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jcduk

jcduk

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Reviews written

since 15/11/2005

20

Tefal VS 4001 30/07/2007

Vita a price for this!

Tefal VS 4001 I had wanted a new steamer for quite some time. My old one had seen better days, and it was time to get rid. When I looked in the store I found this new model and though the price is high, I put it at the back of my head as a potential winner - IF I could find it on sale! Didn't find it on Sale, but did find it on e-bay for £30 - so bought it there! When I got it home I realised it looked bigger on my counter than when I looked at it in the store. Rather than being the traditional round or slightly oval shaped you normally get, this unit is sort of kidney shaped. (or as close to a shape I can describe.) It comes with two metal baskets which sit side by side rather than on top of one another. There is also a hotplate that sits on top of these, which is used for the meat/seafood portions. This plate is metal, and can be used on both sides. One where the food just lays on top and steams, and the other where there is a dip so you can add liquids or sauces for the food to sit in while steaming. With all this metal your probably think, "ouch - it must get hot taking things out". Well actually that's not the case. The components all have handles which sit outside of the steaming area. So when it comes time to lift the plate, or take the baskets out - it can be done with ease and no pain! I've used this on seafood and chicken - two of the main staples in my household. Both turn out great! Moist, succulent and perfectly cooked is the only way to describe. In the baskets I've ...

Procter & Gamble Pringles Rice Infusions 29/07/2007

Moreish Pringles - you can eat 30% more!!

Procter & Gamble Pringles Rice Infusions I had the opportunity to do an early taste test of the new Pringles Rice Infusions crisps. I should have had all 4 flavours, but some nice person in the postal system picked out the BBQ pack before I got my hands on the package! Pringles have brought us the Original, the Gourmet, the Light and even the mini! Now they have really brought a huge change with the introduction of the Rice Infusions! Made with rice flour instead of potatoe, this crisps stand up well to the old favourite. And once again, you can't eat just one! There are 5 flavours in the range. Cheese and Onion, Sour Cream & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, Sweet BBQ spare rib & Red Paprika. I've tried the first three, and wasn't disappointed. I did wonder if the texture and crunch would be the same. It's difficult to describe but there is a difference but if I was handed a bowl of these at a party - I wouldn't know they weren't the originals. I'd say the Salt & Vinegar was maybe flavoured a bit too sharp. The type that makes your cheeks pucker, before you even get them in your mouth! ;o) Overall I'd give them 5 stars - why because they have 30% less fat than the originals! That's fantastic! And they still remain moreish! One last point - because I was in this taster group, I've been entered into a competition - but I need some help. I'm trying to get into the top 10 for a Pringle competition. I'd love if you can help me! Go to the link below and smack the little pringles with a rolling pin! As of this ...

Duoboots.com 21/02/2007

These boots are made to fit well..........

Duoboots.com I'd been looking to buy lovely glam leather/suede boots for years. Unfortunately, I'm not your average "faith/nine west/ etc.... calf sized gal! So anything remotely stylish was not in my reach. Then I found duoboots.com. Duo Boots is based in the lovely town of Bath. They also have a "fitting only" showroom in Savile Row, London. But best of all they have an amazing WEB SITE! So we can all enjoy their range of products. They give you easy to follow instructions on how to take your measurements. It's very simple. Once you have your calf measurement, it's time to go shopping!!!! Duo have an exquisite range of boots to choose from. They have the boots organised in different categories. You can choose from Classic, Dress, Mid-Calf, Contemporary and Casual boots. Once you select the style your interested in you then choose the size. You choose the shoe size. (And if you are like me and always forget the continental sizes, there is a handy help screen pop-up.) You then select the calf width in cm's. The calf width sizes start at 30cm and go all the way up to 50cm..... Depending on the style of boot, you might find the size options begin a little higher or end a little lower. You select the size closest to your calf size. NOTE: I'd suggest you choose the closest lower size. There is a small amount of give at the top of the boots due to a small elastic section at the top which provides a 1cm of stretch. The quality of the boots are superb. The workmanship is better than ...

