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Minha

Minha

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Coming to terms with a new computer - I'll be back when I find out where everything is :o)

Reviews written

since 23/07/2003

127

Method Laundry Liquid Fresh Air 25 Washes 19/02/2012

My Method for the Laundry

Method Laundry Liquid Fresh Air 25 Washes I really can’t remember where I first read about Method Laundry Detergent but I am SO glad that I did! I day “read” because I’m pretty sure that I looked up their website and was so impressed that I then went searching the supermarkets for the products. Admittedly I COULD have bought it directly from them but, as it happens, I was lucky enough to find it in Sainsbury’s while on special offer. Having not seen it previously, even then it seemed a remarkably small bottle (compared with other washing liquids) for the price, but the recommended “dose” was also very small – and, as I already use wash balls, I knew I could cut this by about half. Method say that their washing liquid is “ultra concentrated” (8 times) therefore the 300ml which comes in a pump-top bottle will provide 25 washes. The one thing I was rather concerned about was the prospect of a liquid that was highly scented – something I avoid at all costs. It really IS my pet hate! When I first bought it the only version available was FRESH AIR (blue bottle) and I have to say that I was suitably impressed. Since then I have also sampled the other two fragrances: PEONY BLOSSOM (pink) and FREE & CLEAN (white) and I have to say that I have no complaints about any of them. I have used Fresh Air most, not really from any preference; simply that it seems the most readily available in the local shops. There is also now the added attraction that they make this variety in refill pouches which offer a considerable saving. The ...

Ecozone Magnoball 18/02/2012

Magnoball magic

Ecozone Magnoball I have long been a fan of the power of magnets and was aware that the use of them could affect the formation of lime scale, having nothing but beneficial effects on water pipes and tanks. As we live in a very hard water area this has been a big problem over the years. I had read about the Magnoball and its benefits but had never actually seen one – apart from on television – probably on a shopping channel. When I DID find them it was in the local ALDI store and seemed to be (as a lot of items are) a lot cheaper than I had previously seen it advertised! I decided that I would treat the washing machine to one of these to try and stop the effects of lime scale which, we are told, is one of the main causes of faults. My reasoning being that it certainly couldn’t do any harm to the machine and if it did it good then £5.99 was well worth spending. This item is very ordinary in appearance, the magnets being enclosed in a green rubber ball. This has a hole through the centre and, what I can only term as slits around the sides. It has Ecozone Magnoball clearly marked on both ends. As I said, ours is green but I have seen pictures of them in other colours too. I would suggest that you keep it out of sight of any dogs in the house as, being roughly the size of a tennis ball, it is also very appealing to our canine friends! Does it work? That is a bit difficult to say without taking the washing machine to pieces. I CAN say that the drum appears to have benefitted as it used to have a ...

Tooth and Claw - Nigel McCrery 12/01/2012

More Murders in Essex!

Tooth and Claw - Nigel McCrery This is the second of Nigel McCrery’s DCI Mark Lapslie books. Again the story is set in Essex and again it is filled with thrills, spills and murders! Mark Lapslie is afflicted with a little known neurological condition – Synethesia (Synaethesia) and this, having worsened, has forced him to spend time working at home rather than at Police Headquarters in Chelmsford. I have read reviews of this book which criticise the inclusion of descriptions of this condition but, not only did I feel that I had learnt something new from this but also it does play an integral part of this very unusual story. Another criticism talks of the discrepancies in descriptions of Essex. I can agree to a certain extent – having been born and lived in Essex most of my life. I will agree that in one place Shenfield is shown to be on the outskirts of BRENTFORD (Middlesex) instead of Brentwood which is the one it should have been. I also find that Chelmsford is, in places, a little difficult to recognise – somewhere I have known all my life and where I went to school. However, we have to remember, as I have said previously, that this is a work of fiction and not intended as a travel guide, therefore a certain amount of poetic licence must be allowed. I’m sure it would not detract from the story especially for someone unfamiliar with the area. You could say that this is a murder story with a difference. For one thing, we are introduced to the murderer as early as chapter two – and his continuing career ...

