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My one complaint about the office where I work was always the lack of microwave. As somebody that likes to batch cook -- having a microwave in the office very handy. Plus, there's only so much salad you can eat in the winter months, before it becomes too much and you end up buying expensive food in each day!
After much discussion about the microwave situation, one of my colleagues managed to get permission for us to have a microwave through HR and we started a kitty to raise the funds to buy one. There are only 12 people in our office and people weren't keen on coughing up much. So we ended up with about £35 in the pot, which we needed to spend on the microwave and on delivery.
This Tesco Value microwave set us back £33. It is bright white in colour and it a rectangular shape. You can press the button on the right hand side of the microwave to open it the door and you can see your food cooking -- if you look closely -- through the black window within the microwave door.
You use two dials on the microwave to adjust for power and time. The three options for power are low, medium and high. I always use the 'high' option, which isn't that powerful to be honest, but it does cook your food eventually.
The microwave is a 700w one, which has less power than my model at home and I find that I have to put things like soup in there for a few minutes longer than I would when using my 900w microwave.
The maximum time you can heat your food for in one go is 35 minutes, which is fine for the purposes of our office, but it might not be long enough for personal purposes.
I think this microwave is ok, but you get what you may for and it doesn't have any additional features. If this is all you can afford, or you're looking for something as a temporary measure then I recommend it. However, if you want to do something other than the basics then I think you should probably invest in something a little more complex.
I am giving this four stars because there is nothing wrong with it as such -- it is what it says it is -- a Tesco Value microwave. However, I can't help but think that it could be a little more powerful.
I don't have the time, or the inclination to watch every American drama ever written, but when a friend insisted that I gave Breaking Bad a go, I decided to give it a chance.
Breaking Bad is an American drama. I believe it aired on Channel 5 in a late night spot between Christmas and New Year on year, which is shame, because I think that this show should have been given pride of place.
The show revolves around Walter White -- a straight-laced chemistry teacher in his 50s. Walt has a lot going on in his life -- his wife is pregnant (it wasn't planned), he has a 16 year old son with cerebral palsy and he has just found out he has advancing lung cancer.
Walt decides that he wants to look after his family financially -- to pay for his expensive healthcare and to ensure that those he loves have enough money when he's gone. He soon runs into Jessie Pickman, a small-time drug dealer who Walt used to teach at high school and he makes him a proposition -- that they should cook crystal meth to make cash quick.
I am not going to tell you anything else regarding the storyline, because I don't want to spoil this amazing series, but I think there are a few things that make it wonderful. Firstly, the chemistry between Walt and Jessie is phenomenal. The pair literally bounce off each other on screen and it's fantastic to watch. I believe that Jessie's character was supposed to exit at the end of the first season, but that the show creator -- Vince Gilligan -- felt that the two actors had such a strong connection on screen that it would be a shame to end it at the end of season one, so Jessie remained on screen.
I like the concept behind this show t-- hat even good people can turn bad and that our actions have real consequences. After all, Walt is an unlikely drug lord -- he is an established chemistry teacher with a brother-in-law in the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration).
The writers do an amazing job in my opinion because the characters are complex and the storylines are believable without being predictable. I also love the fact that some of the main characters in this show doesn't actually have any screen time together -- it makes for a strange, yes interesting dynamic.
Overall I'd say this show is definitely worth a watch. It's fantastic. Go and buy!
My friends and family all know how much I love Body Shop cosmetics. After a stint as a Body Shop consultant a few years ago, I really fell in love with the natural, ethical, good quality ranges. So every birthday and Christmas I am pretty much guaranteed to receive something related to The Body Shop.
This hi-shine Lip treatment was a gift that I received for my birthday back in July... I know Dooyoo calls it 'Lip Shine' in the listing, but this is the old name for the gloss - it is now known as the 'Hi Shine Lip Treatment'.
The colour I received is a deep pink colour (like the one in the picture). I wouldn't usually go for a shade like this, it is a bit deep for my tastes, but there are nine shades available on the website, so there is lots of choice when it comes to colour.
