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    • Oven Pride / Household Cleaning / 50 Readings / 48 Ratings
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      16.03.2014 18:04
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      I have already recommended this oven cleaner and will definitely use it again.

      Cleaning the oven is one job that I really hate, particularly as it usually involves scrubbing the inside and the racks with various cleaning products, and after a few hours, it still looks the same as before I started. After reading very good reviews on here about Oven Pride, I decided that I would try it next time I wanted to clean the oven, as life is too short to be scrubbing at my oven for hours!

      *Accessibility and Price*

      I have seen Oven Pride in various supermarkets and home improvement stores both online and in-store and so it is easily obtainable. I purchased mine when it appeared in Aldi a couple of months ago for around the £3 mark, and I've since seen it for similar prices in different shops, usually around £3 and £4. I had previously felt this price was rather high for a cleaner that could only be used once, but after reading good reviews, I was more confident that the price was reasonable, considering the good results it would apparently yield. I also felt that the accolade of Best Buy from Which? that it received in 2012 was a good sign of a product that would work well.

      *Packaging and Contents*

      Oven Pride is packaged in a cardboard box, which contains a set of instructions, a pair of blue gloves, a very large bag (measuring 540mm x 740mm), and a 500ml bottle of cleaning solution. Safety instructions and detailed instructions, including pictures, can be found on the reverse of the box, and I found them very easy to understand and follow.

      *Warnings*

      The cleaning solution is a corrosive liquid that can cause severe burns, and so you have to be very careful that it doesn't make contact with your skin and eyes. You are advised to wear long rubber gloves if possible, as you need to ensure your arms and wrists are covered. I just used the gloves that came with the product and I had no problems. There is a warning that the gloves may contain latex, which can cause allergic reactions. Gloves should be worn at all times when using the product, and the bag and gloves should be inspected before use for any damage. The bottle of cleaning solution must be kept out of reach of children at all times. It is also advised that the room is ventilated during and after use of the cleaning solution, and I would recommend this because the solution has a slight scent to it that isn't overly pleasant.

      *Using the Product*

      As I previously mentioned, I found the instructions very easy to follow. When you have your gloves on, you place the oven racks in the bag provided, add half to three quarters of the cleaning solution, seal the bag, and then fold the bag around the racks and tilt so that the racks get evenly coated. The racks should be left for 2 hours and then tilted again to ensure they are well coated with the solution. The remaining cleaning solution should be poured into the oven and applied with a cloth. The solution can't be used on the hob area, oven trim, glass door, and the heating and fan elements. The racks and the inside of the oven should be left for at least 4 hours, although it is advised that it is best if left overnight. I left mine overnight, as I wanted to get the best results possible for my oven, which had not been cleaned for a long time!

      Once the racks and oven have been left to soak, the racks can be removed from the bag, and then rinsed in hot soapy water. The residue solution should be removed from the inside of the oven with a cloth, and then rinsed with hot soapy water. I found that this the least pleasant part of the experience, as the solution was thick and gloopy and a very disgusting brown colour, and that there was also lots of it! It took me a while to remove all of it and then to rinse the oven off, but I could tell from the colour of the solution that it had done a good job of removing the grease and dirt from inside the oven.

      In order to dispose of the bag and the bottle, the bag should be partially filled with water and then sealed, tilted so that the now very brown solution collects in one corner, and then the other corner should be cut off and the solution tipped out into the sink. The bag can then be disposed of with your general waste. The bottle can simply be rinsed with water and then disposed of.

      *Results*

      I was very impressed with how well Oven Pride cleaned my oven. I have tried so many times to clean the racks and always failed to get the results I would like. Oven Pride was so easy to use and I was quite shocked at how sparkly and silver the racks were after they had been soaked overnight. They had a few small marks on them still, but they were hardly noticeable and the racks looked pretty much like new, which is something I've never been able to achieve before with other products.

      The inside of the oven also looked so much better, which I found very surprising considering how dirty it had been before I used Oven Pride. I did still find, however, that I had to scrub at the oven door and glass because you can't use the solution on these parts, but I wasn't too fussed because it took so much less time to just scrub at the oven door rather than having to scrub at the rest of the oven too.

      I have already recommended Oven Pride to friends and family because I was very impressed with how little effort was required, and also with how well it cleaned my oven. I am more than happy to spend £3 every now and again on an oven cleaner that is so effective and I will definitely purchase Oven Pride again next time my oven needs cleaning.

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        09.02.2014 22:00
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        Helps to stop my hands becoming dry.

        I received this Dove hand cream many months ago as part of a gift set. I really like Dove products, as they always seem to be good quality and work well, so this is probably why my husband purchased the gift set for me.

        I've had a look for this hand cream on the internet to see how much it sells for on it's own, but it appears to be out of stock at Boots, Superdrug and Tesco at the moment. According to the Boots website, it cost £3.70 at full price. I think this is a little expensive for 75ml of hand cream, but it is something that won't be purchased very often and at least you know that you should be getting a good quality product because it is from Dove. I would, however, probably only purchase it if it was on offer.

        I tend to suffer from dry skin on my hands, particularly during the winter months. I tend to use my Neutrogena hand cream when my skin gets very chapped, but for a number of months, I have also had this Dove hand cream on the go that I use when my hands aren't extremely dry.

        The Visible Effects hand cream features a patented Multi-Layer Complex, which Dove claims infuses moisture and nourishes the surface of the skin, the core, and deep down to provide visibly more beautiful skin.

        This hand cream comes in a tube that is white/cream coloured. Being 75ml means that it contains enough product to last for a long time but it is also small enough to fit easily into my bedside drawer or in my handbag. The flip top lid is located at the bottom of the tube, as is often the case with hand creams, and I like this because it means the product is always easy to dispense without having to squeeze the tube too hard.

        The hand cream itself is a white coloured cream that has a light creamy and slightly sweet scent to it. It isn't runny but it isn't particularly thick either, and I find I only need to use a small amount. The hand cream easily absorbs into my skin and doesn't leave my hands feeling particularly greasy, and it leaves them feeling moisturised and soft. I have been applying the hand cream every few nights for months and it is still going, and so it lasts for a long amount of time.

        Overall, I have been happy with this hand cream. It is easy to use, moisturises my hands, and has lasted a long time. I would certainly be happy to receive another gift set containing this product, however, I probably wouldn't purchase it for myself unless it was on offer because it's slightly expensive at full price.

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        29.01.2014 18:59
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        Recommended by dentists, I would also recommend this toothbrush but when on offer

        I first started using a Phillips Sonicare electric toothbrush years ago when my dentist recommended that I use one. I think this was the second Sonicare toothbrush I used. I now use the Healthy White toothbrush instead, after a couple of years use from the Flexcare, and this is only because when cleaning my Flexcare I submerged it in water - something you are not supposed to do! If I hadn't submerged it in water, it may well still be going today, and my husband's is still working well after a few years of constant use.

        I think a new Flexcare Platinum model is now available to replace this Flexcare version, but it can still be purchased on Amazon for £90 with free delivery. According to the listing on Amazon, the RRP of this toothbrush is £163.40, which is very expensive, and I think the RRP is one negative thing about this toothbrush. The only other negative that I found when using it, was that the replacement toothbrush heads are rather expensive. I used the ProResults replacement heads, which are currently £18.99 for a pack of 3 on Amazon. It is recommended that you replace the head on the toothbrush at least every 3 months, and you can tell when it needs replacing, because the blue bristles on the head will turn white.

        This toothbrush has 3 cleaning modes: 'Clean' for maximum cleaning, 'Sensitive' for sensitive teeth and gyms, and 'Massage' which is supposed to stimulate gums. I always used the 'clean' setting, as my teeth and gums aren't particularly sensitive, and I didn't feel the need to try the 'massage' setting. My teeth always felt nice and clean after using the 'clean' setting.

        As well as the different cleaning modes, the toothbrush also offers 2 cleaning routines, which are: 'Go Care' and 'Max Care'. 'Go Care' provides a quick one minute clean and 'Max Care' provides an extended clean over 3 minutes. I've never tried these modes personally, as I never felt the need for an extended clean and if I wanted a quick clean for my teeth, for example before I was going out socialising, I would just use the 'clean' mode and switch the toothbrush off after a quick clean manually.