Kia Ceed 21/02/2007

ExC'eed's my expectations!

Kia Ceed I recently had the opportunity to attend a press launch for the new Kia cee'd. I entered a competition and won the chance to test drive the car in the South of France for a weekend! (I think I want to be a car reviewer in my next life........) Anyway, part of the comp was to right about the c'eed and try to win one for a year. Didn't win - but here's my thoughts on the newest family car in the Kia range. It was very surprising - I didn't have a great opinion about Kia before - probably due to ignorance, but really impressed by this one! If this car was stripped of its brand, who would you guess had built it? The answer may now surprise the thousands of people who were asked this when the car was displayed in malls across the UK last year. Many makes were suggested with Toyota being the most popular, but it's actually the Korean car company - Kia. Kia's latest offer to the Family car segment is the cee'd (pronounced seed). It's their first European designed and built vehicle, coming from Kia's state of the art factory in Slovakia. They are so confident about the quality of this car that as standard, they are offering a unique seven year warranty on the drivetrain in addition to the more industry standard 5 year bumper to bumper (or 100,000 miles). If that's not enough, they also throw in a three-year roadside assistance package. The cee'd is available with 4 engine types - 1.4 or 1.6 petrol and a 1.6 CRDi turbo diesel with either 90 or 115 bhp outputs. The diesel ...

Sainsbury's Stackers Toffee Brownie Cakes 10/10/2006

Sweet Dreams are definitely not made of these...

Sainsbury's Stackers Toffee Brownie Cakes I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Give me a nice moist sweet cake over a dry dull biscuit any day. I was walking through the Sainsbury store and noticed these little delights were on sale. (2 for £3.50 - normally £1.99 each). It's part of the "Taste the Difference" range. I expected a higher than normal quality - so I thought it might be worth paying the higher than normal price. When I saw these, they reminded me of the gorgeous Blondie's (like a brownie but with caramel flavouring instead of chocolate) I used to enjoy when I lived in the US. I thought I'd treat myself and buy a pack. I'm soooo glad I only bought one pack! You are given 6 "slices" of toffee brownie. I swear the packaging makes these look bigger than they really are. (Is it possible to get magnifying cellophane for food these days??) When I popped one out, the size is the first thing you notice. These cakes are tiny. Approx 1.5 inch square, you roughly get two bits - maybe three if you're mouth is smaller than mine - before the thing is gone. But maybe there's some logic behind their size, read on..... The taste - well it was a major disappointment too. SOOOOO sweet! To the point of being sickly. I think they overdid the toffee flavouring and the level of sugar. I'm sure a Kendal Mint Cake has less sugar! Consistency is good and it is moist, but the flavour just over-powers the cake. But you really can't eat much of this at one time due to the taste. For the price, £1.99 for 6 slices, this is ...

Babyliss 5710 E Beliss 06/10/2006

Is this Beliss-imo? a little........

Babyliss 5710 E Beliss I have kinky hair! It's not curly, it's not straight - it's frustratingly kinky with a permanent frizz to it too! It's also very thick, which means if I want to smooth it with ceramic irons, I have to first get it dry. This requires me to either let it dry naturally and it stays fairly flat, or I use a normal hairdryer and end up looking like a poodle! I saw this as I was walking through Costco. Babyliss, known for all their beauty products and gadgets, have come up with another must have! It's a clever combination of a hairdryer and hair straightener in one. The 1600-watt hairdryer looks like it has a hairbrush stuck on the end of it. This is the straightening attachment. And on this attachment, there are three set's of combs, all doing a different task. The first set, detangle and comb the hair. The second set, straighten the hair. The third set, smooth the hair. It sounded to good to be true! I thought I'd give it a shot and see if it could give me the results that I wanted. It comes with the straightening attachment on the dryer. This can be easily removed and a normal hair dryer nozzle (supplied) can be added instead. You have a dial on the side that you are supposed to adjust to determine the right straightening setting for your hair type. Light smooth = 1, heaving duty smoothing = 4. I tried 3! My first attempt wasn't bad. Given how thick my hair is, I had to do my hair in parts. They suggest taking a 5cm wide section of hair. I probably did a little ...

