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I love being a Ciao member and reading reviews. I am lazy while writing reviews. I plan a lot write less! Well if everyone writes, who reads? Thanks very much everyone finally got the red dot!

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since 06/12/2002


Charbonnel et Walker Drinking Chocolate 12/03/2008

Luxury drinking chocolate - eat as well!

Charbonnel et Walker Drinking Chocolate Luxury chocolate drink- got there finally! History: The luxury chocolate manufacturing company Charbonnel et Walker was founded in 1875. They are one of Britain's earliest producers of chocolates. The company started as a partnership between Mrs. Walker and Mme. Charbonnel from the Maison Boissier chocolate house in Paris. The first shop opened in New Bond Street in Mayfair. The shop has remained in Mayfair ever since, and now occupies one of London's famous arcades, the Royal Arcade on Old Bond Street. Product range: The products are specials for Easter, The Classics, Rose & Violet Creams, Theatre Boxes, Truffles, After Dinner Selection, Drinking Chocolate & Sauces, House Party, Chocolate Bars, Hampers, 'Wedding Favours' Where to buy this - You can buy the above products online, with a delivery charge or from major grocery stores and also from some posh stores. Their chocolates are also available at posh stores like Fenwick in Newcastle, Jenners in Edinburgh, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Terminal Four, Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport, Saks Fifth Avenue New York, Macy's State Street Chicago, Neiman Marcus Stores, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, Palo Alto, Honolulu, San Antonio, Macy's Stores, Minneapolis, Chicago, Troy USA. - Sorry not saying anymore! The company advert: If there is one thing better than eating chocolate it's drinking it. - that is exactly what happened when I purchased a tin of ...

Quaker Oats Muesli 01/03/2008

Simple and tasty breakfast cereal

Quaker Oats Muesli Quaker Exotic Fruit and Fruit and Nut Muesli Quaker oats have recently introduced 4 new varieties of Muesli. I am writing about two of them here which I have tried and liked. I thought it would be really a waste to write 2 reviews on 2 varieties, so I have made a two-in-one review! Trust its ok with you Ciao friends. I personally like and extensively use Muesli as a breakfast cereal. Whole-grains provide package of nutritional benefits, including a good source of insoluble fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy digestive system. Diets rich in whole-grains have beneficial effects including a healthy heart ! People are eating more wholegrain foods as part of a healthy lifestyle. Oats are a super grain - they have all the goodness of other whole-grains plus extra benefits. Oats are the only wholegrain recognised to actively lower cholesterol Exotic Fruit Muesli- package size 600 g. Cost £2.49 This cereal contains kilned oats and toasted oats with fruits and seed muesli. This cereal is high in fibre, No artificial colours, flavors or preservatives and is made from wholegrain Oats. Quaker advertises as - Oats can help to reduce cholesterol- as part of a diet low in saturated fat and a healthy lifestyle Typical Values per 100g or per 50g serving is - Energy (kcal) 365 ---185 Protein (g) 10 ----5 Carbohydrate (g) 61 ----30.5 Sugar (g) 26 ----13 Total Fat (g) 9.5 ---- 4.8 Saturated Fat (g) 2.0 ---1.0 Fibre (g) 7.5 ----3.8 out of this ...

Samsung LE-40R87BD 23/12/2007

Nice and Glossy

Samsung LE-40R87BD When we wanted to replace our old TV for one with a larger screen size, it was a hard decision whether to go for a LCD TV or a Plasma TV! And what is the right size? After much debate with rest of the family, we agreed on buying a LC TV. We purchased this TV from Amazon website earlier this month. This TV was not our original choice. We ordered a Sony TV, but that one never got delivered. After 6 weeks of wait, we searched and went for this one. It is hard to decide a TV on online purchase, so we went and had a look at the Local store. I was really impressed by its very shiny black screen and vivid coloured picture. But looks were not enough, so I decided to do some quick research before buying it! This TV model number LE40M87BD is a diagonally 40" LCD TV and widescreen Dimensions are (WxDxH) 97.1 cm x 30 cm x 68.7 cm - with stand. Weight is 20.9 kg Colour Black. It has a Digital Television Certification as HD ready. The Resolution is 1920 x 1080 and the Display Format 1080p which means Full HD. I will not mention about other input formats, those who wish to know could read up the specs on website. However worth mentioning is the Image Aspect Ratio 16:9 - which makes a pleasant, viewing? There is provision for Multi-channel Preview Picture-in-picture (PIP) Features Clock, parental control, on-screen menu, DNIe (Digital Natural Image engine), game mode - the game mode gives very good pictures better than TV viewing! Sound Output Mode Stereo, ...

