You love barbecues. Eating outside in the sunshine, with a glass of your favourite drink, and tasting food perfectly cooked with that special barbecue taste. But what is even better? When your loved one is the person who likes to do the cooking.
So what can you do to make him or her say to you when you get home after a hard day’s work, “Hey, why don’t I barbecue for us tonight?” No wondering what to prepare for yet another night at home, your partner has got it covered. All you have to do is get into some casual clothes and relax. How can you make that happen? Buy some gifts that will encourage them!! Continue reading →
We are well into summer now, and the weather forecasters are predicting a heatwave over the next few weeks. Which means that it is officially barbecue weather! The smell of meat cooking will be filling back gardens throughout the land. And so, we bring you the best in barbecues, starting with our selection of gas barbecues.
Click on the images to read more from Amazon, or scroll down for our own summary of each one.
CosmoGrill 6+1 Deluxe Gas Burner
4.5 / 5
Outback Omega 250 Gas Babecue
4.5 / 5
Marco Phillippe Gas Barbecue
4.5 / 5
FirePlus 4+1 Gas Burner
4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Everest 3 Burner
4 / 5
Of course, not everyone wants to be cooking on gas, some would prefer the more traditional charcoal barbecue for a more authentic flavour.
Weber Compact 47cm
4.5 / 5
Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal
4.5 / 5
Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ
4.5 / 5
tepro Toronto Grill Barbecue
4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Barbecue
4.5 / 5
Which should I choose – gas or charcoal barbecue?
There are both positives and negatives to both types of barbecues, so when choosing which to buy, a lot comes down to personal preferences.
Positives and negatives of gas barbecues
Tend to be pricier than charcoal barbecues, although you can get some cheaper models that compare
Easier to clean – a big positive
Can get smoky flavour with the use of wood chips in a smoker box
More parts that could break
Positives and negatives of charcoal barbecues
Generally cheaper than gas barbecues, although top of the range models can be expensive
Longer to light and get to cooking heat
More difficult to clean – and who likes that job?
Always a smoky flavour
You get to be manly and play with fire, although tougher to control temperature and can get very hot!
What to do before cooking
First of all, light your barbecues. gas barbecues need at least 10 minutes to heat up before cooking; charcoal barbecues need at least 20 minutes (and often much more!). After this time ensure that your grill plate is clean (you did clean it after the last use, didn’t you?). Brush it with a wire brush or use aluminium foil scrunched into a ball. The heat will have loosened any leftover grease but be careful and don’t burn yourself before you have even started cooking.
Once your gas barbecue is hot enough, or your charcoal has turned to white ash, then you can start to think about cooking.
What to cook on your barbecue
Sausages and burgers are the most obvious item with children around. Chicken drumsticks, lamb chops and steak are all popular with most people. But you can be creative and cook vegetables too – corn on the cob, vegetable kebabs, and jacket potatoes are all possible. And of course, don;t forget a nice salmon steak for those that like their fish.
Try not to turn your food too often. It’s tempting also to push down on the meat to help it get closer to the heat – all you will be doing will be squeezing the juices onto the flames below, and that juiciness can never be recovered.
If you want the aroma and taste of herbs, throw a few onto your charcoal or if using gas soak some in water and cook your meat directly on top.
Here’s Jamie Oliver with a masterclass on vegetable cooking on barbecues:
The CosmoGrill from FirePlus has 6 stainless steel burners that can be individually ignited. If you are hosting a large party this will give you the capacity to cope with demand, however if it is just a romantic meal for 2 then you don;t need to use all the burners.
It has a side burner to keep food warm, as it’s not always possible to cook all you need at once.
It’s thermometer will help keep the heat at a temperature that’s right for what you are cooking, giving you more control and less chance of burning your food. It has a double layered hood to keep heat in, and 4 castor wheels for easy manouverability.
Most people found this easy to put together but suggest better with 2 of you. They also suggest that if moving to be careful and again. maybe 2 people would be a wise option.
It is a 47 cm kettle barbecue, which are popular amongst many people. It has a fixed grill height, and although it does not come with a cover we would recommend one if it is going to sit outside in a typical British summer. Very sturdy and easy to assemble.
The Toronto Grill from Tepro is one of teh more expensive charcoal barbecues you can find, but it has a lot of added benefits.
Made from cast iron, it has a crank which lowers or raises the tray holding the coals so that you can get the perfect cooking temperature.
Close the lid and you will get an even temperature all round for perfect cooking. It also has a thermometer built into the lid so you can keep an eye on the temperature whilst the lid is down. The side shelf is perfect for holding sauces and marinades close by.
Made from strong black powder-coated steel, the Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue has 2 adjustable grills over 3 heights. It also has two side shelves and storage underneath.
The adjustable grills prove perfect for cooking different types of food at the same time, although the back grill could be used as a warming grill.
