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tleefox

tleefox
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Member since: 18.07.2010

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    • Nokia 6303 classic / Mobile Phone / 35 Readings / 32 Ratings
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      03.09.2010 15:21
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      Fine for what I need.

      I have recently been given one of these as a work replacement phone after my Nokia 6233 gave up the ghost after I tried to use it in a rain deluge!

      As it was given to me by my company, I cannot really comment on it's cost or how it performs relative to cost.

      INTRODUCTION / OUT OF THE BOX:

      Finally, it seems as though Nokia have worked out that they do not need to provide their phones in massive boxes filled with meaningless rubbish and excess packaging. The box this phone comes in is very small, and only contains the bare essentials i.e. the required cables and instruction manual.

      The first noticeable nice little design feature is that the charger is tiny, and folds out from a small size to the required full size, reducing the requried size of the box - a simple thing but shows that Nokia are thinking outside the box. (no pun intended!)

      As with all Nokia phones, setting it up is very easy. When you first turn it on it asks you for your date, time etc and away you go. Obviously once you have got this far it is up to you to adjust all the settings to your own preference, which is easy to do.

      DESIGN:

      The outer shell of the phone is a combination of brushed steel, and plastic. The brushed steel gives the phone a very solid and expensive feel, and also makes it fit neatly into the palm of your hand.

      The screen is half of the size of the phone, which makes it very easy to read. The downside of this is that as it is quite a small phone, there is little room for the buttons. This means that the buttons are quite small and are also quite close together. I am sure this is something which I will get used to, but compared to the Nokia I had before it seems quite awkward.

      LAYOUT / USE:

      As with all Nokia's, the 6303 is very easy to use. As my previous phone was a few years old I am a little out of touch with the layout of Nokia's, but this has a homepage which gives you shortcuts to the main functions and options on the phone. Again, I am not used to this but I am sure I will get used to it. The main menu layout aside from the homepage bit is the same as with every other Nokia I've ever used.

      FUNCTIONS:

      I only use this as a company phone, so am not particularly interested in something which connects to the internet and I can play games on. For what I need, it is absolutely fine.

      ANYTHING ELSE:

      I don't think so!

      At the moment I can't comment on it's reliability - watch this space for updates!

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      30.08.2010 14:01
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      Ideal as a second stereo for small areas of the house

      We bought one of these a few years ago as a cheap second stereo to use in the kitchen - how much we paid for it I cannot remember but a search on Amazon shows youy can buy them new now for £55 + P&P, which for this product is a bargain.

      The meain reason we bought this is that it is an all in one unit, which takes up very little space and can be wall mounted, as ours is. With it fixed this way it takes up no space at all, saving valuable worktop space, and is hardly noticeable.

      The machine overall is extremely well designed - it is probably about 40cm long, 15cm wide and 5cm deep, including the speakers. It also comes with what I would call a "Credit Card" style remote control, which does everything you need it to and works absolutely fine across small distances, as is how we use it. The remote controls most aspects of the stereo.

      Continuing the well designed theme, the CD unit is face mounted - the screen which holds the CD in place slides up and down accordingly.

      Onto sound quality, for such a small unit the sound quality is very good - it probably wouldn't be any good for all night raves, but when you use it in a small room it is absolutely fine. The stereo also comes with an in-built radio, which works well although we rarely use it.

      Overall, if you're into all night parties, this is probably not the stereo for you but for use in a single room as a second stereo, it is absolutely fine.

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    • Russell Hobbs 3070 Montana / Kettle / 21 Readings / 21 Ratings
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      30.08.2010 12:08
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      A nice kettle if you can afford it!

      My parents have had one of these in their house for the last few years, and I have finally gotten round to writing you a review about it.

      How much they paid for theirs I am not sure, but a quick search on Amazon brings you up the same item as theirs for £40 plus P&P - for me this seems quite a lot for a kettel, and I know that their are kettles out there which do as good a job as the 3070 for less money.

      Anyway, onto the kettle itself. The kettle comes in two parts out of the box; the base and the main kettle unit itself. The base is made from a combination of black plastic and black rubber to protect the base from the heat of the kettle. The main kettle is made from a brushed aluminium, which gives it a nice look and also makes it easy to wipe clean.

