Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm back with the Miele S7 review

I'm finally back online - we have been without Internet for over a week! Not only that, but half our kitchen has had to be taken down because of the mould caused by the water leak ... more details on that sorry story to come soon.

For those of you who wanted to know how I got on with the snazzy Miele vacuum... here is my full review.

To start with I left our downstairs rug un-vacuumed for a week... that meant a week's worth of dog hair, dirty doggy paws, dirty shoes and general dust accumulation (best not to think about it too much). So here is a close-up of our rug before.

I gave the rug a good sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda... (do you like my fireplace chicken? :)

And this is how it turned out.

Yes, I was well chuffed with how well the Miele performed. I felt it sucked up all the dog hairs, human hairs, bits of garden soil, and dog biscuit crumbs in a jiffy. Although I felt that the Miele did a quicker job than my Vax did on our rug, I couldn't really be sure if it was more thorough and if it was worth all that extra money. So I continued playing around to test it, here are some other great features I found.

Front lights: I really did wonder why it had light on the front, because surely nobody vacuums in the dark right? Well I wondered until I pushed the vacuum under the sofa - ta da, I could see if there were any shoes, odd socks or hairclips (how do they get there?) as I went around. So yes, it's a nifty little function, not a necessity, but nice to have it (nodding head enthusiastically).

Going flat: How did I get under the sofa? The Miele goes completely flat! Amazing stuff really, I mean, it really goes flat, as in can get all the way under the bed flat... impressive.

The bag can take loads of dirt: Now personally I will say I prefer a bagless vacuum (I know it's not as hygienic), but I like to see what I've vacuumed up. However, I will say that this bag takes loads! I vacuumed, and vacuumed, for three weeks. I dusted the blinds, the windowsills, the lamp shades etc. And still that bag does not need emptying. By now I would have easily had to empty my Vax about three times.

It has an automatic setting or you can adjust the suction to be stronger or weaker: This was handy especially whilst dusting. I don't bother dusting with my vacuum because I feel it dusts in narrow lines, but the Miele did a superb job of sucking up dust beyond it's reach when on full power. This setting is also handy if you have fragile or expensive rugs... so not a function I particularly need.

I also did the "mess test" where I was supplied with some oats, talcum powder and sugar to scatter on a piece of rug that was supplied by Miele. I scattered all the bits, and then proceeded to really rub them into the pile of the carpet. This is the before shot:

This is after I did a single line in one direction once with the Miele.

The scattered oats were displaced after the vacuum went past.

So, as you can see, it did a great job, but struggled a bit more with the talcum powder (maybe I shouldn't have rubbed it in quite so vigorously). Although after vacuuming over the rug a few times it did seem to get most of it out. What fun, I ought to volunteer to test these products out more, ha ha, not sure Mr L would be that impressed, he finds it a bit strange that I get excited about trying out a vacuum that I can't keep.

I guess by now you must think I sound like an advertisement for the Miele, which I kind of do. So to show that I can be objectionable, and that I'm not just swayed by it's good looks and pretty lights, here is a list of pros and cons.


* It's quiet in comparison to other machines, especially considering the power.

* Dusting with the Miele is fantastic! My blinds look as good as new, as do my lampshades.

* The hose stretches really far, and pops back into shape really easily.

* The machine switches off automatically if it sucks something up that prevents the air flow (I found this out after a facecloth fell out of the laundry basket as I vacuumed past it).

* The cord wraps around high at the back making it so much easier to control.


* It's heavy, not much heavier than my Vax, but it's not a breeze to carry up the stairs.

* The cord at the back, as much as I loved having it up high so I didn't have to bend down, got in the way of the hose whenever I tried to take it out. I was so pleased that the hose just had to be taken out to use unlike the Vax, but this was just as frustrating as disconnecting and reconnecting the hose.

* At times it felt heavy to push around on a rug, especially a plush pile carpet.

* It's expensive! Well for me anyway. I'm just not the sort of person who's happy to whip out over £200 for a vacuum cleaner.

So all in all, it's a great machine. And if you have the money, or you like pretty gadgets, I don't think the Miele would disappoint. But if you don't mind a bit of extra effort like bending down to connect a hose, or spending a bit more time sorting out the cord, then the Miele is an expensive option. Would I like one? If it was on sale, definitely!

But for now, bye bye pretty Miele!

(sorry about my creased top, it was the end of the day).

What vacuum do you use? Are you happy with it, and would you be happy spending on a vacuum?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pumpkin treats

So what have I done with my pretty pumpkin? Well... firstly, thank you so much for all the good advice! And I'm so sorry for not having popped around everyone else's blogs to say hello, I'm hoping to have some time this coming weekend to catch up with everyone. Thank you especially to Victoria for the link to that delicious pumpkin cookies recipe. So that's one of the things I did with the pumpkin, the other was to make pumpkin fritters... yum!

