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Wandering round my local Currys store killing a bit of time while my wife was looking at a new microwave I spotted the LG 5146 fridge freezer on special offer. We didn't really need a new one but come Christmas time our existing model is usually full to bursting and I thought it would be nice to have the extra space.
It's an unusual design with double doors for the fridge section and then 3 drawers for the chiller and freezer unit all finished in a very stylish brush steel. At 70cm wide and 185cm tall it's smaller than the American style but a good amount bigger than a more traditional design and this extra size makes a huge difference to the internal storage. No more squeezing things in or having to shift loads of stuff around to reach the less often used items that normally get hidden at the back of the fridge.
Starting with the fridge section, it is very well lit by low energy led lighting on the back wall so it's much easier to see all the items than in our old unit which just had a single bulb in the top corner. Opening the double doors reveals 246 litres of space, more than enough for most families and with deep door pockets (takes a 4 pint carton of milk with ease), a sliding shelf to help reach anything at the back, two fixed shelves and a 'snack' drawer along with the salad crisper. The salad section is very well designed and as you pull the drawer out the hinged lid section automatically lifts up so getting your veggies out is even easier, this part does feel a bit weak compared to the rest of the fittings but it has stood up well so far. Everything has been really well thought out and these nice little touches make such a difference. There is also a water reservoir in the bottom left corner which feeds down to the ice maker in the freezer. It's a doddle to remove when refilling and just needs a quick wipe over to clean.
Between the fridge and the freezer is a chiller draw. I've never had one of these before and wasn't sure how much use it would be but I have certainly been impressed with how versatile it is. With a lower temperature than the fridge, it is great for storing fresh meat and fish to get the most out of their shelf life and perfect for quickly cooling down bottle of wine without the risk of it freezing when you forget you've put it in the freezer!
The chiller and freezer drawers all pull out very easily and extend fully from the appliance so you can get to everything with ease. The bottom drawer also has a shallow tray above the main storage so you can seperate the more frequently used things. Plenty of depth for bulk items so fitting a few Sunday roasts inside is no problem.
The temperature controls on the front led panel light up nice and bright when you're making any adjustments and then dim down to save energy when not in use. They even have a child lock to prevent little fingers making any unwanted changes. With frost free usage and low energy consumption, I would highly recommend it.
I've been really impressed with the LG 5148 and it amazes me how I've managed so long without it. I'll certainly never go back to the more standard UK design of fridge freezer again.
To keep my daughter entertained on a recent holiday flight I bought a pair of the Skullcandy Lowrider headphones so she could use my tablet to watch a movie or play games without disturbing other passengers.
Flying Ryanair with just hand baggage meant I wanted headphones that would pack up nice and small, but also a pair that would be adjustable so they would fit both adult and child size heads. These fit the bill on both counts. They can be folded to a remarkably small size and can be expanded to fit even the biggest head if needed.
In terms of the sound, I've been quite impressed considering the cost. At £25 they will never rival a top end model for sound quality but these are designed for use on the move and for when your out and about they perform really well by keeping out external noise and delivering a reasonably lively sound.
With nice soft padding they are very comfortable for use over a few hours, the only downside is I've found my ears get quite warm under them. Maybe I've just got particularly sweaty ears but I think they would benefit from a slightly different material for the cushioning.
On the whole they do their job really well and keeping the price in mind I don't think there are many options better than these.
OK, I'll admit the headline is a bit vague and probably makes no sense to anyone who isn't involved in archery but that was the reason I bought the Celestron 10 x 25 monocular.
The nock of an arrow is the small plastic coloured clip that attaches the arrow to the bowstring and when you've shot at a target 20 yards away on an indoor shoot they get quite hard to see against the multicoloured target.
I'd managed through most of the indoor season with an old extending telescope but it had a small objective lens so the image was very dark as little light was being let in. I originally used it as a bit of a joke but the constant references to Captain Birdseye/Pugwash/Nelson etc meant I had to update to something from the current century!
