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New Dripper 2013/01/25

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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[ photograph of coffee dripper]I am thrilled with my new dripper.

This one arrived yesterday from Amazon. What’s different about this dripper is that it has a valve, so the grounds are steeped for a while, rather than simply passing through. (more…)

Mama’s Limoncello 2012/09/16

Posted by Mummy Ruth in Cooking, fun, hacks, Tips and Tricks.
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I have been making bottles of Limoncello as Christmas gifts!

Prep Time: 5 mins.,
Cooking Time: 10 mins.,
Serves: 2.


  • vegetable peeler;
  • small sharp knife;
  • bowl or jug;
  • bottles;
  • Cling film

Shopping List:

  • ten unwaxed lemons;
  • 75ml bottle of vodka;
  • 3 1/2 cups Water;
  • 2 1/2 cups Sugar.


To Make the Limoncello:
The peel is all we need for this recipe, so using the vegetable peeler, get long strips of peel from the lemons. Trim & discard the white pith from the peel using the knife.

Put the de-pithed peel strips into the jug and pour in the vodka before covering with cling film.  Leave alone for four days at room temperature.

Four Days later

Remove cling film and stir, pour into a large saucepan and heat on stove (medium heat) until sugar dissolves (about 5 mins) then let it all cool down to room temperature again.

Devine Healthy Bread 2011/09/17

Posted by Mummy Ruth in baking, Tips and Tricks.
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[Picture of devine Healthy Bread inside]This is the recipe for our really healthy everyday loaf. It is not only healthy, quick and delicious, it is also so easy to adapt.  I have turned it into a wonderful savoury herb affair, and also a delicious cake.  But first, the basic core recipe (which is just delicious in its own right)…

Work Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Makes:  enough for 8 (more…)

Slimming Tips from the BBC 2011/01/14

Posted by Daddy Dave in Health, Musings, Reviews, Tips and Tricks.
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We were sent a link to the BBC iPlayer for “10 Things You Need to Know About Losing Weight”.  It purported to have the very latest scientific tips on losing weight.  It featured Dr Michael Mosely — the chap doing the brain programmes for the BBC.  He didn’t look fat, but scans showed that he was fat on the inside. That was surprising; we’d always assumed that only those who were fat on the outside got fat on the inside.

Frankly, we were surprised that there was a surprise — and also that there was another surprise in the programme.  Hey, TWO things were didn’t actually know beforehand — well done BBC! (more…)

Bad Skin Cream 2010/10/20

Posted by Mummy Ruth in Health, Kids, real life, Tips and Tricks.
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Oli has always had sensitive skin, so we watch the washing and laundry products we buy and use.

However, eczema appeared on her wee hands, and so we have been using cream to moisturise and protect her skin there.

The eczema seemed to be getting worse of late, so I have been particularly attentive in applying the BP cream — that is until I read a scary article at (more…)

Titanium! 2010/07/25

Posted by Daddy Dave in Cooking, Reviews, shopping, Tips and Tricks.
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I have a client who raves about the Woll (pron. “v-aw-l” )Titanium pan his wife bought at an Ideal Home Exhibition.  Fat-free frying and delicious food too. I was intrigued enough to track down the following videoclip on youTube: (more…)

Tera! 2010/04/18

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, Tips and Tricks.
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I don’t know why, but over the last few days I have started fretting over loss of data — the kids’ pictures, work, rare music.

You see, a few years back we had problems with laptops.  It is hard to back-up data when the CD drive dies or when the power can suddenly cut in the middle of the transfer.

We lost some data, and vowed that we would never again get into this situation. The first thing we did was (more…)

Buying Disposable Nappies 2007/06/17

Posted by Daddy Dave in Baby, hacks, Reviews, Tips and Tricks.
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I hate shopping for disposable nappies; I almost always get it wrong — and now the problem has got worse because I’m shopping for two kids and two sizes. I have searched the web for help on this, but nowhere can I find a definitive list of sizes to compare and contrast, so I took a post-it note along to the supermarket, and here are my findings: (more…)

How To Close a Bag of Crisps! 2007/06/14

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, Tips and Tricks, video.
1 comment so far

We have been using those plastic clips to keep bags shut, but then I came across this video which shows a new way to fold the bag to close it up tight (sadly through it doesn’t show us how to actually OPEN the damn thing): (more…)

Parking At The Princess Royal Maternity 2007/05/18

Posted by Daddy Dave in Tips and Tricks, Whinge.
1 comment so far

This is what the ticket machine has printed on it. Personally I don’t think it is very clear. I do not think most people would be too keen to stand in the cold wind and rain after parking their car, to figure out the real costs.

