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milmol7

milmol7
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Member since: 01.05.2013

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    • Whiskas Crunch / Cat Food / 15 Readings / 12 Ratings
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      04.04.2014 19:17
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      • "Good packaging"
      • "Quantity in the pack"

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      • "My cats can take or leave them"

      Not a hit with us, hard to understand the point of the product.

      My partner bought these Whiskas crunch by accident, thinking they were cat treats. In fact they are intended to be used as topping for cats' wet food. The tub is identical in shape to Whiskas cat treats, but about twice as deep, containing literally hundreds of the little mini-biscuits. Each one is only about 5mm x 5mm, shaped like a cat head, and there really is very little to them. There is no smell to speak of, but they are supposedly flavoured with chicken, turkey and duck. When I used the topping on my cats food, I didn't notice any significant excitement in the cats or relish from eating their food, in fact at the end, some of the crunch remain, its as if its actually an inconvenience. I do understand that it adds another texture to the cats meals, but I don't entirely understand what the intended benefit is. On the other hand though, they do come to me to have them as treats when its bedtime, and they do seem quite excited by them then. That said, they tend to get swallowed whole, due to their tiny size, so its hard to imagine what the attraction is. I really like the packaging of these Crunch, as I do the Whiskas treats, because they have a proper plastic lid which clips on and off to keep them secure from curious and determined cats if they happen to be left out of the cupboard. The pot also lends itself to pouring the topping onto the food, being large enough to get a good secure hold of. In all, I'd say I'm pretty underwhelmed by this product, and my cats are probably not much more excited than that either. In our case, we are struggling to see the point of them.

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    • Walkers Crisps / Other Food / 28 Readings / 22 Ratings
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      30.03.2014 14:40
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      • "Fewer burnt crisps"
      • Freshness

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      • Expensive

      Great crisps

      I don?t eat a huge quantity of snacks, but when I have a bag of crisps, I always prefer it to be Walkers. The reasons for this are several: Freshness, few crushed crisps, great flavours, few burnt crisps.

      The first two of those things are down to the packaging. Walkers must take great care in their packaging, both in design and execution because the crisps always seem to reach the supermarket in great shape, the bags looking pristine despite being packed into boxes and transported however-far. It?s not always the case with other brands, where bags and contents sometimes are ? or look like like they have been - crushed or squashed. This means that most of the time, opening a bag you will be met by mostly complete crisps of varying sizes.

      Burnt crisps are a pet hate of mine, they are essentially wasted crisps. With some brands I find you will often get one or two in the packs, and this was also the case with Walkers up until relatively recently, although again this is somethiing which their production and quality control techniques must have addressed because I find that they?re few and far between these days. Mostly the crisps are bright and light in colour to go with the nice crunch from the crisps.

      Walkers like to be experimental with flavours, as well as constantly supplying their ?staples? ? Ready Salted, Salt n Vinegar, Cheese & Onion ? to a uniform taste and high quality. In the main, I find that they always pack the flavour in, and give a close match to the claimed flavour.

      Most of the flavours will give around 170 kcal for a standard sized bag, all the nutritional values are detailed on the back of individial packets. Most of the crisps are suitable for vegans, with the exception ? bizarrely ? of cheese and onion!

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        15.02.2014 13:36
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        Worth the extra for my own needs,

        I bought these the last time I was stocking up on Rennie, when the range was on offer, and I spotted that they were only 20p more than the standard tablets. As "Extra", shouting that they would be at work within 2 minutes, it seemed a no-brainer. Being a real stickler for value for money, I was horrified when I realised when I got home that the pack contained 12 tablets as opposed to the 20p cheaper standard packs containing 24! Not such a bargain after all.

        Suddenly the stakes were much higher the next time these came into action, they needed to be really spectacular - and I am usually more than happy with standard Rennie anyway, so I felt I'd really made a mistake. When the time came to reach for them, I decided I'd take just one - I would normally take two standard ones, so this would really soften the blow if it worked. Sure enough, one tablet had almost instant effect. I probably don't suffer the most severe heartburn attacks, but all the same, I want quick relief - and these undoubtedly gave that.

