“ Brand: I.O Shen / Product Type: Paring Knife „
I have two Lakeland Colourful Paring Knives which I've owned for about two years - and I still use on a regular basis. I got the knives directly from the Lakeland store in Cheltenham and they cost me around £3.00 each, although I note that the range is being discontinued and so they are currently on offer at the reduced price of £1.99. I'm not entirely sure why this range is being discontinued because I've actually found them to be useful, functional and reliable, but nonetheless they are being discontinued, although they are still available at the present time.
The knives come in a variety of colours - and I have the pink one and the baby blue one. In theory I think you could have a different coloured knife for different purposes, i.e. meat, vegetables, fruit etc. but I don't tend to segregate them in this way and so it's just a matter of luck as to which knife gets chosen to be used because other than the colour they are identical. Each knife is entirely coloured the same colour in as much as both the handle and the blade are matching in colour and I guess this makes them stand out because it's unusual to have a coloured knife which is matching all over as the blade is usually silver.
The blades are made of stainless steel and so they are very robust and do not bend or snap. They do have a sharp edge which, from time to time I will sharpen with a traditional knife sharpening. It is a paring knife and so it doesn't have a serrated edge, but it is perfect for chopping vegetables, peeling fruit and cutting thinner cuts of meat like chicken and steak. I have found since owning the knives that a few scratches have appeared on the blade, but they still work well and remain firmly attached to the handle. The blades have a plastic cover that can slip over the blade and so the knife can be stored in this way. To be honest, I don't really see a need for the cover, but I do keep it on there nonetheless.
The handles are plastic, but there is a rubber strip that goes down the centre of the handle and means that I can get a better grip. If the handle is wet in any way then the rubber means that the handle does not slip and so this is good from a safety point of view. The handle is ergonomically designed in such a way that it makes it more comfortable for the handle to be gripped.
The knives can go in the dishwasher and they clean well.
Overall, I think this is a really good product and, like I said, I can't understand why it's being discontinued.
*I am, as ever, tallulahbang, but this'un is just for you lot. Because you're worth it*
Tricky as it might be for you lovely Englishes to believe, many stalwarts of British consumerism are relative newcomers to Northern Irish shores. As a child, the most exciting things about our annual trip to England were the chance to mooch around Tesco and the opportunity to savour a bag of Walkers cheese 'n' onion. Those were simpler times, my friends, and those of you that have sampled the delights that the sprawling metropolis of Grimsby has to offer (Steel's fish 'n' chips, anyone?) will understand why a supermarket and a bag of crisps represented the zenith of our holiday.
It's really only in the last 15-20 years that the rumbling behemoths that are Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's have ventured onto these troublesome shores. Largely, this reluctance to make an appearance can be explained by the following statement that my friends and I use to wangle snacks out of barmen when abroad: 'we're from Belfast, we've got guns, give us all your peanuts or there'll be trouble.' All that changed, though, when we negotiated the ceasefire and agreed to (kind of) stop blowing things up. Once the populace promised that our cocktails would be more Cosmopolitan than Molotov, there was no stopping the supermarkets from rolling into town and (literally) setting up shop. Even Sainsbury's, with their overabundance of Jamie Oliver and orange decided to give it a go.
However, like that Japanese soldier who hid out in the forest for a ridiculously long time because he hadn't twigged the war was over, Lakeland only just opened their first premises here in March (on the Boucher Road between Pets At Home and Fultons, if you're interested). I went in because I love any kind of gadgety, overpriced nonsense and I'd already trekked round M&S and the pet shop and was so cold I'd've gone anywhere that promised me an ambient temperature greater than 15 degrees.
Incidentally, I'd like to pause at this moment and offer you a few tips on how to really freak out the checkout assistant in a newly opened Lakeland shop:
1. Clutch a bottle of wine and a jar of barbecue rib sauce in one hand
2. In your other hand, brandish a squeaky dog toy
3. Buy 4 paring knives
4. Make a spectacularly ill-judged joke about how you now have all the requirements for a great night in.
Honestly, I could almost see her reaching for the panic button. Once I'd reassured her that I wasn't about to trot off home for a busy night of disembowelling the dog, she agreed to sell me the knives. She did ID me first, mind, but I choose to see this as confirmation that I look *ahem* 13 years younger than my actual age, rather than a legal requirement.
So, having owned and used these knives for a few months now, I thought I'd share my thoughts. No pets were harmed in the making of this review, although an Irish mother did come a-cropper.
As the name would suggest, these are paring knives and so are not much bigger than a standard cutlery knife. The knives in this range come in a pleasing array of funky hues (pink, turquoise, blue, green and yellow). Both the blades and the handles are coloured: the blades are spray painted with just the cutting edge left bare. A plastic colour co-ordinated blade guard is provided to prevent little (and big) hands from injury whilst rootling around in the cutlery drawer.
*~*Ease of use*~*
They only cost £3.99, so you have to expect to get what you pay for. That said, they are light to hold and well-balanced in use and will cope well with slicing veg and smaller cuts of meat. If, though, you're a butcher or a serial killer you should be advised that they won't be able to cut through huge joints of meat or sever bones, so you might be better off forking out for that stainless steel cleaver you've been eyeing up.
In terms of sharpness, they won't give Sabatier a run for their money, but they are bloody effective at the business of cutting stuff. So much so that the inevitable conclusion to my mother's comment "a pink knife? That won't be sharp enough to slice anything..." was a packet of band-aids and her fervently calling the knife 'a big pink fecker'. I sharpen mine once a week and this seems to keep them in pretty good mother-wounding condition.
Mine go through the dishwasher at least once a week and so far there's been no discolouration of the plastic handles and nor is the paint finish flaking off the blades. I can't imagine, though, that these are heirloom knives that you'll be passing down to the next generation of Can't Cook, Won't Cook hopefuls, so anything beyond a couple of years is probably a bonus.
I'm going to go out on a limb and I assume that I don't need to warn you that knives are, oftentimes, sharp. Make sure, though, that if you put these pastel-coloured bad boys in the dishwasher that you insert them blade down: I am living proof that it is entirely possible to fall over your dishwasher door and land arse-first on the business end of the cutlery basket.
And, now that I've told you lots of interesting things about knives, I've just remembered another way to freak Lakeland staff out: buy a meat cleaver, a tenderiser, a blow-torch and eight of the largest roasting trays they sell. Then, during the course of the transaction, ask as many times as you can what time they get off work at.
(NB. You really might get arrested with that one. Use with caution and don't mention my name)