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I was in Sainsbury''s and found this really nice model by Philips, what I liked about it is the brushed metal effect on it as well as the decent capacity that it holds as well, I went for this design as Philips are a good brand, even though I''ve never had one of their kettles before. APPEARANCE The design of this kettle is really elegant and modern, as mentioned before it has a brushed metal silver body which is really nice, it holds a capacity of 1.7 litres. What is good about this kettle is that it has a one cup indicator which isn''t the case on most designs, showing on the water gauge window that it only goes up in one cups, marking when it is 1.0L full. It is very straightforward to use and it sits on a 360 degree base which makes it easy for lifting this and putting the kettle back down, as it can sit back on this in any direction which is just so much easier. PHILIPS HD4671 KETTLE When I took this kettle out of the packaging, I loved the look of it, it fit perfectly in my kitchen and wasn''t too heavy to hold either. The one cup feature on this kettle, allows you to know exactly how much water you need for the amount of cups you are making, saving you up to 66% on energy as you don''t need to overfill it. The kettle has room for cord storage in the base, the cord is an ok length easy enough to plug in as I always usually keep my kettle near a wall with a socket anyway so it should be fine. Once full, the kettle is still not too heavy unless you fill it up to the maximum of 1.7L which is just over 6 cups. It is easy to fill the kettle up, you just need to push the black button at the top and this flips up the lid just enough to fill up the kettle. The switch to turn the power on is at the bottom, it is a transparent switch which has an on/off symbol on it and a light comes on when it has been turned on. Once the kettle is boiling it obviously makes noise like any other kettle, it isn''t the quietest but this doesn''t bother me as it does boil in a good amount of time. The switch turns off, as does the indicator light and you know the kettle has boiled. This kettle has a double action filter to ensure clean water while using and it also has a power use of 3000W. If you are on the look out for a new kettle this ticks a lot of boxes, fast to boil, easier to keep an eye on water usage, modern, sophisticated design and easy to hold.
When I bought my iPhone 5, I was very pleased to find that inside the box came a small plastic box that contained a set of new Apple earphones with a remote. The reason I was so happy about this was for the reason that I have had some old Apple earphones for a while now but they were starting to look really old with the R and L fading off and the colour starting to go a bit dirty looking. These are also nice as they are all wrapped up in a small box which they can be put back in which is great if you take them around with you a lot as it will stop cables from getting damaged.
These look like almost every other pair of Apple earphones that I've ever owned, these are white with a grey tip and on each ear it says R or L and the cable is also white. The remote is tiny a small strip that has a + and - button. These are very lightweight only 14g and they measure at 43.2 x 0.8 x 0.5cm which gives an idea of their size. The tops of he earphones are flat white plastic even where the normal mesh part would be on the flatter area and at the side is where the mesh sound area is. These are a lot narrower than other earphones and this is probably why they sit better in my ear.
APPLE EARPHONES WITH REMOTE AND MIC
So, the little box they come in is great as the shape of each earphone is cut out so these slot perfectly into the box and don't move once pushed in place. There is room to wrap the cable around the side and then put the plastic lid on top, really clever idea. These Apple earphones are compatible with the iPhone and also the iPad and ofcourse iPod. I mainly use these when listening to music on my iPhone as to me this is just easier to do and I don't have an iPod so this is my main reason for listening to music, I also use these on my Macbook Pro too and they work fine.
The remote control on this is good for the little thing that it is, it has the + and - buttons which are for turning up and lowering the volume and I find these work very well, no delays they raise and drop the volume with ease. The microphone is on the back where the icon is shown, this is also good if you are using this on a handsfree call and I find the connection to be really good, it picks up sound well and I've never had any problems while using this. I suppose for Skype if using these on an Ipad or laptop these are also a good option but most laptops do have inbuilt microphones.
The middle of the remote control is also a button even though it isn't clear unless you read into it. This is a pause button and when clicked again it will then play music, it is great. While listening on these I find the sound to be really clear and it is great, the bass is good on these and for free earphones, I think they are brilliant. I also think these are very comfortable to wear and they sit really well in my ear without falling out or hurting. The cable on these is a good length also, long enough if you are walking around holding your phone or sitting with these connected into a laptop.
The volume control function on these doesn't work with older iPod models, you should check this first before buying these. If these start to go faulty which I can't imagine they will for years then I would definitely buy more as I've been using only Apple earphones for years now and have been so happy with the quality that I've never looked at other brands. The sound is always good and with me mainly using Apple products I like to use the same brand of earphones. If buying an iPhone you will get these free or otherwise you will have to buy them but they are worth it.
You can buy these earphones on Amazon starting at £9 or if you buy them from the official Apple store they will cost you a high £25 which isn't the cheapest.
The official Apple website is http://store.apple.com/uk/.
I love to reward my dog but I don't like to overindulge him with dog biscuits, usually he will get them if he has been well behaved or when out and about on his walk. I have tried a wide variety of dog biscuits as I am not particularly loyal to any brand, I usually just buy what I see or whatever is on offer. I have been buying these Pedigree Biscrok quite frequently for my dog, he seems to really like them but they aren't the cheapest out there especially because Pedigree make them. I usually buy the bigger 1.5kg bag which lasts a good while and seems to be the best value for money.
These biscuits come in a big pack and are in the usual Pedigree red and yellow colours, they have the logo on the front and a clear plastic window on the front so you can see what the biscuits look like. In bold white type it says Biscrok and there is a short bit of information about there being 3 different varieties and about what these biscuits contain. The packaging is very bright and it does stand out on display, There are a few different flavours in these and they are good for your dog containing Omega 3, calcium and vitamins. I do like the Pedigree brand and buy quite a lot from them.
With these biscuits, they are broken down into three different varieties. There is the Omega 3 biscuit which is to help with fitness, calcium to keep strength in teeth and bones and then vitamins & minerals for maintaining you dog's natural defences. These biscuits are all shaped like bones which is typical of most dog biscuits, they are free from artificial colours and flavours also. The three different biscuits are different colours one is brown, one a more orange shade and the other a light beige. The word Biscrok is engraved into each biscuit making it obvious what brand they are from.
