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Honeycomb Natural Sea Sponge, ZOFLORA, Smoked Hickory flavour seasoning blend 100g

Honeycomb Natural Sea Sponge – Strong and durable –

perfect size, good price and a nice density. I’ve had ones in the past that have bigger holes/spaces and while they are just as useful as ones like this that are denser they don’t last as well, falling apart after several months. This one fits nicely into my hand and is great for either quick face freshen or all over showering. Squeeze a little foam or body wash on to it and you’ll have millions of bubbles….
If you’re an artist or into home decor this is great for paint effects. For pictures they make lovely fluffy clouds and trees especially if you use contrasting, or graduating shades of colour and for walls and furniture just dip into paint, and dab lightly and you get wonderful soft effects. Either use a colour a few shades lighter of darker or ones that’s complementary and have fun. Looks like wallpaper on walls but with much less effort! When i first tried this years ago I used a cheap synthetic sponge, tearing some random holes but it just isn’t anywhere near as good a s a natural sponge. My nan had a saying “cheap always comes dear in the end” and this illustrates that perfectly. when you’ve a room that looks like a manic snowstorm instead of subtle patterns you realise you can’t live with it, but proper sponge, more paint and take time all over again to do it properly.

ZOFLORA ASSORTMENT A 12 BOTTLES 56ML

I love Zoflora, and buying it this way I have one in kitchen, one in conservatory and one in each bathroom/WC. You only need a few drops and it leaves everywhere smelling really fresh. I hate disinfectants that are so strongly pine they bring up memories of school and public loos with the pine fragrance with undertones of stale urine….
I use a few drops in a spray bottle diluted with water for surfaces and wall, a couple of drops on steam mop head for floors, a few drops neat down plugholes and shower trays and of course in the loo itself. I’ve a shower, bath, sink and loo that get rarely used and this keeps them smelling fresh instead of that stale musty smell they soon develop otherwise.

Smoked Hickory flavour seasoning blend 100g from The Spiceworks – Hereford Herbs & Spices

Smoked Hickory flavour seasoning blend 100g from The Spiceworks - Hereford Herbs & Spices

was looking for some ras al hanout as I’d used the last, when this caught my eye. I’ve used it as a rub on a think piece of brisket, with a little olive oil, marinaded for 24 hours and slow cooked for six hours. It was gorgeous, lovely fragrant smokey BBQ flavour and would be great for summer BBQ with beef, lamb or chicken. Slow cooking cheaper cuts like brisket works perfectly and marinading in something like this gives added flavour. We had it shredded ( it fell apart like the ubiquitous Pulled Pork that’s everywhere now) in wraps with salad. I thickened the cooking liquid by boiling down til sticky and poured over the beef, then put everything on table and it was a quick and easy lunch. We’d been doing some house/rubbish clearing ready for moving and slinging lots in skip, recycling etc all morning so were hungry and as I’d stuck this in slow over around 7am it took about 15 mins to have lunch ready, and was so easy that its going to be one we’ll certainly do again. Cheated and used paper plates too – not for the beef but for everything else so cleaning after was a cinch. Last thing you want when you’ve been busy all morning is to spend hours preparing and serving food and clearing up after. This way I just had some cutlery, the pan used to cook beef in ( a lidded one), frying pan I used to coil down liquid and a serving dish. Simples!
I did get the ras al hanout, haven’t used that yet but may this week, as I’ve a chunk of lamb leg and some peppers which would be perfect to make biriyani.

matting for hard wearing areas, and Gtech hoovers.

