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topsyturvy

topsyturvy
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Member since: 26.03.2002

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      29.07.2014 21:24
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      • quality
      • "great taste"

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      Premium Drinking

      Veuve Cliquot was founded in 1772, by Madam Cliquot she dispatched bottles of this champagne all over the world, buying the best vineyards, perfecting champagne and giving this drink the quality that it has today. The motto of this house is 'only one quality, the finest' and right it is as this label is renowned for being one of the more expensive and classic champagne brands. It has an air of prestige about it and when I was deciding between this or Tattinger, I opted for Veuve Cliquot due to the description of the taste and felt for me this one was right and I'm glad I did.

      Veuve Cliquot is made from the Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grape varieties. Before opening this champagne, I kept it in the fridge to chill for a while to make sure it was at that lovely crisp but cool temperature. Once ready to open, the champagne was easy to open and serve, right away the faint hint of fruity hints and it is described on the label as being a balance of fruit and toasty notes. The description continues to say that it has initial fruity flavours of white fruits and raisins which then develop into notes of brioche and vanilla with age.

      The description seemed perfect to me and upon sipping this it really is very crisp, it is so easy to drink and I could pick up on the hint of fruit but with a subtlety that I enjoyed. It wasn't too dry and was very smooth which I liked, it also wasn't too sweet and seemed to have that perfect balance. As silly as it sounds from drinking prosecco and other sparkling drinks, I could definitely taste the difference with this and it did feel a lot more special and had that quality taste. I found this went down too easily and from a full bottle I managed to get 5 full flutes of this out of it which was great.

      I really would happily recommend Veuve Cliquot to any fan of bubbles, it has a quality and premium taste and I couldn't fault it at all. Other champagnes like Lanson can be quite dry but with this it didn't seem like that at all as it was so smooth and easy to drink. It wasn't overpowering and was lovely for a special occasion for a toast or even to drink in the evening after a long day or out in the sun. It is the perfect drink to make anyone feel special and I definitely want to buy it again as it is a reasonable price for the taste. It is usually discounted at certain times of the year.

      Currently, you can buy this from Tesco where they are selling a 75cl bottle for £36.99 which seems to be the standard price for it which is still good.

      The official Veuve Cliquot website is http://www.veuve-clicquot.com/.

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        27.07.2014 10:12
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        • "eight browning functions"
        • "lovely design"

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        Browning At All Levels

        This toaster is really very modern and I like that about it and the fact it also matches my kettle and microwave really well. It is 27.7cm (depth) x 29.5cm (wide) and it is a 4 slot toaster as I didn't want any less, if buying I wanted the 4 slots. It is also 19.5cm in height and it has 8 settings which is very good. The body of it is a very angular square shape it is a brushed stainless steel and the top is black but the slots are chrome. It also has a panel that sticks out with a digital display window and with all of the buttons to operate the toaster.

        HOTPOINT TT44EAX0UK 4 SLOT TOASTER

        The toaster arrived packed in a nice big box, everything very well covered and protected and it was in perfect condition, no marks or anything and it wasn't too heavy. As soon as I took it out of the box, I knew it looked quite expensive but it had a lovely square design to it, it sits perfectly on the worktop in my kitchen and as soon as I plugged it in, the digital screen had life in it right away.

        I read the included instructions to start with to get a better understanding of everything this toaster has to offer. I found out that it has 8 settings which covers everything from all eight different browning controls to having a defrost and reheat function as well as having an extra wide slot so that it can hold all widths of bread and I suppose even croissants etc. It also has a bagel function, cool walls and a bun rack so that it is adaptable for all different type of breads which was another reason that made me choose this particular toaster.

        If you are using this quite regularly, then you will be glad that it has a removable crumb tray which helps with cleaning this toaster and making life easier, it does fill up quite quickly though so you need to remember to check it. Not only this but the wider slot is useful, especially for thick sliced bread as there isn't that worry of squeezing it in to make it fit or it burning by hitting the edges. When first using the toaster there was a slight plastic burning smell but that went soon, it was just because of it being new. However, it shouldn't do that after the first few times or there is a problem if it does.

        It toasts very quickly and it is so easy to use the buttons to change the settings and functions. I rarely use the defrost or reheat functions but it is still handy to have. You can buy this from a few places like Appliances Online and John Lewis but Beales offer the competitive price of £49.99 and the delivery is free.

