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It stand taller than your average tin of beans, which is useful as if it were smaller then you'd struggle getting the can under if this was sat on your worktop. With the magnet and 'blade' being on the underside of the top section that protrudes out from the main tower. This section is designed to lift up slightly in order for the can to attached onto and, when brought into position, with the can resting against the a small plastic piece that sticks out of the tower, it is a matter of letting the machine open the can as if by magic.
Turn it around and you'll see a more rounded area that houses the motor. On the rear that are two slots near the top bit which are designed to help sharpen your kitchen knives. Although I hate sharpening knives in this way as they tend to cause more damage to the blade. I stick to a 'steel' as this does no real damage to the blade of the knife.
There's also a slot for sharpening scissors, but i've not really tried that.
Then, right on the bottom of the rear, there is a gap that houses the cable and the plug. This means that storing this away is nice and easy, without the hassle of wrapping the cable around it.
It came in pieces, not broken due to the incompetence of the delivery service, it just needed to be assembled at home. But putting it together was simple, and you get a diagram on how to do it.
To use it you simple plug it in, then turn the handle upwards so it stands up tall. Then you get your can and place it on the edge of the guide area, between the cog and the cutter. Then you simple bring down the handle and away you go.
This is not a bad can opener but, after a while, it did start to struggle when it came to cutting through the standard tin of beans. Then, it started to stagger its cutting and turning, jumping across sections of the tin lid, leaving them still half attached to the sides. With me turning the to the old fashioned butterfly hand tin opener that I can always rely on.
This electric can opener sells for about £20 - £25, which is a bit too much for something that is designed to open cans and sharpen knives, considering that it fails to do both with complete satisfaction.
The controls are along the top. These controls being the sealing control button, a cancel button and also a vacuum seal button. There are two lights, on either side of the three buttons, the one on the left being the sealing light, the one on the right is the vacuum light. With one lighting up when you are either sealing or vacuum sealing.
On either side of the machine there are two more buttons, one either side. These are the release buttons which, when pressed down at the same time, release the lid so that you can open in in order to put the bag in or, after sealing/vacuuming, take the bag out.
Under the lids, on the inside, there is the sealing ring that, as if by magic, stop the plastic from sticking to the machine even when it gets hot. On the bottom section there is the vacuum system itself, which, when the bag is placed in it, sucks the air right out of the bag.
It's pretty straight forward to use, although I did have to waste a couple of bags in order to get the right position for the thing to suck the air out of them. But once found it's easy to recall. You have to remember that the bags don't come as a bag. They come on a roll of plastic that needs to be sealed to the desired length. This is a good idea as all food stuff is different sizes so one size bags may not be right for all.
Anyway, you open the lid, then place the bag onto the sealing ring. Once the bag is on place you close the lid and press the 'seal only' button. This will seal the end of the plastic and turn it into the bag.
Once done the bag is then ready to fill with your food and be sealed and vacuum packed.
Now that you have a 'bag' you put your food in and place the open end of the bag back onto the sealing ring, making sure that the end of the bag is under the vacuum nozzle. Then close the lid once more, pressing the vacuum button
This will take the air out of the bag and seal the end once it's done, leaving you with an air tight, vacuum packed bag of food.
This machine sells for about £40 which, considering that the bags cost a few quid per roll, is money well spent when it comes to keeping your food fresh.
When it comes to cooking in the kitchen I like to try and save time by letting machines do as much work for me as they can. I don't mean that I have a robot in the kitchen, what I mean by that is that if a machine can make life easier in the kitchen then I will give it a go.
One thing that really helps out when it comes to mixing things up quicker than by hand is this one mixer.
This is a good sized hand mixer, being about 272mm high by 180mm long and 85mm wide and giving 300watts of power from the well ventilated motor.
It has a five speed setting, controlled by the slider paddle on the top front of the unit. With simple speeds recognition being 1 – 5. with a burst power button on the top of the unit to give you a few seconds of extra power.
There are two holes in the underside of the unit which house the actual mixing attachments, those attachments being the dough mixers, for making bread and such like. The other set are your basic beaters, which look like a few wires bent into a bit of a pair shape in order to mix up what ever they plough into.
In front of the control switch there is another button that, when pressed, drops the attachments out, into a bowl so that they can be cleaned.
This is so easy to use and just the right size so that it not only gives a good mixing but it is light enough to use for long periods. The handle that goes over the main body is a good size which makes using it so simple, with the handle being the right size too.
The entire unit is easy to clean, although don't throw it into the washing up bowl as things will go pair shape. What you need to do is simply wipe it over with a damp cloth and away you go.
