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I bought this car seat after a large amount of research which turned out to be largely redundant as we were constrained by our car at the time. This was a Ford Fiesta which turned out to have short seatbelts in the back which made it difficult to find a seat that could be belted up in the car. The seat was not a Which best buy when fitted with the seatbelt but was one of only a few that could fit that we could choose between.
This is a very popular car seat and I would not be surprised if it was the top seller, judging by the number I see being used. This is largely because it fits onto many different makes of travel system so this could be a consideration if you want to go for a seat that you can wheel around as part of a travel system. I was not interested in this as I don't have a travel system. It is worth bearing in mind that it is not recommended for children to spend more than two hours in a car seat.
The seat can be used with an isofix base or a seatbelt, which is what I used as our car did not have isofix at the time. This is as safe if done correctly but you must be careful to carefully fit the seat each time and obviously it takes longer than just clicking into an isofix base. The seat belt guides are blue to make clear where the belt should go. It is easy to fix when you know what to do although I have found you need to be careful that the belt on the far side goes under the end of the handle as it tends to rest over it which means the belt is not taught enough.
The seat is very suitable for a newborn as it has a wedge shaped cushion and head hugger which means the baby lies flatter and their head is protected. I was surprised how quickly my baby outgrew these features though so they can only be used for a few weeks at most. As they get bigger the straps can be moved to a higher hole so that they still sit on the shoulders. My daughter is still using this seat at 16 months as she is not at the weight for the next size seat yet. The seat is a stage 0/0+ which means it can be used up to 13kg but most children would be too long for it way before they reached that weight as their head would reach over the end of the seat. It would also be heavy to carry a child of that weight in the seat very far! The weight of the seat itself is reasonable and the handle is comfortable which makes it easy enough to carry.
The straps have shoulder protectors and a padded crotch protector. The latter is pretty useless as it only tucks into the seat fabric so it kept falling out and we stopped using it. The straps are easy to do up and tighten by pulling the strap at the front.
The seat seems well designed with good padding and good head wings. My daughter always seems happy to ride in it and will now climb into it herself when it is put on the floor so she must like it! She has lots of fun rocking in it and playing with the straps although the button is firm enough that she can't open them herself.
I purchased this kettle from Hughes Direct for £28.99. I did research beforehand on Which as I wanted a decent kettle but did not want to spend more than £40 which you can easily do.
The kettle is a sleek attractive design without being overly styled, which I felt a lot of kettles were. I just want a non ugly kettle to use for boiling water not a design piece to make a statement about my kitchen/ life! It is fairly compact so does not take up too much space. The handle is large enough to hold comfortably and has a rubber coating to aid grip and make it more comfortable to lift and use.
There is an easy to read gauge on the side measured in 'cups'. This is only on the side you would see if you held the kettle in your right hand so you might find this annoying if you are left handed. This kettle advertises itself as an 'eco' option but this seems to just mean that you can boil only a single cup of water, rather than that it actually uses less electricity to boil the water you put in. This feature seems more common now so I don't think it is quite as special as it claims. I have found that if you literally just fill it to the one cup level it isn't quite enough for a standard sized mug so you have to add a bit extra.
Inside the kettle has a concealed element which means you can boil less water and makes it easier to descale. After a years use in a hard water area I still had not had to descale it, although it is not in heavy use. The limescale filter in the spout fits closely and works well at catching bits of limescale so they don't go in your drinks. It can be easily slid out for cleaning. The spout makes it easy to pour the water without it spilling.
In use the kettle is very noisy so you might want to bear this in mind if you will be using it a lot. You can't hear the radio or TV whilst it is boiling. It also seems to take several seconds to cut out after the water has boiled which presumably uses unnecessary power so if you are there you can switch it off manually.
The lid pops up easily using a button on the handle which makes it easy to fill. However, after 13 months use the lid broke so that it could not be lifted at all which rendered the kettle useless. Fortunately the service from Hughes Direct was excellent and they agreed to replace the kettle which any other one from their website up to the same cost. They collect the old kettle and delivered the new one by courier for free.
I was very happy with this kettle until I had to replace it. I may have just been unlucky or the lid may be poorly designed so that it is likely to break long before you would expect it to.
PS Why do I have to rate a kettle's sound and picture quality? Surely Dooyoo could reprogramme to allow a not applicable option!
We purchased our mountfield lawnmower from B&Q for around £350 after moving from having no garden to a large garden. I thought that this was a good make and expected it to last us quite a few years. We have now replaced it after three years and regret having bought it after a disappointing experience.