      The base is what I would call a 360 degree base, which means it is a circle and the kettle can sit anywhere on top of the kettle - this makes it easy to place the kettle on the base.

      The main kettle unit is fuss free - it has one single button for turning it on and off, with a light to show when it is boiling. There is a small window with a measuring scale on it to show how full the kettle is.

      In terms of capacity, the 3070 is large enough for most people withg a capacity of 1.7 litres, which it will quickly heat up.

      Overall, this is a good kettle, but at the end of the day it just boils water so whether or not it is worth £40 I'm not sure!

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    • Kenwood SB200 / Blender / 19 Readings / 17 Ratings
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      30.08.2010 11:48
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      A good cheap option, but not the best looking.

      I had one of these machines up until about 6 months ago when it was replaced with a Kenwood Smoothie to Go machine. I cannot recall how much we paid for it as it was quite a while ago when Smoothie makers were just becoming common place in people's homes, but a quich search on Amazon will bring you one for sale for £15 plus P&P.

      As I said, this was probably one of the first smoothie makers available for people to use at home, and it is evident that the design of these machines has moved on a lot since this machine was introduced.

      The most obvious thing you notice about the SB200 is it's size - it is absolutely huge. Thankfully we have a large kitchen so it never really bothered us, but if you had a smaller kitchen it would quite possibly look ridiculous.

      Unusually for Kenwood appliances, the SB200 looks quite cheap and nasty - maybe this is due to it's attempts to mimic a "New York Smoothie Maker." The outer case of the base is made from a very cheap and nasty looking plastic, which is coated in a reflective chrome style cover. After a while of constant use this gets easily scratched and looks awful and cheap.

      Because of the size of the machine, it makes large smoothies and the blending jug will accommodate all but the largest items of fruit. The fruit is loaded into the top of the jug - which has measuring points on it's outside - and there is a drainage tap on the bottom of the jug for draining out the fluid once completed. If you prefer, you can remove the whole jug.

      On the base there are 4 buttons; 1 for the pulse function, 1 for turning it off and 1 each for the mix and smooth texture functions.

      In terms of performance, the SB200 is good - it will easily turn all your large items of fruit into a perfect smoothie, which is exactly what it should do.

      Durability wise, as with all Kenwood appliances the SB200 is very reliable. We had ours for about 5-6 years before one of my children got hold of it and blew it up!

      Overall, a good machine which is available very cheaply now - not the best looking but it does what it is supposed to very well.

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      29.08.2010 19:21
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      Good enough for most people's printing needs

      I recently purchased one of these machines as a replacement for a 7 yeard old Epson Stylus C35, which had finally given up the ghost. In the 7 years since I last bought a printer, they seem to have come down a lot in price - I bought this on a limited offer from ebuyer for £39.99 including postage. A few years ago a similar spec product would have cost over £100, so to me this seemed a bargain!

      OUT OF THE BOX / SET-UP:

      I was surprised to begin with by how small the box was - all that is in there is the printer and a limited amount of set-up information, including 2 CD's.

      Being an idiot, I found this quite difficult to set-up for the first time, mainly because the information manual is not actually a manual, it is just a series of pictures that my 2 year old could have drawn, with very limited information.

      The main thing that it does not tell you is that 1 of the installation CD's is for Windows, and 1 of them is for Apple computers. Unfortunately I tried the Apple CD first, which obviously did not install correctly. As it did not state there were 2 different CD's, it took me ages to work out how to overcome this, and I ended up having to download the correct driver from the internet.

      Small though it may seem, this is a relatively big issue Epson have with this printer, which would be very easy for them to fix.

      Cross in the box for Epson in this category!

      DESIGN:

      If it is possible to have a good looking printer, then this is it. For a nice change, the main outer case is black which makes it stand out a little bit less than the usual grey or white.

      On the left hand side of the top of the unit are the control buttons. There are 5 altogether; one to turn the unit on, one to stop whatever you are doing, one to scan, one to copy black and white and one to copy colour. The buttons are all clearly labelled making this a very easy unit to use (once you have managed to install it!)