The Celestron 10 x 25 is a fantastic piece of kit. Small enough to carry in a reasonably sized trouser pocket or in the main pocket of my quiver and powerful enough to mean I could pick out my arrows with ease on a crowded target.
The body of the Celestron is contoured to make it easy to grip and it fits into my hand and any of my friends who have tried it very comfortably. Adjsutment for focus is firm reliably firm without being stiff and tends to stay where it is so even taking it in and out of the quiver leaves the focus set and rarely needs adjusting.
More than enough magnification for indoor use and a nice bright image due to the high quality lenses. I've tried it outdoors as well and although not as effective as a proper full size spotting scope it does still prove handy at up to 40 yards.
From experience, it seems to be very robust as well. There is a strap supplied but I thought this may get cought on things so never used it. In hindsight I probably wouldn't have dropped it quite as many times as i have if the strap had been on it. That said it has stood up well to my clumsy fingers and hasn't got a mark on it.
There are cheaper monoculars available (this one was about £30 when I got it) but I have seen some of the cheaper ones and they just don't do the job quite as well as I would like them to.
If you're into archery or just need an easily portable scope for bird watching on a walk then I would highly recommend the Celestron.
This is a great time of year to be getting logs prepared for next winter as any wood cut during the winter will take less seasoning before it can be burned efficiently than if it is cut in the summer.
Having recently been fortunate enough to have a truck full of freshly cut logs dropped off by a local tree surgeon I decided to buy one of the Roughneck log grenades to reduce the effort of getting it all split. At just under £13.00 online they aren't expensive and are a great time saver if you have a large quantity of wood to get through.
It's an unusual design with a flared body designed to split the log into a minimum of 2 pieces, sometimes 4 if your particularly lucky but I wouldn't count on it. The pieces can then be split further if needed using a standard axe or maul (I find a maul much simpler with the extra weight doing half the work for you).
Using it it very simple and safe. Place it in the middle or the log to split and give it a couple of gentle taps with a sledge hammer to get it to stick in. Once in place stand back and give it a proper thump with the sledge and job done. I tend to have my logs quite short so the most I have to do is hit the grenade twice before it has done the job.
All in all this saved a lot of time and back breaking work so I'd happily recommend this to anyone with a log fire or wood burner. Admittedly it's not as much fun as using an axe and you don't look quite as butch and outdoorsy tapping it into the log as you do when swinging a maul, but for the effort saved I can live without doing my lumberjack impression (and it means I don't have to wear the obligatory high heels either).
I have to admit to being a bit of a fair weather golfer at times, but you can't avoid the rain all the time especially of late so the PowaKaddy umbrella holder is a great purchase.
I've used a PowaKaddy trolley for years now and am fortunate enough to play at a course whose Pro runs an authorised service centre so he always has any of the bits you might need. With dark clouds over the course I bought one of these for £19.99 and they even fitted it for me while I went to change my shoes, fantastic service!
The holder bolts on through the handle so it feels really secure in use and can be adjusted forwards, backwards, left and right so you can always lean your brolly into the wind. This is a big plus over some other models which always struggle in the slightest breeze and look like they could snap any minute.
At 5'11'' I'm not the tallest golfer out there but I find there is plenty of head room underneath the umbrella when in the holder and I can comfortably walk along sheltered from the rain while my playing partners have to struggle with a trolley in one hand and a brolly in the other. Once I'm ready to play my next shot, I can choose my club while under the umbrella, think about my shot still under the umbrella, step out, play the shot and then straight back underneath and I've barely got wet.
This might not sound too special but it makes a huge difference. My grips stay dry, I stay dry and all the while my opponent is struggling with wet clubs and a brolly he has to keep picking up and putting down.
I wouldn't be without one now and if you use a PowaKaddy then I'd say this is an essential purchase for winter golf in the UK.
With the recent rain, snow and then more rain the majority of golf courses near me are either not allowing any trollies to be used or are only letting them on if they have hedgehog tyres or winter wheels.
