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I always remember my nan owning a teasmade, and i always remembering thinking how naf they looked. However, this new teasmade from micromark, is definetely a vast improvement. Its a compact design, has an illumninated face, with a traditional clock dial. Its really easy to read, and you can easily flick the light switch at night if you need to know the time. Theres a few buttons under the clock face, mainly alarm, and the teasmade function. You also have a nifty light on the top of the teasmade for reading and this gives off a lovelly glow. This teasmade is really easy to use, you simply fill it up with the desired water, and press a few buttons, and hey presto in about 2 minutes, you have hot tea. I found the tea pretty hot, and though it was quite noisy when it was boiling the water, it was efficient. The alarm is good, not too loud or too quiet, and you can set it to go off in the morning, and make a cup of tea for a set time. I found the design pleasant, and much more modern than the older teasmade. You can also get the micromark with radio, another great feature. They arent cheap, costing £50 a go, but you might be able to get a second hand one cheaper on ebay. Well worth having, a god send on a cold morning
I realise teasmades may seem a little dated to some but apparently they are making a real comeback, with John Lewis a while ago claiming to find it difficult to keep enough stock to meet demand. For me a teasmade ticks all my boxes, it looks cool, it's a gadget and I don't really work very well until after my first cup of tea of the day. I had a swan teasmade for several years and I really missed it when it broke down and unfortunately my husband isn't one of those new men I keep reading about who bring their wives up a cuppa in the morning then run around getting the kids up etc. while she lies on for fifteen minutes enjoying her tea before casually getting up and dressing. (aahhhh drifts off into another much nicer reality). I really missed my teasmade and found I was lying in longer in the mornings as I wasn't sitting up in bed, eyes open drinking a cuppa then bounding out of bed, but was continuing to lie down with eyes closed after the alarm and often slipping back into dreamland. Obviously hubby having no intention of getting up and making tea in the morning and wanting a nice easy Christmas present to buy last Christmas settled on a new teasmade. I have to admit to being really pleased to unwrap it, and it was a lot funkier than the previous swan model. - - How does it look - - The unit itself is white and all the lines are quite rounded. There is a good sized 12 hour clock on the front which is easy enough to see through bleary eyes in the morning. The top of the unit houses a good sized light which would be enough to read by as well as bright enough to drink tea by and there is room at the side for the pottery teapot which comes supplied. Underneath the clock are the six user buttons. Button 1 sets the clock time Button 2 Switches on the light Button 3 Starts to make boiling water immediately Button 4 Sets the timer to have boiling water ready when the alarm goes off Button 5 Sets the alarm to go off without boiling any water Button 6 Sets the alarm time - - How does it work - - You need to lift the cover on the top of the teasmade and remove the filler cap. Empty cold fresh water from the teapot supplied and replace the cap and lid. It is best to use the teapot supplied for filling the system as its size means you cannot overfill the appliance. Then place the teapot into position directly below the fill hole. You can choose express tea making by depressing button 3 which will illuminate to confirm. After about 3\4 minutes the water will be boiling and released into the teapot to allow you to pour into a cup. For automatic tea making you follow the above but set the alarm time which will show as a black dot on the clock face and then press in button 4 which will illuminate to confirm. This ensures that the boiling water will fill the teapot immediately prior to the alarm sounding. - - Problems - - I feel the light from the clock face is a little too bright and could be dimmable as I know its bad to have any form of lighting on when you are trying to sleep. There is also a problem in that you need to put milk into the cup the evening before and leave it by your bedside. This seems to work fine in the winter but as it gets warmer the milk tends to go off before you get to use it. There are a couple of solutions to this. Use powdered milk or QT tea which is a dried tea and milk powder, neither of these work for me as I find both to have an aftertaste. You can buy boxes of the little uht milk cartons that you often get in fast food restaurants etc, the problem with this is that although they are long lasting if you only use one a day they will go past their expiry date before you get a chance to finish them. My solution is to buy a small carton of UHT milk from Tesco at around 40p. A little of this can be placed in the mug and will not go off if left overnight, there is no after taste and very little left at the end of the week to throw out. Having to remember to fill the teapot, empty it into the unit, milk a cup and bring a tea bag upstairs the night before. - - What does it do for me - - This is my little piece of heaven - when mummys little helper lets out its little beeps at 7:00am and I pour my freshly brewed tea into a nice china mug, I have fifteen minutes sitting up with the quilt pulled up around me in complete peace and quiet with a steaming hot mug of tea to relax and reflect in the stillness before all hell breaks loose at approx. 7:15am. My house in the morning is mad, my eldest son and I get up really easily and have no problem getting ready. My younger son, daughter and hubby require to be shouted out, nagged at, have things thrown at them etc. to get them out of bed then it's a mad rush for breakfasts, reminders for teeth cleaning, getting rugby\hockey\swimming gear together so the fifteen minutes mental preparation time I gain from a cuppa in bed is a blessing and a lovely way to start the day. To all harassed mothers out there - stick one on your Christmas wishlist you might just get lucky. Priced around £50.00 and worth every penny to me.