        The one thing that I really appreciated and used on this toothbrush was the 'Quadpacer' interval timer, which is intended to help you to clean each quadrant of your mouth for the correct amount of time, so that all of your teeth get a good clean. After 30 seconds, the toothbrush beeps so that you know to move on to the next section of your teeth. I found this really helpful, as I was no longer guessing how long to brush each section of my teeth for, and it gave me reassurance that I was cleaning all of my teeth thoroughly.

        The toothbrush also has a 2-minute timer, which means that the toothbrush switches itself off after you have been cleaning your teeth for 2 minutes, which Phillips say is the amount of time dentists recommend you clean your teeth for. If you decide to clean your teeth for longer, you can simply switch the toothbrush on again and carry on cleaning.

        The Flexcare is a rechargeable toothbrush and so it comes with a charger. I found that the toothbrush lasted for well over a week between charges, and I used it twice daily every day.

        Overall, I was glad that I purchased the Flexcare because I felt that it helped me to clean my teeth thoroughly. It is a very expensive toothbrush to purchase, but I personally felt that it was worth purchasing because my dentist recommended the brand and I really care about looking after my teeth well. The only reason that I didn't purchase the same model again is because it wasn't on offer when I needed to replace it.

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      • Brabantia 30L Steel Pedal Bin / Bin / 70 Readings / 68 Ratings
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        12.01.2014 19:32
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        A bin that does it's job well and looks great

        My husband and I moved into our home together around 3 years ago. As it was our first home, we needed to purchase a great deal of essentials, and a kitchen bin was one such item we needed.

        I wanted to buy a bin that would last a long time but I didn't want to spend a ridiculous amount of money. I straight away knew that I would like to have a Brabantia bin, as my parents have owned one for many years and it lasts well, as well as being, in my opinion, a rather stylish looking bin, if there is such a thing! However, I thought that this brand may well be out of my price range.

        It was by chance that I found a great offer on this bin at Argos, and to make it even better, the price also included a little bin that I could use in our bathroom. It's three years ago since I made the purchase, and so unfortunately I can't remember how much I paid for the set, but I seem to recall it being around the £30 mark, which I think is a very good price for two Brabantia bins. I've had a look on the Argos website, and I can't see the same set on there anymore. However, I did find the 30L bin for sale on there on it's own, and it's currently priced at £54.99, which is a lot more expensive than the price I paid, and I'm not sure I would fork out that much on a bin. It is priced at an even higher price of £77 on Brabantia's own website. I would definitely advise looking around for offers, as I have seen the bin on offer at many different stores since I purchased it, although possibly not for the price I paid for the two together.

        The bin is stainless steel, which I think makes it look expensive, and which also means that it will fit into the colour schemes of most kitchens well. The only negative thing about having a stainless steel bin, I find, is that it needs regularly wiping over with a damp cloth because it gains marks very easily. However, I find this to be true of any stainless steel products that we own. The bin hasn't gained any rust marks or corrosion of any kind. The Brabantia name and logo are located on the top of the black box that cases the hinges on the back of the bin, meaning that it the brand name and logo are visible but fairly discreet.

        I decided to purchase a pedal bin because I feel that it is more hygienic than using a touch top or roll top bin, as you use your foot to open the bin, rather than having to keep touching the bin with your hands. I also find that a pedal bin is easier to use because the bin can be easily opened when you have your hands full. The bin is easily opened and shuts straight away when you take your foot off the pedal, rather than having to manually shut the lid. If you want to keep the lid open for a while, for example if you want to empty the bin or clean it, you can manually push the lid fully open with your hand, and the lid will stay open until you manually close it again.

        The bucket inside the bin is black and it has a grey handle so that it can be lifted out of the main body of the bin. The bucket and handle appear to be rather strong, and I find it fairly easy to lift the bucket out of the bin by myself, even when it is full and needs to be emptied.

        The bin is 66cm high, 39.5cm wide, and it has a depth of 29.5cm. It has a capacity of 30 litres. There are just two adults living in my house, and we find that this bin size is fine for us. It is large enough to be able to hold all of our kitchen rubbish for a number of days before needing to be emptied, and it is also small enough to fit easily into our small kitchen.

        We received a free bag of Brabantia bin bags when we purchased our bin, and the bags fitted the bin well. You can purchase these Brabantia bin bags if you wish, in size G to fit this bin, but we purchase ours from the supermarket, as they are much cheaper and in my view are much better value for money. We haven't had any issues trying to find bin bags to fit into this bin, and we find that any bags designed for 30L bins fit our bin fine.

        The bottom of the bin is made of plastic, and we have found that it grips well on our laminated kitchen floor and doesn't slide around, even when the floor has been mopped and is rather slippery. We move the bin around the kitchen floor on a regular basis to mop underneath it, and it never makes any marks on the floor when being pushed along it.

        We have been using this bin for nearly 3 years, and we have never had any issues with any parts of it not working or breaking. The bin comes with a 10 year Brabantia guarantee, which gives me added confidence that the bin has been well made, and peace of mind in case anything does go wrong.

        In summary, I would certainly recommend this bin. It looks good in our kitchen, it's hygienic and easy to use, and it is also the perfect size for a kitchen bin for a small family. It needs wiping down fairly regularly to keep it looking good, but this is true of all stainless steel items. The one thing that would put me off buying this bin again in the future would be it's high price if I couldn't find a good offer. For the price I paid for the set of two bins, I've been very happy and I'm really glad I made the purchase.

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          13.12.2013 12:57
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          A great value shampoo that I may use again

          I normally use Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner, but when I saw this shampoo on sale at 85p for a 400ml bottle in Pound Stretcher I thought I would give it a go, as I'm trying to watch the pennies at the moment. I've seen it in various shops and supermarkets for around £1, which I think is also pretty good value.

          This juicy green apple shampoo is for normal/greasy hair, and it has apple and grape seed extracts. The shampoo claims to gently cleanse, revive and refresh, and strengthen with pro-vitamin B5. It also claims to use 'most of the same ingredients you'll find in more expensive brands, but at a great price which means you can afford to look glamorous every day!'

          The shampoo comes in a clear bottle, so that you can see the green shampoo through it. I really like this design, because it means you can clearly see how much of the product you've got left, so you know when you need to stock up on more shampoo. It has an easy to use flip lid, with a good size nozzle that easily dispenses of the product when you squeeze the bottle.

          One thing I like my shampoo to have is a lovely smell, and this one doesn't disappoint when you open the bottle. It has a lovely apple smell when applying it, although I can't really comment on how well the smell lingers on my hair when I'm out of the shower, because I have been using Herbal Essences conditioner afterwards. My hair is below my shoulders and so I have to use a decent amount of shampoo. I have found that I have to use more of this shampoo than I do with Herbal Essences in order to get it to lather, and I was worried at first when I was having to use a generous dollop of it because I thought the shampoo might run out very quickly and maybe it wasn't such good value after all. However, I have been using the shampoo every day for weeks now and I'm still not even halfway through it, which means that it has still turned out to be excellent value in my opinion.

          As previously mentioned, I need to emphasise that I have continued using Herbal Essences conditioner after using this shampoo, which may mean that I have different results to others who use it. However, I haven't really found much difference between this shampoo and my usual Herbal Essences brand. It cleans my hair, smells nice and leaves me with good results when combining it with my usual conditioner. I think when combined with a good conditioner, using a cheaper shampoo like this one is probably a smart move. Having said that, I may be tempted back to my Herbal Essences shampoo, but only if I see it on a good offer!

