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***** WHY I CHOSE RUSSELL HOBBS ***** Russell Hobbs is and has been a reputable brand name since 1952 manufacturing high quality kitchen appliances. This speaks volumes when deciding what brand to choose for current kitchen appliances. My mum bought this smoothie maker just over three years ago when I was shopping with her in Currys. We had in the past other kitchen appliances from Russell Hobbs such as our toaster and they had been extremely good appliances that had lasted an extremely long time. ***** WHY WE BOUGHT A SMOOTHIE MACHINE ***** I had gone on about wanting to make smoothies with it approaching summer and my mum likes her alcoholic cocktails too like I now do. So we were in Currys buying a bread machine for my gran and we walked past the smoothie makers and I said to mum could we get one at long last. I remember that day extremely well for some reason. It cost approximately £80.00. It can be bought on Amazon now for £71.13 which I was quite surprised about that the price had not declined quite a lot more since newer versions of this smoothie maker are now on the market by Russell Hobbs. ***** WHAT CAUGHT OUR EYE ON THIS SMOOTHIE MAKER ***** It was smart looking and being metallic silver and black would tie in nicely with the current colours in our kitchen. I initially loved the pouring spout/dispenser at the side, I thought it made a lot of sense and made life easier and it would be great for quickly tasting the smoothie throughout the process of making it to check whether other ingredients needed to be added. However, this pouring spout actually caused quite a few spillages because whenever it got washed by my mum she always left the spout open because it then allowed the entire spout area to be washed thoroughly. But she always failed to click the tap on the spout back to being shut. I then would go and make a smoothie and not realise that it was left open and would start pouring a fruit juice into it which would pour out of the spout down the kitchen cabinets and I would have a panic to turn the tap off and clean up. So I was cleaning up a mess before I had already begun making the smoothie. However, this is probably just me being completely ditzy but no matter how many times I have gone to make a smoothie with this smoothie maker I never learn from that mistake. It has a 600w power which is great because it allows for two different power settings, a lower speed and power and a higher speed and power. The higher speed and power allows solid ingredients to be added to the maker and to be thoroughly blended. These power settings also allow the maker to be used as a regular blender, not just for the use of smoothies and soups. There is also a button for pulsing which I regularly use for breaking up ice. My mum was impressed by the jug on the smoothie maker being made of glass, this does make the machine quite heavy but at least it is durable. It is not like the machine is going to be moved from different locations, it is just heavy when washing the jug. The jug also has a large handle at the side which is useful when washing it up. The jug holds 1.7 litres of liquid which is certainly an adequate size, I have never filled the jug up with ingredients which take over half way of the jug when liquidised. Another aspect of the maker is that it has a black stirrer going through the middle of the jug from the lid. This I do not really see a need for in the machine, it is supposed to be needed to move ingredients around the maker but it does that adequately without the need of a stirrer. There is also a smaller removable lid within the large lid at the top of the maker which is perfect for adding in liquid to the maker. I often use this for adding in fruit juice to the mix. However, it can sometimes take longer to remove and put back then taking the entire lid off because it has to be fitted in a specific way. ***** HOW TO USE THE SMOOTHIE MAKER ***** It is extremely easy to initially set up and use from the box, a little more tricky to take apart and put back together after cleaning which I did prior to using it for the first time. Prior to using it all the pieces need to be fitted together properly and the lid needs to be fastened on and the tap needs to be shut (my big mistake every time!) Then add your ingredients and put on one of the different buttons (low speed, high speed or pulse). I warn you it is a loud smoothie maker! Once mixed to your liking put a glass under the tap, open the tap, fill your glass up, then close the tap again. Then voila! ***** OVERALL ***** We still have the machine after more than three years suggesting that it is durable and well made. However, we do not actually use it as much as I originally thought we would just because it is a lot of effort to clean after each use because all the pieces can take a while to put back together. Next to other smoothie makers on the market it obviously does not have such great capabilities but for our use at home we do not need anything better than this one. If you get the chance to buy this one extremely cheap it is a good buy. But I would not spend near to the original RRP of it on Amazon as it is now because you could get a better smoothie maker for this price now.