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Drewster_Rooster

Drewster_Rooster
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Member since: 24.10.2009

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    • Tassimo Suchard Cocoa / Coffee / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
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      11.06.2014 10:53
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      Advantages

      • "Not overly sweet"
      • "Rich and Warming"
      • Tasty

      Disadvantages

      • "Bit thin in consistency"

      Smooooooth...

      When it comes to buying TDiscs for my Tassimo machine I tend to stick to old favourites such as Costa Lattes or Cappuccinos as I know I''m going to get a tasty drink that satisfies the caffeine cravings I have from time to time. Recently the TDiscs were on offer in Tesco and Asda where they were effectively 3 packs for the price of 2 so feeling particularity adventurous I bought a pack of Suchard Cocoa discs, just for a change.
      Sold in packs of 16 discs for 4.99GBP making each Cocoa drink a wallet-friendly 31p each a serving produces a cup full of steaming hot chocolate. Taste wise Suchard provides a richer Cocoa experience than the sweeter hot chocolates out there, Cadburys for example, and whilst I wouldn''t describe it as a bitter taste it''s perhaps a little more refined than cheaper brands. Both Hot Chocolate and Cocoa are always comforting drinks I find and though it''s not something I choose to drink every day I think it offers a quick chocolate fix that satisfies my sweet tooth. The consistency isn''t too thick, the drink is made with water after all rather than hot milk so some may not find it a bit on the thin side. For those looking for extra indulgence milk can be added or even marshmallows if you''re going to go all out and for me on the colder months of the year I think it''s a nice drink to have, especially on a night time when you''re curled up in the living room in front of the TV. Overall I do like Suchards Cocoa, the TDiscs provide a smooth, tasty hot drink without any powdery lumps and I would buy them again later in the year. At 31p per drink I think they''re reasonably priced, certainly cheaper than what they would cost if bought at a coffee shop and the taste provides a bit of comfort and a satisfying chocolate fix. Some may find them a bit watery but that comes down to personal preference, I don''t mind the consistency and 4 stars as a rating seems reasonable to me. Thanks for reading my review.

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      • Vtech Tiny Touch Phone / Baby Toy / 20 Readings / 20 Ratings
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        06.06.2014 19:16
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        Advantages

        • "Good brand"
        • "Would teach hand-eye coordination"
        • "Bright and Colourful"
        • "Well Made"

        Disadvantages

        • expensive
        • "American accents used"
        • " very quiet"
        • "So very"

        Speak Up!

        My little boy has had his Vtech Tiny Touch phone knocking around in his toy box for a number of months now, it''s not something that gets played with every day and at a shade under 14GBP I don''t think it represents the same value for money as other Vtech toys. It''s a chunky telephone made from plastic, the numbers are clearly defined which illuminate when pressed and there is a rotating light-up screen that features cheerful images of cartoon children along with various sounds and phrases that are spoken and sung. It teaches colours, numbers and words when the buttons are pressed and as my little boy likes nothing more than trying to get his hands on my phone I bought it for him as a child-friendly substitute. Sadly it''s not quite as fun as my i-phone and despite my best attempts at getting him to interact with his very own telephone it doesn''t quite cut the mustard as far as he is concerned and after a few seconds of play it is quickly discarded as he moves onto something else. I think the main problem with the phone is that it''s so very quiet. Apparently as it''s a toy designed to go near to the ear of a child the manufacturers have to follow legislation that restrict how loud it can be, sensible really when you think about it but it means that the toy can barely be heard and it doesn''t grab attention like some other toys my son has. That said, it''s certainly a very well made toy, VTech always produce quality products in my opinion and I have bought a great deal of toys from them, with the Tiny Touch Phone though I think it''s a bit of a let down and certainly not worth the money it retails for despite being colourful and aesthetically pleasing. All in all I wouldn''t really recommend it to other parents, especially not at 13.99GBP and as it doesn''t really look like a modern day smartphone I don''t think a child would really ''get'' the association. Sadly therefore it gets an average 3 stars as a rating from me and pretty soon it''s going to lose its place in my son''s toy box. Overall: Disappointing.

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          05.06.2014 10:10
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          Advantages

          • "Brand Name"
          • "Lathers up and washes out well"
          • Subtle
          • "Nice fragrance"

          Disadvantages

          • "Bit expensive"

          Get Intimate with this Body Wash

          Recently on offer at amazon and bought alongside a couple of Beckham fragrances the Intimately shower gel from David Beckham was a steal I thought at just 2.99GBP. I got it as I was using the EDT of the same name and thought it would make a good accompaniment and provide me with a layering effect of using both the shower gel and spray fragrance together. Mine came in a 150ml screw top container, quite tastefully designed in silver and black detailing and being a body and hair wash its dual purpose meant that I didn''t have to use a separate shampoo when washing with it. Like the fragrance of the same name it is described as being an "oriental citrus" aroma which I found to be quite light and aromatic and whilst not as invigorating as the usual shower gels that I use I found it to be both effective as a body cleanser but also quite refreshing to the senses. It lathers up well into a nice soapy consistency but doesn''t provide too many suds and though quite gloopy in texture it is easy to apply and use. I used mine on my skin and hair and found that it washed out easily without leaving any residue behind, it didn''t cause me any dandruff (which isn''t generally a problem for me anyway regardless of what shampoo I use) and though quite subtle in aroma I could still detect it on my skin even after I had dried off from having a shower. Combining it with the Intimately EDT adds a little to the overall fragrance though neither are particularly overpowering and I would say that anyone fond of subtle fragrances would find this quite appealing. I think it''s probably best suited for special occasions or nights out rather than every day wear though of course it can be used daily if so desired. I do think it''s rather expensive when not on offer with prices generally in the 4-6GBP range which when you consider the prices of other branded body washes makes it a rather premium product that said though you are paying for the name more than the fragrance and it is something that I would recommend here. 4 stars as a rating from me, it is an effective and aromatic body/hair wash but a tad on the expensive side. Thanks for reading my review.

