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As I have mentioned in previous reviews, I am big on cooking, baking and everything else food orientated and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and a lot of money on gadgets to use in the kitchen.
One purchase I made for the kitchen that I love is the Philips HR2304 ice cream maker, Ok this doesn't produce Ben and Jerry quality ice cream but it does produce a superior ice cream to the cheaper brands you can buy in store and you can use your own imagination for flavours.
I paid just under £50 for this machine and it is money well spent in my opinion, it comes with a very easy to read and understand instruction manual, the manual tells you that before using you have to freeze the inner cooling disc for around 18 hours before using, you then add the ingredients to the bowl and the machine mixes them into fresh ice cream which takes about half an hour.
The machine is quite quiet during the making of the ice cream but it makes just enough noise for my grand kids to hear it and get excited about the ice cream being made, I have made many different flavours of ice cream and have tried things like adding biscuit pieces, raisins and the likes to spice it up.
The ice cream is of high quality and I have to say that I prefer my home made chocolate ice cream to any other chocolate ice cream I have tried.
The machine can be used to make frozen yogurts and sorbets too which is great for the summer but it is first and foremost an ice cream maker and a very good one too.
If I am honest I have more kitchen gadgets than any one person is likely to need, I see something I like for the kitchen and I buy it, it is a problem I have had ever since I took up cooking a good few years ago now.
One of my worst ever purchases for the kitchen was the Breville VHB014, it is a three in one tool, a mini chopper, balloon whisk and blender rolled into one and with a 400 watt motor and costing me only £45.99 instead of the RRP of £69.99 it seemed like a great buy.
In truth though this appliance was a real waste of money, the blade on the chopper was very flimsy and struggled to chop pretty much anything, it was also very noisy and slow.
The whisk attachment was better than the chopper but although it done its very simple job fairly well it was still very noisy and the vibration from it was very annoying.
As a blender it was as good as useless to be fair and it noisily struggled to blend anything and the motor kept sounding as though it would burn out and grind to a halt at any moment.
I feel cheated and I only paid a fraction of the full price so god only knows how I would feel had I paid full price, this was a poor kitchen tool that I would not recommend to anyone which is a shame because on the whole Breville items tend to be pretty good.
I am by no means an expert photographer but since retiring I have taken it much more serious and can now be classed as a hobbyist I guess. I have a decent compact camera and a good camera bag both of which I have reviewed recently and the next step for me was a tripod but I didn't really see the need for a big tripod for what I do but I did long to have a steady hand for certain shots and for this I use the Gorillapod.
This handy little thing is a great alternative to a tripod for certain situations the camera screws simply on to the Gorillapod and then the flexible rubber legs and feet of the Gorillapod can be used to grip to just about anything giving you a steady platform from which to take your photographs from.
I have used it on fence posts, railings, just stood on the roof of my car and even wrapped around a drain pipe, I have taken some photos I would never have managed hand held and therefore I am very grateful to this item for helping me improve my photography.
There are a few versions of the Gorillapod around some for compacts and there is a heavier, stronger one for DSLR`s so make sure you buy the right one for your needs. I paid just a little over £30 for mine and it is designed for compacts, I believe the one designed for DSLR`s is nearer £60 but still great value for money I would suggest.
The Gorillapod is fairly small and light an although it doesn't fit in my camera bag I reckon it would fit in some of the bigger ones and even if it doesn't it is very easily carried and doesn't weigh much at all. I am over 70 years old and have no problems carrying this around with me so I guess it should cause no troubles to those of you younger and fitter then me (just about everyone)!
If you need to steady your photography up a bit but don't want to carry a full sized tripod around then the Gorillapod is definitely something you should take a look at.
After writing about my latest camera bag I thought why not write about what was my very first digital camera case. It was a Hama Arezzo style 30G and I have to say that for what it was it done a very decent job.
I purchased this case at the back end of 2008 for the camera I had then which for the life of me I cannot remember the model of but it was a Kodak of some description. The Hama case was not designed specifically for my Kodak camera but was instead designed to suit a range of cameras of it`s size.
This case is designed for small compacts and the inside measurements are 5.7 x 2.5 x 8.7 cm, my Kodak was a snug fit in it but I felt that was better than it flapping about inside a bigger case.
The case is Leather look but is made of what is described as PU material, it is black in colour and has a soft fleece inner lining which I felt protected the camera and its screen very well and it was a decent looking case without being overly attractive.
