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Bongo Basher (Middlesex UK)

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The Original Butter Bell®  Crock Raised Floral Design, Classic White
The Original Butter Bell®  Crock Raised Floral Design, Classic White

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spreadable lovliness, 3 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This butter bell is an elegant solution to an age old problem.

it takes half a standard block of 250 Gram butter and packs in up to the rim. Packing is easy if you allow your butter to soften a little outside of the fridge for perhaps half an hour. I place the half block of butter in the bell, and place its wrapper over the top. I then mash the butter down with the palm of my hand adding a twisting motion If the butter is still a bit hard to work.

There are some caveats for the perfect butter consistency. If a room is particularly cold, especially in winter time, then the butter can harden a bit and become less spreadable. I overcome this by either keeping the bell in a warmer room , or more recently buying a softer butter like Kerry Gold. The opposite problem can be true in the summer when a very warm room makes the butter too soft. The answer here of course is to locate a cooler room or buy a harder butter.

It's such a useful product and I'm very glad I purchased it.

Philips Warmglow B22 Bayonet LED Dimmable Light Bulb, 9 W, 230 V - Warm White
Philips Warmglow B22 Bayonet LED Dimmable Light Bulb, 9 W, 230 V - Warm White
Price: £8.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and warm!, 18 Jan. 2016
In my dining room I have a newly purchased VARILIGHT V-Pro Intelligent double Dimmer (JQP252W). The dimmer is promoted as having no minimum load and suitable for many of the dimmable LED lamps that are on the market. Each dimmer module feeds a single socket light fitting. The dimmer is set to its factory default mode which is trailing edge. In each socket sits one of these Philips bulbs.

When operated the bulbs dim and brighten smoothly across the travel range of the dimmer. Minimum brightness drops to something very faint with further minimum dimming achievable by programming the dimmer module. The light produced from the bulb is impressive to my perception. It certainly feels like a 60W equivalent incandescent on the brightest setting and provides a nice warm light when dimmed. I have tried other dimmable LED bulbs on a low setting and have been disappointed as they lose that warm cosy ambiance you would normally associate with an incandescent. The Philips bulb solves the issue I believe with a dedicated set of LEDs that kick in on the lower output levels.

I’ve also experimented by substituting the Varilight double dimmer for an older Wickes one, rated at 60-250 Watts per module that was previously powering a pair of 60 Watt halogens. The result was surprising. The dimmer and Philips bulb worked beautifully together, even fading the light to black at minimum setting. No doubt there are some fancy electronics on the bulb to make their 9W rating work with the minimum 60W load requirement of the older dimmer module. Whether these bulbs SHOULD be used on an older style dimmer with a stated minimum load higher than the actual bulb I don’t know. Perhaps there could be implications for Dimmer/Bulb life? It seems OK but I would probably clarify the use of an older style dimmer with Philips customer service if I intended to keep it like that – which I don’t.

I’m very happy with the purchase and will probably stick to this brand for future purchases

Seltmann Weiden Cappuccino Cup 1131 with Saucers 0.23 Litre Vip 22126 Termoli
Seltmann Weiden Cappuccino Cup 1131 with Saucers 0.23 Litre Vip 22126 Termoli
Price: £20.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, 10 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This cup and saucer comes very nicely packaged to make a great gift. The cup is nice and thick to help retain the heat and sits nicely on the saucer. I use these a lot to make cappuccinos using a double espresso shot from my Baby Gaggia espresso machine which produces roughly 60-70 ml of coffee. A traditional espresso is 1/3 coffee, 1/3 milk and 1/3 milk froth which makes this cup perfect for filling to the brim, using roughly the same ratios.

The same cup and saucer can be purchased with different designs. These too are nice and well worth checking as there can be a variance in price. I paid £3.41 for this one at time of purchase.

