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since 19/06/2011


Cookworks LW082 Chrome 30/08/2011

Feeling hot hot hot!

Cookworks LW082 Chrome I am partial to snacks and quick and easy meals as much as the next person and have eaten toasted sandwiches since the infamous Breville sandwich toaster first came out when I was a child. I clearly remember the joy of burning holes in the roof of my mouth with molten cheese due to youthful impatience and the lovely smell of a toastie as my Mum carried it towards me . . . . ah, those were the days . . . . Fast forward at least 20 years and I think I have probably always had a sandwich toaster in come guise in my kitchen cupboards ever since. The latest incarnation of this is the Cookworks Sandwich Toaster. I have had this little gadget for approximately 8 years (another of my methuselahesque gadgets!) and it is still going strong! As you may or may not know, Cookworks is an Argos own brand offering really good value kitchen appliances. This exact sandwich toaster is no longer available at Argos, however there are currently 2 very similar looking sandwich toasters shown on the Argos website. They are both a mix of chrome/stainless steel and black plastic and are catalogue numbers 423/5541 and 422/8596 costing £9.99 and £5.99 respectively (as of 30/8/11). My Cookworks Sandwich Toaster is a 2 sandwich (4 slices of bread) variety however, there are lots of different models available enabling you to cook anything between 1 and 4 sandwiches at a time. **Looks good** My sandwich toaster has a large stainless steel panel on the top of the lid with Cookworks written in black ...

Tesco HBS07 30/08/2011

Great little blender

Tesco HBS07 For many years I had a large Moulinex food processor with more attachments and bits & bobs than you could shake a stick at! It was a relatively expensive bit of kit (at around £100) and if I am perfectly honest, I only used a limited amount of it's features. About 3 years ago the motor burnt out and I went scouting for something to replace it with. After working out what I actually used the food processor for, I ended up purchasing 2 new electric kitchen items for the combined princely sum of £25.00! I bought a Tesco HM105 Hand mixer (£10) and a Tesco HBS07 Hand Blender with attachments (£15). I have used the hand blender quite alot over the last 3 years and it is still going strong and works as well as the day I took it out of the box. The blender kit contains a blender motor (the main body of the blender), wall bracket, blender wand, chopper (which consists of the bowl, lid and blade assembly), whisk and jug. It has a 300w motor and the net weight (according to the user guide) is 1.4kg. The various parts are all white and/or clear plastic construction with metal blades and whisk. The main part of the blender has a silver section near the power cable outlet and the buttons are black. As with most blenders you hold the button on continuously to activate it and the two buttons are marked with a 'I' and 'II' to indicate the 2 different speeds. All the attachments attach/detach by sloting them onto the main body of the blender and turning slightly ...

Tesco HM105 30/08/2011

Can we mix it? . . . Yes, we can!

Tesco HM105 I used to have a rather expensive, large and under-utilized food processor which stopped working around 3 years ago now. Having worked out what I ‘actually’ used this beast for, I decided not to replace with another food processor and instead purchased 2 separate (and very reasonably priced) small electric appliances from Tesco. One was the Tesco hand blender (which I have already reviewed) and the other was the Tesco HM105 hand mixer. Unfortunately, this great little hand mixer appears to be no longer available from Tesco. However, it does seem to have been superseded by a slightly face-lifted version (the HM09) which seems to do the same tasks and still for under £10. At the time, I seem to remember paying around £10 for this little mixer and it was, and still is, very good value for money. The mixer has few parts – the main mixer body which has an attached power lead which is approximately 1 metre long with a pre attached plug, 2 beaters/whisk attachments and 2 dough hooks. The mixer itself is of white plastic construction and both sets of whisks/hooks are chromed metal. **Mix it up** The hand mixer’s power is 175-200W and has a recommended use of 5 minutes on and 10 minutes off. I have to say I have never really paid much attention to this and haven’t encountered any problems in using it at all. There are 5 different power settings which are clearly marked on the top of the mixer as numbers 1 to 5. You simply move the rotating speed selector switch to change the ...

