Friday, 13 March 2015

Vax Dual V Advance Reach W87-DV-R Wet and Dry Vacuum - White / Purple

Recently I had the privilege to review the Vax Dual V Advance Reach W87-DV-R Wet and Dry Vacuum - White / Purple courtesy of

I rate it:

5 / 5 for Cleaning Ability and performance
5 / 5 for Ease of Use and build quality

Pros: Value for money, Easy to use, Good build quality, superb cleaning power
Cons: Noisy
"The Vax W87-DV-R arrived well packaged in a very large box. I was a bit surprized at the size of it as for some reason I didn’t expect it to be quite a large as it was! It required a very small amount of assembly, just to attach the handle and the racks that rest the hose at the back. The handle was easy, but I struggled slightly with one of the racks as it was hard to get the clip to turn and lock in place, the other one was fine so I assume it was a bit of a fluke. Everything else was very straight forward to assemble and very logical. The instruction booklet was also very clear with lots of good diagrams to help. It also comes with a small bottle of VAX cleaning fluid which is very helpful so that you can get cleaning straight away.
My initial first impressions were that it looked very well made and sturdy and it also felt quite heavy. I wasn’t sure about it being purple, white and blue, but on the other hand it’s functional and performance is much more important than what it looks like!
I found it very well designed, very easy to see what was what and very easy to take parts on and off the machine. The waste water tank just lifted on and off the base very easily, being see-through it was obvious to tell when it was full and you could also see from the shade of the water coming off, how much dirt was coming out of the carpets. Emptying it was very easy, it unclipped with minimum effort and you could pour it straight down the WC. I also like the feature that when you rinse out the waste water tank, you can turn it upside down and wash any dirt straight off the filter mesh with the tap as it flows straight down the hole over the mesh – it made cleaning it very easy.
The The Vax W87-DV-R automatically mixes the cleaning detergent and the water itself so it has a split tank unit that holds water on one side and the detergent in the other, smaller part. This also is see-through so again it’s really easy to see at a glance how much water and cleaning fluid is left in the tank before you need to refill it. One caution, make sure you tighten the top of the tanks fully as I made a mistake one of the times I refilled and when I turned it on, water started flooding out the side of the machine (user error!) the filling cap wasn’t quite shut properly, not sure how I managed that, but it was fine once the cap was fully in place. The tank clips on and off the front of the VAX very easily.
The only 2 minor issues I had were that I couldn’t find any info about how much detergent to put into the tank. I wasn’t sure whether to tip the whole bottle in, the instruction booklet just showed detergent being poured in the smaller part of the tank and the instructions on the detergent bottle appeared to relate to machines which require you to add both the detergent and water in together. Also the detergent bottle says that the water temperature shouldn’t exceed 50C but the machine itself says not to exceed 40C so a slight discrepancy there! I chose less than 40C to be on the safe side! I poured some of the detergent bottle into the tank and kept some back which was a good move as I think I would have run out too quickly if I had put it all in. The amount I added seemed to work very well, but I will call VAX and ask for further clarification on this when I next do the carpets!
Once all set up, the controls are very simple. The handle trigger releases the cleaning solution onto the carpet and there is a wash, rinse and max extract toggle switch and you can shift between them very easily to wash with detergent, rinse with plain water (optional but gives a better finish result) and Max extract for maximum suction and water removal to dry the carpet quickly. There is also a Max Extract pedal to stop the spin scrub brushes spinning and put more effort into extracting water from the carpet.
I like the feature of the spin scrub brushes to gently agitate the dirt from the carpet and they seem to help do a much better job of cleaning than machines I have used in the past that have not had them.
The power cable was very long which is a bonus as you don’t need to unplug it even when cleaning a flight of stairs or going from room to room.
The upholstery / stairs attachment was really easy to attach as you just need to lift up the front flap and plug in the hose and the small clear pipe into the holes and turn them to lock them on. The spin scrub hand tool snaps onto the pipe very easily, but later on I had a lot of difficulty removing it again. I used this tool for the stairs and I found it very impressive that the VAX could sit at the bottom of the flight of the stairs and the hose and spin scrub brush easily stretched out enough to reach right up the whole flight of 10 steps without being overstretched, this was good because the machine is very heavy and you would not want to hold it while trying to clean. It was very easy to use on the stairs.
I also tested the machine out on the children’s bedroom carpets – one carpet had a few spills and the other had a lot of deep stains and marks on it. The carpet with mild spills came up looking as new (the carpet is 5 years old) and the second carpet despite having a lot of stains on it from things the kids had done with ink and paint, the carpet came up amazingly well. It couldn’t remove the permanent stains and I didn’t expect it to, but I was shocked how well all the other deep marks came out. It came up a lot better than I expected. The stairs and landings came up really well too.
The only downside with this machine is that it is a little bit noisy and it is fairly heavy, but having said that, I think it is just part of the better build quality as I once owned a lightweight carpet cleaner in the past and this machine does a far better job of cleaning than the lightweight version did. It is definitely worth bearing with the extra weight and spending a little bit more money to get a far superior cleaning result. I am very impressed with how clean my carpets are and how easy it is to use. Before I used it on the stairs and landings, I thought that we might need a new carpet because of the all the marks, but now having used it, the difference is amazing and I realize that we don’t need to replace the carpets after all which is very good news. I am really impressed with this machine and highly recommend it."

