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Wondering if it's safe to come back.......It's been a long time.....

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since 25/03/2010

493

Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi 6" E Ink Display 16/06/2012

Konverted to the Kindle?

Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi 6" E Ink Display Intro After a good year or more of procrastinating about whether or not I should get a Kindle the matter was resolved back in May when I received one as a birthday present. Mine is the Kindle 4, Amazon's latest incarnation of their now world-famous E Book reader and is the wi-fi model rather than the 'touch' or 3G. At £89.00 this is the cheapest of the variations on offer and having had a good month or so's use out of mine and having put it through its paces I felt it was time to share my thoughts and opinions on it. Do I regret not getting one when they first came out rather than dithering? Let's see... The Kindle 4 - My thoughts I'm sure everyone is familiar with the concept of an E Book reader they've been around for a few years now and the Kindle was the first one that I became aware of when Amazon launched their earliest model. The idea behind the technology was truly an innovative one, why buy physical hardback or paperback books when you can read them electronically on a hand held device, think of the all the space you'd save by not having piles of books hanging around your home and how much easier would it be just to pick up your E-reader and download a book when you fancied reading a chapter or two of the latest release from your favourite author. In principle I could see the benefits of having a Kindle, I have tonnes of books knocking around my home and I'm the type of person who only ever reads a book once, life's too short I think to read something for a ...

Dacre Lakeside Park, East Yorkshire 04/05/2012

A Luxurious Lakeside Lodge

Dacre Lakeside Park, East Yorkshire IntroductionLocated in the small village of Brandesburton in Driffiield, East Yorkshire I recently stayed at Dacre Lakside Park on a Monday to Friday short break. The Park itself offers holiday accommodation in the form of a campsite for tents, pitches for tourer caravans, fixed static caravans available to book for family breaks and Scandinavian-style wooden lodges. I booked a lodge for 4 adults and my pet dog through the Hoseasons website not so long ago and whilst the holiday experience is still fresh in my mind I thought it time to share my thoughts on my short break away.Checking InHaving booked online I was sent details of how to get to the park with my booking confirmation, I was told that our lodge would be available from 4pm on the Monday and we arrived at the park for around 3:30 and waited until it was available in the park's reception. The reception/bar area is modern in design with ample, comfortable seating and the lady behind the reception desk was pleasant and friendly. She explained that the lodges were being prepared and that our keys would shortly be available and invited us to sit down and wait. After only 10 minutes she called us over to the desk and gave us our keys, a plan of the area pointing out which lodge was ours and asked if we required a passcode for the park's free WiFi which I accepted. As access to the lodge area of the park is through a barrier we also had an electronic fob which was attached to our keys, this activated the barrier and ...

Yankee Candle Mandarin Cranberry Wax Potpourri Tart 29/04/2012

One of my favourites

Yankee Candle Mandarin Cranberry Wax Potpourri Tart There are certain Yankee fragrances I return to time and time again when I want something to fill my home with a delicious scent, Black Cherry is an 'old faithful' as is Sweet Strawberry and over the years I've bought both of those dozens of times in many of the different formats that Yankee produce. A recent newly found favourite of mine is Mandarin Cranberry which I bought as a large house warmer jar when it was reduced to half price in Clinton Cards after Christmas last year and although I'd never had the fragrance before it quickly became one that I loved and I continue to buy it now usually in the wax tart form when it frequently appears in my local Clinton's at half price. I bought my latest Mandarin Cranberry wax tart just the other day when it was available at 59p and having exhausted my stash of new fragrances it was time to fall back on something that I knew would offer me a rich, deep fruity scent ideal for wet and windy nights.Mandarin Cranberry is described by Yankee as "Bursting with the vibrant, fruity sensation of sweet, sunny oranges and crisp, tangy cranberries" and is deep red in appearance with the wax tart being the standard 22 grams in weight. It's a very fruity fragrance, packed with recognisable Orange aroma and sweetened by the addition of Cranberries to make for a delicious room-filling fragrance that packs quite a punch. It's not for the faint-hearted this one, it's very intense in aroma and can't fail to be noticed as it builds in strength at when ...