The smell of these biscuits is just like most items I give my dog but he really seems to enjoy these, I wouldn't say anymoreso than any other dog biscuits though. I usually take a couple of these out with me when I go for a walk and he always goes made when he knows he is about to have some biscuits. They are described as crunchy and they do sound it when he is eating them, literally they are gone in seconds as he loves them that much. I don't usually give him more than 2 or 3 as I feel that is enough but every owner is different and as are all dogs, so it is up to yourself.
When storing these, I always keep them hidden away in a dark drawer, in a tin with a lid on it and it keeps them fine, they don't go soft this way. It is recommended that these are stored away in a cool, dry place. These biscuits are described as being the perfect treat for your dog and it does say that these are suitable for all dogs of any size. He seems to enjoy them and that is what I make my decision on, I have never had any brand of dog biscuit that he hasn't eaten but he gets a bit more excited about these and I am happy knowing what these contain also.
There is an ingredient list to break down what these include on the packet. It is a mix of cereals, meat and animal derivatives as well as chicken in the white biscuit, beef in the brown biscuit and marrowbone in the red. There is also a nutritional value breakdown if you are interested in reading this on the packaging too. I have never had any problems with Pedigree products and my labrador absolutely loves them so if I come across Biscrok again then I will happily buy another bag, they last a decent amount of time buying the 1.5kg and although a bit more, it is worth it.
You can buy Pedigree Biscrok from all supermarkets and pet shops, Asda sell the 1.5kg bag for £5.68, there is also a 500g bag which is a bit cheaper at £1.88.
The official Pedigree website is http://uk.pedigree.com/.
At the moment I drive on the motorway quite a lot in the week with commuting to work, so I need to make sure I have good quality tyres all of the time. I always pay that bit more to make sure that I am buying the better tyres and I have to be honest it works for me as I always find they last me a good while. I drive a Peugeot 207 and so for my car, I always buy Goodyear tyres and the specific tyres for my car are GT 3 185/65 R15 88T, these can be purchased at any garage, there are always cheaper alternatives for all tyres but I have kept with these Goodyear tyres for all four.
GOODYEAR GT 3 TYRES
With these tyres, they are classed as summer tyres but I never change to winter tyres, I find these work fine for me in all conditions but I'm sure car fanatics will have an argument there for what I have said. These tyres are said to be good for the environment as they use a derivative of corn starch to replace some petroleum derivatives used in the creation of these tyres. The appearance of these tyres, shows that they have circumferential grooves and grooved shoulder blocks as well as central blocks with 3D-BIS technology. These also have narrow radial grooves and optimised shift/4-pitch sequence.
Now, I find with these tyres compared to other tyres I have previously bought for this same car, they have a lot more wear in them. I wouldn't normally say that paying more makes any difference but when it comes to tyres I do think this is true as I have Goodyear GT3 tyres on all four wheels and have found that these have lasted me a lot longer than my last and I am also doing a lot more motorway driving so I am very impress. They don't go down as quickly either but I know a lot of things factor into that, I just find these seem to be going strong and I am pleased with the quality.
Another good thing about these tyres is that they have a reduced rolling resistance meaning reduction of up to 5% in fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. There are even more features that are listed about these tyres such as the fact that they have reduced noise levels which I do agree with, they do sound smoother while driving. These benefit from improved wet traction and braking and that is one thing I will say, these are very good tyres when it comes to braking abruptly, I have never skidded with these tyres, even in the rain and they brake very sharply.
I definitely find that even in rain and snow, these tyres have been very reliable and been very good at gripping. I have never ever felt unsafe or worried that my car would slide because of the conditions, I have always felt very safe and comfortable even when driving on the motorway in wet conditions as I know I have reliable tyres. I do always make sure I look after my car very well and always have it serviced and checked as without the upkeep, things would start to deteriorate. I find that for my driving needs, these GT3 tyres really suit my lifestyle and have the right technology.
If you do drive a Peugeot 207 and maybe haven't looked into getting Goodyear GT3 tyres all round, then it is something I would highly recommend. I know when it comes round to needing new tyres, I always think it is a lot of money but then I think at how long the tyres have lasted and it really doesn't seem like a bad investment at all. These are reliable and very good quality and ensure a great driving experience and brake very well, I couldn't ask for better tyres and I will keep these on my Peugeot as long as I decide to have this car model.
These tyres can be bought in all garages and places like Kwik Fit, price varies. ATS Euromaster charge £62 for these fully fitted but every garage will have different rates.
The official Goodyear website is http://www.goodyear.eu/uk_en/.
I suffer from eczema and it is something that can be fine for months and then all of a sudden when the cold weather comes, it just flares my skin up and dries it out. It is not the easiest to deal with at times and it can get me down and constantly buying prescription creams can take its toll on finances also. I decided when at Asda that I was going to try an over the counter cream to see if it would help as my normal prescription cream had run out and my eczema was making the itching unbearable and after looking at a few different creams, I decided to try out Eurax cream which states it helped with dry eczema.
This cream didn't instantly stand out to me when I was looking for different creams to buy, I was originally looking for hydrocortisone and then saw the bold blue Eurax text on the white box and the yellow band around it. In bold letters it says 'stops itching fast' and that it works for up to 0 hours. It has on the front of the box, a long list of different skin irritation things it deals with and it also says who can use it as well as health warnings and directions of use. Inside the box is a 30g tube of cream and it has a screw top lid and is easy to squeeze out of this tube, the expiry date is on the back of the tube.
With Eurax cream, it is a cream which is suitable for both adults and children but if using on children under 3, you may need to speak to a doctor first. This cream can be used to relieve itching on a number of things such as: itchy dermatitis, dry eczema, allergic rashes, hives, nettle rashes, chickenpox, insect bites & stings, heat rashes, sunburn and personal itching. The cream is meant to last for up to 10 hours and it is described as being a non-greasy, non-staining cream which I do completely agree with. The active ingredient in this cream is crotamiton and then there are a list of other ingredients.