      There are also 3 lights; one to indicate the unit is on and one each to indicate that either the ink or paper has run out.

      The paper feed try is on the rear of the unit, and feeds out to a second tray on the front. Overall the unit is well designed and fuss free.

      PERFORMANCE:

      I'm not a computer geek, so the performance specs for this machine mean little to me. To put it in layman's terms, it does everything I need it to. The paper tray holds plenty of paper and would be enough for most people, and it prints fast enough for me!

      One thing to note here is that the machine is about as quiet when printing as a Jumbo Jet charging up its engines next to your PC -I've never known a printer to make so much noise!

      RUNNING COSTS:

      As mine is still relatively new I have not yet had to replace any cartridges. Something which is a bonus about this machine is that each of the colour and black cartridges can be replaced individually. With my old printer if one of the colours went, they all had to be replaced - not so with the Epson!

      Overall, thus far this is a fine machine for me - I've still got a bee in my bonnet about how long it took to set up, but at least if you've read this properly and buy one you won't have the same problem!

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    • Sennheiser HD 238 / Headphones / 20 Readings / 20 Ratings
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      29.08.2010 13:06
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      Perfectly adequate for me, although I am sure there are better options out there.

      Having started using my laptop for watching films whilst staying away in hotel rooms, I recently decided to invest in a pair of decent headphones to replace the standard iPod ones I have been using for years.

      Anyway, not wanting to pay the £69 RRP, I did a quick search on google and found a pair on Amazon for £39.99 plus P&P - a much more reasonable and sensible price for this product.

      Anyway, onto the headphones themselves. As a brief introduction for anyone who has not heard of Sennheiser, for a long time they have had the reputation of being the best manufacturer of after-market headphones, and having used these for a few weeks I can see why.

      The main selling point of aftermarket headphones seems to be their ability to "noise cancel." This means they reduce the amount of noise lost out of the headphones, and limit the amount of outide noise pasing into your listening area. I had not previously realised this was something that bothered me, but when you use these headphones compared to standard in-ear ones, the difference is noticeable. The HD238's have an open back, which means there is still a certain amount of noise lost. However, the advantage of this is that your ears do not overheat when listening to your tunes!

      For me, the Sennheiser's are perfect in terms of sound quality, but it is worth bearing in mind if you are particularly passionate about your music that there are closed back headphones which will totally cancel out any outside interference.

      I was actually surprised how comfortable these headphones were to wear, even after long periods of time. They are extremely lightweight and exert very little pressure on your head and neck. The earpads are a mixture of foam and vinyl which are snug and comfortable - these can also be replaced if required which is handy.

      The only small complaint I do have about these is that they cannot be totally folded down, although they do come with a nice sized carry pouch which is also designed with enough room to accommodate an iPod, if required.

      Overall, these are perfectly adequate for me, although I am sure audio geeks out there could pick holes in it, and I am also sure there are better headphones out there if you want them.

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      • Acer Aspire 5738Z-424G25MN / Laptop / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
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        28.08.2010 20:26
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        Does everything I need it to.

        First of all, I should say that I am not a computer geek, so I will be reviewing this propduct from quite a simple person's perspective.

        I bought this as a replacement for a 7 year old Sony Vaio laptop. Since I bought the Vaio laptops have come down in cost considerably, and from doing my research this Acer is one of the best machines available in this price range.

        I got mine through a supplier at work, so had quite a discount - from searching the net quickly you can pick up the same spec model as I have for about £450 - £500. One thing I would say is that there are quite a few different specs of this particular model number available, so if you are doing price comparisons make sure you are comparing the same specs, otherwise your results may be inaccurate.

        A lot of thought has obviously gone into the design of this unit - the outer shell looks very clean, smooth and sleek.

        The keyboard has the traditional QWERTY keypad layout, but also has the extra numerical keypad on the right hand side. It does take a bit of getting used to having this on a laptop keypad, strange as it may seem. Underneath the keys is the feather touch mouse with the single bar click underneath. The keypad is well designed and is clear and easy to use.

