Thursday, 15 December 2011

Snow Boots and Great Service from Next

In anticipation of this year's snow I decided to get some snow boots for the boys.

They are very close together in age and they like to have everything the same. Sometimes this just isn't possible. I'd asked my friends on Twitter for suggestions for snow boots. I'd tried a few online stores but they had sold out of one or the other's size.

I popped to Next at the Westcroft Centre in Milton Keynes and spent a while browsing the snow boots. I couldn't find both sizes in the same boot and assumed that all the available stock was on display. That is, after all, the standard shop assistant's response "the only ones we have are on display".

I found two different pairs in the right sizes and headed for the checkout. The assistant couldn't have been more helpful. She said they'd had a run on snow boots as the weather had turned colder. I replied that I was after two pairs of boots in the same style. She asked me to wait while she looked in the stock room as she thought they had more (this was confirmed by the till). She came back a little while later with the exact boots I was after. I was impressed by this excellent service.

I'm also very pleased with the boots. We will test them out properly tomorrow in the snow that has been forecast!

Although I am a member of the Next Blogger Network, I have not been compensated for writing this post. I paid for the boots myself, but I just wanted to share a positive customer service story.

Ladybird Hooded Duffle Coat from

There's something rather lovely about a duffle coat. I guess I'm reminded of Paddington Bear.

This Ladybird Hooded Duffle Coat is available from for £36-£38. The sizes range from 2/3 years to 6/7 years.

The coat is navy with a red tartan lining and looks very smart. It is well made and well finished. 4 year old Presley particularly likes the deep pockets. The coat fits well and is very warm, there is a zip up to the chin behind the toggles. The hood fits well too and keeps the wind and rain off. There are ribbed cuffs at the wrists, it really is excellent value for money.

I hadn't realised that British company, Ladybird, were still going. It was a pleasant surprise to be offered a gorgeous coat like this to review. Thank you!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hasbro Giant Connect 4

We were sent a Hasbro Giant Connect 4 by Garden Games.

This is the original Hasbro Connect 4 game, but on a much larger scale. I used to love playing Connect 4 when I was a child. I hated to lose. Not that I'm competitive or anything...

Giant Connect 4 arrives in pieces in a large box. It is simple and quick to put together. I did it on my own in about fifteen minutes. I would have been quicker, but I had two excited little helpers who couldn't wait to start playing. The instructions are clear and the plastic pieces are very well made. There are no sharp edges and all the pieces fit together well. There were some small clips keep the top and bottom sections together, but my fingers were too cold to put them on! My husband and I were able to lift the game and move it without them, so I guess they are only for added security. The large stickers were robust enough to withstand my first wonky application and I was able to move them easily. They are now firmly in place.

Presley, 4, and Cash, 3, are too young to understand the rules of Connect 4, but they managed to play with their 'button machine' for about three hours the first weekend we had it. The red and yellow counters feel great and the game operates as you would expect. There are two sliders at the bottom to release the counters, instead of the bar on the small version. The counters stack in the sides and there are also two net bags to keep them in.

I am confident our Giant Connect 4 will last for years. I imagine it will get played with all year round, but will come into it's own at play dates, parties and barbeques. It would be a great draw in a pub garden or at a summer fete.

We really love this game, but I have to say I was shocked at the price. The RRP is £179.99. I have looked around the internet (independent stockists are listed on the Garden Games website) and the cheapest I have found is £159.99. It is the original Hasbro game and that must add a premium, but at the end of the day it is just a big bit of plastic, albeit a quality, nostalgia-rich, big bit of plastic.


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Glossy Box

It's pretty exciting to get a box of beauty goodies through the post.

Glossybox sent me a couple of boxes to review.

They are beautifully packaged. There's box within a box, ribbon, tissue paper and shredded tissue. I'm keeping my boxes to put bits and bobs in - they look pretty on the chest of drawers in my bedroom.

On to the contents of the Glossybox. Each month you get 5 samples of beauty products. The brands and contents vary, but include make-up, skincare, haircare, perfume, bath products and nail products.

You can try these sample sized products in the comfort of your own home.

I liked the Kimia Exquisite Face Oil and the Dead Sea Magik Salt Scrub. The HD Brows Palette was worth £19.95 on its own, but unfortunately hadn't travelled well. I liked the Plum by Mary Greenwell perfume sample, but didn't think a perfume sample was all that special - it looked a bit cheap.