This is PowaKaddys interpretation and I have to say I was very impressed when I first got them. They look great and with the large hexagonal cut out sections they do a fantastic job of minimising the area in contact with the ground. The advantage of this is that less mud is collected on the wheel compared to a standard tyre and less damage is done to the course as the weight is spread out with the wide profile they have.
Cleaning at the end of a round was simple and certainly much easier than before. Most courses I play have a compressed air gun for cleaning shoes off so just lift up the back of the trolley, get the wheels running and a few seconds of cleaning and they're done.
Thats where the praise part of the review ends unfortunately.
After about one month of regular use (about 8 rounds) the hub section snapped away from the rest of the wheel leaving me stranded half way round the course with a trolley that was going no further. Thankfully the pro shop were very helpful and ran a hire trolley out to me so I could finish my game. Obviously I took the broken wheel back to where I bought it and it was replaced with no fuss.
All was good again until the wheel on the other side broke in exactly the same way a couple of months later. I again took it back and was advised that a few other people had experienced the same problem with these wheels so I swapped them for an alternative design from another manufacturer and fingers crossed they have been fine so far.
In summary these wheels are great when they work but I wouldn't count on that being too long.
These days a bike helmet, especially for kids, is an essential item, and with kids growing up so fast these days it has to one they are happy to be seen wearing.
I chose this for my little girl over the many other helmets available from big name brands like Specialized, Bell and Met as it, to my mind at least, has a much better design for covering the back of the head than any of the other styles I saw. Most helmets tend to cover only part way down at the back but the Uvex Hero stood out as being different and reaches much further down to provide maximum protection by curving round and down towards the neck.
With this being a present to go along with a new bike at Christmas I couldn't let my daughter try one on in a shop so had to trust in the sizing on the Uvex website (49-55cm measured around the fullest part of the head). Thankfully it is spot on and, once adjusted using the dial at the back, made for what I'm told is a comfortable fit.
It's made with a moulded hard foam inner bonded to the very hard outer shell. For comfort a soft foam strip runs round the front to rest against the forehead, another at the back attached to the adjusting strap and then two more along the crown from front to back. The chin straps are colour coordinated to the rest of the helmet and have a great 'no pinch' connector. This was a real plus as we had once accidentally caught a bit of skin in the buckle of her old helmet when putting it on and had to abandon the trip out on her bike as she was inconsolable at the time.
My daughter absolutely love this helmet as it looks more grown up than her previous one and she often comments on how the visor peak makes it just like Daddys (mine isn't lilac with pink flowers like hers I should point out). The light on the back is a nice but unnecessary touch as I guess she will have outgrown this helmet before she goes cycling in the dark. The red LED lights in the light are quite very effective though and have two different flashing modes along with the normal on and off. Simple to use, just press the light to turn on and cycle through the modes.
All this along with the solid reputation of Uvex made this a clear winner for us and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone.
The picture above shows the lilac model which is the one we chose, but there are 4 other designs to chose from so there is one to suit both girls and boys.
I first used Refresh eye drops when I had laser surgery to correct my short sighted vision. To help the eyes heal and to relieve the temptation to rub them when itchy after being sliced open the surgeon gave me a couple of different types of drops, Refresh being one of them.
I've kept a pack handy ever since as they do a great job of lubricating sore eyes after a day of staring at a computer screen at work or for flushing out any dust/grit etc that gets in your eyes.
The box contains 30 individual single use vials of 0.4ml, one of which is enough to do both eyes. Each vial is sealed with a twist off cap that keeps them sterile until opened and has an eye dropper end so just squeeze the bulb part and out it comes a drop at a time.
I especially find them handy to take out during the summer. Getting any small particles in your eye from a bit of a breeze on a dry dusty golf course or down at the beach can be cleared out with a few drops per eye without the potential for damaging the eyes surface from rubbing.
From my local chemist they are just under £9 for a box, so at 30p a go I think they are well worth it for the comfort they provide.
Let's get the downside out of the way first. Quicks are not the cheapest place to buy archery equipment from. There, I've said it, and probably put off some potential visitors, but what you get for the extra few percent you'll pay over internet prices is by far and away the best customer service I have ever experienced.
