Profile for Helen Bennett > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Helen Bennett
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,113
Helpful Votes: 236

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Helen Bennett "helen7741" (Lancaster, England)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Philips HD4644/00 Energy Efficient Kettle, 3000 Watt, 1.7 Litre - White
Philips HD4644/00 Energy Efficient Kettle, 3000 Watt, 1.7 Litre - White
Price: £24.96

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great kettle, keep descaled to prevent leaks, 21 April 2015
We've bought two of these kettles because they look good, are well balanced, comfortable to touch, easy to fill, pour well and have a very good water level indicator on both sides.

After a few years, both kettles developed a leak from the bottom and started dribbling persistently. With regret, we started searching for an alternative. During the quest I saw a manufacturer's note on the sister kettle (Philips HD4671/20 ) that many problems with leaking and crackling noises are caused by scale, and for optimum performance you need to keep them descaled.

With a certain amount of scepticism, as we live in a soft water area and there only _seemed_ to be a small amount of scale on the kettle even after several years, we descaled it using a regular commercial citric acid descaler. Then we left the kettle standing, containing water, for a number of hours and overnight.

It worked! No leaks! As dry as a well-nappied baby! Before descaling this would have resulted in a big puddle of water on the countertop; now, the leak has completely gone. I only wish I'd found the 'keep it descaled' information before we gave up on the first kettle. I feel a bit silly now... but at least we can keep the one we've got.

Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3500/01 with Sunrise Simulation
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock HF3500/01 with Sunrise Simulation
Price: £56.27

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea let down by some design flaws, 4 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The positive:
* The whole 'wake up with light' thing: much gentler than a 'sound' alarm clock and very effective for me (I'm a light sleeper).
* Lovely clean light colour, warmer than I expected from an LED
* LED lamp means low power consumption
* Clean, simple design
* Ability to dim the light and use it as a reading lamp without disturbing husband
* Change the light brightness without turning the light on
* Easy to set up using the quick start guide - I didn't have the problems that some people had with it.
* Simple to turn the alarm off - one button to turn it on/off, which also effectively stops the alarm in its tracks pre-beep if you don't want to wake up other people (husband).
* Simpler controls than the HF3505 (next model up), and the buttons don't light up (unlike the next model).

Advantages over the Lumie 250 (why I bought this instead):
* Sunrise only (I didn't want the Lumie's sunset, and you can't turn it off)
* You can turn the alarm and sunrise completely off, e.g. for in summer (you can't with the Lumie)
* Alarm does not need re-arming every day (unlike the Lumie)

Negative things I was prepared to live with:
* You can't turn the display completely off at night - I put a cardboard flap over the display because even on its darkest setting it's still pretty bright. (NB the Lumie 250 *does* let you have the display totally dark at night.)
* You can't choose to use either just the alarm noise or just the light to wake up by (partial workaround: turn the light brightness right down the night before, to turn the light nearly off).
* Short cable; about a metre
* No battery back-up, loses the time if the power goes off, starts flashing when the power comes back on. This means you can't easily carry it from room to room if you're like me and you often decamp to the sofa in the middle of the night, and if you get a small-hours power cut you're going to be woken up by the display flashing.
* Easy to pick up, but not very stable if you aren't holding it. Slides around easily.
* Kind of expensive

Negative things that nearly made me return the light:
* Continual faint fizz from the transformer in the plug. This is not audible to everyone: my husband, who doesn't hear higher frequencies, can't hear it. But I needed to muffle the transformer.
* In the time display, the : dividing hours from minutes blinks every second - it's not just light all night, it's lit up and flashing. The flash is intrusive even from behind the cardboard flap I taped on the display. I tippexed over the : , which works but doesn't do anything for the appearance of the light.

Great idea, but sadly let down by easily avoidable design flaws and cheap components. Dear Philips, please:
* let the display be turned completely off at night
* make the foot grippier
* remember the time if the device is unplugged
* use a more powerful transformer that won't hiss

FAQ:  Fiddle Care and Setup
FAQ: Fiddle Care and Setup
by Michael H. Hoffheimer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, 6 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Basic information for the not-terribly-knowledgeable. If you are a beginner (or a beginner's parent) or - like me - played the violin as a child and are restarting and want to know a bit more about this object you are holding than just which end to stick under your chin, this is a great introduction.

Contents include components of a violin; basic rules for handling a violin; 'violin or fiddle?'; a brief history; an introduction to accessories; routine maintenance including how and why to clean, and when and how to change strings; occasional maintenance, when to go to a professional; how to buy both basic and more expensive fiddles; valuations; problems to look out for; and a glossary.

Succinct, informative and down-to-earth. I've learnt a lot from this eminently practical booklet.

Copper Slug Tape Multibuy 3 x 4m rolls
Copper Slug Tape Multibuy 3 x 4m rolls
Offered by Bargain Warehouse
Price: £7.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Helps, but doesn't make your plants invulnerable, 6 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One brand-new hosta in a large tub, in a sluggy back yard... the slugs would have been waving their knives and forks in anticipation, and tying white napkins round their slimy little necks. "No way", I thought. Regular light use of Growing Success slug pellets kept them at bay for a couple of months, with just a couple of small nibbled holes on the leaves when the pellets ran out.

I didn't want to have to keep re-pelletting at intervals, even fairly long intervals, so I bought some of this tape. Some people on the internet recommended using a double course around pots, as larger slugs can bridge a paltry single width of tape; so I did that. It adhered pretty well to a clean dry plastic pot (beware of paper cuts from the tape edges, ouch) and I was certain there were no gaps. I stopped putting down pellets and settled back to watch the hosta flourish.

A few weeks later there were new holes in the new hosta leaves. Slugs had managed to bridge the copper tape, and were munching away on the hosta despite the tape.