So there you go – 5 gas and 5 charcoal barbecues to choose from. So whichever is your favourite style of cooking on barbecues, why not take a look and choose one now. We have had a great summer so far, and it sounds like the next few weeks are going to make cooking outside even more tempting.
Click on the images to see latest prices and see product details from Amazon, or scroll down to read more about plastic waste and litter, and details of the products selected.
Environment impact of litter
You cannot help but know that in today’s modern world we produce far too much litter that has a negative impact on our planet. It seems far too easy to create litter, and even easier it seems to not dispose of it properly.
If you look around you as you go about your everyday life, you will see plastic bottles, cigarette butts and packets, sweet and fast food wrappers, and all sorts of rubbish just strewn over paths and in bushes.
And this has a negative impact on our environment. Screw negative – we are DAMAGING our planet. Continue reading →
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.Continue reading →
It’s just 3 weeks now to Fathers Day – for those who can’t remember it’s Sunday June 17th – and so now is the perfect time to think of what gift you are going to get for the first special man in your life.
Obviously a lot depends on what your father likes to do, what his interests are, but here’s a run down of 10 great gift ideas you can use for Fathers Day.
As we step into May, with a long, wet winter behind us, most people are itching to get to warmer climates. As lovely as summer days can be, our infamous British weather makes us itch for some guarantee of warmth and sunshine.
So if you are planning a short break, you may also be looking for the perfect travel bags to take. You’ve probably got some big luggage for your long holiday, but if you are looking for something that will be best for a weekend away, take a look at this list below.
If you are looking for a hardshell case for your holidays, the Hauptstadtkoffer Alex is perfect – as the majority of the over 800 reviews on Amazon testify! You know if this many people have purchased that this is a great case.
Available in 18 colours, it also comes in larger sizes if you want to get a matching set. The hardshell makes your contents extremely safe, and the 4 wheels and telescopic handle make manouvering easy.
As the name suggests, this is larger than your gym bag that you used to empty out for your trips away. More than capable of fitting all you need for a few nights away. Made from faux leather, it is super stylish, and comes in a variety of colours. I can’t decided whether I prefer grey or blue best.
If you are going to travel, then why not travel in style? The butterfly design will get you noticed as you stride through the airport lounge. If butterflies are not your thing, maybe owls will be your pick.
With the exterior made from faux leather, there are several pockets that will prove handy for you.
With a 44 litre capacity, this bag is great at holding all you need for a short trip away. Despite being lightweight, it’s also waterproof, so perfect for a UK trip as well! As well as a large main compartment it has 3 front compartment to help keep you organised. Available in a variety of colours if black is too drab for you.
If you are looking for a walk on bag for a short overseas trip, this is the one for you. Not only will you be able to beat the queues at the baggage claim, you will also avoid the extra expense that the airlines insist on adding nowadays.
With a front compartment for your laptop, room for a tablet, and plenty of space for clothes, this becomes the best underseat bag for a business traveller. Buyers report that they can easily get 3 days worth of clothes, maybe even 4. For regular travellers, whether business or the city break away, seriously consider this investment – you won;t regret it.
The Bago Duffle bag is not only lightweight at 700 grams, but extremely durable. It measures 30x40x70cm, making a great size to put under your seat when travelling. Just in case you are looking to buy this for your fella, and worried about the pink, it comes in a variety of colours that may suit more.
As well as looking great, this gets our vote for being organised – it has many pockets that even the most disorganised person can’t help but think how useful.
This is the bag for you if you are looking for something to hold all your work and work tools. Maybe ideal for someone who is on a day trip or who just wants to keep their work items out of their main luggage.
Not strictly a bag, but a cover that goes around your normal golf bag. Your club heads will be protected in travel by a layer of foam padding, so you need not worry about damage.
As well as your golf bag, there is plenty of room for clothes. So keep your golfwear separate from the rest of your luggage. There’s also a large front pocket – perfect for your shoes, maybe?
Straps will keep your golf bag in place, and extra tough handles make carrying or pulling (did I mention the wheels?) a breeze!
So there you go, that’s our selection of bags for you. I hope you find this useful, for more details click on the pictures or bag names and this will take you to Amazon where you can purchase.
Of course, as well as buying your bag to travel with, don’t forget to get a luggage label to make sure you get yours, and not another reader of this post! We recommend something a bit bright, to stand out from the crowd on the baggage carousel.
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No matter where you go, I hope you have a great break. We all deserve a trip away sometimes, so kick back, you have worked hard, and relax!
Now guys, you may not immediately think of this when you are trying to find a spring gift for your loved one, but giving the gift of perfect summer feet will show that you are using your imagination and finding something that your other half will really appreciate.
I would suggest that you ensure you treat her to a lovely pair of sandals too, before giving her some of the other things I am going to suggest, otherwise she may think you either have a weird obsession or that you are trying to tell her something.