Charges Apply
8am – 6pm
10p per 12 minutes



How To Tie Shoelaces Fast! 2007/04/29

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, Tips and Tricks, video.
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I love the madness that is YouTube. Where else can you discover new ways to do everyday things. Here’s an excellent example — how to tie your shoelaces without doing the bunny ears… (more…)

How to Cook the Perfect Rice 2007/01/22

Posted by Mummy Ruth in Cooking, Tips and Tricks.
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I thought I would do a quick post about cooking rice.

I seemed to have difficulty in cooking rice, it was always clumpy and stodgy, stuck to the pot and never seemed to turn out the way I wanted — soft and fluffy and edible — (even though I followed the instructions on the packet). I have picked up some hints and tips from friends and family and it seems to work…

Cooking Time: 10 mins,
(or until rice has absorbed the water)
Serves: 2 (more…)

Changing Lights 2006/12/03

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, Tips and Tricks.
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You know it’s winter when the lamp bulbs start blowing due to the change in pressure and temperature. They all seem to go at once. It’s weird. I have some old ceiling mounted eyeball spotlights , and they always cause problems because they are Edison Screws, rather than bayonet, so they can be really difficult to screw out — especially if they’ve been in for a long time. (more…)

Home-Made Pasta 2006/11/27

Posted by Daddy Dave in Cooking, Tips and Tricks.

[Picture of WL Pasta Maker]Making fresh pasta is cheap, quick and dead easy. However, fresh pasta is only for Lasagna, Cannelloni, Ravioli etc. The Italians I’ve met insist that dried pasta is best for spaghetti, tagliatelli, twirls, swirls and anything needing to be ‘al dente’. Before I knew this I wanted to impress Ruth by making dinner one night — 100% fresh spaghetti made from scratch — I even bought a WL Pasta Making Machine from OMC Marcato in Italy. It cooked in seconds and was far too soft. What a disaster!

Work Time: 15 mins
RestTime: 30 mins
Makes: 680g (loads) (more…)

Our FireFox Extensions 2006/11/09

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, Tips and Tricks.
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Ruth and I just LOVE Firefox to bits! here’s a list of the extensions we chose to download for this browser. (more…)

Replace The Slow Acrobat 2006/11/09

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, Tips and Tricks.
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Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 has been getting me down recently; it is so massively big and slow. I decided to remove it and dig out an old Reader that would be quicker to use, maybe Acrobat 4 or Acrobat 5. I was amazed at the size increases with each version! Acobat 4 is about 5MB, but Acrobat 7 was nearly 30MB!


Tesco is Metres Better! 2006/09/24

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, shopping, Tips and Tricks.

I ‘lost’ my measuring tape on my last project, so I needed to replace it. One might be forgiven for thinking that measuring tapes of all makes are pretty easy to obtain — they are cheap and cheerful and in plentiful supply. The trouble is that I HATE those measuring tapes because they use two illegal measurement systems, the old and long-dead British Imperial system of inches and feet along the top edge, and the equally old and equally dead French Metric system of centimetres and metres along the bottom! (more…)

How To Fold A T Shirt Fast! 2006/09/23

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, Tips and Tricks, video.

I came across this on YouTube, and it took a wee while to figure out because you have to think mirror movements!  I watched this 30 second video over and over about 6 times! I suppose it shows a trick that is time and labour saving and all that, but at the end of the day it is a new fun way to do an ordinary everyday activity.  that and it’s a good party trick! (more…)

Saved from Certain Dell 2006/08/31

Posted by Daddy Dave in Reviews, Tips and Tricks.

Regular readers of our blog will be aware of our recent computer problems, especially laptops — The Priceless PLess Clevo and the Fujitsu-Siemens. Even the Dell Inspiron we got in January has been returned to Dell to have the failed motherboard replaced under warrantly.

  • We finally got that desktop from the swines at PC Specialist (pcspecialist.co.uk) sold on Gumtree — just last week.

Things were calming down and looking up when Bob Preston walked into my office carrying a Dell Inspiron under his arm. Chat turned to the Dell/ Sony battery recall issue, and Bob said he just visited the Dell website and checked that his did not need recalling. It sounded easy enough, I did not think we would be affected either, but maybe I should mention it to Ruth to check out.