Sony Xperia S LT26i Tpu Gel Skin Case / Cover (Solid Black)
Sony Xperia S LT26i Tpu Gel Skin Case / Cover (Solid Black)

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap n cheerful, 7 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This skin fits very snugly on the phone and has cut-outs for connections. The volume/power and camera buttons are fully covered. They can still be operated ok as the skin is thinner in these places but a press is not as responsive as touching the button directly . The camera and volume positions can be tricky to locate. Having said that the £2.99 I paid feels like very good value. It is not the prettiest of skins, especially when compared to others out there such as the Nillkin Super Shield Shell. None-the-less it does offer good protection on the sides and corners (The Nillkin offers inferior corner protection IMHO)and the screen is protected to an extent with a slightly raised profile that lifts the glass above a flat surface if placed face-down.

That's it.

Update - Although I am not a big fan of Gel skins covering the user buttons/switches , it can be quite useful to protect those buttons from mucky fingers if perhaps you're a mechanic , gardener, or other such trade liable to get grease and dirt (or any other substance) on your hands.

EcoAir DD322 Simple Desiccant Dehumidifier, 10 L
EcoAir DD322 Simple Desiccant Dehumidifier, 10 L
Price: £184.98

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plagued by faults, 9 Mar. 2012
I purchased this dehumidifier in August 2011 - 15 months ago at time of writing. The unit worked well at reducing moisture but unfortunately I had a few problems.

Problem 1 : After 6 or 7 months the turbo slider switch started jamming up. I am not a fan of these types of switches and was not surprised when it started jamming up. A rocker switch would have been much nicer

Problem 2: 11 months in to warranty the heater packed up rendering the unit unusable. Ecoair collected the unit, fixed the heater by replacing it with an "upgraded newer type" and also replaced the switch. I have to say that Ecoair's after-sales care was very good in this respect. Phone calls and emails were responded to quickly and staff were helpful and friendly. Turnaround time for repairs was a fortnight which I found impressive, particularly so as they also ran it for a few days on my request to check its performance was OK.

Problem 3: 15 months in to ownership the unit developed another fault where it would run for 15 minutes, get unusually hot, then cut-out. Because the previous repair came with a 3 month warranty I was fortunate in that I was just inside the extended warranty period. This time however Ecoair did not offer to collect and deliver the unit. Not an issue for me as I'm only a 25 minute drive away but could have been an issue for others. Once again the customer care experience was very good. They fixed the unit replacing the rotor motor and had it ready for collection one week after taking delivery of the unit.

Being without the unit for a few days and having very little confidence in the product prompted me to buy the Mitsubishi Electric MJE16VX-E1 dehumidifier. It is a decision I have not regretted one bit, SO FAR , but I will save my comments on that for when I come to review it!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 30, 2013 11:03 AM GMT

SEBO X4EXTRA Automatic Upright Vacuum Cleaner - 1300 W
SEBO X4EXTRA Automatic Upright Vacuum Cleaner - 1300 W

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to bagged!, 30 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I considered purchasing one of the Miele S7 uprights but was put off by the expensive bags and filters. A Miele S7 HEPA filter costs £20 direct from Miele. For approximately the same price SEBO supplies a service box which includes 10 dust-bags and a complete set of filters that give the machine S-Class (HEPA equivalent) performance. You can purchase it from Amazon here:: Sebo 5094 Service Box For Automatic Upright Vacuum Cleaner... I think that is fantastic value. The SEBO is also lighter and less bulky. Both are factors that contributed to my favouring the SEBO.

The SEBO X4 Extra is a machine to take pride in. It's a pleasure to use and does a fantastic job at picking up dirt. The supplied stair hose is nice and long. I normally disconnect the machine's built in wand and reattach it to the end of the stair hose. It gives great reach when used like this. To stop the machine toppling I place the machine sideways against the bottom step. Alternatively the machine can be layed flat on the bottom few steps.

The machine has a reassuringly solid, and quality feel about it. It has green credentials by being a fairly modest 1300 watt appliance.

After many years of owning a bagless system, I have to say how much of a pleasure it is to switch back to bags that are so easy to change. Yes it costs money to replace the bags at about £1 each , but they do hold an awful lot, and at no point are you exposed to a filthy dust cloud that finds its way in to your clothes, skin, nose, eyes, and lungs. What is the point in locking away filth and allergens in a bagless if you are then going to expose yourself upon emptying it?