The attachments are as strong as the proverbial and lasted longer than I thought they would
this sells on the open market for about £15 - £20, which is money well spent for such a useful tool
The base station, or the answer machine, is pretty basic to look at and so simple to use. It has a few buttons, those being spread across the front of the unit itself. These buttons consist of the controls for the answer machine, such as the volume up/down, play, stop, next, repeat and delete.
On the back end there is the speaker which is great when it comes to those horrid call centre calls where you're on hold for an age, with a voice telling you that you're number two in the queue and you're custom is valued. This speaker stops you getting a crooked neck as you don;'t have to hold the phone on my shoulder using my chin as a grip.
The answer machine can handle 18 minutes of talking, split into 64 messages at the most. You can leave your own personal greeting so easily if you don't like the standard greeting, ( a female voice that seems to be on most answer machines).
On the hand sets you have the standard phone buttons in the standard settings. These being the number keys taking up most of the space on the front. Then, above these, you get the cursor type key that sits in the middle of four buttons, those being the call and end call buttons, together with the 'eco'/recall button and last but not least, the speaker button.
Above the cursor and its buttons there are three more button, in a row, which consist of your phonebook access button, that doubles as a 'backspace/clear' button when in set up mode. Next is the 'Menu' button, that doubles up as the OK button in set-up mode. Finally, there's the mute/pause button.
Above all the buttons there's the small, but easy to read screen that has a lovely back light to show you what is on the screen when you lift the unit out of the cradle.
The buttons are self explanatory, which saves on any real confusion on the initial set up. Simply press the menu, scroll through the options, pressing the 'OK' button when you're happy. Simple.
This can hold up to 50 phone numbers which are easily accessed via the phonebook.
The screen may be small but it tells you everything that you need to know. How many people have called, if they've left a massage, how much battery power's left, how strong the signal is and more...
I got this phone from Asda a few months back and it cost me just under £40, for the duo kit. Which was £40 well spent for what these phone offer...
Note: A more detailed version of this review will appear on ciao.co.uk. Thanks
It is a small camera really, being about 115 wide 75mm high and 83mm deep, with the lens full out taking it to about 115mm. The lens area itself is a good 55mm in diameter.
On the rear there is the 3 inch screen, with the small but easy to navigate control panel by the side of the screen. There is also a view fonder just above the screen which is great for saving battery power as you don't have to use the screen all the time.
It runs off 4 AA batteries, which slot into the bottom of the grip secton, together with the SD card, , which you get four of in the box, together with a set of leads to connect up to your PC or TV, you also get all the other things you need, the strap, lens cover, leaflet and a cd to install onto your PC, (if you want to).
The LCD screen is nice and clear, so is the viewfinder, which helps when it comes to taking that perfect picture.
The settings are easy to use and, most of the time, I get a decent picture. Some can come out a little on the blurred side, but a quick fiddle with the settings and a steadier hand, results in a better picture.
The shutter button is at the front of the hand grip and is so easy to get at with your finger so taking the actual shot is so easy indeed
It does take a little bit of time to get used to the manual settings, especially, if like me, you've been using a snap and shoot most of your life. But it you don't want to use manual settings there is the option of the automatic settings.
The camera is a nice size and weight, so that it does not look like I work for the BBC when i'm out shooting pictures. This camera sits around me neck, using the supplied strap and, if the weather's not that good, sits comfortably under my coat.
The pictures that I get from this are not too bad. They're not as good as some camera, those that cost ten times as much, but for what you pay for this the pictures can be pretty nice.
The cost of this bridge camera is about £100 or less. Which is not to bad for those that want to step into the world of manual settings in the camera world
This one looks basic, and it is, which is why it has turned out to be one of, if not, the best can openers that I have bought. It is made of metal and is solid enough to break through all sorts of cans, no matter what the shape is. It seems to glide around most corners with ease.
I have had this for years and, even though it looks like it should have been melted down and turned into a tin can, it still works better than ever, which is a lot better than some other can openers I have used, including the electric 'time saving' ones.
This one is called a 'Butterfly' opener as the metal handle you turn is shaped like the wings of a butterfly, (Sort of), having two curved arches which make turning it so easy.
On the opposite side of the butterfly wings there is the cog and a 'sharp' piece of metal that traps the can into the cog. This cog turns when you turn the butterfly wing and the 'sharp' piece is what cuts into the lid of the tin can.
The handle is long enough to get a good grip on with the top one being flat whilst the bottom one is more a rod.
