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Love reading genuinely helpful consumer reviews - shame some people have forgotten what that means, if they ever knew of course. Sigh.

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since 12/02/2009


Braun Satin HAIR 7 ES 2 /MN 12/11/2013

Bad Hair Day Begone!

Braun Satin HAIR 7 ES 2 /MN It's fair to say that the females in my family, myself and my two girls, have our fair share of bad hair days; between us we have to contend with incredibly curly hair (youngest daughter), thick, wavy, yet prone to frizzy locks (eldest daughter), whilst my hair is quite thick, averagely straight it's definitely at its best with careful styling. We've found these straighteners brilliant at tackling all our hair woes, and at a reasonable price - they are currently £39.99 on amazon. The straighteners, the Braun Satin Hair 7 Iontec Straighteners to give them their full title, have ceramic plates and a digital display with variable temperature. They are as pictured above, they don't come with a bag or stand, but they are quite rich in features, particularly compared to the basic model I previously owned. At 170 watts they are surprisingly quick to heat up - the manufacturer claims 40 seconds, which is accurate in my experience. I like the fact that you have to physically touch an on/off button which is integrated into the display and that the display is red back-lit when they are on, turning to green when the straighteners reach your selected temperature. You can choose the exact temperature you want from 130 to 200 degrees centigrade, it's easy to change the temperature via two buttons, also on the display. The display is simple but clear and gives you more than enough information, showing clearly if the device is on and what the temperature is. I like the swivel cord, which ...

Morphy Richards 48762 14/03/2013

Take it nice and slow, and two at a time!

I've been using a slow cooker regularly for a few years now, as a busy working mum I find it ideal, I can bung in a load of ingredients in the morning and food can carry on simmering away all day and then be served up as and when needed, at different times if necessary. I suppose then that it was inevitable that my original slow cooker, also a Morphy Richards, would give up the ghost one day. I replaced it as almost as soon as it did with this 6 litre model which, as the product description would suggest is actually a slow cooker with two separate cooking bowls so you can cook two things as at once. Each compartment is 3 litres big and you can use one or both bowls. I find this a great advantage as I can cook two meals at the same time or slightly spicier versions of the same meal. It's one of the things that make this an excellent product that I would recommend, and for which I paid £24.99, a bargain in my mind for something that solves my cooking issues a few times a week. Out of the Box: When I first got the slow cooker it required some minimal assembly - the plastic handle on the glass lid had to be screwed in. I would rather not have had to do this and found the manufacturer's explanation that it was necessary to avoid damage in transit a bit strange, but it was easy enough to do. Apart from adding the handle it was a question of washing the porcelain inner bowl and you are good to go. The cooker comes with a comprehensive and clear manual with plenty of recipes which ...

Vax S2 Hard floor Master 15/11/2012

At least 2 Years of Steam Cleaning - Guaranteed!

Vax S2 Hard floor Master Last year I was converted to the benefits of using a steam to clean when I bought an entry level Beldray mop. Unfortunately for me after many months of happy use, in the way of appliances sometimes, one day mid steam mopping the mop suddenly stopped working in spectacular fashion. This is the replacement mop I bought (rrp £79.99), for which I paid £49.99 in Argos, having been refunded for my faulty appliance. This item is a 1500W mop with a 1.5 litre reservoir that comes with 2 microfibre washable cleaning pads, a mini-jug, carpet attachment, instructions and, most importantly to me with my prior experience, a 2 year guarantee. Out of the Box: When you get the mop it requires some simple assembly. The solid metal tubular handle has to be slotted into the top of the appliance and secured with a screw, and the mop head also requires fixing in a similar fashion. It's a quick and easy and well explained process and you are soon ready to go. Once put together the mop is 120cm high with a swivel on the head, making it ideal whatever your height and the actual surface area of the triangular mop head is 24x24x28cm by my measurements. The whole thing is pretty sturdy and feels well built. There are a few nice touches, like the fact that the swivel joint on the head allows you to stand the mop upright so that it self supporting and compact to store, also the handle has a nice grip on it for comfort and Vax haven't scimped on things like cable length either, a generous 5.8m cable ...