Later, while driving home on the M8 in the dark (it was after 20:00) and through the rain, I got a (hands-free) call from Ruth — she was wondering where I was! I happened to mention the Dell battery thing, and while we spoke, she powered the notebook down and removed the battery, then started it up on mains power and checked the number on the Dell website — the example shown matched our battery exactly, so she arranged for a replacement to be sent.

Phew! To think that the laptop could have burst into flames without warning! I mean, it’s rarely powered down completely, usually we just open and shut the lid to put it in and out of standby mode — the battery is almost constantly on a trickle charge! It could have exploded when we were sleeping in bed or when the house was empty — anytime really! Wow!

So a big thanks to Bob Preston and serendipity.


My Keyboard Shortcuts 2006/08/01

Posted by Daddy Dave in hacks, Tips and Tricks.

It’s all about productivity; keyboard shortcuts are always a better bet than rooting about in menu toolbars of unfamiliar software or new versions! I’ve been using the same keyboard shortcuts for about 10 years — they always work and they are now part of my muscle memory: I don’t even have to think. Here they are: (more…)

Too Much Variety in Laptops 2006/07/30

Posted by Dave in hacks, Reviews, shopping, Tips and Tricks, Whinge.

This is a call to laptop manufacturers to get their act together and come up with a standard arrangement of sockets, slots, drawers and even keys! There must be a lot of people like me — who have to use a variety of hardware and software under pressure to be productive amidst strange company procedures, networks, and whatnot.

From the point of view of software, I have developed a way to cope with relentless new versions and revisions to essential software packages, and my keyboard shortcuts also serve me well in using all sorts of unfamiliar software applications. As such, though, I worry when the keyboard layouts stay standard on desktops and vary wildly on laptops! (more…)

Car Audio 2006/07/17

Posted by Dave in Music, Tips and Tricks.
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[Picture of Cassette Adapter]Over the years my cars have had a cassette radio built-in to the dash, and to play CDs, I would use a portable ‘Discman’ player and a small device that looks like a standard compact cassette with a wire sticking out of it. It was not ideal, but it allowed me to play CDs through the car’s audio system.

Now that I have a car with a CD player, I find that I wish I had the old cassette radio back! I prefer taking Ruth’s wee car BECAUSE it has a cassette radio — my cassette-wire device allows me to play my portable CD player (which can play burned CDs containing MP3 files), but more importantly, I can play my MP3 player directly into the car’s audio system!

Funny how things come full circle sometimes!

Multi-Media Hook-Up 2006/01/10

Posted by Dave in Tips and Tricks.
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We get asked a lot about the set up of our TV (television receiver), VCR (video cassette recorder / player), DVD (digital versatile disc player) and Digibox (STB — set top box or digital television signal converter); we can record everything! (more…)

Top Folding 2005/09/29

Posted by Dave in Tips and Tricks.
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I was sent this link in an e-mail (I think it might have been from ‘Magic Bob’ aka Peter Kinney) which is a cool video for a Tee Shirt Folding Machine.

I thought that this was a really good idea… until, that is, I saw how the Japanese developed a simpler method. Completely Brilliant!

Check out the reverse-origami video on: How To Fold A Tee Shirt In Japan. Now you all know how it is done… show your mothers how a T-shirt should be worked!

Build Flat Packs in Half The Time 2004/11/22

Posted by Dave in Tips and Tricks.
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A lot of manufacturers of flat-packs supply an Allan Key or Hex Key. Lately I have found that the entire flat pack can be assembled without using a screwdriver or any other tool.

This is especially the case with IKEA furniture, but the idea seems to be growing, and so is my collection of hex keys.

They all seem to be the same size too! The biggest difference is whether they are L-shaped or Z-shaped.

Here’s my tip…

Take an L-shaped hex key and saw off the bend to make a STRAIGHT HEX KEY. Simple as that!

What you do now is take your cordless drill with the twist grip bit, and — instead of putting a drill in the bit, or the screwdriver accessory into the bit — you simply pop in the straight hex key, tighten the bit and you have a new handly attachment for your drill.

All the flat pack stuff you buy can now be built easier and more quickly than twisting a hex key by hand!

This is a great TOP TIP! I have found it so useful myself! Enjoy!