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            04.06.2014 13:49
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            Advantages

            • "Nice Bottle"
            • Inexpensive
            • "Smells Nice"

            Disadvantages

            • "Similar to other fragrances available"
            • "Nothing Special"

            Another winner for Brand Beckham

            Having come to the end of my bottle of my first encounter with a "brand Beckham" aftershave,namely "Instinct", I went on the look out for another. "Intimately" caught my eye when I saw it for sale on amazon, the attractive bottle plus a tempting price tag saw me part with some cash and after a few days I had something new to try. Intimately for men is described as being "A unique spicy and woody scent with notes of bergamot, cardamom, nutmeg, violet, sandalwood, patchouli and amber. This fragrance opens with the cardamom and citrus accords and slowly melts into the smooth woody base notes". All the notes in the fragrance are ones that I like and ones that I think suit my skin so though it''s nothing out of ordinary I do think it''s rather nice and something that I have enjoyed wearing since buying mine a few weeks ago. I find that it has Ok staying power and applying a few squirts on a morning seems to last the majority of the day, it quickly develops into a woody fragrance that is nice and really quite non-offensive and overall I do think it''s a good inclusion to the brand Beckham range. For less than a tenner for the 30ml bottle I think it represents excellent value for money, indeed similar fragrances from the bigger designers can cost 3 or 4 times the amount that Intimately does and anyone looking for a daytime fragrance that doesn''t cost the earth could do a lot worse than this one. For me it''s a little too similar to other EDT''s out there but that doesn''t mean it''s bad. It''s not one that I would want to buy on a regular basis but for a change it''s been quite the success and I would recommend it to others. Available from the usual places expect to pay under 10GBP for the 30ml upto around 15-20GBP for the bigger bottles. Thanks for reading my review

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              03.06.2014 18:40
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              (Rating)

              Advantages

              • Lightweight
              • Cheap
              • "Good while it lasted"

              Disadvantages

              • "Takes a lot of puff to blow it up"
              • "Easily damaged"

              Feeling Deflated

              For less than 10.00GBP the Thomas Inflatable Chair seemed like a good buy when I bought one for my son earlier in the year. Made from a PVC material with a flock finish for added ''comfort'' it comes as shown in the accompanying picture. Pretty much like an inflatable toy or beachball it has a single nozzle that allows it to be blown up and once enough air has been forced into the chair it''s easy to move around and provided somewhere for my son to sit whilst watching TV or playing with toys. Being quite the fan of Thomas the Tank Engine my son was drawn to the illustrations on the chair and recognised Thomas straight away so anyone with young fans of the show will pretty much be onto a winner if they''re wanting to buy something cheap and cheerful for a childs bedroom. It can be blown up either by lung power or, if you''re lazy like me and have one, an electric air pump though do be aware that it inflates quickly and will obviously burst if blown up too much. The only downside with the chair is that it is very easy to damage and the seams aren''t all that brilliant and my son''s lasted him a month or so before he managed to pop it. It''s probably best suited to the older toddler rather than a boisterous 2 year old though I do think it''s quite well made and not expensive for the price I paid. I bought my sons from Argos though it is available from other places too for around a tenner. I would recommend it though and I think 3 stars as a rating is appropriate.

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              17.03.2014 16:31
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              Interactive Track System for the Toot Toot Emergency Vehicles

              One of the toys my young son enjoys playing with is the Toot Toot Fire Engine. I bought it when he was only a few months old and didn't really give it a second thought, it sat amongst his other toys only really being taken an interest in relatively recently and at the time of my purchasing it I didn't do any research into the Toot Toot range and pretty much assumed that the Fire Engine was simply a one-off thing that would either be played with or wouldn't. It was to my surprise therefore when I read a review on Dooyoo about another in the Toot Toot range and discovered that these toys could interact with one another and that they were able to recognise other Toot Toot vehicles, interest piqued I did a little research of my own and soon discovered that there was more to that little Fire Engine than I initially assumed and not only were other vehicles available but tracks too.

              £18.00 later I bought what appears in the above picture. A track system for Toot Toot toys and something that my son could use with his Fire Engine and other vehicles in his toy box. Was it worth the money and would I recommend it to others?... Let's see.

              Brightly coloured and made from thick durable plastic the Toot Toot Drivers Traffic Tracks comprise six interlocking pieces that when joined form a track for cars and vehicles to be pushed around on. It's construction is good, easy to put together and easy to take apart and not only do the Toot Toot vehicles sit comfortably and excatly on the tracks it's an interactive system that produces sound effects and phrases too. The traffic light system has red and green illuminated lights which are activated when the near-by barrier is either raised or lowered and the Green section of the track recognises which Toot Toot vehicle is sat upon it. As my son uses his Fire Engine with the track he is sent on emergency missions to tackle and the Fire Engine itself interacts with the tracks and sounds it's siren when moving.