From the beginning it has always been difficult to start, sometimes taking quite a few minutes of pulling the cord. On occasions this has flooded the engine so it has to be left before you can try and start it again. This is extremely frustrating and not easy for a smaller or weaker person.
It does a reasonable job of actually cutting the grass as it has a wide cutting blade. It is self propelling model which I would recommend if you have a reasonable area to cut as it makes it much less arduous. Our grass is not good quality and the ground it quite bumpy so it is only ever cut on the longest setting so I can't speak for how well it would do cutting a short fine lawn. Our model is a mulching version which is useful as you don't have to keep emptying the grass box. It is supposed to cut the grass into tiny bits and blow it back into the lawn. However I would not go for this feature again as we have found that the grass gets stuck to the wheels and falls off so you are left with lines of cut grass on the lawn which then browns and clogs up the lawn.
The biggest problem has been a recurring issue with the lawnmower working for about 30 minutes then cutting out. It then needs to be left until it has cooled down before it can be used again. It has always been serviced, had the oil changed and the oil and petrol removed for winter storage as suggested. The lawnmower was taken to our local service centre who attempted to fix it but the problem later reoccurred. When we asked if it was worth fixing again they very honestly said that we were better off buying a new one (and suggested a model they did not even sell so they were not just trying to get money out of us). They told us that mountfield mowers has cheap Chinese engines and we were better off going for a Honda that have much better quality engines.
All in all this was a disappointing purchase as I would have expected better from an expensive machine.
I chose to buy this highchair as it was highly rated on Which? as having good features for the price. As we are lacking space I did not want a large bulky highchair and didn't see the point in many of the features of more expensive highchairs, such as a reclining seat. Who puts their child to sleep in a highchair?! I paid £34.99 on Amazon and since then have seen it for sale several times in the Asda baby events for £27 so would recommend waiting for one of these if you choose this model.
I would describe the highchair as well designed without being pretentious, which is to say that it fulfils all my requirements of a highchair without any unnecessary features. The highchair comes in a box and requires assembley. This was fairly simple with clear insturctions, although I did have trouble fitting the foot rest as you have to push in a stiff metal button which I didn't have the strength to do. The basic plastic frame with metal legs is covered in a wipe clean PVC type seat. There is some padding on the seat, although it is still quite hard. This does not seem to have bothered my daughter. The back has foam around the frame so they do not hit their head on the top of the frame. The foot rest has two height settings, although my daughter can still only just reach it at 16 months, but again this has not bothered her. There is a safe five point harness that is easy to clip and unclip with a button at the front. There are two hight settings so you can adjust the straps as the child gets older. The plastic bar right across the front makes it feel safer as it is more difficult for them to fall out if they are wiggling as you try to clip them in.
My daughter has been using the highchair from six months and initially could slump in the seat but I am not sure if this would be common to all highchairs with younger children.
The high chair folds easily and you can clip the tray to the folded highchair to keep it safe. It takes up very little space when folded so is ideal for small areas. When unfolded the highchair is fairly compact although the legs do stick out so you have to be careful not to trip up on them. This does make the highchair very stable so it can't be tipped, even by a larger child. The bottoms of the legs can be removed which makes it easy to take out in the car if you should need to.
The tray unclips by pressing large buttons underneath. It is fairly easy to clean as the top in one moulded piece of plastic. The exception is the two holes at the sides that the toys can be attached to. This to me is a design flaw as I do not want toys attached to the highchair as my daughter is only in it to eat. It means it is impossible to clean in these holes properly so they accumulate grime. The underneath of the tray is also difficult to clean as it is made of lots of sections, although you don't need to do this very often. The seat itself is fairly easy to clean, although food can accumulate in the edges of the seat. I did not do baby led weaning though so it never gets very messy! The outsides of the seat are a more rough material rather than wipe clean PVC so it is not so easy to clean.
In summary I am very happy with the highchair and satisfied with the choice I made and would recommend it if you are looking for a basic but functional highchair.
I bought my bush DAB radio to replace a cheaper one that had stopped working properly and it has been a great buy. Mine is purple and they come in various designs and colours.
The radio is slimline, enabling it to sit on the kitchen worktop without taking up too much space. It has a telescopic aerial, but I have found the reception is perfect without it up. I can not remember having the signal breaking up or unclear, so it is a vast improvement on traditional FM radios. Even taking it out and about I have not needed to use the aerial. There are small buttons, but they are clearly labelled and well spaced so you can easily press the right one. This enables you to turn the radio on, adjust from DAB to FM, adjust the station and collect and retrieve stations in the internal memory. This is a useful feature as if you regularly listen to more than one station you can press one button to switch between them, rather than having to scroll through all the stations. The dial to adjust the volume is easy to use and control.