Apple iPad Wi-Fi 32GB 06/08/2012

You're my Favourite Waste of Time!

Apple iPad Wi-Fi 32GB I'm showing my age a little when I say that I can remember a time before the internet when computers that could do very little were the size of a room. I am, then, bedazzled by what modern technology can offer, no more so than by the i-Pad 3 which was my first foray into the world of tablets and which I got on release day. It's taken me a while of owning it to work out what its full potential and what I will actually, on a day by day level, do with it. Hopefully my experience will help you decide if you need one - though in all fairness with this product it's more about "want" than "need"; put simply the iPad is the best toy you can ever own. So is the iPad3 in general, and this particular 32GB model worth the £479 price tag? I think that it is; it's not quite perfection but I still am very glad we have one. As most people will know, and what is instantly obvious once you get your charged iPad out of the box, is that it's all about the 9.7" screen which is both for viewing and the main way of interacting with the device being a touch screen. Apple call it a "retina display", meaning that the human eye at normal viewing range shouldn't be able to detect any pixelation. For the technical minded amongst you Apple say that there are 4 times as many pixels as the iPad 2 (1536 x 2048 resolution). As a normal user all I care about is the fact that, yes, the screen is sharp and the colours are indeed impressive. If, for example I am looking at buying an item online it's far better ...

Rush Hour Traffic Jam Puzzle Game 24/07/2012

Your very own little M25 in a box!

The Chorus (DVD) 02/07/2012

Singing the Praises of the Fantastic French Film!

The Chorus (DVD) Rare is the film that I can watch time and time again without it losing its magic, rarer still the French language film that can make any viewer forget that it's in French and subtitled. I find both things to be true of "The Chorus", a 2004 release which I've watched many a time with groups of children learning French who, universally, have loved it, even the ones who are maybe not so keen on the French language itself. It's a 12 certificate and the tale of a school for naughty boys in France after WWII which is transformed by the arrival of Clément Mathieu, a humble "pion" - or supervisor who is a step below a teacher in the strict hierarchy of the school and who is expected to keep the boys in order rather than trying to open their minds. Rather than subscribing to the philosophy of "action - reaction" that is embraced by the rigid disciplinarian that is Rachin, the Headteacher, Mathieu brings music and singing to the boys with interesting results. The film appeals with both the haunting beauty of the sound track but also through the strength of the story. Without spoiling the story at all I would defy anyone to watch it without having a tear in their eye now and then (a scene involving paper aeroplanes of all things has me reaching for the tissues every time) and without really feeling for the boys and for their choir master. In some ways the film is a bit slow at the start as it starts with the recollections of one of the boys - we learn which one at the end of the film ...

Philips DS3020 07/06/2012

Small but Mighty

Lego Friends 3934: Mia's Puppy House 20/05/2012

Lego with boobs? The world has gone mad!

Lego Friends 3934: Mia's Puppy House Lego have been launching quite a few new ranges of late; there have been Super Heroes and new Star Wars, aimed at boys presumably, and for girls the "Friends" range, a foray into the world of pink, which seem to have received mixed reviews on the internet, for reasons that I will explain briefly later on once I've got to the crux of the matter - is this set any good?Reasons for Purchase:Truth be told I'd not particularly encouraged my kids to aspire to ownership of any of the sets, however it's hard to argue with a determined 6 year old with money from granny to burn, and this is how this particular item, priced at £9.99 entered our lives. The set is pretty much as pictured on the box, you get all you need to build the dog house, a tree and quite a few puppy accessories as well as the two figures. It's all a bit "polly pocket", but there is some building required, and 64 pieces in all, some of them being quite original - there's a dog bath and bog bowl and bone. It's fair value for what you get.The Build:Lego recommend this set for ages 5-12, and I think this is about right. Once she had opened the box my 5 year old was able to build it with very little assistance - she needed a bit of help to assemble the figure and add the rosettes to the puppy house, but mainly she was able to manage everything by herself. In total the build probably took less than half an hour.The instructions are clear, something we expect from lego, but overall it's a pretty undemanding build. What you ...