              I think it's a fun track system to play with and my son gets plenty of enjoyment wheeling his Fire truck around the sections and over the bridge. It promotes interactive play, hand/eye coordination and teaches new words and phrases that my son likes to copy. Though pretty basic from mine, an adults, point of view I can definitely see the appeal of these tracks and the fun my son has playing with his Toot Toot Fire Engine makes the quite pricey, in my opinion, outlay worth while. The sections are very well made and lock easily into place in a jigsaw-like fashion, my only grumble with this aspect of the track is that it is very easy to disassemble and it doesn't withstand rough play very well, this can, obviously, result in some frustration from my son when the track suddenly falls apart when he gets a bit too boisterous with it. I think it's a pretty tricky balance to get right and VTech have probably done the best they can under the circumstances; something too rigid wouldn't be easy for young fingers and hands to manipulate into place and something too weak and flimsy wouldn't last two minutes so whilst it is a minor complaint it wouldn't be a reason for me to not recommend this track system to other people.

              Another annoying aspect, from my point of view again, is that fact that the phrases and sound effects are VERY loud and unlike other Vtech toys there isn't a volume control switch. This isn't something that my son cares about, the louder the better as far as he's concerned, but as the track isn't very big it can be rather annoying hearing the same things repeated all the time in a very loud way, but again, it's attention-grabbing if nothing else even if I could quite happily hide the batteries sometimes!

              Overall though I do think that it's a nice starter track system for toddlers to play with, my son is at the age now where he's into everything and anything that attracts his attention and persuades him to sit down and play is good in my opinion. I do think it's quite expensive for what it is though and the fact that the track doesn't come with a vehicle is a bit mean I think, it's obviously an add-on toy for a child who already has one or more of the Toot Toot vehicles but it would have been a little more parent-friendly had it been sold as a 'starter pack' with one of the vehicles included so it doesn't rate as a five star product from me here.

              Other Toot Toot tracks are available, some more elaborate than others but if someone is on the look out for a basic track for the Toot Toot vehicles to interact with and play on then this is a very good place to start. Prices will vary depending on where it's bought, it's currently available for a little over £13.00 on amazon at the time of writing this review though do be prepared to spend up to it's RRP of £17.99 when not on offer. Four stars as a rating from me even though I do think it's a little bit too loud and a touch on the flimsy side but that's probably just me being grumpy old dad.

              Thanks for reading my review.

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                11.03.2014 18:12
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                Slow Cooking the Morphy Richards way

                A Slow Cooker was always one of those kitchen appliances that I liked the idea of, the positive reviews about them on here and elsewhere on the internet sold the concept to me but I kept putting off buying one until I was practically bullied by a friend to stop dithering about it once and for all and to actually get one for myself. It wasn't the price that put me off getting one, indeed the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew that I bought back in January of this year only set me back a little over £20.00 which I thought made it a fantastic price, my main reason for dragging my feet over the matter was the fact that I wondered if it'd be something that would get relegated to the back of a cupboard and forgotten about rather than used.

                Two months later though my Slow Cooker still features on my kitchen worktop and, much to my amazement, is used every week without fail and even more importantly, I wouldn't be without it now.

                I have other Morphy Richards appliances in my kitchen and selected the model that matched everything else I owned in the range, mine is red in colour though other variations are available should anyone else want to match their appliances and as shown in the supplied picture here it's a simple pot and cover device designed to cook food slowly. What makes this Slow Cooker a little different from others is the fact that the inner crockpot is made of a substance that can be put directly onto a heat source. This means that any meat or vegetables that require browning or searing before cooking can be cooked directly in the pot itself on top of an oven on either a gas or electric hob rather than in a frying pan and therefore cuts down the preparation time for making a meal and getting everything ready.

                The slow cooking principle is self explanatory, basically you just bung everything you want to make a meal with into the 3.5l crockpot, set the heat setting you want to cook the food at (Low, Medium or High on this model) put the glass lid in place and switch it on. It really is as simple as that. Because the slow cooker cooks at a lower temperature than a traditional oven or a hob based pan it draws out all of the flavour of the ingredients you add and makes cooking 'one pot meals' such as Chilli or Curry hassle free and leisurely. They're a handy device for people who work and want to come home to a hot meal on an evening, by adding the meal components on a morning and letting the cooker cook during the day it is possible to have a meal waiting for you when you get in from work. Similarly those who like to eat their main meal of the day at night time can do their food preparation in the morning, let the slow cooker do it's thing and then pretty much forget about it until they want something to eat - this is what I tend to do with mine and why for me it's a convenient way of making healthy meals that require little to no thought but are always tasty and satisfying.

                The Sear and Stew Slow Cooker is very well made, it sits unobtrusively in place on my kitchen counter and has enough of a power cord so that it doesn't have to be sat directly underneath a plug socket. The enamelling paint work looks good quality, withstands being wiped over without causing damage and the glass lid with handle feels quite heavy and very well made. A comprehensive instruction booklet is included with the slow cooker which gives some hints and tips for getting the best out of the appliance and I would recommend that this is looked at before taking the plunge and using it for the first time as it gives a good idea of how long you should let food be cooked for and how much liquid should be added to the pot - something that I didn't really consider when I bought mine but was surprised to find out that unlike 'normal' ways of cooking, slow cooking doesn't get to a hot enough temperature for liquid to 'reduce' so considerations have to be taken when adding ingredients if you're wanting to get the best out of the machine and what it can do. Similarly I was interested to read that the lid shouldn't be taken off whilst food is cooking as this reduces the effectiveness of the machine and can add additional cooking time to recipes, though it is very tempting to want to experience the smells slow cooking can give off I must admit and I pretty much ignore this 'rule' when I'm using mine.