Fruitasia Bars 16/06/2007

Delicious and healthy snacking

Fruitasia Bars Tasty and healthy snacking. Well snacking is not bad if you have a proper snack. I am told - by experts- that small size meals help control weight (among other things). I have started sounding like an advert already! New FRUTASIA by Mars is – what the manufacturers claim as their range of seriously indulgent, fruity cereal bars which will send you to taste heaven with every bite and deliver one portion of fruit with every bar. They also go further to say that - We've crammed each of our bars full of real pieces of succulent strawberries or apricots and combined those with light crispy cereal, wrapped in a smooth creamy yoghurt base, to make FRUTASIA the fruitiest and tastiest cereal bar by far. And****** they are correct! Lot of freebee websites were bringing this to notice of people- Mars were giving away 30,000 free bars for people to taste! I got my first free bar when shoe shopping in Wallis. It came with a 10% discount coupon as well. The coupon came handy, but I was not keen on having a bar when shopping for shoes. I kept in my handbag for a while. One day I was a bit peckish and could not leave my desk to get a snack. I was pleased to find it and it tasted great! At first i could not find where to but them. I checked at the frutasia website and asked around. I found out that it it stocked only in few larger supermarkets now. The bar comes in a box of 4 - multipack and availble from Sainsbury, Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose. Cost £1.65. It comes in two ...

Janome 1560 14/06/2007

My simple, useful help

Janome 1560 Useful gadget, a dying breed: Sewing machines are not used much in most of homes now. When my old Singer machine packed up, I found out that it costs anywhere between £45-£65 to service an old machine and parts were in addition to this! The shop-owner told me ‘sometimes its better to buy a cheap, new one, if you will not be using it a lot! It may be better in the long run as you pay £40 for service every year! Well I do not come a ‘disposable age’, so I looked around to get my machine serviced, and at the end I decided to go for a less expensive basic model! For the younger members, who have never used a sewing machine- let me tell you a bit about sewing machine. The first known attempt at making a machine for sewing was by a German, named Charles Weisenthal, who lived in England. He got a patent in 1755 for a double pointed needle with an eye at one end. This needle passed through the cloth by a pair of mechanical fingers and grasped on the other side by a second pair. This was basically recreating the hand sewing method, not very useful as one had to stop and thread all the time! In 1790 a cabinet maker named Thomas Saint, devised a machine to sew leather. This was sitting for a long time and not discovered for long. In Newton Wilson built a replica to the above patent's specifications. It was later modified to have an overhead arm for the needle and a form of tensioning system, which was to become a common feature of later machines. Well, if you have read the history, ...

Switzerland Transport 12/05/2007

Transport from heaven

Switzerland Transport Swiss Transport System Last year we went to Switzerland in May bank holiday. My Swiss experience has been unforgettable. You might think why did I wait so long for writing a review? Well, there is so much to write, I did not know where to start and where to finish. Two things I liked the most about Switzerland- Swiss transport and Swiss refuse disposal system. Well I do want to start writing about garbage first, so I will start with the transport system. The transport network consists of rail, buses, boats and cable cars- all accessed by one pass. The punctuality is beyond expectation- I am not sure if they set their clocks by train time or the other way round! When to book: ---------If you wish to visit Switzerland, its best to book before you go there. The travel centre in London is very helpful. You could look up over the internet and place order, and it would be delivered in 3-4 days. Which pass to buy?---------Depends on number of days you are spending there and where you are staying. Its best to look up the Swiss tourism website. If you do not have internet access, you will be able to get a Trafimage map - Public transport maps showing the various regions, train stations and networks from the tourist office. This Trafimage map provide information on a wide range of public transport topics and where your pass is valid. I have noticed that new maps are added on a regular basis. Once you start looking there are a number of things you will come across, be ...