Each 14ml tube costs £9.50, which I think is quite a heavy price tag for a lip gloss. To be fair though, my lip glosses usually get lost after a few weeks, so I resent paying more than a fiver usually. However, this lip shine has lanolin oil, avocado oil and marula oil - these natural properties all help to moisturise the lips - and I presume that they are also rather expensive to source, which probably goes some way to justifying the price tag.
This gloss comes in a long thin tube which can be lightly squeezed and applied directly to the lips. Personally I like my lip glosses to be applied with a stick, so this isn't the best design for me, but its still perfectly useable.
I find the gloss itself rather thick and sticky and it always comes off as soon as I put a glass to my lips. I also find that I don't really like the taste of this - yes I know you're not meant to eat it - but when lip gloss gets in your mouth (like it often does), it its nice if it tastes half decent. This product, unfortunately, doesn't.
I am quite disappointed with this item and I don't think it meets The Body Shop's usual high standards. I like the sound of the product ingredients, but the price, packaging, texture, longevity and taste didn't impress me.
I am awarding this a disappointing two stars.
I am not the type to drop into MAC and purchase expensive makeup. Or perhaps I should rephrase that - I wasn't the type...
I first discovered MAC Studio fix fluid when it was given to me by a friend as a hand-me-down. "Try this Clurbur85," she said. "I paid £20 for it on the internet, but it's the wrong shade for me. I bet it would suit you perfectly though." I did suit my skin tone perfectly and I netted a brand new foundation. Get in!
At £19.50 per 30ml bottle, its important that you pick the right shade of studio fix fluid. There are 32 different shades of this foundation available and in all honesty - with no prior knowledge - you shouldn't just buy this on-line. I think you need to go to a MAC counter and have a MAC specialist advise you on what's best. You will find MAC counters in stores like Selfridges and Harvy Nicks. At this point I would like to add that I have never felt uncomfortable in a MAC store. I find staff friendly and they aren't overly pushy. I don't think its an environment where anybody should feel intimidated.
Paying £20 for a bottle of foundation might seem like a lot, but in this case, you get exactly what you pay for!
It is quite a thick foundation, but because it blends well with my skin, I don't feel like I am caked in makeup when I wear it.
Another advantage of MAC Studio fix fluid is that I find it covers blemishes and bags quite well, so I often use it without an additional concealor or powder.
A little bit goes a long way and the foundation lasts throughout the day, it doesn't wear off after two hours like other products I have tried.
As a rule, I'm not the type of girl that likes to wear thick, heavy makeup, but this product leaves me with a natural (all be it thick) coverage and a healthy glow.
I can't rave enough about this product - buy it - but make sure you get a professional to match you colour-wise, otherwise you could waste £20 on a foundation that makes you look like you've been Tango'd!
I don't use Clinique products usually because they are out of my price range. However, I received some Clinique miniatures as a gift a few months ago and a 30ml pot of Clinique Repairwear Day SPF 15 Intensive Cream was one of the items I received.
Clinique claims this is a "potent hydrating cream" that helps to mend the look of lines and wrinkles. It is said to replenish antioxidants and it also contains SPF 15 which protects the skin from the sun.
This cream is a deep peach colour and it's a very heavy, thick cream. It takes a while to absorb into the skin and feels very heavy.
Clinique suggests using this Repairwear Day SPF 15 Intensive Cream as part of its three step skin care regime, but I just use it as a moisturiser.
I usually apply this after I have washed my face or showered - in the way that I would apply my usual moisturiser - however it is a bit too heavy for my tastes and doesn't absorb into my skin that easily. I don't think it has really benefited my skin either. That said, I am only 26, I don't really have too many wrinkles (just yet), so this product probably isn't aimed at me.
The tub is a pearly white colour and has a green screw lid.. It definitely looks like a premium brand and you certainly wouldn't feel ashamed to have a pot sat on your dressing table.
As I mentioned before, I used a sample sized pot, but if you buy a 50ml tub you can expect to pay anything from £30.
I probably wouldn't use Clinique Repairwear Day SPF 15 Intensive Cream again, because it is too thick and intensive for me. I also think that it has probably been developed for older skin and it's perhaps a product I would get better use from in the future. I give it three stars, but if you are older, I do recommend that you give it a go.