        I read up on the ingredients to see that the "extra" name applied to a third active ingredient over and above the standard range - alginic acid. Apparently, this is a naturally occurring acid which acts to physically prevent reflux by somehow "sealing" the contents of the stomach in so that the burning acid can't flow back up to give the associated pain. This seal physically stays in place for several hours before naturally breaking down, which is proven out by the long-lasting relief I got from the single tablet. I've never taken one of these tablets and needed a follow up dose - again, something that does happen from time to time with the standard ones.

        The tablets themselves are the same as many other indigestion tablets - square white tablets about 1.5cm across to suck or chew. The texture is chalky and the taste is fresh mint, which is pretty pleasant.

        The fact that there is scientifically an "extra" element to these tablets, as well as the proven speed of effectiveness on half the dosage (for my own needs) this turned out to actually be a very decent purchase and I will certainly buy again.

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        • Carplan T-Cut / Car Care / 46 Readings / 46 Ratings
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          12.02.2014 23:02
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          • Effect

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          Every car owner should have a bottle in the garage.

          I have kept a bottle of T-cut in my car-care box for as long as I remember, and although it thankfully doesn't get used very often, it's one of those products that I think it's good to always have to hand. That's because it's the most effective product I've ever found for working out shallow scrapes and scratches from car paintwork.

          The product is a runny liquid - a creamy/yellowy colour and it is applied with a damp cloth to an affected area, a small amount at a time, and applied in small circular motions. The liquid quickly dries into a matt finish and it needs to be polished out with a clean cloth, and in my experience this part does require (and benefit from) some serious 'elbow-grease'. The process can be repeated if necessary.

          I have had some really good results using T-cut, sometimes fully polishing out minor scratches but always diminishing scratches and as long as there aren't associated dents then careful application of T-cut can genuinely make it so that scratches are unnoticeable.

          If you have the time, energy and inclination, T-cutting the whole car after a wash will give the ultimate in show-room shine finish to it, but I've only ever done this once - years ago - and it is a major operation because of needing to work small areas at a time, and the amount of polishing required. Plus, if the liquid is left to dry on the car paintwork for too long it becomes almost impossible to polish off for me personally. I keep it for the "just in case" moments and I have better value waxing products which do that job easier. There is a definite air of long-lasting protection given when this is done, however, and in current winter conditions, with all the road salt and so on around, it would certainly be beneficial - if you could muster the inclination.

          My current bottle is a good few years old, and the only problem with it is that the cap is a tight fit and it doesn't close easily now. That said, judging from the image with this product, the design has changed from my flip-top cap version over time, which is testament to how long it's lasted!

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            10.02.2014 19:18
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            Great addition to my kitchen equipment!

            This was a Christmas gift which I had seen reviewed on dooyoo and remember thinking "what a great concept", so I was really pleased to receive it.

            **The board**
            The idea is that this is a kitchen chopping board which is designed so that when you grab the handle, the sides fold upwards to create a chute to tip the contents of your board into a pot without losing the items over the sides. The board comes in a range of funky colours and made from a rigid tough plastic.

            The size of the chopping area on the board is about 22x26cm, which is more than enough for chopping veg. The front edge when the board is in the chute shape is about 12cm wide so it's going to be fine for most saucepans you'd be cooking veg in.

            It works very well and is designed well too. There are no ridges on the chopping side - the lines of the folds are still completely smooth, with the scoring of the board to enable the folding being all entirely on the underside. Also underneath is a number of non-slip strips which do their job well whilst you're chopping.

            **In use**
            The board does not sit perfectly flat when placed on the worktop, the sides are very slightly permanently raised, but this doesn't hamper chopping in any way because it's only very slight, and your natural pressing down cutting action does this. The handle is also permanently curved up at the sides which make it easy to pick up and use, and when it is grabbed, it gives a sure one-handed grip and works perfectly to create that great chute effect.

            We have used the board most days and there is evidence of chopping as there would be with any such plastic board but it does look and feel very sturdy and like it will last well compared to other plastic chopping boards I've owned. When in use, the non-slip feet work great on my gloss-top work surfaces.

            The board is very easy to clean thoroughly and the lack of grooves or ridges on the main surface is pleasing as there is less chance of bits getting stuck there, and germs being harboured.