I loved, however, the Neal and Wolf Harmony Intensive Care Treatment. It's a gorgeous-smelling hair conditioner. It leaves my hair soft and silky. It also a full-sized product, worth £12.95.

The second box included more Dead Sea Magik Bath Salts (yay), Arbonne Foot Cooling Cream (again, yay), Monu Skin Perfector (a potential yay, haven't tried it yet), Nail Rock Designer Nail Wraps (yuck, not my thing at all) and samples of Serge Lutens perfumes (they smell nice, but meh).

Facts and Figures:

Glossybox costs £10 plus postage and packaging (currently £2.95). There is no minimum subscription term.

You can earn free boxes by inviting friends and collecting 'glossydots'.

There will soon be  a quarterly Glossybox for men.

The Verdict:

So, is a Glossybox good value for money? Yes, if you would be buying this stuff anyway, it is great value.

But... there's always a but... it's not for me. Not every month, anyway. I'm not enough of a beauty product addict.

As a gift though, I think it's great. If you're stuck for Christmas present ideas, a subscription to Glossybox would make a great gift.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

30 Years of Shirley Hughes' Alfie

Shirley Hughes' Alfie books are thirty years old!

I only became familiar with them when my sister-in-law read some Alfie stories to my youngest son earlier this year.

We were sent the beautiful collection 'All About Alfie' to review. We have read it to the boys as their bedtime story and they have also asked for it at other times. There are two stories as well as poems and gorgeous illustrations. They stories are wonderful and real. My boys (4 and 3) could relate to Alfie visiting an elderly relative and going on holiday.

We all really loved this book. It would make a lovely Christmas present for a pre-schooler.

All About Alfie is available from Random House for £9.89.

For more Alfie activities and downloads, visit

Scotch Pop-up Tape Handband Dispenser

Q:  What is the best thing since sliced bread?

A:  It's the Scotch Pop-up Tape Handband Dispenser by 3M.

I bought one of these last Christmas and it was a Godsend. It's the best thing ever invented.

Seriously. It's on a par with the PVR as a life-enhancing product.

It's a pop-up tape dispenser that your wear round your hand.

No more trying to find the end of the sticky tape. No more tearing up tape with your teeth. No more sore hands. No more trying to hold wrapping paper in place while you search for the tape.

Each time you need some tape, there it is. It works perfectly and is easy to re-fill.

I hope all the lucky bloggers who got one in their Meet, Greet and Eat goody bag are looking forward to wrapping their Christmas presents this year!

The Scotch Pop-up Tape Handband Dispenser is available from John Lewis, Boots, most supermarkets, Amazon and all good stationers. It costs around £3.70.

I was asked by if I would like to review a few of their products.

They kindly sent two Buppy Pads and a selection of Earth Friendly Baby toiletries. are a family-run business, based in Wales. They specialise in cloth nappies, but sell a range of products for parents and little ones.

We are in the potty training stages, so the Buppy Pads (£8.99 each or two for £16.00) really appealed. They are fleece buggy/car seat pads with a hidden waterproof layer. You place them in the seat and they have given me complete peace of mind, particularly on long car journeys. They have a cut out for the straps to go through. They are machine washable.

My only quibble with them is that they just sit in the car seat, some sort of Velcro would stop them moving about would be an improvement, but my boys simply pull them straight before they get in the car each time. They say 'I'm adjusting my cushion'!

We were also sent bubble bath, shampoo & body wash and body lotion from the Earth Friendly Baby range. These toiletries use all natural ingredients.

Our favourite is the shampoo & body wash (£3.99). It comes in organic chamomile, organic lavender and organic mandarin. The gentle fragrances are soothing, particularly before bedtime. A little goes a long way and the bottle lasts for ages. We use it as bubble bath and to wash the boys' hair and skin. Andy and I also use it in the shower. We both have a tendency to eczema and this is really kind to our sensitive skin.

I can't recommend this product highly enough, we won't buy anything else!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Here is my son, Cash, trying Benjoy Munchcups.

This isn't a standard review though. I took the boys on a picnic with my NCT friends. One of them is the brother of Michelle, who set up Benjoy. He turned up with a big box of Benjoy Munchcups and all of us - adults and children alike - descended on them like lions on a fresh kill! So, not only I am writing this review for a friend, but also because I think the product is fantastic.

Benjoy Munchcups are ingenious no-spill snack pots containing delicious 100% natural nibbles for children.