Recently I won a Dual V Advance Reach W87-DV-R Wet and Dry Vacuum - White / Purple with on one of their Facebook competitions and as part of the prize I had to test out and review the product which I throughly enjoyed. (I will add this review in a separate post.) are a fantastic online appliance and electrical goods supplier with a huge range of products. They offer Free Next day delivery as standard which is very efficient and just what you need when an important appliance like a fridge freezer or washing machine needs replacing urgently and you can't manage without it. There is even an option for same day delivery if ordered before 12pm (midday) for only £29.99 - delivery is between 4.30pm-10pm which I find very impressive. This is a far cry from some of my previous experiences with other retailers who have left me waiting more than a week for my appliances and without a fridge or washing machine this is a disaster if you have a family to take care of. have obviously been listening to what people want and really understand the customer's needs to get their products delivered so quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

The website is very clear, well laid out and easy to navigate. The number of products on offer is huge, there are plenty of details about each item and a number of's own video reviews and also reviews done by customers. I particularly found it helpful to see the's official video when I chose my fridge freezers in the Summer. When buying a fridge freezer you need to know all the normal stuff like the dimensions and fridge and freezer capacity, but to actually see inside the appliance properly in a clear video is brilliant. Watching the official video I could see what the fridge and freezer compartments looked like, how many drawers there were, how many compartments, fridge shelves, door trays, bottle racks and to see how the space actually looked and if it could work for my family. It really was a touch of genuis. I've always loved buying online to get the cheapest price, but in the past it has always been pot-luck what the fridge freezer was actually like on the inside. Most online appliance retailers only have a very small image and it's usually very blurry too so it is extremely hard to make an informed decision - especially when trying to pick between one or more similar appliances. In the past I only got to see what I had bought when it actually turned up and by then it's been too late if it isn't ideal. This is actually how I ended up with 2 fridge freezers a few years ago. I ordered from a blurry picture and only realized when it was here that although there was ample freezer space, there wasn't enough fridge space and we needed to double up! Anyway having a good quality video that you can see the appliance close up and working definitely wins hands down.
The customer reviews are also very helpful as you get an unbiased opinion about the product with all the pros & cons. Again it helps you make an informed choice.
My fridge freezers were delivered with the minimum of fuss, brought right in to the kitchen and all the packaging taken away. interact with their customers and fans through their Facebook and Twitter pages. They hold fun regular competitions and encourage fans to post pictures and engage with their live stream. This was how I won a Vax carpet cleaner - I posted a picture relating to the theme they were exploring that day. I never expected to win so it was a really lovely surprise.'s customer service is excellent and I can highly recommend them.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pushchair Trader - a fabulous information resource for parents & parents to be when choosing buggies

I am currently doing an ongoing review with Pushchair Trader & I'm really excited that my review has very recently been put on the site.
I am currently testing out & reviewing the Maxi Cosy Streety Plus Mix & Match buggy

Pushchair Trader is a fabulous resource for all parents thinking about what pushchair to purchase for their little ones. There are lots of reviews, information, upcoming news from manufacturers & information about where to buy.
Pushchair Trader also run a lot of big competitions with some of the top range buggies as prizes throughout the year. If you are a Pushchair Trader VIP then you get a large amount of extra entries in the competitions so it is well worth signing up. You also get a good bundle of special offers when you sign up too.
Signing up for VIP membership is really easy - you can do it here and you never need to miss a good competition on there again.

This is my gorgeous little son doing his bit testing the Maxi Cosy Streety Plus Mix & Match

Sunday, 18 August 2013

#Spend20K Challenge

I just came across the #Spend20K Challenge. One of my hobbies is to enter a few competitions here & there as it's fun to enter & it's fun to dream when there is always the chance of winning. They always say that "you have to be in it to win it" so why not? Anyway as I like a challenge & often day dream about what I would do if I won a large sum of money, I thought this would be a fun thing to write about. Who doesn't want to win the lottery? or a big cash prize competition?