                The temperature control seems accurate to me though I do have to admit that the "Low" setting is pretty much useless unless you want something to cook for a *very* long time. Some vegetables will not soften on the Low setting, even after 10 hours, so I tend to use the "High" or "Medium" when I'm using mine as my food is usually ready after 6-8 hours which suits my requirements. Clearly there is an element of 'trial and error' with Slow Cooking, some food stuffs take longer to cook than others but there are many recipes available online and in book form which will take the guesswork out of the process though I do think that once you've used the machine a few times you get an idea of how long things take to cook and if you use it regularly like I do then it pretty much becomes second nature and you can work your timings out to suit your own needs.

                For what is a simple cooking device I think the Morphy Richards Sear and Stew is a great machine, its inner crockpot is easily cleaned in hot soapy water and the glass lid washes off with very little effort. It's a self contained mini-cooker really, ideal for anyone who works and wants to come home to a hot meal without having the inconvenience of making something after a hard day at work and those with a family will find it a versatile way of feeding everyone at different times if necessary. It allows you to eat healthily rather than relying on microwave ready meals and it's a minimal effort/maximum results way of getting a well cooked, hot meal ideal for the colder months of the year. I love mine, I've used it weekly from buying it and have no regrets with my purchase other than being annoyed with myself for taking so long in finally make my mind up to actually buying it. I'm definitely grateful to my friend for nagging me to take the plunge and now that I've got it there's no looking back.

                Five stars as a rating from me. Thanks for reading my review.

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                  26.02.2014 11:39
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                  Joop! Homme. Proof that advertising does work

                  I bought my 75ml bottle of Joop! Homme late last year when it was available for half price at a shade under £20.00 instore at Boots. I'd heard of the brand before, it's been around for years as far as I'm aware but I'd never bought or tried it for myself, however the combination of an attractive price plus some very clever advertising swayed me into seeing what it was like so I parted with my cash and brought my purchase home.

                  "Real men wear Pink", or so the advertising tells us and as Joop! Homme sponsor a number of programmes on the Fox channel on Sky and feature in every ad break and indent I think I was perhaps a little brainwashed when I decided I had to try it out for myself. It's description isn't something that immediately appeals to me, I don't usually go for 'Fruity' fragrances and prefer 'Woody' notes on my skin and on first sampling of Joop I have to admit that I wasn't immediately taken to it. It opens with a definite fruity flourish, it's perhaps a little too sweet for me straight away and the Honey inclusions are more than obvious but thankfully it does settle down to reveal deeper middle and bottom notes of tobacco and Cinnamon which give it a slightly spicy edge that takes off the immediate sweetness and soon calms it down to be noticeable but not quite as obvious.

                  It has good longevity, a spray on a morning lasts throughout the day and compared to some fragrances that I own I have to admit that I am impressed with just how long lasting Joop! is and I can see why it's very popular with many people. It's a fragrance that gets noticed and for someone wanting to make an impression then I think it could well appeal, for me it's a little too strong and a little too on the synthetic side for it to be something that I wear all the time and though I do think it's rather pleasant it doesn't have the wow! factor for me and isn't a fragrance that I reach for day after day. I think it's better suited for night wear then everyday casual wear and for a night out then it's perhaps a little more appropriate than for wearing at the office for example and would probably suit a younger man than the more mature one though this comes down to personal tastes obviously and I'm sure many older men would want to wear Joop! all the time.

                  For me it's a little too far removed from the fragrances that I usually go for and as I tend to buy the ones that are deep and Woody or light and Fresh I think Joop! sits somewhere in between and is neither one nor the other and though described by Davidoff (it's manufacturer) as an Oriental and Woody fragrance it isn't deep enough for me and doesn't really suit me or my skin. It's nice though, don't get me wrong, Joop! is primarily a fruity, vibrant fragrance that definitely has it's appeal it's just not really one that I would buy again though for something different I'm glad I have it my collection.

                  As far as the bottle goes it comes as shown above, it's attractively designed and doesn't look out of place in my fragrance collection. It's not an expensive fragrance, Boots apparently offered it at half price at £20.00 though looking around online for this review I've noticed that that seems to be the price it retails for from other places anyway so it's not one that's going to be break the bank or be an expensive mistake. Given that it's rather a strong fragrance you don't need to spray much of it to get the desired effect so a 75ml bottle should last quite a bit of time before it needs replenishing and although I personally wouldn't buy Joop! Homme again it's one of those things that is all about personal taste and as it's been around for ages I imagine that it's very popular with many people.

                  Overall then Joop! Homme made a nice change for me but it isn't a fragrance I'd buy again, I only every wear mine on an occasional basis and it isn't my first choice when reaching for something to wear. It gets 3 stars as a rating from me here representing 'average' though I'm sure that to many it would be 5 stars all the way.

                  Available all over from Perfume stockists, High Street chemists and Supermarkets, finding it won't be a problem though prices will vary depending on where you buy and what size bottle you go for.

                  Thanks for reading my review

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                    25.02.2014 12:28
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                    VTech Fire Engine - Let's Fight the Fire!

                    Amongst the toys that my son has accumulated sits this VTech Fire Engine. To look at it you wouldn't really give it a second glance, it's not very big, it doesn't look particularly special when compared with his other cars and trucks but time after time it's the toy he reaches for the most when it's play time. Why does my young song love this little fire engine? Probably because it's one of the noisiest things he owns.