            **Summary**
            The only downside of this product really is the price. At around £15, this always needed to be a gift for me, I'd never have paid that much for a chopping board. That said, it is clearly a quality product and if it's in your price range then I would have to say, it's actually probably decent value for money.

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              02.02.2014 15:51
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              A real treat but unfortunately for me not something that could become a regular thing.

              After a recent break at a Hilton hotel, I came home with a couple of these conditioners thanks to an over-enthusiastic room service, and I have to say that using this conditioner along with it's counterpart shampoo has been an absolute treat for me and my hair.

              The conditioner is a creamy texture, with a cream colour to it. It doesn't really have a strong fragrance, it's simply what I'd describe as a neutral, clean smell. When applied to my hair, there was no immediate feeling of softness which I've experienced with other conditioners, although my usual hair care regime involves a "2 in 1" approach. I massaged the conditioner over my hair, working all over the strands for a couple of minutes the first time, feeling very sceptical, but making the most of the claimed "luxury" toiletries. I then left my hair whilst I took the rest of my shower, before rinsing out, which would be another few minutes. When it came to rinsing out, I really felt the lovely benefit of this conditioner, and immediately I could feel that my hair took on a really gorgeous softness.

              Following towel and blow-drying, my hair was amazingly conditioned and truly softer than I can recall any other product making it. I usually apply some wax or gel-type product on my hair for styling, but after using these products, I was reluctant to do so. It just felt like such a waste of such beautifully soft hair to apply anything else to it and whenever I've used it, I've left my hair natural afterwards. Even though it's short, my hair fell really naturally and looked shiny. The feelings of softness have lasted throughout the evenings and the days I've used it.

              The retail of this brand is beyond my normal price range for hair care, and honestly it's not likely that I'll buy it at full price, but it has been a great opportunity to use this conditioner alongside the shampoo to see that you do get money's worth when it comes to quality hair care products. A 250ml bottle/tube of this conditioner is around £12 online.

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            • CKS Mushroom Brush / Gadget / 33 Readings / 32 Ratings
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              02.02.2014 12:48
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              Glad we bought it, worth picking up for the right price

              This cute little mushroom brush is used to brush excess dirt off mushrooms if and when it's your preference not to peel them. Personally I prefer not to peel mushrooms as somehow I perceive them to be more flavoursome with the skins on. A gentle but thorough dusting with this brush will remove any excess soil or dirt and leave them ready to use.

              The brush is a small coloured plastic dome approximately 3-4 cm diameter (mirroring the cap of the mushroom) with 2cm long nylon bristles underneath mirroring the stalk. The size and shape of the brush makes it easy to hold in the hand and use. It's a funky little design and a neat item. It's well made, the plastic is robust and looks good as new after many years, and all the bristles are still in tact. The bristles are well designed - initially you'd think soft to the touch, but they are stiff enough to remove the dirt without being too stiff as to damage the mushrooms.

              The only problem with the brush is that using it on a large quantity of mushrooms at a time the bristles get very dirty and is not easy to clean at all. I just wash it in the washing up bowl with all the other dishes but over time they're no longer back to the true white of when the brush was new.

              We eat a lot of mushrooms and use the brush regularly. The only alternative really which we did previously is to try wipe/dust with kitchen towel which can quickly get messy.

              Although its one of those "what on earth did you buy that for?" purchases to some people, it's actually a really useful thing to own. I've just seen that these are up to £8 on Amazon, and I couldn't really argue their case at that price, but if you shop around I think we paid around £3 which is about right.

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                31.01.2014 19:37
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                Probably best suited to mild conditions/attacks

                I have tried a variety of heartburn relief over the years, and my preference is usually for Rennie. Once when I was looking to buy some in Tesco, I spotted their own brand version alongside them working out at less than half the cost (these were around £2 for 48, whereas Rennies were more than that for 24 at the time) I thought they had to be worth a try.

                The tablets are in blister strips which are easy to pop through and they're white button-shaped tablets, about 1cm across, so very easy to take. The box says that they can be sucked or chewed, but as with all indigestion tablets my preference is just to crunch them up as quickly as possible, as I don't really like the sensation. These do have the familiar chalky texture but they are soon gone and for me, taking indigestion tablets is a necessary evil. The box is clearly labelled as peppermint, which is important for me as I can't stand spearmint, and the flavour is a pleasant fresh mint. The dosage is to take one or two as required, but in the main I always take two.