Beldray Steam MOP 18/04/2012

Full Steam Ahead?

Beldray Steam MOP When my darling husband (and sometime housework helper) broke the second Flash mop in a row I knew I needed to look for another solution for keeping the laminate floor and tiling in my house clean. I'd read a few positive reviews of steam mops but wasn't sure whether this chemical-free method of cleaning would be for me and, given the amount I'd already spent on mops and cleaning solution only to find they were landfill, I wasn't prepared to make a huge investment. A small amount of research and I found the Beldray Steam Mop on offer from Robert Dyas for what seemed like a reasonable £29.99; though the site's advertised amount of £99.99 rrp seems to be unlikely as far as I can see, the mop being available elsewhere for around the £40-50 mark. Prior to purchase I couldn't unfortunately find any reviews for the mop which would have been helpful. Having bought and used it for a while now I'm pleased to report that it's a good buy, even though it has a few small things that could be improved about it, the bottom line is that it cleans well, easily and hygienically. What you get: The Beldray steam mop comes in a surprisingly small box ready for assembly, with two microfibre mop cloths, an attachment for cleaning carpets (more of which later on), a generous 5 metre power cord for heating up the 400ml water tank and a measuring cup and funnel for filling up said water reserve. It also has the world's worst instructions which made assembling the handle (in two parts) onto the unit ...

Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre, Cardiff 15/04/2012

In the Heart of Cardiff!

Holiday Inn Cardiff City Centre, Cardiff It's hard to imagine a more central Cardiff location than the Holiday Inn; it's right behind the Millennium Stadium and metres from Cardiff Castle and was my choice of hotel for my first ever trip to Cardiff this month during the Easter holidays. That I can recall I've not stayed at a Holiday Inn before, though I have often used the Holiday Express chain. Having found a great rate of £101 ( and 7% quidco cashback) for 2 adults and 2 children for dinner, bed and breakfast in one room I decided to stay for one night, and eventually ended up staying two. It proved to be a good hotel and I would stay there again. Initial impressions were not that great I have to say. On our arrival having entered the car park (an additional £10 a day) and being quickly checked in we were a bit bemused to arrive at our family room on the sixth floor to find that, though not a smoking room it absolutely stank of smoke, so clearly had been a smoking room in the recent past. The window having been left open made absolutely no difference to the impression that you were in an ash tray - to the hotel's credit when I phoned down and said politely that we weren't too happy to have been assigned a room that smelled so strongly of smoke seeing as we had two young children with us they gave us another room on the floor below promptly with no fuss at all and the rest of our stay was a very good, and blissfully tobacco smell free one. The room itself had a double bed, a sofa bed and an additional put up bed, ...

Melissa & Doug Triangular Crayons 11/04/2012

Make other Kids' Pencils seem Pointless!

Melissa & Doug Triangular Crayons Much as it pains me to rave about a children's art product - I've got two rather over prolific little artists who seem to permanently keep my recycling bin full - I wish that I'd discovered these crayons years ago as they are so amazingly good. Five pounds might seem a lot to pay for 24 solid 8 cm triangular pencils but we have found these crayons far better than any others we own and when they run out I will be buying some more. These aren't traditional wax crayons but are more like a solid version of the inner part of pencils. This means there's no need to spend time sharpening pencils, something I abhor as I find the even quite expensive pencils can be broken all the way down and not up to the task - at risk of sounding like a kids' art nerd the only exception to this being the staedtler ergosoft pencils which are fantastic. These pencils are easy for a child to hold and promote correct positioning of the fingers. They have a 1cm diameter so are perhaps best suited for a child of five or more - there is a thicker version available but with less colours. When colouring with my daughters I've found them quite satisfying to use, the way they wear down means that you always have a fine point to use but can also use the nib for shading. By applying more or less pressure you can get a surprising amount of effects. The pencils come in a sturdy case, handy for taking out and about and for encouraging children to keep them tidy. I think there is a great range of colours - you can ...