There are currently five nutritious snacks to choose from: mini vegetable crisps, crunchy strawberries, multigrain bites, multigrain munchers and crunchy grapes.

They are currently available from Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon and Little Chef (£2.59 for four).

They have become a staple in my handbag, even when I'm out and about on my own! They would also be ideal in lunch boxes.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

LEGO Duplo Police Station 5681

I love LEGO and Duplo.

There's something so satisfying about the way it fits together, perfectly, every time.

We were sent the LEGO Duplo Police Station 5681 (£49.99) to review.

There was much excitement when we put it together. There are two rooms connected by a bridge. One room is a cell, containing a toilet and a bath. The other is an office with a computer. The set comes with several vehicles and figures so you get a lot for your money.

As you can see from the photograph both of my boys (aged 4 and 3) could play with the set at the same time. There is enough going on to keep them both occupied. There is plenty of scope for imaginative play.

We have had the set for a few months now (apologies LEGO for the late review) and I can say that every time the Duplo comes out Presley, 4, will build the cell. The helicopter is very popular too.

As with all LEGO and Duplo products this set fits with everything else in the entire range and is a wonderful investment. We love it (in case you couldn't tell).

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Lancome Hypnose Mascara

Many of us are constantly searching for that elusive wonder mascara.

When John Lewis sent me a Lancome Hypnose Mascara to review I hoped my search would be over.

My first impressions were positive. The product is comfortable to hold and there is little smell.

I found that the first sweep of the brush was a little clumpy, there was too much mascara on the brush. I carefully blotted the excess with a tissue and didn't have to re-do those lashes.

Without putting the wand back in the bottle I was able to apply the mascara to both sets of lashes, top and bottom. The coverage was even. There was no further clumping.

The brush is long and thin and this helps you to apply mascara right to the lash line.

My eyes looked so open with just one coat. I don't normally wear black mascara, but I really liked this look. I may have to get one in brown too now!

For full-on glamour I tried adding a second coat, this was too much for me. I'm a minimalist when it comes to make-up, but for a special occasion I would consider adding more. Even with the second coat my eye lashes felt light and comfortable.

So, have I found that elusive wonder mascara? Yes, I think I have!

Lancome Hypnose Mascara is £20.50.


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Leapfrog Launches Facebook Competition with Mother and Baby


Educational toy brand LeapFrog has launched its first ever national social media competition, giving UK families the opportunity to take part in an exclusive opportunity with Mother and Baby magazine.

The competition will encourage parents from all over the country to submit a photo of their baby. Three winning babies will be selected each month to be the faces of LeapFrog’s Development feature, which focuses on key achievements in child development and learning.  The details on how to enter will be located on the LeapFrog Facebook Fan Page.

The competition is open to babies aged from newborn to 24 months and will run until October 31st 2011. Finalists will be notified by email and will be invited to attend a photo shoot in London.

To kick start the campaign, the first winning baby will be announced live at the prestigious CyberMummy conference on June 25th .

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Douwe Egberts Aromettes

I was sent some Douwe Egberts Aromettes to try. I was also sent a cafetière to test them in.
I was keen to try the coffee bean shaped Aromettes as the smell wafting from the tins was amazing. 
Here is the blurb:

"The Secret of Aromettes®
By naturally compressing ground coffee into a unique bean shape straight after roasting, Douwe Egberts Aromettes® lock in the best of the taste and aroma. Simply add Aromettes® to your cafetière or filter machine in place of ground coffee. As soon as the Aromettes® come into contact with hot water, the fresh taste and aroma is released, giving you a delicious coffee full of flavour. With Douwe Egberts Aromettes®, you can be sure of a delicious, perfectly brewed cup of coffee every time."

The reality is a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. I have to say that I'm not a coffee geek. I occasionally have a 'proper' coffee when I'm out, an Americano, but have never bothered with coffee machines at home because of the cost, the hassle and the mess. There is none of that with this ground coffee.
The only thing that confused me was the instruction of one bean = one cup. How big is a cup? How big is my cafetière? After a little experiment and one very strong cup of coffee I worked it out! 
There are currently two flavours: smooth and intense. I prefer the smooth. 
Each tin contains 30 Aromettes and costs £3.79. That's *gets out calculator* less than 13p per cup. Wow! My only concern is where to buy them. My usual supermarket doesn't sell them. I hope this changes soon.


Monday, 6 June 2011

Photo Books from Bonusprint

I was offered the opportunity to create a photo book by Bonusprint.

