I can’t tell you the number of times the kids have begged for a chocolate fountain. It’s got to be in the hundreds, if not more. And I’ve always said no because well, to be quite honest I imagined them being nothing but a blummin’ nuisance – all mess from being beginning to end and I’ve heard a number of people had bought them only for them not to work or get clogged up with chocolate.
When I was asked if I’d like to try a Giles and Posner chocolate fountain I must have been having a very generous day because I said yes. And boy am I glad I did – it was ace. Properly good fun and not just for the kids.
The fountain itself is really easy to assemble. It comes in just a few pieces and it’s really obvious where they all go – although I did get the discs the wrong way up at first so the chocolate would have pooled in the rather than flowed over them. Doh.
The chocolate is dead simple to set up. I melted 3 packs of cooking milk chocolate and about 150ml of sunflower oil in a bain-marie and then poured it into the bottom dish of the chocolate fountain. Set the switch to go and hey presto, a fab flowing chocolate fountain.
It was loads of fun dipping strawberries, marshmallows and mini-donuts into the chocolate and the kids ate so much chocolate that we had to refill it before us grownups could get a look in. There was no clogging up as I had been warned about from owners of other fountains and the chocolate flowed freely for well over an hour of fun.
One of my biggest concerns with a chocolate fountain was cleaning it all up afterwards, and it really was a mess. There was loads of chocolate left over that settled in the bottom dish of the fountain and chocolate was dripped all down the sides as well. Turns out it was actually pretty easy to sort out.
The remaining chocolate was used to make some chocolate fridge cake (utterly delicious) and the chocolate cleaned off the fountain no bother. All of the removable pieces went into a bowl of hot soapy water and a cloth with hot water on was enough to remove the chocolate from the base unit that couldn’t be submerged.
So it turns out all of my fears (other than the feeling sick after too much chocolate one) were unfounded and we will definitely be getting the fountain out again soon.
Who needs diets anyway, right?
This Giles and Posner Delux Red chocolate fountain is just £29.99 (reduced from 84.98) at the moment from the Giles and Posner website.
Dating is a tricky beast at the best of times, but throw in some fizzy wine, a film that neither of you can bare to watch and a book of corny one-liners and does it really get any better? Well with lines like “I only eat organic. Luckily you only dye the hair on your head’ what could possibly go wrong?
Based on the premise that 51% of women use a man’s shoes to figure out his personality, Jacamo sent me a date-night box of goodies to help the man in my life get off on the right foot in the dating department. The instructions were clear – I wasn’t to look in the box and was to let the man take control for the night. Well, control in so far as he opened the box of goodies and read the instructions.
The night started with a bubble bath, not too shabby, and carried on to a meal that only used up half of the pots and utensils in my kitchen to make and ended up with us sat on the sofa, cringing over The Notebook and eating chocolates whilst laughing at the corny chat up lines in the Sweet Nothings & Pillow Talk book that came in the date-night box.
“You’ve turned my software into hardware.”
“Would you mind if I uploaded a large file to your Dropbox”
“I’ve never seen someone as attractive as you that wasn’t on film”
Should I go on? What do you mean no, these are some of the better ones. The most baffling one we came across was “I always prefer my tacos soft”. If someone can explain that one to me, I’d be forever in your debt.
It was a lovely idea from Jacamo and a fun night, but I can’t help feeling that the box, which also contained something labeled as aphrodisiac massage oil, was put together by a bloke. Guys, if you really want to know how to get a head in the dating game, it might be better to take less tips from fellow men and ask the occasional woman.
A bubble bath is a great way to start, but cleaning the bath first – and indeed the rest of the bathroom so that she doesn’t lie there for 40 minutes staring at the skid stain on the toilet -would be best.
Cooking dinner is a lovely gesture, but either wash up after yourself immediately so she doesn’t spend the entire ‘romantic’ meal staring at the pile of messy dishes you have just created or order in. And use the time to have a quick clean around so that when you sit down on the sofa afterwards you don’t have to move a pile of washing out of the way.
Don’t choose The Notebook. Ever. Utterly hideous film.
Don’t offer to massage her with ‘aphrodisiac oil’ because let’s face it, that’s all about you and your penis, and not about actually massaging the poor woman’s aching shoulders.
Do tell her how beautiful, wonderful she is and how lucky you are and if in doubt remember, a set of clean bedding with the old ones already spinning away in the washing machine and some dusted surfaces are far more of an aphrodisiac than some corny chat up lines and some oil she is going to have to wash out of her hair before she can go to sleep because the smell is so vile.
I love our new house. Love, love, love it. The ceiling doesn’t leak and isn’t threatening to cave in at any moment, there is no rain in my kitchen and no rusty water leaking out of fixings in the walls. But it’s also oh so pretty with lovely carpets upstairs that actually have underlay underneath them and a gorgeous wooden floor downstairs – hilarious for watching the dog trying to run around on.
