You may remember back just before Christmas , Britain’s favourite presenter Phillip Schofield, gave us a three part guide to buying presents for our loved ones. Well last night he was back with another show in a similar fashion, called How To Spend It Well: House And Garden.
In the show he looked at what products we should be buying this summer with the help of his wife Steph and some more celebrity friends, as well as members of the British public. In true Phillip Schofield style it was a fun show, and gave us just the right amount of information to make the best decisions.
Of course, buying gifts at Christmas is something that we all do, but throughout the year there are birthdays, Mothers and Fathers Days, anniversaries, weddings, and all sorts of opportunities to buy gifts for your friends and family. Or of course, you may just want to treat yourself too!
Barbecues that don’t cost the earth
First of all he was off to the Swiss Farm camping ground near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, to look at barbecues . Amazingly, in Britain last year, sales of barbecues rose by 80%. Phillip tested four barbecues with some members of the public, all priced at around about £100. Phillip himself was given a disposable barbecue which cost less than £10. Two of the barbecues that were tested were charcoal based, and the other two were gas barbecues.
Each barbecue chef were given 10 sausages and 10 pieces of chicken to cook, and the food was judged by three barbecue experts – Richard Holden, a renowned barbecue judge; Marcus Bawdon, who runs Britain’s biggest Facebook page dedicated to barbecues; and Alvin Harris, aka Dr Sweetsmoke, a Barbecue Grand Champion.
The first to light the barbecue and cook all the food was the Landmann Grill Chef. Philip on his disposable barbecue was second to finish , with the Outback Omega BBQ close behind in third. The penultimate to finish was the Vonhaus BBQ & Smoker with the Weber Compact bringing up the rear in terms of speed .
But more importantly which tasted best as judged by the experts. It was a unanimous decision that the Vonhaus was the best. This barbecue has air vents, a thermometer, and is able to adjust temperature. All these factors proved to be a success.
Philip himself had wrapped his food in tin foil to start off with to help speed up cooking as disposable barbecues seem to take an age to heat up. This also helped him with flavour and they hadn’t realised which was his – they even said he had closed his lid to improve flavour! I think this may have been a contributing factor to Phillip actually coming second in the judges eyes.
Here is a list of all the barbecues that were tested, and where they finished in the judges vote. Click on the pictures to find out more information about each one.
For more on barbecues, check out this post about the top 10 that we have selected for 2018. And if you are looking for some barbecue accessories, then check out the latest ideas to get your loved one cooking for you!
The big barbecue clean up
Of course one of the worst things about barbecues is having to clean them afterwards . Back at home Phillip tested out a robot cleaner called the Grillbot. Priced at approximately £139 the Grillbot cleaner has a timer which you can set up to a maximum of 30 minutes . Philip set the timer for 10 minutes, closed the lid on his barbecue, and then returned when it was finished.
The brushes are detachable and you can put them in the dishwasher. However when he returned in his opinion the Grillbot cleaner had done a “pants job” and was not worth the money. Having said that, 210 Amazon reviewers give it a 3 and a half star rating, so it can’t be all that bad.
Comfortable outdoor seating
Whilst sitting outside in the summer we all need something to sit on and so Phillip tested out the Trono inflatable chair. At first I did wonder what he was doing as he ran around the garden to fill the chair with air. Supposedly this takes just 3 seconds, however Phillip seemed to be taking quite a lot longer to run around.
But of course the true test was how it felt when it sat on it . According to Philip it was very comfortable and it felt good to sit on, but priced at approximately £60 a very expensive option. But do the pros outweigh the price? It comes in it’s own bag and folds down small, thus saving on storage room, and it is simple and quick to inflate.
Premium rose wines – the perfect summer tipple?
As always I learn something new whilst watching these types of programmes. The second Saturday in June is National Rose Day, and so the cameras travelled to Epernay Wine Bar in Manchester to test out four Premium supermarket Rose wines, against an award-winning rose wine .
Whilst the testers seemed to be having a great deal of fun it was interesting to note the results. In fifth place was ASDA, priced at £9; in fourth Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference, also £9; third was Tesco Finest (£11). But who would win between Aldi, the cheapest at £6.69, and Rock Angel, winner of the Decanter World Wine Award and costing a whopping £25? Whilst the public voted it close, it was the premium wine that came out on top, but they all said they would buy the Aldi wine.
Hot tub heaven
Next up Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph were sent to Aqua Warehouse in Chelmsford, Essex, to meet hot tub expert Richard Hart to look at inflatable hot tubs. First of all they were seen in a hot tub spa which was priced at £9,500, give or take a fiver. This was to be their benchmark compared to the hot tubs that they were really there to test.
One thing that was interesting to note that the length of time will it take to heat the hot tubs. A traditional hard shell hot tub takes about 4 hours to heat up, whereas all the inflatable ones take up to 17 hours. Or in other words you need to be very prepared when using it and switch them on to warm up the day before.
First up was the MSPA Silver Cloud, with its 118 air jets and priced at just £389. The Birds Of A Feather Actresses felt that the jets gave a very soothing sensation compared to the more massaging effect of a traditional hot tub .
Next was the Intex Purespa Bubble Massage at £529. It has thicker walls and an inflatable lid which helped to keep the heat in. This turned out to be their favourite.