At the £215 I paid for the machine I think it offers very good value for money for such a well respected machine both within the cleaning industry and outside. I feel very confident that it will provide many years reliable service.

No Title Available

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough, fun to use pan, 31 Dec. 2011
Some months ago I purchased the Victor 11.5" Round Grill pan sold by cooking marvellous. With that being my first exposure to the delights of cast-iron cooking I got the bug and purchased this skillet.

It is more than a frying pan - it makes an excellent roaster too. I can honestly say that this produces the most excellent non-sticking roast potatoes I have ever made. The key I think is heat retention. Pull this pan out of the oven to turn your roasties and the pan will keep sizzling and cooking for a good few minutes - just like you see on the telly. Oil does not get a chance to cool down and ruin the food.

It has good non-stick properties but you must be realistic. It is not as slippery as non-stick. Some food may stick a bit but a metal slice soon frees the food. I fry eggs in this pan with a very tiny amount of oil and they release easily. Meat releases easily, especially if smeared with a little olive oil. In fact meat cooks brilliantly in this pan. I am getting used to searing thick-cut meat for a minute or two each side and then transferring the whole pan to the oven. You would have to melt this pan to destroy it which makes searing meat one of its strong points. You can pump an extrodinary amount of heat in to this cast-iron lump. Teflon coated non-sticks do not enjoy the same resilience to temperature - they begin to degrade at temperatures in excess of 260 C, which quite frankly I find shocking. I have a set of Circulon non-sticks and you have to be so careful with them. With this pan I could probably mix and bake cement in it and still find that it would happily fry an egg afterwoods.

Although the pan comes pre-seasoned, I decided, like another reviewer, to treat it to another season myself. It is well worth it as I think it improves the non-stick properties. I simply smeared it with vegetable oil, wiped it all off with a paper towel (a very tiny smear will remain) and then baked it upside down on the highest oven setting for about an hour. There are plenty of instructions on the net for doing it correctly and I believe that care instructions with the pan cover this. These pans get a seasoning top-up from normal cooking use, continually improving the pans non-stick properties. Some say that the non-stick properties rival that of Teflon after many years use.

This is a fantastic pan and great fun to use. One of the best purchases I have ever made.

Circulon Bakeware Square Cake Tin - 9 Inch
Circulon Bakeware Square Cake Tin - 9 Inch
Price: £11.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sticky, 28 Nov. 2011
I have had a couple of these and the oblong one for a several months now. At first when roasting potatoes the spuds would slide across the surface at any phase during the cooking cycle. However, after a few weeks I started noticing baked on spots of oil around the sides that would not wipe away. The tarnishing continued on the sides and shortly after food would not slide so easily . The pans are now several months old and effectively useless for non-stick purposes. Roasting potatoes involves a good long soak afterwards to remove all the trapped burnt on food. It is a shame as the pans are a good weight and offered much promise. They are now generally used with either a non-stick liner or food that does not have sticky properties.

Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised Covered Chef's Pan - 26 cm
Circulon Infinite Hard Anodised Covered Chef's Pan - 26 cm
Price: £49.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful!, 16 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have had this pan for 7 months now. It is so versatile. stir-frys, chili, spag bol, meatballs, indian dishes and fry-ups are just some of the things that regularly put it through its paces. The pan is heavier than cheapos but manageable. Just use a bit of common-sense and make use of the small grab-handle. If you are used to pans with a stay cool handle then you may be disappointed that the handles on this sometimes heat up. On the other-hand, if you are used to heavy cast-iron pans where the handles get intensely hot then this pan will probably delight! Again just use common-sense. I can honestly say that I have never found the long handle too hot to hold, but the stubby one should be approached with caution as it it can get very hot.