                    As shown above the VTech Fire Engine is brightly coloured, its four wheels move when pushed along and the little ladder that sits on top is moveable. It has a cheerful face printed on the front and underneath is a simple to operate on/off switch that when activated allows the Fire Engine's 'face' to light up. Various tunes and phrases spring out of the Engine when it's moved, all fire engine related ("Let's fight the fire" and "Dial 999 in an emergency" etc) and it's these that catch my son's attention when he plays with it and whilst I have to admit that it is perhaps a little on the too-noisy side for me personally there's no denying that it's a well made and charming little toy. My son likes to push the Fire Engine along the ground and when he gets bored doing that he passes it to me for me to react to the phrases and tunes, he knows that by pressing in the Engine's 'face' that it plays a song and he'll happily play for a good few minutes at a time before moving on to something else in his collection.

                    As ever with VTech I have no issues with how the Engine has been made, it has no sharp corners and being as small as it is little hands have no problems picking it up. It's not very heavy but has withstood many knocks and bumps and in the time my son has owned it we haven't had to replace the battery, something that always impresses me with VTech and why I rate their toys so highly.

                    It wasn't an expensive toy costing me a little under £7.00 when I bought it but it's provided enjoyment and amusement for my little boy and remains something that he still plays with today. Suitable for children 12 months of age and older I'd say it's a cheap and cheerful toy that doesn't take up much room but certainly lets itself be known. Definitely recommended by me and a near perfect 4 star rating here, I'm sure my son would want it to be 5 stars but it is a little noisy and when the same phrases and tunes are repeated then it can be ever so slightly annoying - however, that's kids toys for you and this is a super little thing.

                    Thanks for reading my review.

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                    • Kenwood SB055 Smoothie 2GO / Blender / 75 Readings / 74 Ratings
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                      08.02.2014 12:32
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                      Smoothie 2 Go

                      I bought my "Smoothie 2 go" blender at the end of 2012 with the intention of using it from January '13 in a healthy eating regime, as is often the case my good intentions went out of the window and instead my shiny new machine stayed in its box and was buried away in a cupboard. A year later I had the brainwave of starting Slim Fast in an attempt to shift the excess pounds and as the powdered milkshake replacement meals have to be blended to make them palatable it dawned on me that my Smoothie maker might be useful after all so a little over a year after purchasing it finally saw the light of day.

                      I bought mine from amazon where I paid something in the region of £20.00 for it, looking today for the purpose of this review I can see that it's still available but the price has gone up to £32.99. For just how versatile, as I'll explain in this review, I think that even at the higher price it's still a good buy either for using it to blend milkshakes or, as it was intended for, freshly made smoothies.

                      The Smoothie 2 Go isn't a very big machine so doesn't take up much room on my kitchen counter. It comes in 3 parts; the base, blades and 0.5 litre capacity plastic cup/jug and cover, included in the pack is a spare cup and cover which is handy if there's more than one of you at home and the idea behind the machine, as its name suggests, is that you blend your smoothie/milkshake directly in the container that you're going to drink from. The covers provided are non-spill so easily portable and though it's not the most attractive of drinks container you could hope for it's certainly a clever idea and I like how it saves on the washing up.

                      In use then you simply add whatever ingredients you want to blend into the cup, screw on the blades (which are housed in sturdy plastic) onto the cup itself, flip the thing over and insert it into the base where it fixes in place in a turn and lock mechanism. The blender itself won't work unless the cup is inserted correctly so there's no chance of it whizzing off the base and though you do have to trust the cup not to leak when you flip it over I'm happy to report that in time I've been using mine for it has safely contained the liquid and hasn't caused me any cause for concern. On the front of the base are the settings, these are "Pulse", "High" and "Low" along with "Off" and it's simply a case of turning the knob that controls these to the setting you want, switching it to Off when your drink is ready and then removing the cup from the base and the blades from the cup.

                      One thing I do like about the machine is that it's easy to use and when I used mine specifically for milkshakes it was just a case of adding milk, the powder and a bit of ice to the cup, screwing on the blades and inserting it into the base. 30 seconds later on High with a couple of blasts of Pulse left me with deliciously blended milkshake that was creamy and without any powdery residue lurking anywhere in the cup. It only has a 300 watt motor so isn't on a parr with some food blenders that are available but for fruit and milkshake powder it really is a handy little machine that is simple to use and makes beautifully blended drinks. Since coming off Slim Fast I've used the machine to make fruit smoothies and again it copes fine with any soft fruit, adding some water and ice to whatever you want to blend down results in a nicely mixed drink that is delicious, and of course, healthy.

                      One thing to point out is that the machine is very noisy when it's blending, especially if the blades have ice to cut through. As it only takes 30 seconds or so to pulp everything down to a drinkable consistency this isn't too much to bear but if you're thinking of using this first thing in the morning then be aware that it's not the quietest of machines around and isn't discreet by any stretch of the imagination. On the plus side it's easy to maintain, the blades clean off in hot soapy water and the cups wash through without any concern at all. The cups do have plastic handles which are fine along with measurement markings along the sides if you need to follow a specific recipe, again this came in handy for me with Slim Fast as I had to use 250ml of skimmed milk in my milkshakes and could just add the milk directly into the cup and use the markings on there to guide me.

                      For what it is I think the Smoothie 2 Go from Kenwood is an excellent idea and overall is a very good machine, it is a little noisier than I would like it to be but it's not as if it's on the go for hours and I only use mine a few times a week now. I think it's an innovative idea being able to drink directly from the container you make your drinks in rather than having to decant into another container and the covers that are provided make them fully portable and convenient to take out should you wish. The overall construction of the machine looks decent enough, it's not huge and not all that heavy but the plastic components certainly withstand plenty of knocks so I do think it's sturdy enough to cope with long term use. I don't think it's particularly attractive, the base looks a little on the plastic-y side and it's a shame that it's not available in other colours apart from Silver but that's just a minor complaint about how it looks not how it operates.

