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This GHD professional salon styling iron is perhaps one of my most treasured possessions. Yes, I know it sounds overdramatic to be quite so fond of a hair-styling appliance but I am. These are simply fantastic.
I have the misfortune of having not quite straight, but not quite curly hair which has to be the most irritating type of hair ever. It just needs so much help to look half decent. Over the years I have tried so many styling tools. My first straightening tool (a Babyliss 'steam' straightener) was bought fifteen years ago and since then I have always had some tool to help control my wayward hair.
These were my first pair of GHD's. I chose these rather than the originals as I have thick long hair which these are perfect for with their wide plates which cover more surface area of the hair, cutting down styling time. That was 5 years ago and they provided me with 2 years of excellent service. That is until I failed to pack them away properly. Instead I left them on the heat mat in front of my full length mirrored wardrobe. My lovely boyfriend accidently crushed them with his huge feet and I was left quite literally bereft.
I tried to cope without my beloved ghd's but I couldn't do it and quite willingly bought a second set for just under £100. These were almost identical to the first with the same wide plates, speedy heat up time and smooth, floating ceramic plates but ghd has cleverly added some extras:
* The iron will beep when it has reached its desired temperature.
* The shape is less square enabling users to use the irons for creating curls by wrapping hair around the plates just like GHD's slimmer versions.
* The iron now has a sleep mode which is activated after 30 minutes of inactivity. This cools the irons down and a warning beep is sounded every twenty seconds.
* The iron now has universal voltage meaning that you are able to use the styler abroad with adapters.
I use my ghd's mainly for straightening my hair and it does the job perfectly. I have tried to curl my hair with them on occasion but in my opinion this is easier to do with the slim versions and you will probably get a better result. For those that are interested in learning how to create different curls and styles using their ghd's, Google ' ghd curls' for online tutorials or see the official ghd website.
My only issue is not with the actual product but with the amount of counterfeit versions available online or 'off the back of a lorry'. Buyers beware, if it seems too good to be true it probably is. One way to be sure you are not buying fake ghd's is to buy from an authorised stockist, a list of which is published on the GHD website.
When buying a second-hand set, ask to see the hologram code on the label attached to the power lead. You can verify authenticity by entering this number on the ghd website under the section 'product registration'.
Overall, this is a fantastic product and I would recommend to everyone. I do not know anyone that has bought a set and been disappointed. To the contrary, I know dozens of people who have a set and could not be without them now... like me.
We were given this coffee machine as a Christmas present. We already had a Morphy Richards machine which is different in that it has a coffee jug and can make up to 8 cups of filter coffee at one. This machine differs in that it is an espresso machine.
We usually consider Delonghi to be of an exceptional quality and great design. This machine does look great, very modern and stylish; however it doesn't feel as solid as some other Delonghi appliances.
The machine is relatively simple to use. Firstly the water tank is filled with fresh water. Then the dial should be turned to heat button which turns green when the water is ready. The user must then take the handheld coffee holder (the part that looks like an arm in the product picture) and fill the removable metal pod with either a ground coffee of their choice or a pre-measured coffee pod which some coffee manufacturers have started making.
The arm is then attached to the machine and the dial turned to the cup and drip icon. An espresso cup is placed underneath and a stream of coffee will fill the cup.
Other features worth mentioning include:
* The milk frother arm which will froth and steam a jug of milk to add to the coffee to make a cappuccino.
* It has a fully removable drip tray to catch any drips and spills
* Two espressos can be made at a time by using the larger metal pod and double the amount of coffee. The larger metal pod produces two streams and so two espresso cups can be used at once.
* No coffee filters are required
We have really enjoyed the espressos and cappuccinos made by this device, however there are some issues with it:
* You must use espresso cups. Regular mugs will not fit and the coffee produced is only enough to fill an espresso cup.
* Not great for when guests visit as you are limited to making two at a time
* The milk frother is off-putting to use as it is fiddly to clean.
Overall, I would recommend this product if you are specifically looking for an espresso machine for your own individual use. If you are a person that enjoys entertaining guests, I would advise you buy a regular filter coffee machine with a jug.
We are a family of four including two boys with very hearty appetites. We are at a stage in our lives where everything seems just a little more hectic and quite a bit more expensive.
I had read plenty about slow-cookers on money saving, parenting and cooking websites and checked out the reviews on Argos and was overwhelmed by the level of positivity around these little machines.
Here was an appliance that would be economical, time saving and healthy for my family... I decided to give it a try.
As a family of four, we were recommended to buy a 4-5 litre capacity slow cooker, however I wanted a cooker that could accommodate a mountain of food for the purpose of batch cooking and freezing leftovers so I started to look for the largest I could find.