Robinsons Blood Orange High Juice 28/04/2007

Tastes bloody good!

Robinsons Blood Orange High Juice Robinson's Blood orange high juice- tastes bloody good! Pardon my language- just got carried away by the name, taste and colour of the product What is a blood orange? The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, blood-coloured flesh. The fruit ranges from small- to medium-sized; its skin is usually pitted but can be smooth. Blood oranges' colour is due to the presence of anthocyanin, a pigment common to many flowers and fruit, but not common in citrus fruits. Sometimes you may find some dark colouring on outside of the rind as well; how dark depends on the variety of the given blood orange. The exact reason for the unusual colour is not known. However, it seems light, temperature and variety - influence the intensity of the colour. Well so much for the fruit - let’s come to juice now. Colour: A mix of red, pink and orange - was that confusing? Slightly darker- on the reddish side compared to grapefruit juice. Taste: Not tangy as orange- rather sweet but not too much. A very ‘well made’ balance. Does not have the bitter taste like grapefruit juice Flavour: Reasonable- nothing special to mention. Flavour is not as strong as normal orange juice. Cost: £1.39 for 1 litre bottle. Ingredients: Blood orange juice- 55%, Glucose, fructose syrup, sugar, water, Citric acid, colour (carmine), sodium citrate and preservatives. This does not contain any artificial colouring or sweeteners... Energy: 920 kj/217 k cal per 100 ml of the product. 100 of the ...

LG GRL 207 TUJA 18/04/2007

Fridge - American Style: problems ? style

LG GRL 207 TUJA LG Electronics – American Style, Fridge freezer; side by side. Model number GRL 207 QVJA . Lot of our friends and acquaintances have this type of fridge. Buying this type of fridge has become something of a ‘status symbol’! I agree, I gave up to peer-pressure and got carried away. When we moved house and had to purchase a new fridge I decided to go for one of these. We found one in local Curry’s store at a price above our budget, but still went for it! Planning stage- where to install. These fridge freezers are quite huge in size. They do not look quite so big in a store. When you come back and measure the corner you had in mind for your fridge to be - is too small! Also, as they generate a lot of heat if placed in a recessed area you need to have 12 inches or more clearance above the fridge and 2 inches from the wall on all sides. You cannot keep in garage or conservatory area. Temperature has to be above 5C. How to get inside your house - check that your doors are large enough for this fridge to be brought in. Keep a margin of 2 inches extra. There will always be something sticking out which comes in your way. Before installation: If your fridge has a water dispenser and ice maker, you need a plumbing for water as well. As the automatic ice maker needs a high water pressure to operate and if your mains water pressure is hot high enough- you will have to buy another pump! The feed pipe should be bent, should not be hot- so extra space for air circulation! On top ...

Marks & Spencer Formula Instant Fix Skin Refiner 09/04/2007

An instant fix for your face

Marks & Spencer Formula Instant Fix Skin Refiner Marks & Spencer - Formula - Instant Fix Beauty Radiance Balm The purpose of these beauty aids are instant radiance in other words a quick "pick-me-up" before an evening out or whenever you want to erase signs of fatigue. Ideally should be suitable for all skin types and could be used at any time of day. The benefits for these products are - well the manufacturers say so- they are supposed to promote immediate and long-lasting radiance, firms skin and helps minimise fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to this they smoothes and softens skin, strengthens and refines the contours of the face. With treatment skin regains firmness and suppleness and when applied with make-up, face looks exceptionally radiant. Similar products are also sold by other companies, I had a look around websites and compared some costs- see the costs of other products • Boots (Botanics) … £9/40 ml • Boots -Time delay.. £8.50/100ml • Superdrug………… £2.99/ 50ml • Clarins…………….. £16.95/50 ml • Christian Dior………£16.50/150 ml This product at M&S costs £8/ 50 ml. As product information is not listed, I will give some details which come with this. M&S mentions that this product gives dull skin a boost, illuminates and enhances your complexion to look radiant in a hurry and it produces immediate benefit. They claim that 70% women saw an improved youthfulness of skin. Skin should look fresher, healthier, firmer, rested! Ingredients: Aqua glycerine, aluminium ...

