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littlewelshbird

littlewelshbird
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Member since: 18.07.2012

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      21.07.2012 20:25
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      no kitchen should be without one!

      Tefal Toast N' Egg TT550015

      Features:
      - 1200w
      - 2 slice toaster
      - Boils and Poaches eggs
      - Re-Heat tray

      RRP around £34.99

      The Tefal Toast N' Egg is no ordinary toaster! I bought this three years ago when I moved house. I am a big believer in "you get what you pay for". Having said that I was, and still am, on an extremely tight budget. So spending this much money on a toaster was a fairly big decision. It turned out to be a fantastic decision and changed the way I cooked breakfast from there on in!

      The toaster takes two slices of bread. It has variable heat settings from 1 to 5 depending on the thickness of your slice. Using thick white sliced bread, it takes around 2 minutes to toast two slices. The result is lovely crunchy toast that is never burnt and is evenly cooked, which is quite refreshing when compared to other models. The slots are deeper than you may think at first, so you can get the whole slice in. A lot of toasters leave the top edge exposed and thus you have to turn the toast half way through to get an even crisp. Not with this toaster!

      The control panel is fairly straight forward. Along side the heat controls for the toaster slots, there are four push buttons to control the heating element for the eggs. You can choose either; toast on its own, in which instance you don't need to press anything except the plunger as with a 'normal' toaster. The other three controls enable you to cook eggs alone, with no toast, or, cook eggs in conjunction with toast. The final button at the bottom is a 'stop' button which is pressed to release toast during cooking, if required, or to turn off the heating element for the eggs. All buttons are flush to the body of the toaster and so are wipe clean.

      There is an adequate crumb tray included. As with all toasters this needs to be emptied regularly. Having said that I only empty it about once per month and have had no problems with the crumbs building up and burning as I have done with other toasters previous to the Tefal.

      And so we come to the egg cooker. The element is wipe clean. I give it a wipe with white vinegar now and again to remove any residue and keep it shining. It cooks eggs by steaming them from water placed into the element. To cook eggs you place the rack on top of the element. There is room for up to four eggs here. The toaster comes complete with a measuring pot for water. On the base of this is a small sharp needle which must be used to piece the bottom of the egg before placing in the rack. This prevents cracking. Fill the measurer up to the desired level. Hard medium or boiled, from 1 egg to 4 eggs on each level. On the back of the pot there is a section for measuring water for poached eggs which I will explain shortly. Once the eggs are pierced, place them upside down in the rack. So the pierced side is facing upwards. Then put the lid on. The lid has a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape. Then press the button and off it goes. I find this much easier to use than a conventional saucepan. I am a fairly good cook and am able to boil and egg the old fashioned way without a problem. However this toaster takes the hassle out of it. There are no saucepans to wash up, no timers to set, no leaning over the stove waiting in anticipation for cracks to appear. With the Tefal I can put the eggs on to cook, and get on with other things, like making an all important cuppa or washing up etc. Having said that I would strongly recommend against leaving the device unattended as with any other appliance.

      Poaching eggs hasn't been quite so successful. The machine comes with what I can only describe as a mini frying pan. Fill the measurer up to the desired level for poaching, these marks are on the reverse of it. It is only big enough for one egg. It has a non stick coating. The idea is that this sits on top of the rack with an egg in it, then the lid over the top and the egg is poached by the steam. I've only tried this two or three times and haven't been that impressed. The first time the egg stuck to the pan, with disastrous consequences! The second time I wiped a little oil around the pan with some kitchen paper and this helped the sticking but it overcooked. Which is my error and not that of the machine. So after that I have stuck to boiled eggs only. I'm sure if I persevered I would get the hang of it, but, the only way of getting the egg out is to wipe a small amount of oil around the pan, and this can be tasted on the finished product. This may be fine for most, but first thing in the morning it was a little overpowering.

      In addition to eggs, there is a warming tray provided. This is designed to re heat sausages or bacon etc. I haven't yet used this function so cant comment on its usability or effectiveness. If on the rare occasion I do have bacon I cook from fresh under the grill.

      So to summarise, the Tefal Toast N' Egg is far more economical than boiling a large pan of water, which would use a lot of gas/electric in the process. I have a very active job and work long hours. So two or three days a week I like to have a good breakfast, rather than just cereal. The toast and egg enables me to do this without having to concentrate too much first thing in the morning! There is hardly any washing up and its much faster. It may not be suitable for a large family as it only takes two slices rather than four, and there is only room for boiling up to four eggs. Having said that I would highly recommend it to all, in my opinion, no kitchen is complete without one.

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      • More +
        21.07.2012 17:55
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        economical, time saving, safe.