        As I said at the beginning, I'm not a omputer geek by any means. The laptop thus far has donee everything I need it to - it is a nice change for me to have the in-built wireless receiver (which operates very well) and built in webcam. The pitcure quality on the screen is excellent - I work away and stay in hotels a lot and have started taking the laptop away with me to watch films on.

        Overall, this is an excellent machine for the money - I'm sure the techno geeks coulc pick holes in it but for me it is fine!

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        • Apple iPhone 4 16 GB / Smartphone / 11 Readings / 9 Ratings
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          28.08.2010 20:02
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          Get one and see for yourself how good they are

          Unfortunately it would appear I am now an iPhone geek, and have just upgraded from my iPhone 3G 16GB to the iPhone 4 16GB.

          I will break this review down into sections to make it easier to read.

          INTRODUCTION / COST:

          According to the shpiel from o2, as I am such a loyal customer I had quite a good deal on my upgrade. I had to pay £80 up front for the phone and my contract is £45 a month, which easily covers my bill. Originally they wanted me to sign a 24 month contract which I refused, so signed for 18 months instead.

          A lot of people don't buy iPhones because they think they are over-priced. Fair enough, but in my opinion they are the best phone available by miles, so you do get what you pay for.

          DESIGN:

          A huge amount of desig consideration has obviously gone into the iPhone 4, as with all other Apple products. Compared to previous iPhones, the 4 is much more square edged, but is equally as sleek and good looking.

          Everyone is aware of the problems Apple had with the antenna positioning - although this was blown out of all proportion into one of the biggest tech mistakes in history, it has never bothered me. Basically the antenna is a metal strip located in the bottom of the handset - so if you cover this with your hand the signal level will drop. Like I say, I have never had a problem with this, but just in case Apple have very nicely sent me a protective cover to resolve the issue.

          The screen case on the 4 is apparently made from the same glass as they use for military helicopter windscreens, so it is effectively indestructable. This is a massive improvement on previous iPhones where the screens have been very easy to scratch and damage.

          USE / PERFORMANCE:

          As with previous iPhones, the 4 is unbelievably easy to use. I won't go into too much detail as I could be here for days, but the layout of the phone is so easy to get used to, and it is also very easy to get used to the iTunes interface and the App Store. I would guess that someone who had not used an iPhone before could get used to it in about half an hour.

          ANYTHING ELSE:

          I could have written a review of about 10,000 words for the iPhone 4, but the easiest thing to say is get one or have a play on one yourself and you will see how good they are. There are cheaper phones available, but this is the best one available.

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          28.08.2010 19:37
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          Give it a try and you won't be disappointed

          I have been using one of these for about the last 3 years now, and I will never use another razor. Before I bought this I had only ever used Gillette razors, but I often found that I was not overly impressed with the shave quality of the hard to reach areas, such as the neck area. I also was getting quite irritable skin on my neck which was very painful.

          I don't know why but as soon as I started using this, all of the problems I had with the Gillette product stopped - worth noting that I was still using the same shaving gel so I can only put this down to the razor.

          The Quattro comes with the normal blade head at one end, but was the first conventional razor to come with a trimmer on the bottom end. I have never used this function myself as I have a dedicated trimmer so I have no need for this one.

          The Quattro comes with a vibrating function, which I think makes a big difference in terms of the quality of shave you get. The razor seperates into 2 parts to allow you to changee the batteries - this is a weak spot in the unit as if you don't out it back together properly water will get into the electricals and you will lose the vibrate function. This is a problem I have had on a couple of occasions, which have meant replacements needed!

          In terms of cost, I always find razor blades ridiculously over-priced in the shops, so I always stock up on eBay - the blades here are generally about half price. I shave 2-3 times a week and probably only change a blade once a month, so in terms of value the Quattro is pretty good.

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          28.08.2010 19:23
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          Don't bother with these - you may be going hungry!

          I bought a couple of these last weekend for a camping trip - usually I do not buy the home brand disposable BBQ's, and having tested these ones out I now know why!

          Disposable BBQ's have completely revolutionised the way people BBQ. I only ever take these camping, but you could quite happily BBQ with these in the house.