Core of Evil - Nigel McCrery 01/01/2012

The Evil Core of Essex

Core of Evil - Nigel McCrery “Core of Evil” is the first of the three (so far) Mark Lapslie crime novels set in Essex written by Nigel McCrery. This is also sometimes known as “Still Waters” which was probably its first title but can be a little confusing if you are not aware of the change. The story has something of a shock start but I don’t intend to give you any clues as it does tie in well with the final outcome – as you would expect from a writer of Nigel McCrery’s calibre. What is slightly unusual is the fact that you are introduced to the murderer in chapter one so, to a degree, you are following their story as well as that of the police searching for them. And who would expect the serial killer to be an elderly lady? Having been made aware of this in the first chapter, in no way does it spoil the story - it certainly isn’t a ‘who-dun-it’. You get to know DCI Mark Lapslie in Chapter two and learn something of the neurological disorder Synesthesia with which he is afflicted. This condition limits his life and work and he is quite sure that his superiors are looking for a way to make him take early retirement but the apparently minor case on which he is sent turns out to be far more complex than everyone thought and leads to multiple murders. In this book we are also introduced to his sergeant, Emma Bradbury, and the local pathologist, with whom he forms a firm friendship. His research on this department is excellent as is that of the forensic science department – but no more than what ...

Scream - Nigel McCrery 29/12/2011

=="Scream - it's Essex"==

Scream - Nigel McCrery There are a lot of things that make me feel like screaming – not least the treatment of Essex and its people these days. I have always been very proud of my County having been born, raised and educated here and, am old enough to remember the days when the reason you were eyed a little strangely when you mentioned where you lived was because no-one had previously considered it as place that was actually inhabited. I grew up used to the local dialect (yes, we DO have one and it ISN’T what is currently recognised thanks to those ridiculous TV programmes) – a lot of people find it difficult to understand but I still love to hear it – not so often these days as the 'new' one is taking over unfortunately. Imagine then, my delight at finding a set of crime novels set in Essex! I love a good crime story and when I found these, written by Nigel McCrery, I couldn’t wait to get started. Nigel McCrery is a very successful writer with things like Silent Witness having been so popular on television to his credit. He is also a former policeman which, to my mind, always adds authenticity to the policemen about whom he writes. The hero of these books is DCI Mark Lapslie, a somewhat unusual subject as he suffers from a neurological disorder which could easily stop him from working completely but, in fact, really adds to the stories. "Scream" is the third in the Mark Lapslie series, previous ones being "Core of Evil" (sometimes also referred to as "Still Waters") and "Tooth and Claw". ...

Breville VKJ142 Hot Cup Kettle 28/04/2011

A Hot Cup from Breville

Breville VKJ142 Hot Cup Kettle The Breville Hot Cup was received as a Christmas present last year and I can honestly say that it has been used every day since. It can really only be described as a kettle – but with a patented design which means that only one cup is boiled at a time which, of course, saves time, energy and money. There is no wasted hot water as you would usually get when boiling a traditional kettle for one or two mugs of coffee – or anything else that only requires one cup. I have to say that making instant coffee has never been easier because with this little item you don’t even have to pout it out. The reservoir holds up to one and a half litre of water but the heating chamber only boils 250ml at a time – and dispenses it when it is ready. This does sound somewhat like a coffee machine but, for some reason, the coffee also seems to smell and taste better, perhaps due to being exactly the right temperature – or maybe only my imagination! Everything has a nice bright blue illumination when switched on – that is the On/Off button on the top and the water reservoir. This is exactly matched to my existing kettle which is also Breville, so it all looks very well together. There is a lid-release button and the reservoir is easy to fill. I tend to do it with a jug – simply because I always have a jug of water nearby – but it’s not a heavy item to take to the tap. Of course, you have to be sure that you have a cup or mug of the right size or you might find that you’ve managed to “overflow”, ...