The case could be carried in hand or it had a belt loop should you wish to use it for when you had the camera in hand rather than leaving the case lying around or stuffing it in your pocket.
Inside the case was a little compartment for holding memory cards should you wish to carry extra so all in all I felt this was a decent looking and useful little case.
I cannot remember for certain what I paid for it back then but my wife who has a better memory than me assures me that it was £20, you can now get it for as little as £12.99 so for me it was then and is even more so now, very good value for money.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this case to anyone looking for a practical and useful case but remember it suits only very small compacts so check out your cameras dimensions first.
I have always enjoyed taking a photo or two but since retiring became even more interested in photography. Now I am by no means a big time photographer and I do not go in for the DSLR`s and the likes but I have a nice Samsung WB650 which I paid a lot of money for so I like to look after it.
At first I bought a simple leather case for it but have now gone a bit further and purchased a Lowepro Rezo 120 AW bag as it has plenty room for my camera, my wife's little camcorder and our memory cards and cables and the likes, so everything we need is all in one place.
The Lowepro Rezo 120 AW is actually designed with DSLR cameras in mind but if you use the separators inside correctly it can accommodate a small camera or two no problem and what more keep them safe from scratches and the likes with its very soft padded interior.
There is a nice pouch inside the lid of the bag where you can keep your memory cards and a soft microfiber cloth built in to the main compartment to use to clean LCD screens, I thought that was a great touch.
The other great thing about this bag is that if you are caught out and about when the rain comes on this bag has a built in waterproof cover that pulls out from a zip pocket and covers over the whole bag keeping your digital equipment dry and safe.
I am quite sure that Lowepro have thought of everything with this bag and if you need a bag for a small DSLR or if you have a couple of compacts you like to carry or a compact and a video camera like my wife and I then I would highly recommend this bag.
This smallish bag cost me only £17.99 online which I thought was a very reasonable price for such an excellent product, I believe the retail price is a little over £20 so I got it a little cheaper than that but even at a tenner or so dearer I would still rate it as great value for money.
If you need bigger then fear not as Lowepro has a huge range of bigger bags too, also at very reasonable prices.
This bag is sized thus:
6W X 4.1D X 6.5H (inches)
7W X 5.7D X 7.9H (Inches)
These days in the digital camera age we are going through batteries like never before and still some people do not see the sense in rechargeables.
I have heard many people go on about them being too expensive to buy but do they not realise what the overall savings can be?
I purchased my most recent set of rechargeable batteries in the shape of a set of four AA batteries and a charger. The set was the Uniross Globe Trotter Pocket Battery Charger and at only £14.99 it was in my opinion a great buy.
As well as the 4 batteries and the charger it also came with three different plug adapters so this can be used in the UK, Europe and the states.
It takes around 3 hours to charge a set of AA`s I have found which isn't the fastest but never the less if you are organized you should never run out of power for whatever gadget you are using your batteries in.
The charger weighs only 70grams and whilst I do not agree it is small enough to be called a pocket charger it is certainly small and light enough to be carried in hand luggage if you are travelling.
The thing that stood out for me with this charger is something that none of my other chargers had and that is the ability to detect a faulty battery (very useful I thought).
The unit has a clear charge indicator light and it switches itself off when the batteries are fully charged to avoid overcharging.
All in all I think this is a very decent and very inexpensive charger and having had it over a year now without fault I would be only too happy to recommend it to others.
Please note the quick rating criteria below is not right for this product so I have just given full marks to everything as I would to the charger anyway.
I never thought I would find myself writing a camera review but I am about to do just that, this review will probably have the guide that recommended the camera to me cringing but here go`s.
The camera in question is the Samsung WB650, it was recommended to me by Dooyoo`s photography expert and guide Colin (known to us as the bigc1690). I had read his review on it and then messaged him to ask if this would be better than the camera my wife had been thinking about buying and in his opinion this was the one to go for and I have to say both my wife and I are delighted with it.
The first thing I noted about this camera was that it was a very good looking camera and for all that it had to offer it was surprisingly compact measuring only (W)106.6 x (H)60.5 x (D)28mm and weighing only 214.6g without the battery.
Now I have to admit the £210 price tag this camera carried when we bought it was about £60 more than we were looking to spend but I feel the extra money was well spent, this camera has given me a new interest in photography due to what it has to offer and learning all the features has been real fun.