The only real downside is how blummin’ cold those downstairs floors are. For the first couple of weeks I had freezing cold feet even with socks on, and then we got a lovely delivery of toasty warm Heat Holders Thermal Slipper socks to test out. And there was much joy.
Because myself and the girl were really struggling, not owning slippers at all. Our feet were constantly wrapped up in blankets even though the weather was lovely and warm.
These fab slipper socks have a 2.3 tog rating, making toes lovely and snug even against the onslaught of cold wooden floors. They are super fluffy inside too, making your feet feel like they are being pampered as you wriggle your toes around inside.
Plus they have the added bonus of rubber grips on the bottoms to stop us going A over T on these slippery floors.
The girl read the packaging that says ‘Over 7x warmer than as basic cotton sock’ and said “No way, they are at least a hundred times warme”. So there you have it, they truely are super warm and comfy and great for keeping toes warm on hard, cold floors.
Well done Heat Holders, another brilliant product for keeping us all toasty warm.
Heat Holders slipper socks come in sizes for men, women and children and are available in a range of colours.
As a nation, our cost of healthcare is rapidly on the rise and this is mostly due to our lifestyle choices and the fact that we are living for longer than we used to. Healthy access from Toothpick.com is a great project that is using prevention as a tool to reduce the financial strain on the healthcare system by empowering individuals to make their own healthy lifestyle choices.
They have created the healthy access study, free for anyone to use and look up the services in their borough.
Each section on the tool focuses on a different service or function important to the health of an area and is given a score out of ten. Today we will focus on the top areas for services; dentists, hospitals and gps. To look at greenspace, walking and cycling or do look up your borough check out the healthy access study.
Top boroughs for dentists in England
Image: Herry Lawford
The dentist score is determined by the amount of dentists there are per thousand people in the area (this includes, emergency dentists and out of hours dentists)
These are the top 3 places in England:
City of London:
Dentist score: 10/10
Dentist score: 10/10
Tonbridge and Malling
Dentist score: 9.9/10
These places received their high scores due to having a healthy amount of dentists and therefore being readily accessible to people when they need them.
Top boroughs for GPs in England
The GP score is determined by the percentage of patients that are able to see a GP within a reasonable time frame; the data for this score is from NHS England and includes the number of GPs that are available in any one area. The top areas in England for GPs are:
Iles of Scilly:
GP score: 10/10
GP score: 10/10
GP score: 9.9 /10
These districts received these high scores in the GP section for having small waiting times due to having a sufficient number of GPs.
Top boroughs for hospitals in England
Image: Sharp HealthCare
The hospital score is determined by the Friends and Family Test provided by the Department of Health; if there is more than one hospital, then an average of their scores are taken. This shows whether the patients would recommend the hospital to their friends and family, therefore showing how the patient actually feels about the hospital. Waiting times and the quality of the care are also taken into account. The top areas for hospitals in England are:
Hospital score: 10/ 10
Hospital score: 10/10
Hospital score: 9.9/ 10
So, in conclusion; the aim of Healthy access is to give everyone the option to lead a healthy, happy life and therefore preventing health and lifestyle problems before they start.
The kids have been back in Lapland these last few weeks, visiting their father whilst I packed everything item we own into boxes, piled it all into a van (twice – it took two trips), drove it 100 miles down the road, unpacked it and attempted to find a place for all our stuff in out new home.
It’s been an exhausting few weeks, cheered along by regular updates of how much fun the kids have been having in Lapland doing all those typically Finnish things. And it occurred to me, I might not get to do them again. Now that the kids are travelling unaccompanied (I can’t even put into words how stressful and terrifying dropping them off at the airport and spending the whole day worrying about them until they arrived safe and sound was) there is no need for me to travel to Lapland once or twice a year accompanying them.
I’ll miss it. It was home for 7 years and whilst my kids will go regularly several times a year, I might not get the chance again. Which can not be allowed to happen. Clearly, I am going to have to book a holiday to the snowy winter wonderland before too long. It’s not the skiing I’d miss but the myriad of alternative winter activities that Lapland offers. Of the two destinations mentioned in the article I just linked to, Lapland and Iceland, it’s Lapland every time for me- it’s like the place is in my blood now. How could I never stand in a snowy field and watch the northern lights again?
Or not go to visit the huskys and get pulled along frozen lakes by a yapping pack of them?
How could I never go snowmobiling to magical looking landscapes hidden in the wilderness again?
Get stuck in a reindeer traffic jam, go ice fishing or do the whole sauna/icehole thing in a frozen lake again?
It’s incomprehensible. Finland is a part of me now; those things, those experiences, they belong to me, are a part of my history, who I am and the way I think. Not being able to have them in my life again would be unthinkable. Which is odd really, for a girl from north Manchester.
Odd but also kind of wonderful. Yes, a holiday must be booked forthwith. Snowy fun needs to be had and a reconnecting with the place I used to call home.