          Therefore, a good subsitute for my favourite shampoo to save some pennies, and an absolute bargain at 85p

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            26.07.2013 11:57
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            We were very pleased with the gift list service, it's just a shame about the signal on the scanner

            My husband and I got married last month, and we decided that we were going to provide a gift list with our invitations. We already have our own home and have been living together for a couple of years, and so we wanted to make sure that we didn't end up with lots more of the same items that we already own. Because we were quite young first-time buyers and so didn't have huge amounts of spare cash after putting down a deposit for our house, we decided to try to make do with what we already owned between us plus some other fairly cheap items. I had stayed away from home during my time at university and so we were lucky in that we already had quite a few basic items, such as kitchen utensils, saucepans and cutlery, and my Mum and Dad kindly let us have all of the furniture from my bedroom at their house. We felt that by having a wedding list, we would be able to ask for some better quality items that could replace things that were getting rather old, and also some new additions that we had been after for a while, such as a spice rack and salad bowl.

            I have always been in two minds about John Lewis. I think it's a lovely place to shop and many of their items are of a very high quality, however, this is often reflected in their high prices and so I don't tend to shop there very often. There also isn't a shop close to where we live, which means a rather long drive to the nearest shop. I loved the idea of having our wedding gift list with John Lewis because I felt it was a great excuse to be able to choose some really great quality items for our home without having to pay for them! I had also heard that you were given a scanner and that you could walk around the shop scanning the barcodes of everything you wanted on your list, and for someone who loves shopping, what's there not to love about that?! I didn't want us to end up receiving the same gift from all of our guests, but I felt it would be rude to ask just for money, and so I felt that having a gift list was the best thing to do, meaning we would receive things we could really do with, and hopefully it would make it easier for our guests to choose a present.

            Registering:

            You can register for the gift list online, over the phone or at your local store. Registration is free, and when we did it online, we found it quick and easy to do. Once you are registered, you are provided with a gift list number and you can set your own password, enabling you to access your gift list through the John Lewis website.

            What you can have on your gift list:

            As well as having products from the retail and online stores on your gift list, there are other choices you can have on there too. You can ask for John Lewis gift vouchers, contributions towards a special holiday or honeymoon, and you can also ask for charity donations for Cancer Research UK.

            Compiling the list with items from the store or online:

            In my opinion, this is the best part! John Lewis recommend that you choose the items for your gift list 8 weeks before your wedding, so that the items you choose are less likely to be out of stock from being discontinued when your guests choose from your gift list. To choose your items in store, you need to go to the Gift List department in order to collect your scanner. When we went to do this, we were asked to sit down with a member of staff at their computer, where they checked our personal details, we had to read through some terms and conditions, and then we were provided with our scanner, advice on how to use it, and also a voucher that would allow us to have free tea or coffee and cake, which I thought was a nice touch. You don't have to use the voucher that same day, as it doesn't have an expiry date on it. You are also given a little pack with a leaflet and small booklet with information about the gift list etc, a letter entitling you and a guest to a free beauty consultation, an invitation to receive a free fitted kitchen planning appointment, and a gift list checklist. I think the checklist was the most useful thing in this pack, as it has a large list of items you could choose for your list, and it's helpful to make sure you haven't forgotten something that you would like to add to your list.

            We were shown how to use the scanner, which I have to say was slightly more technical than I was expecting, and off we went to scan our products. The scanner worked for a couple of minutes and then suddenly decided that it didn't have any signal apart from if we stood in one corner of the shop. We went back to explain that it wouldn't work and were handed a different scanner. This one decided to work most of the time, although this one also didn't have signal every now and again. I have to say, it was great being able to wander around the store scanning things we wished to have in our home, wondering if anyone would purchase them for us. We did make sure that we had a really good range of products in terms of price, as we didn't want there to be too many expensive items. We were advised when we were given our scanner to select a fairly large number of items because people are often a lot more generous than you would expect, and so make sure there is plenty of choice.

            If you don't wish to go to the store to add items to your gift list, you can do it online instead. We added most of our items in store but then we decided to remove and also add a few new things online. It was nice to have the option of managing it online, as it saves the hassle of having to keep going to the shop.

            Guests purchasing your gifts:

            If you wish, John Lewis will send you little inserts with information about your gift list for your guests free of charge. We chose to send these with our invitations, and you just have to write on your gift list number and a password, if you decide to set one. The inserts were white and modern-looking, and they looked good being sent with our invitations. The gift list opens for your guests to access it 6 weeks before your wedding. Guests can purchase items from your list online, in store or over the phone, which I think is great because it means they can use whichever method is the most convenient for them.

            Watching your gifts being purchased:

            I found it rather exciting, and I think my then fiance did too, to keep logging on to our list every now and then to see if anyone had purchased anything. It was easy to tell if anyone had purchased anything because it was listed under a separate tab. What we found to be a nice touch when our guests purchased something was that as well as typing in their names, so that you could tell who had purchased each item, guests could also write a personal message, and it was lovely to see messages of congratulations and well wishes next to our gifts. I have to say that the advice John Lewis provided about having a good range of gifts because people can be very generous was actually very good advice. Some of our guests spent far more money on gifts than we were expecting, and a pair of lamp bases that I loved but nearly didn't put onto our list because we thought they would be too expensive were purchased by my Mum and Dad's friends, which we couldn't believe. It just goes to show that when it comes to a wedding, people can be extremely generous.

            Delivery:

            All gifts are delivered free of charge, and you can specify a date that is convenient for you. If you need certain items delivering before your honeymoon, they can arrange for this. We arranged the delivery date for our gifts over the phone and the lady was very helpful and friendly. In fact, whenever we've rang up to discuss our gift list, every advisor has been helpful. We had some gift vouchers purchased for us and you can either collect those from store or have them delivered to you for free. The gift vouchers can then be used in store or online. As promised, on the day that our gifts were being delivered, the delivery driver rang us to let us know he would be delivering to us in around half an hour, which we appreciated. Our gifts arrived in cardboard boxes and were well packed, with no damage to any items.

            Closure of your list:

            Once we had received all our gifts and vouchers, we received a phone call asking if our list could be closed, which actually made me feel quite sad! We received a list through the post of all the items we had received so that we had proof of purchase should we have any issues with any items.

            Would I recommend?:

            Yes, I would recommend the John Lewis wedding gift list. Their prices are rather expensive, but at least you know you are going to receive good quality products that will last for a long time. I wanted to receive wedding gifts that will last for years to come, because seeing and using them reminds me of our wedding. I really enjoyed going round the store with my partner scanning in products that we would like for our home, and it was very useful being able to manage the list online. The only negative I think I have to say about the whole experience was that the scanners weren't very reliable, but that's the only issue we had. If you want a company you can trust that sells good quality items, I would choose John Lewis.

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              25.07.2013 11:27
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              A bible for cookery that provides a great range of dishes

              I would like to start off by saying that I purchased this cookery book a great length of time ago now, probably a couple of years ago at least, and so there is a new version of this book currently available, which may differ slightly to the one I will be reviewing, and so my apologies for that. However, I think most of the recipes will still be the same, and I believe that owning the book for a long time means that I am able to review it better because it has been well used. My book has a small image of Mary in the top right hand corner, the main image is of a gorgeous looking chocolate dessert, and there are 5 smaller images of finished recipes along the bottom of the book. I believe the newest version of the book has a modern-looking pink cover, with a big image of Mary Berry down the right-hand side. It is a hardback book, which, as I mentioned in my review of Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course, I prefer for a recipe book, because it means the pages tend to stay in place and so I can read a recipe without having to keep finding my page again.

              When I purchased this cookery book from WHSmith's a long time ago, I only had a look at it because it was on offer. It has an RRP of £25 (as does the newest version), and I can't remember what price it had been reduced to, but I remember thinking that it was a good price. At the time, The Great British Bake Off hadn't appeared on TV screens, and I had never heard of Mary Berry. As well as the low price, the thing that drew me to this book was the huge amount of recipes it contained, and therefore the fact that there was such a good range of different dishes that it could be used to cook and bake. I have noticed that the newer version of this book can also regularly be found at a reduced price, for example it is currently available on Amazon for a bargain price of £8.99 with free delivery, and it can be purchased from Tesco Direct for £10 with free delivery.