Yankee Candle Sands Wax Tart 29/04/2012

A bit too Pink for me...

Yankee Candle Sands Wax Tart The Pink Sands wax tart from Yankee Candle was a recent purchase I made when it was offered at a reduced price in my local Yankee stockist. Promoted as a 'fragrance of the month' and with a 25% reduction I paid just 90p for mine instead of the usual £1.20 that the wax tarts usually sell for and whilst I wasn't particularly taken by the name or design of this one I remembered it from a review I'd read and was willing to take a chance on it as it had a bright, fruity aroma emanating from the cellophane wrapper and I thought it might appeal.Yankee describe the fragrance of Pink Sands as being an "exotic island escape with a beautiful mix of bright citrus, sweet floral's and spicy vanilla" and having melted mine a few days ago I would pretty much agree with that description. It's a pleasing fragrance, quite subtle to begin with but builds a little in intensity at its peak and does provide just enough aroma to be noticeable, the vanilla seems to support the lighter floral middle notes and there are bright highlights of citrusy lemon and orange which gives it a breezy air. It's not a particularly strong scent I don't think and lacks the room-filling properties of some others in Yankee's range of wax tarts but it's pleasant enough if not terribly exciting. It certainly wasn't a favourite of mine I must admit, I found it a little too subtle for me really as I prefer the stronger scents that Yankee offer. Fruity floral fragrances aren't generally my 'thing' as I prefer the sweeter, ...

Brooklyn Side Table 29/04/2012

Brooklyn Side Table, a 'Glass' act...

Brooklyn Side Table IntroductionThe Brooklyn glass side table was one of the items I bought for my living room shortly after moving into my new home. I've mentioned in a couple of recent reviews that I decided on glass furniture as the simplistic style of design and clean lines appealed to me and whilst I didn't really take into account just how much of a fingerprint and dust magnet glass surfaces can be I do like the overall look that these key pieces of furniture bring to my home and consider this side table to be a handy item which has proven itself to be a worthwhile buy.Brooklyn Side TableSold in store and online at Asda the Brooklyn side table can either be bought in a clear or black glass finish. It comes flat packed in a large square box and whilst usually I would recoil at the thoughts of trying to assemble any type of flat pack furniture this table is very easily put together. It features two large square glass pieces and silver effect legs and putting it together is straightforward thanks to the clearly printed illustrative instructions which walk you through the assembly process without any problems. It took me 10 minutes perhaps to assemble the table as it's just a case of attaching the legs to the lower piece of glass and then inserting the supporting struts into the predrilled holes before adding the top piece, quite honestly if I can put this together without any problems then anyone else should be able to do the same as I'm normally useless with anything flat packed but managed ...

Yankee Candle Lemon Lavender Tea Lights 29/04/2012

An unusual combination that works well

Yankee Candle Lemon Lavender Tea Lights IntroductionClinton Cards are currently (at the time of writing this review) offering various Yankee fragrances across a number of different formats at a reduced price and never one to miss an opportunity to stock up on half-price bargains I spent a bit of time in my local store yesterday deciding what to buy. I grabbed a few wax tarts of some of my favourite fruity fragrances, a few new votives just to try out and a couple of boxes to tea lights, one of which being the subject of this review; the Lemon Lavender scented variety.Although it may seem a contradiction given that I usually state in my Yankee reviews I don't tend to like floral fragrances I've had Lemon Lavender before as a wax tart and quite liked the combination of these two seemingly opposite scents and deciding that this might be a nice Springtime fragrance to have burning in my kitchen I snapped up a box of 12 tea lights for the bargain price of just £3.25Yankee Tea LightsPackaged in a small square box the tea-lights from Yankee are self contained candles that sit in their own plastic containers, individually the candles are around 2 inches in diameter and around an inch in depth and all come with their own wicks. The plastic container is heat proof so doesn't become damaged whilst the wax is in its molten state and Yankee claim that each individual candle has a burning time of around 4-6 hours. The Lemon Lavender tea-lights are pastel blue, almost violet in colour and out of the box give off a subtle powdery ...