I stumbled upon the 6.5-litre Breville VTP06 Slow Cooker in my local Sainsburys store and to my delight it was labelled as being half price, meaning that I paid a paltry £28. A bargain considering I was willing to pay far more.
The machine itself looks great, just be sure that you have enough room on your kitchen counter top as it was larger than I thought it would be. The appliance consists of a chrome coloured outer shell which has the temperature dial on the front and a crock pot which sits inside the casing.
There are three settings:
* High- For cooking a little more quickly. We use it for the first hour to get the machine to a good temperature quickly.
* Low- Suitable for all day cooking and tougher meats such as beef.
* Keep Warm- Keeps the food at the right temperature until serving.
What I was most impressed with was that the food can be prepared in the morning then left all day to slow cook. This means that dinner is ready as you walk in the door.
Also, the slow cooker is very economical as it uses less energy than an oven and allows you to cook cheaper cuts of meat. Cleaning is simple. Just wait for the crock pot to cool down then take it out and wash.
Recipes we have had great success with include: Roast Chicken, Beef Stew, Chicken Casserole, Whole Leg of Lamb and spare ribs.
Our all-time-favourite was the lamb which we simply sealed before putting in the slow cooker, added a little water and topped with plenty of salt, pepper and mint. Eight hours later our lamb was ready and simply falling off the bone.
I have read on slow cooking websites that it is possible to make puddings in this device and I can't wait to try out rice pudding.
Overall I would say that I am delighted with my purchase. The slow cooker is used at least once a week and we haven't had a meal we've disliked yet. I am sure that if others try it they will be converted too.
This is our most recently purchased iron: The Russell Hobbs Steam Glide Iron - Model 14901. Our previous was a Tefal which we were not impressed with but the one before that was a wonderful Russell Hobbs digital Iron which prompted us to try the brand again. Not our best idea.
Firstly, the overall look of the iron is fine in a snazzy white and purple design which we found appealing. The weight feels typical of an iron of this type. Slightly heavy on the wrists but I often think lighter irons feel flimsy.
Controls were of the basic variety and include:
* A Variable Steam switch (including self-clean option)
* Shot of steam button
* Water Spray button
* Variable temperature dial with different heat settings.
The water tank has a decent capacity so no need to be refilling all the time. Additionally, the power cord is of a good length which I do find important when ironing.
Unfortunately this is really where the good points end. My main issues with this product include:
* The steam shot feels weak even at its highest setting. Often, after pressing the steam button it can take up to a minute to build enough power to produce another shot of steam.
* The water tank is purple making it difficult to see the water level meaning that it is easy to over or under-fill.
* The iron's sole-plate has become blackened after only two months of use.
I was really disappointed with the quality of the iron. We had thought we were getting a bargain as it was reduced from £50 to £25 but it feels more like a £15 iron.
It also lacks features which we are used to having as standard on our irons including auto shut-off which turns off the iron after a period of inactivity and a temperature 'beep' that lets you know when the iron is at the correct temperature.
Overall, not up to scratch for us.
This toy is from Leap Frog, a brand that is well known for making popular children's educational toys such as the well-known leap pad learning system.
Violet is part of Leap Frog's Scout & Violet range which is based around two puppy characters, one of which is a boy 'Scout' and the other a girl 'Violet'. The Puppy Pals are identical in what they do, their only difference is that Violet's colour-scheme is geared more towards girls while Scout is more boyish or unisex.
My Puppy Pal Violet is a lilac and cream plush toy with several press points and symbols on the paws for children to press. Surprisingly, for an electronic toy, Violet is very soft and huggable and is also a really cute character.
When the child presses Violet's paws, Violet will interact with the child by talking and singing helping the child learn about first words, animals, numbers, daily routines and feelings.
The best thing about Violet is that it is entirely customisable. You simply connect the USB wire (provided) to your laptop or P.C and the other end connects to the toy. You then download the Leapfrog software. This enables you to enter your child's name from a list. If your child's name is not on the list you can choose the nearest version. You are also asked to choose your child's favourite foods, colours and songs. The aim of this is that the toy will now say your child's name and personalise the songs and activities. Internet connection is required.
Violet is suitable for ages 6 months +.I bought this for my niece who is 8 months old and she was delighted with it and cuddled and played with it for a long time and continues to do so.
The only downside in my opinion is that the songs get tiresome very quickly but this is easily remedied by connecting to your computer and loading some different songs.
Like some other reviewers, this was gift for Christmas and came with a few other soap and glory products including body lotions, scrubs, hand cream and bubble bath.
Firstly, the packaging is lovely and is of a retro-styling with a black and white vintage style photo and the slogan 'Clean on Me'. The bottle is of a pump variety which is a great choice for a shower gel as it provides minimum faffing around.