Before using this, the packaging does list a few things which may be a problem before using. This cream should not be used in or around the eyes and not on broken skin on weeping skin conditions or if you are sensitive to any of the ingredients in this cream. It isn't recommended in pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding or suffering from general itching. This cream contains stearyl alcohol which may cause local skin reactions and methyl hydroxybenzoate which can cause allergic reactions. This cream may cause occasional skin irritation but if this occurs then speak to your doctor.
So, upon using this cream it is quite a thick white cream but is absorbed really quickly by the skin and is easy to rub in. It has a really distinct smell which is really nice, I almost pick up a lavender scent from it. It should be applied to the affected area 2-3 times a day and then it will relieve the area for 6 to 10 hours. I have to be honest, since using this I have found my itching has minimised and I haven't been feeling the need to itch since applying this cream, I know when the 6 hours are over though as I feel that annoying irritation start again. It makes the affected area look red and then tones it down.
As an over the counter cream option for eczema, it doesn't seem to be too bad. I have been trying to use this as well as aqueous to keep my skin moisturised at the same time. I think the fact that it calms down the urge to itch is great as it will let my skin heal if I stop itching which is what I want. I still have to buy other creams at the same time but calming down the need to itch is the main problem when having eczema. I like the smell of this and it isn't too expensive and I have been applying it three times a day and following the directions of use is definitely helping me out.
This cream can be purchased from all supermarkets and pharmacies. In Asda they have the 30g cream for £3 on rollback but normally it's £3.57 and the 100g cream is £5.47.
There is no official website for Eurax cream.
With work at the minute and doing too much, sometimes I can feel a bit drained and lacking energy. I don't rely on energy tablets very often but sometimes I just need to use them to give me a bit of a boost when I am doing a lot. I heard about these from the doctor as I hadn't ever really noticed them before in the shops and it was at Tesco that I managed to find them, I picked them up in the orange flavour as it seemed the nicest to me. I usually buy Berocca for energy but since the GP had recommended them to me I had to give them a try to see if they were nice.
These come in quite bold packaging it is in a bright yellow/orange wrapper and has the Dextro logo in red on the front. In each 47g pack it includes 14 tablets which is alright and it gives a brief summary on what they do as well as a list of nutritional information and ingredients. It clearly states that these are Orange flavoured and that they include Vitamin C. Each of the tablets are individually wrapped and the expiry date is printed on the back of the pack. It is small enough to fit inside your handbag or pocket and there is a small tab on the side to pull up to rip the pack open easily.
DEXTRO ENERGY TABLETS
These tablets are for supplying carbohydrates which will be perfect on the go, so it gives an energy boost by going into the bloodstream and boosting concentration and mental performance. I only tend to have one tablet if I am feeling a bit low on energy, the nutritional values for these tablets per 100g are 0g protein, 91g carbohydrates, <1g fat and 0g of fibre. I don't ever have more than one at a time when taking these, as usually one is enough to help boost my energy. The flavour of these is nice enough with it being orange and it is pleasant, they do other flavours too.
Dextro Energy tablets are suitable for anyone who is working, at school and putting in long hours for exams or anyone who feels drained from doing too much. These tablets give energy right away, no need to worry as these will help give an energy boost. Usually if I take these in the morning, I will find that I don't feel tired that day and that it keeps me feeling alert throughout the day. I know also for those who suffer from diabetes, these tablets give a sugar rush when sugar levels are low and they can be another reason for why people might need to use these, there are a variety of people these will help.
These tablets are also highly recommended for athletes to help with their performance and automobile drivers to maintain concentration levels when caught in queues of traffic. I don't rely too heavily on these tablets and only take them when I really feel that I'm exhausted but otherwise I try to just overcome tiredness and keep working. The ingredients in these tablets are: Dextrose (88%), Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Flavouring, Anti-Caking Agent (Magnesium Salts of Fatty Acid), Vitamin C. There are no further details about allergies etc or warnings on the packaging or directions of use.
I do like these tablets but in terms of what I prefer for giving an energy boost, I'd say I prefer using Berocca. These are good to have on the go if you just want to take a tablet but I don't like them as much. This is just my preference though, I know my mother is diabetic and she uses these and they are good for her to have. I think if you are under a lot of pressure and suffering from low energy levels then these are a fast method to gain energy quick but I wouldn't get used to taking them regularly. They are useful to have though and as I said before they fit easily into my handbag which is great.
These can be bought in all supermarkets, I have found them in Tesco where a 47g pack of 14 tablets costs just 66p which is great really and not too much.
The official Dextro website is http://www.dextro-energy.com/.
I am very much into my cooking and I'm at that stage where I keep buying the odd gadgets to improve my cooking. One thing that I'd asked for at Christmas was to get a decent hand blender as when I come across some recipes and they ask for a hand blender, I get annoyed when I don't have the right equipment to make dishes. The hand blender I ended up getting was this Philips HR1372 which is a fantastic model, it comes with two choppers and one accessory as well as a metal bar and double action knife, for the price of this I think it is a very good model and I was pleased to have it.
The blender is a really nice design, very modern looking, it has a black rubber handle with a metal panel which has all of the buttons on it. It then comes with a silver top which is the longer part. This blender comes with an extra large chopper and a mini chopper, a beaker and a whisk so it comes more than well equipped. On the handle it has the Philips logo and states that it has a 700W motor on it, it is a very professional blender which achieves good results and it comes with enough accessories to get what I want from cooking. Being a good brand like Philips also helps as I have been pleased with this since using it.
PHILIPS HR1372 HAND BLENDER
Now, to start with this hand blender as well as having a 700W motor, it is powerful and also it comes with a double action blade that cuts both horizontally and vertically. There is an anti-splash blade guard on this to stop it from splashing while blending and I do find this a very useful feature. Getting used to using this isn't difficult as it all is pretty straightforward, You just plug in the blender and choose the parts that you'll need and away you go. There are instructions with this to help you, if you are not confident in using this or knowing when it is right to use certain accessories.
One example of using this is that I was making a satay sauce over the weekend and so I used the large chopper and threw everything into the container and then what you do is you take the hand blending attachment off and attach the handle to the top of the chopper, make sure it is securely fastened and it will operate power to the chopper. It is so quick to blend and there are different speeds but you have to just hold the lid down on this chopper to ensure it doesn't come off. It chops very quickly and then once it is made, you can scrape out the sauce and it is ready to eat which speeds up the process so much.