 

Been cleaning the house, slowly….sorting rubbish and trying to get ready to put on the market. Having looked at pics of ones for sale some are…well, so cluttered. I’ve seen homes with dirty laundry in piles on floor, dirty dishes in sinks and on worktops, and of course although that’s only surface stuff it does put you off. So I’m determined to get mine looking nice. The conservatory had become a dumping ground as we’ve gone through the rest of the house so that got tackled this week. A fresh coat of paint on the walls, clean the sills of dead flies and grot…reseal the skirting boards and loo door. Now I’m scrubbing floor. did edges when everything got put in centre for walls etc and now I’ve the centre to tackle. given its a tough, slightly textured vinyl it gets dirt kind of ingrained quite quickly, scrubs up well but soon gets filthy again because I’m in and out with the scooter, trailing what seems like half the garden some days. So once its clean I thought a couple of new rugs would help. I’ve got one but that only covers part, I’ve ordered three of these hoping I can put them where the scooter goes.
That way they might, just might, collect the worst and I can vac up with my lovely new hoover. I’m fed up with getting arm-ache from hauling round my ancient Dyson, its given good service but is hard work. I get the lead tangled in wheelchair constantly too and its just so tiring so I took the plunge and bought these tow, as there was a special offer giving £50 off if bought together. I can’t believe how good they are, though the hand one has already had to have filter washed as it was so clogged with dust from the stairs…and I’d vac’d the living room tow days before but still filled up the dust section of the upright. I’m converted, they are so easy for people like me with joint issues who find heavy corded vacs hard work.

GTech Air Ram

Extra Large Dark Red Barrier Mat 120cm x 180cm (6′ x 4′)

 

 

 

storage boxes, frying pan and natural meal replacement shakes.

Storage Box Fabric Cube Organizer Foldable...

I bought this in cream/beige originally, and they’re perfect on my shelves, making my clothes so much tidier and easier to find. Love it so much I’ve ordered it in blue and yellow for the other two bedrooms. They’re a sensible practical size and perfect for what I wanted.

Cook Incolour 24cm Ceramic Frying Pan Blue


great price, nice solid pan, easy to clean and nothing sticks. What more can i want from a fry pan. Excellent value

Wholefood Chocolate Protein Shake (500g) Ideal for weight loss & post exercise recovery – 100% natural meal replacement – Breakfast smoothie for men & women – Drink or mix into porridge or yogurt

I started with the sample box, and then bought this. I add a little maple syrup and green and blacks cocoa powder to it. I use a blender and find it dissolves well, though it needs to be drunk within a few mins or it thickens quickly. There’s always a residue, from the nuts I guess, but so long as you drink fairly quickly it stays pretty well mixed. Its not cheap so I don’t want any left in the glass….
I find it pretty filling, and easy to make. I add the milk first then the powder to avoid any getting stuck in the bottom and not mixed. As well as the chocolate I liked the other flavours, can’t say they’re actually tasty 😉 but they are easily drinkable, and with the addition of a little maple syrup they’d much easier on the palate!
I like the idea that its not all artificial fillers, and things ultimately not good for the body, but pure and natural ingredients. I’ve been having porridge and fruit for breakfast, replacing lunch with this and having a small tea, maybe some meat or fish with plain veg, sometimes just another shake. I’ve only been doing this for a week, not sure about weight ( having one leg makes it difficult to get accurate reading…) but certainly I feel better, and can see my middle is less bloated – clothes tell me that too!

Wholefood Vegan Vanilla Protein Shake (500g) Ideal for weight loss & post exercise recovery – 100% natural meal replacement – Dairy free breakfast smoothie for men & women

Sorry, I liked the chocolate one and ordered a second bag, saw vanilla, love that flavour but…somehow the Hemp part missed my brain and yuck!! This takes revolting, like eating dried, sour grass ( I imagine, never actually tried it!!) Even the smell is overpowering. I’d added some green and Black cocoa powder and some maple syrup in an attempt to disguise the flavour but eurghh…its still awful. I’m giving up on it and going back to flavours I know I like.
Its a great idea, I love the thought of “clean” food, not fillers and preservatives, but this one – not for me.

Pure Copper Water Bottle for Ayurvedic Health Benefits (Joint Free & leak proof)

Pure Copper Water Bottle for Ayurvedic Health Benefits (Joint Free & leak proof)

I was reading how under Ayurveda principles copper water utensils are good for the body.
I’ve also read that some people have copper deficiencies, and also that copper can help with weight loss. Ok any port in a storm, I’m always looking for weight loss boosters 😉 so as I love copper I thought I’d give this a try. If I didn’t like the taste then it’ll make a pretty vase.