I have very much enjoyed the features of the Bush DAB radio. The time comes up automatically when the radio is turned on, and adjusts automatically when the clocks change. When listening to the station the radio displays the name of the show and the name and artist of the song playing. This is useful when you can't remember the name of the song and didn't catch what the DJ said! When the radio is first plugged in it will automatically find all the available stations, which you cans scroll though so you may find something to listen to that you didn't know was available.
The radio is powered by a slimline power cord and plug, but this can be removed and it can also run on 4 AA batteries, which my husband found useful so he didn't have to miss the cricket when out and about! The one problem I have had with the radio was trying to listen to it with batteries during a recent power cut after a storm and I could not get a DAB reception at all, but I assume this was the fault of DAB signals generally, rather than this radio.
I bought this carrier before my daughter was born as I thought it would be useful for walking without having to use the buggy, and for carrying her around if she would not settle. I have found that I have used it much less than I anticipated, although it has been useful in certain situations. The carrier can be used on your front, either facing you for young babies, and facing outwards for older babies. It can also be used on your back when the child is older and there is a breastfeeding position, but I have never needed to try this.
The carrier has wide padded straps, which are adjustable and do up with plastic clips. There is a padded waist strap, with a small zipped pocket for very small items. They adjust fairly easily by pulling the straps, but can't be done whilst the child is in the carrier without help, so you need to work out the right settings and keep them there. This is difficult if the carrier is used by more than one person as it has to be adjusted each time.
It is easier to get the child into the carrier with someone else to help you, as you can put it on, stand up and they can put the child into the carrier and hold then whilst you do it up. By yourself, you have to sit down and do the straps up around the child, with them sitting on your lap. This is not too difficult unless they are very wiggly! Doing up the strap behind the baby's head is quite tricky as you have to hold the baby secure, whilst threading the strap through a loop and doing it up with one hand.
I find the carrier uncomfortable to use for anything other than very short periods and so have not got much use out of it. At 8 stone I am not that strong but found that even when my baby was still quite small (around 2-3 months) she sat too low down and so the carrier pulled on my neck and shoulders. I could not get the waist strap tight enough so that the weight was on my waist rather than my shoulders. I could feel my back and neck aching after using it for any length of time and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go a walk with it on. My husband has got more use out of it than I have and it has been useful in situations when we couldn't use a buggy, such as visiting National trust houses.
My daughter has always seemed happy to be carried in it. As a young baby she would go to sleep in it and seemed comforted to be close to me. Now she is older she enjoys looking outwards at what is going on. I would not want to use the carrier regularly as the weight rests on her spine with her legs dangling down rather than supporting her hips with legs outwards, which is supposed to be a better position to be carried in.
I have now used the Maclaren Techno XLR almost daily for nearly a year so
will try to give an in depth review on all aspects of using this pushchair.
Why I bought this pushchair
I decided to buy this pushchair whilst pregnant after researching the
baffling array of options available. I walk a lot, use public transport and
a car and enjoy country walks. I realised that I was not going to get a
pushchair that met all these requirements and have since bought a second
hand three wheeler for country walks, but use the Maclaren for everything
The Maclaren Techno XLR is described as a travel system which is stretching
it a bit; it is a top of the range stroller that you can attach a carrycot
to. (You can read my separate review for the carrycot). I was told by
Mothercare that the Recaro car seat could also attach to the pushchair, but
when I had ordered them both it turned out that Maclaren had redesigned the
pushchair so that the car seat no longer attaches to it. This seems a bizarre
move, to reduce the features on their product? Anyway I returned the car
seat and kept the pushchair.
Everyone who buys a large travel system that seems so good when the baby is
tiny seems to end up buying a lighter weight stroller sooner or later. After all,
you rarely see a toddler being pushed around in a large travel system type
pushchair. After visiting Mothercare and looking at the options I decided
that going straight for a top of the range stroller would be the way to go
rather than a larger pushchair that I may not have got much use out of once
the size and weight became inconvenient. So far I have been very pleased
with the decision.
The Maclaren Techno XLR cost me £185 as I bought it when Mothercare were
doing one of their regular 15% off when you spend over £100 deals, which I
thought made it a very reasonable price. I looked into getting one second
hand but decent condition ones were not selling for much less than I paid
for this one new.
Review of each aspect of the pushchair
The two handles are plastic with a hard rubber grip. Even though they are
not soft I find them comfortable to hold as they are set at an ergonomically
comfortable angle. Due to there being two handles rather than a bar you
can't really push the pushchair with just one hand. There are two height
settings and at 5'6" I find the lower one a good height.