There is a mini chopper which is used just the same, if you are not needing to put as many ingredients in and this is also quick. I love the main blending attachment which fixes on securely and I love using this when making soups etc as it just works quickly to really blitz it and make it smooth. There is a turbo button on the handle if you really want to blend with speed but I don't always use this button. There is a whisk accessory which I rarely use but it is brilliant if you want to whip things like mousse, cream or any other liquid form that you are creating, it is perfect.
This blender comes with serrated edges which means that you can even crush things as hard as ice and it will do it, no problems. I have blended things like nuts and other harder ingredients and so far I have had no problems with it cutting through anything, it has been fantastic. One accessory, I rarely use is the beaker which holds a one litre capacity, it is good for holding any sauces made but I just don't have the need for it as I have my own containers etc. This has five speed settings which is great for all types of foods as some need more speed than others to really blend.
The cord length on this blender is 1.3m which is long enough, I've never really had any issues with this being too short, it goes a long way. The power is 700W and the voltage is 220-240V it has a blade made of stainless steel and in terms of noise, it is very loud when it blends but it isn't something that can be avoided. It blends so quickly though that it doesn't make a lot of noise for too long, so it is bearable. The worst thing about using this blender is the cleaning up, especially on the large and mini choppers as it can be a bit fiddly to get into them but the other attachments are easier to clean.
This blender has been great for me and I have managed to create some great dishes thanks to the help of this blender. All of the attachments make it much more versatile and I love having these. My least favourite attachment is probably the whisk as I have my own food mixer, so it isn't of much use to me. I use all of the attachments and they go back into the box very easily and keep compact until the next use. It is a lovely design and for anyone looking for a good quality blender, this is a brilliant option as it is reliable and works very well for all foods.
This hand blender can be bought from a number of places, Amazon sell it for £69.99 with free delivery which is a very good price for what you get.
The official Philips website is http://www.philips.co.uk/.
In one of the spare rooms in my house, I wanted to put another wardrobe in there, mainly because I have too many clothes and this is the best idea to keep them somewhere that I can still easily get to them. My main wardrobe is so full that the idea of getting a decent sized wardrobe without paying too much atleast keeps my clothes somewhere they won't get squashed. I think when it comes to getting reasonably nice furniture with a good design, I always think to look at Ikea first as I feel they have a fantastic range and there is always something in there and so I chose this Austmarka wardrobe.
I have seen this wardrobe in so many people's houses that I know and for the price, I can see why. It comes in two colours either oak effect or birch effect, I went for oak and it measures at 81cm (W) x 50cm (D) x 180cm (H) so it isn't the tallest in height but it is big enough. This wardrobe comes flatpacked like most Ikea items so you do have to built it yourself. It has two window panels on the doors and these are made of a sort of ridged plastic so that you can only slightly see what is behind the doors. This comes packed with instructions but if you lose them, you can download them from Ikea's website which is handy.
IKEA AUSTMARKA WARDROBE
So, when I saw this in the Ikea store I loved it and to be honest, I am not the handiest when it comes to DIY but I found this not too difficult to build with a little help from my partner. The pack comes with 1 clothes rail, 1 shelf and handles and the instructions are all very clear, there are images showing which parts to be used and where they should go. My pack came with everything I needed and thankfully nothing was missing and once the wardrobe was built I was very pleased as then I could start to load it up with all of my clothes and ofcourse you can put shoes on the floor on the bottom too.
The wardrobe isn't the biggest but at 81cm it is good enough to fit more than you'd think into it. The clothes rail is very strong if built properly and it can hold quite a lot of weight but just be careful not to put too many heavy items on it. I found I got a lot into this wardrobe, it is great for longer items and also it has a shelf in there too. It is very compact for the price and if you just want a cheap wardrobe say you have moved house or even if you just don't want to pay too much this wardrobe will do. I'd say it will only do one person though as to fit two people's clothing in here might be a struggle.
It is a very sturdy piece of furniture and the two colours of wood it comes in are quite neutral and probably suitable for a lot of homes around the country. I really like the plastic window on the door as it keeps privacy but still adds a bit of a design to this without it being just plain and wooden. To clean this wardrobe is very easy, it just need to be wiped down with a cloth and then dried off and it will be as good as new. The wardrobe isn't too heavy so even when built, to move it around to put it in place isn't too big a job as it is quite a good weight unlike other wardrobes that can be very heavy.
As far as wardrobes go, for the price of this, it is a very good deal as the wardrobe looks nice and it also holds a good amount of clothing. I think Ikea are always very reasonable and although flat pack isn't for everyone, this is fine to do and the instructions are all easy enough to follow. The two wood options are very nice also for this wardrobe, it suits me as I just wanted it to go in my spare room but if you are wanting something a bit stronger and spacious then this won't be right for you as it is quite light and you can tell it is a bit cheaper than some of the other wardrobes in their range.
You can buy this ofcourse from all Ikea stores, online it isn't available but you can check stock in your nearest Ikea store by using the function on the website, it costs just £65.
The official Ikea website is http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/.
I love to cook and am a real foodie so I am always pleased when I receive cook books for gifts as I'll always look through them right away and get excited looking at the different recipes. For Christmas last year, I was given The Hairy Dieters book and at first I was a little unsure as I have only watched their shows on TV a few times but I wasn't too aware of their cooking and food styles so didn't know what to expect. However, I was healthy eating and still am so I did like the idea that the book is called 'How To Love Food and Lose Weight' as what's better than being able to cook but without it being high in calories, it sounded too good to be true.
The Hairy Bikers have been around for quite a few years now, their names are Si & Dave and they hail from the North of England. They have had a number of successful shows and cook books out and this cook book changed their lives as both of them lost a big amount of weight which is probably what showed it to be successful. The pair of them set a target to lose 2 and a half stone in three months and by cooking the kinds of recipes featured in this book, they both managed to do it and lose even more which is brilliant. This is the only cook book of theirs I have ever owned but I have to say, I have really enjoyed this book and it has really impressed me.
