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since 04/02/2008


Kwik-Fit Tyre & Exhaust Centres 28/10/2009

Tyred of paying high prices...

Kwik-Fit Tyre & Exhaust Centres I had to finally accept the truth - all four tyres on my car needed replacing, despite the protests from my credit card. I went to my local branch of ATS and asked for a price. They quoted £528 and could have the tyres in and on my car the next day. I went home slightly grief stricken by this amount so got busy on the internet to see what other prices I could find (whilst my credit card hid under the bed, quietly sobbing.) I wasn't particularly hopeful of finding many alternatives, as I live in a fairly remote part of Wales so outlets of any retailer are few and far between. However, I did have a look at Kwik Fit's website to see if there was a branch nearby, and if so, what price they could offer. I thought that it would be quite complicated and I would need to search through lists of tyres, with weird specifications and numbers on them that wouldn't mean a lot to me but I was pleasantly surprised! On the Kwik Fit site, you don't need to go outside, crouch down and examine your tyres to write down all the meaningless numbers and symbols on the tyres, so that you can select the correct ones. You can just enter your car registration and it will automatically give you all the options as to which tyres could be suitable for your car with the prices! Result! In addition, I saw that the website offers the option of booking an appointment at a time suitable for me, so that I could go in at the appointed time and have my tyres changed, instead of just ...

Welcome Cottages, United Kingdom 28/10/2009

Fancy a stay with the Munsters?

Welcome Cottages, United Kingdom My husband I have used Welcome Cottages five times now to book a week long holiday in the UK for us and our two dogs. We have stayed in four lovely places, but the last place was rather grim, so I thought I would share our experience so others can try and avoid doing what we did! Welcome Cottages lets properties in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia. The properties are owned by private owners who let them through Welcome Cottages, with the company taking a fee for this service. The website, is very easy to use, and will allow a property search to be carried out based on the number of people in the party, the dates accommodation is required and the area the property is in. A detailed search will allow other criteria to be specified, such as whether a pet friendly property is required. The properties are graded for quality with 'Beautiful' being the top accolade, followed by 'Lovely', then 'Good Quality' and then 'Comfortable'. When booking our properties, I always looked at Lovely or Beautiful properties as after all, who wants to go on holiday to a place that's not as nice as your own home, right?! Indeed we did stay in some lovely places - a quant cosy tumbledown cottage in North Wales with fantastic views over the sea, an enormous brand newly converted barn in Scotland, a tiny rustic cottage in the Yorkshire Dales all on its own (v Wuthering Heights!) and a fisherman's cottage on the coast in Cornwall. When it ...

Housesafe Smoke Alarm 14/10/2009

Smoke alarm and pendant light in one - fantastic

Housesafe Smoke Alarm This is an excellent solution to having unsightly smoke alarms on the ceiling. The Housesafe smoke alarm replaces the normal pendant light rose on the ceiling and the smoke alarm and sensors are concealed in the base. It is wired into the mains like a normal pendant light would be and once smoke has been detected, the siren activates and automatically illuminates the pendant light to provide an illuminated escape route. In the event of a mains power failure, the alarm is still operational via a rechargeable battery contained within it and it contains a power monitoring supply system to ensure 100% effectiveness. The area of power failures is, I think, it's only downfall. If say, you have one of these in your bedroom and there's a power failure at 3am, the alarm will switch to battery power and automatically turn the bedroom light on. And it cannot be switched off until power is restored! If you have multiple Housesafe alarms, they can all be linked together so that if one is activated, they all sound the alarm. Good if for example a fire starts in the living room and sets off the living room alarm, it will then automatically set off the upstairs alarms too so that anyone sleeping upstairs is alerted of a fire at an early stage to enable them to escape. The booklet doesn't give a decibel rating for the alarm but it does have an adjustable volume and it is loud enough to wake me up straight away, when the volume is at it's middle setting. What the booklet ...

