Gifts For Coffee Lovers

1 cup coffee plungerFor Father’s Day back in June, my gorgeous girls bought me a 1 cup coffee plunger. Quite a simple present, and certainly not the most expensive, but it has been one of the best presents I have received in years.

Now, I am no coffee snob, but I do like coffee. However I would never bother to go to the effort of all those different machines – I am quite happy with a bit of (quality) instant. I know, I know… But having my new present has pushed me to us it, and I now look forward to a better quality coffee every morning. Continue reading

How High Should A Basketball Hoop Be?

basketball hoopWith school children coming towards the end of the school holidays, thoughts return to school, and if your child is sporty, can they get into the school teams this year. As a parent you will want to help them in their sporting endeavours, and if basketball is the sport for your child, then maybe you will be looking to buy them a basketball hoop to practice.

If you get a free standing backboard and net on a stand then you will be ok. But if you buy them a backboard and net that you need to fix to an outside wall so they can practice after school, you will want to know how high should a basketball net be so that you fix it at the correct height. Continue reading

Couch Coaster – as seen on TV

I do love to see small business programmes on TV – Dragons Den is probably the most famous. But tonight I have just seen another episode of Give It A Year, hosted by Karen Brady.

In this ITV programme Karen Brady meets new entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business, and have started on their journey to hopefully becoming a success. They discuss where they are, and what they want to achieve over the next 12 months, before she returns a year later to see how they progressed.

It’s fast action, as with 2 companies in a 30 minute show, it lacks the advice and in depth details that I feel it could give. But it does show what small companies need to go through, so you may find it interesting.

In tonight’s episode Karen met with Barry Freeder, a young man who had invented the Couch Coaster. He came up with the idea whilst watching Match of the Day with a beer in his hand. With his coffee table over the other side of the room, he felt there must have been a way to hold his beer bottle and so invented Couch Coaster (with a prototype starting from a pizza box!).

As you can see, the Couch Coaster is a long silicon product that drapes over the arm of your sofa. In the middle of the product is a holder for your cup, can or bottle, either hot or cold.

By choosing this holder you don’t need to position a coffee table nearby, or leave your drink on the floor where it is likely to be knocked over by pets, children, swinging doors or a forgetful yourself!


Available in 5 colours – brown, cream, grey (pictured), red and black – all designed to complement your sofa of choice. It has a slot for cup handles when drinking tea or coffee, but also comes with an adapter which you can insert to keep cans and bottle snug and spill free.

The buyers on Amazon that left reviews are very complimentary about the product – so many people giving it 5 stars. One person was even close to buying their 7th CouchCoaster – but only because their dog kept chewing them up! But seriously, I have rarely seen a product with almost all positive comments.

If your husband has a horrible knack of keep spilling their drinks, why not copy one of the buyers who bought one for their husband as a joke. He loved it! And has been spill free ever since.

If you have been looking for something to stop drinks spilling, this could be just what you need.





Anki Cozmo : Is This The Best Robot You Can Buy?

I first came across the Anki Cozmo robot last November when watching Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well. It looked great, and so clever, learning as it played.

So 8 months down the line I thought I would take a more in depth look. First of all, an introduction from Mark Wesley, one of the engineers that works on the Cozmo.


First of all I have to start with the fact that it is not large at around 20 cm square. When I think of robots I always imagine them at least knee high, but what it lacks in height it makes up for in functions.

Cozmo is an intelligent robot that plays with you, and learns about it’s environment. It shows feelings, and it’s rather cute face (display) will keep you amused. Thanks to artificial intelligence, Cozmo can express hundreds of emotions. It also learns to recognise faces – up to about 8.

Using the app that is required, you can code Cozmo with Code Lab – a simple coding tool. Simply drag some blocks on your app and Cozmo will follow the instructions. He is also great at lifting his Power Cubes and stacking them on top of each other.

Using Explorer Mode you can see on his display what he sees. I think this and the Code Lab are perfectly demonstrated in this video:

Who wouldn’t want to play tricks on their teenage brother?

I’ve mentioned that Cozmo is quite small, but he is extremely tough. As well as being built to last, there are no worries when it comes to data security.

What age range would appreciate Cozmo? It’s recommended for ages 8 and upwards. But with owner reviewers up into their 40’s you can see that it has a wide attraction. If you have more than one child then they can all have apps on their phone or tablet to control Cozmo – but not all at the same time. Maybe a great idea for when they are at home at different times.

It comes boxed with 1 Cozmo robot, 1 charger, and 3 Power Cubes. I was very impressed by one reviewer who said that by playing with Cozmo her 9 year old son, whos suffers from autism, was learning about playing for the fun of playing rather than having to win. He doesn’t have many friends so finds the social interaction of Cozmo a great addition to his life.

Overall Cozmo is a great toy robot. It is a toy built by a robotics company, which puts it way ahead of any toy company made robots. Yes it is small, and it is expensive, but the coding skills learnt, the way it interacts with you as it learns, and it’s all round entertainment value make this a great buy for someone interested in a little friend.

If you do buy Cozmo and you want to take him to friends, you may be interested in the hard carrying case specifically designed for purpose.