The Samsung WB650 has a 12 megapixel sensor and a very big zoom function (15Xoptical) with further digital zoom which means my wife and I have been able to take photos at distance for the first time, with our previous camera only having a 3x optical zoom function.
The other big thing this camera has let me do for the first time is to set things like the aperture and shutter speed for myself instead of using the auto function for every shot, now I am by no means any sort of expert in this field but I am taking more and more photos with my own settings and enjoying the challenge.
One of the features that I have found to be very good is the GPS, it is used by the camera for something known as geotagging which basically means that you can see where your photos were taken as well as when, this is a great feature if you travel a lot and being retired now my wife and I do get about a bit.
The screen on the rear of the camera is a very large 3 inches and it is very clear and gives you a very accurate view of the picture you have taken which allows you to take the photo again if you are not happy with what you see and then delete the rubbish to clear space on your memory card which by the way in this camera is an SD card.
There are lots of pre set settings on this camera too such as Daylight, Portrait, Landscape and the basics and there is also the option to use the facial recognition feature which makes sure that any faces in the photo are the main point or points of focus.
The camera can also shoot very decent HD video although the light has to be good for this function to be of any use as anything videoed in poor light can be very grainy.
Overall I have been very, very impressed with the looks, build quality and functions of this camera as well as the fact that it is very easy to use and come`s with a very useful manual to explain the settings in an easy to understand manor. Added to that the final images are beautiful, full of colour and detain and really leaps and bounds better than any camera I have used in the past.
So it is a big thank you to Samsung for producing this brilliant little camera and a big thank you to Colin for recommending it, I hope this review hasn't been to awful LOL and I hope that if you are looking for a camera then you will take time to check this one out because I cannot recommend it highly enough!
In the past when it came to opening tight jar lids Mrs weebill would simply ask me and I would nine times out of ten manage without trouble but as old age catches up with me and my fingers fail to be as strong as they used to we have often seen ourselves stuck trying to open stubborn lids.
We have resorted to all the old tricks like a dish towel to stop our hands slipping and tapping round the edge to loosen it off but usually to no avail.
Those troubles are all well and truly behind us now though as last year we purchased the fantastic Culinare One Touch Automatic Jar Opener. This is probably the most useful gadget we have ever spent money on, it works brilliantly and it didn't cost much and I would recommend everyone has one.
The jar opener has never let us down in nearly a year of use and is so simple to use, you just place the jar opener on the stubborn jar you need to open, press the button on the top of the opener, the motor then winds the clamps in till they touch the lid and then using all its 25lbs of pressure it turns the lid and off it pops.
To operate this gadget it requires two AA batteries and it obviously doesn't use a lot of power because the same two Duracell's have been operating ours for almost a year without needing changed.
We paid £17.99 for our last year from Amazon and it was money very well spent, if you are having trouble with jar lids, if you just want to make things easier for yourself or even if you just love gadgets then this is a simple but very effective tool that I would recommend to anyone.
Some of you who have read previous reviews of mine will know that I love to cook and bake and now that I am retired I spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen. When it comes to the baking side, I mostly bake for others as I am not a big cake eater, Mrs weebill is the one with the sweet tooth in our house and one of her favourite snacks is a sugar doughnut.
Now I have made my own doughnuts for a long time but being made in oil they are none too healthy so when I saw this doughnut maker I thought it would make a nice treat for my good lady wife and she would even be able to make her own doughnuts when she fancied.
The Prima doughnut maker makes the doughnuts on a dry hot plate making them healthier but the trouble is the doughnuts are dry too.
What you get when you buy this is the doughnut maker itself and a recipe for doughnut mix, you then make the doughnut mix and pour it into the rings of the doughnut maker and much like a toastie machine you shut it and wait.
It takes about ten minutes to get the perfect cooked doughnut but sadly as mentioned the doughnuts look good but are a bit dry, I have found a way round this, by putting just a tiny bit of butter on the ring before pouring the mixture on they moisten a bit but bang goes the healthier doughnut.
When you use this machine you have to be very careful as it get very hot and even the outside bits that you have to touch can get a bit hot to handle if you make a couple of sets of doughnuts back to back.
You will find the cleaning of the machine a bit awkward too as you will almost always spill a bit of the mixture over the machine and it bakes on quite hard and can need a god scrub to get it off.