        Breville Hot Cup VKJ142

        Features:
        - 3Kw
        - 1.5 litre tank
        - Drip tray
        - Cord storage

        RRP around £40

        The Breville Hot cup is a hot water dispenser. Rather than a hefty kettle. It is much easier to use than a standard kettle. I have owned this item for a couple of years now with no problems. Its main appeal is the energy usage, or lack of! I live alone and so generally only make one cup of tea at a time. Boiling a kettle each time, with more water than needed, does use up more electric than necessary, in my opinion the Hot Cup is very economical. It is very quick to use and so saves quite a bit of time.

        The body of the Hot Cup is finished in a very stylish black, with silver trimmings. It is a very attractive addition to the work top. The main body of the water tank is a transparent white colour. The water tank illuminates in a shade of blue when it is switched on to dispense. This is a good feature as it is easy to see when the unit is in use.

        With a simple flick of the switch, located on the top of the machine, it heats up only the water that is to be dispensed. Therefore reducing energy as it does not heat up the entire tank. The water comes out automatically so there is no need to lift it in order to fill up a mug/teapot/saucepan etc. It dispenses 250ml of water each time it is activated. This is equivalent to 1 US cup measurement. This is ample for one serving. It can be used in succession for multiple cups, without complications, providing the water level is on or above the minimum line. It also incorporates a drip tray to catch any spills. The drip tray is easily removed for cleaning and emptying. So, to make a cup of tea, simply place your tea bag in your mug, then put on top of the drip tray. Press the button and less than 60 seconds later your tea will be brewing. If I am making a cup of coffee I tend to pop a small jug underneath the spout instead so not to over fill the mug as I like my coffee milky! It has measured marks all the way up from minimum to maximum. This makes it easy to see how much water is available without having to move the unit at all. The other feature is that it can be used at any angle on the base. So it doesn't have to be put back in the exact position. It has non slip feet so it doesn't move around the worktop.

        To fill the unit simply remove the tank from the base. Then press the release button, and fill to the maximum mark with water. I fill it up to the maximum mark each time for ease of use.

        It may not be suitable if you want to boil large quantities of water, therefore, a normal kettle may be better.

        I feel that this item is much safer than a normal kettle as you don't lift the unit when it has boiled. Thus reducing the risk of spilling scalding water. Ideal when there are children around. It would be very handy for the elderly, or people who are unable to lift. I have a back problem, and the Hot Cup makes my life a lot easier as lifting a big kettle when my back is sore, can really be agony. This would be a valuable item to anyone who has difficulty lifting a standard kettle.

        The only draw back is that the amount to be dispensed cannot be changed. Although, to my knowledge, there are other models available with this feature.

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          19.07.2012 08:26
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          give it a go

          Well, we all know how popular lynx is with our blokes!


          So i thought i would give this a bash when it was on special offer. Considering its not a massive bottle it does go a long way. It has a pleasant fragrance and works hard enough to get you through the whole day, unlike most other deodorants that have given up on you by lunchtime! I have a very active job, so a good solid anti perspirant is a must! If, on the very odd occasion, you do need to re apply during the day it does seem to have a very cooling effect so is indeed quite refreshing. Over the years I have tried all sorts. Including roll on's, creams, sprays, natural rock products and products that stop your pores releasing sweat altogether! (what was i thinking?). Lynx beats them all! and.....as well as all that, it doesnt seem to leave white marks to the extent that other well known brands do.

          As we all know Lynx isnt the cheapest of brands but on this occasion I think the benefits outway this. I am on an extremely tight budget but i try my best to fit this in. By dropping down a brand level on another product, its usually possible to afford it if im really careful. Plus look out for 3 for 2 offers etc.

          It does say that its a limited edition. I hope that they decide to make this permanently as its taken many many years to find a deo up to this standard.

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          • Ford Escort in general / Car / 7 Readings / 7 Ratings
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            18.07.2012 15:26

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            good little car

            Ford Escort Finesse 2000 1.6l 5 door hatchback.

            I have had my Ford Escort for seven years now and it has done me proud. It is a year 2000 1.6l 16v Finesse. So it is the last but one model that ford ever produced. It is now twelve years old and has done just over 100k. It was purchased in 2005 having done 45k miles. I have replaced the head gasket (2007), cat(2011), suspension(2008), compressor (2005) etc, but over all its been a good little runner. It was used for regular long journeys up and down the country between 2005 and 2009 and since then has done short daily commutes and in both respects it has been quite reliable. It has had regular services etc and I have no complaints. Unfortunately due to size etc I am having to upgrade to an estate car, having said that don't under estimate the size of the escort, its compact, easy to park, but you can still get a large load in. I managed to fit a double mattress in, with back seats folded down, to go to the tip with not too much of an issue.

            Running costs aren't bad. Tax comes in at £220 per year due to year of manufacture. Insurance does seem to be very low though at group 15. (see www.parkers.co.uk for more information on insurance groups).

