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marymoose

marymoose
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Member since: 03.01.2008

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    • Asda Antacid Tablets / Medicine / 79 Readings / 77 Ratings
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      02.02.2014 20:03
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      They work for me!

      ---Intro--- My ex husband used to constantly eat Rennies, allegedly for indigestion, but I think a lot of it was for attention. It did however mean that on the occasions which I suffered with heartburn (usually after too much red wine and dinner party food) that there was always something to hand. It also meant that I didn't run out of Rennies until 2 years after he had left the house. But when I finally did I decided to take a chance with Asda's own antacid tablets as they were so much cheaper, at £2 for 80 tablets. Since I haven't really suffered regularly my first box has lasted well over a year. I have recently bought another as despite the lack of red wine heartburn is becoming more frequent in pregnancy and I don't want to risk not having any in when they run out. I should probably say here that it does say to consult doctor before taking these during pregnancy. The tablets are for the relief of indigestion, heartburn, dyspepsia, acidity and flatulence (wish I could make my boyfriend take them to stop farting!) ---Asda Peppermint Antacid Tablets--- These come in a card box. Inside there are 4 individual packs of tablets (rolls of tablets?) a bit like a packet of mints. Each pack has 20 tablets in. I have to say that they are quite awkward to open at first which can be annoying when you're desperate for one, but once opened it isn't a problem. I do tend to keep a pack in a bag for when I have overnight trips (traditionally that is when I'm most likely to get heartburn due to alcohol and food consumption) and sometimes I do throw out the tablet on top if it's got contaminated with bag fluff! These antacid tablets are round, and are smaller than Rennies. They are meant to be sucked or chewed - I have never tried sucking. Although not unpleasant in taste (the peppermint flavour is quite nice, I just don't really like the texture) I just want to get it down as quickly as possible and normally have a swig of water afterwards. I don't like the way that antacid tablets in general seem to get stuck in my teeth. Since I am usually taking them in the middle of the night, I am aware that the sugar is probably damaging my teeth. I would prefer a tablet which was just meant to be swallowed. If I anticipate heartburn then I will take one and then brush my teeth, but at 3am I am unlikely to go and brush them again. ---Dosage--- Adults, the elderly and children over 12 (not suitable for those under) can take one or two tablets at a time, up to a maximum of 16 tablets in 24 hours. I only ever take one at a time, and have always found that it does the trick - this could just mean that my heartburn is only ever quite mild, but to me it feels quite bad (and I often feel on the verge of throwing up) before taking one of these. I don't think I've ever needed to take more than 3 in a 24 hour period. Talking of pregnancy, it does say on the packet to talk to your doctor before taking them. I haven't done this, as I don't see such a small amount as a big risk judging by what I have read and heard about the subject (this is my informed choice after weighing up the pros and cons) - I didn't take any before 12 weeks anyway (I didn't have heartburn then luckily). Besides, it's not like I'm popping the pills constantly - some days I have one or two, other days I have none. There are certain people who shouldn't take these tablets (rather than just talking to the doctor first - these are also listed), and these are listed on the packet. Those with allergies to the ingredients, those with kidney problems, thyroid problems, receiving cardiac glycosides for heart problems, on a low phosphates diet, or have Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. ---Ingredients and Side Effects--- These tablets contain Calcium Carbonate (500mg), sucrose (615mg), maize starch, calcium stearate, peppermint oil and sodium saccharin. Side effects can include constipation (I imagine only if you take a lot), wind, or changes in blood chemistry. Also heartburn can occur on stopping the tablets - again I imagine only if taking a lot. ---Finally--- I think these antacids are great. I have only taken them for heartburn, but one tablet always relieves my discomfort (so perhaps my heartburn is relatively mild in the first place). These ones from Asda are a great price too, and for me work just as well as the more expensive branded tablets. They seem to have about a 3 year shelf life, so you should get through them in that time. I will continue to use these unless my heartburn gets worse or more frequent, in which case I'll definitely seek a doctor's advice and get something using my free pregnancy prescriptions! 5 out of 5 stars from me.

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        26.01.2014 18:24
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        Ok, but only if someone else is buying!

        ---Intro--- I don't have much of a skin-care regime. It simply consists of washing my face with water in the morning when I'm in the shower, and at the end of the evening before bed wiping off my makeup with a facial wipe. I'm not brand loyal when it comes to facial wipes, and tend to just get whatever is cheapest as and when I need them. My boyfriend and I were in Primark just before Christmas and since he was buying me some clothes as a present, I threw two packets of these 4 in 1 deep facial cleansing wipes into the basket as we were coming to the checkout since he was paying, and I needed some anyway! ---The packaging--- These wipes come in bright pink plastic packaging, which is I think one of the reasons I was attracted to them by the checkout as I do love that colour! As with most facial wipes there is a resealable plastic bit on top to keep the wipes fresh once you've started using them. This seems to work fairly well with these wipes (some tend to lose their stickiness). ---Using the wipes--- Simply remove a wipe from the packet (one seems to come out fine without wanting to pull out the whole packet) and wipe over face and neck, avoiding contact with eyes. I find that these have a mild fruity smell to them, and it's really quite nice. These wipes aren't as moist as some, and that's a bit of a downside. However, they do seem to adequately remove my makeup (even when I'm wearing mascara), although I usually have to turn it over and use the other side of the wipe too. These wipes leave my face feeling reasonably clean and fresh, but I've certainly used better. ---More about the wipes--- The 4 in 1 bit means that they cleanse, tone, moisturise and remove makeup. I'm mostly bothered about makeup removal, and they do this. I haven't noticed my skin to be in any better condition since using these wipes as opposed to others which don't claim to be 4 in 1. In fact I have had a few more spots than usual lately, but that might be due to being pregnant rather than using these wipes. The wipes are dermatologically tested, and contain a fair few ingredients, so check the packet before you buy if you have any skin sensitivities. ---Finally--- A twin pack of wipes (25 wipes in a pack) costs just £1. So at 2p a wipe they are better value than a lot on the market. However, they certainly aren't the best wipes I've ever used, and since we don't have a Primark locally, I'm relatively unlikely to be buying them again. 3 out of 5 stars from me.

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          14.01.2014 21:33
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          A good book from Sam Hayes

          ---Intro--- Having found myself back in a reading mood having had several years where I haven;t read much, I rediscovered my local library. It's perfect since I've become disillusioned with my kindle, preferring 'real' books (easier to go back to refresh myself if I miss bits), and being not currently in work and wanting to fill the time (more constructively than resorting to Jeremy Kyle!) and not spend money which I don't have. Having read 'Until You're Mine' by Samantha Hayes (she calls herself Sam Hayes in previous novels) and loving it (already reviewed), I was eager to read her earlier books. Having just read "Someone Else's Son" also in one sitting, I am confident that I've found a new author who will become one of my favourites! ---The Book--- Someone Else's Son was published in 2010. I read the hardback edition which is 439 pages. The paperback can currently be purchased on Amazon for £6.47 and the Kindle version for £4.99. Of course it can also be borrowed for nothing from your local library! ---The Story and the characters--- The story begins on 24th April 2009 - a 15 year old boy Max is stabbed to death in the school playground. The opening of the book sets the scene for it being a page-turner! The story takes place on this date and over the following week - with particular focus on the police investigation following the stabbing - what really happened and why? It also takes place in Autumn 2008 (where we learn the most about Max himself), and in 'The Past' where we learn more about the background to the characters and how they've ended up where they are now. Carrie Kent is a TV presenter, who hosts the show "Reality Check". It's very much along the lines of the Jeremy Kyle show (they do make reference to Kyle), but more involved with getting into the lives of these people (in their own homes and such), and also in trying to help the police solve crimes (particularly where people have been stabbed in gang culture related incidents). It's pure car-crash TV, and Carrie Kent is a multi-millionaire and extremely famous as a result. She doesn't have a great deal of sympathy for her guests, but mostly because they live in a completely different world to her. However, it turns out that she is not really any different from them, as her son Max is stabbed to death. I would actually like to point out here though that there is an inaccuracy on the blurb on the inside cover of the book as it says that Carrie receives a phonecall saying that her son has been stabbed - actually she just gets a call to say he's been in an accident. Not a problem with the book...but the person writing the blurb might like to actually read the book! Brody Quinnell is Max's dad. A blind Maths Professor, but living in an awful estate pretty much in squalor. He split up with Carrie when Max was young, and the two don't really have any contact for various reasons. Due to his blindness, Brody has an assistant Fiona who plays a role in the story. Dayna Ray is a 15 year old girl who lives in the sort of dysfunctional family who would appear in a show like "Reality Check". She was also in a relationship with Max, and was with him when he died. The full details of their relationship (and of Dayna's sorry existence) unfold as the story unravels. The story is written in the third person. Despite this, I feel that we are able to get a really good insight into the main characters, and the style of writing works really well. The character of Carrie Kent is not particularly likeable, and she didn't get much sympathy from me, even though she lost her son - she was never really there for him anyway. Similarly (but in different ways), Brody wasn't a fantastic parent to Max. Max is a strange character, having been a misfit for all of his life and bullied throughout his school life. He seems to live in a confusing world where mother is rich beyond belief, while father lives in very different circumstances (although possibly through choice). Mother is white, dad is black (which seems significant). He has gone from the extreme of attending a top class expensive boarding school, to a REALLY bad state school in London. He doesn't seem to really have a 'home' as such - and seems to spend most of his life chain-smoking and drinking (as does Dayna). I couldn't help but feel sorry for him, although Dayna was the character with whom I felt most sympathy - she really doesn't have much going for her. One cannot help but feel angry at the bullies who torment her (and Max), and at society in general. In fact the whole book made me feel so lucky for myself growing up in a nice area where I didn't have to worry about being stabbed at school. ---More thoughts--- Admittedly, the story is perhaps not very believable, and there are things which just don't really add up if you think about them too much. It doesn't really make sense that Max ended up in the situation which he did, when there were so many opportunities available to him. I would perhaps also have liked to know more about why the relationship between Carrie and Brody ended up as it did - some bits just don't seem to add up. There were also some parts of the book which didn't seem to add that much to the story - such as references to the relationship between Dennis (police) and Carrie, and Brody and Fiona. There are actually quite a lot of characters in this book, some which also don't really seem to add much to the story, or seem to be only partially developed. Hayes is a British author, and the book set in London, which I find makes it easier to relate to. However, it also made it feel a bit more depressing thinking that there are schools like the one in this book close to home. It seems that there is little hope for some of the youth of today. Like many good books, Someone Else's Son does have a twist towards the end - although I don't tend to try and predict what is going to happen in books (or films), I had thought I could see exactly where this one was going, and as usual I was wrong. Mind you, I'm sure that more perceptive readers would pick up on it. Although I was happy with the actual ending of the book, some might feel that it was just a bit too unbelievable. ---Finally--- Although I did read it in one sitting, and it did have me gripped, I do feel that there were some areas that it fell down on, so for this reason am knocking off a star. This book wasn't as good as "Until You're Mine", but that was absolutely amazing. I can't wait to read the other three books by Sam Hayes which I've not yet read - especially since this seems to be the one which has received the lowest ratings online. Despite my niggles with the book, I would still highly recommend reading it (especially if you've dabbled in Jeremy Kyle!) 4 out of 5 stars from me.