HOW TO LOVE FOOD AND LOSE WEIGHT
Now, I have the paper back version of this book and on the front the quote is 'We've lost weight and you can too!', I still wanted to know how they lost the weight which is why I opened the book to read on. The book is split into easy to follow sections these are: How to love food and lose weight, breakfast & brunch, one-pan dishes, grills & roasts, pies, stews, vegetables & salads, fakeaways, pasta & rice, puddings & cakes, lunch boxes & snacks, menus for you first week, index & acknowledgements. Now, from looking at this it is clear there is variety and that you can actually make this a lifestyle if you want to follow it as a full on diet.
The first chapter of the book is very interesting and insightful and it goes into detail about David & Si's lifestyle and how it revolves around food and how they wanted to achieve their goal. It is well worth reading before starting to use the book as it is good to get a background on what they thought and their tips on losing weight. One of the best parts about this book is where they say they've had advice from health experts while writing this book and that they did what worked for them and yet still managed to eat a lot of the foods that they love which is a bonus to lose weight also. They have a very positive outlook on the way they lost weight and want to share it which is great.
THE RECIPES & FOODS COVERED
Now, in this book they do a great range of foods and I was quite pleased to see the 'fakeaways' title as I wanted to see what exactly this covered. I have now cooked quite a number of recipes from this book and still have so many more that I want to get through, there are a lot of classics and to know these are better calorie wise makes me feel happier. Like a lot of cook books there are the odd recipes that don't appeal to me but the good thing is that the majority do and I still enjoy eating the food from this. The layout of the book is easy to follow too, each recipe has a photo so you know what you aim to get yours looking like. There is a list of ingredients down the side and a number of how many servings and then the calorie count per portion so that you know.
It is very easy to follow and the cooking method is paragraphed clearly in easy to follow steps. I like at the top of each recipe how there are personal comments on there to give you a few more tips on the recipe being cooked. For the breakfast pages there are a lot of varieties of different dishes but one I want to try is the 'Pan Fried Bacon with Poached Egg and Balsamic Tomatoes, it doesn't look too difficult to follow and is 264 calories a portion which isn't so bad. You get a good mix and then on One Pan dishes there is the Minestrone Soup which is actually one of the recipes I decided to give a try, it was the first one from the book I cooked.
I found the Minestrone Soup really easy to follow and I haven't done soup too many times, it was nice and chunky, full of lots of vegetables and it tasted great, I had left overs too which I was able to have for my lunch the next day and I fed friends it and they also loved it. At only 115 calories a portion, I was very pleased with this soup and mine turned out just like the photo and had no complications, it was easy to follow which was really good. This is a good recipe to start on and even if you are not an experienced cook, you would be able to follow this really well as it doesn't require any fancy techniques which is the case for most of the book.
Moving further through the book, another I have marked that I want to cook is the 'Peppered Steak with Mushrooms' it is 308 calories a portion, again for something like this which is an evening meal, it isn't bad and all recipes don't require too many ingredients which I like too, as a lot is vegetables. I just like that a steak meal can be just over 300 calories as to me that is brilliant as normally they would be more. There is an 'Easy Crispy Chicken' recipe which looks brilliant but also like something I wouldn't think would be low calories but it is 299 calories and it looks like breadcrumb chicken, so it is nice to see a lot of good, maybe a bit more indulgent foods still part of a diet that is doable.
What I like is you get nice options for all meals of the day and even some nice dinner party dishes if you want to eat well, have friends over but yet still not eat too many high calories. Lamb Hotpot is one which doesn't take too many ingredients but is very hearty and looks great, it is slightly higher in calories but still looks as good as one that probably would be double the calories. If you love a takeaway but feel guilty when eating one, you can try the 'fakeaways' chapter which features 'Sweet & Sour Chicken', 'Chicken Korma' and 'Lamb, Spinach and Potato Curry', so some famous classic but also some twists which sound and look great but yet can be eaten in this diet, in moderation, they look brilliant and I want to cook them all.
To go over another recipe that I cooked from this book, I did this 'Coconut Prawn Curry' it was really nice and I remember I had this at the weekend and it was so quick to make and what I loved the most was that being only 254 calories a portion, it didn't lack flavour and still tasted as good as a fattier version of this curry. It was a very quick dish to make and easy to follow and I couldn't believe myself how quite it was to do and my partner also enjoyed it. The best thing was I ate it the night before weigh day and was a bit nervous having had a curry and yet I still lost weight, so it just goes to show these are better meals for you.
I made the 'Italian Meatballs with Chunky Tomato Sauce', these were a bit more fiddly and I did feel I had to improvise on these a bit more with the sauce, it was great and the meatballs were perfect but the sauce didn't go like the photo in the book so I turned it around with my own techniques which wasn't a problem as the basis of the recipe made this good and I just added my own spin. I was pleased to get to the 'Puddings & Cakes' chapter where I wanted to see a lot of good cakes, they have the likes of 'Carrot and Sultana Cake', 'Swiss Roll' and so on but I haven't really made any of these yet as I always end up finding more indulgent desserts elsewhere which is my downfall.
Lastly, to cover the Lunch Boxes & Snacks chapter, if you are following this diet through to you three meals a day then this is perfect in helping with what to take to work if you aren't sure how to continue in the day. They do a good variety of sandwiches, wraps and salads and even their menu for the first week is good to get you started. I don't follow this as a full diet, I just cook the odd meals which suits me fine as to follow this all week would be quite a pricey diet but if you are doing this as a household, it'll help as when a recipe serves 4, you can split this into portions and keep portions for other meals when you have left overs.
THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD
I have to say, this book pleasantly surprised me as I thought the recipes might be a bit bland and not as good as they are, they still make it possible to eat the foods I like, like curry and cakes but within moderation and in a lower fat method which is always good to be doing anyway and it does make a difference. The recipes are really fun to make as they are written in a clear step by step way which means there are never complications when I am cooking. There is a recipe in here for everyone and I have a lot of recipes I am wanting to cook still from here as in each chapter there are a good few that I want to get through.