Zanussi-Electrolux ZFC35C 28/08/2011

Brrrrrr - a little chiller

Zanussi-Electrolux ZFC35C We have an integrated fridge/freezer in our kitchen which served my husband and I very well for a few years. However, with the arrival of our first daughter, coupled with my deciding to start hosting the family Christmas for our families, I found myself rather short on freezer capacity. I knew a small chest freezer would be the answer to my capacity issues and we trotted off to our local Comet to buy one. I didn’t want a cavernous ‘can store whole farmyard animals’ sized freezer as my Mum used to have when we were children. Something slightly larger than an under counter freezer was what I was after. There wasn’t a massive choice available as it would appear that storing whole farmyard animals still appeared popular. So we settled on a small capacity, top opening Zanussi chest freezer in white & it was delivered a day or 2 later. **Cold & calculating** We purchased the freezer approximately 3-4 years ago & it would seem there aren’t many of them around to buy now. We paid around £150 for ours (I don’t recall exactly how much) and having a quick search you can still get a couple of the models for £120-£130 but I think this particular line has been discontinued. There is always e-bay and the like as well for buying second hand. The user’s manual shows 3 different serial numbers ZFC 35 C, ZFC 11 JE and ZFC 103. To be honest I can’t remember which model we have and the only difference between them is their energy consumption and efficiency rating. The ZFC 35 24hr ...

Clarins Color Quench Lip Balm 3 Strawberry 28/08/2011

Makes my lips feel luscious

Clarins Color Quench Lip Balm 3 Strawberry I love Clarins products and have a wide variety in my collection which has built up over the years. One of my favourite and most regularly used products is the Clarins Colour Quench Lipbalm. I have a couple travel size tubes which I have acquired on promotional deals at Clarins counters and each contain 7ml of balm. The full size version contains 15ml of balm and sells for anywhere between £8 and £15 dependant on where it is purchased. There is a wide range of colours - Clarins' website show 8 different colours but I'm sure there are more given the different colours I have seen for sale. Both of mine are colour 03 Candy Pink which sounds a bit girly, but in actual fact it is very subtlely peach toned rather than really pink and has small glittering light reflective particles in it which gives it a lovely shiny appearance when on. The balm comes in a little plastic squeezable tube with the Clarins logo and product name on the front in white lettering aswell as a silver coloured screw lid on the bottom. When the lid is removed it reveals a slanted applicator (part of the plastic tube) with a small hole in the middle - similar to many squeezy lip balms/glosses. To apply I simply squeeze the tube lightly until a small blob of product is on the applicator surface, then I apply it to my lips. It is very easy to use and to get a nice even coverage of balm onto my lips. It is so easy in fact that I often apply this without using a mirror. The balm has a lovely cherry ...

Kenwood SK960/SK950 25/08/2011

Stamina of an ox and the roar of a lion!

Kenwood SK960/SK950 Here comes another review prompted by my emptying my ‘useful’ drawer in the kitchen. I have made an attempt to clear out all the strange bits of plastic and other ‘need to keep this as it belongs to . . . ‘ items, which of course go into the drawer never to see the light of day again. However, within this treasure trove of utter dross there was a large plastic bag containing user manuals and instructions for all sorts of gadgets and appliances we have/had over the years. So, today’s pamphlet (I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a manual) is all about the Kenwood SK950/960 series kettle. Now, I’m not sure if I am the world’s most careful owner of kitchen gadgets (which I very much doubt) but this lovely kettle is yet another of my trusty workhorses having lasted well over 7 years to date. **Attractive old boiler** As stated above, I bought this kettle a good few years ago now and I can’t remember exactly how much I paid for it but it was somewhere in the £25-£30 region and I bought it from Argos. Unfortunately this particular model is no longer available. However Argos do have 2 traditional style stainless steel kettles very similar to this model (but no doubt better, as they are newer) currently in stock and both priced at £34.99 (catalogue numbers 423/5149 & 426/3867). On appearance they both look exactly the same to my untrained eye. This particular Kenwood kettle has a lovely highly polished stainless steel exterior with a thick black plastic arching handle. ...