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            07.12.2013 11:57
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            Loved these, but can't justify the expense just for some fish oil.

            ---Intro--- What better way to announce the forthcoming pitter patter of baby mooseling's feet than with a review about pregnancy multivitamins. These vitamins were actually taken in my first pregnancy which sadly ended in miscarriage. The reasons I am not taking them in this pregnancy (we're now at nearly 14 weeks so looking good) is nothing to do with the product - it's due to not being able to find them! Anyone with a remote interest in babymaking and pregnancy will know that you're meant to take Folic Acid for 3 months prior to getting pregnant, and for at least the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (some say to keep on taking, some say to not bother). It is also recommended to take Vitamin D. Although I do tend to eat a balanced and healthy diet (particularly now pregnant - I feel very guilty if I don't get my 5 a day), I tend to take a multivitamin anyway (and have actually found in the years which I have done this I have suffered with VERY little illness or colds), and usually have taken fish oil supplements too. During pregnancy it's more important than ever that you're getting all of your vitamins (particularly so if your diet isn't good for whatever reason), and better to take a multivitamin specifically for pregnancy. This is mainly because normal multivitamins contain Vitamin A, and too much of that during pregnancy can cause birth defects. I was particularly drawn to these Centrum Pregnancy Care Plus Omega3 Tablets due to the Omega3 capsules (normal ones seem to say not suitable during pregnancy). I bought 3 packs (of 30 tablets and 30 capsules) for £10 in Tesco which was a good deal (although I did notice that they were on the verge of expiring - perhaps a sign that they were going to stop stocking them?) However, I have not seen them on sale in any shops since - more about this later! ---Packaging and the tablets--- These come in an attractive looking mainly pink card box, but it's quite brightly coloured. Inside the tablets and capsules are in blister packs. There are instructions on the box - I don't think there's any further information inside the box, but I no longer have the packaging. The tablets are pink in colour and pretty big (but pregnancy multivitamins always seem to be this size), as are the yellowish coloured see-through capsules. ---What's in them--- The tablets contains 20 key nutrients, which includes Vitamin D (100% of rda) and Calcium (16% of rda), to quote from the Centrum website "which will provide maternal stores to support the growth and development of your baby's bones." They also contain the recommended amount (200% of rda) of Folic Acid (400μg) for the healthy development of the spinal cord (on a side note, in our scan my boyfriend said that our baby's spine makes it look like a mackerel). However, some people might need higher doses on the advice of professionals. The capsules (to quote) "contain DHA which contributes to the normal brain and eye development of your unborn baby and breastfed infant." A full list of can be found on the packet and on the website - /www.centrum.ie/products/ centrum-pregnancy-care-plus-omega-3 These multivitamins are suitable for both pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. ---Taking the tablets--- I tend to take multivitamins and any other tablets (not that I'm taking any others at present) at bedtime, but it does say on the packet to take them with a glass of water and preferably with food (which wouldn't be bedtime!) I have never had any problems not taking them with food. These tablets might be a bit big for some people, but since they don't taste particularly nasty then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. ---Finally--- I was so pleased when I came across these pregnancy multivitamins, as I think it's fantastic having a fish oil supplement which is safe for pregnancy, as I haven't found any others. However, these are really not easy to come by. I did actually order some from Amazon when I found them at a reasonable price, but they never sent them, and eventually it turned out that they were out of stock so I got my money back. You can find them online, but really they are absolutely extortionate - Chemist Direct sell packs of 30 tablets (plus 30 capsules) for £13.79. For a month's supply this is ridiculous! I have found one pack on eBay for £9.99, or three packs for £18.50 (including postage), but still I feel this is far too expensive. I'm afraid that I've had to use another pregnancy multivitamin in this pregnancy where sadly I don't get the additional fish oil capsule and I don't want to risk taking a normal fish oil capsule when I don't know about their safety (maybe I'll have some fish for lunch today instead!) as really I'm not prepared to pay more than £4 for a month's tablets. In fact I've now moved onto Asda's own which is MUCH cheaper! 3 out of 5 from me - I love the product, but price and availability make it unviable for me.

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            • Cadbury's Milk Tray / Chocolate / 95 Readings / 93 Ratings
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              14.11.2013 18:34
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              Mostly amazing - but a few which stop it being the perfect selection box!

              ---Intro--- My boyfriend and I were recently given a 400g box of Milk Tray from some friends, and I have been lucky enough to get to eat the majority of them (for once - normally my boyfriend eats all the nice things before I get a chance!) I was really happy with this as Cadbury's chocolate is my absolute favourite, so obviously I like Milk Tray! As the name suggests, all of the chocolates are milk chocolate, which is an advantage for those who aren't a fan of dark chocolates popping up in selection boxes. ---The packaging--- The box is primarily the traditional Milk Tray purple colour, but this one also has some deep pink on it too, which makes it quite girly. There are pictures of the chocolates (with a brief description) on the inside of the box (I tend to refer to this as 'The Map!") Inside my box there are (well, there were), two trays, each containing 19 chocolates, so a total of 38. They do come in a variety of sizes of boxes - I got a bigger one for Valentine's Day this year. As a child a friend used to give me (and a couple of other girls) a smallish box (must've been 200g) of Milk Tray every Valentine's Day. This is the chocolate selection associated with love (and most people will remember the Milk Tray man) and has been around since 1915! ---Eating them--- The box contains 10 different types of chocolate which I will describe briefly. Caramel Softy - a lovely gooey caramel filled chocolate - very nice Hazelnut Swirl - chocolate containing a hazelnut. I find this very similar to a Cadbury Whole Nut bar, and it's one of my favourites. Fudge Duet - This is basically like a small piece of a Cadbury Fudge bar. It's nice, but not one of the highlights of the box in my opinion, Exotic Delight - This is Turkish delight covered in chocolate. I am never quite sure about this one as I'm not a fan of Turkish Delight. However, it is edible, and there are only 2 of these in the box (whereas there are 4 of all the other ones). Orange Truffle - Described as "Milk Chocolate Truffle with an intense orange twist". It's certainly quite orangey. But it's not one of my favourites (and I can take it or leave it really whereas most of them I can't resist), and I tend to let my boyfriend have these. Perfect Praline - Described as "Hazelnut praline encased in a milk chocolate gem". This is a very nice chocolate. Caramel Chew - This is a very chewy toffee (rather than caramel) covered in chocolate. It's very nice (and it's probably the sweet which takes the longest to eat) - but be careful with your teeth! Nutty Heart - Like the caramel softy, except it also has a hazelnut in it. One of my favourites! Strawberry Sundae - I don't like strawberry flavoured sweets, so have given these ones to my boyfriend without even tasting one. He seemed to like them, but I didn't fancy them at all - I wish these weren't included in the box. Surprise Parcel - I don't recall these from previous boxes of Milk Tray, so perhaps they're new. They are a white chocolate truffle wrapped in milk chocolate, and look like a birthday present. I think this might be my absolute favourite as it's just so sweet and tasty - I like to eat it by sucking it until it's all disappeared! I find in general that the chocolates just melt in my mouth, and leave such a lovely aftertaste. I try to savour them...but can quite easily eat them quickly too! ---Ingredients etc--- On the back of the box it lists all of the ingredients (which I won't list). It does say inside the packet which of the chocolate contain nuts and soya. However I imagine that if you have a severe nut allergy then you'll want to avoid completely . In terms of how bad they are for you...100g contains 495 calories. There are 400g in the box. Therefore my calculations suggest that each individual chocolate has around 52 calories in it. That isn't too bad if you limit yourself to two or three as I have been managing (amazingly well) to do with this box. However, it would be very easy to eat lots and lots of these! ---Finally--- I LOVE everything Cadbury's - it's my absolute favourite chocolate. As a result I love Milk Tray. However, I do feel the box is let down a bit by including the strawberry ones, Turkish delight (even though it's renamed Exotic Delight it's still the same), and I would prefer the orange one to not be there and have more nutty and caramel chocolates! To be honest I think that if push came to shove I'd probably rather have a box of Cadbury Heroes, but I think I'd rather have these over Roses. Obviously chocolate vary a lot in price depending on where you get them and what special offers there are (often depending on the time of year). In Tesco for example a 200g box is currently £3.50. However, a 400g box (like mine) is currently also £3.50 as it's half the usual price. That represents good value for money I think, and I think I might buy myself a box for us to have at Christmas! 4 out of 5 from me (would be 5 if they got rid of strawberry, orange and exotic and replaced them with the others!)