Having followed this book and now cooked quite a few recipes, I am really happy with this, I always have left overs when I make the recipes which is great and I always feel nicely full, not like I've over indulged. I find the food to be a lot lower in fat and not feel stodgy or greasy which makes it nice that I can cook a lot of these dishes like a hot pot or curry and not panic about the fat content or calories. It is a nicely laid out book and quite simple but at the same time the images are big and colourful and the steps and ingredients are all so easy to keep following through, I have had no Hairy Bikers cooking disasters yet which is positive.
I feel if you are someone, like myself who loves to cook food but worry about how fatty it is if you are frequently doing it, then this would be a good book for you. It does cover a wide range of meal times and cultures but at the same time it covers them in a healthier light and if you are trying to watch your weight then this is a good option. The food is still very tasty and isn't lacking in flavour and the meals look as good as if they would if they were a fattier version which is great as I am happy to know I can eat a lot of my favourite meals and not worry about piling on the pounds and if you can follow this, then the benefits will no doubt show.
It includes a lot of recipes and is good value for money as the book feels more personal with their comments through out and their tips. I will now gladly look at another Hairy Bikers book thanks to getting this one as it has opened my eyes to their cooking and I really like the food that they cook, a lot of it is quite hearty which is nice but also with some more exotic twists in there. This would appeal to anyone who loves food and cooking and even someone who is not a very experienced cook but wants to get started as there is nothing complex in here which should throw anyone off, even as a beginner, it is worth taking a look at.
This book is available to purchase on Amazon, it is £7 at the moment and is 192 pages and this includes free delivery, on the back of the book it says £14.99 so I think this is a good price.
The official Hairy Bikers website is http://www.hairybikers.com/.
I am usually one for buying the market leading brand when it comes to medicine but sometimes there will be occasions when supermarkets do offer a cheaper alternative that I am swayed by. I was going on holiday to India in November and had so many medicines to buy for my trip and with the fear of getting 'Delhi belly' I decide to bring a packet of these Tesco Diarrhoea Relief tablets to make sure that I would atleast be ok. I normally would purchase Immodium but when buying a few packs these can get quite pricey and they also don't contain as many in a box so for me it was an easy choice.
The packaging on these is nothing special really, they in a light blue and lilac sort of box with a white panel on it that says the name of the product and states the fact that a box contains 6. It also has an image of a few capsules to show what they look like and then on the reverse of the box it has a list of ingredients and directions of use. Inside the box there is also a leaflet if you want further details. The capsules are blue and lilac and they are the standard size of most capsules. The price is great for a pack of six compared to competitor brands and most Tesco stores stock this.
TESCO DIARRHOEA CAPSULES
With these capsules, the leaflet contains everything that you need to know if you want in depth information but on the box are the majority of warnings that you should know first off before using this. These capsules do contain lactose which is very important for those with allergies and intolerances and they should also not be given to children under the age of 12 years old. These capsules should also not be taken exceeding the stated dose. There are just a few of the warnings listed but if you are going to buy these you can easily read further into this information if you are concerned before taking these.
With these capsules, they are meant to stop diarrhoea in one dose which is promising and each capsule contains loperamide hydrochloride 2mg as the active ingredient. To take these, adults, the elderly and children over 12 years old should take 2 capsules to begin with followed by 1 capsule after each bout of diarrhoea. Only a maximum of 6 capsules should be taken in any 24 hour period, normally though 6 capsules should more than clear up diarrhoea. Normally I have never really had to take more than 2 capsules to feel better and if bad maybe 1 more to fully clear it up.
I didn't end up needing to use these on my holiday which was a great relief but I have had them in the house and once or twice they have been very useful. I normally would take 2 capsules and wait and see over the next few hours how I was feeling but if I still didn't feel better then 1 more capsule should be taken and I have never really had to take more than this to feel back to normal. As always with diarrhoea capsules, they do block you up for a few days but this is better than feeling unwell and atleast you know these are getting your system back to normal then usually I am fine again.
I think these capsules work just as effectively as Immodium do, the only perk with Immodium is that they have the melt in your mouth tablets that dissolve in seconds and work which is unique but to save and have the same results, these Tesco capsules are a very good option and work well. They only come in pack of 6 like most medicines for this problem but you can buy more than one box at a time if need be. One box should last a while though as the odds of you needing to use the whole box in one go is not highly likely. I'd definitely buy these again as they are great value for money.
The cost of a box of these Tesco Diarrhoea capsules is 80p for a box of 6 which is brilliant compared to other brands and very competitive indeed.
The official Tesco website is http://www.tesco.com/.
There is nothing worse than suffering from indigestion and heartburn as it can be very uncomfortable and especially at work. There was a time when I was suffering from this quite regularly and it was awful when sat at work so I used to carry a box of Setlers in my handbag at all times so that I could have one to take my mind off the feeling. I hadn't actually come across these before until I ran into Home Bargains, the first time I was suffering and found these, the price was reasonable on them and that's why I thought I'd give them a try as there were a lot of tablets included in the pack also.
These come in a small square box, the packaging is quite distinct as it is a blue faded through to white and in bold white type it says Setlers. A box includes 36 tablets which is more than enough to last you a good while and it has a small picture of the packets inside the box. Inside the box are three cylinder shaped packs of 12 tablets they are wrapped up like Rolos would be and it saves you opening all 36 at once as you can even take out one pack if you want. The tablets are small, white round tablets and they are very minty right away you can smell them but they do help.
SETLERS ANTACID TABLETS
To begin with, these should not be used if you have poor kydney function or are taking glycosides or are on a low phosphate diet. These tablets contain 0.47g of sucrose per tablet and are not suitable for those who have a sugar intolerance. The tablets can sometimes cause constipation and if pregnant or breastfeeding these tablets should be used with caution. Do not use these tablets after the expiry date and also keep them out of reach of children. These are general instructions printed on the packaging and if you are fine to use them still then you need to know how to use these.
