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About a year ago we decided we wanted to eat more healthily and cook more. Steaming seemed to be a bit of a buzz word for creating amazing healthy food so we decided to invest in a steamer.
At the time we lived in a small 1 bedroom flat so after shopping around, in previously unknown territory, we decided to buy the Tefal Ultra Compact steamer.
Initially I was a bit reluctant to use it, a saucepan or two takes no time at all to wash up and I did find dismantling the tiers a bit annoying (this is very lazy of me as it is incredible easy to do and probably only adds a couple of minutes to washing up time). The taste of the steamed food and especially vegetables is worth it. Goodbye soggy overcooked vegetables and green mushy broccoli water!
The steamer has three tiers with removable bases for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe. The separate tiers are great if you are cooking more than one type of veg or meat or fish. My husband is a fan of steaming eggs; there are little indentations for them to sit neatly in at any level of the base. You can also steam larger items by removing a base in-between two tiers.
The inter-stackable tiers make it compact to store over the base. So although it stores small it's large enough to steam meals for two or a whole family without taking up lots of cupboard or worktop space. The word 'compact' does refer to the steamers height rather than base when stored, I keep ours in a cupboard which I couldn't do if the tiers didn't inter-stack.
The steamer has a chrome base, translucent water tank and tiers and a 60minute timer. The instructions also give you a list of food that you might want to steam with an estimated time, this is really useful.
The main benefit of the steamer I have found is that I can prepare the vegetables, (the main thing I steam) in advance to any meal. When I'm ready I just whack on the timer and forget about it. The food stays warm for quite a while after the buzzer goes off without the veg going soggy which is great.
If you're looking for a new vacuum cleaner you can't avoid the hype that accompanies the Dyson range.
We had always wanted one and when our trusty ancient Philips packed up we thought we'd go for it and see what everyone else is going on about.
We decided upon the DC19T2. Mainly because it was compact, lightweight and we don't have pets. Our house isn't huge so I thought this was the perfect choice.
I searched everywhere for the best price deal to make the rrp more palatable. I found a part exchange offer where you received £50 off a new Dyson when you brought in your old hoover.
Bye bye Philips! Hello Dyson!
The cleaner looks great with the yellow and grey combo. The cylinder is clear so you can see all the nasties (and socks) you've hovered up.
It is light, one of the main reasons we bought it, but fairly sturdy. I've pulled it over a couple of times while hoovering but I think this was probably my fault & wouldn't consider it to be a problem.
It glides effortlessly on carpet and laminate. For laminate floors you change the head by flicking a switch with your foot so it sits higher than on carpets. I found this quite hard to do initially & it became very frustrating when I just wanted to hoover the kitchen quickly and it wouldn't work. I think I have the knack now but still think it should be easier.
It's very easy to take off and empty the cylinder; even though it doesn't lose suction we tend to do this more often than when we had a bag hoover as we can see when it's getting full.
I don't find the cord long enough and often try and stretch it so I can reach a corner without having to unplug. A couple of metres longer would make it more acceptable for a medium sized house or larger flat.
The attachments sit neatly on main nozzle, one for soft furnishings and another for corners and skirting boards. Everything you need really and having them attached to the cleaner is really convenient as they don't get lost and they are there ready when needed.
I don't know what I was expecting when I bought a Dyson, it's a great vacuum cleaner it picks up everything but it's still just a vacuum cleaner. I'm not sure if I'd buy one again but I don't regret in the slightest buying this one it's done everything I'd wanted it to do. Vacuum!
After spending allot of time reading reviews on all sorts of websites about different lightweight strollers we decided on the Petite Star Zia.
We found it difficult to choose between the Zia and the Quinny Zapp. My husband favoured the Zapp but from my research there didn't seem much of a difference between them, I favoured the Zia because of the little shopping basket & because it reclined. When I bought the Zia the Zapp didn't do either. (Around summer '10)
I paid £80 for this stroller which included a rain cover. I wanted something very lightweight to keep in the back of my car that could be easily whipped in and out, as and when needed. It has actually done that and more.
I can pull this buggy out of the boot with one hand and pull it up. Useful when you have a toddler in the other. It can be collapsed and put away in seconds.
There is a toggle on the back of the seat which lets you recline the seat easily and smoothly when your child is in the stroller. It is harder to put the stroller into an upright position when your child is in the seat. I try to do this before my daughter gets in.
The stroller steers well and is very nippy, without it feeling flimsy.
Although I only bought this stroller for occasional use whilst my larger and considerably more expensive buggy had a puncture I used the Zia exclusively and couldn't have been more pleased with its performance and practicality.
You do have to take care with balancing too many shopping bags on the handles but only if you don't have a child in the stroller. I think most light weight buggies would tip up if overloaded without a child to counterbalance the weight.
Whilst pregnant with my daughter my husband and I came to an agreement. He would be in charge of choosing the car seats and I would do everything else!
He loves gadgets, so when he discovered a car seat to proceed our first Maxi Cosi seat that reclines and spins around he got quite excited!
The seat is bigger than others we'd looked at and it is heavy. Not a problem if it stays in one car and doesn't move. We move ours between two cars, I find this a struggle but my husband manages fine.
Once in the car it's pretty simple to secure into place. At the back of the head rest there is a colour indicator which goes green when secured properly. This is very useful and great for peace of mind.
My daughter is very comfy in this seat. The recline feature is amazing, when she wants to nap in the car. It is extremely easy to put it back into the upright position again. Because it's quite a big seat my daughter has a great view out of the window.
The swivel is such a good feature. I can do it one handed whilst balancing my daughter and any shopping. Putting her in is easy and I don't have to lean across awkwardly.
The main downside goes back to the size of the chair. Unless the passenger chair is pulled quite far forward, when the seat is reclined leg room is limited, especially if you have a smaller car. I have a Clio and would have probably bought a smaller seat if it was for my car exclusively.
Overall we are very happy with the seat, it is wearing well and doesn't show up any marks (we have the black one).
We bought our icandy after doing allot of research. As first time parents we wanted everything to be perfect so I looked into allot of alternatives but kept coming back to the icandy apple mainly because it looked great and seemed to offer everything we wanted.
Practically its really good, the basket underneath is really spacious for any shopping bags and does a really good job sheltering them from the elements.
The handles extend, which was a must for my husband who is over 6ft. They remain really sturdy despite being extended to the maximum. So makes a very comfortable push!
Once you've got the hang of it its very easy to collapse, I think I managed on the 3rd attempt, my husband did it straight away! Although it's fairly big the wheels come off & go back on very easily to make getting it into smaller boots a breeze.
My daughter is extremely comfortable inside the seat, she moved from the carrycot to the seat at around 6mths I was happy that she was safe and very snug inside the padded soft seat. Now over a year on she is still very happy in it, she still has plenty of room and still fits nicely inside the foot muff.
The only negative point that I can think of is that it's not great on very muddy terrains, the mud guards get clogged up easily.
After thinking about buying a pair of Uggs for a few years this winter I finally took the plunge! I had previously been deterred by the price tag & was worried they wouldn't live up to expectations but thankfully I couldn't be more pleased with my gorgeous Ugg Classic Argyle Knit Boots. I'm a busy mum and these boots make me feel stylish and on trend. They have worn amazingly considering they have barely left my feet in the last 5 months. I do allot of walking and did worry they'd wear quickly or look tatty after being caught in the rain but after drying off they looked as good as new. They are super comfy and lovely and soft. I decided on the cosy sweater look ones as they are a bit different. I am glad I did as I have had allot of compliments from other mums. They have definitely been worth the money and I would never go back to cheaper alternatives now I've worn the real thing!