As I have mentioned in earlier reviews, Clinique isn't a brand that I am overly familiar with - mainly because it is usually well out of my price range. However, I recently received some Clinique miniatures, which included a small tube of Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Gel.
This product has been develop to hydrate the area around your eyes. Most beauty brands develop products specifically for the eye area - they are supposed to deeply moisturise and reduce the visibility of fine lines.
This product is a light pink colour and it has a fairly thick consistency. You only need to put a little bit on your finger and it absorbs into the area around the eye.
Clinique suggests using this serum after going through their three step skin-care regime - but this is something I have neither the money, time, or inclination to do - so I just use it around my eyes as an addition to my usual moisturiser.
This gel is cold and fairly refreshing to apply. However it does feel a bit thick and does absorb as well as other gels I have tried. I often find that it leaves a bit of a residue on my skin and leaves the area feeling a bit tight.
It is, however, 100 per cent fragrance free, which I like, because sometimes fragranced products irritate my skin.
As I mentioned earlier, I got a sample sized tube of this to try, but if you buy a 15ml tube from Boots or Debenhams then you can expect to pay anything from £20. This seems expensive, especially considering I have tried similar products that are better and cheaper.
Overall I'd say I am disappointed with Clinique Moisture Surge Eye Gel. I don't think it moisturises the area around the eye particularly well, I think it's very expensive and there are also other alternatives available that are better.
I can only award it one star. Not recommended.
Clinique isn't a brand that I am overly familiar with - mainly because it is out of my price range. However, this year for my birthday, I received some Clinique miniatures and a 30ml pot of Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief was just one of the goodies I got to try out.
Clinique claims that this product can be applied both under and over make up - not that I would ever use it over my makeup - as I don't like the sound of driving foundation further into my pores. Also, by putting it on a clean face I think you really feel the benefit of the serum, as it feels like it is absorbed deep into your skin.
This product is a peach colour and it looks and feels more like a gel than a cream. You only need to put a little bit on your finger and it seems to glide into the skin - disappearing almost instantly. It is also 100 per cent fragrance free, which I like, because sometimes fragranced products irritate my skin.
I usually apply this after I have washed my face or showered - in the way that I would apply my usual moisturiser - and it definitely eases the tight feeling you get when you exit the shower.
Clinique suggests using this serum after going through their three step skin-care regime - but this is something I have neither the money or inclination to do - so I just use it in the typical way I apply moisturiser.
I like the texture of the gel, its cold, refreshing soothing and it does feel as though my skin is getting a drink when I am applying it. It is absorbed almost instantly and leaves my face feeling clean and fresh.
The glass jar is transparent, so you can see the product in there and the lid is plastic and light green in colour. I'd say that it definitely looks like a premium brand and you certainly wouldn't feel ashamed to have a pot sat on your dressing table.
As I mentioned earlier, I got a sample sized pot of this to try, but if you buy a 50ml jar from Boots or Debenhams then you can expect to pay £30. This seems expensive, especially considering I have seen this product as part of magazine giveaways and freebie offers in the past.
Although I enjoyed using Clinique's Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, in all honestly it isn't that different to other moisturisers I have used and I don't think the price tag is justified. I would use it again if I saw this product was on offer as a free gift, or if my disposable income rose significantly, but for now, its back to cheaper brands...
This Cygnet Electric Water Boiler has been in my workplace for about four years. The one we used in work had a capacity of 18 litres and it can be bought on-line for about £150.
The boss at my company thought it would make sense to invest in an urn because people always seemed to be hanging around, waiting for the kettle to boil and he thought this devise would help to save time.
The urn is made of stainless steel and it is fairly large in stature, but it can easily be placed in the corner of a small work's kitchen - ours is tiny and housing this was never an issue. However, I wouldn't want this in my kitchen at home, as it is rather unsightly!
This urn loosely resembled a large tin can and it has a plastic tap which you move to release the water. You have to fill it up by lifting the lid and adding water via a jug, because there's no way you'd be able to maneuver it under the tap.
To boil the water you have to move the dial on the urn to six and wait about ten minutes to boil. Once it is at boiling point you move the dial to five and the water should remain relatively warm until the urn is empty. That said, sometimes you have to move the dial back to number six and give it a few minutes to re-boil before using the water.