I’d seen people complaining of mould inside, and mine had a little there. Usually suppliers put thosetiny crystal bags inside to absorb damp but this didn’t have any. Soon washed off with some hot soapy water though, as you can see from the images.

Its made in one piece, no seams to come apart or hold germs. Its got little cuts around the lid which help with grip too – I found that useful as I have issues with arthritis in my fingers and opening things can be hard. The lid also has a rubber/silicone seal to help keep it water tight.
I filled it up and left overnight ready for use next day. It holds around 700ml of water, enough to take with you if out for the day ( and save on the environment cost of disposable bottles. I’m a prime candidate for that, tend to always have one with me if out for the day so I’ll try to use this in future.
I filled it with water and gave a good shake upside down to test for leaks and I’m happy to say there were none. No use taking a leaky bottle out….

Its an attractive, hopefully useful bottle, and makes a pretty alternative to carrying plastic bottles, possibly giving a heath boost too.

Five stars.

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Sonic Electric Toothbrush, AQV Easy Clean Multi-function Rechargeable Intelligent Frequency Sonic Electric Toothbrush Intelligent Model Waves Smart Timing with 2 Clean Standard Size Replacement Brush Heads

Sonic Electric Toothbrush, AQV Easy Clean Multi-function Rechargeable Intelligent Frequency Sonic Electric Toothbrush Intelligent Model Waves Smart Timing with 2 Clean Standard Size Replacement Brush Heads

So I use an electric toothbrush and have had my current one for years.Well, can you beat the AQV Sonic  Power Toothbrush and produce 31,000 brush strokes per minute? Nope 😉 of course not and yet its still very gentle and safe to use.

Its got three modes of use, v my old on-or-off choice! It’s so simple , plug in, charge up and use.
Comes with everything you need and a spare head. If you value your teeth – and you should, get a decent brush and use it.
These are far superior to manual ones, and yet very gentle. It has two timers, one to tell you when to move to a different section and the other to tell you when two mins is up, the dentist recommended amount of time to spend on your teeth.

My old brush had a round head, and new ones seem to be mostly like this, a rectangular one that moves up and down rather than in circles. At first I found I banged my teeth often, as if was so different but I’ve got used to it. TBH I’d still prefer a round motion one with the small round head brush, as I’ve a small jaw but I guess things change for a reason and maybe research has proved this is better. I want to keep my teeth healthy so I’ll go with it.

What does concern me is replacement heads, sellers say they will be selling them soon but currently they don’t. I tried a Braun one, and that’s too big so they might be difficult to find. You can’t tell till you’ve bought them if non AQV ones will fit so it could prove expensive.

Stars: Four, a great brush but reservations over obtaining replacement heads

Product supplied for honest review. All items undergo assessment and testing where needed before I give my opinion, and stars given accordingly.

a few recent purchases

Sparko A006 Std Coal Shovel 6in

 

does the job, I needed a small shovel for the coal for fire. I have arthritis and can’t lift heavy items, so this size is perfect. It seems pretty robust, and doesn’t feel likely to break. There are cheaper ones, but I don’t see the point in saving a couple of quid if the item doesn’t last.

Yankee Candle – 8 x Festive Fragrance Sampler / Votive Candles

Yankee Candle - 8 x Festive Fragrance Sampler / Votive Candles

Well, I thought I’d try these so I could pick a favourite and have a big one for xmas. So far its one of the green ones ( and stupidly I forgot to note the name…) but they’re a nice set. They burn really quickly just placed on a plate, so I have mine in a small terracotta plant pot, but a
small jar or heat/fire proof container will do. It contains the wax instead of letting it spread and so it burns slower but still releases that lovely aroma.

Clark Drain 600 x 450mm Galvanised S/S Pedestrian 2.5T Manhole Cover PC6AG

got a couple of drains that lead to soak-away sewer ( old house, 16/700s so no moans, no septic tank but this works,. Noticed recently the old covers rusted through so bought these to replace, fit well, quick delivery and well priced. Perfect.