                      For someone who doesn't want or need a food mixer/blender and is just looking for something specifically to make blended drinks then this is a good choice and I'm happy enough with mine to award it four stars here as a rating losing one simply for how noisy it is.

                      Recommended. Thanks for reading my review.

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                        06.02.2014 09:04
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                        Protective Mouth Rinse from Oral B

                        Having spent much of 2013 in and out of the Dentist's chair undergoing various procedures on my teeth I've become well aware of the different products available to help protect your teeth and gums against plaque and decay. It was following the last lot of treatment that my dentist advised me to switch to a non-alcoholic Mouthwash, I had been using Corsodyl for it's gum healing properties but was finding it rather harsh and unpleasant so a change was much appreciated, after deliberating the options I chose to switch to Oral-B's Expert Multi -Protection Rinse and here's what I think of it.

                        It's sold as seen in the picture here, widely available from Supermarkets, Chemists etc and tends to retail for around £4.00 - £5.00 so definitely not cheap when compared to some other Mouthwash brands. My 500ml bottle lists dosage instructions and claims to be an "effective everyday support for people who need additional help in mouth hygiene." and that it has been formulated to Kill Germs, Helps to prevent cavities, fights plaque formation, protects against gum problems and freshens breath - pretty much what you'd expect from a mouthwash and what I wanted from the product.

                        Being alcohol free I find it to be less harsh than some others I've used before and it doesn't sting my mouth when I swirl it around my teeth and gums, it's minty flavour is pleasant if not a little on the sharp side but I do like how it freshens my breath and leaves my teeth and gums feeling clean. Used in conjunction with a good brand of toothpaste I find Oral B's Expert Rinse to be an effective product that tastes Ok and from my own experience with it I've found that it does live up to the manufacturers claims. A 20ml dosage (measured in the screw-top cap) is plenty to leave my mouth feeling fresh and used twice as a day as recommended certainly helps me to maintain a healthy mouth. It doesn't have a very strong after-taste in my opinion though its effects can be felt for a couple of hours after using and it doesn't taint everything that I eat afterwards which I did find with some other mouthwashes and overall I do think this is a pretty good product that I have become very accustomed to using.

                        My only real gripe with it is it's price as I'm not too convinced that it does anything different to cheaper alcohol-free mouthwashes that are available, it is sometimes on special offer or promotion though so timing it's purchase can save a little bit of money as can shopping around for it. My bottle tends to last just over a couple of weeks so does need to be replaced quite often so I do tend to stock up on it when I find it on offer though am tempted to switch brands to a cheaper alternative if I'm being honest.

                        All in all though the mouthwash itself is very good. I like it's taste, it does exactly what it says on the bottle and it's made by a respected name in the oral health field. I do recommend Oral B's Expert Multi-Protection rinse overall though despite it's price and from me it gets a very good 4 star rating here. Thanks for reading my review.

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                          04.02.2014 08:00
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                          It's that time of the year again...

                          Seemingly going from one cold to another over the past few months I've become quite accustomed to buying over the counter medication to help deal with the symptoms of a sore throat, blocked or runny nose and cough. Generally sticking to Lempsip or Beechams I was vaguely aware of the Sudafed brand but had never tried anything in their range until they were recommended to me by a friend and having spent the last week or so taking Sudafed's Congestion and Headache capsules I've come to the conclusion that, actually, they might just be better than my usual brands when it comes to offering some relief from the cold bug and its associated symptoms.

                          Sold as seen in Dooyoo's accompanying picture I paid a little under £4.00 for my box of 16 Congestion and Headache capsules, they come blister packed along with clear directions for use and a list of the active ingredients contained. Dosing instructions advised that 2 capsules should be taken with water and that the dosage can be repeated every 4-6 hours if required. I found them easy to take and swallow, even with a bit of a sore throat and though there is no cure for the common cold as we all know after half an hour of taking a couple of capsules I did feel as if my symptoms were alleviating a little.

                          Along with Paracetamol and Caffeine Phenylephrine hydrochloride is the active ingredient in these which is a known decongestant. My latest cold has been mainly in my nose and there's nothing worse than feeling stuffed up and groggy due to the pressure of a blocked nose and the associated headaches it can bring, after a while of taking a couple of capsules I could feel my headache lift and though they never completely clear my nose of the stuffiness feeling they do go some way in making it feel better. Time is the only thing that will ever fully clear up a cold but disturbed nights and restless days aren't very nice things to have to suffer whilst waiting for a cold to clear and if there's something that I can take to help speed up the process then I'm all for giving it a shot. These capsules from Sudafed offer some relief and I'm very grateful to the friend who recommended them to me, they are relatively fast acting and help me to get on with my day without having to think too much about a stuffy nose or headache.

                          As they do include Paracetamol care should be taken if using these along with other medications and they are only really suitable for adults and children over 12 years of age, directions for use are clearly printed on the box so it's worth reading them before making a purchase. I was able to make my box of 16 capsules last me 4 days, I found taking 2 on a morning and then 2 before bed provided me with enough relief so that I could pretty much ignore my symptoms so for me it was money well spent.

                          Widely available from Chemists, Supermarkets and Online if necessary I would recommend Sudafed's Blocked Nose and Headache capsules and from me they get a very good 4 star rating here. Thanks for reading my review.

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                            03.02.2014 18:55
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                            Pre-made meal replacement shakes from Slim Fast. Nice flavour though...