moonpig.com 25/09/2006

I'm over the Moon(pig) about these guys!

moonpig.com When it comes to cards for birthdays, anniversary's, etc - I usually end up in one of the highstreet shops looking for just the right card. Problem is, even though they have lots to choose from - they all start looking the same, and I walk out without picking anything! I recently had to get a card for my sisters birthday, and a friend told me about MoonPig! The Moonpig site sorts it's card gallery by occasion, and sometimes within this has further categories. Example, Aniversary gives you, Anniversary + 20th-30th + 40th + 50th-60th. Once you selected the occasion, you'll see example covers on the right handside, and a larger version with text/layout details to the left. Include here, is the option for size's of cards. Typical card sizes are 185mm x 132mm for a standard size and 290mm x 205mm for the larger size. (Note the larger size comes in a stiff envelope and might not get thru everyone's letterbox!) Once you've selected your card, the next screen takes you through the card options. It will show you, in bold, the text that can be modified/personalised on the front cover and then allow you to enter your additional greeting on the inside. In addition, they have cute graphics to finish off the card such as hearts, kisses or a big lipstick kiss mark! For your text, you have the ability to choose your font, it's placement, it's size and colour. This makes it a truly one of a kind card!! Before you get to the purchase option, your provided with a layout view of how ...

Bubba Gump Restaurant, San Francisco 11/09/2006

Ain't nothing Stupid about Bubba Gumps Shrimp!

Bubba Gump Restaurant, San Francisco If you get the chance to visit the States and you love seafood, AND you happen to be in one of the few locations to have this restaurant - you should RUN and get in line to enjoy their dishes. I've been to the Bubba's in New York City in the heart of Times Square, and in San Francisco - overlooking the bay! Bubba Gumps is a themed restaurant, based on the Forest Gump movie. Bubba was Forest's friend and the two of them planned on having their own Shrimp boat when they got out of Vietnam. This restuarant stretches the theme by pretending to be a restaurant thats part of the Bubba Gump empire. The restaurant's are decorated like fishing shacks, and they host a lot of memorabilia from the movie. To get attention for another drink or any thing else, you have a sign on your table which turns from "Run Forest Run" to "Stop Forest Stop" and ANY waiter/waitress will help you if the Stop sign is showing. But back to reality. What's it really like? The food is predominately seafood, but you can get burgers, steak, ribs, etc too. Portions are large and prices are reasonable. Especially right now with the pound/dollar ratio. Of course Shrimp is the speciality and they have some amazing things to try. My absolute, number one favourite - Shrimpin' Dippin' Broth. You get a bucket of shrimp, in a spicy broth, with a side order of rice, coleslaw and french bread. The idea is to dip your rice and bread and soak up the broth, while chowing down on the cooked to perfection, slightly ...

OXO Good Grips Mango Splitter 09/09/2006

1 of my 5 a day is solved!

OXO Good Grips Mango Splitter We're all told to "Eat 5 a day". And sometimes, getting those fruits and veg into your diet can be a pain. In my case, it has been literally, as one of my fav fruits is Mango. Have you ever tried to get the nut out of a mango? I have sliced and diced mango's so many ways, and I usually end up having more fruit on the seed and less of it to enjoy! And occasionally, I've come close to cutting off digits in the attempt to get to the sweet fruit. (I'm not known for my Gordon Ramsey or Delia chopping skills in the kitchen!) It was getting to the point, that I would pay way over the odds and buy my mangoes pre-sliced & diced from the store - just so I didn't go thru the pain of cutting the thing! Someone must have been watching me, and thought "let's come up with something to fix this problem - she could do with the help!". OXO Good Grips (no relation to the chicken cube guys) has been producing kitchen gadgets/utensils for about 15 years. Their philosophy is to "make products that are easy to use for the widest possible spectrum of users". I remember the first time I heard of them, was from someone with arthritis and they were told these kitchen tools were comfortable and easy to use. As I seemed to be on a death wish course with my use of sharp kitchen implements, I thought I'd try some - and my love of Good Grips products began. The latest edition to the family is a Mango Splitter. Think of it like an apple slice. Except in this case the core is oval and would cut ...

Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Spot Wand 30/08/2006

A perfect wand for wayward spots....

Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Spot Wand I don't know how many of you are either inflicted with spots or who have teens in your house with this issue. I fall into the latter category. So though I've not used this myself, I've gone thru the trials and tribulations with my daughter on the product that works best for her. I bought her the usual things first. Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Biore,etc.... Unfortunately, all these managed to do was make a heavy dent in my purse. Whether it was lotions, potions or pads, nothing seemed to help her breakouts. I was beginning to think we wouldn't find anything! One day in Boots my daughter noticed this product. I think she was attracted to the application idea. It has two wands, a daytime lotion at one end, a nighttime at the other. It looks a bit like a lip gloss applicator. You just twist it out, and dab the little blighters with the lotion. She experienced no pain or any other sensation when she used it . I was expecting her to say she felt/noticed something - as some of the other products had caused reactions. She used this product every day, morning and night. The results were fantastic! Within a week the spots were drying up and disappearing. After this, any new spots were quickly dealt a death blow with the wand! We've since purchased some other products from this range. My daughter likes the Peel off Mask. There's also a larger tube version of the Night treatment which also works well. She also tried the Nose Pore Strips. To be honest I didn't think these ...

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, Anaheim 21/08/2006

It may be a Small World, but these beds are huge!

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel, Anaheim Just back from a tour of the US West coast. Part of the trip was spent at Disneyland in Anaheim. There are lots of hotels in the area, but I wanted something special to celebrate my daughters birthday, so we booked the Disneyland Californian Hotel. The Californian is the newest hotel Disney has to offer. It has 745 rooms, 2 Pools, a Spa, 4 restaurants and 2 bars and a kids club for 4-12 year olds. It sits right between the Disneyland and California Parks. In fact, you have a private entrance for hotel guests only to the California park. Which saves you getting caught up with the crowds. You are also right in the middle of "Downtown Disney" where you have a massive choice of restaurants, shops and entertainment to choose from. The decoration of the hotel and the rooms is California Arts and Crafts. There are huge wood columns, natural slate and lot's of Arts and crafts style decoration and furniture. The reception/hallway is trully impressive. With a 6 floor vaulted ceiling and red pine timbers emphasising the grandness of this stunning entrance way. The rooms are large. In our case, we had a double Queen room. The first thing you will notice is how big the beds are. You have to climb up to get in, the mattress has to be about 3 feet off the ground! We had a double sink area, which was outside the main bathroom, which had the toilet and bath/shower. The only fault I can give the room was the lighting in the bathroom was maybe a little dull. Most room have balconies, ...

holidayautos.com 21/08/2006

For a wheely good deal - try these guys!

holidayautos.com Holiday Autos has been around for a few years now. Once an independent company, it was bought by the lastminute.com group. Thankfully, nothing changed when this happened and their service has been as good as ever. I've used them numerous times, and most recently on a trip to California. This time, I went luxury and rented a convertible. Most times I rent an average family car. My experiences have all been for US trips, but in various States. When you go to the Holiday Auto's website, www.holidayautos.co.uk, it couldn't be easier. First you choose the country you are travelling too. You may have to choose a region within the country too at this point. You then select the pick/drop off points for the rental. This is usually airport locations, but you can on occasion find other points. Provide your pickup/drop off dates, and search! They will return with a list of car choices available to you, and give an indication as to the actual car type. Don't count on this being 100% accurate for the car type - as it might change depending on the provider. But it will be in that car size family. The cost you are shown INCLUDES the following; Total Car Rental daily fee Unlimited Mileage Loss Damage Waiver Supplementry Liability Insurance Handling fees, local taxes, airport fees and environmental fees. You have the option of adding other things such as, Cancellation Insurance, childrens seats, GPS systems and Ski racks. (Though note - anything other than insurance is ...