              A little about Mary Berry:

              Mary trained at The Cordon Bleu in Paris and Bath School of Home Economics. She has been the cookery editor of Housewife magazine and Ideal Home magazine, she has presented many television programmes, run Aga workshops and cookery courses, and she has written over 70 books (wow!). I also didn't realise that together with her daughter, she has developed her own best-selling range of salad dressings and sauces. According to Dorling Kindersley, who have published this book, in an article in BBC Good Food Magazine in 2010, Mary was voted by the public as being the third favourite chef/cook for the most reliable recipes after Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith, which I think says it all.

              As with many cookery books, the first section in this book provides information to help you when cooking the recipes. There is information provided on the various types of equipment that are used in cooking, such as measuring equipment, ovenware and which utensils to use for different jobs. There is helpful information about freezing food, such as what foods freeze well, and how long they can be stored in the freezer for. A microwaving page provides advice on how best to use a microwave in order to assist you when cooking. Information is also provided on storing food, types of pulses that are available, the use of herbs and spices, and finally advice about cooking safely. At the start of every chapter, there are a few pages containing additional advice and information specific about the recipes contained within that section, and there are also little tips next to certain recipes, such as how to make a recipe slightly healthier, information about how healthy certain ingredients are, and substitutes that could be used. Before making any of the recipes, you are advised to read the Cook's Notes at the back of the book, which provides conversion tables and a few pointers for reading the recipes, such as eggs are medium unless otherwise stated, and tablespoons are 15ml and teaspons 5ml.

              At the start of every chapter, as well as the advice that is provided, there is a contents section listing every recipe for that chapter, along with a photograph of the finished dish, a quick summary of what it contains, the number of calories per serving, and how many people it will serve. In my opinion, this is a great idea, as it means you can get a quick idea of which recipes will be the best suited to the occasion you are cooking for, and it means you can go straight to those recipes, without having to read each recipe in detail. There are also little headings at the top of some of the photographs, that say, for example, that a dish is 'traditional', a 'family choice', or 'low fat', which I think are great if you are looking for a dish that fulfils certain qualities. There is also an index at the back of the book, to help you find a particular recipe quickly.

              This cookery book really is like a bible, with countless amounts of useful information and helpful advice, and with over 1,000 recipes and at 544 pages long, it really is a hefty book. Because it is so large and provides so many recipes, I won't go into each section in detail, as I do not wish you poor readers to be bored to death. Instead I will list the various sections, and then advise of a few recipes my husband and I have tried and whether or not they were successful.

              Chapters in the book:

              1. Hot and Chilled Soups
              2. First Courses
              3. Eggs and Cheese
              4. Fish and Shellfish
              5. Poultry and Game
              6. Meat Dishes
              7. Vegetarian Dishes
              8. Pasta and Rice
              9. Vegetables and Salads
              10. Yeast Cookery
              11. Pies, Tarts, and Hot Desserts
              12. Chilled Desserts
              13. Cakes and Teabreads

              As you can see, this book provides recipes for so many different types of dishes. There are such a good range of recipes. One of the great things about this book is that there is so much variety, and so many different ingredients used, that you are bound to find something that you can cook to suit your tastes, budget and the amount of time you have available to cook. Whereas with some cook books, there might be just a few main course recipes available and only a small number of types of meat in those recipes, this cookbook provides so many different main course options, and with pretty much every type of meat you could wish to eat, including beef, lamb, veal, pork and so much more. I find that there is a great choice of classic recipes, such as Cottage Pies with Cheesy Potato Topping, Spaghetti Alla Carbonara, and Lasagne, but there are also many recipes that I have never heard of before, such as Raclette, Mussel Gratin and Bobotie. It is therefore a great book to help you to prepare classic dishes, and also to inspire you to experiment and try something different.

              Every recipe provides an easy to follow method, how many people the dish will serve, and a photograph of the finished dish. I love that there is a photograph for every dish in this book, because it means that you can see what the finished article is supposed to look like, and I have found this to be especially helpful when trying to cook something that I've never had before. It is also nice to see appetising photographs of dishes I have never tried before, because it helps to convince me to try something new.

              My husband and I have tried a number of recipes in this book, and we haven't had any issues with any of the dishes not turning out right. We have tried Chicken Marengo on several occasions, which is a lovely main course, consisting of, among other things, chicken, shallots, plain flour, white wine, tinned tomatoes, button mushrooms, prawns, tomato puree, and bouquet garni. It is a recipe that is easy to follow, many of the ingredients are ones we usually have at home, and the rest can easily be found at the supermarket, and it tastes lovely. We tried the Italian Stuffed Courgettes the other night with some salad, and they were really nice and so easy to make, great for a quick weekday dinner. The main ingredients were onion, courgettes, tomatoes, capers (which we didn't bother with) and Fontina cheese (we just used cheddar), and so it required simple ingredients that we already had. My husband has made the Dinner Rolls a couple of times, which are small white bread rolls that taste great. The ingredients are just strong white flour, salt, fast-action dried yeast, lukewarm water, and sunflower oil, and he has found the instructions easy to follow.

              The other recipes that we have tried have also been great, and there are still so many more throughout the book that we are looking forward to using. Many of the dishes that we have cooked or baked, we have then made again, which can only be a good sign. There are many recipes that my husband and I use to cook for just the two of us at the weekend and during the week, and there are also many that would be well suited to cooking for a number of guests at a dinner party. You would easily be able to use this book to cook a 3 course meal for guests, because as well as the great range of main course dishes, there are also lovely looking first courses and soups, and some mouthwatering desserts. I hate it when cookery books mainly contain recipes that require weird and wonderful ingredients that are hard to find, and this cookery book provides so many recipes with ingredients that are easy to find and often that I already have in the cupboards or fridge, which is great and very practical. There are also a couple of pages at the back of the book entitled Recipe Notes, where you can note down a recipe name, page number and then comments for that recipe, which I think is a nice idea.

              In conclusion, this is a great cookery book with lots of useful information and advice, a great range of easy to follow recipes that provide great tasting dishes. It's a great all rounder, providing lovely recipes for all types of courses, desserts and cakes. I would certainly recommend it, especially if it's around the £10 mark, which I think is a bargain for the amount of recipes contained in the book.

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                23.07.2013 11:36
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                A great chick-lit read for the Summer

                This book was bought for me by my husband and I was pleased to see that it was written by Sophie Kinsella, an author I have heard positive things about. Having read 'The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic' and not enjoying it as much as I thought I would, I hoped that this book would appeal to me more. The book is actually written by Sophie Kinsella writing as Madeleine Wickham, which is actually her real name (confused yet?). At the start of the book, Madeleine/Sophie says that she has written under two different names because the Madeleine Wickham books are in a different style to her Sophie Kinsella books. I don't really see the point in this, but that's just my personal opinion.

                At the start of the book, we see Liz sitting in an estate agent's office, the realisation of her financial situation dawning on her. Liz and Jonathan Chambers purchased a tutorial college, in order to run it themselves, and the plan was that they would live in the flat at the college and sell their home. They are currently paying the mortgage for the college and also for their previous home, and desparately need to sell their house, as they can't afford to pay for two mortgages. However, things aren't going to plan, as the property market has been in decline and so the value of their house has dropped considerably, meaning that nobody is willing to pay the money they need the house to fetch in order to be able to afford the mortgage of the tutorial college.

                It is here at the estate agents that Liz first meets Marcus. Marcus Witherstone is one of the owners of the estate agency firm. He exudes confidence, and Liz can tell straight away that he is somebody important. As a result of owning the estate agency firm, Marcus lives a lifestyle that many people can only dream about, full of luxurious cars, expensive clothes and famous restaurants. Marcus is married to Anthea and has two children, but this doesn't stop him from partaking in affairs, and sitting alone one day in an empty house with Liz plus a full bottle of champagne means things are about to get interesting. The difference between Liz's dingy flat and Marcus' lavish lifestyle means that Liz is soon craving for a way of life that Jonathan can't provide.

                In order to provide a solution to Liz and Jonathan's financial troubles, Marcus offers to find tennants for their house, so that the rent they generate will be able to cover their mortgage payments. Marcus is able to source two tennants, Ginny and Piers, who soon move into the house. Whilst Jonathan is busy trying to get the college up and running to it's full potential, and Liz is busy fantasizing about a new life, Alice, their teenage daughter, is busy making friends with the tennants at their old house. Spending time with lovely Ginny, handsome Piers and their hilariously camp friend Duncan is so much better, Alice feels, than spending time with her embarrassing and boring parents. Piers is currently an unemployed actor who is waiting for his next big break, which he suddenly appears to be on the brink of achieving, and with the possibility of him becoming a household name, Alice's feelings for him grow even stronger.