5 in 1 Compact Mandoline Food Slicer

5 in 1 Compact Mandoline Food Slicer from Twinzee® – slices and shreds fruits and vegetables thinly, uniformly and quickly – comes with 5 interchangeable sharp stainless steel blades, protective hand guard and easy food storage container

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I had one of these ages ago then must have given it away.
This one has some updates, the box is great as its anti slip, and there’s no need to try to hold the grater/slicer at an angle for working. Just select the blade wanted, click carefully in place and then connect top to the box. Its easy to slice over the top and the food gets collected underneath.

This does great thin slices of cabbage, onion, carrot for coleslaw, apples, cucumber, red cabbage, radishes, even tomatoes which are a pain to slice thinly, for salads and sandwich fillings.
Food appearance is very important when you don’t always feel like eating and this makes it easy to do that. Drizzle a mix of shredded and sliced veg with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and instantly you’ve a quick and healthy salad.
As well as slicing there are blades for shredding, and zesting, great if you’re a marmalade maker. There are several different blades so pick which you need.
Easy to clean, just wash quickly in hot soapy water and take care with the sharp parts. don’t just drop those in the water leaving someone to put hand in bowl and find them the hard way.

The downside. You MUST use the guard.
Yesterday I was slicing cheese for cheese and onion pastries (tan and beth, also spinach and ricotta ones, both with filo pastry, Daz wanted bacon and sausage rolls, bren wanted ” that breadcrumb stuff” ??? turned out to be shortbread he wanted, we made some a few weeks back James is happy with anything.)
All went well with the cheddar, then i wanted some parmesan (veggie type) As it was a biggish wedge I didn’t bother with the spiked holder and – yep, sliced right across my thumb!!
Ouch. I put on plaster but it wouldn’t stop bleeding and I still had lots of cooking to finish, so a bigger plaster plus two disposable rubber gloves til tan got here and was able to dress it better.
Its my right thumb, i hadn’t realised how much we use thumbs,I do now.

Moral: ALWAYS, ALWAYS USE THE GUARD!!

Stars: Five, easy to use, very effective but do take care with safety. Don’t shortcut, always use the guard.

Product supplied for honest review. All items undergo assessment and testing where needed before I give my opinion, and stars given accordingly.

officematters 48 Pack Thank You Note Card Set- 6 Designs – Pearlescent Paper Made – Yellow Envelopes Included

officematters 48 Pack Thank You Note Card Set- 6 Designs – Pearlescent Paper Made – Yellow Envelopes Included

A huge set of 48 cards, with plain brown envelopes, beautifully presented in a pretty pink car box.

The cards are on a decent weight cardstock, not thin and flimsy, and the paper itself has a pearlescent effect. They take ink well without bleeding.
The set is in six different designs, and each contain a plain white pearlescent inner to write a short note on. That also shows up well against the stencil cut outs of the card front.

The only issue I can see with these is that who writes thank you cards now?
When I was a kid we always used to write them after xmas, but that seems to have largely died out, with texts, emails and calls taking the place.
Its lovely to get a thank you card but in practice it just doesn’t happen that often, and certainly few people need 48 of them.

I’ll probably cut off the thank you part and use these as blank cards, keeping the ones with the thank you stencil for the original purpose.
I’m sure if they were blank they’d have a much wider appeal. Its a shame to limit them in this way as they really are attractive and well worth the money.
Blank cards cover any occasion, birthdays, anniversaries, mothers/fathers day ect and well as doubling for thank you cards and just notelets to keep in touch.

Stars: Four, they are what they say, and good for that, but plain would be even better, and rate a five from me.

Product supplied for honest review. All items undergo assessment and testing where needed before I give my opinion, and stars given accordingly.