I took up archery last year and as Quicks Archery in Walton-on Thames (they also have branches in Waterlooville, Leicester and Honiton) was my nearest store I headed down there to buy my first bow and the other accessories I needed to get started. I'd had a chat with them on the phone a few days before to check they had my short list of choices in stock and was told to allow plenty of time to try things out.
Arriving early and with the shop barely open, I was greeted by a member of staff who took time to chat through the various options in my price range and explain the various benefits of one set-up over another. After my draw length had been measured he popped off to the store room and returned with a riser, limbs, sight and a few other bits and proceeded to put it all together for me. All the while he chatted away asking me about where I had shot and how I'd got on in my beginners course.
I was then taken through to their indoor shooting range and he made a few observations on how my technique looked as I shot half a dozen arrows and then disappeared only to return with another set of limbs he thought would be more suitable. A quick dismantling and restringing of the bow and off I went again. With two more limb changes to increase the draw weight (power) of the bow I looked at my watch and realised I had been shooting for over three hours!
At no point was I pushed towards one product or another, I just received honest advice on everything I tried. Final choices made, the only item not in stock were the arrows. But all the components were available so he offered to assemble them for me with my choice of nocks and fletchings and then to post them out to me at no extra charge.
I can't fault the service I received and have returned since my original trip and experienced the same high quality advice and help each time. A definite 5 stars for these guys.
My 5 year old daughter loves making, she also loves fairies and has a thing about rearranging the magnets on our fridge. What could be better for her than a Mould & Paint Glitter Fairy Fridge Magnet kit?
We had asked various relatives to get art/craft type things for her this Christmas and she absolutely adored this set.
-- Contents of the box --
A clear plastic mould sheet with 6 different fairy designs to make
2 bags of plaster - we found each was enough to make 4 fairies
5 small pots of paint and a small brush
Magnets and safety pins
A set of surprisingly well written instructions.
The box rates this as being suitable for 5 and over but does point out that adult supervision is recommended. It's all very straight forward, mix the plaster (1 bag needs about 50 - 70ml of water) and once it forms a smooth paste it's ready to go into the moulds. If your making badges instead of magnets then this is the time to add a safety pin to the back. We did the magnets so after filling the moulds we left it for 30 mins to harden.
Firmly set it was time to remove the plaster from the mould. The fairies are quite thick so are reasonably stong but a folded tea towel on the table helps cushion any fall as you push them out of the mould. Clear off any rough edges and you're ready to paint.
This is where it can get frustrating for younger children. The designs are quite detailed so less coordinated little fingers can end up creating fairies that look like they have been sat too close to an exploding paint factory. After the first bodged effort I got my daughter to paint the larger blocks of colour and then I finished off the rest. She was very happy with this solution as she got to do her arty activity and still end up with a nice finished product.
Final job was to add the magnets once the paint had dried (pretty quick as they are water based and the plaster sucks the moisture out of it). I found the sticky backing on the magnet was almost useless for attaching to plaster so I mixed up a bit of epoxy resin and used that. I think the problem is that the plaster isn't perfectly flat and with the slightly powdery texture it's hard to get a decent bond without using a stronger adhesive.
They now have pride of place on our fridge and look really good. We didn't use the glitter packs in the end as the paint had already dried before we had chance but I'll probably give them a thin coat of watered down pva and then let her loose with the glitter.
It was fun spending time with my daughter making these and the finished product turned out really well so I would recommend this to anyone looking to do some craft activities with their child.
My daughter is really into making things. Whether it be cutting and sticking, using air drying clay or baking she loves it. So when she unwrapped this as a present from her uncle at Christmas her eyes were out on stalks with excitement.
Anything pink is a winner with her so it was off to a good start before it was even plugged in. Now as we all know getting lunch ready on Christmas day can be fairly labour intensive so the prospect of making cupcakes before the rest of the food wasn't greeted with my idea of fun, however Christmas is for children so off we went to the kitchen to get baking.