                Marcus is becoming fed up with his boring work life and decides he wants a bit more excitement in his life than just selling houses. He is offered a risky and more dangerous way of making quick money, and he has to decide whether or not it is worth the risk. As the story continues, Marcus' affair with Liz becomes more and more tricky to handle, and having to manage this as well as the decision as to whether to engage in the business he is offered by a rather troublesome individual means that is it intriguing as to how things will turn out in the end.

                I really enjoyed this book. I liked the way the plot had twists and turns, and there were several issues and stories on the go at once. Because there are a number of important characters throughout the book, I sometimes struggled to remember who was who, but after a while it is easy to pick up who each character is. I have to say that my favourite character is this book was probably Duncan. He was so camp and always saying and doing hilarious things, and he sounds just like Louis Spence! I found Liz to be a fairly likeable character at the start, although I soon started to become annoyed with her delusions of gaining Marcus's lifestyle, without a care for her husband who was working so tirelessly to turn the tutorial college into a successful business, and who seemed like a very genuine and hardworking person. Marcus was a very hard person to like due to his adulterous ways, but his wife, Anthea was also very hard to like, due to her tireless demands on their two sons to be the most successful boys at school. Again, Alice wasn't particularly a likeable character because of her constant whinging, and I know that teenagers can be grumpy but Alice is just plain miserable all the time and doesn't seem to care about her parents.Whereas I kept putting Sophie Kinsella's 'The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic' book down and not bothering to pick it up again for a while, I was intrigued with this story as to how things would turn out for all of the characters, and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen at the end.

                Pages: 333
                Price: £6.99
                Publisher: Black Swan
                ISBN: 978-0-552-77670-7

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                  21.07.2013 15:38
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                  A healthy start to the day for a great price

                  I always make sure that I eat breakfast every day, and it pretty much always tends to be cereal that I decide to consume. I have always enjoyed eating sugary and sweet cereals, but I always try to eat these just a few days of the week, and on the other days I eat a more healthy cereal. A while ago, I started purchasing Tesco's own brand of no added sugar muesli, as it is a lot cheaper than Alpen's version. My husband and I have been using Aldi for our weekly shop for a long time now, but we have always tended to visit Tesco for a few things every now and again, such as their museli and some branded cleaning products. However, recently we have been a bit braver and have started purchasing these last few items from Aldi, rather than using tried and tested Tesco products and brand names. Therefore, I decided that I would give Aldi's Harvest Morn muesli a go instead of purchasing Tesco's version.

                  I would like to point out that the name of this muesli, according to my cereal box, is Harvest Morn Swiss Style Muesli, and not Harvest Moon as dooyoo are calling it, and so I'm not too sure what's gone on there. As well as their usual muesli, they also have a no added sugar version of the same cereal, and it is this version that I will be reviewing today. For the 750g box, it currently costs £1.09 in Aldi stores. In contrast, Alpen no added sugar is currently priced at £2.79 for 560g at Tesco, and 1kg of Tesco no added sugar muesli currently costs £2.89. If you do the maths, it shows that Aldi's product is cheaper than the others that I used to buy.

                  The no added sugar muesli comes in a light blue box, with a big image of a bowl of muesli with some grapes next to it, and some mountains faintly in the background. We are advised that this product contains 100% natural ingredients and no artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives. There is of course no added sugar, it just contains naturally occurring sugars, and it is also high in fibre. Per 40g serving, the muesli provides 147 calories (7% GDA), 5.8g sugar (6% GDA), 2.4g fat (3% GDA), 0.3g sats (2% GDA), and 0.03g salt (1% GDA). Ingredients: rolled oats (40%), wheat flakes (38%) (wheat, barley malt extract, salt), raisins (15%) (raisins, sunflower oil), whey powder, chopped nuts (3%) (hazelnuts, almonds).

                  It is advised that the muesli should be stored in a cool dry place. Once the box and plastic bag inside have been opened, we are advised to roll down the bag and close the box. The top of the box does contain a tab and a slot for the tab to be pushed inside, in order to help to keep the contents fresher for longer. The best before date is located on the lid of the box, and after purchasing my latest box a few days ago, the best before date is June 2014, and so it doesn't need to be eaten particularly quickly after purchase. We are advised that the box is made from card and so is widely recycled, but you need to check with your local recycling facility if the plastic bag can be recycled.

                  The muesli can be eaten either with milk or yoghurt, but I eat mine with milk. I found the Tesco no added sugar muesli to be a little different to the Alpen version, but I still find it tastes fine. However, I've found this Aldi muesli to look and taste exactly the same as the Tesco version, and I'm not sure I would be able to tell the difference between the two. It isn't the tastiest of cereals, which I would expect, considering it contains no added sugar and is meant to be a natural and healthy breakfast. I know my Mum has tried no added sugar Alpen and she thinks it tastes like cardboard. However, I am now used to the taste and I think that if you get used to no added sugar muesli, then you will find that this Aldi product will taste absolutely fine. I enjoy eating this muesli in the morning, because I feel that I am eating something that is much better for me than sugary cereals, and the raisins it contains provide a little bit of natural sweetness, which is a nice contrast to the oats, wheat flakes and nuts. The nuts provide a little bit of crunch and the raisins provide a bit of chewiness, which also helps to make it a bit more interesting to eat.

                  I enjoy eating this muesli in the mornings, and I feel good that I am providing my body with a healthy start to the day. Aldi's muesli is much cheaper than the other brands that I used to eat, and I haven't looked back since.

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                  • More +
                    18.07.2013 14:10
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                    A cookery book that provides great recipes and helpful advice

                    My husband is a good cook and we are both always looking for really good recipe books so that we can try something different. My husband picked up this book in Tesco months ago. The price on the back of mine is £25, and I don't think we paid quite this much, but I still remember thinking that the price we paid was pretty expensive. However, my husband really wanted this book and so I gave in.
                    Rather frustratingly, this book is currently available to purchase from Tesco Direct for the bargain price of £5, a whopping £20 off the RRP. I have seen this book available in many stores with a whole host of different prices. My book is a hardback and I've not seen any paperback versions available. It was published on 30th August 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton General Division, and the ISBN is: 9781444756692.

                    Many of the recipes from this book are actually available for free in Gordon Ramsay's scrapbook on the Channel 4 website: http://scrapbook.channel4.com/experts/go​rdonramsay. The reason for this is that Gordon had his own cookery show on Channel 4 entitled 'Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course', and this is the book to go with it.

                    Lookswise, I think this cookery book is rather eye catching, and I like the modern feel to it. The image on the front cover is of Gordon standing in his kitchen, with his white t-shirt standing out against the dark greys and blacks of the background. His name is also in white lettering, and the words 'ULTIMATE COOKERY COURSE' are in orange, which means the title of the book is quite bold and really stands out. As I mentioned previously, this book is a hardback, and I like this because it means that when the book is lying flat on my kitchen worktop, the pages, once pressed down, stay open on the recipe I'm trying to view, whereas I find that the pages of paperback cookery books will not stay put. It is a fairly hefty cookery book at 320 pages long and it contains over 120 recipes.

                    The claims of this book are that it will show us how to cook very enjoyable recipes by simplifying cookery. Gordon says 'put simply, I'm going to show you how to cook yourself into a better cook'. Gordon believes that the best thing someone can have in order to cook good dishes is confidence, and this is what he hopes to instil through the advice and recipes in this book. There is a short youtube video of Gordon describing what this book is about on his scrapbook, and it can be found using this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDP0cm6of​R0.

                    Getting Started:

                    This is the first section in the book. Gordon first of all provides a short introduction to the book, and also emphasises that confidence is needed in the kitchen. He provides advice in this section on what kitchen equipment he thinks is best to use for certain jobs, and how to choose which products to purchase.