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                07.11.2013 15:31
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                Have been using for 10 years and will continue to!

                ---Intro--- I tend to cook most things from scratch - I wouldn't dream of using a jar of ready-made sauce for bolognaise, or of not making my own white sauce for lasagne (but I will admit that I cheat by using jars of curry sauce). However, when it comes to Tuna Pasta bake, while I have made them from scratch with various recipes, I still find I prefer one which includes a sachet of flavoured powder. I have no preference between this Tuna Pasta Bake from Colman's which I am reviewing today, or the Tuna Napolitana from Schwartz which I use in the same way. I have been using this product for around 10 years now. ---The packet and ingredients--- The 44g packet can be found in the supermarket along with numerous other sachets of sauce (Chile Con Carne, Cheese Sauce, Sausage Casserole Mix etc), and is mostly purple (dooyoo's picture must be the old version ) with a picture of a tempting looking tuna pasta bake on the front. Ingredients (which I won't list) include wheat flour, tomato puree powder, cheese powder and various herbs, spices and extracts. It contains no artificial colours, no added MSG and no artificial preservatives. ---Instructions and my twist on them--- The packet includes instructions of how to use, and what other ingredients you will need to make the pasta bake. However, I tend to adapt this slightly (and certainly alter the quantities), and also depending on what ingredients I have in. To make you will need to firstly put your pasta (I like the shell pasta, but most work well - possibly not spaghetti though!) on to boil. Now, the instructions say to use 225g pasta (bearing in mind that this dish is meant to serve 4 people). Personally I don't feel this is enough, as I always allow at least 75g pasta per person. Therefore I'd do 300g if I was making enough for 4. Usually though I would be making enough for 3, so use 225g. Meanwhile put the contents of the sachet into another pan (this pan needs to be big enough to include all other ingredients so bear in mind if you're going to be adding things like mushrooms. Before I add the contents of the sachet into the pan I will fry off a medium chopped onion in the pan in butter (and sometimes some garlic too), as this adds to the flavour. Then I add the powder (which is a light orangey colour) directly onto the onions. In a measuring jug or glass I will have 3 quarters of a pint of milk (instructions say semi-skimmed, but skimmed works fine too) and add a splash of this milk to the pan with the powder, and mix. Then gradually I will mix in the rest of the milk whilst bringing it up to the boil. It does need to be stirred continuously, otherwise it will stick to the pan (not that it really matters as it can just be soaked afterwards). Once it has boiled, then turn down the heat to a simmer, and add the other ingredients. You will need a drained tin of tuna (it says in spring water, but I find it doesn't matter what type), and a large drained tin of sweetcorn - the instructions say to use frozen sweetcorn, but I've never used that. At this point I will often also add a load of mushrooms, and chopped peppers. This bulks out the dish and is useful for when you need to make sure you're getting your 5 a day! I always add some black pepper (it doesn't need salt though), and sometimes add fresh herbs such as parsley and basil (dried herbs can be used too). The instructions say to mix the pasta into this. However, I tend to put the pasta straight into a casserole dish and then mix in the sace (with tuna etc) and mix it in that which makes washing up easier. Then, put grated cheese on top. You can also add a packet of crushed read salted crisps on top which I used to do, but tend not to anymore since we rarely have crisps in the house. Then put the tuna pasta under the grill until the cheese has melted. ---Eating and freezing--- You can eat this on its own, but it's nicer having with a nice salad with mixed lettuce, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. If you're indulging, then garlic bread goes well with it too! It is nicest eaten hot, but is also still very nice when it's gone cold and I can be found picking bits of out the dish! I find that this makes an extremely filling and tasty meal. The packet says on it that a serving contains 436 calories (based on their given shopping list), but obviously this depends on what else you add. I imagine that mine is significantly more since it has more pasta in it. I think that this sachet adds a lovely flavour to the other ingredients. It is mostly a tomato flavour (which is heighted more if I add additional tomato puree as I sometimes do), but one which I seem unable to recreate if I don't use a ready made sachet! I will usually do enough for 3 portions, and then freeze one portion which I can have another time when I'm on my own (I just throw it in the microwave). I find it freezes well mostly, but sometimes it can taste a bit more fishy after defrosting. ---Finally--- I will continue to buy these sachets, as they enable me to make a tuna pasta bake which suits my tastes perfectly. Although it's perfectly adequate using it as the packet says (which you might want to do the first time you use this), I prefer to adapt it to my own needs (I absolutely always add onion for a start). The packet does also suggest that you could use tinned salmon and broccoli instead on tuna and sweetcorn. Perhaps it is cheating slightly, but as I say, I do most other things from scratch. And to be honest, by the time I've added all my other stuff, it does end up being a bit more special while remaining a very simple dish to make. I like the fact that it works just as well using the packet if you make enough for 2, 3 or 4 people. I tend to buy the sachets when they're on special offer (and always have them in my cupboard). In fact it is currently on offer - 2 sachets for £1 in Asda. 5 out of 5 stars from me.

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                  01.11.2013 19:37
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                  Our usual bread!

                  ---Intro--- My boyfriend and I don't always have bread in the house as we just end up eating it, and it's not the healthiest food, especially not if it's the white variety! However we will often go through phases where we eat a fair bit of bread...my boyfriend sometimes likes to take ham and cheese sandwiches to work. We both like the odd bacon sandwich if we want to indulge at the weekend, and we both enjoy toast. If it was up to me, I would opt for fresh bread every time (preferably Tiger bread - YUM!), however this wouldn't be a good idea as it would be eaten up immediately! If I was wanting to be healthier I'd go for a wholemeal bread (and that's what I'd tend to get if on my own). However, nine times out of ten my boyfriend and I purchase this Warburton's medium sliced bread 800g loaf (they also do a 400g version). Since a slice is 40g, this means that there must be 20 slices in a packet. ---Cost and packaging--- This currently costs £1 in Asda (special offer), and £1.45 in Tesco - so it can vary a bit. And isn't usually the cheapest bread on the market. We tend to just pick it up without thinking, but then we don't get through masses of bread! This bread comes in packaging which is mainly a blue colour (it's changed a bit since dooyoo's picture), and is made of paper rather than plastic. It doesn't have a little tab for resealing, but I don't find this to be a problem if you make sure you don't completely rip the paper when first opening it! ---The taste etc--- This bread is definitely best eaten in the first couple of days, and is nice just spread with margarine and eaten (it's easy to spread onto)! It is lovely and soft, and this makes great sandwiches. The sandwiches are fine to be made the night before and then kept in the fridge overnight. The bits on the end of the bread do vary a bit in thickness, but we tend to toast these bits. I find that the slices are exactly the right size for the toaster (although our toaster would take thicker bits too), and a couple of slices of this bread toasted and covered with margarine and marmalade makes a perfect (if slightly unhealthy!) breakfast. ---How does it last?--- We tend to look for the loaf with the longest date on it just to ensure freshness. My boyfriend and I tend to finish the loaf before the best before date, but when we haven't we don't usually let it get to the mouldy stage. If a couple of days out it's perfectly fine still for toasting. When on my own if it looks like I'm not going to finish the loaf, I will freeze it....I then use this for toast later on when I have no bread in, or sometimes for making sage and onion stuffing for the roast chicken (I cannot stand any of that packaged stuffing rubbish!) ---Nutritional information--- Each slice contains 96 calories, which isn't the best, but isn't the worst either. It contains wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, vegetable oil, soya flour, and various other things which I won't list. It is suitable for vegetarians. It's not suitable for those with wheat, gluten and soya intolerances and allergies). ---Finally--- This is not the sort of bread you'd use if you wanted to make sandwiches which would impress someone (really nothing compares with thickly sliced fresh bread from the bakery or made at home), but it is perfectly adequate for the usual everyday sandwiches and toast, and I imagine perfect for families! 4 out of 5 stars from me.