Sorting out your digital photographs can be daunting. I had always fancied creating a photo book, but didn't relish the thought of sorting through thousands of digital images. Now I am a convert and will be taking the time to find my best photographs to convert into photo books.

Quite simply, this is one of the best products I have ever reviewed.

As a test I chose my favourite photographs from our honeymoon. The online upload process is simple. The wizard guides you through each stage. You are offered optional extras, such as extra glossy prints or one of your photographs on the front cover. The pricing is clear for any additional prints or other extras. Photo books start at just £9.99.

You can choose the layout of your photographs and there is an excellent onscreen preview that instantly updates when you make any changes. I managed to put some photographs together on a double page and make them look panoramic.

When the photo book arrived it exceeded all my expectations. The hard-cover book is very well made. The glossy pages are tough and show off the photographs beautifully. In very little time and for a relatively small outlay, you can create a stunning coffee table book.

I can't emphasise how much I love my Bonusprint photo book!

Less bulky than a traditional photo album, photo books are perfect for weddings, honeymoons, babies, your first trip to Disney or just for everyday family photographs. I hope my family aren't reading this, but if they are they will now know that they are all getting photo books for Christmas.

Thank you, Bonusprint!


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Chad Valley Playhouse

The excitement in our house when this Chad Valley Playhouse arrived was enormous! If there's ever a playhouse at a toddler group you can guarantee my children will be in there like a shot.

The injection moulded panels click into place really easily, it only took a few minutes to put together. It also comes apart for flat storage.

My husband and I usually set a timer when a new toy arrives. We both then guess how long it will be before there is an argument and we have to threaten to take the toy away if the children can't play together nicely. The timer ran for almost three hours, even then we only turned it off because it was lunch time. 

My boys were happily occupied for ages. There are endless possibilities for imaginative independent play with a toy like this. We put their little chairs inside and they sat on them, chatting away in their new home. Then they opened and closed the door five thousand times.  They ran around the garden pretending to go shopping before returning home. They looked out of the window. They opened and closed the door again. At this point I intervened and played alongside them for a while. I suggested they park their trikes outside, this they did - over and over and over again.

This playhouse is the best toy for summer. Even if it rains we can all huddle inside and pretend we're really on holiday or on the moon.

This gets a huge thumbs up from all of us at Calico Towers.

The Chad Valley Playhouse is available from Argos for £69.99.

Chad Valley Fire Engine Play Tent

My two boys, both pre-schoolers, watched me set up this Fire Engine Play Tent from Chad Valley. Their eyes were wide as they saw this sizable tent emerge from its small box. They couldn't wait to get their hands on it, 'helping' me with the poles. Luckily it was quick and easy to assemble.

They dived in and played for ages. They didn't realise it was a fire engine, preferring instead to to call it a bus - well, it is red. They took turns being the driver and wearing the hat. That's the beauty of a toy like this, parents can get involved and play alongside their children (in my case, usually as a referee) or they can play independently. My boys soon moved all their soft toys in and some play food. Then they went to Grandma and Grandad's and the supermarket. The possibilities for play are endless.

This toy is great for the British summer. It can go outside, but works just as well indoors. It's a cheap and cheerful play tent. If your children are a little boisterous, you may find the tent on the flimsy side (this is where the refereeing comes in), but on the whole we found it great value.

The Chad Valley Fire Engine Play Tent is available from Argos for £19.99.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Leapfrog Tag Reading System

We were sent a Leapfrog Tag Reading System to review, along with several books from the Tag Library.

You begin by downloading the Leapfrog Connect software onto your PC. From there you can personalise the device and load the data necessary for it to 'read' from your books.

The reader is the size of a large pen. The child places the pen on the book and the Tag will read to them. They can listen to the entire story, audio book style, or 'read' the words on the page. The touch technology is impressive. The Tag gives them a fun interactive reading experience for 4-8 year olds.

We already had the Tag Junior (a reader for ages 2-4), so my son already knew roughly what he had to do. Although this meant that he spent longer on the pictures than the words. He was disappointed that the Tag didn't say his name when it is switched on like the Tag Junior does, but I'm sure he'll grow out of that!

He found the Tag easy to use and extremely precise. It was comfortable to hold and he loved all of the books. His favourite was Madagascar 2 - he adores monkeys! I have a soft spot for Toy Story 3, having cried at the film! Cars Tractor Tipping is very funny. There is so much to do on every page in addition to the story. These books kept my son entertained for ages.