The seat is wide, well padded and comfortable. It would comfortably fit a
child until they were old enough to no longer need a pushchair. The
pushchair comes with a removable seat liner in a contrasting colour which
adds padding, and also makes it easier to clean as it can be machine washed
in a wool cycle. It dries quickly once the seat liner is removed and hung up
to dry as I found when I left it out in the rain! You do have to take the
waist strap apart to remove the seat liner which is a little tricky. I use a
teaspoon to prise it open!
There are five options for lying the seat back, using a plastic handle you
squeeze together at the back of the seat. The most upright is at a good
angle, unlike some pushchairs where the child is still leaning back quite a
way. The seat lies flat so is suitable from birth if you don't want to buy
the carrycot. It comes with a padded headhugger that is held in place by
threading the straps through to protect the baby's head if you use the seat
straight from birth. You can also fix the leg part of the seat flat, for
younger babies, or folded down for older children once their legs reach past
the end of the seat.
The straps are heavy duty and very secure. They are undone by pressing the
front and back of the button at the same time which baffles some people the
first time they try it but you soon get used to it. This makes it difficult
for the child to undo their straps themselves. There are three height
settings so you can make sure the straps really fit securely. My baby went
straight into the second height fitting as I used the carrycot for the first
four months or so. There are strap covers to stop them digging into the
child's neck, which are easily removed by undoing the velcro.
Adjusting the straps is quite difficult and frustrating and not to be
advised whilst the child is in the pushchair as they will get fed up! They
have to be threaded in and out of the plastic clips several times, but this
does have the effect of making them very secure once they are in position as
they are not going to slip to a bigger size.
The hood folds forward to provide good coverage and can be unzipped and folded forward further which ensures that my baby's head is always in the shade no matter where the sun is, so I don't need a parasol. It also provides good protection from drizzle so I don't have to put the raincover on unless the rain is heavy or we are out for a long time. There is a clear visor that folds down from the hood which provides extra protection. My baby likes to pull on it and kick it but it has not split yet. It is a bit annoying that you can't really fold it up out of the way, as it keeps falling down.
The hood can be removed completely if you want to, although I have never wanted to do this.
The pushchair comes with a boot, a padded cover that can be removed easily with the two poppers on each side. This is useful when it is likely to rain as it is waterproof and also keeps the wind and cold out in colder weather.
The four wheels are a thick hard rubber, which does wear down with use, but as the rubber is so thick it will be a long time before it affects the use. I do a lot of walking, including on roads resurfaced by spraying with loose stones so it has had a good test! There is suspension on all four wheels which makes it easier to push and provides a smoother ride. I have found that, although it isn't an off road pushchair it can cope with grass, as long as it is not too long or bumpy, and flattish earth paths through the woods. So if you won't be doing any extreme off road walking it might prove a good option. The wheels can be locked to make it easier to push on rough ground. Unlocked the wheels make the pushchair easy to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
One of the main drawbacks of this pushchair is the storage. You can't fit much into the underneath storage basket. If the seat is lying flat you can fit even less in and you can't access it so you can't put anything in it you are likely to need whilst your child is asleep! You can't hang anything much from the handles either as it rests on the velcro tab holding the hood on, rather that solid plastic. There is a small velcro fastened pocket at the back, useful for small items, although if you put anything too heavy in it, the hood is pulled back which might reduce protection from the sun.
Another problem I have had with the pushchair is the folding mechanism. It seems a poor design and quite flimsy. You have to push up the bar in between the wheels with your foot, and push down a bar at the side which holds the back frame firm. According to the instructions you should then be able to fold the pushchair by pushing forward on the handles. However my husband managed to break the bar at the back which prevents the pushchair from folding accidentally, as it sprag back into place when he was folding it. Maclaren do have a lifetime guarantee which you can sign up for on their website so when I get around to it I will take it back to Mothercare and hopefully they will fix it for free.
The brakes are operated by pushing a bar down over each wheel, which sometimes seems to operate brakes for both back wheels and sometimes not so you need to check both if you want to be extra safe. Sometimes the brakes take a few pushes before they engage properly. The brakes are taken off by pushing the bar up with your toe, so be careful if you have open toed sandles!
I have used this pushchair in a variety of situations and have found it copes well in all of them. The only thing you can't do is go extreme off roading. It is pleasant to push whilst walking and comfortable to push and sit in for a long time. Using the bus is fine as it is narrow enough to get on and manoeuvre inside the bus. Travelling by car if fine, although with very small car boots I have found that although you can fit it in, it is a little tricky and takes up most of the space. With a larger boot you will have no problems. I can lift it whilst folded, but wouldn't want to carry it far and certainly couldn't carry it and my baby at the same time so if you want a very lightweight manoeuvrable pushchair it may not be for you. But then it is so much more solid and comfortable than a lightweight stroller so you have to expect it to be a bit heavier.