                    Classics with a Twist:

                    The second section is where Gordon wishes to encourage us to try experimenting by using different ingredients and different ways of cooking in order to reinvent the classic dishes that we are used to cooking on a regular basis into something new and fresh. Here, Gordon also urges us to make sure we always taste food whilst cooking. He provides descriptions of the separate tastes we should look out for, such as salt, sourness and bitterness, and he provides suggestions for ingredients to add to our cooking, in order to provide the acidity or sweetness it might be lacking. There are main course dishes and desserts recipes in this section, including tomato risotto, miso salmon, and the delicious-looking coconut pancakes with mango slices and lime syrup - I think I might have to give this one a go!

                    Fish:

                    In this section, Gordon tries to encourage us to cook fish, arguing that it is one of the simplest items of food to cook. He provides advice on how to buy fish, how to prepare it, and he also discusses the various ways of cooking it. There are some fish recipes that sound quite traditional or not too out of the ordinary, such as fish pie and sea bass with fennel, lemon and capers. There are also recipes that sound a little different and perhaps a bit more experimental, such as crab and mascarpone crepes, and chilli and spice whitebait. I'm not a huge fan of fish, but some of the recipes sound very nice and I hope to try some of them soon.

                    Meat:

                    Gordon provides advice on buying meat, storing it, preparing it and cooking it. He also provides a step-by-step guide on how to fry a sirloin steak. This section contains recipes using pork, chicken, duck, steak, sausages, lamb, beef and guinea fowl, and so there is a nice range of different meats. I am able to mention here that my husband and I have tried one of the recipes from this section. My husband cooked the 'Easy Bollito Misto', which can be found on page 101. This dish is a sausage casserole, and whilst Italian fennel sausages are listed as the main ingredients, we used normal, relatively cheap sausages from the supermarket, and we felt they did the job just fine. One thing I hate about many recipe books is there are always ingredients used that I struggle to find in the supermarket, and unfortunately we found this in this recipe. As well as using different sausages, we were also unable to find Puy lentils and so we ran the risk of using red split lentils instead. Whether the lentils we used taste anything like Puy lentils I have no idea, but it still tasted very nice. It was a hearty and warming dish, great for a cold Winter's day, that was pretty simple to make, and I'm sure we will have it again next Winter.

                    Spices:

                    In this section, Gordon discusses salt and pepper, where and how long to keep spices for, a description of various spices and chillies, and how to use spices. I'm a terrible wimp when it comes to spicy food, I can't eat anything that is vaguely spicy, but if you enjoy spicy food, this section contains recipes that sound very appealing. There are recipes for starters or side dishes, such as curry-spiced sweetcorn soup, grilled corn with chipotle chilli butter, and roasted squash houmous, which I think sounds delicious. There are also main courses, such as noodles with chilli, ginger and lemongrass, Vietnamese-style beef baguette, and jerk chicken. Two desserts also feature here: chocolate mousse with chilli and mango, and fragrant spiced rice pudding.

                    Good Food for Less:

                    I think the focus of this section is pretty self-explanatory, and, as with all of the other sections, Gordon starts off with some advice, this time on how to find the best value ingredients, making the most of seasonal produce, and the importance of using leftovers. There is a variety of recipes here from bread and butter pudding to spicy black beans with feta and avocado to home-made gnocchi, and so there is probably something that will appeal to everybody. I have bookmarked the chicken stir-fry with rice noodles, as it looks like a simple yet tasty recipe, and I'm looking forward to trying it. I think in these times of austerity, it is useful for a cookery book to have a section like this, that focuses on relatively cheap food.

                    Cooking in Advance:

                    A handy section of the book which focuses on things that can be made in advance and then stored in the fridge or freezer. There are a number of dishes containing meatballs, which Gordon says freeze well, and there are recipes for a spicy chutney, slow-cooked beef short ribs, and moroccan lamb with sweet potato and raisins, amongst others.

                    Cooking for One or Two:

                    As it is just my husband and I living in our house, this was a part of the book that really appealed to us. The start of this section focuses on the basics, with plenty of tips and advice, and the recipes that follow look simple to cook but very tasty. Here I will focus on two recipes that my husband and I have cooked together and really enjoyed. The first, farfalle with ricotta, pancetta and peas, we made for the first time the other night and I'm sure we will make it again in the future. It literally consisted of farfalle (we used penne instead), pancetta (we used bacon), garlic, peas, creme fraiche, ricotta and olive oil. As you can see, the ingredients are very easy to get hold of, and we already had most things in the house. It was really tasty and a great quick dinner with simple ingredients. The second dish we have tried is mushroom and leek pasta. This is an open lasagne and only needs olive oil, chestnut mushrooms (we used normal closed cup mushrooms), garlic, 1 leek, chicken stock, lasagne sheets, double cream and tarragon leaves (we used dried tarragon). As you can see, the ingredients are pretty simple, and it takes hardly any time to cook and tastes great, which is what we want on a weekday evening.

                    Cooking for Crowds:

                    As usual, there are a few words of advice for the relevant topic at the start of the section. There are recipes for salads, sticky pork ribs, fresh prawn rolls and paella to name a few. There are also a few desserts to try, and the raspberry millefeuille on page 248 looks absolutely stunning.

                    Baking:

                    The start of the penultimate chapter in the book describes the types of bread available and provides advice on making pastry, cakes and biscuits. There are recipes here for bread, pizza, quiche, cakes and more. As you would expect with the baking section, the food sounds very appetising and appealing.

                    Basic Skills:

                    And now for the final section (at long last I hear you shout!). Here Gordon emphasises the importance of getting the basics of cookery right, as they are needed in many recipes. He provides advice and descriptions of how to undertake a number of basic tasks at the start of the section, such as poaching eggs, making omelettes, making a roux and making custard. Gordon then provides recipes that incorporate these basic skills, such as noodle soup with poached egg, prawn and feta omelette, and macaroni and cauliflower bake with three cheeses. It seems a bit odd to me that this section is at the back of the book rather than at the front and I don't quite understand why this is. Nonetheless, it is a useful chapter.

                    There are plenty of photos of the finished dishes throughout the book, which I like because it means you get to see how the dish should look. All of the dishes look really appetising, which is great because it means my husband and I want to try to cook dishes that we otherwise might just ignore. In addition to the handy pieces of advice given at the start of all of the sections throughout the book, there are also little tips at the bottom of some recipes, which provide additional helpful advice. There is an index at the back of the book, as well as a detailed contents section at the front, in order to help you to find specific recipes.

                    In conclusion, this book contains lots of useful information and advice about a variety of foods and cooking techniques. There are some great recipes in here, some of which my husband and I have tried and really enjoyed, and there are many more that we hope to try soon. There are some experimental recipes and some odd ingredients that I would struggle to find, and this always frustrates me in cookery books, however, there are also many recipes that use basic ingredients. I'm really not sure that I would pay the full price of £25, but at £5 it is an absolute bargain. It really is a bit of a bible for cooking, and one that I would recommend.

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                    • Nestlé Aero Bubbles / Chocolate / 61 Readings / 61 Ratings
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                      17.07.2013 11:17
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                      Not very impressed

                      My husband went to fetch some milk and bacon from Tesco yesterday afternoon and came back with a little treat for us - a pack of Aero bubbles. He said he purchased them because they were on offer. It usually costs £1.59 in Tesco for this 113g bag of peppermint bubbles, but they are currently on offer at £1. I would imagine they are available to purchase at other supermarkets and shops.

                      Aero bubbles are made by Nestle, and the peppermint variety come in a green bag. There is also an orange flavour listed on the Tesco website, although you appear to get less of these for your money according to Tesco for some unknown reason, as they are also currently on offer at Tesco for £1 for a bag containing 113g, whereas the peppermint variety are listed as coming in a 135g bag. My bag is 113g so I don't know if perhaps Tesco have made a mistake here. Who knows the answer to this mystery, but as it is the peppermint variety that my husband purchased, it is solely this type that I will be reviewing today.