Cookworks Toaster 24/08/2011

Tasty toast

Cookworks Toaster In common with virtually every other household in the country we have a few staple kitchen gadgets which take up permanent residence on the worksurface. One of these is our trusty and faithful Cookworks 2 slice Chrome Toaster (model 420/9508). I purchased this toaster over 9 years ago now, when I bought my house and before I even met my husband – is it a sign of great reliability when you’ve had your toaster longer than your spouse?? Hmmmm . . . . I digress. **The toaster itself** Cookworks is an Argos brand and rather obviously, that is where I purchased my toaster from. There are currently around 19 Cookworks toasters available from Argos, the majority of which appear to be very good value for money. The model I have is a traditional looking 2 slice chrome toaster and although the exact model seems to be no longer available, the slightly ‘face lifted’ version is currently half price according to the Argos website at a very reasonable £7.49 (catalogue number 421/9385 as at 23/8/11). As I have had my toaster for a considerable length of time, I cannot recall exactly how it was packaged, but seem to remember the usual combination of cardboard box and polystyrene for protection. It has lovely mirror finish chrome side panels and a black plastic base, handles and knobs as well as a reasonable length of cable with pre-attached plug. The bread slots are on the top surface and one of the handles on the side also doubles up as the loading handle/switch. All the control ...

Diplomat Range Cooker ADP5330 21/08/2011

It's big, shiny and I love it!

Diplomat Range Cooker ADP5330 Apologies in advance for what is without doubt my longest and most in-depth review to date – I just hope that is a good thing in this case?! When we were viewing properties 6 years or so ago to buy our current home, there were a variety of ‘must haves’ on our list and for me a nice kitchen was pretty near the top of the list. When we viewed (what is now) our house, I did get that ‘feeling’ they always bang on about on property shows and pretty much fell in love with the place within a few minutes of walking through the front door. One of the reasons for this was the large and newly fitted kitchen diner. It isn’t bespoke or top of the range (before you think ‘ark at her banging on about her stupidly expensive kitchen ;-) ), but everything was new, neutral and sparkly. Best of all, almost all the appliances were built in (which saved us buying anything) and smack bang in the middle was the lovely big stainless steel Diplomat ADP5330 Range Cooker. So after 6 years of daily use what do I think of it??!! Quite simply, it is the best oven I have ever had! **So what is the ADP5330 Range Cooker?** The Diplomat ADP5330 Range Cooker is what is known as a dual fuel cooker, which basically means that the oven is an electric fan oven and the hob is gas. It looks just like the photo at the top and I think it is a very sleek and attractive range cooker. My Mum has had a couple of the more ‘cottagey’ multi cavity ranges and although they are great, I don’t personally like the ...

JML Fresh Air Globe 14/08/2011

Not as good as it's predecessor

JML Fresh Air Globe I used to have 2-3 plug-in air freshners around the house and after various warnings regarding people's houses burning down because of them (scaremongery no doubt!) and the constant high price of buying refills I decided to look for an alternative product to provide a continuous fragrance at home. My mother-in-law is a big fan of shopping channels and she mentioned the Goodsphere Revitaliser. Now, this review ISN'T about the Goodsphere it's about a 'lookey-likey' Goodsphere from JML - but I did just want to mention the Goodsphere as (to my rather limited knowledge) the Goodsphere was pretty much where it all began, and for my money, it was by far the best in comparison to the JML Fresh Air Globe. Unfortunately, my Goodpshere broke after about 3 years faithful service and at that time, they were not in production, so I had to go in search of an alternative. One day I was in a local department store and saw the JML Fresh Air Globe with £10 off (bringing the price to around £30) so I picked it up. This was around 3 years ago and despite my still hankering after it's predecessor, the Fresh Air globe is still going (but only just!). In the last 3 years, many other companies have got on this particular bandwagon and there are now a wide variety of Air Globes/Revitalisers/Humdifiers available and they range vastly in price from under £20 to well over £70. When I bought my globe there were 2 versions available - 1 with a cream pearlescent lid (the one I have) and 1 with a ...

