-cooked food but when I'm slicing and dicing I manage to cut everything to a similar size so that it cooks evenly.

I was hoping to recommend the Aunt Bessie's range as a timesaver on Christmas Day. These products are great as an emergency stash if you have extra guests or even to cut corners for a mid-week meal but they won't be replacing my Christmas lunch.

Well Begun Is Half Done

... as Mary Poppins once said.

Today marks the day that I am exactly half way through my degree with the Open University.  I began well and steadily got better at lone study.  Today, I have sat my first official exam in 22 years (apart from the Health & Safety course I did earlier this year) and have spent the last few weeks worrying about it all.

The Gallery : My Favourite Photo

You see the theme this week?  "My Favourite Photo (and why)".  Do you think that is an easy or difficult prompt?  I don't mind admitting that it has left me pondering a-while.  Should I choose a picture of my family, my extended family, scenery...?  But then I remembered a precious keepsake that I have...

Where's My Head At?

I am dreading this week.  Friday is exam day.  The first exam I have taken in 22 years.  I am crap at revising and retaining information so it is also an exam that I am convinced I am going to fail.

Before I continue, I have to say that, in two years of lone study with the OU, this is my first negative experience.  Up until now I have championed the system and I have enjoyed studying for my degree.  This is my fourth module.  It is also the last presentation of this particular module.  The course has been updated and rewritten.  That doesn't excuse the lackadaisical attitude of my tutor.

Review : ZingZillas CD

I'll be honest here.  When I was asked to review this CD as part of my "bargains for Christmas" posting spree I knew that it would never enter the CD tray of my stereo.  As soon as Our Chief Tester of Toddler Toys (Anticyclone Amie) saw the CD, she pounced on it, babbling some nonsense, and refused to release it from her grubby little mitts.  Her mummy and daddy were ever so pleased and were looking forward to bopping along to the track listing back home.

Trophy Boy

When I took Jake out of school back in July for our family holiday, he missed his last week ever of primary school - and his presentation day.  A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from his old headmaster inviting him into a Friday assembly to receive his awards.  He had already cleared it with the Year 7 (high school) Head of Year and thought it would be a great opportunity for Jake.  I agreed.

PINK FRIDAY 2 - I was the one in ten

Editors note:  This is Suzie's story and is the twelfth in the series.  Suzie contacted me and offered me her story after reading a previous "Cancer - Your Story" piece.  


Her story is very appropriate  for this Pink Friday series and Breast Cancer Awareness month, as you will see.  You can read Suzie's blog over at No Wriggling Out Of Writing and she's on twitter as @keatsbabe.


Suzie's story has also recently been featured on a six-web-page spread over at So Feminine so please take a look over there for more of her story.




Related Links:
Cancer Research UK
All "Cancer - Your Story" posts
BreastCancerCare.org.uk

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Please note that this blog post contains graphic images
All article images are © Suzie Grogan and reproduced with kind permission

Fat

I have a massive image complex at the moment.  I used to be a stick-thin size 8-10 and now I am a "you carry your weight well" size 14-16.  Finding a diet to suit is a constant battle but I've found that the dog likes brisk walks at about 7pm so we go power-walking together.

Anyway, there *is* a point to all this.  I just don't get it when a well-known national newspaper has decided that "fat" lies somewhere between Katy Perry and Beth Ditto using these images as examples:

Blognonymous : Honesty Is Not Always The Best Policy. Right?

Editors note:  This post was submitted to me to within the ethos of Blognonymous.  The writer would like to remain completely anonymous and is grateful for this "get it all off your chest" opportunity.  Please feel free to comment on this post and offer your advice or thoughts.


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My name is @NICKIE72 and I'm a Twitterholic

We're having a meme-tastic time on the blog at the moment but this is one that I knew I was going to enjoy  It gives me an opportunity to talk about my favourite subjects: Me and Twitter.  This is a fairly new meme, started by Kate at The Five F's and, as usual, there are a few questions to answer but I think I've probably gone off at a bit of a tangent...

Online Shopping Discounts Using Voucher Hub

In an earlier post I promised you that some of my forthcoming reviews and sponsored posts would be geared towards helping you save money on the run up to Christmas.  FuelMyBlog have asked me to share some information about VoucherHub.com and their fantastic collection of money-off vouchers that are available for a wide range of items.

PINK FRIDAY 1 - Cop A Feel

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the United Kingdom.  Every year almost 46,000 people are given the devastating news that they have breast cancer - that's one person every 11 minutes.

Over the next month I will be using my blog space on a Friday to coincide with Pink Friday from BreastCancerCare.org.uk  I will be posting some links that I hope you will find useful and some reader experiences in line with the Cancer - Your Story series.   PLEASE share these blog posts (there will be five in total) within your network.  You never know... someone may need this information.

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