Joseph Joseph Elevate Carousel 28/04/2012

So Good they named it Twice?

Joseph Joseph Elevate Carousel Calling all wannabe Nigella/Jamie Oliver types...I have a secret confession to make; I like watching cookery shows. There, I said it. Be it Nigella seductively whipping up a Paella with the everyday items she find in her fridge (personally I don't think you can have enough Squid in your fridge, it's so versatile) or Jamie Oliver putting together a full 3 course meal in only 30 minutes (preparation is the key, apparently...you've got to be organised in a kitchen...) I'll happily watch a celebrity chef cook themselves into a frenzy whilst eating beans on toast or pie and chips. I'm an easy going guy, there's no way I would call myself a "foodie", life's too short to have to worry about what Wine goes with what dish and whether the focaccia should be lightly toasted or just left to air. Don't get me started on how food should look on a plate or whether or not you should bring out the best cutlery for afternoon tea under the gazebo, the pretentiousness of it all brings a wry smile to my face and I let it go over my head although secretly I admire the fact that there are some people who can rustle up an impressive looking meal without breaking into sweat. This doesn't mean I don't, on a very rare occasion, try to be adventurous in the kitchen though and I can put together a mean curry or bolognaise if I have the time or inclination and whilst the majority of the meals I prepare are the sorts of thing that you bung into the oven and leave for 30 minutes I will from time to time ...

Betterware Longlife Enamel Coated Baking Tray Large 26/04/2012

A Betterware Baking tray...

Betterware Longlife Enamel Coated Baking Tray Large I recently bought a new cooker for my home as discussed in a past review and at the time of purchase also ended up buying a good quality set of pans for use on the hobs. Having bought for the outside of the cooker it soon became apparent that I would need a set of baking trays for use in the oven and was lucky enough to be given a few essential items from my ex mother-in-law who is a keen cook. One of the trays was this one from Betterware, she remembered buying it on a whim from the catalogue but hadn't had much use out of it so I gladly took it off her hands as it saved me the expense of buying something for myself and as I'm not what you would describe as an ambitious cook in the kitchen this tray serves me well for what I expect of it.It's a large tray measuring 28 x 44cm and is charcoal grey in colour, it's smooth to the touch with an enamel coating which is non-stick and gives you something to put food items on when cooking or baking in an oven. It has quite deep edges which prevent food from slipping off the sides and is of a good weight that it doesn't feel flimsy or poor quality. It doesn't buckle or lose its shape when faced with high temperatures and is simply a well made piece of cookware that does the job it's supposed to do. I use mine when I'm heating up oven chips or garlic bread baguettes amongst other things and I find that it's of decent size to allow me to cook for either myself or a couple of people. It washes well, any cooked on food is removed ...

Dunelm Mill Teddy Bear Throw 25/04/2012

For Cold Winter Nights

Dunelm Mill Teddy Bear Throw IntroductionOver the cold Winter months of last year and this I found myself using my central heating and electric fire more than I wanted to and it occured to me that I was wasting money heating every room in my home when there's only me who spends the majority of time in just my living room. On an evening there's nothing I like more then getting settled down to watching a bit of television or a film and I thought about buying a throw or blanket to snuggle in to when the nights were cold and I didn't want to have my heating blasting out all night. A visit to my local Dunelm Mill gave me the chance to select from a number of throws that were available and in the end I settled for the subject of this review, the teddy bear throw which at the time of purchase cost me £9.99Teddy Bear ThrowThe name of this throw refers to the softness of the material used rather than its design or pattern, it's made from super-soft polyester which has a brushed texture that feels like and is reminiscent of a teddy bear's fur. Available in two different sizes, small measuring 127cm x 178cm and large at 220cm x 220cm I bought the small one as I wanted it for my living room to put over my legs whilst sitting on my sofa watching the TV, there were plenty of colour options to choose from and in the end I bought the black one as it matched the colour scheme of my room and I figured it would go well with my dark fabric sofa and other accessories. It comes simply packaged in just a cardboard sleeve which ...

Yankee Candle Mango Peach Salsa Wax Potpourri Tart 24/04/2012

A Yankee fragrance that Pulls no Punches...