As my children are at the very beginning of learning to read I'm sure they'll be using the Tag for a long time.

The Reading system is currently discounted to £24.99 from the Leapfrog Store. The books are available for £12.99 each. The Learn to Read sets are £24.99.


We were already big Leapfrog fans in the Calico household, even before the Tag arrived. One of our favourite ever toys is My Pal Scout so I was keen to try the new iPhone app Scout's ABC Garden. So keen in fact that I spent £2.39 of my own money to download it. It's fab and my children are playing it every day. Sofa snuggle time is now educational!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Winnie the Pooh and Fairy Non Bio

Fairy invites you to share the magical world of “Winnie the Pooh” with your little one 

Fairy Non Bio and Fairy Fabric Softener are proud to announce their partnership with Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh”. To celebrate the recent release of the “Winnie the Pooh” film, for a limited time only Fairy will be offering one of three audio books with every purchase of special packs, available in stores nationwide. Featuring some of Disney’s most-loved characters, there are three tales to collect and share with your family. So cuddle up in soft, Fairy-washed sheets and enjoy quality time with your little ones.

With three tales to choose from; “Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore”, “Piglet’s Big Movie” and “The Original Story of Winnie the Pooh”, you can experience the Disney magic with an audio adventure to The Hundred Acre Wood, accompanied by Winnie the Pooh and friends. Look out for special packs. The offer runs until September 2011.

We were sent a gorgeous toy chest containing some Fairy non-bio products, a blanket, a plush Winnie the Pooh and all three stories and they are lovely. I haven't braved the cinema yet with my little ones, so this was a lovely way for them to experience a little of the Disney magic. Thank you Fairy.

Monday, 7 March 2011


If I'm having a dinner party I always try to have a special non-alcoholic drink available for the drivers or anyone who is not drinking.

Shloer always goes down well, it is sparkling and refreshing and not too sweet. I was delighted to be sent three bottles of Shloer to try; white grape and elderflower (one of my old favourites), white grape and raspberry and cranberry (a new favourite) and the newly launched Shloer Rose.

The Rose has lovely subtle flavour and I've been enjoying a glass of it in the evening with dinner. I don't drink during the week so it is perfect for me.

I was pleased to read that Shloer contains no preservatives, artificial colours, sweeteners or flavourings. Lovely.

The dreamgenii Twinkle Tog

We were sent a dreamgenii Twinkle Tog to review. It is a sleeping bag your toddler can walk in.

While it is funny to see your little one shuffling about trying to walk in their sleeping bag, it's not that safe. If you just put them to bed in pyjamas and a duvet chances are the duvet will be kicked off in the night. If your children are anything like mine this makes them cry, so you have to get out of your warm bed to cover them up. This could happen many times in the night, particularly in the winter.

Well, not any more. The Twinkle Tog is a brilliant invention. It kept 2 year old Cash warm all night and he could move about easily without getting twisted up. I was concerned that the Twinkle Tog would be bulky, but it's cosy and comfortable.

The Twinkle Tog is available in summer and winter tog ratings and in several funky prints. It is currently sold exclusively through Mothercare and retails at £29.99.  There is a buy 1 get 1 half price offer currently running, but for a limited time only.

Boys Treasure

I was asked to take a look at a couple of websites selling gifts for boys and girls. The boys' site is and the girls' site is

The sites are easy to navigate and there are some fantastic, great value products available.

We were sent a pirate alarm clock (£13.99) which arrived beautifully packaged. It is ideal for teaching the boys how to tell the time.

While I'm not keen on too many gender specific toys, there are plenty of items on both sites that I have earmarked for my present box and the boys' birthdays. I particularly liked the Make a train kit, a good value present at £5.99.

There is a huge range of dressing up outfits in Pink Heaven. I'm hoping this Princess Violet dress comes in adult sizes, ahem!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Win Tickets to the Excel Baby Show, a Hamper from Plum Baby and a Harden's Guide

*This competition is now closed*

The winner, chosen at random by a small child, is number 8 - Paula.

Plum Baby and Gurgle have been working with Harden's to produce the first guide to eating out with babies and toddlers. More than 1,000 venues in the UK have been reviewed, compiled from feedback from 8,000 parents who eat out with their children.

