Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Delonghi Magnifica S-automatic coffee maker

Having owned a manual coffee maker in the past, I was not initially keen on paying more for an automated one. I was perfectly happy drinking my instant short blacks. But the husband insisted and I can honestly say, my short black instant has not been touched since.

He had his heart set on the Delonghi Magnifica S. Admittedly it does not froth the milk for you, you still need a jug and to do that yourself, however we don't want frothy milk in every cup anyway.

The machine itself is stylish and looks good in the kitchen. It does take up a bit of bench space, but not an overwhelming amount and it tucks away nicely in the corner.
The water reservoir is large and contains a water filter. We ended up removing it (the husband killed it trying to descale the machine without the instructions) and honestly, it holds more water this way so we haven't bothered to put a new one in. The machine does use a fair bit of water flushing itself before and after each cup however and we find we generally only get about 4 cups of coffee per tank. It would be nice if it held a little more but it's not horrendous.
The machine lets you know when the water needs refilling. A small issue I have with it is that sometimes it lets you know too late so you press the button to make the coffee and the machine goes ahead and grinds the beans then the water light comes on. At this point you fill it but you have to start the whole cycle again, wasting the beans that you just ground. Other times you have half a cup of coffee and then have to throw it out and start again. It would be nice if the cycle picked up where it left off or warned you a little earlier that there wasn't enough water for a whole cup. You kind of have to keep an eye on it yourself instead of relying on the machine to remind you.
Usage is simple. You pour the beans in top. You can also use ground coffee but you can only put in enough for a single cup at a time and it goes into the area where that small vent is"
Fill the water. Press the single or double button and you have coffee. The preset water levels were a bit low for us but you can adjust them to your liking and the process is again fairly simple. You can change a variety of settings to suit your preferences. As well as the water level you can adjust the water temperature, the grind of your beans and with the dial on the front you can see below, the strength of your coffee from light to strong.
  We have found though, and this is probably my only real gripe about the machine other than the water indicator, that the water level isn't consistent. The first cup of coffee when you make one after the other is ALWAYS 1cm smaller than the one after it. When you make 2 at once by pressing the double button, the coffee on the right is always about 1 1/2 cm lower than the coffee on the left and you have to either scoop some out of the taller of the 2 into the smaller or you end up with one very small coffee and one very large. I'm not sure if this is a result of us having set the water levels differently to the factory settings or a glitch with the machine. Otherwise though, usage is simple and the coffee is lovely. Definitely one of my happy buys. And nothing beats crawling out of bed in the morning and with a simple press of a button having beautiful cafe worthy coffee.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Remington S7500AU Keratin & Argan Nourish

I've posted before about Remington straighteners. I have owned the Remington Shine Therapy one's for about 4 years now. They've been wonderful. Admittedly they catch the odd bit of hair here and there but not often, they cost me about $60 and leave my hair soft and well....smooth and silky.

I replaced them with the Remington Perfect Glide, which I did not love, nor even like. I kept my Shine Therapy's for another 6 months before embarking upon the great Silver Bullet Keratin 230 debacle (I shall review those later). Again, hair misery.

Then I discovered they had brought out what seemed to be the replacement for my beloved straightener. The Remington S7500AU Keratin and Argon Nourish. $69 I didn't even bother to barter.



I opened the box with a mixture of trepidation and excitement. Oh my, these were pretty! A lovely shining bronze, the plates identical to my all time favourites mentioned above. I plugged them in, silently saying goodbye to my frizzy mess I call hair. Aaaand they wouldn't turn on. 3 full minutes of holding in the on switch, holding down both the + and - buttons, attempting to hold down all 3 at once and it finally jumped into power on mode.

Thinking this a bad start my wariness increased. The promised 30 seconds fast heat up came and went. 50 seconds later they were ready. The first swipe I got 1/3 of the way down before I accidentally hit the minus button, adjusting the temperature. This I did not want. A quick read of the instructions, another 3 attempts to get the lock function to work and I was set to go (again).

190 degrees and my hair was smooth and silky and lovely. BUT that first stroke, I noticed....ping.....ping......ping ping. Hair snapping!!! (Noooooo!!!!). I tried again, this time running a comb through as I straightened. The pinging and snapping continued. Devastated I attempted to finish my whole head. There was almost as much snapped hair on the floor as there was on my head! Oh no! I tried everything. Brushing, combing, lowering the heat, holding it differently. NOTHING was stopping this monster from ripping out my hair!

On the plus side, it looked beautiful, but if I continued to use it I would have no hair left to straighten very, VERY quickly.