If you are considering buying the Elite version of this pan here are my thoughts with regards to the glass lid based on my experience of using it on another pan:

I like the Circulon Infinite range so much more than the Circulon Elite pans - mostly because of the lids. The elite pans have a really awkward lid design that makes hand-washing and drying awkward. If you sliced through the lid and looked at the lids lip-profile you will see that it resembles the shape of a hook or question-mark. This is a real pain. Normally when cooking with the lid on, any water droplets that form on the glass will eventually run back in to the pan (imagine the dot on a question-mark being a water drip). However, when you then go to lift the lid at an angle to shake off any drips back in to the pan before placing the lid on a work-top a problem occurs - the drips do not run off in to the pan! Instead they pool together in the curve of the lip and will only run off when the lid is placed in a horizontal position. Expect to get small uncontrolled splashes over your work-top and hob! The Infinite lids don't suffer this. The lid on the Infinite by contrast is simple, functional, and easy to clean. Yes, you can't see through it, but don't be put off - you soon get used to it!

The only advantage I can see in purchasing the Elite chefs-pan is that it has a larger capacity as evidenced by the higher sides (probably to accommodate the bulky lid). Unfortunately this gives the pan an odd appearance. This Infinite pan is far superior IMHO.

A very nice pan to use!

Victor 11.5" Round Grill
Victor 11.5" Round Grill
Offered by Cooking Marvellous
Price: £27.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out-sizzles Non-stick pans!, 9 Oct. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Victor 11.5" Round Grill
I love this pan! It griddles meat such as pork , steak and gammon to perfection. It is now my preferred pan for such cuts of meat. The purchase came about because of what I consider to be a limitation of my main non-stick Circulon pans - you can not use excessive heat. If you pump too much heat in to any non-stick pan the coating will be destroyed. The manufacturers do not like to advertise this fact. It makes searing meat a joyless experience. Yes can sear meat in a non-stick, but if you over-do the pre-heat stage, it's goodbye frying pan.

If you are serious about griddling it has got to be a cast-iron solution. Most cast-iron products on the market require seasoning by smearing on a thin film of oil and baking in the oven on high heat for an hour or two. This pan comes "PRE" seasoned so is ready to use straight away. The high-sided pan is heavy - VERY HEAVY, with a very flat bottom and short stubby oven-friendly handle.

If you are new to using cast-iron like I am you will naturally learn how to get the best out of it by trial and error. First of all you need proper metal cooking implements to handle food in the pan - non stick tools are next to useless here. It takes a long time to pre-heat and cool down. I am still at the experimental phase and will generally pre-heat my pan for 5 minutes on a medium setting reducing it to low for the frying duration. I have learnt that the pan still sizzles away when the heat is removed which is great for keeping the contents warm while other food is being served.

Over time the pan will naturally continue to season with fats from the meat and cooking oil. This should enhance the non-stick properties. This will take time however so precautions need to be taken to help prevent food from sticking such as smearing olive oil over the meat before adding to the pan. Once added to the pan shuffling food about will also help to stop things sticking. If being non-stick is of critical importance then this pan may not be for you as it takes time and patience to develop those properties. Patience does pay off though. I have only used the pan several times and have already noticed that the pan is getting less "Sticky" . I have every faith that in a year or two the surface of the pan will rival Teflon but with none of its vulnerabilities. When cleaning the product the temptation to squirt a squib of washing up liquid must be resisted. Just give a long soak when the pan has cooled down and wipe away. Always follow with quick dry out on the hob or oven to remove all moisture as rust is an enemy of cas-iron.

For me this pan is a lifetime product. Using it is actually FUN and far more rewarding than using non-stick. Non-stick has its place-but not for griddling chunks of meat. When first using I would recommend practicing with cheap cuts of meat. Learn how it responds to your hob and how the meat handles in the pan before tossing on that expensive piece of juicy Aberdeen Angus sirloin. Our grandparents new how to use cast-iron and the knowledge was passed down between the generations.There is a skill involved in its use. I am of a generation that has to learn from scratch as we all got distracted by non-stick pans. I really love this pan but loving care and patience is needed. There is a ton of information on the internet with advice on using cast-iron cookware. Doing some research will definitely help maintain and get the best out of it. For me it has really put the fun back in to frying meat.

The pan itself is labeled as "VICTOR" . I am already considering buying the frying pan in the series to compliment this.

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