          In the pack is a foil tray filled with small chunks of charcoal. This tray is packaged in cardboard (you MUST remove this before lighting!!!) On top of the coal is a lighter sheet, underneath a mesh layer which is where you cook your food.

          To light the BBQ you need to light the sheet on all 4 corners. It is very important you do light it on all of the corners, otherwise you will end up with half of the BBQ hot enough to cook and the other half not lit. The lighter sheet will in turn light the coals.

          The main problem I found with this BBQ was that the lighter sheet was very difficult to light properly - I had to relight it a few times which means trying to opull a section of the paper through the mesh, resulting in various burns.

          The second part of the problem was that once lit the pper did not stay lit for long enough to properly light all of the coals - drastically reducing te cooking time of the BBQ. If I had not bought 2 I would have been severely stuck for what to do for dinner!

          I'm not really going to bother writing much more because a BBQQ which does not light properly is completely useless - spend a £ more and get the Fuji ones, which are way better than this cheap tat!

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          • Morphy Richards 42279 / Iron / 19 Readings / 19 Ratings
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            20.08.2010 17:13
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            Get one and ironing will not seems such a chore!

            I have had one of these for about the last 4 years - mine has recently given up the ghost, and I am looking to replace it with a similar model, such is the good impression this model has made on me.

            For the purposes of this review, I will break the review down to make it a bit easier to read!

            INTRODUCTION / COST:

            I bought mine refurbished on eBay for about £55 including postage. At the time they were much more expensive new. You can buy them new now on Amazon for £75, which for this product is a total bargain.

            I didn't do much research into this model - I was after a steam generator and it was merely which product I could afford. I have since learnt that Morphy Richards are one of the best manufacturer of irons around - and having used this for a number of years it is easy to see why.

            DESIGN:

            The iron comes in 2 main parts; the base, which houses the water tank, and the iron itself. I always leave the base on the side and stand the iron up on the end of the ironing board when in use, as they base is very big and cumbersome.

            The base has a stainless steel plate on the top, so you could leave the iron turned on on top of the base for ages without having to worry about it melting. At one end of the base is the water tank, which clicks in and out of place to be filled up as required - the tank is also see through so you know when it needs to be filled up.

            At the opposite end of the base there are 3 lights which indicate which steam setting the iron is set to - there is a also a single button for altering the steam setting to the required level.

            The iron itself only has 2 parts of note; there is the trigger on the underside of the handle which needs to be pressed to release the steam. There is also a dial - as with normal irons - which is rotated to alter the temperature setting.

            The two main parts are connected by a single cord, which is long enough to ensure you are not at risk of pulling the base or iron off any surface it is resting on, and is also extremely well insulated.

            PERFORMANCE:

            I'm not sure what the tech specs are of this iron, and to be honest, they mean nothing to me anyway. All I will say is that on the highest temperature setting and with the highest steam setting, this iron flies through my creased up work shirts. It probably takes about a minute to iron a whole shirt, without any need for pressure to be applied onto the shirt or for water to be sprayed all over it.

            When you consider how much faster this is compared to regular irons, for those who do a large amount of ironing this will save you huge amounts of time.

            DURABILITY:

            The only thing which needs changing on this machine is the water filter which sits within the water tank. These are readily available for next to nothing, and are very easy to change.

            I have had mine for probably close to 4 years, and have never had any issues with it at all, having used it for probably an hour twice a week. It has recently come to the end of its shelf life unfortunately, but I think 4 years for a refurbished product is prefectly reasonable.

            CONCLUSION:

            For anyone who does a lot of ironing I would strongly recommend getting a steam generator, as they save you massive amounts of time. This Morphy Richards product is as good an option as any other, particularly at the price you can get it for nowadays!

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              20.08.2010 16:09
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              Plain and simple - it does what it should!

              I have had one of these for a number of years to charge up the large number of batteries I get through whilst camping. The main reason for me buying this particular unit was the impressively quick charge time - when you have a large number of batteries to recharge the 1 hour charge time on this makes your life a hell of a lot easier!

              The RRP on this is £29.99, which includes 4 x AA rechargeable batteries - had I paid that amount I would feel decidedly ripped off. I shopped around on the internet and managed to get it for around half that amount.