A bit of mixing and we were ready to go. This is where the simplicity of this gadget really wins, grease the moulds with a bit of butter or oil and switch on. There are two lights on the top; red when heating up and green when ready to cook. It's pretty quick to heat up, about 6/7 minutes, filling with cake mix is definitely a grown up job as the cooking plates get very hot, but once filled and the lid down it's just 4 minutes or so until done.
The result are somewhat predictably are not quite as good as for cupcakes done on the oven but they're perfectly acceptable. The texture seems quite heavy compared to normal but not excessively so. Baking with kids isn't so much about entering The Great British Bake Off and is more about having fun so once we had slapped a bit of buttercream on top and added a few sprinkles etc they were soon being devoured by the rest of the family.
I thought cleaning would be a bit of a pain but the cupcakes come out cleanly leaving next to no mess so a quick wipe over the plates (once cooled) and it's ready to be stored away for the next outing. In my case the next outing was later that afternoon, then Boxing day and the following day. My neighbours have now been well fed with a varied of coloured cupcakes and different flavoured muffins!
In addition to the cupcake maker, there is an instruction manual/recipe guide inside the box. It's not much to write home about with only one recipe for cupcakes and one for chocolate chip muffins but it does have clear instructions on how to use it.
From the colour and design this is clearly aimed at children, but with the temperature this reaches I won't be letting my daughter near it unsupervised for several years to come. The potential for burns is quite high with inquisitive fingers so do keep an eye on any youngsters that get involved.
All in all it was a great little gift and we'll be getting plenty of use out of it for some time. Not quite as good for cakes as an oven but a good simple device which has brought lots of smiles and fun to our kitchen.
I undertook a complete renovation of an en-suite bathroom late last year and decided to expand the space available by removing a stud wall and rebuilding it a bit further out to allow room for a larger walk in shower area.
The wall came down easy enough, the tiles were removed and all the plumbing capped off ready to start the reconstruction.
I went to my local wickes in Guildford for the studwork timber as it was conveient and spent an absolute age sorting through a selection of lengths of wood that were mostly useless. Either they had splits at one end, were full of resin pockets or they were bent so much you could have constructed the hull of a ship with them. Thankfully I only needed about a dozen and just about managed to find enough from the entire stock on display.
Staff are mostly clueless and can point you in the right direction to find an item but can't offer any advice other than what is written on the label.
I'll be back to spending a bit more and visiting a timber merchant on my next project.
To be fair, most of the DIY big shed stores are the same but Wickes have taken timber supply to a entirely new level of awful.
Just before the London Olympics I was fortunate enough to get a place on a beginners archery course at my local club and was hooked from day one. Following three weekend sessions I was keen to move on from the basic club bows used in the lessons and buy my own equipment but as with most specialist sports these days it can be quite costly getting set up with all the necessary kit.
After scouring the internet for reviews which are few and far between I took a trip down to my nearest archery shop and set about trying a selection of risers (the handle part) and limbs (the bendy bits). After spending over 3 hours being assisted by a very helpful member of staff I settled on the Hoyt Horizon riser and some cheap limbs.
The Horizon is available in a selection of gloss finish colours to suit most tastes but I chose the matt black anodised finish which I thought would be a more durable option to the standard paint. I have managed to make a small mark on the bow while resting it on a metal chair but other than that it has stood up very well and still looks like new despite having been well used over the time I've had it.
Weighing in at about 1070grams this is a reasonably light unit meaning when held at arms length it isn't going to strain the shoulder muscles too much over the course of a 12 dozen arrow round. As with all modern risers, the draw weight (power) of the bow can be adjusted using the large bolts at the top and bottom and if required the alignment of the limbs can be corrected. Conveniently the necessary allen keys are included in the box for making both these changes.
All the threaded bolt hole sleeves fitted on the aluminium body are well tapped with good clean threads meaning that as I added more accesories to the bow, I was able to screw them in easily with no fear of cross threading anything.
Also in the box is a soft lined sleeve for storing the riser along with a booklet explaining the adjustments and recommended bracing height.