10 Classic Garden Games For The School Holidays

With schools across the country about to break up for 6 weeks, how are you going to keep your young ones entertained? I am sure there will be holidays and day trips planned, but these can prove expensive. With the best will in the world, there will be days at home.

Whilst your children may be happy to be indoors either watching TV or playing on their computer games, you may be itching for them to get outside in the sunshine (presuming that this great weather we have had so far this summer continues. Never a given when it comes to school holidays!). Continue reading

Buy The Best Barbecue Gifts For Your Loved One

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

Top 10 Barbecues 2018

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.



Star Rating

CosmoGrill 6+1 Deluxe Gas Burner £350 4.5 / 5
Outback Omega 250 Gas Babecue £130 4.5 / 5
Marco Phillippe Gas Barbecue £270 4.5 / 5
FirePlus 4+1 Gas Burner £250 4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Everest 3 Burner £190 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 £115 4.5 / 5
Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal £40 4.5 / 5
Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ £120 4.5 / 5
tepro Toronto Grill Barbecue £150 4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Barbecue £80 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:

Gas Barbecues

Here are our 5 selected gas barbecues from Amazon

FirePlus CosmoGrill 6 +1 Deluxe Gas Burner Barbecue

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.

Outback Omega 250 Gas Barbecue

A smaller gas barbecue, the Outback Omega 250 has a 50cm cooking area. This compact barbecue has a folding side table and dual control burner, with side burner.

It has a chrome grill section and plastic drip tray. It comes with a bag of lava rocks to improve the flavour.

Perfect for small parties, although one reviewer hosted 20 people at his party and it managed well.

Marco Phillippe Gas Barbecue

If you are looking for a stylish modern barbecue, then the Marco Phillippe Gas Barbecue may be the one for you.

Made with high quality stainless steel, it has 4 burners for good temperature control, a side burner, and even a rear burner for it’s electric powered rotisserie.

Relatively easy to build, but don’t forget to take off the plastic film – you don’t your first barbecue filling the garden with the smell of burning plastic.

FirePlus 4+1 Gas Burner Barbecue

This smart looking black barbecue comes with 4 gas burners. There’s a warming shelf above the grilling plate to keep food warm once cooked.

Once built this is a very sturdy barbecue, with the main downside being that only two of the wheels having locks.

Plenty of storage in the cupboards underneath.


Fire Mountain Everest Gas Barbecue

Although having only 3 burners compared to some of the others with more, they are high quality, made from cast iron. 

It has shelves on both sides, which proves handy whilst cooking. The stainless steel hood has warming rack and a temperature guage.

This is a sturdy machine and we particularly like the fact that it has only two wheels, which make it more stable once in position.

Charcoal Barbecues

And here are the 5 charcoal barbecues that we selected.

Weber Compact 47cm Charcoal BBQ

The Weber Compact was one of the 2 charcoal barbecues featured on Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well programme. Although it wasn’t the best as rated by the reviewers on there, it is one of the most popular sold on Amazon.

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.

Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal Barbecue

We love the look of this barbecue – it is modern, stylish and fits in a smaller area, perfect for a small garden.

Obviously it is not meant for big parties, but you can easily cook for up to 4 people. So it’s perfect for a small family, or even a couple to invite another couple over for a nice evening barbecue.

It has a major advantage in that the grill is height adjustable.

Azuma Black Steel Barrel Barbecue

From the smallest we travel up to what seems a huge barbecue in comparison.

The Azuma Black Steel Barbecue is a sturdy barbecue with 2 wheels and 2 legs, so easy to move but will remain in position once in place.

Adjustable grill height again, for better temperature control. As well as a preparation shelf and lid it also has a warming shelf – perfect for when plating up several types of food together.

tepro Toronto Grill

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.

Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue

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.

Zero Waste: Gifts To Help Our Plight


Amazon Rating

No. More. Plastic. 4.5 / 5
Zero Waste Home 4.5 / 5
Stainless Steel Straws 8 Set 4.5 / 5
Shampoo Bar from Funky Soap 4 / 5
Bamboo Toothbrush 4 Pack 4.5 / 5
Georganics Dental Floss 4 / 5
Earth Softly Washable Cleansing Pads 4.5 / 5
MIU COLOR Reusable Produce Bags 4.5 / 5
EcoSafe Compostable Food Waste Bag 4 / 5
SHO Stainless Steel Bottle 4.5 / 5

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

How To Spend It Well: House And Garden With Phillip Schofield

If you are looking for the 2019 Christmas shows, click here for the Gifts and Gadgets show, and click here for the Toys show.

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

10 Great Gift Ideas For Fathers Day


10 Great Gifts For Fathers DayIt’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.

1 – Wet Shaver

A rotary wet shaver will get your Father looking smarter in no time at all. Fed up of his stubbly kisses? Then you will benefit without him realising – it’s a win-win situation!

So what’s the benefit of a wet shaver? Well, this can be used either wet or dry. When wet, it will glide better than a normal rotary razor, and can even be used with gel or foam for the perfect shave.

Try the IPX7 from SweetLF –  it’s rechargeable, has a pop up trimmer for sideburns and moustaches, and is a fraction of the cost of a more well known brand such as Braun. Continue reading