But girls will understand. As the sun comes out – and boy was today hot for April – then out go the boots and in come sandals. Just look around and you will see toes wiggling at you in all directions. And if your girl is like most, she will want her feet in tip top condition before hitting the beach. Continue reading →
Quite frankly, if you haven’t got any idea by now what you are going to buy your Mother for Mothers Day this Sunday, then you are leaving it a bit late!
Obviously the easiest thing is to go and get some flowers, or if you don’t want to be that cheesy then you could always ask her. But most mothers will say nothing special, just a little something. But after all the years that they have looked after you, they deserve something special!
And that is why I am suggesting that you give the gift of an experience! Think about it, rather than traipsing around shops on Saturday scratching your head and wishing you could find some inspiration, why not give your mother something that will be a long held memory?
Makes sense to me… something you don’t have to think too hard about, but one that will be cherished. And if you get something for two, she may invite you along too! (But no guarantees that she won’t ask a friend along instead).
My number one choice would be a Spa Day treat – which Mum doesn’t deserve a bit of pampering and relaxation? Starting at just £30 or so you could get anything from a pamper treat choice right up to exclusive trips away at health resorts.
Here’s a selection of what is available on Amazon right now:
Over 650 pampering gift experiences for either one or two people to choose from at venues across the UK
Options include manicures, massages, male grooming, makeovers, health club days and more!
Browse the full and detailed range of pamper treats in the printed brochure
Choice of Massage or Facial
25 minutes treatment
Available at over 40 locations nationwide
Gift Card valid for 12 months from date of purchase
Need a gift for someone who deserves to be truly spoilt? Look no further than the Spa & Pamper package! They’ll enjoy a relaxing spa day with a friend, as well as a photoshoot shoot.
Choose from over 30 spa locations and over 100 photoshoot locations nationwide!
Over 390 spa days with 25 minutes of treatments for two
Choose from Bannatyne, Village, Mercure and Macdonald spas
The lucky spa day guests can browse the brochure and choose the perfect pamper day for them
Valid for 12 months from the date of purchase with free and unlimited exchange during this time
530 luxurious pampering days at various spas, health clubs and retreats across the UK
Lucky gift recipients can flick through the brochure, choosing the pamper day that suits them best
Featuring everything from nail and hair treatments, deluxe makeovers, photoshoots, massages and spa days
Pamper treatments are available for either one or two people, as detailed in the brochure
If a Spa Day or treatment is not suitable, then why not opt for an afternoon tea for two, where you can experience a trip out to taste luxury sandwiches, scones and cakes in a choice of settings.
You may want to opt for a meal. This Taste of Italy from Buyagift may remind your Mum of that romantic Tuscan holiday that seems like oh so long ago now.
I do love watching Dragon’s Den on BBC2 – it’s great to see people who are striving to become entrepreneurs and make a success of their ideas. Having said that, I have managed to miss most of the recent shows. But last night, Boxing Day, I watched the Dragons Den 2017 Christmas Special.
It was a good show with the usual scenes where people pitched for investment in their company for a certain percentage of the business. As usual some people managed to upset the Dragons, there were offers of investment, and negotiations over percentages. I will link to the other ones below, but the story that really caught my eye was that of Mo Bro’s Grooming Co – 3 brothers from Leicester who had made a successful start with their beard and moustache grooming business, but needed investment and guidance from the Dragon’s to push on to the next level.
They entered the Den wearing matching outfits, and confidently put their pitch forward. As usual, questions were asked by the Dragons regarding financials, how they were currently selling, and where they want to go with the company. However it wasn’t long before Touker Souleyman declared himself out (he wasn’t going to invest) due to a conflict of interests.
However the other 4 Dragons all made offers – if my memory serves me right Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones offered the whole amount, whilst Tej Lalvani and Jenny Campbell offered half each. As is often the case, but not always, Deborah and Peter said they would be willing to share.
After much deliberation at the back of the room, the three brothers accepted Peter and Tej as joint investors, and challenged them to grow beards to match! They had secured the £150,000 they had been looking for.
On their website, they have a blog post that goes into some of the background of the show, from their point of view. They had been approached by the programme’s research team to appear, but at first declined the offer. But further invitations convinced them that they could be ready for the exposure the programme brings. They nearly dropped out when the new series was announced – 2 of the previous Dragons had left the show – but when they heard Tej Lalvvani was coming on board as a new Dragon they were aware of his similar background and that convinced them to go ahead.
They also tell of the amount of preparation they put in, locking themselves away for 3 long days in order to get their pitch perfect. On the day of filming they were collected at 5.30 by the BBC and taken to where the show is filmed. They had been advised that they could be called on to pitch anywhere between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm – a ten hour window to make a 1 hour show!