Growing Success ferric phosphate slug pellets, used in small quantities, work. (And unlike old-fashioned pellets are not bad for wildlife either.) This copper tape might have discouraged a few slugs, but overall and on its own was not effective.

Edit: when the pellets ran out again, I didn't renew them. The hosta did acquire a few more holes but not as many as I think it would have done without any protection at all. So I will use the remainder of this tape on vulnerable plants in the future as additional protection, even though I don't quite trust it on its own.

Pure Move 400D Palm Sized Rechargeable Digital DAB/FM Radio - Silver
Pure Move 400D Palm Sized Rechargeable Digital DAB/FM Radio - Silver
Price: £69.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Hardly leaves my husband's side, 21 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a birthday present for my husband. He uses it pretty much continuously and is very happy with it. It's small enough to carry around easily, gives a satisfactory quality of sound, accepts headphones, and the battery lasts very well. I like the clear display and the positive action of the buttons. Great gizmo.

In the Garden -1000 piece jigsaw puzzle (48 x 67 cm)
In the Garden -1000 piece jigsaw puzzle (48 x 67 cm)
Offered by The Bookstop
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice picture, sometimes frustrating, 21 Jun. 2014
There was plenty of variation within this puzzle, with many subsets of pieces. The wonderfully warm colours and pleasant picture made it a nice experience to sink into for an hour or so.

Like the other reviewer I thought that the pieces were a little lightweight and sometimes didn't fit together as definitely as I would have liked; but it was better than some I've experienced. 3 stars for piece quality, King; but the lovely picture more than makes up for it.

Hawksmoor (Penguin Decades)
Hawksmoor (Penguin Decades)
by Peter Ackroyd
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful atmosphere, faltering story, 13 Jun. 2014
The opening chapters of this two-stranded novel are wonderful: tense, dark and atmospheric; heavily laden with interlocking images and the tension between Dyer's mysteries of the ancients and Wren and the Royal Society's dawning new era of demonstrable scientific knowledge. In the modern world, at the dawn of the era of mass computing, the first chapters set up what ought to be a detective thriller where tension between a classically-troubled old-school detective and his technologically enthusiastic colleagues underscores the hunt for a brutal murderer... before he strikes again (ominous music please).

However, the promises are not made good. In the course of a short but dense book both architect and detective do their things, but the Royal Society evaporates and the detective novel withers on the vine. I strongly dislike novels that feel they have to fulfil a poetic pattern to make up their page count, rather than riding a good strong narrative thrust. This is one. The pattern may be completed, with appropriate numbers filled and counterparts rejoined; but that's not the same as telling a story.

Hawksmoor is set at the same time and place as (part of) Neal Stephenson's far superior Quicksilver. It even has a few of the same characters. Maybe it's because I'm more in sympathy with the Royal Society - at least when they're not cutting up living dogs - but in the scene where Nicholas Dyer the mystic architect attends a Royal Society meeting where Wren is speaking, attacking them in grumpy interior monologue, I fell into a grumpy interior monologue of my own. Dyer considers the terror and grandeur of his structures, because not yet explained by Rational Knowledge, to be something which will never admit of a scientific explanation and therefore somehow an inherently superior thing. But light and shadow, form and void, spirituality, community and misfits, are all things which are capable of being known and understood. In that we should rejoice. I want a strong plot and a definite ending, and I wish to glory in the growth of knowledge, not romanticise the gloom.

Young Einstein [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Young Einstein [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £5.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Bursting with completely bonkers love, 11 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Physics, a warm heart as large as Ayers Rock, a soundtrack that goes from the 1812 Overture to rock and roll via Waltzing Matilda and The Wild Colonial Boy, and bubbles in your beer too - what more could you ask for?

Einstein was not really a Tasmanian apple farmer and he didn't really invent the electric guitar and save the world with rock and roll - but I almost wish he did, purely because this film was such good fun. I enjoyed this film as a child; as an adult, knowing far more of the physics, the music and the history, I absolutely loved it. There is an ignorant idea-stealing villain (English, of course), Marie Curie (wish she had had more of a science role), and even a brief moment of Darwin. There are whores who get the learning bug and children who inspire a whole new musical genre. There are apples, sheep, violins, beer and some early attempts at splitting the atom. There's hope, there's faith in ideas working out, and there's a whole lot of love.

Probably the happiest, most loving and at heart deeply respectful tribute to a "pacificist, eccentric and genius" that I'll see all year.

The Flavour Thesaurus
The Flavour Thesaurus
by Niki Segnit
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Practical reference and joyous inspiration, 11 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Flavour Thesaurus (Hardcover)
Want to know what flavours go with beef? Or how to tackle truffles? What works well with cumin, aubergine or oranges? As well as thousands of flavour combinations, recipe ideas and flavour groups (that wheel of colours on the cover), this book is a joyful treasure trove of anecdotes, wide reading and wild description: "The culinary equivalent of walking barefoot along a stony beach"... "as cold as a couple of contract killers"... "has the appearance of an ancient Thai pagoda or a prog-rock album cover". It's far too easy to lose hours reading this wonderful book.

Black & Decker GLC2500 Cless 18 Volt Reflex Strimmer
Black & Decker GLC2500 Cless 18 Volt Reflex Strimmer

2.0 out of 5 stars Poor battery life, 11 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Worked well at when new, but after only a few months of occasional use the battery life was diminishing. After a couple of years the battery life was so poor that I was barely able to strim half the beds in the allotment. I passed it on to a friend for use in her back garden (i.e. she wouldn't have to carry it a long way for barely any usage), but after another year she was so fed up with it that she got rid of it. Not worthwhile.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6