Pasta Express Magic Chef Pasta Cooker 27/04/2011

A Magic Chef for my Pasta

Pasta Express Magic Chef Pasta Cooker I first saw this advertised some while ago on T.V., and, having thought that it seemed a good idea, promptly forgot about it again. However, I kept coming across it in various catalogues and, the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a good idea for me. I can only assume that this is a form of brain-washing! Nevertheless, I set out to get myself one and I am very pleased that I did. I bought it from Amazon – two good reasons, it was cheaper there and I had a good stock of vouchers at the time. When it arrived I was impressed with the quality, having been a little concerned that it might not be as substantial as I had hoped. Inside the box there were two containers – which seem to have various names such as “Pasta Pronto” and “Pasta Express” – both quite adequate descriptive names. There was also a ‘bonus’ cheese grater and a neoprene holder to save getting your hands burnt when in use. The actual “Pasta Pronto” is a tubular container with a two-piece lid which comes apart having an enclosed strainer. There are two sizes enclosed: one twelve inches (30cm) high and the other eight inches (20cm) the diameter of both being four inches (10cm). The idea is very simple – you put your pasta or vegetables into the container, cover with boiling water, clip the lids into place and wait for about ten minutes. The lid can initially seem very tight and awkward as it obviously needs to be water tight. You can, of course, vary the cooking time depending on what you are ...

Delonghi F28211 18/02/2011

Roto Fry for Healthy Chips

Delonghi F28211 I have long been a great fan of DeLonghi items but by far my favourite of all time has to be the “Roto Fry” deep fryer. I was devastated last week when mine failed. Fortunately this occurred whilst I was in the middle of cleaning it so I was well aware of what had happened and knew that it would have to be replaced. Having been installed in my kitchen for about five years I can truthfully say that it has seen a lot of use – and had itself been a replacement for a previous DeLonghi model. In short, I knew I could trust it and when replacement was needed I knew just what to look for. Of course, in five years things change – and possibly improve. There are quite a few models to choose from nowadays – not just the one “state of the art” model that I had last time. The one I did choose is slightly smaller and much lighter. It also has a non-stick interior which is a nice modern touch. It is also a “cool wall” model which avoids what can cause a nasty burn with some appliances. Let me tell you about this appliance in case you haven’t come across it before. It is certainly not the same as other deep fat fryers. For one thing there is no deep fat! The maximum amount of oil needed is 1.2 litres. This is because the bowl is angled meaning that the basket (which rotates) dips the food in and out of the oil which results in it being perfectly cooked and yet is never immersed for long enough to become saturated. This is, of course, a much healthier way to fry especially if you also use ...

Air Wick Aqua Mist 25/01/2011

Air Wick in the Mist - not thick fog!

Air Wick Aqua Mist I’m not a great fan of air fresheners as I often feel that the fragrance is not only artificial but also far too strong. We do occasionally have scented candles which are usually very well “vetted” for the smell before purchase! Recently on a trip to ASDA I found that Air Wick Aqua Mist was on a “Roll-Back” price of £1.49 – approximately half it’s usual price. This was something I had previously read about and thought it sounded rather interesting. I had already decided that I would try it if I saw it, although finding it at this price was a definite “decider” as far as I was concerned. The appearance of this air freshener is different to most as it doesn’t come in an aerosol. It comes in a clear plastic bottle – about six and a half inches high – with a trigger spray bringing the height to ten inches altogether. The colour of the spray top depends on the fragrance inside and, as the contents of the bottle are clear and colourless – no matter what fragrance, this is helpful once you have decided which you like best. There is also a small green peg which holds the trigger spray thus avoiding accidental sprays! There is a choice of three fragrances: Freesia and Jasmine which comes with a green trigger spray, Cool Linen and White Lilac – with a white top and Wild Lavender and Mountain Breeze with a lilac coloured spray. In fact, there were only two available when I bought mine so I chose the Cool Linen and White Lilac. I was very impressed by the lightness of the ...

