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Happy 2015 everyone. Slowly getting back into Ciao.

Reviews written

since 04/05/2007

20

Breville JK46 03/01/2012

A value-for-money cordless fast-boil jug kettle

Breville JK46 The Breville JK46 is a value-for-money, basic, white-plastic jug kettle. Although inexpensive, it still boasts many of the same the features as the higher-priced models, and its simple design is quite stylish. Appearance The kettle is a jug shape in pure white plastic with a chunky hoop handle. Close to the top of the handle is the rocker-style on/off switch. On each side of the kettle there is a large curvaceous translucent window, with a gauge marked in 'cups', that allows you to see how much water is inside. The natural way the broad spout emerges from the main body of the kettle, and the way the solid handle follows a generous curve down the side, is very organic; there something fundamentally feminine in the design. It is saved from being all white by the use of some silver/grey plastic trim around the base and on the lever used to open the hinged lid. The overall appearance is very smart. Summary of main features 3KW fast-boil jug kettle. Capacity is 1.7 litres (approx. 3 pints). Twin windows that show water level in 'cups'. Illuminated on/off switch. Locking lid. Cordless. 360º base unit (incorporating excess cord storage). Heating element concealed beneath floor of kettle. Lime-scale filter is removable and washable. Usability Before using the kettle the instruction booklet tells you to fill to the maximum level, boil, and then pour the water away to discard any residue left from the manufacturing process. Also, you should remove the lime-scale ...

Flagfox Add-on for Mozilla Firefox 09/07/2009

Discover the true location of every website you visit

Flagfox Add-on for Mozilla Firefox The following discussion refers to Flagfox version 3 and is intended to provide a general outline of the product and to encourage Firefox users to give it a try. What is Flagfox? These days almost every website you visit analyses you, or at least your IP address, and monitors your browsing behaviour. So it is a pleasure to discover Flagfox, a free piece of software, which helps you take a peek back at them and see who they are and where they are. Flagfox is a clever little bit of extra computer code (known as an add-on or extension) that you can easily apply to your Mozilla Firefox browser. In fact, Mozilla themselves include it in their list of recommended add-ons. Flagfox is an informational tool that analyses the web address you are currently viewing (the one in the address bar) and displays a mini country flag so that you know the true location of the server hosting that site. When I last visited www.dooyoo.co.uk I saw a Union Jack, and when I lasted visited www.ciao.co.uk I saw a German flag (refer to picture 1). You might feel surprised that the country flag sometimes does not seem to correspond to the web address. The domain name root, e.g. “.uk” or “.com”, may indicate a particular country, but a business can host their website on a server anywhere in the world they please. Flagfox does not rely on the text in the address bar to determine the country, but instead uses the website’s IP address (a string of numbers separated by periods) to lookup the ...

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream 17/04/2009

An everyday SIMPLE moisturiser with SPF15

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream As I have sensitive skin, my facial moisturising needs are basic. All I want is hydration and a little protection from sun and pollution, without any perfumes, colours or additives. So “SIMPLE Regeneration Age Resisting Day cream SPF 15” seemed like a good choice. Purity vs. Additives The brand name SIMPLE is effective at conveying the impression of its products being very pure and free from all unnecessary additives. Happily this moisturiser has no colour or perfume, but it does have extra ingredients and these might not be suitable for everyone. The manufacturer, however, believes that these additives should be beneficial for most users, and they are … … Green Tea Extract which they claim “fights premature ageing” … Mushroom Extract which they say will “refine skin tone and texture” … Oat-Beta Glucan and Allantoin to “gently soothe and reduce sensitivity” … Pro Vitamin B5 and Vitamin E to “soften, smooth, and improve skin condition” and the product has a sun protection factor of 15 (SPF15). Packaging The moisturiser comes in a chunky hand-size pump-pot, which is presented in a smart little card box. Both the box and the pot are mainly white with the familiar SIMPLE logo and design in fresh shades of green. The box might seem like a bit of a waste, but it is made from “farmed and renewed forests”, and it does serve a purpose. SIMPLE use the box to give the product an air of luxury and also to present some information that is not repeated on the actual ...