                I found these tablets to work quickly, taking them for heartburn, but I really noticed a difference from my usual brand in that the heartburn came back. This happened quite often when taking these, and it came back quickly too - within half an hour or so. It's for that reason that I've never tried these again, preferring the added reliability I get from the branded version. By the same token, looking at my analysis of them, for the cost, I guess they would be good to keep to hand for mild symptoms of heartburn or indigestion, but in my personal case it's more of when I get heartburn I get it quite badly and want a more lasting effect.

                Tesco have rebranded since the dooyoo image here, they now come in a bright red box with a slight hint of the look of a box Rennie about them!

                Looking to summarise, I'd say that I don't feel like I wasted my money, but I won't be buying again.

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                30.01.2014 19:33
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                Time to give these another try I think, very effective which is the main thing.

                I've suffered with indigestion fairly regularly for quite a while, and I've tried various off the shelf remedies over the years. My purchase of Bisodol was probably a bit of a strange one, considering the quantity that I ended up investing in. I bought a box of them which contained 5 rolls of the tablets, each roll containing 20! I think I paid around £3 for the pack which compared extremely favourably with Rennies which I usually buy. The pack states that the flavour is peppermint, which I usually like, and the tablets claim to be triple action - "acid indigestion, trapped wind and heartburn".

                The tablets are a little bigger than a 5p piece and about twice the thickness. If you're old enough to remember tubes of Refreshers sweets, these tablets are about the same size as those! The texture is chalky, which I'm generally fine with, but there was something about the flavour that really put me off these tablets. It is admittedly a peppermint flavour, which I normally prefer, but I can't put my finger on why these tablets are just unpleasant for me to take. I only got through about 2/3 of one packet before I decided to cut my losses and buy some of my favoured Rennie,

                In fairness, the taste does not linger long, and it's certainly a short, sharp, shock approach, soon gone, and most importantly I must admit that the actual result of Bisodol was very effective for my symptoms, which were mainly heartburn symptoms. Relief was quick and with my own symptoms, when I have heartburn, once I get rid of it it's gone for the day, so no repeat dosages were needed. On one occasion I took two of these when I had some symptoms of trapped wind and the burps I generated were nothing short of frighteningly almighty. The trapped wind was well and truly released within about 5 minutes, my neighbours will probably vouch for that! So in terms of effective, these certainly hit the mark.

                It's unfortunate that the taste and overall sensation of taking these tablets was something I just couldn't stand because writing this down has reminded me how effective they were, which really should be the main factor. Maybe I'll seek them out of the depths of the cupboard and try them again.

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              • HP 2-piece USB Speakers / PC Speaker / 28 Readings / 28 Ratings
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                29.01.2014 20:31
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                Very good speakers.

                I recently helped my dad to move office, and in the course of the move I rescued a set of these speakers when they were bound for the skip, surplus to requirements. These speakers are great in terms of quality and their look. They are each around 15cm tall and about 8cm wide. On the front of one of the speakers are the controls - a push on-off button and two turn knobs, one for tone and one for volume. The volume range is considerable but in my opinion, the tone knob doesn't have a greatly noticeable effect. The knobs can be quite tricky to turn, even with my small fingers. The speakers are completely black, and they are quite slim (front to back) which is an improvement on previous older PC speakers I've owned.

                I don't have an ipod dock at home, but since owning these speakers I have been using my laptop to play my itunes through, and with them attached there is more than enough sound quality for me to really enjoy my music in my living room or kitchen. I was genuinely surprised by how good they were.

                The speakers work via USB connection to the laptop and you also need to connect a jack, but there is no other power required. They are compatible with my Acer laptop, and worked as soon as plugged in, so I would imagine that they will work ok with any brand computer.

                The one downside of the speakers is that they are quite lightweight - and because they are also fairly slim in design I do knock them over fairly regularly. That said, they are well built and haven't damaged, but it just makes them come across as quite flimsy, which they certainly aren't when it comes to their actual real purpose - the sound.