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                    26.10.2013 15:08
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                    A quick and easy read despite the subject matter!

                    ---Intro--- Having become disillusioned with my kindle (I MUCH prefer reading 'real' books) and having recently rediscovered the local library, I am currently working my way through my Amazon wishlist of books which I'm getting from the library (mostly ordered in from other local libraries) rather than buying them. I am saving an absolute fortune and getting to read some really good books. "The Woman Before Me" by Ruth Dugdall was on my wishlist having been a recommended book based on other books I've bought/rated on Amazon (thriller types mainly), and I was fairly confident that it would be an enjoyable read. ---The book--- The book itself doesn't have a particularly inspirational cover - gloomy and grey, with a picture of a wedding dress and some flowers (it's only after reading the book that I note its significance). It says on the cover that the book is winner of the Luke Bitmead Novel Award, and Winner of the CWA Debut Dagger Award. The book was published in 2010 by Legend Press. Its rrp is £7.99 (although I borrowed it free from the local library), and has 288 pages. There are no extras in the book (such as author interviews or extracts from other books) but personally I prefer this as I can see exactly how much I have left to read. ---The Story--- Rose Wilks is in prison having served over 4 years for killing a baby. She is up for parole, and probation officer Cate Austin has to decide whether or not to recommend Rose's early release. Although found guilty of manslaughter, Rose maintains her innocence of the crime. It is difficult to show remorse for a crime when you maintain that you didn't commit that crime. The book begins in the past with what happened that tragic night and the trial which led to Rose's incarceration. Then we move on to now, with Rose in prison, and Cate's new role at the prison and her developing a relationship with Rose. A lot of the chapters (perhaps half of the book) are entitled "Black Book Entry", which are written journal style (or like as a letter to her partner) and in these we learn about Rose's childhood (which was far from easy), transition into adulthood, and how she met the man who she loved more than anything, who fathered her child. Over these entries we gradually build up a picture of what happened - firstly to Rose's own child Joel, and then the build up towards Luke's death. It is clear from the outset that Rose had an unusual relationship with baby Luke, and with Luke's mother Emma. As the Black Book Entries are written in the first person (the rest of the book is written in the third person) we really get an insight into Rose's character, and the difficult experiences which she faced in her childhood, and then as an adult going through the horrendous experience of losing a child. ---The Characters--- For the most part I found the main character Rose fairly likeable (despite her crime), and wanted to find out more about her life and what led to the events. With the chapters written in the first person, Rose was the character which we learnt the most about, and whose perspective things were seen from. The other characters (Emma and Jason in particular) were mostly seen through Rose's eyes. I didn't particularly warm to the character of probation officer Cate (interestingly I see that Ruth Dugdall has worked in the criminal justice system as a probation officer) - not sure why, I just didn't really like her or her attitude. Perhaps because her character wasn't as well developed as it perhaps could have been if the book had been a little bit longer? I don't know. For the most part, the prison staff were not likeable characters at all, and the book didn't do much for my confidence in women's prisons in Britain. ---More thoughts--- Although I don't try and guess what is going to happen in books (and when I do I'm generally wrong), for the most part I did find this book fairly predictable. Although there was a little twist right at the end I didn't find it particularly surprising. It wasn't one of those books which left me thinking "Oh my God, I did not see that coming", nor was it one of those books which left my mind spinning and thinking about the themes raised long after the book was finished (despite the emotive themes I wouldn't say that the book stirred any very strong emotions in me - it certainly didn't make me cry). The book did also seem to end quite abruptly. However, it was a very easy book to read. Although it wasn't impossible to put the book down, I did read it in less than a day (mind you, at 288 pages it wasn't a long read), and I was eager to find out what happened. ---Finally--- It's not the absolute best book I've read lately (but then I have read a lot!), but I did enjoy it. I have already requested one of Ruth Dugdall's other books (she has written three books in total) "The Sacrificial Man" from the library! It can currently be bought new on Amazon for £5.95 (paperback), £3.99 on the kindle, or you could save money and borrow from the library like I did! 8 out of 10 from me.

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                    • Nokia Lumia 920 / Smartphone / 104 Readings / 102 Ratings
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                      19.10.2013 10:06
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                      I really missed my old Nokia N8 - that was MUCH better!