Ancol Dog Beacon 12/01/2011

Ancol Beacon shows where you are!

Ancol Dog Beacon Walking a black dog in the dark can be somewhat hazardous at times, especially if it has a habit of taking off after the local wildlife as mine does! In fact, letting him loose in our rather large garden has it’s own problems too from time to time when one of the resident foxes decides to put in an appearance at the same time. I have managed to stop him jumping the fences (I hope) but it IS very useful to know exactly where he is. A small item that I have found extremely useful is the Ancol Dog Beacon. This is a small flashing tag that you attach to the collar. It’s switched on by twisting the body of the tag and flashes red and blue – rather reminiscent of a small police car! It is extremely high visibility – even on my long haired border collie. It is said to be visible up to a quarter of a mile away – barring obstacles between, of course – and this I can well believe. I have to admit that I did have my doubts when I first used it and I couldn’t believe that something so small could be so visible but I was so pleased with the results that I bought a second one in case of emergencies. That is, in case the batteries should run out when I couldn’t get to buy more! Speaking of batteries, it works with three AG3 batteries and the advice is that they should be replaced if the light sequence changes to just a single colour. The item is water resistant for normal dog walking but, of course, this does not include swimming. , Having previously had border collies with the more usual ...

Ancol Dog Beacon 11/01/2011

Ancol Flashing Beacon shows where my dog is

Ancol Dog Beacon Walking a black dog in the dark can be somewhat hazardous at times, especially if it has a habit of taking off after the local wildlife as mine does! In fact, letting him loose in our rather large garden has it’s problems too from time to time when one of the resident foxes decides to put in an appearance at the same time. I have managed to stop him jumping the fences (I hope) but it IS very useful to know exactly where he is. A small item that I have found extremely useful is the Ancol Dog Beacon. This is a small flashing tag that you attach to the collar. It’s switched on by twisting the body of the tag and flashes red and blue – rather reminiscent of a small police car! It is extremely high visibility – even on my long haired border collie. It is said to be visible up to a quarter of a mile away – barring obstacles between, of course – and this I can well believe. I have to admit that I did have my doubts when I first used it and I couldn’t believe that something so small could be so visible but I was so pleased with the results that I bought a second one in case of emergencies. That is, in case the batteries should run out when I couldn’t get to buy more! Speaking of batteries, it works with three AG3 batteries and the advice is that they should be replaced if the light sequence changes to just a single colour. The item is water resistant for normal dog walking but, of course, this does not include swimming. , Having previously had border collies with the more usual ...

buyspares.co.uk 24/11/2010

Buy Spares and Do It Yourself

buyspares.co.uk A few weeks ago catastrophe struck - the washing machine wouldn’t work! As far as I could judge, there wasn’t too much wrong, but the thought of calling out an engineer – and the ensuing costs - filled me with dread. I had worked out that the fault was something to do with the door lock as it had been a little “unwilling” to fasten for some time. Being a safety device, I felt that if it HAD failed it would account for the whole machine not switching on. I decided to try the internet and see if I could find any solutions. On doing a search I was directed to a site: www.buyspares.co.uk . At this point, I was really wondering whether I could find a copy of the manual; - mine having mysteriously gone walkabout! However, whilst there, I had a look to see if there was anything that seemed a possible cause for the problem. Having found what I thought was causing the fault (a door interlock) I then found that I could also find out how to fit this – by way of a video. With the information available, it seemed quite easy enough to do myself (only requiring two screwdrivers) – so I went ahead and ordered the spare part. The order was confirmed and the following day I received an email telling me that it had been despatched. It arrived two days after I ordered it. The website doesn’t only cater for washing machines, of course – in fact, I would think that you could find practically ANY spare part you would need there somewhere. For example: Kitchen Appliances, Washers and Dryers, ...