It is difficult to say how many brews can be made from a full urn, but I'd say at least 35 cups can be filled. It works quite well, because if you time it right then you will always be able to walk over to the machine to make your brew.
Although this product boils the water well and manages to keep it warm, there are a few pitfalls. The urn gets very hot, so if you touch the metal you are likely to scold yourself. I also ended up with a rather nasty burn once, after lifting the lid off to see if the water was bubbling. The steam really hurt me - but the reason I lifted the lid is because there is no light to indicate if the water has boiled or not and I was unsure.
It is also difficult to pour water into a cup which is larger than the standard mug - you have to tilt it underneath, which is hardly ideal.
I used to avoid the urn on a Monday morning too - quite often water would be lurking in there over the weekend - and because it is difficult to empty (with it being very heavy), the water would just be reheated and used again on Monday morning. Call me picky, but I don't like to think of water say there for over two days before I drink it.
The other issue we had with this is that after four years it started to leak water from the plastic tap - however, considering this product was being used constantly for a four year period, I don't think four years is bad going. It certainly lasted longer than your average kettle.
Overall I'd say this urn does the job - it heats large amounts of water and keeps it warm - it is also quite a solid piece of kit and it has lasted in or office well. However there are a lot of negative aspects to it, which is why I wouldn't recommend it too highly - three stars from me - and that's being generous.
When I heard that an old school friend was selling his 1999 T-reg VW Polo for £500, I thought that it was something I should invest in. At the time I was driving a 1993 Nissan Micra - which resembled a tin can - so the time had come to buy a replacement.
I bought the car with 10 months MOT and four months tax remaining - so it's fair to say that I snagged myself a bargain. That said, there was a pretty large dint in the driver's door, from an accident that he had six months previously. Lucky for me, my step-dad is a car enthusiast and offered to fix it for me. Other than that, the bodywork on the car was okay generally, however there were a few tiny rust spots on the driver's door. My Nissan Micra was six years older than my Polo and it certainly had better paintwork!
The car came will a full service history - and it's fair to say that the previous owners had all taken good care of it. Coincidentally, through this history, I discovered that the person I bough the car from had purchased it for £750 - so they haven't really lost much money on it. However, when the car was originally bought in 1999, it cost £6100 - so it's a lot of money over the years - like all cars do.
When I bought it my Polo had 80,000 miles on the clock - which is slightly below average for a car of its age. That said, I am told that it will drive well over 100,000 and considering I drive about 5,000 miles a year, I'm hoping to have this car for a while.
The interior is quite spacious; especially considering it only has a one litre engine. You could easily fit four adults in it without feeling cramped - and it also has four doors - which is an added bonus. The boot is also quite deep and has a fair amount of storage. However, the chairs are quite worn and old fashioned looking, but this is probably something that could be fined up if it was that much of an issue.
My car also came with a CD player installed - this isn't a standard feature. It also has manual windows and it doesn't have central locking.
When you drive this car, it feels quite wide, compared to other one litre cars. It also takes quite a while to pick up speed, but it will go to 80 mph without shaking.
The gears are quite smooth to change and in general it's quite an easy car to drive, although the steering is heavy if you have a full load of passengers.
I feel quite safe driving it because it feels like quite a sturdy car and it also comes with airbags.
It has also been quite reliable so far - I haven't had to pay any money out on repairs and so it has always started upon the first attempt.
To drive the car is very efficient. I believe that it's insurance group 7 - which is fairly low. I am 26, I have been driving for four years, I have three points on my licence and I live on a inner city estate, so my insurance comes in at about £70 per month. The annual tax price is £125.
Petrol-wise this car is fantastic - it costs me £50 to fill the tank up - and this usually lasts me for the month. Despite running around here, there and everywhere the petrol doesn't seem to go down quickly at all. It's certainly more efficient than my old Micra!
Overall I'd say this is a great little runaround. It is economical, reliable and it feels safe to drive. If you're looking for a cheap car, or if you're a new driver, then I highly recommend that you consider a VW Polo.
I bought my Sandisk memory card about five years ago now, to store photographs on my digital camera.
The card is very small and it comes in a small plastic compartment which protects it from damage,
I have used it in three separate digital cameras so far - and it has not caused me any problems.