To use this you simply push the handles apart, then you place the 'sharp' piece onto the rim of the lid. Then you close the handles together, squeezing your hand into a grip. This action causes the 'sharp; piece to pierce the lid and the cog to grip the underside of the rim of the can. Then you simple start turning the butterfly wings and watch as the can turns as the 'sharp' piece and the cog do their work, slicing through the lid with ease.
This is not just a can opener. No, it's a bottle opener as well having the bottle opener on the end of the flat pieced handle. This is used to pop the lids of those bottles of lager. The ones that do not have a screw on top.
If you're after a simple to use and sturdy can opener then this is for you. It makes those electrical ones redundant as this one has never ever let me down. Unlike the electrical ones I have stupidly bought.
This brilliant little invention sells in Tesco for about £3 - £4 which is money well spent when it comes to getting into that tin of beans....
It makes me wonder, how did they get into their tin cans before the can opener was invented????
It's almost that time of year again. Time to start on the garden so that it's fit for the lovely summer that we always get in sunny old England..
I find that the main in the garden that really makes it stand out is mowing the lawn, which means that a good lawn mower is an essential. But which mower will it be.
I have owned this one and found it very useful when it came to getting up and down the more 'sloped' sections of the garden and those areas that larger mowers struggle to get into.
This one has a 1000watt motor which gives you enough power to cut the grass whilst being pretty quiet around the garden.
The unit, from base to handle, stand at just short of 1500mm, with the handle capable of collapsing in order to store it away. All you do is turn the two bright orange wing nut, one either side of the handle, about half way down.
The main cutting section is about 900mm by 370mm with a cutting range of 280mm, with 10 metres or so of cable to get you further away from the plug socket
The whole thing weighs about 4kg which makes it a lot easier to throw around the garden.
On the top underside of the handle there is are two paddles, one either side of the safety button. Both these paddles act as the start button, but you do have to press the safety button first, keeping it press in until you pull back either of the paddles. (It's a health and safety thing, so idiots don't chop there fingers off by being stupid).
The blades are plastic ones and do need changing every so often, especially if you tend to strike harder bits on the garden, such as stones, twigs etc. but changing the blades takes seconds, being a matter of turning the mower over, (unplug it first), then grip the blade and push it out of the hole is slots into. Then you simple slot the new blade in the same hole. Job done.
You can change the cutting height from 10mm to 33mm which means that that you can have two heights of grass cutting.
This is so easy to move around the lawn, almost gliding as it swings from side to side, or back to front. Which ever way you cut your grass this will almost glide over it
The cost of this mower is about £30, which is not too bad considering the usefulness of the machine.
If you have a small sized garden, with more rises than a politicians pay packet, then this is well worth looking into as it will keep your grass at nice height without any real effort at all.
I like drinking coffee, cappuccinos and other such caffeine addicts joys, but u tend to struggle sometime when it comes to finding the time to pop into the coffee house nearest where I work. This left me with a problem that I knew could be solved by two methods, the first being leave the stack of files in the in tray and head off the Starbucks for a good frothy coffee, which would result in me paying over the odds for a hot cup. Or make my own, without the need to go out and buy one of those stupid machine that sound like they're about to exploded as the steam pressure builds up. I chose the latter, especially when I came across this lovely little device that helps in frothing that milk in order to get a nice imitation cappuccino.
It is just short of 220mm in height, with the handle being about 95mm. The whisk itself is made of stainless steal and is designed to not rust up, which mine has not, yet.
It runs on two AA batteries that are slotted into the handle from the top, clicking the top guard back in place so that the terminals on the battery are connected
The leaflet that came with it recommends frothing in burst of 15 – 20 seconds, which I tried and found that the leaflet was telling the truth as after about 20 Mississippi's the coffee was a froth coffee and looked like something you'd pay £3.55 for in CostaStarBucks.
To use it all you have to do is pop the two batteries into the handle, then place the thin shaft of the device into the cup of 'what-ever' and give the whisk some power. This then spins and shakes in the liquid and create the froth.
It's not got a massive amount of power, not as much power as a food blender, but it has enough power to whisk up a bit of milk.
Cleaning it is as easy was putting the whisk end into some clean, soapy water, then press the power on and let it whisk in the water for a few seconds. This should clear all the excess coffee, milk, or what ever you have been whisking. You can even just run it under a running tap. Just don't drop the battery section into water as this will cause some damage.
This electric whisk can be found for about £10, roughly, which is great value for money if you enjoy frothing your stuff.
The main unit is about 200mm long, with the handle being about 90mm in diameter.
There's also a ½ litre jug that comes with this, which is about 80
It offers 550 watts of power which is plenty for a hand held device.