I am still very please with my decision to buy the Maclaren Techno XLR to use from birth and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a long lasting pushchair they can use from birth and keep using until their child no longer needs a pushchair.
I bought this pushchair second hand as a second one just to use for country walks as I was getting fed up with being restricted to walking on roads rather than making use of the footpaths around our village. For what I bought it for I am happy with it, but if this was my main pushchair I would be far less pleased with it.
Storage and Transport
I keep this pushchair in an outhouse and wheel it out when I want to go on an off road walk so do not usually have to bother with folding or transporting it. It does fold quite easily by twisting a bar on the handle, then it pushes in on itself. Like all three wheelers it is large and so takes up quite a bit of room, whether up or folded. It is also heavier than a stroller for lifting in and out of a car or bus. I have taken it around garden centres but wouldn't want to take it by public transport or around most shops as its width and length would make it difficult to avoid hitting people or shelves!
How it is to use
I find it pleasant to use and push. The bar handle means it can be pushed with one hand for a short time fairly easily. The foam padding makes it comfortable to hold, although the height doesn't seem to adjust. At an average height of 5'6" I find it fine, but if you were much taller or shorter I think you would find it inconvenient. The large air filled wheels means it glides quietly rather than rattling along like my stroller so I find I can walk faster and hear more tweeting birds as they aren't being drowned out by rattling wheels!
On flat surfaces the front wheel can swivel which makes it easy to steer, although you can't see the front wheel so in a confined space it can be difficult to judge exactly where it is. This can be easily changed to a fixed front wheel by pulling and turning a button above the wheel. It is then much easier to push on rough bumpy terrain. I have used it on very uneven grass, earth and gravel and found it copes with them well, although the weight does make it a bit of a slog on long very uneven walks.
The underbasket storage is ample and robust so good for storing a change bag as well as other things. It can still be reached easily even when the seat is lying flat. However, the rain cover does not fold flat due to the wires in it so if you have to fit this in the basket it takes up quite a bit of room. There is a large pocket at the back with poppers securing, and also a space between the seat and webbing underneath where you could store things.
How it is for baby to use
The negative points of this pushchair mainly seem to be on the baby's side. Basically it just doesn't seem comfortable to be used for any length of time which I would have thought some simple design adjustments could have made much better. The back rest is a hard board with minimal padding and the front of the pushchair has a metal bar which can't be comfortable against the back of their legs. The cosytoes which comes with the pushchair makes it a lot more padded and comfortable but is obviously too hot to use in the summer.
The five point straps are simple webbing with a two way plastic buckle so not particularly durable. Even adjusted to the smallest possible they are still far too big for my baby at 10 months. (She is on 25th centile so smaller than average but not very small.) This means that she could easily get her arms out of the straps although she hasn't worked this out yet! On bumpy terrain she slumps down in the seat with one shoulder strap against her neck which looks most uncomfortable although she doesn't complain.
The back rest can be laid flat or sat up; you can adjust the angle using the strap at the back. However at its most upright it is still leaning back quite a way which my baby is not keen on as she keeps trying to pull herself forward so she can see better. The bumper bar at the front is right in her eye line at the moment and can't be adjusted. I think as she gets older the seat will be more suitable and with the cosytoes in use it will be much more comfortable.
The hood is another major drawback as it only folds up to vertical so it offers no protection from the sun unless it is directly behind you. It also would be no good at protecting from a light drizzle rather than having to put the raincover on. There is a plastic viewing window in the hood, but it is right at the back so can only be used when the baby is lying flat. If they are sitting up you get a lovely view of the floor!
I bought this ring before my baby was born as I thought it would be a safe place for her to sit and useful to have somewhere to put her down. It was useful but only for a short time and certainly not in all the ways you are supposed to be able to use it.
It consists of two half rubber rings, with a fabric cover which can be held together by velcro and ties, either in a circle or one on top of another as a support cushion. There is a separate flower shaped padded mat which can go inside the ring and held on with small velcro circles on top of the ring.
The two internal half circular rings have to be blown up. This takes long enough that you would not want to be doing it all the time so once it was up it had to stay up. With a relatively small space there was nowhere I could leave it down on the floor; also with a cat I did not want to leave it down for her to sit in and get dirty. So it had to be put down and picked up after after use, which made it less convenient, having to find it and put it down whilst also holding the baby! I did get a bit fed up with having to move it around out of the way all of the time whenever I wanted to get in the freezer or where ever else it was.