This was a fairly inexpensive machine and of that I am glad because had I spent a lot on it I would be very disappointed but as it was cheap (£19.99) I guess it isn't too bad for what you pay for it.
I would recommend people make their own doughnuts the traditional way but if you are looking for a quick doughnut maker that is a bit healthier than cooking them in oil then this will do you ok but be warned it takes longer to clean it than it takes to make the doughnuts.
At home both my wife and I drink a lot of fresh juice, her more than me but between us we get through a lot so we decided to buy a juicer and have a go at creating some new flavours for ourselves and make sure we were getting the freshest juice possible into the bargain.
Now there were many juicers to choose from and some were a lot cheaper than the Moulinex Juice Machine Pro Juicer but after careful consideration and having read a few reviews on it we were sure it was the one for us and having used it for four months now I am sure we made the right decision and I will now review it myself to help others.
This juicer is a very powerful one and it will easily make light work of whole fruits unlike some machines that require you to chop the fruit up first, it claims to be able to take any fruit or vegetable and juice them effectively and from what I can see it does exactly that.
It is a very well built machine and feels almost unbreakable whereas some of the machines we looked at were very brittle and probably would not have lasted too long.
It is easy to use and the tube you feed the fruit into is robust and large enough to make it an easy and fast task and the machine itself takes no time at all to juice the fruit once in so you go from whole fruits to juice in a very short time indeed.
This juicer has a three litre capacity which is larger than most and will probably be enough juice for most at any one time, it certainly is for us and the jug part of it is easy to remove and the spout is wel designed making pouring the juice very easy also.
The cleaning of these machines was the one thing that we read a lot about before buying one and it seems like that the cleaning of a lot of juicers can be a bit tricky but this one I have to say is no trouble at all.
The machine breaks down into many removable parts, all of which are dish-washer safe or can be easily washed by hand in the sink and there is a special cleaning brush included when you buy this to help you get the rest of the machine spotless and ready for it`s next use.
We paid just over £80 for this juicer and although we could have had a juicer for half that price we are sure that our £80 was spent wisely and we are delighted with our purchase and would be more than happy to recommend it to others.
I do a fair bit of cooking these day`s as I am retired now and it is one of my hobbies, I not only cook for myself and my good lady wife but I regularly have my kids and grandkids over and they all love my cooking and the grandkids especially love it when I do a bit of cake baking.
Until early this year I had struggled away with a very old fashioned set of kitchen scales but when the January sales were on my wife bought me these Salter electronic scales and I do not know how I managed before I had them.
These scales are lightweight and good looking so they add to the kitchen rather than wanting to hide them away like I used to do with my old non digital ones, they look like a smaller version of the bathroom scales we would weigh ourselves on.
The LCD display is large enough even for those with poor eyesight and that makes sure you never read it wrong and end up with the wrong measurements and therefore poor results on what you are cooking or baking, this happened to me a few times with my non digital scales.
These scales are easy to wipe down so you need not worry what you are weighing on them, you simply need to wipe clean with a damp cloth and then dry with kitchen roll or a dry cloth, you can use antibacterial cleaners and the likes on these too without any worries so if you are one of those super clean freaks then feel free to treat these as any of the surfaces in your kitchen, the only thing you cannot do is submerge them in water.
The scales are battery powered and they are powered by two 3V circular lithium batteries, I have had mine since January and have used them daily so far without need for new batteries but I am unsure exactly how long these will last.
As I say my wife bought these in the January sales from a store called TJ Hughes and she paid only £12.99 for them but I believe they normally sell for around the £25 mark but even at full price I would be only too happy to recommend these to others.
Toast is such a basic thing but everyone likes it different, some people, my wife included, like their toast to be little more than warm bread, others like it burnt to a crisp and then the normal folk like me, just like it normal. Add to this the different shapes and sizes that breads come in these days and a toaster now has to be a very versatile thing.
The Breville VTT206, is a very, very versatile toaster, it has four slots so it can toast four slices at the same time and as well as being able to toast it can defrost and re-heat, although i wouldn't recommend re-heating toast but this can be useful for waffles and crumpets.
The slots on this toaster are way wider than those on other toasters and therefore if like me you enjoy thick slices of bread from uncut loafs then you can fit them in no trouble and unlike some toasters with wider slots, it doesn't cause thicker slices to burn.
There is of course the option to change the toasting time on this and two slots can toast for longer or shorter than the other if you are making four slices but for people who like their toast different ways.