                      My bag informs me that it contains approximately 4 servings, although I think this might be slightly optimistic, especially if you have a sweet tooth! My husband and I were munching on these after dinner last night and I'm pretty sure we managed to get through more than half of the bag. There is an emphasis on the word 'share' with these bubbles, as the top of the pouch says 'Love to share', we are told to 'tear to share' and the back of the pack also contains the words 'party', 'enjoy', and, yes you've guessed it, 'share'. I think they want you to share this bag! We are also advised on the back of the pouch that we should enjoy chocolate as part of a varied and balanced diet, and so they helpfully offer the suggestion that perhaps we should 'share the fun with family and friends'. If I liked these bubbles more, I would be tempted to buy another pack to eat all by myself just for the hell of it. I'm a rebel, I know.

                      In terms of additives, these Aero bubbles claim to be free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. A serving (deemed as being 9 bubbles) contains 145 calories, 16.7g of sugar (good job I cleaned my teeth last night then), 8g of fat, 4.9g of saturates and 0.10g of salt. I don't normally list ingredients in my reviews, but as it's a food product, I think people may like to know what these bubbles contain: Sugar,Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Dried Whole Milk, Cocoa Mass, Cocoa Butter, Vegetable Fat, Lactose and Proteins from Whey, Whey Powder, Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin), Butterfat, Flavouring) ,Vegetable Fat ,Whey Powder ,Dried Skimmed Milk ,Butterfat ,Emulsifier (Sunflower Lecithin) ,Glazing Agent (Gum Arabic) ,Colours (Copper Complexes of Chlorophyllins, Curcumin) ,Glucose Syrup ,Flavouring ,Milk Chocolate contains Milk Solids 14% minimum and Vegetable Fat in addition to Cocoa Butter.

                      We are advised to store this product in a cool and dry place. The best before date is provided on the white base of the pouch, and mine is March 2014, which means they have plenty of time in which to be eaten. Although with my husband around, I will be surprised if there are any left by tomorrow. The base of the pouch is large enough that the packet stays upright very easily. The pack is easily torn open at the top, and there is a sticker located on the back of the pouch when can be removed and used to stick the opened top of the packet down, so that the bubbles stay reasonably fresh. The sticker is very sticky and so sticks well to the pouch, although I can imagine that if it is lifted up and stuck back down many times, it will start to be much less effective. But I guess if Nestle want all your friends to eat your bubbles, then the top won't need to be stuck down will it?

                      There is a strong smell of mint when the packet is opened, which smells rather enticing I think. The bubbles are half green and half brown spheres, and so I naturally assumed that inside the bubbles would be half milk chocolate and half peppermint. How wrong was I. I tried my first bubble and thought it was very minty, and I couldn't taste the milk chocolate. I thought maybe I was imagining it and so tried another one, trying hard to find the taste of the milk chocolate, but again it didn't appear to be there. If I had looked properly at the packaging, I would of seen the description which states that each bubble is 'an aerated peppermint flavoured centre with a half milk chocolate, half peppermint flavoured shell'. And so basically these bubbles are peppermint spheres with a sliver of milk chocolate covering one half of each bubble. This is also demonstrated on the picture of one of the bubbles on the front of the packet, which I obviously hadn't bothered to notice either before I tucked in.

                      I have to say, I'm quite disappointed by the taste of these bubbles. I love minty products, but there is a distinct lack of chocolate and I really don't understand why they aren't half chocolate and half peppermint all the way through. What is the point in having such a tiny amount of chocolate coating one half of each sphere? Because of the lack of milk chocolate, I personally found that these bubbles didn't melt in my mouth, which is something I was expecting them to do. In fact, I found that eating them with a bit of a dry mouth was a bad idea, as one left me choking as it got slightly stuck in my throat. The shell seems to melt in the mouth, but the centre just stays in one clump that needs chewing, and I thought the two textures of smooth melt in the mouth shell and the bubbly centre that needed chewing just seemed to be a little bit of an odd combination. I wasn't overly impressed. I do have to say here that my husband enjoyed eating them, and so other people might find them to be a lot more enjoyable than I did. Personally, I just found that they didn't work particularly well and there was a distinct lack of chocolate mixed with too much peppermint, meaning that they just had a very strong minty taste.

                      In conclusion, I will probably assist my husband in finishing the bubbles off tonight, purely because the bag will be perched in front of my face. However, I personally wouldn't buy this product and there are many other sweets and chocolate products I would rather consume. I am giving them 3 stars because I didn't particularly enjoy them, but I still ended up eating half of the packet, and my husband really liked them.

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                        15.07.2013 17:09
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                        A reasonably priced candle from Ikea that smells gorgeous

                        When my husband and I were still dating, and before we moved in together, he used to live very close to an Ikea store, and so every now and then we would go for a look around. After smelling the gorgeous smells coming from their Tindra scented candles, and going to have a closer look, my then boyfriend told me he would buy one for me. I chose the vanilla one because I love the smell of vanilla, and this candle didn't disappoint.

                        My candle was purchased around 4 years ago now, and so I can't remember what I paid for it. These candles are now on sale at Ikea for £3.25, or you can buy a smaller version for 95p. You can currently only purchase these candles from Ikea stores, as they aren't available to purchase online.

                        My candle is 10cm high and has a burning time of 45 hours. I'm afraid I can't comment on how accurate the burning time Ikea provide is, as I have only lit my candle on a couple of occasions and not for very long; I'm terrible for buying candles and not wanting to light them! The smaller version of this candle is 8cm high and Ikea say it has a burning time of 30 hours.

                        The two things that really drew me to this candle are it's lovely scent, and it's simplistic holder. The scent is sweet vanilla, but I wouldn't say that it's too sickly, and I think it has quite a strong scent when you smell it. I think you could smell the scent of the candle in my room when I first got it, but now that I've had it for a while, it's only when I go to sniff it that I can smell the scent, and so either the scent has quietened down over time or I've got used to the smell of it. I really like the fact that the candle comes in a clear, colourless glass holder because it looks simplistic and it's nice to see the creamy colour of the candle. It reminds me of a big tealight holder, and the Ikea website does say that you can use it as a tealight holder when you've finished with the candle, or in my case, IF you ever finish with the candle.

                        The only negative thing I have to say about this candle, and the reason why I'm dropping a star for it, is that when I purchased it, it had a big wrapper arond it. The wrapper I think had the product's name and details on it, and it covered most of the glass. I didn't mind this product having a label, but the trouble was that I didn't want to keep it stuck to my candle, as it didn't looked very nice with it on, but it was very well stuck to the glass and so I struggled to peel it off. When I did manage to get most of the label off, there was still some of it stuck to the glass that didn't want to come off, and it was a bit of a pain trying to remove it. It would be better if it had a label on the bottom of the candle instead, so then it wouldn't matter if the label was left on or didn't all come off.

                        In conclusion, about from the label that is hard to remove, I think this candle was good value for money, as it still has a lovely vanilla scent and it's simplistic glass holder means I can move it to any room in my house and it will look like it belongs there.

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                          11.07.2013 22:54
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                          Gloves that do their job well and are a great fit

                          My partner and I moved into our first house together over 2 years ago. I had a pair of gardening gloves that I had been using in my Mum and Dad's garden that were rather old, and so my Mum bought me a new pair as a gift. My Mum tends to buy products that are good quality and long-lasting, and I thought that these gloves certainly looked quite expensive. I think one of the main reasons she chose them was because they are pink, and she knows that is my favourite colour.

                          Price and availability:

                          Because I didn't purchase these gifts myself, I've had to have a look on the internet to see how much they cost. I think Mum would of bought them from a garden centre rather than online, and I can imagine many garden centres would stock them, as Town and Country are a well known make. They are also available to purchase from many online sites, and the price seems to be between £14.99 and £15.99, although they could probably be purchased a bit cheaper on ebay. They can also be purchased from Town and Country themselves on their website (http://www.townandco.com/ultimax-synthetic-leather-gloves.html), and they are currently charging £15.99 for them.