Well, the National Lottery is changing on 5th October, giving players more chances to win more prizes. Players will get £25 for matching 3 numbers in the draw (up from £10) and 4 numbers (from £60 to £100), and a new raffle guarantees at least 50 winners of £20,000 each draw! And the best bit? When the jackpot rolls, so does the raffle, meaning hundreds more guaranteed £20,000 prizes.

The challenge I have is to say how I would spend £20K if I had the chance, wow that would be easy to do several times over LOL!

Well for me the biggest dream if I had the money is to take my slightly larger than average sized family on holiday back to Turkey. Why Turkey you might ask?
Well, we discovered Turkey back in 2006. We booked at the very last minute for a 2 week holiday at a bargain bucket price staying in an apart-hotel in Marmaris. It was fabulous, we loved the food, we loved the weather, we loved the beach, we also loved that it was so cheap. Things I'm sure have changed now, but back then you got 3 TL (TL=Turkish Lira) for every £1 & each 1TL bought you the same as what £1 would buy you in England. I have to laugh at what I thought were rising fuel costs back then, I remember being outraged that fuel was 77p a litre & now its getting too close to £1.50! & I have to spend twice as much now to get the same amount of groceries as I did back then!
We booked budget flights & hotels planning a journey round the South West of Turkey taking advantage of the fact that all the prices were dropping drastically due to a decrease in tourism of 75% that year - why? It was 2006 & the World Cup so I guess everyone was visiting the countries involved in it instead.

We had a lovely holiday enjoying the sunshine, gorgeous Turkish beaches, boat trips round the Turkish coast, trips to Pammukule (translation: Cotton Castle) an amazing natural phenomena where the heavily calcium laden water has laid white deposits down making huge white travertines. There were Turkish nights with fire eaters & belly dancers & all you could eat delicious food & drink included. The Turkish people were friendly and the children had a wealth of new experiences. Travelling was very good for them. Breakfast was in the self catering apartment, honey & bread that we had bought, lunch was kebabs (about 50p each!) & we found the best Turkish food for tea in the places the locals went to, not the over priced tourist places.
A year later we had the good fortune of going back travelling in a big group made up of us along with my parents, one of my sisters & a friend of the family. It was amazing & while my parents were out there with us they loved it so much that they bought a house(!) & they have been back there several times every year, but since 2007 we haven't been able to go back & I have never seen their house.
We moved house & there has been a lot of ill health in the past few years so my dream for the first part is to buy passports for everyone & book a villa or an apart-hotel near my parents house & to go for a long holiday out there. Giving the kids fun, new experiences & having some recovery time after a very difficult, stressful few years.

Second on my wish list, would be to pay someone to sort our garden out. Our house is at the bottom of a slope & it is very difficult with a garden that is not flat & has a lot of drainage problems, it is often a muddy mess at the bottom & I long for the kids to have a lovely space to play in. I would like the very rough & ready patio extended, the fences mended & some kind of shelter built over the existing small piece of patio to extend the playing area when it rains. I would get a sensibly priced expert to help me with this. I have problems with sciatica & my husband has motorbike accident injuries so it's not something that we can do ourselves. I would also employ a friend I know to re-decorate the house because it desperately needs doing, but with all the little kids to look after there aren't any extra hours in the day for anyone to do it.

I'm not sure how much dream #1 & #2 would cost & how much would be left, but I don't think I would really want to buy anything else! I'm not greedy. I love fancy gadgets the same as the next person, but really I don't think we need any more than we have, maybe bar a TV in my bedroom! I would invest the rest so that we could take our kids to Turkey in other years & so that there is always something in the bank for emergencies, like when the car breaks down, when something breaks & needs replacing, when the kids need something important & to have enough for Christmas. I don't go overboard on Christmas, I shop in sales & keep it sensible, but toys aren't cheap & it would be good to know that we can afford it without worrying about it.
So dream #3 is to keep the rest to invest as a nest egg to cover eventualities & unexpected expenses.

Also I believe that if we were lucky enough to win a big amount, then something should also be given to those who are a less fortunate than ourselves. Maybe sponsoring a child in a developing country or donating some funds or buying some supplies for a local homeless shelter. Maybe an anonymous gift to a family member or friend who really needs it. Just a way of saying thank you & remembering that there but for the grace of God go I.

This post is an entry for BritMums #Spend20K Challenge sponsored by The National Lottery, with more ways to win more money on the new Lotto game. Find out more about new Lotto, which starts in October, here –

I apologise for the lack of photos but my own laptop as at the repairers & my mobile was stolen with all my photos on it!