Bosch ISIO 2 3.6v Cordless Shape & Edge 06/10/2009

Fun gadget that gives a professional finish to the garden

Bosch ISIO 2 3.6v Cordless Shape & Edge The Bosch Isio is a cordless electric shear set, which incorporates a blade for hedge trimming and a blade for edging the lawn with. It has a 3.6v lithium battery which gives it a running time of 40 minutes. Bosch reckon it takes 5 hours to charge from a flat battery, but I've never let it run totally flat so I haven't tested that aspect. When recharging it, a green light comes on on the front of the handset to let you know it is charging. When the device is fully charged, the green light goes out. Nice and easy. To turn the device on, a button has to be pushed on the side of it and then, whilst the button is being held a further button under the handle towards the front needs to be depressed. Then the first button can be let go of. This means it's really easy to start and no muscle power is needed at all, but I find it is a two handed operation. When it is running, it doesn't vibrate much so all the bones in your hand don't get shaken about and it's very comfortable to use from that aspect. What's not quite so comfortable is having to keep that button on the handle depressed, to keep it running. I find this makes my hand ache after 5 minutes or so and wish there was an option to just switch it on without needing to keep a button depressed all the time. The hedge trimming device is very easy to use and works like a regular, normal size hedge trimmer but in miniature. The blade length is 110mm. I find it makes short work of trimming box hedging, although it does ...

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Laptop 05/10/2009

Ideal for web browsing

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 Laptop I have been using this web book for about a month now so thought I would offer a review, from my perspective as an amateur user. My husband (technohead) ordered my Inspiron mini 10 for me (non technohead) direct from It took about two weeks to arrive and cost £349 after we'd added some bits and pieces to it, although they start at £299. The standard colours it comes in are white and black, although there is an array of other colours that can be ordered, but you have to pay extra. I wanted an orange one but saw that it added £35 to the build cost, so decided to stick with white instead. I think it looks pretty good in white anyway! Nice and glossy and shiny - I wonder how long I'll be able to keep it that way without scratching it up! According to, the mini 10 weighs 2.6lbs and is 1.1 inches thick. It has a screen of 10.1 inches wide. That is the whole screen mind you, including a black band round the outside which isn't useable. According to my trusty ruler, the useable screen is 22.3cm (or 8.8 inches). Up the right hand side of the mini 10, the right hand ports are 2 audio ports (1line in, 1 mic in) HDMI out, 2USB ports and an Ethernet port (whatever the heck that is. Did I mention I'm not a technohead?!lol) Up the left hand side of the mini 10 are a Kensington lock port (what the....???) a power adaptor port, a USB port and a 3 in 1 card reader. It has 2GB RAM and a keyboard that is 92% of the size of a regular laptop keyboard. As a touch ...

Wisdom Easy Floss Daily Flosser 29/09/2009

Floss without fuss

Wisdom Easy Floss Daily Flosser I hate flossing and find those fiddly little dental harps and spools of floss impossible to use, despite my dentist showing me over and over again how to use them. Flossing is a task that makes me start the day in a really bad mood. Fortunately, I have now discovered the Wisdom Easy Flosser and it does exactly what it says on the pack. The Easy Flosser is a long handle, much like a toothbrush, with a dental harp on the end. But the harp is not set vertically in line with the handle like other harps. It is set horizontally across the handle and this is what makes the big difference between this product and the other diddy little harps. The fact that the handle is long and easy to hold and the harp is set horizontally across it means that flossing between back teeth is an absolute breeze. I've never managed to floss my back teeth with other harps or with loose floss on a spool. Either my mouth isn't big enough to get my fist into whilst holding one of the tiny little harps, or the tiny little harps are a bad design in themselves. (Or I need a flip top head, as the old advert for toothbrushes goes. ;-) ) Flossing front teeth is a doddle too and the long handle means the harp is really easy to control and manoeuvre into gaps between the teeth which may not be easiest to access, if the teeth are crowded closely together like a few of mine are. The Easy Flosser is £2.49 in Boots and comes with one handle and 14 replacement heads. This may seem a little expensive, ...

Pestbye Rabbit Cage Trap 10/08/2009

Rabbit trap? Rabbit restaurant more like

Pestbye Rabbit Cage Trap I bought a Pestbye rabbit trap from an online shop after a single rabbit moved into my garden, and decided to decimate it. The trap wasn't too badly priced, less than £20 including postage, and arrived quite quickly. It didn't have any instructions with it on how to assemble it or how to use it, but the online shop e-mailed assembly instructions after I contacted them. However, no instructions on how to use it were provided, so being a novice rabbit trapper I had to search online for these. The trap is a cage with a spring loaded door, which closes when bunny goes to eat the carrots placed as bait at the back of the cage, and in doing so treads on a metal plate which triggers the door closing system. This appealed to me as it seemed I could trap the rabbit and then take it on a brief car journey to release it to go about it's rabbity business away from humans. However, the metal plate that the rabbit needs to depress needs quite a lot of pressure to trigger the door. My rabbit put on quite a bit of weight by obligingly going in and out of the trap and eating all the bait without triggering the door closing mechanism. I tried partially weighting the trigger plate down with a stone so less presssure would be needed to trigger it, but this didn't work. Neither did tying a carrot down with string to the back of the trap so the rabbit would have to put in a bit of effort to get the carrot from behind the trigger plate. That carrot disappeared less than 5 minutes after I'd ...

