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Julie Cutler
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Tefal BL142A42 Fruit Sensation Blender - Silver
Tefal BL142A42 Fruit Sensation Blender - Silver
Price: £31.97

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bees knees, 23 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to say that I am impressed with this kit, and I wasn't necessarily expecting to be. First of all my oldest electrical item is made by Tefal, a sandwich toaster-grill-waffle maker with interchangeable easily washed metal plates bought in the 80s. Still clever, still going strong (generally lovely soft waffles is its main duty).

Technically I have a juicer (not used.much as currently living without overproducing fruit trees) have a jug blender for ice crushing and banana milkshakes...which doesn't get dragged out enough to make smooth soups, and have a Magimix blade and bowl food processor....which does the brunt of the soup, potato dauphinoise slicing, fine onion chopping, hummous making and less impressive nut grinding (although mindful of Paul Hollywood's strictures I've stopped making pastry in it).......I should really call it a day... I just got tempted to have a punt with this freebie, with my previous good experience of Tefal.

I haven't really made smoothies before...I've drunk commercial brands with delight and then decided in the economic wolf at the door times that we live in to do without. So yesterday I carefully took everything to bits and washed all the items, flicked through the recipe book, which contained both non alcoholic and alcoholic delights. I didn't seem to have any suitable ingredients..apart from rosewater...and mused that when a recipe calls for four blueberries, you really need them in the freezer. Also, it seemed to suggest mixing and matching the various grinders when concocting your drink.

At the moment I'm trying to lower blood pressure naturally with two bananas a day (no fad, it's the potassium). After nearly two months I can tell you that two bananas a day is somewhat wearing.

So having read the negatives in this set of reviews I thiought ..what the heck, give it a go. Yes I do have odd bits of ingredients lying around...I love cooking from recipes, but have learnt to use up the packets of leftovers in something within 3 months, to reduce my previously awful, oh dear it's expired a year later wasteful lifestyle.
Hmmm....pick up the grinder jar. Shove in some almonds and newly bought pistachios (Sophie Grigson asparagus with dressing, sprinked with chopped pistachios and bolied egg...fantastic, but now need to use up the nuts). Whizz. Whizz...done. I liked the hold in to chop button...it means you have more control over the size of bits. Best nut chopper I've used in ages. OK I see a review complaining about Walnuts....well all grinders will have issues with greasier nuts. Grinding size can be reduced by toasting them first. The payoff in grinding your own is the better flavour compared to supermarket preground....but you'll always have a few big bits. The ancients used a pestle and mortar (and me for a chunky walnut and dressing sauce to go over roast beetroot and feta).

Right, next the blender jug. It's square shaped, quite small, made of heavy glass, and yes a little odd to handle in my small paws. It does need care to fit.. You'd want to make sure it wasn't wet and slippery or that you hadn't imbibed too many of the alcoholic cocktails from the recipe book. However not something I'd expect to easily smash. Yes I did have to tuck in the sealer ring on the blender goblet base, but then it made a tight fit. In fact I assume it's better to take out the rings when washing up, but it's somewhat fiddly to extract with fingernails. So next I bunged in a banana, the chopped nuts, a bit of vanilla paste and a dab of milk. Whooshed it up and poured out a small glass, aided by my teensy silicone spatula (a must have for this gizmo). Wow....delicious. Gears start to whirr in my brain....this is actually a brilliant way to use up all those little bits of leftovers.....good grief...even the rosewater!

An absolute bliss to dissasemble to wash (click the button and it releases the jar or jug). I'd almost finished, when I thought I really ought to see if it chops herbs for you, dear reader. Fished out some slightly wilting mint. Brrrr. Done and fairly impressive. Fished out one of the jar lids and bunged it in the fridge. Started writing the review, conscence pricked at me...the carrot question, oft repeated in comments. Well I DID have plenty of sacrificial carrots this week. Chopped one up into large slices and put it in the chopper. Well it does make well chopped carrot, but although a bit moist, I wouldn't say you could drink it...you need the rotating mesh of a powerful juice extractor for carrots. Er then, left with finely chopped carrots, I spooned it out, mixed it with the mint and ate it....quite yummy actually.

So a relatively cheap and space efficient device. Needs a little care, pretoasting or cutting of ingredients....and a silicone spatula....but I see a use for it. Mainly why let delicious leftover ingredients hang around when you can go wild with inventing. Also a quick chop and grind machine for normal cooking. Love it, ta, Tefal.


Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy 25g
Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Therapy 25g

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious, 15 Mar 2014
Wonderful scent of roses and non grasy. Leaves hands silky smooth, a superb little indulgence. I used to rely on neutrogena norwegian formula which was bought up a nd changed to a dreadul non performing formula. I hit upon this by chance and I am looking to explore all the variants in the near future. Pamper yourself


Philips CorePro LED 4 Watt GU10 Energy Saving Bulb, 4 Pack
Philips CorePro LED 4 Watt GU10 Energy Saving Bulb, 4 Pack
Price: £20.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to match a 50W, but bit clinical light, 8 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well, after first finding out how to get one of these bulbs out (thanks world wide web, simplest scenario is push up and twist anticlockwise, if there is no locking ring), I happily had a working 50W halogen next to it to compare it to.

The Philips LED is a purer white light and does show a slight halo of diffused points of light (noticeable to those with cataracts). The power hungry halogen does produce a slightly warmer light. The LED seems to throw out a slightly larger pool of light, despite the fact that it has a smaller circle of "bulb" on the actual light source, and honestly I can't tell much of a difference between it and the original halogen 50W... at least in the context of edge lighting for kitchen work surfaces.

I note that this has a relatively low life of 10 000 hours when compared to other manufacturers and to the other fiendishly expensive Philips range. There are bulb replacement cost calculating websites out there, of varying sophistication. It seems that return on investment takes more that a year (so you may be taking your good LEDS with you if you move house and leaving cheaper compact fluorescents behind, given that the projected life of some LED bulbs is 25 years). Whether LED bulbs reduce in price over the years and colour and efficiency improve (warm whites ARE now available) is another headache factor. However halogen bulbs seem to be just as energy hungry as the old tungsten filament ones, and so to reduce your electric bills they are worth replacing. I am not sure I would want this particular colour cast if I wasn't renting and that I hadn't received them a free review copy. I would hope though that the brand name is a mark of guaranteed life (we've yet to see if the other companies last the distance) . Ultimately, I'd choose a warm white with higher power from a slightly cheaper brand for preference, but in my circumstances, I'm happy to use them and save a little trickle on the bills.


Sage Appliances Compact Glass Kettle, 1 Litre, 2400 Watt, Glass/ Stainless Steel
Sage Appliances Compact Glass Kettle, 1 Litre, 2400 Watt, Glass/ Stainless Steel
Price: £69.95

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice looking kettle on first view, 23 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I sound a note of caution. Amazon forces me to review within a month and I've run through a fair number of pretty kettles which clapped out AFTER six weeks, especially the dual body see through ones which have often sprung a leak.

GUESS WHAT LATE APRIL, THE SWITCH WENT FAULTY. I've never experienced the like. It turns itself off when it's only just started to boil. It works fine if you then switch it back on again. Whether it runs off a bimetallic strip or a transistor, my thermostat is up the spout so to speak. It was pretty much messing up on every boil for a fortnight. Finally I registered the product, balked at the statement I had to find the guarantee, and had to call Sage customer service anyway. They were very nice and are sending out a replacement and eventually collecting the original. Naturally I am the only child in a vast universe who is experiencing this problem, I am told. Lucky moi. I am just fond enough of the water heating beastie to actually want a new one. Clock reset for May 2014 and we'll see if the new one lasts beyond two months.
And resume.......

It does appear to be a nicely made kettle with a solid seal. It's squat and the cup and litre markings (situated on either side) are clear even when condensation clouds up the inside. The balance seems reasonable too.It DOESN'T have a temperature control (other even pricier ones in the range do). I'm not sure if I can adapt to the lower capacity for cooking.....although on the plus side I can probably do without a measuring jug. Anyway, best to give it a few months and see if it lasts the distance and update later. I'm pretty happy I didn't pay the price for the review item, but I previously gave up looking for a replacement for my broken hinged Phillips after seeing the unhappy reviews on this website...so it's a case of seeing long term if price equals reliability.

As well as a lesson on biscuit dunking from Blumenthal (although not the ultimate experience of the legendary tamtam explosion!), it tells you it's BPA free, which to save your confusion is a plastic, biphenol A, which acts like a hormone in high doses and is therefore considered bad, although you've probably been glugging it for years.