Britain’s favourite make of inflatable hot tubs is Lay-Z-Spa and they were testing the Miami Airjet model, priced at £399. They felt that the jets in this one only gave out cold air which they didn’t enjoy it all.
Each of these inflatable hot tubs was supposed to seat 4 people, although the Lay-Z-Spa seemed the smallest. None of them had seats or indeed gave the feeling of a massage that you get from a hard shell hot tub.
Garden games for less than £50
Next up Philip was joined by Stacey Solomon and her son’s Zachary and Leighton . They had appeared in this Christmas episode looking at toys, and were back again to look at garden games that were priced under £50. Like most parents, Stacy said that she she would always try to encourage her sons outside in the summer to get some exercise, because like most kids, if left to their own devices, they would have stay indoors playing on their PlayStation .
First of all they tried the Bump and Bounce Body Bouncers from Banzai, priced at £30. These are 2 inflatable sumo type costumes, that you basically just run and bounce against each other. They really enjoyed this and had a lot of fun although I felt the bigger one had too much of an advantage.
Next up was the game that brought technology into the garden, called Ultra Dash. It has a flashing light and some targets and you have to match these up. Not only did this work them physically but also mentally and Stacey liked this aspect. As Phillip said, if you want to get them to exercise more you can put the targets further apart which I thought was a great point.
The boys then tried a couple of old favourites in Swingball (£30) and a giant version of Jenga called Tumble Tower (£50). The final game that they played is called Splash Face, which was a type of tug of war game. Eventually whoever pulled the hardest managed to splash water on the other one and the boys really enjoyed this game, despite the fact that they found they were lifting the game off the grass.
The boys voted for their favourites and in third place was Swingball, second place Splash Face and their favourite was the Bump and Bounce from Banzai.
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Why not checkout my recent post on 10 classic garden games that will entice your children outside this school summer holiday.
Ice cream – vanilla to be precise
The next thing that was under scrutiny was ice cream . Returning to the campsite members of the public got to votes on vanilla ice creams, including a basic supermarket ice cream, right up to some luxury Haagen-Dazs . The table below shows how they compared. What was certain was that nobody enjoyed the dairy free ice cream from Alpro, although I am sure that this was the best one for your health.
Cost per tub
Cost per scoop
Ranked by public
|Kerry's Cornish Dairy Vanilla||£4.00||10p per scoop||1ST|
|Asda Smart Price Vanilla Soft Scoop||92p||2.3p per scoop||4th|
|Haagen Dasz Vanilla||£5.35||58p per scoop||2nd|
|Carte D'or Vanilla||£3.50||17.5p per scoop||3rd|
|Alpro Vanilla Dairy Free||£3.50||35p per scoop||5th|
Juicing – an alternative to smoothies, with less sugar
Returning to Philips home he looked at two juicers from the Philips Viva range. It was interesting to see him compare two form the same make, one being a fast juicer priced at £75, compared to a slow masticating juicer but priced at a whopping £240.
It felt that the fast juicer tended to tear the vegetables quite violently and that the hole to put the vegetables in was too small. The end result was that they both tasted the same with the same ingredients, although the slow juicer produced a thicker juice. Despite the price, Phillip would have chosen the more expensive, slightly slower machine.
Did you know that in Britain this year we are expected to spend £2 billion pounds on houseplants? Phillip and Steph were the first to admit it that they manage to kill all their houseplants. Also NASA have stated that houses with plants in them are healthier than homes without them.
First up were Tilly Air Plants from Patch, priced at just £3.50. These are very durable plants which have special scales on their leaves – these absorb water and nutrients from the air so there’s no need to water or even plant them!
The Boskke Sky Planter is a self watering plant pot. it hangs upside down and you water the plant from above, with the water permeating down when required. These look great but at £17 were a fairly pricey option, although you can buy a set of three to help cut the cost and create impact.
The most expensive plant pot was called Lyfe by Flyte. At £219 it was amazingly expensive, but you are paying for the technology. It uses magnetic forces between the pot and wooden stand to levitate, and rotates so that the plant gets equal sun, which stops it from leaning like most houseplants.
Keeping cool with electric fans
The last product that they looked at were electric fans. Another amazing fact came out – on one day in 2017, during a mini heatwave, Argos sold 92,000 fans. In a single day!
Chris Kamara was sent to a Jivamukti Yoga class where, in 40 degree heat, four rows of yoga enthusiasts took part in their exercise routines. The two fans that they were testing were placed at the front of the class but in both cases it was only the first row of yoga enthusiasts that benefited from the fans.
After leaving the yoga centre the two fans were taken to engineer Nick Davies, who has 20 years in air flow systems management. He tested both of the fans for noise, range and power in his lab. Surprisingly, despite the price difference, the two fans came out pretty much the same – the Dyson was 10% quieter whereas the Highlands fan was 10% stronger in power, with the range being equal. So in other words, you could buy either and benefit similarly – or buy 17 of the cheaper fans for a much cooler atmosphere.
If you are looking for a large floor standing fan then we recommend the number 1 best seller, the Q Connect 16 inch floor standing fan.
Phillips Top 3 Products
And so we come to Phillip’s top three products. In third place he chose the disposable barbecue, in second place the Trono inflatable chair, with the winner of the best house and garden product was the Intex Purespa hot tub .
Whether you are buying for a friend, or treating yourself, then I hope this guide, brought to you courtesy of Phillip and friends, will help you make the right purchase.