                            As mentioned in my last review I spent a few weeks in January doing the Slim Fast diet. Overdoing things during the festive season had added a few extra pounds and as I'm by no means a small guy at the best of times I was determined to tackle the issue. I did the Slim Fast plan a good few years ago so knew what to expect, it's not a new thing by any means and though the Slim Fast brand has added new products to the range between me last doing the plan and this time the principle remains the same as it always did; replace 2 of your 3 meals a day with a shake and eat 1 healthy one containing no more than 600 calories if you're a woman or 800 if you're a man.

                            The shakes are available either in powder form which you make up yourself or, more conveniently (and more expensively) they also come ready made in a 325ml plastic bottle. This review is for the ready made Summer Strawberry variety, it's my favourite flavour though there are other options available too. Generally they retail for around a pound each depending on where you buy them from and can be bought as individual shakes or in a pack of 6. Poundland sell them, which I thought was handy, though they're not very cost effective when compared to the powder as you get more 'portions' in a tub for less money. Buying them pre-made though is brilliant if you're short for time or caught short and need to grab one on the go and I must admit to buying and drinking a few of these when I couldn't be bothered to make a shake up from scratch.

                            As for flavour, the Summer Strawberry is really nice, it's smoother in this formulation than it is when you make them up yourself and though there's not much in it when it comes to the taste I must admit that I do prefer the ready made ones to the powdered variety. The Strawberry flavour doesn't taste synthetic and isn't chalky, it's a nice smooth drink that is a little thicker than you might expect and certainly isn't runny or watery. Each of the 325ml drinks contain 230 calories and have been formulated to include nutrients designed to replace a meal (according to Slim Fast themselves) and as the brand and plan have been around for years without being forced to withdraw from the market place I am confident that the claims they make are true.

                            Like any other 'diet' or healthy eating plan it does take a while to get accustomed to Slim Fast and especially when it comes to having to drink your breakfast and dinner when you're more than likely used to eating something. The early morning one especially for me took a few days to get used to as I wouldn't normally have anything sweet for breakfast and certainly not a milkshake but once you get used to the taste and let your body adapt to a new regime I found it quite easy to stick to. The problem with me when it comes to all diets is the lack of variation and as nice as the shakes are they do get very boring after a while and after a few weeks I was pretty much sick and tired of them.

                            As a diet though it works (or it did for me at least) anything that causes a reduction in calories that are taken in will result in a weight loss and if you stick to the plan you shouldn't exceed more than 1000 or 1200 calories a day. Results will vary from person to person of course, Slim Fast say you should average around a 1-2lb loss per week, I lost more than that but I have weight to lose and the first couple of weeks of using Slim Fast gave me good results.

                            Overall though it's not something that I can stick to for very long and I do think you need a lot of willpower to stick with it, for anyone looking to lose a small amount of weight quickly, for a holiday for example, it might be worth trying and I would recommend the ready made shakes in the first instance just to try them out. I'm happy to recommend Summer Strawberry as a flavour, I thought it was very nice and already made up you don't have the hassle of trying to get the powder blended, anyone looking to stick to the plan for a longer period of time would be better off buying the tubs of powder as they are more cost effective. Either way Summer Strawberry as a flavour comes recommended by me and gets a good 4 star rating here only losing 1 star due to the price.

                            Thanks for reading my review.

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                            01.02.2014 11:04
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                            Shake based Meal Replacement Eating Plan.

                            Part of my ongoing attempt to lose weight and eat healthier saw me resort to trying the Slimfast diet after the excesses of Christmas. Spurred on by the special offers available instore at my local Morrisons I was determined to get rid of the pounds I'd gained over the festive period and now that January is over I thought it a good time to share my experiences of this shake-based meal replacement plan.

                            Slimfast as a brand has been around for many years now, originally it was just available as a powdered shake to add to milk but nowadays it has expanded to include snacks and other 'Slimfast' branded products specifically designed to help you part with your cash. I must admit that I have dallied with it in the past and though it's not something I can stick with for very long I do think its effective if not monotonous way to lose a bit of weight. I do think the simplicity behind the plan takes a lot of guesswork away from those wanting to lose weight or don't want to join a slimming club which relies on counting points (Weightwatchers) or 'Syns' (Slimming World) plus, it's quite cost effective when compared to the competition.

                            These days it's promoted as a '3-2-1' plan, the idea behind it being that 2 of your 3 meals a day should be a Slimfast shake and the other a healthy 600 or 800 calorie meal depending if you're a man or a woman. Essentially the Slimfast plan is a calorie restricted diet, each of the shakes provides just over 200 calories so if you stick to them and add a low calorie meal your intake is approximately 1000 - 1200 calories a day. Restrict your calories, do a bit of exercise and the weight should come off. That's the science behind the theory anyway and I have to admit that it does work.

                            This review is for the Strawberry powdered shake sold in the 438g tin, though as mentioned there are other flavours available and this and the others can also be bought prepared in individual cans for convenience if you don't want the faff of making it up yourself. Once opened the powdered shake has the unmistakeable aroma of Strawberry, it should be added to skimmed milk (250ml is the recommended amount) and then blended to a smooth consistency - this is where problems can occur if it's not blended enough as it is prone to clumping if you don't take the time to fully mix it in and there's nothing more depressing than finding a clump of wet, sticky powder when you're trying to drink your breakfast or lunch. An electric Hand Mixer is a good option if you've got one, this blitzes the mixture together and does provide a smooth Strawberry drink or, alternatively, use either a hand whisk or bash the hell out of it with a fork - either way the drink needs to be smooth to be fully 'enjoyed' so I would recommend taking the time to prepare it correctly.