Typically I manage to store about 500 good quality snaps on my card and at this point I always transfer them over to my laptop and wipe the disk clean. Some may argue that a card that hold 500 photographs is not enough to suit their needs, but personally I think it's the ideal amount. If the card held more photographs I would probably never get around to backing them up on the computer!
The Sandisk memory card fits into most laptops and you can also download photographs from the card via your camera. It is very simple to do this - I am a technophobe and I manage it no problem - you just connect your camera to your computer up using your camera lead and the laptop automatically prompts you to save your photographs.
I always store my card within my digital camera though, because otherwise I'd probably lose it - as it is such a small piece of kit! But I have handled it on numerous occasions, to transfer it between cameras, and I am yet to damage it.
This memory card has been perfect for my needs and I highly recommend it to others.
I paid about £20 for it when I bought it, but it's tumbled down in price and will now only set you back £2.75. I think this is a real bargain and if you're in the market to buy a new memory card I think you should buy it quick smart!
I bought this dog toy rubber ring from Wilkinson's (or Wilko's as it's sometimes called). I didn't go into the store looking for one of these rings, but at 99p I thought it was a bargain, so I popped it into my basket with a few other doggy treats.
My ring was yellow, just like the one in the picture, but I believe that it also comes in pink and blue.
The rubber is pretty sturdy - but slightly bendy too - and it can be thrown like a frisbee.
I took the ring to the park with when I went out for a walk with my two Staffordshire Bull Terriers. It flew through the air quite nicely and they both made a run to fetch it. However, my two both have a habit of chewing - they like to play a 'tug of war' type game with sticks - and needless to say, the ring was treated just like a stick and they were both eager to have it in their mouths! At one point my pup (Ria) was getting very annoyed at the older doggy (Tara) because she wanted it to herself! So I soon put it away and the doggies started playing fetch (nicely) with tennis balls as usual.
At home I like to make sure that Ria numerous toys that she can chew on - as she's teething and if she has toys to dig her teeth into then she's less likely to attack my furniture! This ring was added to her basket, but unfortunately it didn't last long and Ria's gums soon demolished it.
At 99p I think it's good value and would certainly be good for smaller dogs, but it didn't really cut the mustard with my two staffies. Two stars.
As some of you will be aware - I am a mummy to two staffies - thirteen year old Tara and eight month old Ria. The Pets At Home ball launcher is just one of the many dog toys I have bought over the months and years.
Both of my girls love going for walkies, but sometimes it can be a bit tricky making sure that they both get the amount of exercise they need, plainly because I have a very young dog and an old one. Tara is at the stage now where she gets tired out after an hour walking in the park, but Ria can run and run and run... which is why the Pets at Home ball launcher is such a good toy for us.
When my partner and I go out we often spend at least 30 minutes playing with this. It's very simple to use - you just pick up the ball up by rolling the ball into the cup at the bottom of the launcher. You can throw the ball either a short distance, or a long way - I'm guessing that I can probably throw the ball a good thirty metres with a bit of strength.
What I usually do it launch one ball a long way for Ria (the pup). Both dogs will run for it initially, but then Tara will realise she hasn't got a chance of winning the race for the ball and she'll turn around. At that point I will throw a second ball a shorter distance for my older doggie (Tara) - meaning they can both play.
Another advantage is that you can pick balls up with this stick, which means that you don't have to handle balls full of doggy slobber!
The launcher is fairly long, which can make transporting it a bit of a pain, but it doesn't weigh a lot, so typically I place it in my handbag. The other small issue I have with this toy is that my two staffies both adore sticks and they occasionally mistake this for a stick and go to bite it. This has resulted in a small crack in the end of pour launcher, but it is still being used about four months after we purchased it, which isn't bad going at all!
Unlike other toys this launcher also hold the attention of both my pets and we could literally play for hours - or until they get too tired.
I bought this for £3.00 and it's certainly been a great purchase. Both of my girls love playing with it and I would thoroughly recommend it to other dog owners - unless your pooch isn't a fan of fetch - in which case, this launcher would be null and void in your home!
I bought these scales about three years ago and they are still going strong.