Once down I found it worked as I had hoped for the stage when my baby was unable to sit safely unaided, but didn't always want to be lying flat on a playmat. I could sit her in the ring with some toys and she was happy as she could see around. Once she was at the stage of throwing the toys out it quickly became boring unless someone was available to put them all back in again!
After she had been using it for a month or two, but before she could sit unaided my baby would bend herself backwards out of the ring so that her head was not far from the floor so that I was afraid she would tip herself out. Therefore I did not feel it was safe to leave her in the ring unattended.
The biggest disappointment was that after only a couple of months of use one half of the ring kept losing air so that I would have to blow it up every day. Fortunately this was the bottom half so the half the baby leans against was ok. Presumably this was a small puncture or faulty valve. This got worse until I had to stop using it. By this time we had been given another ring which I used so I never got to use it in the older baby support mode. The product was not mistreated/ jumped on by older children/ pets etc. so I did not feel it had been very durable. I suppose this is a risk with inflatable products but I still would have expected more from a product that is supposed to grow with the child. On reflection, in future I would go for one of the more solid rings which seem much more durable.
Once I had decided to buy a Maclaren Techno XLR for my new baby I had to decide whether to go for the carry cot or not. They cost around £65 to buy new but I got a pre owned although unused one from ebay for about £20. At this price it was very much worth it, but at the full price it would have been quite expensive for what it is. If you do decide to get one it is worth considering ebay before buying a new one. Although not that many of them come up, they are almost all described as excellent condition as they are used for such a short time.
The carry cot comes flat packed in a box and it made rigid with a thin board of wood slotted in for the base and strips of plastic slotted in the sides and secured with velcro. This makes it easy to take apart if you have limited space for transport, or for storage once you have finished using it.
It comes in a variety of colours to go with the colours available for the Techno XLR pushchair, although I had a grey one to go with the black and champagne (beige!) pushchair and it did not look out of place. The base and sides of the carrycot are padded, although the base did seem quite hard but my baby did not have any trouble sleeping in it during walks. According to the instructions it is not suitable for sleeping in for long periods, and you are not supposed to use an extra mattress with it. There is also a padded removable cover and hood which attach by zips so are easy to take on and off.
I found it a bit difficult to get the baby into the carrycot with the cover in place as it would fall back over the carrycot, so ended up having to fold it lengthways and tuck down the side to keep it in place whilst I put her in as I did not have an extra hand to hold the cover back out of the way! The hood could be folded down but I did find that it would blow down of its own accord in strongish winds.
You can not fit the pushchair raincover over the carrycot but I did not find this an issue as if the hood of the carrycot is up and you unzip the hood of the pushchair and fold it forwards it covered up the carrycot well in the event of rain.
The biggest drawback of the carrycot is the difficulty fitting it to the pushchair. It is secure when fitted as it has prongs that fit over the pushchair, a strap with clip that fixes underneath and rubber straps with holes that fit over bolts on the pushchair. The latter I found extremely difficult to do and it would always take me several minutes of struggling to get them fitted. This was not too much of a problem as I had the pushchair and carrycot up in the house most of the time, but be aware of it if you will need to remove the carrycot often to fold and store or transport the pushchair. Maybe it would get looser if it was removed and reattached a lot more often but I don't know.
In conclusion I was very glad I went for the carrycot and would recommend it if you are going to get the Techno XLR pushchair. I found it especially good as it was winter when my baby was using it so it was easy to add enough blankets to keep her warm without them falling out. She was able to stay in it for about four months but a larger baby may not get so much use from it. It was also good to be abe to have her facing me when she was so little as once she had to be moved to the main pushchair seat she has to face outwards.
I have an extremely fussy cat who has now decided that this is the only food she will eat, so I have been buying Purina One for her for the past year or so, much to my annoyance. Purina is owned by Nestle and I never buy any other Nestle products due to their terrible ethical record (Ethical consumer magazine ranks companies by various criteria and Nestle are one of the worst).
I used to feed her Trophy cat food (I have done a separate review of this). This was good value for a quality dry food and much better ethically. This was fine for over a year, then all of a sudden she decided she didn't like it anymore and stopped eating it. I have also tried cheaper dry foods, such as Whiskers, Go cat and supermarket own brands, which only have to have 4% of the named meat in their ingredients. I also tried Iams, which she liked for a little while, but now she will only eat Purina One. Purina One is what I call a good quality dried food, which has a higher meat content, 16% chicken in the chicken and rice flavour.