Shire Famous Pies - Chicken Balti Pie 06/04/2009

Who ate all the pies?

Shire Famous Pies - Chicken Balti Pie Who ate all the pies? Well, apparently thousands of football and rugby fans every match day. Shire Famous Pies, of Leamington Spa, are the market-leading supplier of half-time pies and pasties, and now you can buy their famous, and very tasty, “Chicken Balti Pies” from supermarkets, conveniently frozen and ready to cook and enjoy in your own home. “Chicken Balti Pies”, created in 1997, are the top selling snack at premiership stadiums. They are made with 100% chicken breast, a warming spicy balti sauce, and scrumptious pastry. The Shire Famous Pies brand states with pride “we only put real natural ingredients into our products” and promise ”we don’t add artificial chemicals to bulk food out or enhance flavour or colour or to save us money. That’s why there are NO artificial colours, flavour and preservatives or hydrogenated fats in our food!” Packaging The pair of frozen pies are presented in a bright blue cardboard box, that has a tempting photographic image of a golden pie sliced in half to reveal the mouth-watering filling within. You open the box by lifting a flap on the side. The pies are sitting in individual foil trays ready for the oven. There is no unnecessary packaging. The box front states “100% Chicken Breast”, and a circular red emblem with a football declares “No.1 half-time pie”. On the reverse are the baking instructions and the usual information on storage, ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary information. The cardboard box and the foil ...

Twinings Green Tea Pineapple & Grapefruit 04/04/2009

Refreshing and reputedly beneficial brew

Twinings Green Tea Pineapple & Grapefruit “Twinings Green Tea with Pineapple & Grapefruit” is a refreshing and reputedly beneficial brew from ‘Twining & Co. Ltd.’, the long-established English tea and coffee merchants. Boxes of these speciality teabags can be found in the beverage section of larger supermarkets, or you can purchase them by mail order direct from Twinings (see www.Twinings.co.uk). Packaging The teabags are supplied in a neat cardboard box decorated in fresh shades of green, showing mouth-watering slices of pineapple and grapefruit, and a circular motif that boasts “Green Tea – a natural source of antioxidants”. The box front also bears the company name in its familiar style – uppercase black lettering on a gleaming gold background – boldly displayed beneath a ‘by royal appointment’ declaration. The ‘green tea’ part of the product name is cleverly given an oriental twist by rendering it in a script that might be achieved using a calligraphy brush. Twinings have used the side of the box to inform us that, according to legend, “tea was discovered in 2737BC by Emperor Shen Nung when leaves accidentally fell into the water he was boiling to drink”. On the reverse are the very easy to follow instructions for preparation. To open the box you pull a tab and so tear a long broad strip of card from along three sides. The box then acts as a little chest, and the bags are revealed by lifting the lid. I like this design. The best before date is print on one end of the box. There are no storage ...

Muller Amore Peach Yoghurt 25/03/2009

Deluxe peach yoghurt

Muller Amore Peach Yoghurt “Müller Amoré Peach Yoghurt” 150g is a superior thick fruit yoghurt from Müller, the German-owned ‘lick the lid of life’ dairy desserts company. This deluxe range of yoghurts was introduced in 2003, and can be found in the chilled cabinets of larger supermarkets. ~ Packaging ~ The yoghurt comes in a rather sophisticated dark blue container – lower and wider than most. The shape makes it feel nicer to eat from than ordinary yoghurt pots. It appears to be made of card, but is in fact a lightweight white plastic tub with a tightly fitting cardboard outer casing. The foil lid bears the company logo and a photographic image of a spoon dripping with ice-white yoghurt (like the yoghurt found in the Müller Corners) with a juicy slice of peach nestling on top. This image is rather misleading, as the yoghurt is actually a pale peachy colour containing small fruit pieces. The lid also shows the use by date. On the side of the pot is printed the company logo and product name flanked by photographic images of whole and sliced ripe peaches. There is also information about storage (i.e. keep refrigerated), ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary details. Some or all of the packaging can be recycled (depending on what your local council will accept): – the cardboard outer casing, foil lid, and plastic inner pot (which has a recycling triangle with PS inside). ~ Look, Smell and Taste ~ The yoghurt is a pale golden creamy colour, with a slight sheen, and contains a good ...