The main bar is made fo stainless steal and will not rust.
It has a single speed, so there's no in between, it's fast or off.
The power button is on the side, near the top of the handle, and is easy to get to with a thumb, or finger.
It has what is called in the trade as ProMix technology, which basically means, (according to the box), that the blades are designed in such a way so that when they spin the food is moved in a more even flowing motion?
The unit splits in half in or order for you to clean the bottom bit, the shaft, as the other bit, the motor housing, can not be soaked in water. But the shaft can. To split it simple press the two buttons on the side and away you go. Just make sure the motor is not running when you do so.
You get a plastic jug and a what they call a chopper? Which is basically a smaller jug with a lid on top that he blender attaches to in order to use the power of the blender inside the smaller jug.
For me this was fine for using it with the jug and the covered jug as the chopper head was the right size so that food inside could go no where but into the blade. But, when using in a large pot, such as a pan, the food seemed to run away from the blades like a swimmer nearing a water fall.
The hand blender sells for about £30, which is a bit too much for what it is, especially as there are better one out there to be found.
Would I recommend this?
Not really. I'd say shop around for something that is going to suck the food into the blades instead of chase it away.
But, if you just plan on blending small amounts, ½ litre or so, then this will do that fine in the jugs provided....
It was a red and silver coloured machine, the handles being red, and a good size to get your hands into it without burning your knuckles on the hotter area. The silver colouring comes on the top rear section that is a stainless steal materiel that makes this machine look quite nice.
This is a fine sandwich toaster maker, able to give you four ½ sandwiches in one sitting. (That's two full sandwiches slices in half due to the pattern of the metal plates inside. What I mean by that is that the plates have four little triangular pattern shapes on them, two on each plate, (although there's 8 triangles in total as there are four on the lower plates and two on the top). These triangles have raised edges that help slice into the bread when the lid id shut. This not only seals around the edges of the sandwiches it also slices them in half, triangular like, and seals those edges too.
It is so simple to use. Simply butter your bread as normal. Then wait until the green light comes on as this tells you the plates are hot enough to dot he job in hand.
You then place a piece of bread, butter side down, onto the heating plate. Add your filling then place the second piece of bread, butter side up this time. Once the bread is on top you close the lid, carefully, so as not to knock the top piece of bread out of position. I tend to press gently on the end of the bread as the lid closes so that the bread does not push out.
Once the lid is shut, with the little black catch locking it in place, you sit back and wait.
This one does not have removable plates, which makes cleaning it a little bit harder than those with them. You just have to wipe off the excess 'gunk' when it's still warm then, when it's cooled, wipe over once more with a cloth.... do not use anything abrasive as this will take the non-stick off the plate and you'll end up with food everywhere as the bread sticks to the plates.
The cost of this toaster sandwich maker is about £15, roughly. Which is a cracking price for what it can do.
So, if you want a hot sandwich with your favourite filling inside then this is well wroth looking at.
I hate kettles, but I like a good cup of coffee/tea. The reason I hate kettle is that they hate me. They all have it in for me, partnering toasters, all out to get me. My psychiatrist says they're only objects but what does he know, he hates me anyway.
But as kettle hate me they tend to break on me after a while, which means I have owned several of them over my time. Including this one.
It has a polished steel look with a black handle and flip up lid, a black ring around the bottle and a black base, all the black being plastic.
Up the side of the kettle there's a little window that shows the water level, set out in cups, which means you can put the right amount in the kettle, saving the planet. This window glows up blue when the kettles in use.
A the bottom, below the handle, there is a small paddle that is the on/off control. Push down and set the kettle off, and when it comes to the boil this paddle automatically flips up and off.
On the top front there is the spout which is a good size for pouring and is made of the same steel as the body of the kettle, making it fit in well.
It has a 3KW quick boil system, using a hidden element, which means less standing around waiting for the kettle to boil. It can hold 1.7litres of water which is good for a family house.
It has a removable filter near the spout that can be taken out for cleaning. Although make sure the water and kettle are cold before doing so.
You can fill it either through the spout or, by pressing the button in the top of the handle, through the hole where the lid was.
The kettle sits on a base and is capable of turning all the way around, spinning around like a bored office working on a swivel chair, (we've all done it).
This kettle cost about £15 - £20 which is good value for what you get with this kettle.
We all use batteries. Usually AA or AAA, which means spending an absolute fortune on batteries as many of them drain quickly. This adds up to a vast amount of money on things that are hard to dispose of in a earth friendly manner. So this is where this charger comes in.
This charger can handle AA or AAA batteries with the simple flick of a small catch inside.