Purina One only comes in a couple of flavours, chicken and rice, and salmon. I have only tried the chicken flavour as I am reluctant to risk buying a flavour she might not eat so am just sticking to what I know she likes! There is also a kitten and a senior variety. The quantities you can buy are 300g, 800g or 3kg. I think it is only the chicken flavour you can buy in the 3kg size. I normally buy 3kg as this is better value for money. This has a handle on the side and you can open the other side to form a spout which makes it easier to pour. I find it easier to decant some into an old 800g bag I have saved and use this for everyday feeding. This bag has a resealable top to keep the food fresh.
I have noticed that supermarkets regularly have Purina One on special offer (it seems to alternate with Iams) so I tend to only buy it when it is reduced, which brings a 3kg bag down from around £14 to around £11. Even though it costs more than poorer quality dried food it does not work out too expensive per day as you only need to feed between 30g and 60g per day for a 2-4kg cat.
Even though cats supposedly do not overeat I have found that I have to regulate the amount of food she eats as she was getting overweight when I fed her as much as she wanted. The weight suggested is not very much by volume, so she always seems to meow for more when she has eaten what little she is allowed that barely covers the bottom of her dish. So if your cat will eat it they might prefer a food with less meat content that they can eat more of so they feel they have enough!
Before I go on to review these particular scales I will tell you how I came to have them, which demonstrates Salter's excellent customer service and how you can have complete confidence in buying one of their products.
Eight years ago we were given some Salter electric kitchen as a wedding present. About a year ago they started to behave strangely; I tried changing the batteries, but this didn't help. The scales became unusable as the weight displayed kept fluctuating, and when you added something to be weighed the amount would keep decreasing the longer you looked at it!
I remembered from when I had opened the scales that Salter said they had a ten year guarantee. I found the manual and confirmed this and emailed customer services saying that they had stopped working, but that I didn't have a receipt. I quickly got an email back saying they would replace them if I sent them back to them. I did this (having taken out the batteries), and then got an email saying that unfortunately that model had been discontinued, but inviting me to go onto their website and choose a similar model as a replacement. I did this, and the replacement swiftly arrived.
I thought this was exceptional service, for them to replace scales that had had years of use with no quibble and to be so efficient about it. I felt as if they were a genuinely helpful company, rather than trying to wiggle out of their gurantees and promises. I did have to pay to return the scales to them, but didn't mind this as the gurantee was of a generous length. I see from these new scales that the guarantee is now 15 years! So I would encourage people to claim on it if necessary as I suspect most people think it is not worth claiming after so long.
On to these specific scales, which I have now had for a few months. I am very pleased with them as they are well designed and easy to use. The top of the scales is flat, allowing you to weigh loose items, or items in a bowl or plate. If you used a very large bowl or plate, then the numbers might be difficult to read, but I have not found this to be a problem. The flat surface also makes them easy to clean, with no nooks and crannies for food to get stuck.
The design is attractive and streamlined. The top is large enough for weiging reasonable sized parcels. The display is large and clear enough. There are two buttons, which make the scales incredabley user friendly. One changes the units, as well as grams and ounces, there are also fluid ounces. The other button turns the scales on. Pressing them again returns the reading to zero, allowing you to add ingredients to a recipe. Pressing and holding allows you to turn the scales off, which is good for preserving battery life. The scales only use one CR2032 battery, which again reduces running costs.
The scales are extreamly good value for money. I think the RRP is £15.99 but I have seen them for as little as £9.99 on Amazon. You can pay much more than this for kitchen scales but I am not sure why you would want to, as these scales do everything that I want and I can't think of a way you could improve them.
When replacing our ancient inkjet printer that finally stopped working a couple of years ago we looked into other inkjet printers. However the high cost of replacing the ink, even using non branded and refilled cartridges and reported reliability problems with lots of models led us to consider a laser printer. We chose the Samsung ML 1640 and have been extreamly pleased with this decision.
Most of the time we need a printer for typical home uses ie. printing off a page or two every so often. However, we are also administrators for a small charity and so have larger print runs a few times a year.
The printer cost around £60 and comes with a toner cartridge. This is not a full sized one so will not last as long as subsequent ones you buy for it. The toner cartridges are expensive at around £30, but do last for many many copies and need replacing much less often than inkjet cartridges. We have only had to replace it once since we have had it. I estimate you could get over 1000 copies from a toner cartridge.
The printer is situated sideways on a side table by the computer, so the on off switch on the back is easily accessible, otherwise it could be a bit hard to reach. Once switched on it is ready for action quickly. The first page prints in a few seconds, much quicker than an inkjet printer. Subsequent copies are then much quicker making quick work of larger print runs.
Print quality is excellent. It was easy to tell when to replace the toner without the long tailing off of quality that inkjet printers can give.