Unfortunately I decided to steam the pumpkin after cutting it into pieces instead of roasting, and then I didn't drain enough of the water out, so in both instances I ended up with very runny dough. The fritters turned out soft, but tasty...

And the biscuits, well they were absolutely delicious, but not really biscuits.

He he, I managed to make something similar to a Jaffa Cake but pumpkin flavoured and minus the chocolate and orange.

And funny enough, Mr L loves them! I'll definitely be trying that recipe again, but next time with roasted pumpkin pieces instead. If you would like to try the delicious original pumpkin cookie recipe, you can find it here.

Oh, and I've been playing around some more with the MieleS7 vacuum cleaner - I'm almost ready to do that post. Phew, it's a busy time of year, but now I'm off to watch an episode of "Monday Monday" with Mr L, it's our Monday night switch-off time.

I'll be back soon with that Miele S7 post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Beautiful Pumpkin

Some of you might have been expecting my next post to be about that fancy Miele vacuum cleaner that I'm trying out. Well, I still have the vacuum for a couple of weeks and I'd rather right a 'final review' about it along with some tips about vacuuming and looking after your vacuum cleaner at the ens of the trial. So, for now, I have a couple of other things I'd like to blog about. One of them is about MOULD! Mould can be so troublesome in a damp country such as England. Even worse is that we recently had a pipe burst and the water ran down the wall behind some kitchen cupboards which have swollen and gone mouldy. It's a bit of a disaster, but it's not a total loss that can't be remedied, so keep a look out for my next post all about dealing with mould... I hope yo will find it comes in handy at some stage.

In the meantime I'd like to show you a lovely gift given to me... my friend Steph from the The Green Grower Blog (if you're into growing your own veg or fruit you must pop by and see her lovely photos!) gave me a present from her allotment. She gave me a pumpkin, and it's soooo pretty! It's a lovely warm yellow colour - so lovely in fact that I'm tempted to take it to the hardware store to have paint mixed in that exact colour. The photos really don't do it justice.

So now it begs the question, what to do with this pretty pumpkin? I wish I could just display it all year round, but I've already got enough mould to deal with as it is, so I suppose better use it. Maybe I'll make some South African sweet pumpkin fritters?

Or a delicious orange and pumpkin soup?

Or should I simply roast some slices?
So many choices.

I'll be back soon with that post about dealing with nasty mould.
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Exciting delivery...

I was recently emailed and asked to participate in a Miele S7 vacuum cleaner touring the UK. Basically they send the vacuum cleaner and I have to try it out for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately I also have to send it back (boo). But I thought - why not!? A vacuum cleaner has to be on of the best household appliances (okay, okay, along with a washing machine, and refrigerator... but I'm kind of excited about vacuuming right now). Currently I have a VAX, I like it and it works well, but that's not to say I don't long for a powerful Dyson, cute Henry, or in this case a posh Miele that feels like I've just been handed the keys of an Aston Martin and told to test drive it... scary!

The task at hand is to really put it through its paces and see how many miles I can do. So far I cannot comment on how it works, because since it's delivery on Friday it's been standing on the landing like a prized possession and I've only glanced at it thinking 'ooh, pretty!' and 'Oh, so tidy'. It's a pretty neat machine in terms of looks. I reckon it's the Bree of Desperate Housewives in appearances ... not a hair (or cord) out of place. But today, I will switch it on and make it work, because although it looks like Bree, it might not clean like Bree.

I shall be testing this Aston Martin of a vacuum cleaner alongside my trusty, dusty VAX and I'll keep you posted. I've (purposefully) not been vacuuming our rug downstairs for the past week - gross I know, but I need to do this properly. Any more suggestions for putting a vacuum through it's paces (without of course damaging or breaking it)?

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Healthy Homemade Granola

I've just returned from a week's holiday with Mr L & the in-laws in Somerset. It was a lovely break, but goodness me, we could have done with a little less rain. But because of the rain Mr L and I built a tricky 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, what fun! Neither of us have built a jigsaw puzzle in years! When last have you tried building one?
But now after lots of unhealthy eating, we're trying to be healthy again, and what better place to start than breakfast!?

This morning I decided to try and make a homemade Granola (granola is muesli, but baked so it's crunchier) after finding a video on how to make it. The supermarkets do have some great varieties of muesli and granola, but boy oh boy can they be expensive? Plus, freshly made granola with only ingredients you like is so much tastier and this recipe only uses a bit of honey, so no added sugar! This recipe so easy, and extremely tasty, and costs less for the amount you get. But do experiment with different ingredients to get it just the way you like it! I used dried apricots and sultanas, as well as adding chopped Brazil nuts, it was delicious!

I've posted the video showing how to make granola right here in this post for you to try too. This is not me in the video, but a lady named Sophie Uliano.
Even better, below that video is another one which Sophie shows how to make Almond Milk, I am going to HAVE to try that too... have any of you ever made Almond milk? I've never even tasted Almond Milk, so I'll let you know how I get on with making and having some. Enjoy the videos!

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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