              Out of the packet the unit comes in 2 parts; the AC charging cable and the charging unit itself. The adaptor simply clicks into the main unit.

              The charging unit itself feels decidly cheap and poor quality, being made from very thin black plastic - if you dropped it I can't imagine it would put up much of a fight!

              On the side of the charge unit there is a single dial, which alters the battery storage unit to accommodate AAA batteries. The fact that this will charge AAA as well as AA batteries is quite handy, particularly on a unit of this size - a lot of the chargers which do both battery types are a lot bigger than this.

              On the front of the charge unit there are 4 single lights which are illuminated red when each of the batteries are charging. When they are full the lights go out - handy as you know instantly when the batteries are fully charged.

              The catchphrase does not really lie when it comes to charge time - it will tell you the batteries are full after about an hour but I find that they don't last as long as conventional batteries.

              The main point here though is that it is way more cost effective, as well as being better for the environment to use rechargable batteries instead of conventional ones.

              This is probably as good a charger as you will find - it does exactly what it says on the tin!

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              20.08.2010 13:49
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              Get one and you will never look back.

              My partner recently bought me one of these as a birthday present for herself - I have never wanted or thought I needed a bread maker, but since this came along it has turned my world upside down!

              I have only had it for 2 weeks, but have probably made about 10-12 loaves in that time.

              For clarity, I will break this review down into sections:

              INTRODUCTION:

              From past experience, Kenwood lead the way with small appliances - they are slightly more expensive than other makes available, but I always think you get what you pay for. The one I have came from John Lewis and cost £130 including a fully comprehensive 5 year warranty. You can get it cheaper but John Lewis' warranties are brilliant and give you total piece of mind, which to me is worth the extra £6 a year.

              DESIGN:

              For such a large and chunky item, the Kenwood is surprisingly easy on the eye. The exterior shell is a mixture of stainless steel and glass, which makes it an extremely durable item, as well as being easy to clean. The downside is that it is quite heavy at around 10kg - but then I don't see why you would ever need to move it around a great deal.

              The way the Kenwood is designed means it will blend in nicely to most modern day kitchens.

              CONTROLS:

              The main control panel is located on the top right hand side of the unit. It comes with an LCD display with a twelve different buttons for different functions below. All of the buttons are feather touch which adds to the sleekness of the machine.

              Between the main display and the buttons there is a 3 stage display, which indicates the "brownness" level selected for the current cycle.

              I will not explain what each individual button does, as you will get bored!

              The main display and control panel is extremely well designed though - it literally tells you everything you need to know, from the size of the loaf in the machine through to the crust colour button.

              The number of different buttons gives an indication as to the large variety of functions this machine has.

              FUNCTIONS / PROGRAMMES:

              This machine has a menu option to make just about every type of bread you can think of, including a basic loaf, French stick, gluten free and pizza dough. There is also a menu option for making cakes in the machine. The instruction manual gives you a good guide as to how long each programme takes.

              One particularly handy function of the Kenwood is the delayed timer, which allows you to delay the start of a cooking cycle by up to 15 hours. This is a great function as it allows you to set the timer to make you warm, fresh bread when you get up in the mornings.

              You can also store favourites functions - which again is handy.

              There is a display light which can be pressed at any time to light up the dough being cooked - this will stay on for 60 seconds.

              END PRODUCT:

              As long as you put the right ingredients into the machine, the end product is brilliant. I have tried to follow recipes for bread but always fine you have to alter them slightly to get the right consistency for you.

              Fresh bread is so much nicer than what you buy in the supermarkets - I had never thought there was anything wrong with supermarket bread until I made my own, and I will never go back.

              COST:

              At £130 this is at the expensive end of breadmakers, but I got piece of mind with it. Over time the machine will pay for itself as I will never buy mass produced bread again - and making a loaf in this is a lot cheaper than buying.

              There is also the novelty factor to consider of making your own bread - it will also keep kids entertained.

              CONCLUSION:

              If you like your bread, get one and you will never look back!

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                16.08.2010 16:04
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                If you want to treat or impress someone special, this is the place to do it!