Villaware BVVLKTSL01-060 06/04/2012

A Kettle - with a Twist!

Aerobie Pro Flying Ring 27/03/2012

Fly me to the Moon!

Aerobie Pro Flying Ring What's an Aerobie?The aerobie might look like a rather unimpressive rubber frisbee, printed optimistically with the claim "The Astonishing Flying Ring!, but it's one item that we have acquired this year that we've found really worth buying and which lives up to its claim. The aerobie is more than just another outdoor toy, it's a World Recorder holder - it flew 1257 feet apparently, and in our experience it can fly ridiculously far with only the slightest amount of effort. It's a quality piece of equipment which is, in my opinion well worth the £8-10 it's normally priced at, I just wish I'd picked up a few more when I spotted it in the best sellers toy list on Amazon over Christmas reduced to £3.12 from the rrp of £12.49. The ring works due to its aerodynamic design. It has a hard plastic inner core and then soft rubber edges, which can be pushed slightly up and down if you want to make sure it flies straight. This item is extremely well made in my opinion. It comes in a variety of colours and is 33cm (13in) in diameter - you can buy a slightly smaller version, though this one is still not so big that you can't fit it into a bag. We own the bright orange one as in the picture which is easy to spot when in flight. You will need to keep an eye on the frisbee in use as it really does go very high and far with the slightest flick of the wrist - no great skill required, other than that of keeping the ring in check and throwing it level for best results. I found out the hard way ...

The Muppets (DVD) 05/03/2012

It's time to Play the Music.....

The Muppets (DVD) Film Only Review: It's rare I think as an adult to actually actively want to go and see a kids' movie, rarer still perhaps to come out of the auditorium having thoroughly and unashamedly enjoyed the film and knowing that your own children did too. The Muppets, is a film that managed all of the above in bundles and for anyone who knows and loves the characters from the past (their last film was unbelievably a whole 12 years ago), it's a fitting continuation of the series, and the younger viewers amongst us may well find themselves instantly charmed by the loveable puppets as well. The film stars Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the film, as Gary, the sweetheart of the wholesome looking Mary (Amy Adams) and biological brother of Walter, who just happens to be, for reasons not explored in the film, a muppet himself. The two have grown up in "Small Town" and Walter has always been the Muppets' biggest fan. When Gary plans a trip to Tinsel Town and to go and visit the Muppet Theatre, the scene is set for a musical romp as Gary, Mary and Walter join forces with Kermit to reunite the Muppets and save the theatre from the dastardly Tex Richman. Will the crew be able to resurrect the dilapidated Muppet Theatre from the ashes, find all the team and battle their way out of oblivion to raise enough money? To find out - though in all honesty the end result is never really in doubt - you will have to watch the film. From the start it's very clear that this isn't a film that is going to take ...

Yamaha Arius YDP-161B 14/02/2012

If Music be the Food of Love....

At the end of last year we started to think about buying a piano for the family. My daughter, aged 8, had been having lessons for a while and her dad, a complete beginner decided that he would like to have a go too. We realised that the keyboard that we had been making do with would need replacing at some point and so we started to look at pianos, with a view to buying something that would last a few years and fit into our home. It soon became clear that a digital piano would suit our needs best, as opposed to the traditional acoustic sort - they don't need expensive tuning, are generally more compact, and everyone we spoke to, from the piano teacher to an expert on this very site (thank you Nar), said that they had come on leaps and bounds. Digital pianos electronically recreate the sound that an acoustic piano produces from hammers hitting strings. Buying this item was no impulse purchase - you can spend from £400 to thousands for a digital piano, the YPD being mid range in terms of what Yamaha offer - we didn't want to buy a more expensive Clavinova in case the piano was a passing fad, and decided quite early on that a branded piano would be a prudent purchase in case we wanted to sell it on. You can buy hybrid pianos that offer the best of both worlds, but whatever you choose you need to know what you are buying - difficult when you don't really know very much about pianos as there is a bewildering range out there. We wanted to buy the right piano for us. Endless reading ...
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