Fabulous Blog & competition...

Just a very quick post! As I am determined to get my blog going again.
I came across this fabulous blog...

& they have an amazing competition running called We Want All The Dresses to win £100 ASOS vouchers. I love ASOS & I love dresses so it's right up my street! The competition is HERE

Have a look at We Want All The Dresses by clicking THIS LINK

Go quickly though as it ends 18/08/13 - All the best!

Summer holidays!

The Summer holidays as every parent knows can be totally crazy passing in a sea trying to keep the children entertained, trying to stay on top of all the extra housework, keeping up with cooking & washing, trying to get all next school years school uniforms, shoes & stationery all bought & ready, labeling them all & above all trying to stay sane!
To keep ours busy & give them a fun experience, we took our kids away for a week in a static caravan by the seaside on the Lincolnshire coast. It was total chaos packing for everyone & on top of that I also had to pack up the cat & take a couple of tropical fish in a bucket to my sister in Peterborough on the way - talk about over-load! There was so much to organize that I was sure that I would forget something!

We had decided to stay overnight in Peterborough to break up the 4.5hr journey & it was ideal to catch up with family. I hadn't seen my sister's new house & I hadn't seen my parents for months as they had only just got back from Turkey.
On the morning of travel I took the kids to a play scheme, because I find nothing harder than trying to pack the car up quietly while tripping over kids who are whizzing in & out of the house & up & down the street telling every random stranger that we are going away! I find it a nightmare & always worry that I will come back to find the place burgled! Although any burglar breaking in would be sadly disappointed as they would find very little worth taking, unless they wanted industrial quantities of washing powder, nappies or baby wipes!
Packing without the kids around was much easier & done in half the time. Once everything was in including the cat & fish (the fish were safely in carry bags inside the bucket), the plan was to collect the kids & then drive straight on up the A1. However with kids & animals, nothing goes quite to plan...
I packed my eldest son's 3DS but his favourite game was missing, he is autistic with ADHD & it was the end of the world to him that his game was missing. Knowing I would not hear the end of it for the next few hours & I wanted to drive up in peace, the only choice we had was to go back to the house & get the game... so far so good. Suddenly while I was in the house getting the game the kids started shrieking "Mummy the cat's pooed in the carry box & its all over him!" Argh! Yuk!
Oh help! I had never bathed a cat before & was not in the mood to start now! The old joke of "How to power wash a cat in the toilet" briefly flashed through my mind, but knowing it wasn't a serious suggestion I had to think of something else! Luckily I managed it in the shower (with the shower room door locked!) & not having "cat shampoo" I had to use "baby shampoo" instead. The cat didn't seem to object too much as he is pretty laid back (he has to be with our lot!) We wrapped him up in a towel to dry him off as best we could. I cleaned & dried the carrier & put the cat back in it. I felt a little sorry that Felix was probably traumatized by his first shower & then was going to be dropped off at the cattery for 8 days not long after. I really hoped that he didn't think it was a punishment!
Anyway after all that we finally got off on holiday OK!

I haven't got any photos of our holiday to hand yet because my first laptop went wrong & then my phone was stolen with all my pictures on it :-( I did take more pictures right at the end with a different phone, but I can't get them uploaded until I get my laptop back from repair. I'm borrowing my daughters' laptop atm & I am really not getting on with it at all! It is running so badly it needs a re-build!

Thursday, 6 June 2013



I love frozen food as it's so convenient, easy to use & also the vitamin content is often higher than fresh vegetables as it is frozen straight away after being harvested & not left on the shelves for days.

One of my favourite quick recipes using frozen vegetables is stir frying a mix of fresh & frozen veg & mixing with rice.

Prepare some rice while you make the stir fry - I cheat & use a rice maker!

Heat up some oil in a pan - I use olive or coconut oil
Fry a diced red & white onion (sometimes I use frozen)
Add a leek sliced into rings.
When browned as a diced red & yellow peppers
Add frozen peas & frozen sweetcorn - these usually gradually warm up to temperature
If I want more vegetables then I microwave some frozen cauliflower & broccoli to unthaw before putting into the stir fry.
Sometimes I put frozen diced carrot in at the same time as the peas & sweetcorn, other times I grate fresh carrot & add.
Stir fry until all piping hot & cooked, then mix this into the rice.

You can change the recipe with spices to suit what you serve it with.

Serve with your meal (Chicken, vegetarian alternative etc.) & you know you have got your 5 a day of vegetables & even the kids are happy to eat it!