UPDATE
So far so good. I have experienced no inconvenience even in cooking soups because of the reduced size of the kettle. I'm definitely boiling less because the 360 degree water level makes it easier to measure. The condensation does get electrostatically attracted to the clear body, which does detract a little. Just the reliability to judge now on whether the seal holds...so maybe in a few months I shall return. No news however is good news.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 15, 2014 4:18 PM BST


Barton's Peppermint Bark 2.67 oz/76 g (pack of 5)
Barton's Peppermint Bark 2.67 oz/76 g (pack of 5)
Price: £9.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Actually quite yummy, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Dark chocolate layer, white chocolate and layer sprinkled with finely crushed peppermint candy cane, so the whole bar is suffused with mint flavour. Just something I wanted to try ONCE as I was intrigued by the description. Not impossible to make yourself if you can crush the candy into little enough bits-I just didn't know what the genuine item was.


OPTEXX® RFID Passport Protection Avalonia Jenny Yellow Made of High Quality Genuine Soft Nappa Leather with OPTEXX® Protection; Made in Germany
OPTEXX® RFID Passport Protection Avalonia Jenny Yellow Made of High Quality Genuine Soft Nappa Leather with OPTEXX® Protection; Made in Germany
Offered by OPTEXX®Shop
Price: £23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Yes it does work, if a bit chunky, 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well there is no point going mildly paranoid about id chips being read from a distance if you don't check it out. So we did. We used the NFC interactor app on a windows phone (near filed communications) to scan a bare passport (picked up), the closed passport in my old leather wallet (picked up) and the closed passport in the OPTEXX cover (no signal) and side on slightly open in the OPTEXX (no signal apparent- but may be an issue).
It's a bit chunkier than the previous cover I had, with the usual issues with holding slightly open. You can feel the shielding material inside- like stiff card.
Delightfully bright, so I won't lose sight of it- ace.


Alpen Porridge Raspberry and Apple Pot 60 g (Pack of 8)
Alpen Porridge Raspberry and Apple Pot 60 g (Pack of 8)
Price: £9.52

3.0 out of 5 stars wallpaper paste, 28 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Why do people tolerate such bad food? I will stick to microwaving Dorset Cereals' delicious porridge in 3 minutes (which you can get in sachet servings). Vile vile vile processed oats.


Weetabix Oatybars Rainbow Smashems 23 g (Pack of 5)
Weetabix Oatybars Rainbow Smashems 23 g (Pack of 5)
Price: £8.25

3.0 out of 5 stars I pass, 27 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although slightly less cardboardy than the worst of this ilk, I found it undistinguished in taste. Really high in calories, with an ingredients list of prodigious length. Not going to eat another one.


Insight Flexi Map: Rome (Insight Flexi Maps)
Insight Flexi Map: Rome (Insight Flexi Maps)
Price: £4.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Some slightly small bits, 24 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My vision is decreasing even with specs. While for the most part this is reasonable, the metro stations map is unreadable without a magnifying glass. We walked over most of central Rome previously and you really do need a map to orientate yourself as it's one of those slightly wandering cities.
Folds out to a small map and is laminated against rain. The other better sounding map was out of stock


Ryobi 18V One Plus Hand Vac Bare Unit ( Charger or batteries are sold separately)
Ryobi 18V One Plus Hand Vac Bare Unit ( Charger or batteries are sold separately)
Offered by Trade Counter Direct
Price: £28.35

4.0 out of 5 stars Car vaccing...across the universe, 24 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Currently still living in a flat and cleaning and washing cars is a near impossibility. Decided not to be such a slut (in the Godfrey Blume sense- fridge- ha!) Looked at the Black and Decker rolled up one...gulp how much...and it lasts for 15 minutes charge...and then you have to go tum tee tum while you plug it in for round two. the Lithium ion one wasn't much better. Dyson...ha ha ha ..for that price! Yes I have Ryobi one+ tools and just li-ioned myself up.
Well it works- good suction.

It's only issue is the sides of seats- It has a crevice tool (neatly stored underneath). You have to use this because the dinky extendable brush is the only way to ungrip bits of yuk out of car carpets. The brush does have a habit of retreating as you use it though. Sadly the crevice tool just doesn't fit between seat side and door. I'm going to have to find some stiff brush to scrub these bits into a more accessible area.

It isn't 100% perfect for cars- but at least it can keep you 95% spruced up. The tiny battery does clap out, so you do need two unless you are so obsessive compulsive you clean weekly.


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