Reusable Advent Calendar

NICEXMAS Christmas Advent Calendar Countdown to Christmas , 64cm by 89cm

Tree arrives folded so it could do with ironing to keep it flat – I’m lazy, hate ironing so don’t have one…. I’ll probably press this under one of the living room sofa cushions, after removing the sweets of course!! Granddad used to press his trousers under the bed mattress, a trick he learned in the army in WW2. Who needs irons 😉

I love this tree, much larger than expected at 35 inches from top to base.
Its made of a strong hessian and felt fabric, with 25 stitched-on pockets. Each of those has a cute, tiny decoration stitched on, some embroidered to the surface but some are 3D sewn on. There’s also a snowflake hanging from a length of twine and you can tuck in in each day to see the date.
Its something that can be used again and again, looks good, perfect for traditional decorations.

I hate the way things are so disposable today, that’s so wasteful, so decorations like this are perfect of like me you care about impacting on the environment and its future.
I’ve got tree decorations made when my kids were tiny – they’re all now well into their thirties.
This calendar is perfect for keeping, either share or get one for each child. Lasting so long its cheaper than paying a fiver for a card one thrown away each year, and being able to customise it is great.

The pockets are big enough to hold a small wrapped sweet. I’ve got ones from a Morrison Xmas tub in them, like Roses or Quality Street, in each pocket.
You could put balloons, a tiny car, small things like xmas cracker gifts instead of chocolates. Or have an adult one with miniature liqueurs, lipsticks, nail varnish, jewellery, perfume samples etc.
Can’t think of many ideas you could do for a man. Tiny screwdrivers, nail clippers, keyrings. Condoms maybe…all those xmas parties 😉
I love the way you can use this year after year and customise it to what you want, and who will be opening it.

Note: Description says “Tree has 25 small hooks on which to hang 25 included ornaments, snowflake, stockings, snowmen, toys and more.” There are no actual hooks, or loose ornaments but but there are the sewn on ones, and I guess thats what they mean. You could hook ornaments over the pockets if wanted. I think that’s not needed though, they already have the decoration on each one, and the pockets hold a sweet or small gift. Less is more sometimes.

Stars: Five, It looks good, is a great price and can be used year after year.

Product supplied for honest review. All items undergo assessment and testing where needed before I give my opinion, and stars given accordingly.

Wireless Stereo Speakers, JingXiGuoJi Bluetooth Speakers Hi-Fi Soundbar,

Wireless Stereo Speakers, JingXiGuoJi Bluetooth Speakers Hi-Fi Soundbar, 3600mAh 10W Dual-Driver, Low Harmonic Distortion, Build-in Microphone, for TV PC iPhone iPad Samsung and More

Is it easy for non tech people like me to use? – well, yes it is.

It hadn’t been charged but it worked straight out of the box. Switch on, ask device ( in my case phone and Kindle) to find it via bluetooth.
I used my kindle fire first, switched both on, asked the fire to search and it was done. The speaker gives you voice prompts telling you what’s happening too and that’s always useful.
I also played some music through via my phone, LG Spirit, stuff streamed from Amazon Prime, several different types from Rock to Classical.

Sound quality seemed good to me, instead of tinny music from the Fire and phone I had  soothing, non irritating music. Played around with different tracks and all sounded good. You can use the audio jack to connect to non bluetooth/RFC devices too such as older TVs etc.
Battery Life is up to 24-hours / 500-song which is good, and it only takes four hours to charge. I tend to charge speakers every now and then regardless of whether they need it, so that most of the while the battery is full 🙂

Its got a smart clean appearance, in matt black and silver, with an on/off volume dial at the side. Its larger than many, all depends on what you want, the grandkids like ones to take around with them that fit into a pocket of bag and this is too big for that really but if you just want one for the home its perfect.

It has NFc capability too – something I’ve seen on my phone but had no idea what it is til recently. Wiki says its Near-field communication (NFC) is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices, one of which is usually a portable device such as a smartphone, to establish communication by bringing them within about 4 cm (2 in) of each other I’ve not tried that out but its there if it interests you.

Stars: Five, It looks good, has great performance for the price.

Product supplied for honest review. All items undergo assessment and testing where needed before I give my opinion, and stars given accordingly.