The main unit is about 120mm high by 80mm wide and 40mm deep, excluding the plug prong things.
The front section has the battery slots and the charging section, with the charging process showing up on the little screen above the batteries as they charger.
It you have AAA batteries you simply pull down the top section inside the battery compartment, this bring down a small plastic section that helps keep the smaller batteries in place.
The charging process is the same for either size. You place the batteries inside the compartment, positive side upwards. Then plug it onto the mains. When you plug it in the display should begin to show four little battery icons that fill up as the batteries charge. From 1 strip to 4.
you can charge either two or four batteries, simple slide the little button across from the number 2, for two batteries on the left, to 4, for all four batteries.
This is a great little charger and, as it came with 8 batteries, which means I can charge four at a time whilst using the other four in my camera.
The batteries fully charge in about an hour or so, 2 at the most. Plus, you get a car charger and also a USB charger lead too.
The price of this charger, and 8 batteries, is about £20 - £25, which is a good price for this charger and batteries.
It looks a bit like a radio from the 1980's, being a black plastic with a speaker grill on the front, and an extendable aerial. But the fact that it is digital and solar powered mean that it is a radio of the21st century.
It is rectangular in shape and the speaker is on the front, together with a dial for tuning the radio and five buttons, being 'favourite stations', 'preset', 'DAB/FM, 'info' and 'Auto tune'. The only other thing on the front is the power button. On the side you can plug in headphones, a USB stick for upgrading and a line in for external music player.
On the top is the solar panel, which collects light in order to power the device – which is great in the summer but useless in the UK.
The build quality is strong and can withstand being dropped a few times, (believe me), without falling apart of cracking open. The buttons and dials are clearly labelled so there's not confusion when it comes to finding one of the preset stations or, if you want to, retuning the lot.
The sound quality is great, although it does struggle in certain areas of the house where other digital radios succeed... even with the aerial fully extended. But once the signal is strong it will play all day long and give out lovely clear sounding tunes all day long, or until the batteries run out or the sun goes in???
This radio is a bit pricey for a radio, and for a DAB too, selling for a whopping £60 +.
There are many other radios out there that offer the same, if not better quality and come at a lower price. So shop around as this one is not worth the price tag.
When it comes to doing such things as putting up a flatpack we all know that it's a bit of a trial when you have to screw 645 screws into all the wood which results in blisters from the constant screwing... (easy now).
That's when a power driver comes in handy, and this one is one of those that is handy.
This one is shaped like most power drivers, with the battery slotting into the handle like a Glock 17.
The trigger is on the front of the handle, with a directional button just to the side of the trigger, and slightly up a bit.
The motor itself sits above the handle with the chuck sitting at the front....
It has a 10mm keyless chuck with 17 torque settings which means it's unlikely you'll screw through the wood if you're careful.
There's a little LED light that shines on the screwing area so that you can get into those awkward places. This light is small but it does light up the area needed.
The handle has a lovely soft feel to it which makes long screwing times a more gently matter.
Charging takes about 30 hours and for that you get about 20 minutes of screwing time at full power. With reduce power after that. But you can still put a flat pack together after 30 minutes of use.
The one I had was a 12 volt version and is pretty powerful considering the size, but the Li-Ion battery really does help out in keeping the charge up and running.
The cost of this driver is about £40 which is about right for this driver as it can do the job of constructing flatpacks without too much hassle.
We all use, or have used, ear phones of many shapes and sizes, and this is a set that I used a while back, until the piece that goes around the ear itself broke, maiing them as useful as a paper umbrella in a hurricane.
There are designed to go over your ear, having a hook shaped piece of plastic that rests on the top bit of the ear, both pieces being slightly different as they are for specific ears, left and right. But they do have a little 'L' and 'R' on each one so you know which goes into which ear.
The round the ear piece can be adjusted slightly in order to make it more comfortable on the ear, although I never really found that perfect comfort in order to use on long music listening periods.
The 3.5mm pin is gold plated for that better connection into the port which does give a better reception into the ear.
The wire itself is over a metre long which is great for moving about as these don't drag out of the ear when I moved my head.
The sound quality is pretty good with it giving a maximum out put for each one is 50mW, (1/20th of a watt). This may not sound much but as these go directly into the ear if it were any more you'd blow you stirrup into your brain
Sadly though there are no controls on the wire itself, such as volume or track change, so you do have to use the device this is plugged into in order to do the manual work. But I don't really mind that as I can see which track comes next.
The cost of these earphones that hook over the ear are about £15 - £20, which is not too bad really considering the quality of the sound. Although you do have to be a little gentle with the hook itself.