So, these are very easy to use as you either suck or chew the tablets, personally I suck on them as I feel that this way you are not rushing taking these and the effects to me will probably be better. These should not be used on children under 6 years old, those who are 6 - 12 years old should take 1 tablet when required with a maximum of 4 a day taken. Those 12 years and older can take 1 - 2 tablets when needed with a maximum of 16 a day. I have to be honest, I have never taken that many of these in a day, probably the most I have had would be about 4 or 5 tablets.
You should not take more than the recommended amount or you will need to seek medical advice. It is a well known fact that mint settles an unsettled stomach and I think this is exactly why these are good atleast at keeping the feeling at bay. These tablets neutralise excess acid, relieving the user of indigestion and heartburn. With these being peppermint, they are nice to have and also they are quite a chalky tablet but they dissolve easily in the mouth and are easy to take. I find when having these, they do calm my stomach and take my mind off the fact I am not feeling great.
I wouldn't say these cure the heartburn and indigestion altogether but they help to minimise it. I like to have these in my bag just to take one if I'm feeling heartburn symptoms but because they are so cheap they are great. With them being quite chalky they can leave a white residue on lips so just always check after taking them as that can be a bit embarrassing otherwise. Overall, if you suffer from this condition quite often then you will be happy to try these as they are a good option for calming it down. I think Home Bargains have the best price but other places do sell them.
You can buy a box of 96 tablets of these on Amazon for £5.96 which is quite a lot, LLoyds Pharmacy charge £2.29 for a box of 36 and Home Bargains charge just under £1 as I never remember paying more than this.
The official Setlers website is http://www.setlers.co.uk/.
At work we have decided to get a new dishwasher and being small, it is something I get involved in when it comes to choosing one. The last dishwasher didn't smell great and wasn't cleaning well and all of a sudden just stopped working and so I flagged it up and got to choose the new one. To keep costs down but yet go for a good brand, I thought this Beko DSFN1534W seemed to be quite a good model for the price. I liked the look of it and it comes in either white, silver or black but we ordered it in the white. When it arrived, it looked really nice and I couldn't wait to use it and compare it to the last dishwasher.
This washing machine is quite minimal looking and on the front has a round button to start/stop at the top and a cancel option and then a wash dry end set of indicator lights. The Beko logo and model number are also on the top and the door pulls down easily, it measures at 85cm (H) x 60cm (W) x 57cm (D) and it has a net weight of 44kg. The product is easy to set up and looks a lot more narrow than other dishwashers I have seen, inside it is quite typical looking with a pull out upper drawers and in the lower section having a cutlery holder and slots to place dishes into, all very well laid out.
So, there are a lot of things to cover with a dishwasher and to start with I think it's best to cover the specifications and what it offers. First of all, it has an energy efficiency class of A+ which is good and it has 5 programs. This dishwasher doesn't have a digital display on it but this doesn't bother me as I don't think it is necessary as it is so straightforward to use. The cleaning and drying performance on this model is A for both of these and it has a stainless steel interior which looks good. The power on this is 1900 - 2200W and it also has a hot air drying system and removable cutlery basket.
To load this dishwasher is very easy to do so you can pull out the top drawer and load this very easily, there are four cup racks on the upper basket. To pull out the bottom drawer again, no problems as you can place all cutlery into the grid shape that has been created for individual pieces of cutlery to sit into. There is a maximum plate diameter on the top drawer of 25cm and on the lower basket this is 31cm but I tend to keep plates to the bottom level and keep the top for smaller items like glasses, mugs and balls as it is easy to know that they won't fit when you roll the drawer back in and it jams, then you can rearrange items.
Once the dishwasher is fully loaded, it is ready to go. There are five settings to choose from when using this appliance, there is pre-wash which requires no heat and takes 15 minutes. The next setting to choose is rapid which lasts 30 minutes and runs at a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius, after this is Economy which runs at 50 degrees Celsius and lasts 165 minutes. The one I use a lot is quick and clean which lasts 58 minutes at 60 degrees Celsius and the last setting is Intensive which is 70 degrees Celsius and lasts 115 minutes but I can't imagine this would be good to use often unless you had very dirty dishes.
I use quick and clean and economy settings the most, the way to select these is by pulling down the door and on the top is an indicator light for each setting and you push the buttons to choose the settings you want. Also shown on the indicator window is the rinse aid indicator light and salt indicator. There is a half load option available if you need it and then all you need to do is put a tablet in and let the dishwasher run. I think this is a very good dishwasher as it runs quietly and isn't that noticeable at all, it has a noise level of 49dB but I am impressed with it and half of the time don't notice it on.
In terms of how good the dishwasher is at cleaning, I have to say it is very good. It is used frequently but as long as good quality tablets are put in then it cleans well. Obviously, there are the odd times when some dried in marks appear on cutlery or cookware and it has to go in again but I don't find this happens to often. It is also really easy to load and unload and I don't find it has to be put on for a long time to thoroughly clean. I never overload the dishwasher though, I always put it on full but find that it cleans better when not crammed full of dirty dishes, it also cleans baking trays and Pyrex dishes well.
This is a very good dishwasher and a reasonable price for what it offers. It is very straightforward to use and choose the required settings and it doesn't make too much noise. It has the right amount of options needed and it is also a nice design and not too wide in size. It holds a lot of dishes in it and for a normal family home or small office, this is the perfect model. I like the fact that it is available in two other colours, giving the option for it to fit in with most kitchens. It offers a good variety of settings for the money and so far there has been no real problems with this dishwasher since we have had it.
This dishwasher can be purchased online at the Co-operative Electrical or Appliances Online. The Co-op charge £206 for it on offer price rather than its RRP of £269.99 and Appliance Online charge £189 which is ofcourse far more competitive.
The official Beko site offers full specification and information at http://www.beko.co.uk/.
I have gone absolutely Yankee Candle mad this Christmas and the one thing I was hoping to get in my stocking after a long time of waiting was a Yankee Candle jar but I hadn't asked anyone for one. I was so pleased to find that my boyfriend had gone and bought me one as I have always found them quite pricey but they are the best if you can get them and they will last a long time. He bought me the Sicilian Lemon one which I was so pleased to get as I have seen this one before and always loved the smell every time and it is a gorgeous warm lemon yellow colour too which is nice for decoration.