The printer looks quite unremarkable, being basically a black cuboid. You could say it is a bit ugly but then do people really care what their printer looks like? It has a fold down paper tray that it is easy to feed paper into straight, and a fold out paper holder to hold the copies.
A curious thing about the printer is that when it is printing it appears as if fine smoke is coming from it, I don't think this is anything to worry about as I assume that it is the toner rather than an internal fire but I suppose this could be worrying to some people! The only real downside I can think of is that when printing a large number of copies when they come out they are warm and so a bit curled up which means that they don't sit flat in the out tray, so you might want to pick them off to stop them falling off, but this is only a minor consideration.
This printer only prints in black and white as colour laser printers are much more expensive. If you think that economical printing is more important to you than having colour then I would urge you to consider a laser printer. When we bought this model it was one of the cheapest laser printers available, and had good reviews. It has been an extreamly good decision for us and has saved us lots of money on printing costs. Another thing to consider though if you don't print very often is that toner can 'go off' if not used up so it might not be worth considering for light users.
I bought my current Limit watch from Argos where they stock a range of Limit watches as one of their budget brands. I already had a best watch but did not want to risk wearing this everyday so wanted a cheap everyday watch. I have now had it on its original battery for a couple of years.
I like the design of the watch as I prefer numbers to Roman numerals or dashes, and I wanted a metal bracelet rather than a strap as it is easier to use and I don't like to use leather.
The watch bracelet was adjusted by Argos for free, although I had to keep going in as they kept saying that there was nobody there at the moment who could do it. They gave me back the spare links which turned out to be very useful. Not very long after I had the watch the joins between some of the links started to stretch and looked in danger of breaking, one was only just hanging on. I certainly hadn't been rough with it and only stretched it enough to get it over my hand. Although the watch comes with a two year guarantee this doesn't include the strap or bracelet or the battery so this is of limited use. I went back to Argos and they replaced the damaged links with spare ones for free. I have a very narrow wrist so fortunately had several spare links. A year or so later there are more gaps in between the links even though I have been very careful with it, as I have no more spare links to repair it with! When the battery runs out I will have to replace the watch as if I replaced the battery I am fairly sure that it would outlast the bracelet.
Curiously a few months ago it showed the wrong time and I thought it must be losing time. I changed it to the right time, but again it seemed to get slower. Thinking the battery was running out I bought a new watch. I then had a look at this one again, changed it to the right time and ever since then it has been fine. This was very strange as I have never known this to happen to watches before, normally they just stop completely.
This watch was cheap and with a battery costing around £5 to replace it has been good value for money. However if you are after a long lasting, good quality watch then you will have to look elsewhere and spend a lot more money.
I did a large amount of research before buying my fridge and freezer, reading reviews, considering features etc. until I had finally come up with which models I wanted. I then searched around comparing prices. I settled with electrical discount uk. Their prices were not quite the cheapest, but they were offering cashback via topcashback, so I went with them.
I ordered them online. The process was easy enough, if you know exactly what you are looking for. I suggest you find out the necessary information elsewhere first as not many details are given on the products, only basic details such as dimensions etc.
There was only one possible delivery day, as they deliver to different areas on different days. My husband took the day off work to take the delivery and they did not turn up. When he phoned them they could find no trace of my order. They seemed to doubt whether I had placed the order at all. I stupidly had not made a note of the order number that appears on the screen after the order is confirmed and paid for. I checked back on the cashback site, and the cashback had been tracked so they had obviously had the order, but this was the only proof existing of my ever having placed an order at all.
I phoned them again to ask if they could try and trace the order and the man on the phone was extreamly abrupt and unhelpful. When I had outlined the issue he didn't come up with any solutions, leaving me to suggest solutions. Apparently it was impossible for them to search for orders by product or address, only the order number which I did not have. They gave me the feeling that they really couldn't bothered with customer service and were not at all interested in being helpful.
After this poor experience I wanted to go and order the goods elsewhere, but having placed the order and given them my credit card details I could not trust the company not to suddenly find my order and charge my credit card. I knew if they were this unhelpful when I was tring to place an order it would be impossible to get them to collect the order again if they did deliever it, and get them to refund me. So I felt I had to re-place the order with them. This could not be done over the phone, so I had to go back to the website to replace the order.
The new order managed to get through their system sucessfully and was delivered the following week.
I accept that things do go wrong and an order may go astray, but expect that when they do make a mistake like this they bend over backwards to ensure it is sorted out quickly and efficiently. The completely uninterested attitude of the company when I was trying to sort this problem out has meant I will certainly not be using them again.