            When doing long journeys it usually does 400 miles to a tank. Currently I am only getting about 250-300 miles to a tank because my daily commute is just 4 miles each way, so less fuel economy.

            Will be sad to see mine go. Highly recommended.

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            18.07.2012 15:22
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            not sure about this one.

            hmm im not sure about this one. i bought this last year after hearing good things about it. it is a very hard book to get in to and not a light read by any stretch of the imagination. so much so that i havent as yet got to the end but have, im shamed to admit, watched the film instead. its is well written etc and a very good story line but not for me. i think if i had the chance to go on holiday and needed a book to take this may be the one as then i would have the time to get into it but until that happens its gonig back on the shelf. having said that the film was excellent which is why the book isnt going to the charity shop! i havent read any other books by this author so dont know if its her style of writing or not.

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              18.07.2012 15:17
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              recommended

              i bought this little gift pack for a friends birthday and she loves it. it is very well presented and for the price, although i have to admit it was on offer when i bought it, it is a bit of a bargain. the staff in store were very very helpful when i was looking for this, they actually take into account what you are looking for rather than just trying to push a product on you. the scent is lovely and can be worn for all occasions, work or social etc. not too strong for everyday use. it is a little bit bigger than it appears in the photo which i think can only be a good thing as this means it should last longer! next time im at the body shop i will be picking one up for my self. all in all it gets a big thumbs up. highly recommended indeed.

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            • Whirlpool JT369 / Microwave / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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              18.07.2012 15:10

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              fab little machine.

              Whirlpool Jet Chef JT369 31l 1000w Microwave Combi Oven.

              Amazon £238


              This machine is fantastic. I have had this machine for about two years now, with no complaints. It is easy to clean, has a good light so it is easy to see what you are cooking. It has a vast range of functions including:

              * 6th Sense Steam function - this steams your food, meat, fish, veggies or rice. It works quickly and efficiently. A steamer is provided that will hold enough food for up to four people. Much easier than having multiple saucepans on the hob, just put it all in here, set the oven and walk away.

              * Jet Defrost - Defrosts frozen food much faster than a standard microwave. For example, a chicken fillet will take less than two minutes from frozen to thawed. This has made a big difference as if I get home from work late at night and have forgotten to get something out of the freezer in the morning to defrost, I can still have it for dinner that night by using this function.

              * Crisp Function - this is good for bread and dough based products as well as veg. Cooks pizzas to perfection. A special "crisp tray" is provided with a removable handle. It is fantastic for making mini roasts as well. Living on my own, making a full blown roast isn't very practical or economical. By placing some baking parchment on the tray, pop on some chopped potatoes/parsnip/swede etc, set the crisp function to around 7 minutes and BOOM - proper roasties! This function also produces lovely crispy baked potatoes in around 12 minutes (Using potatoes kept in the fridge. Potatoes at room temperature would take less time to cook.)

              * Jet Start - This simply starts the microwave, each press of the button increases the cooking time by 30 seconds. I use this for most things as it saves time and does the job well. Veggies from frozen take around 2mins 30s using this function.

              * Forced Air - This enables the machine to be used as a conventional oven. You can put the timer on for up to 90 minutes, if you need to cook for longer, just restart the timer after the first 90 minutes has ended. It is possible to pre-heat the oven first by pressing this button twice before use. This then uses the grill to heat up the body of the oven to the required temperature. The temperature is always displayed on the front of the machine so you can keep an eye on it.

              * Grill function - Normal grill function using the supplied rack. It is handy and works well but the grill is a little tricky to clean, mainly because I am quite short and find it difficult to reach all the way to the back.

              . I live alone and use it to do everything from roasts, steaming veg, baking cakes, etc etc. The steamer that is supplied is a little large for one but I just use a smaller generic version for rice etc and it does the job well. No more putting rice on the hob, walking away and before you know it, it has burnt! the controls are easy to get the hang of and after reading the manual i was well away. i use it to cook for just myself and friends also. it is big enough to fit a good sized chicken or joint of meat and yet small enough not to take up too much space on the work top. the grill is also very handy although i use a health grill most of the time. would highly recommend for one person or small families/students. Whirlpool customer service is second to none.

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            • More +
              18.07.2012 11:05
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              does what it says!

              it does what it says on the tin! ive had this dvd for a while now. it has a few different sections to target each particular area. and also a feature to mix and match areas to make your own programme in effect. instructions are clear and concise. as with any new exercise it does take a bit of getting used to. the exercises are easy to fit into a hectic lifestyle as they are short but still very effective. so even after finishing a long shift at work, fairly late in the night, i still feel that i can stick this on for 10 minutes and im getting a little bit of fitness into my day. i would highly recommend this dvd. also for those of us on a very tight budget, lets face it, its a bit of a bargain! i have never participated in pilates before but am quite enjoying this dvd and find it quite relaxing!

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