Mikki Moult Master 02/11/2010

Mikki Masters Moulting

Mikki Moult Master Grooming a pet can be a really pleasurable task – or something to be dreaded – depending on how your particular pet reacts to it. Fortunately, my animals love it and, having a dog and five cats it means that I can thoroughly enjoy the prospect myself. The Mikki Moult Master is something I came across quite recently and, having seen it demonstrated, I couldn’t wait to try it out myself. Having already used many Mikki items I had no doubt that the claims they made would be fulfilled and I wasn’t disappointed. To start with the whole appearance of this tool shows that it was designed with ease of use in mind. The handle is ideally suited for the task – black plastic with raised grips on both sides in red – these taking the form of “footprints” on the top. The “comb” (for ease of description) is made of heat treated stainless steel and has dual edged teeth. I’m not sure what this means exactly – but it IS very effective! There is also a “tooth guard” to protect the business end of the tool when not in use. These teeth are very small – about half a centimetre in length – but the idea is that they remove the dead hair from the undercoat, which has been shed but sometimes remains hidden under the top coat. This can often cause problems such as matts and tangles especially in dogs with double coats like my own Border Collie. I have been able to use the Moult Master on Zephyr, the aforementioned Border Collie, and also five cats of varying type ranging from one with long hair to a ...

Bissell 87R4E PET 24/10/2010

No hairs on my stairs thanks to Bissell

Bissell 87R4E PET For a long time now I have been looking for a suitable handheld vacuum with which to clean my stairs! It was all reasonably easy when we had a cylinder cleaner but, when we graduated to an upright Vax I had to resort to the brush again. The main problem being with the stairs rather than the vacuum cleaner as they are steep and narrow – but they’ve been that way for over a hundred years so a change of cleaner is certainly cheaper than a change of stairs! A couple of months ago we came across the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser. As many will know there are five cats in our household so the name of it was attractive to start with! Having also seen it demonstrated, it seemed to fit the required bill very nicely. We have had other vacuum cleaners which I thought would be suitable for the same tasks and have, unfortunately, been thoroughly disappointed – to the extent, in one case, where we exchanged the item. (The replacement is now long gone). I have to say that I have been very impressed with this little cleaner – and yes, it IS little; the approximate measurements being 30cm x 20cm x 10cm and the weight less than 1.8 Kg. This makes it especially easy for cleaning the stair which was, of course, the main reason for getting it. The cable is longer than that on the main cleaner and I can easily clean the stairs with it plugged in either at the top or the bottom – rather than having to change half-way as I have had to previously. There is also a cable “wrap” – a Velcro-type strap – ...

Bosch AXT Rapid 200 20/11/2009

Shred and Recycle the Bosch Way

Bosch AXT Rapid 200 This year I have been kept busy in the garden of late, cutting and pruning some of the many bushes and shrubs I seem to have collected over the years! This has, unfortunately, left me with an ever increasing pile of twigs and branches which the local council don’t want to know about unless I cut them into small pieces first! We DID have a garden shredder however; this gave up the ghost in a puff of black smoke some years ago and, apparently, would cost us more to repair than to replace so has consequently sat idle for years just taking up space that could well be used for something more useful! During the past few weeks, we have had quite a bit of rain in our area, having had an extremely dry summer, and the garden has subsequently become somewhat muddy. Whilst pondering this problem recently, I decided that if we bought a new shredder it would solve at least two existing problems – clearing all the debris left from my pruning efforts (apart from the big branches that is) and providing a decent dry material for surfacing the walking areas. After a bit of on-line research we settled on the Bosch AXT 2200 Rapid Electric shredder. It was, by no means, the cheapest on offer, but it DID have some very positive customer reviews. It certainly had a lot of attractive features compared to the old one we had. For one thing it is much lighter – the last one weighed a ton! (A slight exaggeration of course). It also has wheels – oh joy! No more lugging a three legged monster ...
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