Clarins Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction Cream 13/08/2011

Clarins Multi Active Day Lotion SPF 15

Clarins Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Correction Cream I am a HUGE fan of Clarins products and have used a wide variety of items from Clarins over the years. I have very sensitive and quite frankly dodgy skin which is very easily irritated by moisturisers, make-up, washing products, deodorants and metals. So much so that I have to wear glasses with plastic arms and nose supports as I can't have the metal in contact with my skin. I have used MANY different moisturisers and a few of my friends have done quite well out of my economising mistakes! No matter what I have tried, I always come back to Clarins Multi-Active Day Lotion as I know my skin will look and feel great when I use it. As mentioned, I do have sensitive skin, but it isn't particularly dry. Patchy or combination would probably the best description and this lotion suits it perfectly. It comes in the characteristic Clarins red and white combo livery which is instantly recognisable. The tall slender tube holds 50ml and is dispensed via a small pump nozzle on the top. The lotion itself, is very light and not at all watery. I use 3 pumps worth (about the size of a 5p piece) and this is enough to cover my face and onto my neck. The lotion has a very subtle fragrance and feels quite cool when you put it on your skin. It is instantly absorbed and leaves no sticky film or layer of any sort on your skin. I have never had any hint of irritation with this and as an added bonus it does have an SPF rating of 15 which is reassuring and perfect for daily use. The small amount ...

Sensodyne Gentle Whitening Toothpaste 31/07/2011

Nice white nashers

Sensodyne Gentle Whitening Toothpaste I have had sensitive teeth for a few years now and actually have thinning of my enamel along my gum line on a couple of my pre-molars. Because of this I have tried many different brands of sensitive toothpaste and Sensodyne total care Gentle Whitening toothpaste was my paste of choice for well over a year (you will find out later why it no longer is). As with all toothpastes it comes in different sizes and configurations (tube, pump, 50ml, 100ml etc) but I always bought the 100ml tube. I would normally try and time my purchase to coincide with a special offer as this is what I would class as a premium toothpaste and is quiet expensive. My local Tesco is currently selling this for £4.00 per 100ml tube, but I know I purchased most times when it was on a BOGOF or other offer. I also use a sonic toothbrush and am only mentioning it as I am unsure of how the type of brush you use, would impact on the effectiveness of the toothpaste. The tube has the usual small flip top lid and the paste itself is plain white and has a pleasant freshmint smell and taste. It foams well in the mouth and you really do not have to use lots to have the desired effect. I also found that it always kept my teeth feeling nice and clean for the full 12 hours and worked very well on managing the sensitivity of my teeth. Consquently I never had any problems with hot or cold whilst using this toothpaste. With regards to the whitening effect - I wouldn't personally say that it made a significant ...

Flash Spray with Bleach 31/07/2011

A bottle for all reasons

Flash Spray with Bleach As I have said in previous reviews I am not much of housewife - well on the cleaning front anyway - and have a few staple items which I use for as many purposes as I can. One of these, is my trusty bottle of Flash with bleach. Flash with bleach has been around for a good few years now and is readily available in most supermarkets and many high street shops. It comes in a white plastic trigger spray bottle and is currently on sale at my local Tesco for £1.99 for 500mls. I actually consider that to be a reasonable price, given it's effectiveness and the variety of uses it can be put to, however I had a little scout around to see if this could be bettered. Surprisingly I found 5 bottles for £4.77 on Amazon with free delivery which is excellent value, assuming you actually want and could use 5 bottles of it! The trigger on the bottle has the usual safety twist nozzle where you can switch the spray off just in case it falls into the wrong hands. This is always reassuring even if you are vigilant with your storage (as I am with a 9 month old and 3 year old). When I use the spray it comes out in a wide enough spray to cover, but doesn't go everywhere. It foams slightly and does run on tiles and other smooth surfaces, but it still cleans well. I normally use a non-scratch sponge scourer with the Flash spray when cleaning my bathrooms and find that the damp scourer/sponge is very effective when coupled with the spray to give it a bit of extra oomph for getting everything ...

Daisy Dishwasher Tablets 24/07/2011

Not Upsy Daisy at all!