                For me, considering their physical size, these offer amazing sound quality for listening to music on my laptop. I can't use them on full volume as it would be simply too loud! Admittedly, someone seriously into their music quality would probably find them falling a bit short - I can appreciate that the quality is not perfect, but its certainly not tinny and there is no distortion. I'd put it on a par with my old CD player which was a high-end purchase when I bought it (10 years+ ago!) and I'd used in my kitchen for years - I guess it's a case of "depends what you're used to". I don't think these speakers are a "current" model but they are available on Amazon for £12 which is amazing value in my experience.

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                28.01.2014 22:34
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                Great scales but not quite worth the £18 I've just seen them for on Amazon!

                I've owned and used these kitchen scales for years, and they represent a surprising purchase for me for two reasons. Firstly, I'd never describe my style as particularly "retro", but I just really like the look of these. But secondly I'm most definitely not a 'clutter' person, I like everything to be put away rather than stored on top of worksurfaces, yet these scales are definitely an "on-show" item.

                The main body of my scales are black, made of metal, with a matt finish. The front dial has a shiny chrome-rim with a lovely clear white face with black measurement lines and numbers. There are numbers around the outside and inside of the main marked circle - pounds and ounces around the outside and grams and kilograms on the inner side. The lines are quite thin but the numbers are around 1cm tall and easy to read, with the added touch of being in a "retro"/old-fashioned font to keep the style going. The pointer is bright red and long and thin at the end to help read accurate measurements from the dial. The scales will weigh up to 5kg or 11lb. A simple lightweight metal tray sits on the top to hold your items to be weighed.

                The scales can be adjusted by turning a small dial on the top of the body, but in reality they maintain their accuracy well and I can barely recall the last time I needed to adjust them.

                Over time we have invested in a set of electronic scales for making perfectly accurate measurements, but these scales are still used every week when we are measuring out flour and fat for cakes, it's simply easier to use these than to use a separate bowl with the electronic ones, and 100% accuracy is not really a big deal.

                The feel of the scales is one of quality, in themselves they are quite heavy and robust and even though I've had them for years, the body hasn't become damaged or aged in any way. That isn't to say they aren't starting to show their age - the chrome trim to the dial is starting to look a bit tarnished in places. The main thing is, though, that their weight means that they don't move around when you are tipping weights onto the tray, they have a sure footing on the worktop.

                The only downside of these scales is that there are a lot of nooks and crannies to keep clean, especially when you're using them for flour and so on, they do need quite a bit of care.

                Overall they are well made and look great but just looking for their price, I'm surprised to see them on sale for around £18, which seems a bit excessive just for the sake of having a good looking set of kitchen scales as there are more accurate electronic versions for the same price.

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                  27.01.2014 22:42
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                  A great gift, highly recommended.

                  Monica Galetti
                  ~~~~~~~~~
                  Being a fan of Masterchef, I really like Monica Galetti in terms of her no-nonesense approach and she seems like a focussed, well respected and well liked chef. Monica is senior sous-chef at "Le Gavroche", one of London's, if not the country's top restaurants, and although I don't really know the hierarchy in a professional kitchen I know that must make her a pretty special chef. In the most recent of "Masterchef - the Professionals" series we have seen her create a few dishes to demonstrate what her style of cooking is. (The cynic in me now wonders if that section of the show was negotiated to promote her new book!) We received "Monica's Kitchen" for Christmas, and up until that point I wasn't even aware of her book.

                  My initial thought on seeing the book was that I probably expected this to be a book more to browse than to use. I expected it to be a bit too "fine", probably also using ingredients that I wouldn't normally buy or would consider too fancy. I couldn't have been more wrong - we have cooked from this book every weekend since Christmas.

                  The recipes are divided up into the following sections:

                  From Work to Table
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  These recipes are meant to be "weekday" meals, and whilst there is a few quick recipes there, these are far beyond what I would consider a weekday feed... Griddled tuna with cumin vegetables, salmon with chorizo and peppers, chicken goujons with paprika dressing, Pork chops with Asian cabbage. We have cooked a couple of these and they have been packed with amazing flavours and easy to do.

                  A leisurely Weekend
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  These recipes are aimed at minimising the time spent in the kitchen, easy to prepare or slow to cook...roasted root vegetable salad, Potato gnocchi with Mont d'Or cheese, seabass with celeriac and fennel, Almond biscuits with white chocolate mousse. Again, I find myself questioning the "easy to prepare" bit for some of these recipes, but there are some classics here too, such as braised beef with sherry and steak and ale pie...Yummy!