At £13 per set I'd say they were good value, as they are very accurate and consistent, yet cheaper than other sets of bathroom scales that are available on the market.
The dimensions of the actual scales are pretty standard. The depth is 3.5cm; height is 35cm; and the width is 31cm.
They are very simply to use, you just push the scales slightly with your foot and 0:0 will then appear. You then stand on the scales and your weight will be recorded after a few seconds.
You can get your weight in pounds, kg or stones and pounds and you can change the recording by switching a little plastic switch on the back.
The maximum weight the scales will take is: 150 kg / 330 lb / 23 stones. This is fine for most people, but if you're severely overweight then obviously they won't suffice and I am not sure what the scales do if you exceed the limit.
I usually weigh myself in stones and pounds and each quarter of a pound is shown. For example, if you weighed 9st4lb¼ - the quarter pound would be illustrated in the reading.
These scales take a small lithium coin battery and so far I have only had to replace the battery once. You can tell when the battery is on its way out because its hard to get the scales to read 0:0 - which is the marker you need before you stand on the scales to get your weight.
To change the battery you remove the battery protector, pop the old battery out and slip the new battery in. It is very easy to change and the batteries are also cheap easy to get hold of.
I think these digital scales are better than scales with a dial and they have lasted me a long time. If you decided to invest in some bathroom scales then these are great value and do the job well. Four stars.
The Midwife's Confession was bought for me as a gift. My friend said she decided to buy it for me because she knew that at one point I'd wanted to be a midwife. It never happened, I trained as a journalist instead.
Anyway, when I received the book I wasn't dying to read it, mainly because I'm not a fan of chick lit as a genre. However, one quiet Sunday afternoon I decided to give it a go... and I was sucked into the story instantly.
I believe that the author - Diane Chamberlain - was a psychiatrist is a former life and think this shines through, because the characters are, in general, well put together and complex.
Noelle is probably the central character, but we don't actually get to meet her in the present as she commits suicide at the beginning of the book. However, we learn about her retrospectively and through the characters of Emerson and Tara - her two best friends. The three women met at college and stayed close ever since.
The book revolves around Emerson and Tara who are desperately trying to come to terms with Noelle's death. They also discover a secret, which they attempt to get to the bottom of... and in the process they discover that they didn't really know Noelle at all...
Personally I love Chamberlain's writing style and each chapter leaves you wanting more. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot and lots of revelations along the way. However, I didn't think the book was predictable and I didn't guess the big plot twist until it was about to be revealed.
I did find it hard to empathise with the character of Noelle, because in my mind she makes some unforgivable decisions, but I liked Tara and Emerson and I was intrigued to get to the bottom of Noelle's story. I remained hooked right until the end.
Overall I thoroughly recommend this novel. It's a chick lit with substance. Five stars.
Around seven weeks ago a new member of the family arrived - five week old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ria. She was only tiny when she arrived home and she had only been eating solids for around a week. We bought Pedigree Puppy Pouchs on the recommendation of a friend who has a puppy that is a few months older than Ria Rah Rah.
You can purchase the pouches in most major supermarkets. A box of eight will cost you about £3.20 and you can buy individual pouches for about 50 pence each.
There are four different flavours within the pack - chicken and rice; lamb and rice; beef and rice; and turkey and rice.
There is 150g in each pouch and they are really easy to open, you just rip the foil, squeeze the meat into your puppy's bowl and crush it with a fork.
The pouches don't smell too bad, as far as dog food goes and our pup seemed to enjoy each flavour.
Pedigree Puppy Pouchs were recommended to us because they aren't too rich. I've been told that other varieties of puppy meat can be harsh on the tum, but Ria didn't seem to have any problem with these.
However, after a few weeks we put our puppy on biscuits instead because these pouches didn't seem to fill her up at all. Also, when you pup is consuming three a day it does start to get expensive, especially when you add on the cost of puppy mats, toys and treats.
Ria is twelve weeks old now and she's been on biscuits since she was about seven weeks. Although she's eating more than she was, when the vet weighed her on Friday we ere told that she's healthy and coming on well.
Overall I'd say that these pouches are great for young puppies and those that don't have massive appetites, but they won't satisfy every pup. Three stars.