                            It tastes rather nice actually, mixed with Skimmed milk it has a thicker consistency than you might expect and though it's by no means a McDonalds thick shake it doesn't taste half bad. The 'problem' (for me at least) is that it's just not very much, 250ml, and as that's all you can have for 2 meals a day it is something that takes quite a bit of getting used to. This is where I struggle with Slimfast, I know that the principle is sound and it does help you to lose weight but it is a very restrictive 'diet' that I find hard to stick to. Though there are different flavours available it's not an easy eating plan to be creative with and the monotony wears thin after a few days and for me the novelty of preparing the shakes ends up being tedious and tiresome. Individual cans of ready-made shake are a good idea but they're expensive when compared to buying a tin of powder though I have been known to buy them if I'm short on time or want a day off from the preparation.

                            If you can stick with it then I do think the Slimfast plan is a quick way to lose weight. It does work, the shakes are nutritionally balanced so that they don't compromise your health and well being although I'm not a doctor and would always strongly suggest that individuals do their own research before attempting this or any other diet plan and my review here is based on my experiences only. I did lose weight which was my goal in the first place and when the tins were on offer at Morrisons (3 for £6) it didn't work out to be expensive so for me it was well worth doing although it isn't something that I could stick with for the long term and I'm already looking at other alternatives that aren't milkshake based.

                            For me the Strawberry SlimFast powder gets 4 stars a rating, yes it's a faff making up the shake and you don't get very much in portion if you are sticking rigidly to the plan but it does taste nice and there are other flavour options available should you want to mix it up a bit. It isn't a long term weight management solution for me personally but for a way to get rid of a few post-Christmas lbs it worked and I would at least recommend others to do their own research to see if it's something that would suit.

                            Overall, monotonous but effective. Thanks for reading my review.

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                              27.01.2014 13:18
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                              Simplicity itself

                              Having reached the stage where my son's big and bulky pram/pushchair had become too cumbersome to be of much use to either my son or myself any more I recently went on the lookout for a smaller and more convenient replacement. I wanted something lightweight for my son's next pushchair, something that would fit easily in to the boot of my car and something that I could put up and take down with the minimum of fuss, 18 months of faffing around with his Silver Cross pram had left me wanting something easier to deal with so when I saw the Mamas and Papas 'Trip' available from Tesco online it's minimal look appealed immediately.

                              The Trip buggy is a simple pushchair, it weighs just under 6kgs and is leagues ahead of my son's other pushchairs when it comes to folding and unfolding. I bought the blue one for my son though it is available in other colours too and having the Mamas and Papas brand name attached to it gave me the confidence that it was going to be a well made and reliable little buggy to control and deal with. It unfolds easily requiring only a push to lock the pushchair into the correct position and is held firmly in place by a simple bar that runs across the rear back of the system itself, a 5 point harness holds my son safely when he's sat in the chair and the double wheels make it a relatively easy pushchair to manoeuvre around. It has 3 seat positions and is easy to adapt to suit and is suitable for children from the age of 6 months and up to 15kgs in weight. There is a basket located under the seat of the pushchair and though not particularly deep you can get a few bits and bobs in it which is handy for spare nappies and a drink maybe, you can't fit much into it but it's better to have something than nothing and it doesn't get in the way.

                              I like how uncomplicated the Trip is and though light in weight it feels sturdy when my son is sitting in it, the harness is easy to adjust and locks firmly in place and though not particularly cushioned the chair itself offers my son enough of a comfortable ride that he happily sits without fussing and lets me push him around. The wheels are lockable which is a handy little feature and though fixed in a front position I don't find it a difficult pushchair to move around and even corners don't pose that many challenges that make it awkward to move. The handles have a felt-like covering which is comfortable when held tightly and it's a nice sized pushchair that doesn't have me stooping over when I walk my son around in it. The Trip is easy to collapse and fits easily in the boot of my car where it doesn't take up that much space and compared to the other pushchairs and prams I've owned for my son it makes a nice change to have something that doesn't completely dominate or take up all of my boot space.

                              All that said I do think the Trip is more of a Summer or Holiday pushchair than an all-weather one, it doesn't come with any additional extras like a cosy-toes add-on or rain cover and for this time of the year it does leave a child open to the elements a little bit. I was aware that it came as is when I bought it so I can't complain too much about it not having any extras and rain covers are available to buy separately of course so it's nothing to complain about too much, for the Summer months though or for something to take away on holiday I think it's a brilliant little buggy and I can see why it would have appeal to other parents simply for how easy it is to collapse and unfold and definitely for how light weight it is.

                              For what will, hopefully, be the last ever pushchair I have to buy I think the Trip is ideal, it's suitable for children up to 3 years of age and for shopping trips or a walk in the park it offers a parent something that is easy to push and easy to store away. It offers something of a stopgap for tired toddlers to fall back on if needed and at £34.95 as it currently retails for it doesn't break the bank. As for how reliable it's going to be long term I can't say for certain, being as light as it is I do wonder what has been adapted in its design when compared to other buggy's and I do wonder if it has been built to last. I hope to be proved wrong of course, Mamas and Papas offer a 2 year "commitment" on all their buggys and prams though what that "commitment" actually is is rather unclear but I do think that for everyday trips out and about that it's fine and I don't regret my purchase at all.

                              Taking everything discussed in this review into consideration I think 4 stars as a rating is fair and I do recommend the 'Trip' to other parents, it would make for an ideal 'spare' buggy for at a grandparents house or bought specifically for the Summer and holidays and at the price it currently retails for I do think it's a good buy.

                              Thanks for reading my review.

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