                      ---Intro--- Since everyone else seems to love the Nokia Lumia 920, I thought it was time I wrote a review to redress the balance, as quite frankly I hate it. I loved my Nokia N8, for me it was the best phone I've ever come across. The camera was amazing, it worked really well as an MP3 player (absolutely essential when I was commuting), and it worked well as a phone too. I didn't REALLY want to get rid of it, however it was getting a bit glitchy and having read so many reviews saying how amazing the Nokia Lumia 920 was, I took the plunge. I really wish I hadn't. I wish I'd just got a replacement N8. ---What I paid--- I paid £230 for the handset, on a 24 month contract where I pay around £26 a month (this includes insurance). I got a wireless charger with it (which I sold), and some quite nice headphones in addition to the normal in ear earphones. I sold my old N8 online for £75 which was a lot more than the Orange shop offered me. ---Some specs--- Dimensions - 5.13 x 2.79 x 0.42 inches (130.3 x 70.8 x 10.7 mm) Weight - 185g - it initially seemed quite heavy, but not anymore Display - 4.5 inches Touchscreen - admittedly this does work well and is responsive Talktime - 17 hours (average 12) I don't seem much need to list them all, as if you want to buy the phone you will probably want to look on a technical site anyway. I should perhaps mention that I probably don't use the phone to its full capabilities - this review just focuses on my own experiences of the phone. The phone does look quite nice, and I like the big screen. I believe the phone comes in different colours, but mine is black. I do have a screen protector on it, so it has no scratches on it. I have dropped the phone a number of times with no damage yet (not that it would make much difference!) ---Charging--- One of the first things I noticed when I got the phone home was that my old Nokia chargers didn't work on it, which was a bit of an annoyance - but my boyfriend had plenty which do work (some better than others) and I got one with it. I did also get a wireless charger which personally I find pointless (everyone who has reviewed it seems to love it - I must be missing something) so have sold it. I tend to charge the phone every night regardless of whether or not it needs it. If I've been using the Internet very heavily then I might have to charge it during the day too. As far as phones go this one isn't too bad for holding the charge. ---A Windows 8 Phone--- I quite liked the idea of having a Windows phone. I'm not sure why really, I suppose it does look quite nice. On the screen with all the applications you can move them around and make them smaller or bigger depending on what you want. Mine has a predominantly pink background which I presume I selected! I also have my boyfriend as a big picture/contact, so it's easy to find him to call! ---Contacts--- I found it quite annoying that the phone synced all my contacts with Facebook and Hotmail. This meant that I had to spend ages deleting multiple entries. It is also stupid since I have no intention of ever phoning or texting the vast majority of people I'm friends with on Facebook. ---Phoning--- The phone works ok for making and receiving calls. I suppose this is important. But really I want more than that from a phone, and for me this just doesn't deliver at all. It keeps a history of every call which has ever been made and received on the phone which is interesting if you're bored! ---Texting--- For the most part this is an ok phone to text on (it's fairly easy to type although the predictive text doesn't seem to be good as on my previous phone and it doesn't seem to remember words used), and it's good that you can see the whole conversation you've been having with that person. However, often after sending a text I get a message saying "Can't Send", with the option to try again. Obviously I try again (making sure I have a good signal) and it still comes back as not sent. Then sometimes I find that the person replies to the text while as far as I'm concerned it hasn't sent. Therefore I sometimes send the same text numerous times which is very annoying...and really until someone replies I have no way of knowing if the other person has received it or not. I have never had problems like this with a previous phone (apart from an incident one New Year's Eve when there were network problems and I ended up sending multiple messages). ---The Internet (either using Wifi or my included Internet stuff)--- The only positive aspect of this phone over my previous pones is that it is more user-friendly when browsing the Internet. It's simple to have more than one tab open at once (I tend to keep them there), easy to use and really fast. I enjoy reading and rating reviews on dooyoo on this phone (Ciao isn't quite so good) and do this more than ever before. However, you do notice that using the Internet eats up the battery. There are three touchcreen buttons on the phone - back (which sometimes brings me out of the Internet rather than just back), windows, and search (which takes you to Bing). It is also linked to my hotmail account which makes it easy to check emails when on the go - only annoying thing is that if I delete emails on my phone they're still there when I log in on my computer. It is also very easy to upload pictures to Facebook from my phone (when I have been able to take decent pics - it's fine when taking close ups of things not moving!) and also to email them to myself (I tend to find this easiest when taking photos for reviews). ---Apps and Games--- I'm not going to go through everything, since we all use different things. However, I will mention a few things: GPS - not NEARLY as easy to use as it was on the N8. This is a shame. Games - there is a game I really enjoy playing called "Fruit Ninja" - there is also a demo version of "Angry Birds". Documents - it can be linked to Sky Drive on your computer. It also has a PDF reader which is useful and quick when downloading documents. ---Listening to Music--- It's not difficult, but it's not as easy (or quick) as it was on my N8 getting music from my computer onto my phone. In addition to this it seems virtually impossible to get some songs to be used as ringtones. I'm sure it is possible, but I haven't got the patience. It's an effort as it is converting songs to be able to be used as ringtones. It has been so simple on previous phones choosing a song as a ringtone - it certainly hasn't involved needing to do something to the song on the computer. Since I no longer commute, I don't use this phone as much as an MP3 player as I have with previous ones, and as a result only have around 250 songs on it (rather than over 1000). One nice feature is the Music Mix radio where you can listen to up-to-date music rather than your own MP3s. This makes it a bit more interesting. ---Camera--- This was one of the big reasons that I loved my N8 (12 mega pixels) - the camera was absolutely fantastic, and I got some great pictures with it. I was aware that I was taking a risk with this phone as the camera on this does have less mega pixels (8.7). However, reviews I had read suggested that the camera was comparable. Although I can take good pictures of things which aren't moving (and when I haven't zoomed in), I find it extremely difficult taking photos in focus outside when there's a lot going on. Although depressing the button slightly makes it appear to be in focus, when I actually take the picture it is blurred. Sometimes I can get a decent picture if I take a few, but this is NOT ideal at all, especially if it's a once off photo. The real problem seems to be zooming in. I really don't know what the problem is as I have had no issues taking photos with any other phones (or cameras) EVER. This is very disappointing for me, and basically for me the phone is mostly useless as a camera which is what traditionally I use my phone most for, I have taken to using my boyfriend's digital camera for important things. ---Crashing--- This phone crashes more than any phone I've ever had, and there seems to be absolutely no pattern as to when this happens. It hasn't been too bad lately, which means that in a few weeks it will start crashing at every given opportunity - usually when I'm waiting for an important call or in the middle of a text message conversation. My previous phone only crashed when I downloaded apps which messed with it (a reason I tend to avoid apps these days), this one crashes for no reason. It is fairly easy to reset, by pressing and holding down two of the buttons on the side (the down volume, and on/off button). However, annoyingly when it comes back on the time and date are not correct - they seem to revert to the date and time from the last time my phone had updates. It is really annoying resetting them, only to have the phone crash again the next day. I would have sent back the phone asking for a replacement, except that on this phone's insurance there is a £10 excess (on previous phones it was free to get a replacement) which seems a waste if there's a possibility that the new handset might do the same. ---In the Sun--- I read one review of this phone where someone said that it was easy to read the screen when out in the sun. Personally I find the complete opposite. I have NEVER had a problem with previous phones, but with this one if I'm out and it's sunny I simply cannot see a thing meaning that it is absolutely impossible to send a text message, or to do anything. ---Other--- There are various other things I don't like about the Nokia Lumia 920. My previous two phones had a clock on the screen when the phone wasn't otherwise being used, which I found very useful during the night. With this phone I need to press the button to illuminate the screen in order to see what the time it. I don't think much of the calendar - I find it MUCH harder to keep track of what I'm doing, and what tasks I have than I ever did on the N8 - this is more than an annoyance. It also randomly adds things to the calendar when people have invited me to things on Facebook even if I haven't accepted the invite. Also, you can only see on the home screen the next thing which is happening which isn't much good when you have a busy day ahead. ---Finally--- I am never going to love this phone, but I will tolerate it. I am stuck with it until January 2015 (unless perhaps my boyfriend upgrades his). Even the case I bought for it is tormenting me by falling apart (I thought it was the phone at first). To be honest I've found it quite therapeutic writing this review, and it'll get me a couple of quid back anyway. Perhaps I have come across as a bit harsh - in reality I probably could overcome some of the issues I have with it, with a bit of time and patience. But I don't have any patience with it. Although I loved my N8 and my previous phone (Nokia Xpress Music) I very much think that this is the end of the road for me and Nokia. To say I have been disappointed with this phone is an understatement. I simply cannot understand the good reviews it has received. However, a close friend of mine absolutely hated the N8 which for me was perfect. So I guess it's just down to personal preference. 2 out of 5 stars (only reason for 2 other than 1 is that I enjoy being on dooyoo on my phone).

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                        14.10.2013 13:26
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                        It works mostly ok, but I HATE Sky!

                        ---Intro--- Struggling to find inspiration for a review I thought I'd review something which I'm using pretty much constantly whilst at home since the TV is generally on. I'm sure there's loads of technical stuff that I'll miss out of this review - this is merely my personal experience of it! My boyfriend and I both have the same Sky HD Box (Model DRX890 they say on the bottom - actually it is made by Amstrad rather than Sky itself), so I have used it in both our homes. I got mine free when I first signed up to Sky (I have since left - more about that in a bit) so about 5 years ago, and I believe my boyfriend's (which gets used a lot more) is a similar age. I seem to remember that it came in a box way back when, and I'm sure there is an instruction manual somewhere - however, it is so simple to use that there has never been any need for it. ---What it looks like--- The Sky HD Box is quite nice and modern looking, about the size of a smallish DVD player. It is black and silver in colour, and fits in well with the rest of our stuff! I presume that the matching Sky remote which is also black and silver came with it. ---Guide--- When you go to the 'Guide' you can see what's on TV now. One good thing is that what you're currently watching still shows up in a small screen in the top right corner. Although I haven't owned an older Sky box, I seem to recall other people's which just had a screen with channels, and annoying music playing in the background! The red button will take you to things "On Demand", the green button to "Planner" (where all your recorded stuff, and stuff set to record shows), yellow button to "Favourites", and blue button to "Search" ( a useful function if you have no idea when something is going to be on). One thing which I dislike about Sky is that it shows you all of the channels, including the ones which you don't subscribe to. If you click on one which you don't pay for it says "Call the broadcaster to upgrade your subscription to receive this channel". It's particularly annoying on my home Sky Box (where I no longer have Sky), as it shows all of these channels which I don't have - I wish I could just see those which are available! ---Watching and Recording TV--- It's simple to use - just press the 'Sky' button on the Sky remote to turn it on (or just press the button on our remote which turns everything on making things easier for me!) - when it is on a green light shows rather than red when it's on standby. If you press 'pause', a blue circle lights up (it is within this circle that a red light shows if something is recording). The light moves around the circle when you then watch the TV, showing you that you can fastforward if you want. To fast forward paused TV, you can do this at 2, 6, 12 or 30 times the speed of normal TV - when you catch up to current time the TV will start playing again. With this box you can record two things at once. Therefore if two things are already recording, then you either have to watch one of these, or watch something else which has been previously recorded. This was never an issue for me when on my own, but there have been occasions when my boyfriend is recording two things and I've wanted to watch something else. In which case I've just had to do something else instead! ---Recorded TV--- Generally when I delete two episodes of a soap the free space goes up by 1%. So it does hold a fair bit of stuff (it says it's 500GB)- we usually have about 50% free on it....when it gets to much less I start pestering my boyfriend to delete some of his rugby matches! HD programs do take up a lot more space, so it is worth bearing this in mind when recording things. We did actually get rid of Sky HD at my boyfriends (to save £10 a month) but obviously still get HD on the free channels (like BBC), but I tend to record on the standard non-HD channel to take up less space. Deleting TV is easy, and one good thing is that if you accidentally delete things, it is possible to retrieve them (unless you delete something which is currently recording). ---Problems?--- This box isn't problem free. Sometimes it will crash (my boyfriend's does sometimes when fastforwarding) for no real reason. Normally turning it off and on again sorts it out. Occasionally I have needed to take the viewing card out and put it back in again. I find that after having my Sky Box turned off at the mains at my house (I often just turn everything off when I'm going to be away for a while to save electricity), it can take a long time to get it back on which can be a bit annoying. Then you're faced with the irritating promotional Sky channel - I wish it just went onto the TV Guide! As with any digital TV sender, there are issues when the weather is particularly bad), but generally this Sky HD B ox deals ok with it and service is only interrupted for minimal amounts of time. ---When you leave Sky--- I have left Sky at my house (not at my boyfriend's) since I spend very little time in that house anymore, and have no need for anything other than freeview channels. It was a right hassle cancelling Sky (since although I paid, it was in my ex's name, and Sky don't have a divorce policy so couldn't change it - my boyfriend had to pretend to be my ex to cancel), but we got there in the end. Therefore at my house the Sky HD box works as a freeview box, but without the benefit of being able to pause, rewind, fastforward, record and all of that. It's really weird actually having got so used to being able to pause TV when the phone rings. It's a bit annoying really! Also, none of the stuff which was saved (having been recorded) works anymore. I did know this before they switched it off. I presume it would all work again if my Sky was reactivated. ---Finally--- On the whole the Sky HD Box works ok, and neither of us have had any major problems with it, but it isn't perfect. In addition to this, I absolutely cannot stand Sky (due to the problems I had cancelling with them), so cannot award this any more than 3 stars. You can buy these online (the price range seems to make no sense to me whatsoever) but they are free when you originally sign up to Sky. I'm hoping that we don't have to purchase a new one, as when my boyfriend's one dies (which will probably be before mine), mine should have a bit of life left in it.

