Kettles with temperature control

Christmas is Coming

As the festive season approaches most people are on the lookout for that special gift. It gets harder and harder, with each passing year. But we think we found something that’s quite special.

Although not new, they haven’t been around too long either, making them a quite sort after gift which we think they will have great appeal. Where referring to a kettle.

I think I can see the the disappointment on you’re faces already. The big build up and then announcing just an ordinary kettle. But this is not an ordinary kettle, let me explain.

A rather special Kettle

This is a variable temperature kettle. They’re quite modern too so they look good as well. So what does a variable temperature kettle do that’s so special?

It will heat water to any temperature you want from hot to very hot to boiling. And what’s more it will keep our at the temperature for 30 minutes or so, depending upon the model. Some the water at the set temperature for hours.

With the advent of the modern tap that can produce instant, near boiling water and cold filtered drinking water from the one device. The humble kettle’s days were numbered.

But the kettle has been reinvented as the variable temperature kettle and that gives it a new lease of life as well as a completely new function.

Tea Lovers

This kettle comes into its own for all tea lovers. We’re talking about those green teas and fruit trees that are so popular now. Using boiling water is not recommended for brewing these delicate teas. You need a water temperature in the range of 80 to 95 degrees centigrade. And the variable temperature kettle does this with aplomb.

Coffee Drinkers

The same goes for coffee, instant coffee. These too should be made with hot and not boiling water and the difference is in the taste. The coffee thus produced is a lot smoother and easier to drink.

Formula Milk

Those of us with small children or babies have an additional task of heating up formula milk. You can put the milk on a saucepan, the old fashioned way and gently warn the milk, put the milk in the microwave and guess the best setting to warn the milk.

But how much better to have water at a known temperature and just rest the milk bottles in a bowl for a few minutes allowing the milk to gently warm up to the right temperature.

Heating up milk

Designing with an 88 Key Keyboards in Mind

Good Design

coordinated living room

In any house, the interior is what makes or breaks it. Although very personal and we all have different tastes. One of the key elements to good design is a sense of cohesion.

The aim is to bring a theme into the design that runs through each room, that visually and texturally makes sense and feels natural, almost effortlessly.

Here, I want to discuss design features that act as focal points in a room and how to stage them. But a center piece can be the starting point and the rest of the room is designed around it.

The Piano as a center piece

baby grand pianoLet’s start with a piano. A piano is an iconic instrument and completely transforms the room. It becomes the focal point. Most pianos come in either black or white, in a high gloss finish and if your designing your room from scratch, you would factor in the color and add additional elements to complement the main color in the room – which would be the piano.

Not everyone has room for a grand piano, so an alternative is a baby grand piano, which is still big and majestic. But a lot of the time, any piano would be too big and take up too much room. In these cases an electric piano will do. Nowadays they’re very well made but compact. You can find a good selection here Ulimate 88 key keyboard piano

A Sculpture as a center piece

A different approach is to purchase a sculpture. As you can imagine the variety is enormous and they range in size, shape and color. This is a very personal statement but as well a fulfilling a design element, you can also make it personal.

There are a few things to watch for. Obviously a room that’s heavily utilized is probably not the best place for a statue. The setting wants to be tranquil and restful. A library or a study would be ideal.

Sculptures can be classical, modern, European, African, Asian. Made from marble, stone, bronze. There’s a plethora of elements involved here and it’s all down to personal taste.

My preference, if I may be so bold, is African sculpture. It’s so unique and captures the sun and the spirit of Africa. This is our go to site for Shona Sculpture ????

shona sculpture

Bring it all together

But above all, you have to integrate the center piece of the room into the rest of the room. By coordinating other elements into the whole you’ll get a balanced and visually pleasing effect.

When do know when the room is right? Well, it will feel right. You won’t need to add any additional elements. Then the room is finished.

Eight Person Tent

people and dogsThe Average American Family

With the average American family between four and five. Plus two dogs. As ours is. You need a big tent to go camping in. We have an 8 person tent like the ones here best 8 person tent

Our three children are all grown up now, the youngest being 13. But even when they were very young we still bought a big tent as we were well aware that families grow and get bigger. And we wanted our tent to last at least ten years or so.

large family tentA wise Investment

And because we invested well the tent has stood the test of time. Some parts had worn but these were easily replaced or repaired.

As and when our children moved out then well downsize the tent but we still expect a few more years yet from it.

Putting Up/Taking down

Bigger tents need two people to set up. They can be a bit tricky at times but it gets easy each year. And now we can do it almost with our eyes shut.

More tricky can be taking them down. Again, this gets easier the more you do it. But it can be quite fiddly getting it all packed away neatly ready for the next trip.

tent looking outWhat to look for in a new Tent

Always look for a tent with a zippable groundsheet. This will prevent water and insects getting in and keep your tent dry. The also come with flappable seals to keep driven rain out as well.

Bigger tents come with double skins and are designed to breathe. When five people are sleeping in a tent there’s a lot of moisture in their breath you want this extracted. Good tents material will breathable letting moisture pass out but preventing water getting in.

Our tent had zipable rooms which means we can all have some privacy at night. We also have a porch, very useful for shedding wet gear and not leaving it outside and not putting it in the main tent.