This beautiful candle comes in a very heavy glass jar with an embossed lid with also has the Yankee Candle logo imprinted onto it. The lid is thick and slots into the base very well for a secure fasten and the base of the jar is a wide cylindrical shape, all clear glass so that you can see the bold, warm yellow wax of the candle. The net weigh of the candle is 411g and on the base is a sticker showing all warnings of how not to use the candle. It has a single wick on this candle and the label on the front has the logo with an image of lemons and the scent name with a gold border around the label, it looks very expensive.
YANKEE CANDLE SICILIAN LEMON JAR
This jar is a great piece for the home or to give as a gift as Yankee Candle jars are such good quality, hence their price. The first thing I have to comment on is the scent of this candle, it is very citrus and really strong which is good as you want the scent to be apparent in the room, it is sweet and very fresh and I love it. When burning the candle, I have always found after a good bit of burning time that when you walk into the room that this is burning in, you can clearly smell the lemon and it is a lovely scent to have in any room as it is a bit different but at the same time very welcoming.
The burning time on this candle jar is 110-150 hours which is well worth the money as that is a long time and if you only ever burn it for a few hours at a time, then it will last you for ages. I don't like to burn it for too long as I don't want my jar to go already as I'm still happy with having it decorating my room at the same time. To pay a bit more and have a candle with that length of burning time does make it very worth it as you know you are getting quality and the wax only goes down slightly each time, it isn't too noticeable on a candle of this size that each time it is slowly going.
As recommended by Yankee Candle itself, they give a guide to burning candles and advise that on the first burn it is the most important and candles should burn one hour for every 1 inch in diameter of the candle size. They state that if the candle is not allowed to melt from edge to edge of the jar, it will create a memory ring. Once it has a memory ring, it will continue to burn this way for the life of the candle. I always make sure to follow these guides to get the best out of my candle but you can click on the official websites to get more tips to ensure your candle keeps at its best.
When burning a candle like this, you should always stop burning when it gets to 1/2 an inch of wax remaining. I have never found my candle to let off too much smoke when burning which is good, I have also never had any problems with lighting the wick. I think with the quality, the candles always light really easily which is great but it is recommended to keep the wick trimmed to 1/8 inch. I love my Yankee Candle and love the smell it creates and it does look great whilst burning. Now that I have bought this jar, I do feel like I want to keep buying more to put around the house.
These candles are made from pure, natural extracts for the best quality. With these jars, some people keep them purely for decorational purposes and don't burn them, I'd love to do that with some but then I want to get the smell of it burning through the house as it is so inviting and pleasant. Don't be put off by the price of the jars as if you look around you will get great prices on them, especially now with all of the sales having just started. Now knowing how good the candle is, I will buy more because I know they will last me a very long time and they look great in my home.
You can buy these candles in Clintons and large department stores as well as online at Amazon and the official Yankee Candle website. Amazon are selling this jar for £17.99 with free delivery but Clintons do sales and this was £8.25 on offer which is a bargain and the cheapest I've ever seen the large jars.
The official Yankee Candle website is http://www.yankeecandle.co.uk/.
I was shopping in the supermarket when I came across a few offers in the beauty/skincare department and when I noticed these Nivea Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes on special offer, I was curious to try them. My reason for the interest was that I'd already tried the Fragrance Free ones before with me having sensitive skin but I liked the idea of having a scent, especially if these were gentle on skin. I like Nivea for skincare products and with these being a great price compared to the usual RRP, I thought this was as good a time as any to try these out and see how they reacted with my sensitive skin.
These come in the usual Nivea branded packaging, a white soft packet with the Nivea logo around it and in dark lettering it says 'Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes' there is also a sticker which reseals, you pull it up to take out the wipes. It also clearly states that these are 'Alcohol Free' and in a pink band says that these are for 'Dry & Sensitive Skin' which covers me and this packet includes 25 wipes. On the front it gives a small summary of what these do and on the reverse of the packet it has a list of ingredients and also gives directions of use, covering all information anyone would need to know.
NIVEA GENTLE FACIAL CLEANSING WIPES
These wipes being for sensitive skin are meant to cleanse, tone and hydrate the skin. These are great for removing make up and waterproof mascara and lastly, these are also suitable for sensitive eyes. These wipes are enriched with natural Almond Oil and Hydra IQ which all help the skin, it helps to gently cleanse and also leave skin hydrated and soft as well as the Almond Oil being nourishing making skin feel hydrated and look much healthier. It all sounds ideal for my skin type and this is what reinforced my decision when picking these up as I wanted my skin to look healthier.
Upon taking these out of the packet, it is easy to do as you just need to lift up the sticky label and pull one wipe out and then reseal it as good as you can so that the wipes in the packet do not dry out. The wipes are lovely and soft made of cotton and they have a really light perfumed scent which is nice and it doesn't irritate my face at all. These are very gentle on skin and easy to wipe the face with, if I am using them to take make up off, there is never any problems and it all comes off easily and in doing so I also feel my skin is being looked after at the same time so it makes it a bit better all round.
These are the nicest wipes I have used due to their softness and the scent, my face smells really nice after using these. I have also been using these for a good few months now as I have since gone back and purchased more packets and they are great, no irritation on my skin and it makes me face feel a lot better hydrated which is what it said it would do. I don't really have as dry a feeling as I did before and it just makes my skin feel very well cleansed and I like that as I have hardly suffered from spots at all since using these. A pack should last a while unless you are using one a day which I do then it will do you just under a month.
Having used the Gentle and Fragrance Free wipes, I'd say I prefer the Gentle ones as you get more of a scent and since I now know that I can have the scent and it doesn't irritate my skin, then I am happy to opt for these. I prefer the results with these wipes and although they cost a bit more than others, they do give good results and they feel better on your skin. These are so easy to use and even when I come in from a night out, with these I will make myself use a wipe to take my make up off and my skin does feel so much better for it, these are always good to have in the house.
You can buy these wipes from places like Boots and Superdrug but they are also sold at all supermarkets. Tesco sell them at £2.90 a pack whereas Asda only charge £2 for them.
The official Nivea website is http://www.nivea.co.uk/.