selectspecs.com, prescription glasses website 13/06/2006

Can you see what I see?

selectspecs.com, prescription glasses website I went and had my eyes tested recently and afterwards went through the usual attempt to find some glasses that were nice, but didn't blow my finances. I was being recommended thin len's for my prescription type (short sighted, -325/-275) and the cost of these before I even had a chance to choose the frame meant I'd be spending in the mid £100's. Looking at frames, I was adding anything from £70-£160 more for the one's I liked. I left the optician with the prescription and an idea that I'd come back after payday and try looking again. I mentioned it to my sister, and she recommended Selectspecs.co.uk. Visiting their site they breakdown glasses on offer by various categories. If you know your "designer" go straight there. If you want to see price ranges, pick that option. If you want to see male/femail/unisex, fine! Or finally, you might want to choose by style, rimless, semi-rimless, bendable, titanium and bifocals. I decided for this first outing, I was going to try cheap and cheerful, to see the results. I selected two pairs, a pair of prescription sun glasses with ordinary lens (which is the only option for glass tints). And a pair of normal everyday glasses with their first level of thin lenses - which they do for FREE! I would suggest you pop into your local Boots or high street Optician and try some pairs on for style. Then find something similar online. Also, take measurements of your existing glasses, for lense size, bridge and arm length - you should ...

Dyson DC15 THE BALL Allergy 10/06/2006

To Dyson or not to Dyson? Who wouldn't Dyson!!!

Dyson DC15 THE BALL Allergy I bought my first Dyson many moons ago. The DC01 was a great replacement for my pathetic excuse for a cleaner. (Don't like using the "H" word these days!!) The DC01 completely blew me away. But like many appliances, it's now had its day - and with a four-legged friend in the house, it had been struggling to keep up with cleaning for a good few months. I finally bit the bullet and went out and bought the latest model - and what a model it is! The DC15 (sometimes called "The Ball") Animal edition is a sleek bit of technology. Of course it has the obvious look of a Dyson. Plastic see thru components, wild colour - purple in this case. But this model has a ball that acts as the navigation centre for the whole unit, and supposedly makes it a lot easier to maneuver. Taking it straight out of the box, it's quick to put the components together, especially if you've owned a previous model. You know how the things "click" together. Handy storage spots are provided on board for the 3 main tools. The Animal also comes with a mini turbine head. The perfect size for attacking stairs. So with everything in place, I decided to tackle the downstairs first. I had a combination of rugs, hard wood floors, carpet and Ceramic tile. There is a button next to the on/off switch, which allows you to adjust the suction. The brochure recommends you go to lower suction for rugs and wood floors. I started the baby up, and WOW! Big difference in suction from my DC01. My rug is a pretty ...

Johnson's Holiday Skin Body Lotion 07/06/2006

Have you been Tango'ed??? No, just Johnson'ed!

Johnson's Holiday Skin Body Lotion We all love a healthy glow to our skin, but some of us don't want to lay out and damage our skin - and some of us can't be bothered laying still long enough to achieve the results. I fall into Category 2! ;o) I'd read great reviews about this product when it started to be sold in the US. It seemed to be flying off the shelves, and articles raved about how wonderful it was. So when it arrived here, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Johnson's, in my opinion, has always been a good stable provider of lotions and basic skin care. I've used their products for more years than I care to remember! I really didn't think I was going to dislike this product. I was wrong........ As a skin lotion it's comparable to any of their others. It has a pleasant odor, is not too greasy and absorbs into skin effortlessly. The resulting tint change is the part I had problems with. I wasn't sure if I was going to see a change, but even my daughter (13 going on 30) asked if I had "some muck" on my legs! I seemed to develop a rather blotchy orange tint to my legs. I thought maybe it was the light playing tricks. But when I checked my crisp white bed linen - I noted they too had been Tango'ed by Johnsons...... To say I was disappointed was an understatement. I was expecting great things from Johnsons, and for the first time - for me at least - they didn't deliver. Maybe this product is better for people who obtain a natural glow, and want it to last longer by using this tint. I ...
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