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          23.07.2014 20:40
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          • "saves storage space"

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          Purchase this set from Amazon for £49.99

          Storage Saving Stacks

          This set consists of 1 x large non stick mixing bowl, 1 x colander (3 litre), 1 x nylon sieve, 1 x small non-slip mixing bowl, 1 non-slip juicer and the overall dimensions of the set are 32.5 x 26 x 13.5cm. This set is very stylish and bold as the colours of each bowl are vibrant, ranging from turquoise through to blue, yellow and green, it is stacked in colour order and when stacked is great as it takes up little room, compared to if each were to be placed into a cupboard alone. The capacity of each of the bowls is a decent amount as well which is great as they are all good to use.

          So, when I got this I was pleased as a lot of the similar items I had which I had just thrown out did not look as good as these did. The main purpose for the design is to occupy the most minimal amount of cupboard space possible, even if your kitchen is big or small these will no doubt be of use. I don't have the largest kitchen but I still think these are great and easy to store away. I don't use all of these regularly but I do find that I get the most use out of my colander and mixing bowls. The other brilliant thing about this set is that all of the items are dishwasher safe which makes them easy to clean.

          The colander is brilliant as it is a really nice rounded shape and it has two handles on each side, it is a bold deep blue colour and holds a good amount of pasta (3 litres) which is enough for me and it is easy to hold. Both mixing bowls are also good with there being two different sizes, with them being non-slip it does make them easy to use and when I am baking or if I am preparing a salad the large bowl can be really useful for serving these in. The large bowl holds a capacity of 4.5L and the small one holds 0.5L and has a small tip for pouring out liquid with ease from the bowl.

          The nylon sieve comes in very handy and I use this a lot, it is a white mesh and the rim is a deep green colour, it holds a capacity of 1.65L and like all of the other bowls, it also has two handles on each side rather than a long handle like other sieves do. This sieve is really good and easy to use, always use it when I'm baking and to clean it is so easy as I can just put it in the dishwasher and then it is ready to stack and use next time. Lastly, the non-slip juicer I do use this sometimes and it is cleverly stacked at the top, it holds 100ml and is very easy to use, good quality.

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            04.07.2014 21:14
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            love

            testing

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          • Philips HD4671 / Kettle / 29 Readings / 29 Ratings
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            07.06.2014 10:37
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            • " boils quick"
            • "nice design"

            Disadvantages

            • "quite a chunky design"

            You can buy this kettle online and from a number of electrical shops such as

            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.

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            16.03.2014 10:42
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            white Apple earphones compatible with most Apple devices

            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.

            APPEARANCE

            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.

            COST

            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/.

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          • Pedigree Biscrok / Dog Food / 68 Readings / 67 Ratings
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            10.03.2014 19:54
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            three varieties of dog biscuit in one pack by Pedigree

            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.

            PACKAGING

            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.

            PEDIGREE BISCROK

            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.

            COST

            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/.

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          • More +
            05.03.2014 19:57
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            good quality tyres by Goodyear

            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.

            COST

            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/.

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            • Eurax cream / Allergy & Hayfever / 75 Readings / 75 Ratings
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              27.02.2014 19:53
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              a healing cream for stopping itching

              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.

              PACKAGING

              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.

              EURAX CREAM

              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.

              COST

              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.

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              • More +
                24.02.2014 09:54
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                energy tablets for all kinds of people

                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.

                PACKAGING

                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.

                COST

                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/.

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                • Philips HR1372 / Blender / 80 Readings / 78 Ratings
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                  16.02.2014 10:11
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                  a great blender with decent accessories

                  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.

                  APPEARANCE

                  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.

                  COST

                  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/.

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                  • Ikea Austmarka Wardrobe / Furniture / 78 Readings / 78 Ratings
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                    13.02.2014 19:49
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                    a good sized wardrobe by Ikea

                    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.

                    APPEARANCE

                    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.

                    COST

                    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/.

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                    • More +
                      09.02.2014 10:19
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                      a varied healthy cook book by the Hairy Bikers

                      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.

                      BACKGROUND

                      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.

                      OVERALL THOUGHTS

                      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.

                      COST

                      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/.

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                      • More +
                        05.02.2014 20:34
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                        diarrhoea capsules by Tesco

                        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.

                        PACKAGING

                        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.

                        COST

                        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/.

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                        02.02.2014 11:53
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                        antacid relief tablets by Setlers

                        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.

                        PACKAGING

                        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.

                        COST

                        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/.

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