Daisy Dishwasher Tablets In the past, I have always paid out for premium dishwashing powder/tablets, (probably mistakenly) believing that it would protect my crockery and the expensive dishwasher in the process. However, after my parents experience of using Finish for years and ending up with large dishwasher repair bills and 'misty' glasses, I decided to end my false economy and try a different brand. As I rarely shop anywhere but Tesco, the obvious choice was Daisy Classic 5 in 1 dishwasher tablets. The cardboard box contains 40 tablets and currently costs £2 - a vast difference to the comparable box of 42 tablets from Finish for £10.50! I know Finish products are regularly on offer (which was when I would normally buy them anyway) but in my experience they have never been as low in price as 5p per tablet. The box is easily opened by a rip top tab kind of arrangement on the top surface and inside are individually wrapped green and yellow tablets all in their little plastic wrappers. There are some fairly standard safety instructions and an ingredients list on the box, along with directions for use. This includes advice to use a dishwashing powder rather than the tablets on cycles of less than 50 degrees centrigrade which is something I wasn't previously aware of. So, once I've liberated the little tablet from it's packet, it has a pleasant soapy smell and subtle lemon fragrance. It fits well into the usual powder container and doesn't crumble when you handle it. To my mind, it's ...

Colgate Smiles 19/07/2011

Attractive to toddlers & reliable brand

Colgate Smiles My eldest daughter has recently turned three and loves this product! She was an early teether, had sixteen teeth by her first birthday and all her milk teeth by the time she turned two, so we have been brushing her teeth for quite a while now. Colgate Smiles children's toothpaste is widely available in supermarkets & other retailers. It retails for around £1 but when I purchased ours, it was available on a 3 for 2 offer in our local Tesco - good value I thought. There is 50ml of toothpaste in each soft tube & the tube stands well on it's wide flip top lid. We have tried other brands - for a long time she used Aquafresh Milk Teeth - which have been successful at keeping her teeth clean. However, she really likes this toothpaste. She loves the characters on the tube front - there are 3 different versions: an orange cat, a pink hippo and a blue rabbit. It does have a far more grown up 'minty' flavour and smell to it compared with other 0-3 year recommended toothpastes - I always found I could hardly smell any 'mintiness' with the Aquafresh paste. She had been known in the past to pinch our toothpaste in search of a more 'minty' flavour and smell! The toothpaste itself is a transparent blue colour with small glittery bits in it - very popular with most toddlers, especially girls and is easily squeezed from the tube. The nozzle & flip lid configuration is also less messy than the Aquafresh used to be - it would often get gummed up & need cleaning so you could effectively ...

Tesco Non-Scratch Sponge Pan Cleaners 19/07/2011

Not just for your pans . . .

Tesco Non-Scratch Sponge Pan Cleaners Not being a dyed in the wool 'Mrs Mop' type, I do try to purchase multi-purpose cleaning products, so I don't have my under-the-sink cupboard bulging with items which are hardly ever used. I like to be able to get my hands on something that works, quickly and not spend an age with my head banging the waste pipe whilst I search for my cleaning Holy Grail! And that is where the Tesco non-scratch fingergrip sponge pan scourers come in . . . These scourers are currently on sale at Tesco for 82p for a pack of 6. Not the cheapest sponge scourer - Tesco 5 pack of value scourers are currently 14p - but I think good value for the long lasting non scratch version. They come in a thin plastic wrapper which normally tears when you open the packet, so ends up in the bin. The scourers are loosely attached to one another by perforation on the scourer surface, so when you want a new one you just give it a little tug to seperate it from it's neighbour. As I stated in the beginning, I don't have a dazzling array of cloths, buffs, sponges, pads etc. My cleaning cupboard staples are these scourers, Tesco value multi-purpose cloths and a few micro-fibre cloths which I find cover pretty much everything I need to rub, dust, scrub and buff on a daily basis. Yes, I do use these scourers for the obvious job of washing up, however I also have one in each toilet/bathroom at home and use them to clean the bath, shower, toilets and wash hand basins. They are also put to use on a regular basis for ...
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