Further information

put up a tent
pack your tent away
waterproofing a tent

Three Piece Luggage Sets

humble suitcaseThe Humble Suitcase

There are many many websites that give you information about traveling. Where to go, what to see, what precautions to take and how/if to tip waiters and hotel porters. There’s also information about what to pack. What to take with you and what to buy when you get to your travel destination. What they tend to forget is the humble suitcase. These are quite important, when you think about it and there’s a lot of choice out there.

This is when you discovery that not all suitcases are created equal and it’s important to know what to look for before you go shopping.

3 Piece LuggageWe favor the three piece set. Why? Because you get three cases of various sizes, plenty of storage. But also because they neatly they fit inside each other, great when your storing them away. Here’s a great site we found for you next three piece suitcases

Suitcases and What to Look for

So what to look out for? We’ll start with the most important features first.

chunjy zipperThe Zip

Very important part of any case, is the zip. Too many people get hung up with extra compartments, internal straps, retainer walls. But none of these is as important as the zip that secures the case. Remember this will take a lot of punishment both in transit and in closing the case and keeping everything in.

Let’s be honest we all try to get twice as much into a case as its supposed to hold. This puts enormous pressure on the zipper and this is when it’s most likely to fail.

So our advice – Get a case with the biggest chunkiest zip you can find.

Suitcase CastersThe Casters

This is another often overlooked feature, when buying. It’s easy to forget about these when your in a nice clean shop with solid wooden floors. The suitcase will glide effortlessly over the floor, because it’s new and has never been out in the real world. And remember your pulling an empty case or a case stuffed with light paper packaging around a nice clean floor.

Pay close attention to the casters, select a case with strong sturdy casters that will take your case when laden with it’s double load. The last thing you want is a wobbly suitcase when you have a mile to pull it around s busy airport.

So our advice – Get a case with strong sturdy wheels or casters.

To Recap

The two most important things to consider when buying a new 3 piece suitcase are the zipper and the casters. The color, pattern, style, designer label, should be secondary considerations.

Although you might pay a little more up front. You’ll then be rewarded with suitcases that will give you perfect service and last you for many years.

Why Suitcases fall over

Stop the Wobble

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

I must as I was a bit skeptical when it was suggested that I try a robot vac. But I checked out this web site and bought one floorready for the robot vacuum cleaner. After reading the reviews I went for the Roomba 770 model, not cheap, but based on the reviews, this seemed like a wise choice.

Well I had to see it in action, so after unpacking and charging it up, I sat back and watched its maiden journey. It worked.

Artificial Intelligence

It seems to me it must have a little brain, There are things you can do to help it and you can create virtual walls. These are boundaries that you don’t want it to cross. A light on top of the little robot comes on when the bin is full and you have to empty it before continuing. Emptying the bin is easy and mess free.

What amazed me is how, after zig-zaging around all the bedrooms, it managed to find its way back to the charging unit, when its battery power was running low.


This is what it’s all about. After all clever software is one thing but its main task is to clean floors. And I’ve been impressed, they really do work. And better still you can program it to clean when your our of the house. But if you leave floors cluttered with junk then don’t expect it to tidy up as well. You need to leave the floors tidy just as you would if you were going to vacuum.


My plan to do a full manual hoover once a month, I think this will complement the robo vac very well. Obviously, the robo is a floor cleaner so it can’t clean chairs and mattresses – that’s my job.

So are they good enough to replace my trusty upright vacuum cleaner, I’d say “yes”. The good ones are not cheap but if they work, and they do, it’s cheaper than employing a domestic cleaner.

This site goes into more details


Bedroom interior warm hues
Bedroom interior with warm hues

Bedroom furniture Blog

Welcome to our new blog where we visit everything to do with modern and traditional bedrooms. If you thought bedrooms were just for sleeping, then you’re wrong – think again. Many years that may have been the case but any more. No matter how large or small the bedroom, it’s YOUR bedroom and that means it’s your personal space and you have complete control of how it’s used, what goes in it and the decor.

In this blog we aim to explore all trends, features, designs and all things bedroom. More and more homes come with ensuite bathrooms so we’ll be exploring those too. We hope you’ll bookmark this page and come back on a regular basis – you never know what we have found.

Bedroom light and airy
Bedroom light and airy

Remember the bedroom is the part of the house which will offer you a quiet place to retreat from the commotion of the day. It must be the most comfortable and cozy rooms in the house because it is the place where you retire at the end of the day. If your bedroom doesn’t fulfil this need then now is the time to convert it. And we’ll show you how and how to personalize it by decorating.


Planning the decoration is a lot of fun. Always feel free to experiment, sometimes you’ll get it wrong and sometimes you’ll get it right. But if you get it wrong, you’re learn from your mistakes. And if it’s really bad then you can always re-decorate. The point here is that it’s never irretrievable.

Contrast that approach with that of using an interior design, nothing wrong with interior designers – we know several good ones, but they will produce a brilliant design based on your specific needs. But you won’t have had any input into the creative process. But it’s a good way to get the type of bedroom that you want, just make sure the the designer follows YOUR brief, not his or her personal preferences.

To get a feel for good design, take a look at the video bellow. It shows how to decorate a bedroom on a low budget.

More to come on these subjects – so stay tuned.