The actual product is fabulous. Only a small quantity is required to produce a bubbly lather with a puff or flannel and the smell is really appealing and very sweet. Skin is left soft, smooth with a subtle scent.
The scent is the same for most of the soap and glory products so they all complement each other well.
I was so impressed with the results after using this product that I considered buying it again.... That was until I seen the price which at £5.50 (from boots) is beyond my budget for a shower gel. I would consider buying again now but only if the product was on special offer or if I was able to buy it in a Christmas hamper which Boots tend to do every year at a great price.
This Hotpoint washing machine is proving itself to be a sturdy piece of equipment ideal for the laundry requirements of a large family with its generous 9kg drum. It has many different settings to choose from depending on the users requirements.
Another handy feature is that the temperature can be set independently of the program. For example, you could wash your cottons on a lower temperature than is usually used for cottons to save energy or because your load does not require the water at such a high temperature.
There is also an 'Eco' program, perfect for limiting energy consumption as well as the expected programs and features (pump out, extra rinse, pre-wash and so on).
All buttons and knobs feel sturdy as does the door, hinges and drawer. The filter is easily accessed at the bottom of the machine making minor blockages easy to deal with without the need for expensive repairmen.
The price of this washing machine is typical of a good washing machine and it should serve your family well for years to come.
My only complaint is that it is not as modern looking as some washing machines are today. I would have liked it in a stainless steel colour but this is strictly my preference and obviously doesn't affect it's performance.
I adore all coffee. Ground from my machine, bought from my local coffee shop or chilled in the summer. Sometimes, you just don't have the time to make a fresh pot of coffee or perhaps it seems like too much hassle for just one drinker. Sometimes you don't want to leave the house to buy your caffeine fix or you don't want to pay £2+ for your cup. It's at times like these instant coffee really comes into its own and believe me, some are better than others!
Carte Noir really is one of the better brands available. It is a full bodied, smooth and slightly stronger coffee meaning that you don't have to add more than one teaspoon to get the full taste as you do with some of the cheaper brands. The elegant black packaging is also appealing.
As mentioned before, this brand can be slightly more expensive than others but in my opinion it is worth the extra and is also often on promotion and special offer in the larger chain supermarkets. My advice would be to stock up when you see a good offer rather than make do with a budget brand.
The Samsung R730 laptop is on a larger scale than standard Laptops with its 17 inch screen making it ideal for those requiring a larger display. In terms of looks, this laptop is eye catching with a glossy, red lid and a brushed steel effect interior. The steel colour extends to the mouse-pad, however the keyboard is a standard black.
Battery life is mediocre which is not ideal. The laptop has all the basic features that the average user would need including a webcam, HDMI & USB ports, media card reader and CD/DVD drive.
After several months of use, this laptop is still very responsive however the touchpad buttons are showing signs of wear with one being more pushed in than the other. I have also experienced problems with the display driver which causes the laptop to completely shut down which can be irritating.
Overall, this laptop looks great; sleek, slim and lightweight. The lightness of the machine causes it to feel a little flimsy and the functionality of the machine is not up to the standard I would expect from such a respected brand.
The Mars bar has been my all-time favourite chocolate bar for as long as I can remember. Unlike Marathon (snickers) it has not undergone a name change or any real rebranding. Instead, we have had the pleasure of enjoying the Mars we know and love for a very long time.
I am sure most Mars lovers will remember the famous ad campaign featuring a jingle with the slogan, "A Mars a day, helps you work, rest and play".
Its packaging is timeless, Black with the Mars logo in red and gold. The actual product consists of a soft and delicious nougat base topped with a generous amount of golden, mouth-watering caramel, both encased with smooth milk chocolate.
The bar weighs 62 grams and the portion size is large enough to satisfy the largest of appetites when hunger strikes, making this the perfect snack for hungry chocolate lovers. Unfortunately Mars is definitely not diet-friendly with every bar containing a hefty 280 calories and 12 grams of fat!
The Mars bar has also been incorporated into infamous recipes such as the Mars bar cake which involves melting down Mars bars, mixing with Rice Crispies and topping with chocolate. and who could forget the deep-fried Mars Bar, an unlikely concoction of Mars dipped in batter and deep-fried until golden.
Bought individually, the price per bar can work out rather expensive at usually 60p or even more. It is far more economical to buy in multi-packs. Sainsburys are often selling packs of 4 at just 99p which will save you an impressive 35p per bar. Alternatively, hard-core Mars lovers can order a box of 48 bars from online stores such as Amazon for just over £20.00.
Overall, if you're not a calorie counter and you need something to keep you going during the day to satisy your hunger and sweet tooth, a Mars if simply perfect.