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                          12.10.2013 16:53
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                          My favourite shower gel for years!

                          ---Intro--- Although I don't have a lot of money to spend on luxuries, Soap and Glory is something that I do like to buy. Actually it doesn't work out that expensive as it lasts well, but it's more expensive than a supermarket own brand shower gel! My friend bought me a Soap and Glory gift set quite a few years ago, and this "Clean on Me" shower gel was one of the products in it (and it was a full-sized one too). Although I have tried other similar Soap and Glory shower gels, this one remains my all time favourite! I bought the bottle I'm using currently in Boots a while back along with two other gels (already reviewed), and having finished them I'm back to my much-loved "Clean on Me". I bought it in the 3 for 2 offer which is regularly on in Boots! ---The packaging and ingredients etc--- I have the 500ml bottle. I do also have a little travel bottle which I take away (and have refilled from my bigger bottle since finishing it) on my holidays. This comes in the usual gorgeous Soap and Glory pink packaging. - a clear container with a white pump bit on the top. It can be a bit awkward to get it started at first (but I think that's just me!) 'Clean on Me' is described as a 'Clarifying Shower Gel'. It has a black and white photo of a 1950s looking woman peeking out from the shower. Like other Soap and Glory products, there are little bits of text on the bottle, such as "Cleanliness is essential when Godliness is improbable". 'Clean on Me' contains many ingredients (mostly water probably) which I won't list - always check first if you have any skin sensitivities. It also contains instructions for use on the bottle (including turning off the shower whilst applying to avoid it going down the drain). ---Using 'Clean on Me'--- I usually do 3 or 4 little squirts onto my shower puff thingy-do (that's what I call it) - The liquid itself is a very light and pretty pink colour and a nice thick-ish shower gel consistency. It is very creamy (rather than gel-like!) and lathers up really well and is easy to use. I'm useless at being able to tell what fragrances are in products, but I just absolutely love the smell of this. It does say that it contains natural mandarin peel extract (along with bonus built in body lotion - although I'm not absolutely convinced about this), so perhaps that is it. I suppose it is a more fruity than floral scent. There are definitely a few fruits in there somewhere. This shower gel leaves me feeling clean and fresh, and my skin feels nice. What more could anyone want really? I find that these bottles last a good couple of months. It can be a little bit awkward getting the last bit out, but I normally swill it around with water. ---Finally--- "Clean on Me" is my favourite shower gel (although I think that I liked "Clean, Girls" equally). I will certainly continue to purchase this (although will be trying other S & G products along the way) when it's on sale in the 3 for 2 offer in Boots. On its own, 500ml of this costs £6 which isn't really bad for how well it lasts and how lovely it is! 5 out of 5 stars from me!

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                          • Hotpoint CIO644DDZ / Hob / 86 Readings / 85 Ratings
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                            01.10.2013 19:08
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                            Induction - the way forward if you don't mind getting new pans!

                            ---Intro--- I'm used to cooking on a gas hob (and using an electric oven), whilst my boyfriend is used to an electric hob and oven. Therefore when we decided to get a new kitchen I wanted a gas hob and he wanted electric. He argued that it might be difficult to get a gas supply into the kitchen. In hindsight it probably wouldn't have been...but that's beside the point now! Having found electric hobs to be absolutely useless (my boyfriend's dad's takes AGES to bring water to the boil) we compromised on an induction hob. I had heard mostly good things about induction hobs, and thought it would be quite exciting getting all now pans to match our all new kitchen. We chose the Hotpoint CIO644DDZ mainly because we were attracted by the boosters on each of the 4 rings (and also the fact that the rings varied in size). Having had Hotpoint appliances in the past we were optimistic about it. We bought it online from Appliances Direct for the fantastic price of £329 - it can currently be found online for £479 (but often it costs a lot more). ---Installing the Hob--- Obviously there is installation information in the instruction manual. This was a relatively straightforward procedure for my boyfriend, but he is a qualified electrician. If you're not an electrician, then I would suggest that you get one to fit it. The hob is clamped onto the work surface from underneath, and although it was a ltitle bit fiddly, it was nowhere near as difficult or stressful as fitting the new kitchen sink! I told my boyfriend that I was writing a review, and asked him what I needed to include when talking about installation. He said that this hob takes a lot of power, so needs a circuit breaker just for it (previously we had a circuit breaker which covered the hob and oven which was an all in one thing). He also said to make sure that you have the right thickness cables. Finally he said that although we did install a heat shield underneath the hob, he didn't think it was absolutely necessary. Right, that's that out of the way - now onto the important bit - what it looks like and cooking on it! ---What it looks like and power etc--- The induction hob is a shiny black colour (made of beveled glass), with a strip of stainless steel at the front. I personally feel like the induction hob takes up less space than a gas hob would since it blends in with the work surfaces. I know you're not meant to put things on it...but it does end up sometimes being used as additional temporary workspace. The hob has touch controls, with individual temperature buttons from 0 to 9, and a button (with a diagram showing which ring) plus a booster button for each ring. There is also a timer control, power button and lock button. I say buttons, but as already mentioned, they're really touch controls not buttons! The cooking zones are as follows (I is the single induction cooking zone, B is with the booster): Back Left - I 1400 - B 2000 Back Right - I 2200 - B 3000 Front Left - I 2200 - B 3000 Front Right - I 1400 - B 2000 Total Power - 7200 (W) - note, that maximum power is limited whole booster is activated. As you can see from the power levels (and possibly dooyoo's picture), the back right and front left rings are bigger than the other two (they have a double ring so you can easily see), so I tend to use these for big things like curries and steaming veg, while I'll use the smaller ones for boiling a serving of pasta for one. Each ring says on it "Induction" and "Booster", and "Hotpoint" is written in the centre of the hob. It's a very nice looking hob. When using it, the numbers on the digital display (and booster etc) show in red, so it is very clear, and easy to see at a glance which ring is on which setting. After use, an "H" shows to remind you that the hob is still hot, and later on a smaller "h" before disappearing completely. ---Using the Hob--- Having only really used gas hobs I approached our new induction hob with some trepidation. I'm really not very technically minded, and I worried that I might find it all a bit confusing. However, 6 months on and it's like I've been using it forever. First things first, if it doesn't work when you press the 'On' button, make sure it's switched on at the wall! My boyfriend sometimes turns it off which confuses me a bit. Once you're pressed the on button (well, it's a touch sensor really rather than a button) you're ready to go. Each ring has 9 power levels, plus a boost function. Inside the instruction manual there is a guide for which setting to have it on for cooking certain things which could be useful for new users (for instance 2-4 for stews, and 5-6 for slow thickening) - I found that we've just worked this out ourselves though as we go along. Each power level does have a maximum operating time - level 1 is 9 hours, level 9 is 1 hour (and the rest are in between). After this the cooking zone will automatically turn off. Personally I think 3 hours is about the maximum I've had something on (a stew) but I trust that it works. To cook simply choose which setting you want and put the pan on the hob (or put the pan on first). Until the pan is on the hob then nothing will happen (the indicator light will flash if there's no pan, a pan that's too small, or a non-induction pan). Induction hobs are good like this because they're not wasting power unless a pan is actually on them (it stops as soon as you remove a pan too)...it also means that you're unlikely to burn yourself on the rings. Induction hobs (well, the pans on them anyway) do heat up really quickly - perhaps ever so slightly slower than gas, but it is comparable. This Hotpoint induction hob is certainly impressive, and actually beat the kettle when we had a little race! The booster certainly makes a difference. I do struggle sometimes with pasta, and getting that balance between not over boiling, and simmering enough to cook! This is further complicated with whether I decide to use the pan lids or not (I usually do in order to save energy). Usually I have to keep a close eye on pasta at all times. This is a bit strange really, as I don't usually have any problems with rice or potatoes. It's fantastic though, as even when the pan does over boil, it isn't a huge problem. Small amounts can just be wiped up then and there (without even turning it off - not something you could do with gas). If a large spillage occurs, then it automatically turns itself off - clever hob! The hob has a timer which is a nice feature (and it's simple to use), although not something which we use a great deal as with most things we'll be checking to see when they're done. However, it can be useful if you have a specific amount of time you want something to be simmering for. To change the heat setting whilst cooking then make sure you have the right cooking zone selected before choosing which power level. This can get a bit difficult for me when cooking 2 or more things at once, especially when something is about to boil over (I'm thinking making white sauce in particular) - but it's all about getting used to it. We usually only use one or two pans at a time, but this hob works well too when using all four rings which is particularly the case if doing a Sunday roast - looking forward to use it for Christmas this year! ---Induction pans--- The fact that only pans suitable for induction hobs work on the induction hob is simply a fact. It's not a warning since it's not dangerous to put other pans on it - they simply won't work! Pans which work on induction hobs include enameled steel, iron, stainless steel (depending on the alloy) and some aluminum pans with a ferromagnetic base. When the hob was up and running it was time to test out our current pans to see if we had anything which we could cook with. My boyfriend's wok works, and my large soup pan works, but that was it. We bought a decent set of pans from Wilkinsons, and a VERY cheap set of little pans from Ikea (£6). We have since bought an additional frying pan, and have a roasting dish which can be put on the hob (to make gravy in after the meat has cooked). I suppose that the fact that an induction hob potentially means new pans need purchasing might be a downside for some people, but we saw it as a positive thing. ---Cleaning--- One of the best things about an induction hob over gas is how easy it is to keep clean - just a damp sponge does the trick. It cleans up really easily and looks as good as new - hopefully this will continue (it is still early days). After frying chicken there was grease everywhere, so it was good having something that was easy to clean. The thing I dislike about my gas hob is when bits of food get struck in various places - this doesn't happen with an induction hob as you just wipe it clean. Obviously it is easy to wipe a normal electric hob too...however, not so easy/safe when it's red hot! There is further cleaning advice in the instruction manual. ---Other--- Hopefully I've covered the important aspects of the Hotpoint CIO644DDZ induction hob, but there's just a few more little points to make: Noise during use - there are various different noises you might hear when using the induction hob. For instance a whistling noise when a pan is empty. Usefully, all of these noises are explained in the instruction manual! Control Panel Lock - useful especially if you have children. There is a buzzer which warns you if something is on the control panel (such as a pan) for longer than 10 seconds, if something has been spilt on the control panel, or if a button has been pressed for too long. This is a useful warning system especially since I'm often oblivious to such things. There is a warning for people with pacemakers (as with all induction hobs), so bear this in mind before purchasing. It comes with a 12 months Parts and Labour Guarantee, and a 5 Year Parts Guarantee is available. For once, the instruction manual is actually pretty useful (as I think I've indicated throughout this review), so I'd certainly recommend reading through it before starting to use your hob. ---Finally--- Although I do still think that gas is slightly easier to control, I am very happy with our induction hob and think that it is certainly the future. It's a LOT safer than gas too. There were at least 3 occasions where my ex husband left a gas ring lit after cooking (even overnight) and I nearly had a heart attack on each occasion. The best thing is that you're MUCH less likely to burn yourself when using an induction hob. Plus as well there's the ease of cleaning it, which is absolutely essential since we want to keep our nice new kitchen looking nice and new! I know that there are a lot of induction hobs on the market, but I'd certainly recommend this Hotpoint CIO644DDZ due to the different powered rings and the boosters. I hope that it lasts us a good long time as it's been a good 7 months so far. Really I can't find any faults with this at all. 5 out of 5 stars from me and my boyfriend!