                  A Time for Friends
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  This section contains dinner party recipes which are designed to impress without having any stress. Chicken with fennel and tomatoes, Duck breast with parsnip tatin, Lamb with figs, lemons and quinoa, coconut panacotta. There are loads of these that we are looking forward to trying and there's a full range of meats and fish dishes to choose from and covering starters, mains and desserts. They all come with a photograph of the finished dish - really good looking dishes and also, this section has a wine match for each plate - again including the sweets, which is a nice extra for this book.

                  Something Different
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  As it says, a little bit of the unexpected... Coronation chicken soup, Steamed pork and mushroom balls, Honeycomb lollipops. As yet, we haven't ventured into this section but there's definitely some interesting dishes - again, a good mix of mains and desserts.

                  Finally, there is a short section at the end of 'basics' - ice cream, crème anglaise, mayonnaise, chicken stock and so on.

                  The dishes in this book are surprising us with how accessible, straightforward and - more importantly - flavoursome they are. There is a huge variety of recipes, with a really even distribution - so a good number of meat versus the number of fish dishes, and within the meats, a good mix of different meats and types of fish as the main ingredient. There are also plenty of sweets and desserts to try, and these too are not too high-brow at all - chocolate brownies, griddled bananas with chocolate - although there are also some soufflés, millefeulle and so on if you're ever out to impress. There are also a few vegetarian dishes but this isn't an area that's really greatly represented in the book - maybe half a dozen mains or starters.

                  I really like the notes which accompany the recipes where Monica gives some context to them - the inspiration or idea behind them, and I also like the wine suggestions. One criticism we've had with the dishes we've prepared is that they aren't really full meals - to us, anyway (!), she doesn't suggest what potatoes to serve, or give any "sides" recipes or ideas and the plates photographed certainly don't look like they'd fill us up! Maybe we're just too greedy!

                  Looking for downsides, the only thing I can think of is that I'm not a massive fan of the posed photo of Monica regaling the front cover, I prefer a really mouthwatering plate of food to tempt me in rather than the chef in question being forced to smile at me. That's harsh of me to make that point, but in a book - especially a gift - I do like to be really struck by a great cover to kick things off... Oh well, just me then?!

                  On the whole this book has been a really surprising hit for us, and I really recommend it as a good varied and accessible selection of recipes for all sorts of occasions.

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                    26.01.2014 15:55
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                    Try them when they're on offer.

                    My partner works for the co-operative, so we use a lot of their own label products and in the main I find them to be fine. We picked up this bathroom tissue when it was on offer as a 9 pack for £3.50, which was a great price.

                    I'm always up for money saving, but I won't go too cheap on loo roll, I do need to be assured of softness, and this toilet roll is somewhere mid-range. It's almost (but not quite) on a par with Andrex, and there are far softer premium brands available, but this certainly doesn't fall into the cheapy, scratchy paper category.

                    The sheets are nice and soft to the touch without getting into the velvety feel of luxury brands, but the downside is that the 2-ply sheets are quite thin. The perforations are usually good although we do get the odd roll where the perforations seem to regularly fall short of the full width of the sheets, which can be annoying. We only buy white toilet rolls, and these are a lovely bright white colour which also aids the overall feeling of quality.

                    The other annoyance from these rolls is that somehow they never seem to be securely stuck to the cardboard tube at the centre! When its down to the last two or three sheets they just seem to be all folded over themselves and just fall off. This often leads to wasting the last sheet or two, as they just get used when not really needed or they fall on the floor.

                    The product carries the FSC certification, which means that it's made from "responsible sources". Each roll has average 240 sheets per roll.

                    The normal price of this toilet roll is £1.99 for a 4-pack, and at that price I'd always be looking for a different offer, as these rolls are nothing special, but on the offer for the 9-roll pack I'm happy to recommend stocking up and would class it as great value.

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                    25.01.2014 17:37
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                    A highly recommended purchase.

                    This wine chiller is a really good little item to keep to hand. Its claims are totally justified, and I'm here to verify that it will give you a chilled bottle of wine from room temperature in five minutes!