Yankee Candle Mango Peach Salsa Wax Potpourri Tart IntroductionDue to the number of wax tarts I get through I generally buy bulk orders now when it comes to stocking up my stash and have found that both amazon and Ebay are great places to buy collections from. For a little under £10.00 inclusive of postage I can either select 10 wax tarts of my own choosing or buy a put-together pack of similar types of fragrance which work out cheaper than if I were to buy them separately. Normally I choose the wax tarts I want but from time to time I'll let the seller decide what they're going to send me as it often gives me the chance to try a fragrance that's new to me. The Mango Peach Salsa wax tart was a recent inclusion in a collection I bought and although I'd seen the wax tart before in Yankee stockists it wasn't a fragrance that I had tried so eager to see what this one was going to be like it was the first tart in my latest batch that I tried. Wax TartsBy now the majority of regular readers of my reviews will know that a wax tart is a piece of fragrance-infused wax that when melted produces a room-filling aroma. Yankee produce dozens of different scents in a number of different formats and the wax tart range is the cheapest way to get an idea of the fragrances on offer and providing around 8 hours of scent they often represent excellent value for money when you consider that they tend to cost just over a pound each. I'm a fan of Yankee and their products as the number of reviews I've written about them will testify and constantly ...

Asda Plastic Lift Lid Bin 24/04/2012

It's 'bin' a good buy for me...

Asda Plastic Lift Lid Bin When I was in the process of setting up my new home I had a set budget in mind for what I wanted to spend in each of my rooms and a list of essential things that I needed to buy. When it came to the equipment I had to buy for my kitchen I quickly realised that there were savings to be made by buying Supermarket branded items on a fair few things, I'm quite fortunate in that I have a fully fitted kitchen with more storage space than I could ever use and have a long cupboard which I decided would be the ideal place to house my kitchen bin and because it was never going to be on show I didn't have to worry about buying anything too fancy. I saw the plastic bin under review here in Asda when I was out shopping one day and quickly decided to buy it, it was only £7.00, had a 40 litre capacity and seemed ideal for what I needed, so what's it like 6 months on?The bin could never be mistaken for being anything expensive, it looks cheap, feels cheap but is sturdy and does exactly what you'd want a bin to do. It comes in 2 sections, a solid bin part below an upper, removable top with a lift-up lid and mine, as mentioned, has a 40 litre capacity although other smaller sizes were available at the time but were disregarded as I figured they'd be too small for me. Mine is grey in colour which seems to be the only choice available but is a nice shade of grey (or 'silver' as Asda describe it as being but to me it's grey) that would suit a modern environment if left out where it could be seen ...

Yankee Candle Sicilian Lemon Wax Tart 23/04/2012

A Lemon Tart but not one you can eat...

Yankee Candle Sicilian Lemon Wax Tart Sicilian Lemon Wax TartAnother in the brand new Spring/Summer 2012 range of Yankee Candle fragrances, Sicilian Lemon is a new release which has recently been launched and has started to make an appearance both online and from high street Yankee stockists. I bought mine a few days ago after being impressed with 3 of the other new fragrances and expected this one to live up to my hopes of being a zesty, fresh fragrance that Yankee are usually so good at producing. Deciding to have my wax tart melting in my kitchen to allow the fragrance to work its way round my home I unwrapped it from its plastic confines, placed it into the well of my tart burner, lit a tea light and waited...Wax tarts are, as many readers will know already, a flat piece of fragranced wax. They have no wicks and aren't burnt like normal candles, instead they are melted on a tart burner from the heat of a tea light and contain around 8 hours of fragrance. They're often the strongest smelling products that Yankee produce and are a cheap and cheerful way of fragrancing a home with literally hundreds of scents being available to buy. Generally split into categories including "Fresh", "Fruity" and "Floral" there should be something to suit anybody looking for a fragrance to have in their home and over the years I've become a big fan of the products on offer. Wax tarts are one of the cheapest ways to experience a Yankee fragrance and tend to cost around £1.20 these days although some retailers will offer some at a ...