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                            • Prestige 55846 / Toaster / 107 Readings / 106 Ratings
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                              26.09.2013 14:34
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                              Meets all my toasting needs!

                              ---Intro--- Back in January my boyfriend and I got a new kitchen. We were on a relatively tight budget, so bought the kitchen from Ikea and installed it all ourselves (the kitchen sink was a bit stressful). Well, when I say "ourselves", he did 80% and I did 20%! After it was all done and paid for (by my boyfriend) I wanted to at least contribute something, and since I had some Amazon voucher saved up from dooyoo I decided that I would find and purchase us a toaster. My boyfriend's old one was barely useable as it tended to properly burn the edges, and we wanted something nice and shiny which matched our new kitchen. A toaster isn't something which we use every day, but when we do we want it to be a quick and easy process, so a 4-slice toaster was what we were after. So, I spent many happy hours perusing the Internet (and Amazon in particular) until I found us the perfect toaster within my £40 budget. After much deliberation and having read many toaster reviews I thought that the Prestige 55846 was ideal...for those who are interested, Prestige also do a matching kettle (the ECO). I ordered this toaster in March - it cost £29.99 including P&P, but took nearly a month to be delivered (and then I was away while it was delivered!) It is currently on Amazon for £44.96, so I think I got it for a good price! ---The Prestige 4 slice toaster--- The toaster is made from plastic and has a glossy black (which matches other things in the kitchen) finish round the sides, with shiny silver metal at the top (it says Prestige on the sides). The buttons, lever and setting slide (along with the bottom of the toaster) are a matt grey colour. It is pretty big, being 30 x 30 x 19.5 cm, but not as big as many 4-slice toasters. It weighs 3.2kg which feels quite light. The lead to the plug is a decent length. It really is a lovely looking toaster, and while doing my research I felt it was the nicest looking for the price. The toaster has 4 deep, variable width toasting slots which should toast a variety of bread sizes. We do tend to buy ready sliced bread, so none of those doorstop pieces of bread and toast of my childhood. However, I can see that this toaster would certainly toast thicker and bigger in size pieces of bread than my boyfriend's old one would (I struggled to fit thick crumpets in that). ---Making toast--- Before making toast we move the toaster out from under the cupboard as we don't want any hot air damaging it. Then we're good to go. Choose which setting you want (there are 6 on a sliding scale - depending on how well browned you like your toast) and simply put the bread in the toaster and push down the lever (there are two - one for each set of two slices) which is very easy to use - a blue light comes on to show it's in action. It makes a slight buzzing when it first starts toasting until (I imagine) the elements have heated up. If using all four slices, one side always pops up just before the other (even when on exactly the same setting) which gives me a chance to start buttering them! The advantage of having the buttons (which I should mention are described as "high-quality soft touch controls") and settings on each side of the toaster is that one of you can have your toast more well done than the other if you so desire. I tend to do mine on the mid range setting of 3, and my toast comes out lightly golden (even all over). If you do a second batch of toast it does come out slightly darker than the first, so just be aware of this if doing lots of toast and adjust the setting accordingly if needed. When the toast is done it pops up automatically. You can cancel it mid-cycle as well if you want (to check how it's doing if you're not quite sure), with the button - don't do what my mother used to do and force the lever upwards - this results in broken toasters - as a child we only ever had a toaster occasionally for about 2 weeks before she broke it, so we generally relied on the grill - she has since learnt though! For the purposes of review writing I have timed how long it takes to make toast. It does seem to take slightly longer than some (although I have never timed toast before), but that could be because it feels like a long time while doing nothing - normally I'd be making coffee at the same time. It takes 3 minutes 1 second on setting 3, and 3 minutes 18 seconds on setting 4. The toaster doesn't get particularly hot which is good as I tend to pick it up and move it back as soon as I've used it. Although it's a basic toaster, there is at least a defrost setting (just press the button), which is useful when you've frozen bread. Since we don't eat a lot of bread I sometimes freeze a few slices if I don't think we'll get through it. The defrost setting works well on the occasions I use it. ---Crumpets and other stuff--- Aside from bread, crumpets are the other thing that I toast regularly - I do love a nice crumpet (I have even reviewed them in the past). I do them on setting 3 as I do toast, and they always come out exactly how I like them. They don't always pop up properly, but this isn't a problem since you can use the high lift facility to remove them. You could also toast other things such as muffins and hot crossed buns. ---Cleaning--- There are two crumb trays (one for each side) which are easily emptied. It took my 5 years of having my old toaster before I realised that it had a crumb tray (and I was forever tipping it upside down and shaking it - amazingly it still works after 9 years). Quite a few crumbs do gather round the top of the toaster, but this isn't a huge problem. To clean the outside and make it nice and shiny again I just wipe it with a slightly damp cloth (I did it whilst writing this review) - it shines up well, ---Finally--- We are happy with our toaster. It is a basic model which doesn't have any exciting functions (like reheating facilities - but you could just pop toast back in for a few seconds) but it is a really smart looking toaster which meets our toasting needs fine and we've had nice toast for the past 5 months to go with our nice kitchen. The toaster comes with a 2 year guarantee, but I hope it will last a lot longer than that. 5 out of 5 stars from me!

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                              • Daewoo KOR2000 / Microwave / 83 Readings / 81 Ratings
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                                22.09.2013 21:16
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                                An old microwave which is still going strong!