Wallis (Shop) 01/04/2007

Wallis online - better offline

Wallis (Shop) Wallis Store: Wallis is a High Street chain store for women's fashions. Wallis stores could be a stand alone shop in High Street or could be a part of large Department stores like Debenhams. They are a part of Arcadia Group limited. There are a number of Wallis stores across England, Scotland Wales and in North and South Ireland. Whatever is the location, they will be stocking very similar items and hold sale at roughly same time. The items stocked by this store include- Women's Dresses Tops & Tunics Trousers & Shorts Tailoring Coats & Jackets Skirts Accessories as Bags, scarves, shoes and various costume jewellery items They also have an exclusive Petites range of dresses, tailoring, coats & jackets, knitwear, tops, trousers and skirts. Recently Wallis have introduced a new W. A Limited Edition range and items in this range are much more expensive compared to the store items. It is available online and in 10 stores across England. Dresses: various colours- current collection has black, red, magenta, purple, floral, lace and some prints. Cost range £27-£85. Tailoring: Current collection has beautiful white linen, black, Orange, Jacquard jackets, skirts and trousers. Cost jacket- £65-85, Skirt and Trousers are in the range of £30-£45. There is a sale range from these items and often you will be able to buy them at half the original price. But sale items may not be available in all colours and sizes. Often they run sales on £15 or under on a number ...

Tesco Smooth Cream Soda 23/03/2007

Anyone for a cream soda?

Tesco Smooth Cream Soda Tesco Smooth Cream soda with vanilla extract Hi Ciao readers - if you are not very busy, not rolling in money and dare to try new drinks - well non alcoholic- here is something for you. This is the last item I am going to write about this week- which I picked up from Tesco in my bargain shopping spree! As the name suggests- it is a carbonated cream soda flavour drink with sugar and sweeteners. It is a fizzy drink and manufacturer has clearly indicated that the container is pressurized. The drink can be found in fizzy drink isle with other lemonades etc. It is a clear 2 litre bottle, with a blue cap and light and turquoise blue label. As this has not been reviewed in Ciao before - I will tell you about what it contains and then go to the taste. Contents are - • Carbonated water • Glucose-fructose syrup • Flavouring • Lactic Acid • Sweeteners- Aspartame, Sodium Saccharin • Preservatives- Sodium benzoate • Vanilla Extract and Stabilizer Allergy advice is a bit fuzzy, please make sure its ok for you to have. As it contains sweeteners- its best not to give to young children under 6 years of age. The label does not mention this. 100 ml of the drink gives you 24 kcal. Protein etc are in trace, main source of energy is sugars (5.9g). Traces of salt are also present. You should be storing the away from sunlight and drink chilled. How does the drink look like and taste: Clear drink, when in bottle looks like water. When ...

Cape Apple Mango juice 22/03/2007

Neither Mango nor Apple - lovely drink

Cape Apple Mango juice Cape Mango & Apple Juice drink Hi ciao community, another review on food- well 'drink' review this week. I have had a day off and used it all for writing reviews- too bad! Mango is a unique fruit you love it or you hate it. Mango juice is the same. Some people cannot stand the strong taste and very strong flavour. This juice drink provides a good balance. Read on…… This juice drink is produced by the company Cape - not very well known in juice production industry website I have not heard much about them, (pardon my ignorance if they are well known. This product is stocked by Tesco and some other supermarkets as well. Let me tell you about the contents before I go on to the taste. Mango puree - 10% Apple juice from concentrate 10%, Sugar, Citric Acid, Pectin (Stabilizer) Favouring, ascorbic acid (antioxidant) 100 ml of the product gives you 197 kj energy - 47 kcal- quite low calorie value. It contains 0.1 g protein, 11.3 carbohydrates- mostly sugar, trace of fat, 0.3 fibre and very little sodium. Like most juices, you have to shake before use and store in refrigerator, consume within 3 days after opening the carton. Comes in 1 lit packs. Tastes better if served chilled. Packaging- White tetra-pack with pictures of Mango and apple slices. Easy to open cap. Package shape and size makes it easy to hold, open and pour. The proportion of Apple and mango appears to be equal by viewing the contents, but mango has the dominant ...