It was packed up and returned. Review of the Remington Pearl to come (last chance Remington! I've owned your straighteners for years and loved them!)

Hisense 520L Frost Free Stainless Steel Bottom Mount Refrigerator-HR6BMFF520S

Our trusty old fridge died a little while back after 12 years of hard labour. All I knew going into the hunt was that this time, we wanted a bottom mount.

Research taught me that the technical capacity of a fridge isn't necessarily what you get. Some of the larger fridges had less shelves, therefore reducing the actual amount of space to place items. Others had odd features like shelves that fold in half, also reducing the actual shelf space of that shelf, due to the big plastic edging that encases the centre of the shelf.

Having 3 children who trash haphazardly look after our belongings meant I did not want to be spending a fortune only to have it looking ordinary just a few months later. We were also limited by a "cubby hole" within which the fridge had to fit, ruling out any that had decent capacity and the motor on the top.

The HiSense HR6BMFF520s mostly fits the bill.
 
The freezer is great. Separated into 2 drawers instead of the common bucket style drawer was high on my list of wants. These drawers are both large and there is an ice cube maker in the freezer, with a storage container that can be removed for extra space if preferred. There is one small drawer at the top I thought would be useless but has actually proved handy for turkish bread, meat and frozen pastry.

The fridge inside is not roomy even though it appears that way. Admittedly we are a family of 5, however I shop daily for groceries. If I did a weekly shop there is no way we would fit it all in here. Despite the fact it is technically the same size as our old top mount fridge, it is not as big.

It did feel a little more plasticky than some of the other brand name one's, however this was something we were willing to compromise on. One or two of the big names didn't really feel much better.

The sides are standard metal and the doors are stainless steel. I wish it were more brushed than it is, fingerprints and marks show up easily but there is a large display that tells you the current temperature of both the fridge and the freezer that lights up for a short while after the fridge has been opened.

There is a door alarm installed and it beeps just loudly enough to hear without being so loud as to be too annoying. My only gripe here is that if the door is only open a fraction, it sometimes doesn't register that the fridge is open and doesn't activate.

The L.E.D lighting is pretty and the glass shelves are sturdy. I have dropped a glass water bottle a few times and so far no smashing although it makes a lot of noise when you do.

My only real gripes with this fridge is common to all bottom mounts. You lose door space. We keep a lot of drinks in the fridge (at any given time we have orange juice, 2 bottles of milk, 2-3 bottles of water and 2 bottles of iced tea). You can't adjust the shelves in a way that allows you stand bottles upright, unlike a regular fridge. You lose too much space on the shelves below.

There is not as much storage space as a top mount in general. The sauce rack fills up very quickly and the clear bucket shelves, while movable, aren't really when it comes to practicality.

Bottom mounts are definitely smaller than their same size standard counterparts.

The bottom veggie drawers are nice and large and you can choose to have the centre panel in or out. The vent is a little too easily knocked and I frequently find someone has knocked it closed and killed all my vegetables. Veggies also don't seem to last very long. Having 2 separate drawers in this space would have been more practical:
My final note on the drawer is that it is one piece so when you want to open it you are required to open the fridge door as wide as it will go in order to open the vegetable drawer. It took my kids 6 months to crack it:

All in all, we've had this fridge for about a year and are very happy with it's peformance. It hasn't missed a beat and while I would in the future purchase a standard top mount freezer design, I wouldn't rule out HiSense for anyone on a budget or after a fridge to tide them over for a few years and will definitely consider their top mount variety next time.

Final Verdict:

Pros: Great price
         Relatively good sturdy build
         Attractive design
         Fantastic freezer
         Internal ice maker
         Visible Temperature
         Door Alarm

Cons: Marks easily
          Shelves could have more space between them at some level to allow for easier drink/bottle    storage
          Vegetable Crisper could be easier to open
          Crisper vents should be harder to flick open and closed
          Metal rack surrounding milk shelf too flimsy

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Braun Silk-Epil 5 Epilator-SE5780



I have always purchased Braun epilators. I generally love them. My first one gave me 5 years of hard service, my 2nd (a Braun Silk Epil Xelle) is currently 6 years old and has started to shave more hair than it epilates. So I did my usual obsessive research. I knew what I did want.

It had to be relatively fast.

It had to get short hairs.

It had to be able to be plugged in to the mains power (call me old fashioned but I'm not a fan of spending $200 on something that needs to be replaced 14 months later when the battery starts to fail and you can't get the whole job done in one hit-glaring at you Remington Ladyshave).