                          Colours and sizes available:

                          As previously mentioned, my gloves are a lovely bright pink, but judging by the image on Town and Country's website, they are also available in a pale purple colour. The gloves appear to be available in either small or medium sizes. I don't know what the sizing specifications are, however, Town and Country's website provides a 'Glove Size Guide', which means that you can decide which size gloves would fit your hands the best, which I think is great because it means that you can purchase the gloves online with some idea of how well they will fit. The sizing guide is located on the left hand side, next to the picture of the gloves, and it opens up a pdf document. To use the guide, you simply place your hand over the image of the hand, as directed, and you will be able to see which size glove would fit you best. The guide will tell you whether you are a size medium or small, and it can also be used for men's gardening gloves, as it shows the sizing for men's medium and large gloves. I really do think it is a very helpful tool to help you purchase the right size gloves online. If you would prefer to purchase your gloves from a retail store in person, the Town and Country website also offers a 'Find a Stockist' option, where you can search by city or postcode.

                          Fit of the gloves:

                          I only have small hands and so I imagine that my gloves will be the small size, as they fit me perfectly, like a glove one might say! The gloves are fastened with velcro at their base, and this is adjustable, so that the gloves can have a close fit to your hands, which I like because it means I can have them tight enough that they don't slip off my hands, but also slack enough that they feel really comfortable. I think this is a nice little addition that means everyone's gloves can be adjusted, because I think some people will like to wear their gloves a bit tighter than others. I have only got very small wrists, and so whereas some other gardening gloves can be a little baggy on me, and so allow soil to trickle down to my hands if I'm not careful, I can make sure these gloves fit well to my wrists, and so my hands are still clean when I take my gloves off. Town and Country advise that these gloves provide 'an extremely close fit', and this is a claim that these gloves definitely fulfil.

                          Materials and features:

                          The palms of these gloves are made from synthetic leather, and Town and Country advise that the textured palm pads the gloves feature provide 'improved grip, added protection and extra durability'. The back of the gloves are stretch elastane, and the gloves feature neoprene knuckle 'shock absorbers' and reinforced fingertips.

                          My thoughts:

                          I have now had these gardening gloves for around 2 years, and whilst I wouldn't say they've had very regular use, they have been used many times, particularly during the summer, when I tend to be out in the garden much more. These gloves are still going strong and I would imagine that they will continue to stay in good condition for a long time to come, and so they do appear to be very durable. Unfortunately, weeds seem to like both my front and back garden, and many of them are of the sharp and prickly variety. Trying to pick up these types of weeds wasn't much fun in my old gloves, as the thorns would simply pierce through the fabric to my fingers, but these gloves have much thicker material and so picking up these weeds is no trouble. I wear these gloves when doing a variety of tasks in the garden, such as hoeing, sweeping and shovelling using a spade, and in every task I carry out, I always find that these gloves provide a really good amount of grip.

                          Conclusion:

                          I would certainly recommend these gloves to anyone, as they fit well, they are strong, they provide good grip and I think they will last for a long time. These gardening gloves aren't the cheapest ones available, and I'm not sure I would of purchased them for myself at this price, but I'm very happy with them and so I'm glad I received them as a gift.

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                            10.07.2013 11:11
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                            A nice looking toilet roll holder for a good price, it's a shame that it gets rusty

                            I have a small bathroom and the only storage we have in there is a very small bathroom cabinet. I don't like having a pile of spare toilet rolls on the floor of the bathroom, as I don't think it looks very good, and there is nowhere to store them out of sight upstairs. I therefore decided that I would look for a good value toilet roll holder so that I could at least keep a few spare toilet rolls in the bathroom in a small corner by the toilet. When shopping at my local B&Q store probably about a year ago now, I came across this toilet roll holder and thought it was just what I was after.

                            Price and availability:

                            This product is currently priced at £6.98, which I think is the same price that I paid for it. The toilet roll holder is a Cooke and Lewis product, and as far as I'm aware Cooke and Lewis products are produced for B&Q and so can only be purchased from there, but don't hold me to that! Cooke and Lewis make products for kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, and I think their products look well-made and modern. B&Q claim that Cooke and Lewis products are 'well-designed, modern and built to last', and they have 'a finish to be proud of'. This toilet roll holder is available in B&Q stores and also from the B&Q website, although the delivery cost if ordering online is £5, unless you spend over £50, in which case delivery is free.

                            Product details:

                            This toilet roll holder is made of steel with a chrome finish. It has a depth of 500mm, which basically means that 4 toilet rolls can easily fit onto it, and a fifth one can also fit onto it if you wish, but then you can't see the top of the holder, and so it doesn't look quite so good. The holder is a nice simple and modern design, which is something that really appealed to me, as I wanted something that would look good in my small bathroom.

                            Assembly:

                            The holder came in two parts in it's box: the pole and the base. My partner assembled it for me and he said that it was easy to do, as he just had to hold the pole over the base and put a screw in to hold it in place.

                            My thoughts:

                            I really like the simple design of this product, and it should fit well into any other bathroom with chrome fittings. It feels well made and very sturdy. The only negative comment I have to make about this toilet roll holder is that it has gone rusty on the base and on the pole. I have managed to get rid of most of the rust before now, but it comes back again, and it is quite annoying. You can see dots of rust quite easily and I think it ruins the look of the product, which is a shame but it means that I wouldn't buy it again. Considering it has been made to go into a bathroom, I would of thought that they would make sure it wouldn't go rusty if it got wet, as none of my other chrome fittings have gone rusty. I would imagine it is because we have a shower in our bathroom, and so the condensation builds up if the window isn't fully open, that has turned it rusty, but as previously mentioned, I haven't experienced this issue with any of my other chrome fittings and so I haven't been impressed with this product.

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                            08.07.2013 16:19
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                            Great value for money, I recommend them

                            For some reason, I have a nose that likes to run several times a day, and therefore I tend to get through a large amount of tissues. It really doesn't help that I get hay fever during the summer, which makes my nose run throughout the day. I also find tissues useful to wipe my hands and make-up products after applying make-up, which again means more tissues being used every day. Because of how many tissues I seem to get through on a regular basis, I feel the need to purchase boxes of tissues that are very cheap, which is what lead me to look at buying these tissues.

                            When I used to purchase these Tesco Everyday Value tissues a good few months ago now, they only cost an amazing price of around 35p. Unfortunately, the price of them has since gone up to 68p, which is quite a considerable increase, but they are still extremely cheap in comparison to the boxes of tissues offered by many other companies. These tissues can of course only be found in Tesco, but there seems to be a Tesco store pretty much everywhere nowadays, and so I don't think this will be much of an issue for most people. They are also available to purchase on the Tesco website.

                            As many people are aware, Tesco have now rebranded their 'Value' range into the 'Everyday Value' range, and the packaging of these products has now altered. Unlike the fetching design displayed here on dooyoo, these tissues now come in a white box that is decorated with purple images, mainly images of beauty products and flowers. The writing on the bottom of the box is also purple, to match the colour of the images. It is a much nicer than the previous design, I feel. On the top of the box is a perforated oval shape, which is easily opened to reveal the white tissues inside. There are an average of 225 2ply tissues in each box, with a sheet size of approximately 200mm by 210mm, meaning that these are in no way going to rival Kleenex's Mansize tissues in terms of size, but I find them to be a decent size personally. Each box of tissues displays the FSC label, which we are told means that buying these tissues supports 'the growth of responsible forest management worldwide', which is good considering how many tissues I manage to get through.

                            I have previously mentioned that I find the size of these tissues to be sufficient, and they may not be the thickest tissues available, but I think they are fine for the price. The only main issue that I have with these tissues is that the two parts of each tissue easily become separated, and it can be a bit of a pain reaching into the box for a tissue and only coming out with half of a tissue, or worse, one and a half and then not realising it's one and a half and so I use it, and then next time I go back into the box and there's only half of a tissue on it's own and what the hell can I do with half a tissue?! It can be frustrating! But then they're only 68p and so who cares? I don't find them to be particularly rough when used on a regular basis but they aren't the best to use if you have a sore nose, and sometimes it is best to use a more expensive brand if you have a cold and need to blow your nose constantly.

                            They may not be the softest, biggest and thickest tissues available, but for the price, I certainly can't complain; they do the job and at 68p a box, I think they're great value.

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