                    What is it?
                    ~~~~~~
                    The cooler is basically a double skinned soft plastic sleeve, which is filled with a material (not water, but I don't know what!) and sized wide enough to fit round a normal wine bottle. It is kept in the freezer, and although it doesn't freeze solid, as water would, the material inside has the texture of crushed ice when it is taken out. This means that the sleeve is malleable and easy to slide onto a bottle. It also means that it can be persuaded onto a larger bottle such as cava/champagne, although this does take a bit of effort and it is a very tight fit.

                    The size of the sleeve is around 20cm high, so it covers the main bottle section, although not the shoulder/neck.

                    Does it work?
                    ~~~~~~~~
                    As I mentioned above, within five minutes, even on a warm day, a bottle of white or rose wine is beautifully chilled and ready for drinking. Occasionally when I couldn't *possibly* wait 5 minutes, I've popped the sleeve onto the bottle and then placed it in the fridge. Doing that, if you forget and leave it there for five minutes or more, for me personally the wine is really too cold to enjoy - it just tastes of cold, rather than the wine! On that basis, though, it does mean that in theory the wine would be chilled to an ideal temperature within a couple of minutes.

                    Top tip about the top bit
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    The one little thing to remember is that after chilling, always give the bottle a tip upside down before opening, because the wine within the neck (the first glass) won't be as cold as the rest of the bottle. I imagine there's probably some physics which will explain that the neck bit isn't necessarily the first bit out of the bottle, but I like to mix things up to even the temperature out. I have no idea how it can penetrate so well and thoroughly into the bottle, it is amazing, and it also continues to chill the wine if left on. In fact, again, if we use the sleeve to chill the bottle for five minutes then pour a first glass, if the sleeve is left on, the second glass would actually be too cold for my own preference.

                    Care, wear & tear
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~
                    When the sleeve is in the freezer, it naturally flattens against itself, so it takes up very little space it doesn't remain in the 'sleeve' shape - it is around an inch thick at the most when flat and in the freezer compartment. The material from which it's made is robust and although I've had mine for 5 years plus there is absolutely no sign of wear or tear, it seems as though it will last many, many more years and it shows no sign of losing its effectiveness either. Even sliding the sleeve onto bigger bottles, you feel confident pushing and squeezing it onto the larger bottle because the materials are reassuringly strong and it doesn't threaten to tear or split at all.

                    Availability/Price
                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                    The sleeve is for sale in black, silver and a range of more funky colours and designs on Amazon from £8, which is great value for such a simple, effective and reliable item. I was once extravagantly invested in an electric wine chiller, but this sleeve turned out to be far more successful, so much simpler an idea and of course about a quarter of the cost!

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                  • More +
                    25.01.2014 11:49
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                    Not one I would recommend.

                    I bought this fairy softener when I spotted it on offer at £1 for a 750ml bottle. I'm pretty particular about the smells of washing detergent and softener, but I took a whiff of this in the shop and it seemed quite close to my usual choice of Comfort, so decided to give it a go based on how cheap it was.

                    The bottle is a nice easy size to use and pour from, and made from fairly rigid plastic so there's enough control to minimise any accidental spills.

                    To use the softener, it's measured out into the cap - depending on how soft you are looking for, its either 2/3 of a cap or one cap full. The first time I used this I filled mine 2/3 full, as it was only a small load, but it did include a couple of small towels. I was very disappointed when the towels had dried, they felt harsh, almost scratchy. I did dry them indoors, but even so I really thought I'd wasted my money. I folded and put the towels away and I have to say that when the time came to use them, the real hardness had softened somewhat, and they were not unpleasant to use. That said, they were certainly not up to the softness of what I'd been used to. After that, I've always used a full cap and in the main, this has produced ok results. I wouldn't describe my towels as anything approaching soft and fluffy though, or their "huggably soft" claim, so it's not inspired me to buy again.

                    On a wider level, my clothes do generally feel nicely conditioned, they fold and wear well and don't irritate or affect my skin adversely at all. The 'pure' connotations of the Fairy brand are borne out by the ingredients list which has just three items: 5-15% cationic surfactants, Benzisothiozolinone, Perfumes.

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