Tesco Maple and Pecan Crisp 20/03/2007

Tasty multigrain cereal

Tesco Maple and Pecan Crisp Hello Ciao members this is my second review on breakfast cereal in less than two weeks. Well, its not that I like eating cereals a lot or the fact that I could not find anything else to write about - just that this was something which was quick and easy to find around the home. It was a new item that I have purchased last week. I am not a TESCO fan, but I do shop with them from time to time looking for bargains in my bulk shopping. Where did I find it? In cereal isle- It comes in a terracotta coloured box, with writing in orange and white. Cost is £1.50 for a 500g box. Name: Maple & pecan crisp. How does the manufacturer describe it- Oat clusters with real maple syrup and pecan nuts and crispy toasted cereal clusters with pecan nuts and maple syrup. It is produced in Belgium. I do not want to go into detail of what the contents are, but just to let you know that this is a multigrain cereal - has oat flakes, wheat flakes and puffed rice. Other things in it are - Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Pecan Nuts (7%), Rice Flour, Oat flour, Maple Syrup - 2%), Sugar, Honey, Salt and Flavouring- quite a lot for a breakfast cereal! Calories - 461 per 100g. It is high in fibre but as it contains nut- nut allergy sufferers have to be sure if pecan affects them or not. The cereal is mostly in clusters and toasted to perfect crispness. There are quite a few pecan nuts - some in halves, some full, not chopped. A serve of the cereal is quite filling.Oats make it light and other flakes ...

Lexmark X7350 19/03/2007

A Lexmark all rounder

Lexmark X7350 We were looking for buying a fax machine for our home office after the trusty 12 year old Sharp fax packed up. I normally do not like combos like 'three in one' or 'all in one'. In an old fashioned way, I still believe one machine is good for one thing! But in the fast and ever-changing world of technological advancement - I have decided to change my view. I decided to buy an all in one and give it a go. Lexmark 7350 is - 3 rather 4 -in- one printer, copier, scanner and fax machine. The product specification will tell you most of the details and I am not repeating them here. It prints at a speed up to 19ppm (page per minute) colour print speed- very fast for a home use and amazingly there is not much noise. When printing in one colour or black it is much faster- up to 25ppm - what is technically defined as 'mono print speed'. Do not be alarmed, if you are printing 10 pages- it prints 10th page first, then 9-8-7 etc. I was not prepared for this- and tried to stop it the first time! The machine can hold up to 100 sheets of paper. The printing quality is also very good - 4800 x 1200dpi. You are able to print at 4 quality- draft, normal, good and super! The names may be slightly different- you know what I mean. The machine has what they call as a 'PictBridge' support - prints photos without a PC. Pictbridge port is in front of the machine with easy access. It is able to print A6 and A4 size photos. In our previous Epson printer photos were of reasonable quality, but size ...

Tesco Healthy Living Muesli 18/03/2007

Where is the Muesli?

Tesco Healthy Living Muesli We all are spending more time and energy to adapt a healthy lifestyle. In that race the word 'Healthy Living' has become a catchphrase and a word for retailers and manufacturers to use this phrase in advertising their products and boost their business. One such product is Tesco healthy living Muesli - which I wish to draw your attention to. What it says on the box: • It contains a blend of wheat flakes, oats and dried fruits as raisins, apricots, dates and cranberries. • 50 gram serve has 230 calories and less than 3% fat • When served with 125 mil of semi skimmed milk it will contain- 22.g sugar, 3.2 g fat, 1.5g saturates and .2 g salt • This should be able to provide you with 960 k.joule energy- we all need different energy depending on our activity level. For a moderately active person, medium body weight, this would roughly provide one third of energy requirement for the day! What it does not say! • The size of the box is 6.2in X 9.4in X 1.8 in - much smaller than other 500g cereal boxes, so the product is much compact. If you pour half a bowl and trust your visual judgement- you could end up eating more! • If you have a 100 g serve- suggested serve size- 5 serves per box, it is a lot! • There is too much fruit- I thought that the muesli must have settled in transit, so I poured the contents into a cereal container and mixed well and poured in a bowl. Did not make much of a difference! • I weighed 50 g ...
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