Thorntons Individual Chocolate Cakes 31/01/2009

Extremely chocolatey mini cake bars

Thorntons Individual Chocolate Cakes "Thorntons Individual Chocolate Cakes" are individual bar-shaped cakes of a superior quality manufactured by one of Britain's best-loved chocolate companies. They are to be found on the bakery shelves of the major supermarkets such as Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco. They actually form part of a special offering for supermarkets and are not available from Thorntons chocolate shops or the Thorntons online store. Packaging The five cake bars are presented in a glossy foiled packet that ensures they are protected from light and odours. Within, the cakes sit on a lightweight gold-coloured plastic tray that separates and protects them, and each is individually cellophane-wrapped. The packaging is for the most part a dark rich chocolate colour with the familiar "Thorntons - the Art of the Chocolatier" motif. Beneath is a tempting photographic illustration of two cakes; one cut in half to show the scrumptious layers of chocolate sponge, Belgian sauce and buttercream within. On the right is a copper-coloured band with the product name, best before date and a brief appetizing description of the cakes. On the reverse is found the usual information about storage, ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary details. One should be careful carrying the cakes home, as the packaging is not very rigid and only provides minimal protection from damage. There is no indication that any of the wrapping is recyclable. Look smell and taste The appearance of the individual ...

Thorntons Individual Toffee Cakes 04/12/2008

Scrumptious mini toffee cake bars

Thorntons Individual Toffee Cakes "Thorntons Individual Toffee Cakes" are superior quality individual bar-shaped cakes from one of the UK's favourite chocolate companies. They can be purchased in packs of five from the bakery shelves of the major supermarkets such as Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco. They are, in fact, part of a special offering for supermarkets and are not available from Thorntons chocolate shops or the Thorntons online store. Packaging The five cake bars are individually cellophane-wrapped and presented on a lightweight gold-coloured plastic tray that protects and separates them. Everything is enclosed in a foil covering, silvered on the inside, to ensure freshness by protecting from light and smells. The packaging is predominantly a dark rich chocolate colour with the familiar "Thorntons - the Art of the Chocolatier" logo. Beneath is an appetizing photographic illustration of two cakes; one cut in half to show the scrumptious layers of toffee sponge, sauce and buttercream within. To the right is a golden band with the product name, best before date and a brief mouth-watering description of the cakes. On the reverse there is the usual information on storage, ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary details. Care should be taken transporting the cakes home as the packaging is not very rigid and only provides superficial protection from damage. There is no indication that any of the packing is recyclable. Look, Smell and Taste The appearance of the individual toffee ...

Tesco Value Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup 02/11/2008

Tasty and inexpensive peach pieces

Tesco Value Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup "TESCO Value Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup" are a convenient and economic way to add variety to your '5 a day' portions of fruit and vegetables, and they are to be found next to the standard quality peaches in the tinned fruit section of most Tesco stores. The purpose of my review is to compare this 'value' product with its equivalent from the standard range, i.e. "TESCO Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup", which I evaluated previously. Packaging The 'value' sliced peaches come in a standard tin can. The label is very basic and is predominately white with text and images in royal blue and pillar-box red; this is the usual livery for Tesco Value products. On the front of the label there is a simply drawn image of some peaches printed in blue, and below is a graphic to inform you that each half-can serving contains 120 calories, 28.7g of sugar, and just trace amounts of fat, saturates and salt. It also indicates how these amounts compute as percentages of your daily allowance. The figures are identical to those on the standard range can. Like the standard range, the label front states that the product is in 'light' syrup. On the reverse there is the usual information on storage, ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary information, and the wording is literally the same as for the standard range. The best-before date is stamped on the tin lid, and is small and rather tricky to read. As with the standard range, the tin is not the ring-pull type so you need to use ...