Turtle Mats 03/09/2008

Waste of money

Turtle Mats I bought a Turtle mat, having seen the adverts showing a dog with dirty paws walking over the mat, and having clean paws once it had done so. I have two terriers who are always walking into the house with wet paws, from the lawn outside. They don't generally get muddy, just wet. The arrangement I previously had was a small rubber backed, cotton doormat, with a folded in half bath towel after it for the dogs to walk over, as the doormat seemed to be too small to be able to dry their paws when they walked over it. I decided I needed to look at getting a bigger doormat to get rid of the messy looking towel and small doormat. So I had a look around, and based on the sales literature on turtle mats, I decided to buy a 75 x 100cm one of these. B & Q do a bigger, cheaper rubber backed cotton doormat, but I decided to stick with the real deal, as it were, from turtle mat, in the belief that you generally get what you pay for in this life and therefore the turtle mat should be better. Ordering it was slightly long winded. I ordered it direct on turtle mat's own website and paid by crdit card. Under the FAQ's section of the website it said "We endeavour to despatch goods within 48 hours and items should be received in 7 - 10 days." After ordering, I received an e-mail straight back confirming my order had been received. Six days later, I got a further e-mail saying the payment had now been successfully made (what happened to dispatch within 48 hours?! Six days to take the ...

Bonekickers (DVD) 17/08/2008


Bonekickers (DVD) Infantile, jaw-droppingly stupid programme in which I was very disappointed (as may be gathered). I saw the trailers for this show which gave the impression it was a drama series based around archaeology. I like history and a good drama so was looking forward to it. I wasn't expecting a factual programme, so wasn't too bothered by any obvious liberties that were taken with historical events or archaeological technique (such as routinely destroying artefacts and casually bunging them around like hot potatoes). But what I was bothered by, was the Scooby doo style of the plot lines. Credibility is stretched to beyond its wildest limits, whilst the plots have gaping holes in some places and in others, bizarre events occurring that add nothing to the story and left this viewer open mouthed with incredulity and the words "What the......?" hovering in my mind. I don't feel that this show will appeal to many adults due to its Scooby dooness and so it may have been better broadcast in an earlier slot, with the shots of bare breasts removed, to cater for older children instead. Great cast, awful script (what the h*ll were the actors thinking, taking this on?! They must have been paid very very well!). I would advise anyone thinking of buying this, to save their money and give it a miss. ...

Dyson DC21 Motorhead 23/02/2008

OK but much heavier than the old Motorhead

Dyson DC21 Motorhead I bought this as a replacement for my old Dyson motorhead, after the switch burnt out after 8 years faithful service. Quite a lot has changed between the old and new models. I like the onboard tools storage and the new foot operated on/off switch. The suction seems to be much higher than the old model too. Although this means it certainly picks up dirt, it also means I can't hoover the front door mat any more, as the mat gets sucked up! It is also a lot bigger, heavier and more cumbersome than the old model and therefore much more difficult to manoeuvre under and around furniture. The head on the new model is much bigger and less manoeuverable than the old one. If I'd realised how big, heavy and cumbersome this was, I have to say I probably would have thought twice about buying it, despite it's efficient cleaning. ...

Baumatic BT9.3GL 04/02/2008

What's the point of it?

Baumatic BT9.3GL I bought this hood to install over the hob to extract steam from pans and food odours from the kitchen. However, I noticed that it didn't seem to extract steam very well and even with only boiling one pan, the steam condenses on the glass and steel underneath the hood and then drips off onto the hob and worktop. It has made the hood rusty underneath too (even though it's stainless steel!) Rang Baumatic and they told me that their hoods are only made to extract odours, not steam. Checked the hand book, yep, that's exactly what it says. Total waste of money, as I expected any cooker hood designed to go over a hob would extract steam from pans, otherwise what's the point? ...
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