While not the fanciest looking bow on the shooting line, this has helped me move from complete beginner to shooting some respectable scores. If you're new to archery and looking to keep the initial costs down then the Hoyt Horizon is a great choice at a sensible price.
Shaving is and can quite literally be, a pain in the neck. Scraping away at your face with a sharp blade isn't fun and when you're rushing around in the morning getting ready for work, the potential to end up with a few nicks and a bit of shaving rash often made me think of turning to the dark side and swapping a wet shave for something more modern.
I'd tried foil and rotary shavers in the past and never been impressed with either the comfort or the closeness of shave. That was quite some time ago so I hoped technology had advanced and took the plunge on the Panasonic RF41.
Since buying it I have been transformed from a slightly scruffy, only shave if I had to kind of person to a clean shaven, devilishly handsome and more youthful looking example of male sophistication. OK that last bit may be pushing it slightly but I certainly look tidier.
How does it perform? Well I'm not going to say it's as close as a wet shave because it isn't but it's not far off. Take your time to stretch the skin slightly and shave in a few directions to catch any hairs that have decided to grow at weird angles and the results are excellent. It does take a few goes to get the hang of it as the technique is slightly different to using a razor but not so different that after the first week you'll be whipping through the morning routine with ease.
My experience so far has been very positive with the Panasonic giving a comfortable shave each time, no overheating of the skin from the 4 foils and no red sensitive skin around my neck which was always my main problem with a razor. The only things I would say let this otherwise excellent shaver are that being quite a large shaving head it can be tricky getting the whiskers just under your nostrils and the trimmer on the back feels slightly flimsy.
There are 2 models available with similar product codes withthe only difference being the 'S' model has more indicator lights for the charge status and comes with a charging stand to hold the shaver upright. It's not the most heavyweight construction and may not be worth the extra cost if you're on a budget. Other than that the two RF41 shavers have the same body shape which fits nicely into the hand.
With the overall performace being so good it's easy to forgive any minor issues and I'd happily recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good clean shave without the fuss of foams/gels and sharp steel blades against your neck.
As a keen and competent DIYer I bought the Plasplugs Compact Plus tile cutter a few years ago after deciding to revamp the bathroom in my previous house.
Having previously only hired professional electric tile saws I wasn't expecting amazing performance from a relatively inexpensive tool but it was a very pleasant surprise when the first cut was completed resulting in a good straight clean finish. Obviously there are some differences between this and the more expensive models; being plastic it is light so can move around when cutting big, hard or heavy tiles but a couple of bricks wedged behind the back does go a long way to overcoming this small issue. It is also a comparitively slow cutter as the diamond discs supplied are only 80mm diameter so the outer edge is not turning as fast as on a larger disc. You can however fit a 105mm disc (about £9 from Screwfix) which does help and doesn't cost much more than you can find the Plasplugs spares available for.
As other reviews have mentioned, it is noisy, but any powered tile cutter will be noisy so don't expect to be cutting tiles early on a Saturday morning without getting a few disapproving looks from the neighbours.
The blade/splash guard does need lining up correctly if you're going to get the best from this machine and being held in place by just one screw does mean it will move over time with all the vibration from the surprisingly powerful motor.
If you do go for this handy little unit there are a couple of things to note. Make sure you wear protective glasses/goggles. The blade guard is quite narrow so small fragments of tile will fly off and the last thing you want is a trip to casualty to have a tiny shard of porcelain removed from your eyeball. Secondly keep a watering can nearby as the spray from the blade will mean regular top ups of water are needed to keep the reservoir at a suitable level. Let it get to low and your disc will overheat and the diamond coating will wear off leaving you with a disc that doesn't cut.
Three bathrooms and two kitchens later, this is still going strong with no sign of problems and it has more than paid for itself in time and effort saved.
Reading this back I seem to have listed quite a few negatives considering my overall feeling is that it is a good tool for the amateur tiler. A standard score and snap tile cutter is fine for ceramic tiles but will not even mark a porcelain one so the Plasplugs Compact Plus is an essential purchase for either hard tiles or more intricate cuts.