                                ---Intro--- Although we tend to cook most food on our lovely induction hob or nice new double oven (reviews of these will surely follow), or at my boyfriend's dad's house, a microwave is still an important addition to our kitchen. This microwave is an old one (my boyfriend purchased about 7 years ago), but it fit in really well with our new kitchen's colour scheme (it is freestanding rather than built in), and since it still works absolutely fine, there is no point in getting a new one until we have to. This microwave was first available in 2001, and is no longer on sale. However, if it is indicative of other Daewoo microwaves, then hopefully this review will still serve a purpose of some sort! ---The Daewoo KOR2000--- This is a pretty basic microwave. It is an 800 watt microwave, and has a 0.7 cubic foot capacity. The volume is 20 litres. It doesn't have any fancy features like a fan, convection heating, grill function, humidity sensor, thermo sensor or weight sensor. It is simply a cheap and cheerful microwave! My boyfriend thinks it cost about £40 (he can't be exact) which is similar to what mine at home cost. That's not bad at all spread over 7 years, especially since it's still going strong. It's made of stainless steel (with stainless steel buttons), which fits in really well with our other appliances. It is a very nice looking microwave, particularly for the price. The casing is black, with the door being black and silver. When turned on, as with all microwaves, it lights up. The long silver handle (on the right hand side of the door) is nice, and easy to use - sometimes they can be placed awkwardly on microwaves. What it does have is a Concave Reflex System - according to Daewoo, this " combines a Dual Wave System that generates waves from above and below, and a concave reflector that spreads them evenly around the oven, for quicker, more even cooking." It also has 5 power levels, an auto defrost setting, auto cook, and a child safety lock. There are also four auto cook options of dinner plate, beverage, soup and fresh vegetable - neither of us have used these as we tend to just guess a time for things. I like the fact that it has an electronic touch control (you just move the knob round to adjust weight and time) which is dead easy to set. The time limit can be set for anything up to 60 minutes (I have never microwaved anything for anywhere near close to that!) I'm not sure what the specifications (which I've found online) mean when it says that this has no turntable, as it does have a turntable, with a glass plate on it. Incidentally you can purchase replacement plates for this microwave for just under £30 - seems quite steep! The plate is easy to keep clean. In fact the microwave in general is pretty easy to clean (when we occasionally do), possibly since it's small. The outside of the microwave shines up well, and there is no way it looks 7 years old. When not using, the microwave displays a digital clock (which can either be a 12 or 24 hour clock), which is a nice addition (but something else to reset when there's a power cut!) The digital display in general is useful, as on some cheap microwaves I've encountered there is just a dial which never seems to be very exact. ---What I use it for--- Porridge - I love porridge, and find it much easier to do in the bowl in the microwave as it saves on washing up - I do watch it though as on one occasion it bubbled over the bowl! Having a microwave was an essential while we were getting our new kitchen, as it meant I could still have porridge. It also meant that we could eat other hot foods like baked beans and soup! Freezer Surprise - since we make most of our food from scratch, we often make extra and freeze it in portions either for one or two (I call these Freezer Surprise since I don't label them when I freeze - it's one of the biggest excitements in my life!) These individual portions of curry or chili con carne are ideal for when my boyfriend's at work and I'm left to fend for myself. I tend to put them in for a few minutes, then stir, and do it again until it's done. It is never an exact science, but I've never had any problems. With portions of lasagne for two, it can take over 15 minutes (sometimes we'll put it on defrost for a bit to start with), but this is the same with my microwave at home. Ready Meals - only very occasionally, and normally bought when on special offer. I cook these in much the same way as freezer surprise, although following the microwave cooking instructions - they have always come out ok which indicates that the microwave works as it should. We also sometimes use it for those packets of rice if we can't be bothered with the time it takes for normal rice on the hob! Defrosting - weirdly on the defrost setting, it beeps a minute before the time is up (you adjust the dial to the weight of what you're defrosting). I generally use this setting when I've frozen cauliflower cheese, as if I just use the normal microwave setting it can end up with some bits hot and some bits still cold. I also use this setting for defrosting meat sometimes if we've got it out too late. Defrosting chicken like this is never really ideal, but not a problem if you're then going to cut it up and cook it slowly to make curry. Reheating - occasionally if for some reason I've let my food go cold, I just pop it back in the microwave for a minute or so. As with any microwaves it does make a bit of a noise when the timer goes off. If my boyfriend is asleep (the bedroom is directly above the kitchen) I tend to stand close to it and stop it just before the timer goes off. This is a fairly small microwave, and possibly when we get a new one we'll get one slightly larger. However, it is perfectly adequate for our limited use of it. ---Finally--- This microwave isn't currently available, and I imagine is unlikely to be available again. One was recently sold on eBay for £16.55. However, having been impressed with this model, we would definitely consider a Daewoo microwave (apparently they make 10% of the world's microwaves) in the future when this one finally stops working. 5 out of 5 stars from me and my boyfriend.

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                                • Dyson DC04 / Vacuum Cleaner / 83 Readings / 83 Ratings
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                                  19.09.2013 16:31
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                                  I hope that newer Dysons last this well!

                                  ---Intro--- I had always wanted a Dyson, but my ex had never let me, so it was one of the first big things I bought for myself after he left. I love my Dyson (the DC19) which I've had for over 2 years now....and we'll probably have to bring it to my boyfriend's house when his finally dies. On meeting my boyfriend I was pleased to find that he also had a Dyson vacuum cleaner, although his is a lot older than mine. My boyfriend tells me that he bought this DC04 around 10 years ago, for around £150. That doesn't sound bad at all, even if it dies tomorrow, that will have worked out very cost effective! Having mostly lived at my boyfriend's for the past year and a half, I feel equipped to write a review of the DC04, since I use it regularly. Although this is not a product that anyone is likely to buy now (therefore I will keep it fairly brief), I feel that writing the review just goes to illustrate what long-lasting and effective vacuum cleaners Dyson produces! ---What it looks like--- Although fairly old, I still like the look of this Dyson (I know some people don't, but I like the look of Dysons in general). I believe that this model comes in various different colours, as ours is grey and a nice bright light green. It looks exactly like dooyoo's picture aside from the yellow bits being green! The cord is very long which is useful when cleaning the whole house as you don't have to change sockets that frequently. ---Using the DC04--- This can be used in two ways. Either as a traditional upright where you push it forwards and backwards, or by using the long extendable hose (this also has a brush attachment, and another plastic bit which you can use). As a rule I prefer using it in its upright position when vacuuming the rooms with carpets. It doesn't always pick up everything straight away, but I think that's most likely due to its age. For the rooms without carpets (kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom) we tend to use the hose attachment to ensure we pick up all the dirt! This means you can also vacuum up other things like window sills, ovens, and the chopping board! Using the hose is fantastic for picking up all the hair which I leave on the bedroom floor round by my hair straighteners, and also for getting the dust which accumulates behind the bed and sofa! Since the DC04 is quite heavy, it isn't as easy as some vacuums, especially when doing the stairs (carrying it is a bit awkward). However, due to the hose being long and extendable, doing the stairs isn't that much of a burden. I have to admit that when I first started using this, I did struggle a little bit with the hose and getting it slotted back in afterwards, but soon got used to it. In terms of noise, it isn't the quietest vacuum, but then it isn't the loudest either. The noise doesn't bother me at all when I'm using it, but I don't like it when my boyfriend is vacuuming. There is a label on the vacuum saying that it is a cyclone with no loos of suction. Personally I feel that the suction on Dysons is unbeatable! ---Maintenance--- This vacuum cleaner has a huge capacity (around 4 litres I believe), and is relatively easy to empty when it gets full (there is a maximum line which we regularly go above!) Personally I like it being bagless as I think that they are just a waste of money. When the Dyson starts struggling a bit, my boyfriend washes the filter. He has never actually changed it, which I think is amazing for 10 years (it does say on it that they are lifetime filters). Cleaning the filter always gives the Dyson a new lease of life - but I think we are running on borrowed time now. When I consider how much it's been used, especially in the past year - getting a new kitchen involved LOTS of vacuuming (especially the replastering), and more recently the loft insulation and new central heating have created mess which needed to be picked up! In the 10 years my boyfriend has had the DC04, the only problem he has had was the breaking of the extendable hose (which has happened twice), which he replaced with new ones on eBay for about £10. Dysons come with a 5 year warrantee, but it was after that had run out. To be honest I think that this is due to the amount that the hose feature is used - my boyfriend certainly favours this over using it as a normal upright vacuum. ---Finally--- I continue to be impressed by this DC04. It is 10 years old, and just keeps going. It is pretty heavy duty, and very well made. It deals well with usual vacuuming, but also when there is more major stuff to be done - like picking up plaster. If you're not already a Dyson fan...then certainly consider one for your next vacuum! I just hope that newer models are as long lasting as this one. 5 out of 5 stars from me!

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