Tesco Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup 31/10/2008

Good quality tinned peach slices

Tesco Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup "TESCO Sliced Peaches in Light Syrup" are a convenient way to include some fruit in your daily diet and they are to be found in the tinned fruit section of most Tesco stores. Tinned fruits are something of a British tradition. I have happy childhood memories of Sunday tea time, a crisp tablecloth on the dining room table, the best china and cutlery, homemade cake, bowls of sliced peaches covered in a little evaporated milk, slices of buttered fresh bread, and a nice pot of tea. Packaging The peach slices come in a standard tin can with a label showing many ripe peaches and some juicy looking slices. A helpful graphic on the front of the label informs you that each half-can serving contains 120 calories, 28.7g of sugar, and just trace amounts of fat, saturates and salt. It also indicates how these amounts compute as percentages of your daily allowance. So, pretty healthy! The label front also states that the product is in 'light' syrup. On the reverse there is the usual information on storage, ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary information. The best-before date is stamped on the tin lid, but unfortunately it is quite small and rather difficult to read. In my case, it revealed my can of peaches was good until end of August 2009, almost a year, so not bad. The tin is not the ring-pull type so you need to use a tin opener. The tin is made of steel and is recyclable. Look, Smell and Taste Once poured into a bowl, the peach slices have a sunny, ...

Tesco Fresh Cream Slices 29/10/2008

Heavenly Creamy and Flaky Individual Treats

Tesco Fresh Cream Slices "TESCO Fresh Cream Slices" are a delicious creamy and flaky treat that can be found in packs of two in the fresh dessert section of the chilled cabinets. Packaging The fresh cream slices are presented in a pale blue cardboard box with a cellophane window that affords a clear, and tantalizing, view of the items within. There is also a helpful graphic that responsibly informs you that each individual slice contains 315 calories, 17.6g of sugar, 20.2g of fat, 11.9g of saturates and 0.1g of salt, and how that computes as percentages of your daily allowance. So if you indulge in a creamy slice be aware that you have just blown 16% of your daily calories and 60% (yes, 60%) of your daily saturates! The box front also states that the product is free of artificial preservatives, flavours, and colours. On the reverse there is the usual information on storage (refrigerate until use by date), ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary information. This product cannot be frozen. The box is opened by lifting a flap on the side, so that the clear plastic tray holding the fresh cream slices can be accessed. The tray is ingeniously designed with individual compartments that separate and protect, but it is also 'hinged' so that half the tray swings away allowing the slices to be easily removed without any damage. The cardboard box can be recycled, but the cellophane window and plastic tray go in the main household waste. Look, Smell and Taste The appearance of the ...

The Vicar of Nibbleswicke - Roald Dahl 26/10/2008

A comic tale of Back-to-Front Dyslexia

The Vicar of Nibbleswicke - Roald Dahl If you have ever witnessed someone unconsciously utter a Spoonerism (for example, "I hit my bunny phone" instead of "I hit my funny bone", or "pit nicking" instead of "nit picking") and smiled at the puzzlement or amusement of those around, then you will chuckle (and sometimes even laugh out load) at this comic tale from children's writer Roald Dahl. Outline The story is about the Reverend Lee. However, this young vicar's problem is not Spoonerisms exactly. Instead he suffers from a very special form of verbal dyslexia, which causes him to unknowingly speak some words as if they had been written in reverse, for example, he might say "dog" instead of "God", and this gives rise to increasingly funny situations. The clergyman is newly arrived in Nibbleswicke and it seems the stress of his new position has awoken this condition. Sometimes everyday words when reversed can confer on a simple sentence a new and even rude meaning, and these are especially hilarious when spoken innocently by a man of the cloth. His parishioners experience both alarm and bemusement at his condition, and yet they begin to warm to his eccentricity. It is the local doctor who recognises his condition and suggests a cure which the vicar resolves to take, even if that cure is itself very bizarre.... Opinion This delightful and very funny book is intended for young children (and the young at heart), and has some lovely pen drawings, both black-and-white and coloured, by Quentin ...