The guide is being launched at the Excel Baby Show (18th-20th February) in London. To celebrate the launch one lucky Sandy Calico Reviews reader will win:

  • 2 tickets to the Excel Baby Show
  • A copy of the Harden's guide to eating out with babies and toddlers
  • A hamper from Plum Baby

To enter simply leave a comment on this blog post, by midnight on Tuesday 15th February, telling us where you like to take your children to eat. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted by me on Wednesday 16th February.

Please ensure you leave your Twitter id or email address so I can contact you if you win.

There is no cash alternative. Only one entry per person.

Good luck!

Disclosure: I have been sent a copy of the guide and some Plum Baby samples as a thank you for running this competition.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Hotter GORE-TEX Shoes

I was sent this pair of GORE-TEX Mist Hotter Shoes to review.

The blurb says that they combine the Hotter Comfort Concept with the practicality of GORE-TEX. This is spot on. From day one my shoes have kept my feet warm and dry. They are sturdy and comfortable.

I walk whenever I can, so recently that has meant walking on snow, ice, slush, through puddles and soggy leaves. I've been wearing my Hotter GORE-TEX shoes solidly for over a month and they still look like new. They fit me beautifully, it's like wearing slippers.

They're not bulky or heavy like my old walking boots, in fact these look like trainers poking out from under my jeans. I feel smart wearing them anywhere.

There are four women's shoes and boots in the GORE-TEX range. I'm happy with my selection, Mist at £74.

I now have a fantastic pair of sensible walking shoes that get me from home to playgroup via the park with ease. I like Hotter Shoes for their quality and comfort and I love that they are a Lancashire manufacturer too. 


Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Vertbaudet Children's Clothes

We were sent this fabulous reversible hooded top and a gorgeous shirt (see below) from Vertbaudet.

The hooded top (was £13, but is currently reduced to just £6 in the sale - BARGAIN) is lovely and warm and washes and tumble dries well. It has a reindeer design on one side and reverses to a plain bright red on the other. While I love this top and it looks great on my 3 year old son, I haven't reversed it as the washing instructions would be on show and I don't want to cut them out!

The poplin shirt (£13) makes my 2 year old son look so grown up and stylish. Again it washes and dries well and hasn't faded, although I wish it was self-ironing!

Vertbaudet sell fabulous Baby clothes, funky and functional Boys clothing and also a wide range of Maternity Clothes. 

I'm off to have a virtual rummage through the sale items!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Tefal Actifry

I was sent a Tefal Actifry to review. I'm not normally a kitchen gadget type of person, although I'd heard good things about this. I tend to try things once, find them too awkward to use or too difficult to clean and put them away in the garage. Not this baby. Oh no. I love the Tefal Actifry!

The Tefal Actifry cooks with hot air. You can cook a kilo of chips in just one spoonful of oil, so clearly this is healthier than deep-frying. The photograph above is of our first batch of chips half way through cooking. As you can see there is no condensation and, above all, no mess. You set it going and the paddle turns the food so it is evenly cooked.

What I love most about the Tefal Actifry is that is is mess-free. It comes apart easily after cooking and the lid, bowl, paddle and measuring spoon all go in the dishwasher. There's nothing else to clean.

What I also love is the way food tastes when it's cooked in the Tefal Actifry. Chips are crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Potato wedges are amazing, buttery and yummy. You can 'roast' new potatoes with herbs and garlic and they taste out of this world. You can cook all sorts of foods in the Tefal Actifry, not just potatoes (although it is exceedingly good at cooking potatoes). Today I cooked sausages, 8 chipolatas took just 12 minutes and there was no smell, no splattered grease and no mess. I'm going to try their recipe for bolognaise sauce next. The Tefal Actifry comes with a round-the-world recipe book. Some of the recipes are a bit random, but it gives you a good idea of what you can cook in it.

The only minor downside is it's a little noisy, but no noisier than the extractor fan.

Tefal Actifry Recipe for Potato wedges, Salmon and Courgettes
(I made this up, but don't let that put you off. You can see it's edible from the photograph above)!

Cut potatoes into wedges. Dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.
Put the wedges in the Tefal Actifry with large pinches of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, parsley and chilli flakes and 3/4 of a spoonful of vegetable oil (or oil of your choice).
Cook for 20 minutes.
Add one chopped courgette and 150ml of cold water.
Cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add chunks of salmon steak and the juice of one lemon.
Cook for a final 10 minutes.

That's it. One pot (that goes on the dishwasher), no pans, no mess. Delicious healthy food.

The Tefal Actifry is available from this list of stores. The RRP is £199.99, but you can currently buy it for £107.00. I wouldn't be without mine now.