A light to help see would be preferable. I can't always sit in the sun.

My research led me to the Braun Silk Epil 5-SE5780. It came with all the attachments and I don't need to worry about the battery.

I cracked it open, happy to have a new epilator. One with a pivoting head that promised to hug my curves and do a better job, one that said less pain and one that had everything I wanted.

It came with a sensitive area cap, facial cap, shaver attachment, efficiency cap, massage head, cooling gel mitt and a bag to keep it all in.

I sat there and tried it straight up with the efficiency cap. The massage head is great for people who haven't epilated before, but I wanted something just a little quicker. Straight off I noticed it revved at half the speed of my old one, even with my old one at low speed. Unsure if this was due to a fault or just how it was I continued.

It generally takes me about 45 minutes to do both entire legs with my old Xelle. An hour and a bit later I was up to my knee's. It required lawn mowing over the same spots over and over and over again. And still, when I got up and moved into the light, there were large patches that had been missed (and I know I went over them more than once).

I decided to give the massaging head a try. I noticed with both that they seemed to sit up a number of millimetres above the tweezer heads. This meant that no shorter hairs could be reached. The box and instructions promised hairs as short as 0.5mm would be removed.

The massaging head was no better. And after a further 10 minutes I finally gave up.

It was returned to the store I purchased it from today.

Sorry Braun. It looks lovely but it simply does not work.

Verdict: Big Fat Fail.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Remington S8600AU Perfect Glide Steam Styler.



I can't slam Remington. My previous 3 straighteners have been theirs and have been absolute workhorses. 

Lusting after a Loreal Steampod for the last few months has been rough and the $220 price tag has been the only thing stopping me. Also, have never coughed up more than $100 for a straightener in the past and always been happy with what I bought.


So I did crazy amounts some research, found a few options then stumbled across the Remington Perfect Glide steam Styler. I felt confident I was buying something good, given my past purchases.

Upon opening the box, I was impressed. This is one fancy looking product. Sleek, shiny and pretty with the blue tank and blue digital screen.

 Instructions however were woeful. Yes, it told me how to turn it on, fill up the reservoir with water but that was it. No tips on a recommended temperature for different hair types (range from 180 up to 230), it included 2 plastic heat guards that slide on, it wasn't hard to guess where, however no tips on what exactly they are used for and when.

This styler is supposed to both straighten and curl, no tips on how to do either really. I scoured the website in hopes they might have some more information but no. It was pathetically lacking.

So I went ahead and plugged it in. I let it heat up for the recommended time (4 minutes, that instruction was included) and pressed the plates together 8 times to get the steam going..............aaaaand....NOTHING.

So I tried again. 8 more presses (some getting rather long and tedious) and still NOTHING. NOT..........A.........DAMN.......THING!!!

One last try, vainly hoping I might get some steam to appear, but no. So I went ahead and started straightening thinking I might get lucky in the process.

The results at 180C were less than just okay. I admit, I have rather frizzy hair, but it is very fine and the job these were doing was not even as good at my 4 year old mostly dead straightener. And still no steam.

I bumped the temperature up to 200C thinking the extra heat may help and maybe even get the steam going. Nope. Just as pitiful.

Finally I turned it up once again to maximum, 230C. A few minutes later I FINALLY got some steam. And I use that term loosely. The picture on the box depicts a rather lovely shot of steam shooting off plates, ready to moisturize and protect. What was sputtering out was almost invisible. A few curly tendrils of white crept from the tip of the plates, providing I held them together with force. It certainly wasn't steaming my hair. Instead it felt like the heat of the plates was COOKING my hair.

I lost rather a lot in the process.

What I was left with was meh. It was straight, but not soft, not any shinier than when I use my dead straightener (which I have gone back to for now-this product promised I would get 85% more shine!) and it's certainly not conditioned. It's actually still a little frizzy.



It was returned for a full refund (thank goodness I didn't have to argue in order to get one).

Verdict: Remington Perfect Glide-Big Fat Fail.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Welcome.

Hi everyone,

I assume I am not the only person in the world, tired of handing over good money, for items that leave a whole lot to be desired.

Reviews can often be found online, they're not always detailed and anyone who's like me, researches things to absolute death before making a final, agonizing decision to hand over their money.

Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes tragically, sometimes a refund it easy, sometimes it requires an absolute fight to the death (not really, but it does leave you angry, frustrated and tearing your hair out).

Here I will review things I have purchased The things I love. The things I don't. Updates of anything kept will be provided down the track in case my opinion changes.

I hope you find these helpful.