16 Blocks (DVD) 16/10/2008

"Get the witness safely to court on time" thriller

16 Blocks (DVD) "16 Blocks" is a fast paced, action packed, "get the witness safely to court on time", shoot-them-up thriller starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def and David Morse. Directed by Richard Donner, who also directed the Lethal Weapon movies and Superman II, and written by Richard Wenk this film carries a "12" certificate. Synopsis Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) is an aging and burned-out NYPD detective. Maybe once upon a time he was one of New York's finest, but now he is a haunted, out-of-shape, shadow of his former self. Retirement probably cannot come too soon, but until then booze fogs his mind and gets him through each day. A mix of loyalty for one of their own and affection for the man he once was allows his colleagues to not 'make a fuss' about his clear failings, but they cannot totally ignore them. Whereas Mosley was once a vital team member at the heart of the action, his involvement is now trivial and lies on the periphery, and he is trusted only with tasks that really should be assigned to the most junior of officers. At the end of another undemanding liquor-assisted nightshift a tired Mosley is heading home, but the lieutenant, short of an officer, persuades him to do one final quick job. He simply has to escort a young petty criminal from his jail cell to the courthouse 16 blocks away, 118 minutes tops, deadline 10am. What could go wrong? Well, Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) is no ordinary prisoner; in return for immunity he must appear on time as star witness for the ...

Aramis Classic Eau de Toilette 16/09/2008

Sophisticated scent for the cultivated man

Aramis Classic Eau de Toilette "Aramis" is a classic and sophisticated fragrance for the refined gentleman, and is equally appropriate for business or formal occasions. It is not suitable for teenage boys, nor would it be a good 21st birthday gift. It is aimed at the more mature, experienced and self-assured man. Picture in your mind a successful businessman such as Peter Jones, from Dragon's Den, at a high-powered meeting, or an international movie star like George Clooney at a film premier with a glamorous woman by his side, or a fictional hero like James Bond, as played by Pierce Brosnan, at the roulette table. This is the "Aramis" image. "Aramis" Eau de Toilette (EDT) is to be found at the fragrance counters of major department stores such as Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis and Harrods. It can also be purchased online from discount perfume sites either direct or through eBay or Amazon. As well as the EDT spray, the Aramis Classic range also includes such items as Aftershave, Aftershave Balm, Pre-Electric Shave Lotion, Direct Moisturising Cream, Invigorating Body Shampoo, 24 Hour Antiperspirant Spray, 24 Hour Deodorant Stock, Soap in a case. Packaging The box is simple yet stylish, made from glossed card in a smooth tan colour with mottling in darker browns. It brings to mind a fine polished wood veneer marked with signs of natural variation and age such as might be used on the interior of a classic car. On the reverse is a list of ingredients and a warning that the product is ...

Tesco Fresh Cream Chocolate Éclairs 08/09/2008

Delicious Individual Cream Cakes

Tesco Fresh Cream Chocolate Éclairs "TESCO Tempting Rich Fresh Cream Chocolate Éclairs" are a 'naughty but nice' treat that can be found in packs of two, four or ten in the fresh dessert section of the chilled cabinets in most Tesco stores. Note that the size (and obviously calories) of the éclairs varies according to the number in the box. Two-pack éclairs have 270 calories each, four-pack éclairs are slightly smaller with 160 calories each, and the ten-pack éclairs are the smallest with 125 calories each. I will be giving my opinion of the four-pack size. ~ Packaging ~ The éclairs are presented in a pale blue cardboard box with a large cellophane window that affords a good (and tempting) view of the items within. To the left-hand side of the window is a helpful graphic that responsibly informs you that each individual portion contains 160 calories, 5.8g of sugar, 11.2g of fat, 6.5g of saturates and a trace amount of salt, and how that computes as percentages of your daily allowance. So you have been warned! The box front also states that the product is free of artificial preservatives, flavours, and colours. On the reverse there is the usual information on storage (refrigerate until use by date), ingredients, nutrition and allergy/dietary information. Conveniently, this product can be frozen on the day of purchase, and there are freezing/defrosting instructions. You open the box by lifting a flap on the side, and then the clear plastic tray holding the éclairs can be accessed. The tray ...
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