                I am only going to base my review on the Bistro du Vin, at the hotel in Bristol, purely because I have not stayed in the hotel.

                Having lived in Bristol for the last 12 years, and being a foodaholic, I can quite happily say that the Bistro du Vin is by far and away the best restuarant in Bristol, both for the quality of food on offer and for the whole culinary / dining experience.

                I will break this review down into sections to make it a bit more legible:

                INTRODUCTION:

                The Bristol Hotel du Vin is located in the Sugar House Building, which is a number of old warehouses daing back to the 1700's. It is right in the centre of Bristol, a short walk from the Hippodrome Theatre and everything else that Bristol city centre has to offer. This makes it an ideal venue if you are visiting for a short city break.

                The old building has been sympathetically restored - the original brickwork is on display throughout, along with old artefacts from the building's days a sugar factory.

                DECOR:

                As stated above, the building has been very nicely restored. Although the old building is visible throughout, the interior has been designed in a very modern manner - all of the furniture is extremely comfortable. The modern interior contrasts nicely with the age-old exterior to give an extremely comfortable and welcoming ambience to the building.

                The main reception is merely a small desk, from where they will direct you to the restaurant or to your room if you are staying.

                SERVICE:

                The service at HDV is absolutely first class and I could not say a bad word about any of the staff. From the moment you turn up and give them your name, you do not ever have to ask anyone for anything again. The reception staff will transfer you to the bar staff, who in turn will transfer you to the restaurant staff - and back to the bar staff again if you are like me!

                The staff will only show you to your table when you are ready - you are never rushed and are made to feel extremely comfortable and at home.

                Most of the staff here are French, and they really do know their stuff when it comes to food and wine. They have an extensive sommelier team who will give you the best advice on what wine to have to compliment whatever it is you are eating.

                I always think that the standard of the staff and the service goes a long way to deciding how goor or bad a restaurant is - the service here is first class in every way.

                FOOD:

                I'm not going to go into great deal about the food, strange as it may seem, all I will say is that it is absolutely fantastic. HDV is not one of these restuarants that serves you tiny portions of food on a massive plate with some fancy sauces on it - the portions are what I would call "proper sizes" and will actually fill you up, as opposed to just looking pretty.

                My own personal favourite 3 course meal is devilled lambs kidneys on brioche toast, fillet steak and chips for main, and a creme brulee to finish off with.

                Whatever your own personal taste, there will definitely be something on the menu for you - my partner is the fussiest eater ever, but she always loves it and never wants to leave!

                DRINKS BAR / CIGAR BAR:

                Before you go for your food the bistro has a lovely bar area attached to it, which in turn has a cigar humidor attached to it. Both the drinks bar and the cigar bar have the most extensive menus I have ever come across, at any restaurant or bar, anywhere in the world. In both cases they have an extensive collection of drinks and cigars, all the way from normal everyday products such as Hamlets and Smirnoff Ice, all the way up to the most expensive and unique drinks and cigars you can imagine. When I was there last the most expensive item on the menu was some rare cigar which cost £11,000 - I bought 2!

                Again, in both bars the service is outstanding, they will happily talk you through any of their menu options and are very able to advise you on everything they have to offer.

                COST:

                There is no hiding from the fact that HDV is expensive. For a 3 course meal with drinks for 2 people you should probably expect to pay about £150, depending on what drinks you have. At certain times of year and certain times of the day they will do special offers, but these are never available on Friday or Saturday nights.

                In my own opinion, as a special occasion the money is worth it. If you want to treat someone to a special occasion then this is the place to do it.

                OVERALL:

                As I said at the beginning I cannot comment on the hotel - all I do know is that it is not a 5 star, apparently only due to the fact that they do not have a pool or leisure facility.

                The restaurant is by far and away the best in Bristol - the only place I have been which comes close is Blanc's Brasserie, but even that falls short. The food is fantastic, the staff are brilliant, the building is lovely and the atmosphere is very relaxed. You may even be able to do some celebrity spotting - Piers Morgan, Posh and Becks, Gordon Ramsey and many others have all been known to call in here.

                Score? 200 out of 10!

                http://www.hotelduvin.com/hotels/bristol/hotel-information

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