So where are the products now? They can be seen on Amazon, in Next, and even in the latest Paddington film!
Mo Bro’s Beard Balm is available in 3 versions – Unscented, Classic Cedarwood and Vanilla & Mango. Perfect for taming a wild beard, these 25ml tins contain 100% natural ingredients – shea butter, almond oil and beeswax. Which all go to making your beard or moustache soft and smelling great.
These Mo Bro’s Beard Oil bottles are 30ml and come in 7 different scents – Unscented, Vanilla & Mango, Sweet Mint, Summer Spice, Sandalwood, Orange Bergamot and Cedarwood. This will leave your beard calmed and moisturised.
The Mo Bro’s Beard Soap is available in the same 7 ingredients as the Beard Oil. For perfect beard washing the base ingredient is goat’s milk, which will leave your lovely and soft as well as superbly clean.
Mo Bro’s Moustache Wax comes in Unscented, Classic Cedarwood and Vanilla and Mango. Not too soft like some other waxes, it’s made from 100% natural products, including beeswax.
Mo Bro’s have many different gift sets, which give better value for money for you when buying as a present for the man in your life. Here are just a few that I have selected to feature.
If you have a bearded man that you need to buy a gift for – and let’s face it, there are a lot of them around at present, including yours truly – then why not follow in the footsteps of the Dragon’s and put your money into supporting this young family company.
So after Phillip Schofield had looked at toys for children, it was the turn of the adults in episode 2 of How To Spend It Well At Christmas.
First off, Phillip pulled in some expert help in the form of the ladies from The Real Housewives of Cheshire. Now, I hold my hands up and admit I have never seen this program, and after watching them, I don’t particularly need to! But these ladies are fashionistas, and think nothing of spending their (husbands’) hard earned cash on designer goodies.
They were comparing 5 black handbags that ranged in cost between £15 and £160 against a Gucci handbag that was priced at £715. Which of the 5 would get the most votes? Now, I admit I didn’t get the full details of each one, but it was interesting all the same. The links below are examples of the brands, but not the exact bags in question.
In fifth place and costing £99 was Kurt Geiger, followed by the cheapest handbag from Asos at £15. In third was a bag from Dune retailing at £60, with the most expensive bag from Ted Baker (£160) the runner-up. But the surprise winner was a £20 handbag from Miss Selfridge! They vowed to keep this a secret from their husbands, especially the lady who stated she preferred the winner to the Gucci designer bag.
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The show took a slightly more high brow turn once the ladies had left, by looking at what new technology is on the market.
If you are looking for a top of the range projector, then the Sony 32GB Xperia Touch Projector is the projector for you. With wifi connectivity you can use this to project the latest YouTube videos, recipes or games onto your walls, floor or table top.
The latest offering from Apple gives greater independence from your iPhone by allowing you to make calls from your watch, even though it shares the same number. At present the technology is only supported by EE though… which is a bit of a downside.
Play the latest games such as Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Forza Motorsport 6 on the XBox One.
Having gone from some really high tech gifts, the Selfie Light Case is such a simple idea, but one that will resonate with so many of today’s youth. Capture the perfect selfie in any light with this great device – your Instagram selfies will be perfect without the need for any filters.
There was then an interesting Mastermind-style quiz in order to see which of your home assistants prove to be the most helpful – the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Whilst each had their own areas of strength, they proved to be pretty much equal!
Colleen Nolan visited a shopping centre armed with 2 perfumes – J’adore by Christian Dior, priced at about £87, and Rose by Zara priced at about £10.
She stopped ladies who were shopping, and asked them to try both perfumes, and vote for their favourite out of the two. Obviously the bottles were covered… Out of 20 voters, 8 went for the greatly more expensive J’adore with 12 going for the cheaper option of Rosy by Zara.
So guys – with Valentine’s Day around the corner – it may be worth doing your own research in a bid to save money!
Phillip met up with Vernon Kay, a keen enthusiast, to test out some drones. After Phillip had crashed the Simtoo Moment into a wall, they enlisted the help of World Champion Drone Pilot Luke Bannister to test out 3 remaining drones. He flew them around an assault course, twice each drone, to see which was the fastest.
Each of the men – or should I say guinea pigs or judges? – was shaved by both razors, half face with the Braun and half with Harry’s Razor. Which came out on top? Despite the cost of the Braun – over £200 – it was Harry’s Razor that came out on top.
Some of the various other items that were covered included the Licki Brush, designed for you to brush your cat whilst holding the brush in your mouth, in a licking motion. Supposedly this feels relaxing for both you and your cat, although Phillip looked bizarre!
The Trendsetter Stain Resistant Shirt test was pretty conclusive, while the portion that looked into quality of sleep came up with an amazing pillow – the Zeeq Smart Pillow. Alternatives to help you sleep was music in the form of frogs chirping and being woken up by a smell alarm cake!