Mr Muscle Shower Shine 23/04/2012

Cleaning with minimal effort. Just spray and leave...

Mr Muscle Shower Shine I'm quite gullible I suppose when it comes to buying cleaning products for my home and tend to buy specific cleaners for specific jobs, I've used 'all in one' wipes and sprays that are said to be suitable for multiple surfaces but then tend to think that they're not as powerful as something that has been specially formulated for use in a specific area. I've got a glass shower screen at home and white tiles in my bathroom which need wiping over on a daily basis to get rid of water marks or shower gel residue that gets splashed about when I have a shower and rather than use a general cleaner to give them the once over I buy Mr Muscle's Shower Shine, a daily shower cleaner.The shower cleaner is a clear liquid which is sold in a trigger spray bottle, it can cost around £2.50 for 500ml's but is available in store at Poundland for just a quid and tends to be something I pick up when needed. The manufacturers claim that it prevents a build up of limescale, soap scum and grime and that it's effective on most shower surfaces including fibreglass, porcelain, chrome, tiles and glass amongst others and can also be sprayed on shower curtains. Unlike some cleaners that advise you to spray on and then wipe off this one should be sprayed over all wet surfaces after showering and then just left alone to dry in its own time and whilst this might appear to be a strange way of cleaning I've found that it is effective at doing what it's supposed to do although admittedly I will wipe it off my ...

Yankee Candle Orchard Pear Scented Sampler 22/04/2012

A disappointing Pear

Yankee Candle Orchard Pear Scented Sampler Yankee Candle's Orchard Pear sampler candle was another of the votives sent to me in the mega-pack order I made on the yankeedoodle website late last year. I've had the Orchard Pear fragrance before in the wax tart format and its one that I still buy from time to time when I stock up on my 'fruity' candles as along with Black Cherry and Sweet Strawberry it's one of my favourites that always delivers a room-filling juicy aroma of fresh, ripe pears. Whilst samplers aren't generally the strongest smelling items you can buy from Yankee I do like the effect they give when they're lit and I hoped to get some of the fragrance I was expecting when I finally got round to burning mine. As usual for my Yankee reviews I'll quickly explain that a votive or sampler candle is a short, stubby candle which has a single wick that runs through the middle of the wax. The wick is held in place by a metal disc at the base of the candle and once the wax has melted away all that is left behind is the disc and a small piece of wick. Thanks to the quality of the wax you should find that there's no wastage as it tends to burn evenly and you can expect to get around 15 hours burn time from a single sampler candle. Orchard Pear falls into the 'Fruit' category, the wax is golden brown in colour and the sampler candle is cellophane wrapped with an illustrative sticker on its trunk. You should always place a sampler/votive candle in a holder as the wax can drip if it's not safely contained and once lit and ...

Bold 2in1 Pomegranate and Orange Blossom Liquitabs 22/04/2012

Bold enough for me...

Bold 2in1 Pomegranate and Orange Blossom Liquitabs When it comes to laundry products I tend to either buy whatever is cheap or on offer at the time of purchase, I have no loyalty to any particular brand nor do I have any allergies or skin sensitivity that force me to be careful about what I choose and generally make my decisions based purely on the name of the fragrance and the price. I don't like anything too floral smelling as I always mention in my Yankee candle reviews and I tend to stick to this when it comes to the laundry detergents I buy, a typical example being the Bold 2 in 1 Pomegranate and Orange blossom liquitabs, the last brand name laundry product I bought and the subject of this review. I bought my box of Bold liquitabs when they were on special offer at Morrisons recently, at £2.00 instead of £4.00 for a box of 20 I thought they seemed good value for money from a big brand name. The fact that they were a 2 in 1 product containing detergent and fabric softener as well as claiming to give 12 hours of wear and a clean and fresh feeling whilst being fragranced with Pomegranate and Orange blossom meant that I was willing to take a chance on them. The liquitabs come packaged in a flip top plastic box which is easy to get into and are detergent-filled bags which are designed to be put in the drum of a washing machine before adding a laundry load. They're completely soluble and leave behind no residue or marks on the things they wash and are designed to be used at all water temperatures with a single liquitab being ...
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