There is also a cancel button so you can pop the toast manually to check if it has reached your desired level rather than guess at the setting you need although once you have used it a few times you will know what you need to set it to, to get what you like.
Costing us only £39.99 from Amazon about 3 months ago we feel we have made a very good choice of toaster and would certainly recommend it to others.
Many moons back when our kids (now 34 and 38) still lived with us, the wife and I had a combined washer dryer as although our kids were grown adults really they were just as harsh on clothes as when they were little and would leave their work clothes till the last minute then wonder how they were going to get them washed and dried over night for work the next day.
They both moved out long ago and when our old washer dryer packed in we replaced it with just a simple washing machine but recently as the summers got shorter and the winters longer and our grandkids messier we decided to purchase a tumble dryer to help us keep on top of the washing and drying.
We didn't need anything fancy so we opted for the pretty basic Indesit IS60VU, it didn't look too special and dint have very many settings and looked easy to operate so it was just what we needed really, although as it was a tumble dryer we did think it might dry a little better than it does.
If you fill this machine with a full load then you would be quicker trying to blow dry them with a hair drier or drip dry them over the bath, it seems also like this machine copes only with some items and not others, fill it with socks, pants and baby bibs and it dry`s them fairly quickly but fill it with towels or bed sheets and quilt covers and you could easily be looking at a drying time of over 5 hours.
Now I am not stupid I realize that smaller and lighter items will of course dry quicker but should I really expect to wait over 5 hours to dry some towels? I know my daughters tumble dryer can dry a full load of towels in 2 and a half hours and it only cost a few pounds more than this one did, over 5 hours with the electric that these things use and I would be cheaper just buying new towels!!
We have now had the machine for about 18 months and as well as having a very long drying time it has now developed a very strange squeaking noise that is becoming almost unbearable even with the kitchen door tightly shut, we will soon replace this machine but just thought that before we do I would try to warn other off buying it.
In order to keep this review fair and balanced I will say that it does look fairly nice and it is a neat size, until the squeaking noise arrived was a very quiet machine and it did only cost us £159.99 but sadly the drying times and the annoying noise that has arisen mean there is no way I could recommend this machine to anyone.
THE MACHINES STATS (should anyone still care)
Capacity: 5.99 Kg
Load Type: Front Loader
Energy Class: c
I may be getting on in years but I still like to take my power tool in hand and give something a good drilling, my tool was like me and getting on a bit so I have replaced it with a newer and even more powerful tool recently and I just couldn't wait to get to work with it.
The tool in question is my new cordless drill, a Bosch PSR 14.4 VE-2 no less, I always choose Bosch for this type of thing as they have never disappointed in the past and this one is no different.
It has one thing that lets it down slightly and that is the charge time which takes about 90 minutes to get to full charge and although the manual reckons the battery will last 3 hours when fully charged it is actually closer to 2 hours at best.
The drill is however quite light to hold and very powerful, there are 25 power settings so you get it just how you need it very easily and it also has hammer action for those masonry walls that take a bit of extra grunt when drilling.
The very slow speeds are excellent for when using it as a power screw driver rather than drill and as the drill is quite quiet you don't get that awful ringing in your ears after use.
I paid just over £70 for this and I would definitely recommend it to others, it is the third Bosch drill I have owned and the best too, this one uses a keyless chuck which most do these days and this saves you from losing the chuck key and therefore the use of the drill.
It also has a lock button so you don't go drilling where you do not want to be drilling which can happen if you press the trigger accidentally without the lock on.
Doritos are one of the best crisps on the market in my opinion and although all the flavours are good, there is simply no beating their tangy cheese flavour.
Doritos are more of a tortilla chip type snack than a typical crisp, they are very crunchy and very substantial unlike some of the melt in the mouth crisps around.
There is certainly no shortage of flavour on these cheesy crisps, there is so much in fact that the crisps are bright orange in colour and so will your fingers be after eating them.
The cheese flavour is lip smackingly good and there is just enough of a tanginess to them to make them different from other cheese flavour snacks.
You do get average size packets of these crisps but for me the only way to buy them is in the big share size bags which I believe are 245g and at their usual price will cost you around £1.50 but are often on offer at only £1 per packet in Asda.
Like any other snack of this type they are of course not very good for you, a 35g serving has 175 calories and 9.3g of fat but they are so good it is hard to stop at a 35g serving so be prepared to have to exercise these back off once you have enjoyed them.