Monday, 31 October 2011

‘Piggy in the Middle’ Teatime Gift Set – Christmas Gift Idea


If you’re looking for a perfect gift for an animal lover, then I’m sure they will love this pretty ‘Piggy in the Middle’ teatime gift set from The English Table.  It contains a fine china mug, coaster and a melamine tray.

I was sent a sample of this gift set to review and I loved it – I definitely would be happy to receive it as a gift this Christmas.  The design in so cute.  Mummy and daddy collies are looking after their little puppies, and what seems to be a foster piggy!  Both dog and pig fans would be delighted to receive this thoughtful gift.

The quality of the items and the printing is top-notch; I honestly couldn’t find a single fault.  The mug is a good size and thickness - Dad has severe arthritis and sometimes finds mugs too heavy but this was ideal for him.  The small tray holds two mugs – or one mug and a stack of biscuits!  It’s ideal for someone living on their own, and would make a great gift for your hard to buy for relative.

The gift set costs just £8 from
 Why not take a look at The English Table website where you will find an array of fantastic tableware for everyday use as well as pretty gift sets like this one.  You are sure to find the ideal gift there.

Fabulous Sevi Wooden Toys brought to you by John Crane

When I was little one of my favourite toys was a wooden dog on wheels which I pulled along on a string.  This little dog went everywhere with me – even shopping!  He truly was a special toy that made lasting memories.  Now you can create special memories for your little ones by treating them to a fabulous wooden toy from Sevi.  The Italian toy specialists have been making wooden toys for nearly two centuries, and they will now be brought to the UK by John Crane Ltd.

I have had a browse through the range of Sevi toys, and I really impressed.  They look fun, bright and colourful – so much better than a lump of plastic!  There is even a range of pull along toys like the dog I can remember, including a funky zebra.  Boys would love this fabulous wooden garage which includes vehicles and figures.  There is something to suit every child including musical instruments and a brilliant wooden kitchen range.

Sevi also have some brilliant Christmas toys and decorations which would keep any child happy in the run up to the big day.  I love the pretty nativity scene, which would make a great decoration even if you haven’t got children.

For more information on the Sevi toys please visit, or visit John Crane’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter.

I was introduced to Sevi and John Crane by Blog Match

Happy Halloween from Henry

Henry would like to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

Appalling neglect of gentle giant dumped in street

A stray dog who suffered shocking neglect, which left her nearly bald and covered in sores, has been saved by The Blue Cross in Burford.

Gentle giant Hettie, a four-year-old mastiff crossbreed, had such advanced mange she had lost large patches of fur when she was found wandering in the village of Kingham. She was underweight, her muscles had wasted and she was suffering from benign tumours and a congenital eye disease which had been left untreated.

The dog warden who brought her to the charity's adoption centre on Shilton Road said she had never seen a dog in such a bad state. Yet despite the great pain and neglect Hettie had suffered, staff were touched by her affectionate and gentle nature.

Elly Griffiths, animal welfare assistant at The Burford Blue Cross adoption centre, said: “Hettie was in such a shocking condition when she arrived that it was clear her problems had been allowed to deteriorate for weeks if not months. Her skin was swollen, red raw and covered in sores, and her eyes were red and weeping due to a condition which had clearly never been treated.

"Hettie had clearly given birth to several litters despite being just four years old and it seems she was the victim of an irresponsible breeder who appears to have used her and discarded her to fend for herself.
“We have no idea how long she was wandering as a stray but this is an appalling case of neglect and it is hard to imagine how anyone could have let her suffer so much pain and discomfort.
“It is amazing what a loving and gentle personality she has after what she has been through and we are hoping she will find the new home she deserves.”

Hettie was found by a passer-by on 25 August this year and taken to a vet in Chipping Norton, who contacted the council.

The dog warden brought her into The Blue Cross where staff were shocked by her condition.  The vet confirmed that she had suspected mange, which is caused by mites burrowing under the skin, plus a secondary infection of the skin. She had conjunctivitis, and her weepy, red eyes were caused by an inherited condition called entropian where the eyelashes grow inwards.

Caring staff at The Blue Cross have been treating her skin with weekly baths in medicated shampoo and giving her antibiotic eye drops for her conjunctivitis. She has been neutered by vets at the charity but the operation was more complicated than usual due to the awful condition of her skin.
She now faces more surgery to correct her eyelids and to remove some benign tumours. 

Elly added: “Hettie has been through a huge ordeal and we are just pleased she was rescued when she was as she would have been in great discomfort. She loves life and is a happy-go-lucky girl who has already learned lots of basic training.

“Hettie may not be the prettiest of pets but we would urge people to see past her looks and recognise what a wonderful dog she is.”

Hettie is looking for a home with a family who can give her lots of love, play and continue her training. She is sociable with both people and other dogs.

The hard work The Blue Cross does with needy animals like Hettie is only possible due to the generous donations of its supporters because it receives no government funding. Her treatment has so far cost more than £500.

To find out more about giving Hettie a home for life, call The Burford Blue Cross adoption centre on 0300 777 1570 or visit

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pink Lady Toffee Apple Tart - Halloween Recipe 7

Our next recipe would be perfect for a special treat at a Halloween or Bonfire Night get together.  Thanks to Pink Lady Apples for sharing this delicious recipe with us.  For more great recipes visit

Pink Lady® Apple Toffee Tart

Pink Lady ® apples are grown in America, and to pay a tribute this is our apple version of the classic American banoffee pie. Light crisp filo pastry encases sweet crunchy pink lady apple slices and truly scrumptious toffee sauce. The easiest tart you can make.

Serves 8
Preparation time: 10-15 mins
Cooking time: 15-30 mins, plus cooling

You’ll need:
50 g butter, melted
8 x 25 g filo pastry sheets (approx. 24 cm x 25 cm)
1 x 397 g tin dulce du leche
2 Pink Lady® apples, cored and finely sliced
2 tsp caster sugar
15 g flaked almonds

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan oven/gas mark 4 and put a baking tray in the oven to preheat. Brush the inside of a loose bottom 20 cm cake tin with a little melted butter.

Put one sheet of filo pastry onto a clean work surface and brush all over with butter. Lay another sheet of filo pastry on top, slightly offsetting the corners. Repeat with butter and remaining filo pastry sheets.

Take the filo pastry stack and use to line the cake tin, allowing the edges of the pastry to hand over the edge. Spread the dulce du leche all over the base of the pastry.

Arrange the apple slices all over the top of the dulce du leche in circles, slightly overlapping the slices. Scrunch the over-hanging pastry over the top of the apples.

Brush all over with a little butter, sprinkle with the sugar and almonds and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and pastry is cooked. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.