No socks for summer

Bare feet

Image source: Pressmaster
Sockless style

Tempted to go sockless this summer? Go for it!

Where men’s shoes are concerned, the bare ankle is one of the coolest fashion trends around.

But as with all crazes, there’s a way to go about ditching your socks; not all shoes look good without them, and when it comes to turning up your turn ups, how many turns is the right number? And then of course,  as well as looking the part, you’ll want to smell the part too!

Here’s our guide to a hosiery-free summer…

Continue reading

5 ways to revamp your wardrobe

New wardrobe?

Image source: Nejron Photo
Give your wardrobe a new lease of life.

If your wardrobe is looking a little dated but you’re loathe to part with old favourites, maybe it’s time to get revamping!

There are tonnes of things even a novice with a needle can do, and the end results are impressive.

So if you fancy upstyling your mens leather shoes or updating your favourite old tie, read on for some inspirational DIY tips and tutorials.

Continue reading

Festival footwear for men

Festival

Image source: Treetown Festival
Get the right kicks for your festival.

It’s summertime and that means festival season.

Deciding what to pack can be tricky when who knows what the British weather will throw at you.

Thank heavens for our guide to festival footwear for men – something to make life a little easier.

Continue reading

Go go gadget trousers and other wearable tech

Wearable tech

Image source: Family First Life
Combine the two!

Integrating cutting edge technology into clothes and jewellery sounds like the work of top secret boffin ‘Q’ of James Bond fame. But today, technology has never been more wearable.

Here we’ve scoured the Internet for some of most innovative products coming, or about to come to the market.

They don’t explode, burn their way through steel doors or in any other way, help secret agents foil the plots of dastardly megalomaniacs – but they will keep you entertained, and connected in ways never before possible…

Continue reading

5 recipes for unconventional ovens

Unconventional ovens

Image source: Pinterest
Crack out your odd ovens!

Tempted to crack out the BBQ this weekend? We’ve got just the recipe!

Today we’re talking unconventional ovens, and what to cook in them.

From a full on sunday lunch in a halogen oven to a chocolate cake ready in under five minutes, there’s no excuse to neglect your wacky ovens!

Continue reading

The pros and cons of green energy

Green forest

Image source: Oleg Kalina
What do you think of green energy?

Are you plugged into green energy or do you think environmentally friendly power is a costly gimmick?

Do you think wind turbines are an elegant addition to the countryside or a blot on the landscape? Are solar panels a sign of positive change or a way to make your roof look ugly?

Here we take a look at some of the most popular forms of green energy, and ask – is all it’s cracked up to be?

Continue reading

How to keep your house clean without housework

How to keep the house spick and span without housework?

It’s the challenge that’s kept inventors tinkering since the dawn of time – and it’s the holy grail of time pressed families everywhere. So just how close are we to achieving the unachievable?

How soon will it be before we can finally relax in the knowledge that dust and dirt have been conquered? Lets take a look at some of the latest ideas and technologies bringing the housework free home just that little bit closer.

Dirt repelling bathrooms

Modern bathroom

Nanotechnology uses liquid glass to repel water and dirt.

We all know that running a dehumidifier, together with adequate heating and good ventilation can help stop your bathroom turning into a mouldy mess. But now you can finally dispense with detergents, bleach and elbow grease – the self cleaning bathroom is here!

Nanotechnology is a modern day industrial revolution. Engineering at the microscopic level, it’s enabled scientists to create intelligent coatings that when applied to a bath, toilet or wash hand basin, allows it to clean itself. The microscopically thin layer of ‘liquid glass’ is super hydrophobic – it repels water and soiling in any form – no matter how long he’s been digging the garden!

Robot floor cleaners

You’ve bought the man in your life a pair of men’s slippers, but still he tramps a tide of filth into the house. If you’re fed up with cleaning up after him, fear not – get a robot to do for you!

Floor vacuuming robots have been around for a while, but now they’re super intelligent. Not only are they programmed to clean every inch of carpet or hard floor, they also have side brushes that dust along walls. Cliff sensors ensure your floor slave doesn’t drive itself down the stairs by mistake, and because of their low profile, they can even do under beds, chairs and tables. Oh and you can also program your robotic vacuum cleaner to clean when you’re out – and don’t worry, if they run out of power, they simply drive themselves back to the charging point.

Stain resistant walls

Cleaning tiles

Image source: Naumoid
High tech tiles could mean no more scrubbing.

Cooking residue, nicotine stains, dirt and odours – just the things household detergents are designed to tackle. But what if you didn’t need them any more? What if you could simply wipe your walls with mild soapy water, leaving them perfectly clean?

New self cleaning ceramic tiles may be just what you’re looking for. Unlike standard ceramics, these high tech tiles have an ultra thin coating of a material that attracts water. Combined with sunlight, the humidity from the air condenses on the surface, preventing dirt from drying and staining. No more scrubbing!

Streak free windows

Window cleaning

Image source: Flynt
Forget chamois and squeegees forever!

Are you tired of buckets and chamois and those annoying smears squeegees leave behind? Or perhaps you’re petrified when your partner climbs ladders to clean the windows? The solution used to be to pay a window cleaner to keep the glass sparkling. But now thanks to new technology, you can buy windows that literally clean themselves.

It all comes down to the active ingredient, titanium dioxide. It’s the ingredient that makes freshly applied white paint dazzle, but when applied to glass in an ultra thin layer, it’s invisible to the naked eye. The coating reacts to sunlight causing chemical reactions that break down dirt particles. And when it rains, because the titanium dioxide attracts water the raindrops spread evenly over the surface, washing all the dirt away without leaving unsightly streaks. Magic!

You don’t even have to cook…

3D Pizza

Image source: Natural Machines
Would you eat a 3D pizza?

Your bathroom, wall, floors and windows are squeaky clean, and all without you having to do anything. But surely there’s no way around some chores? Surely somebody has to cook the dinner? Not necessarily…

You’ve heard of 3D printing – the new technology that’s revolutionising industrial production processes? Well now, it’s coming to your kitchen where you’ll be able to print your meals!

The Foodini is due to be launched very soon. Connected to the internet, you tell it what you want for tea – it tells you which ingredients with which to fuel it. Simply press ‘go’ and let the machine do the rest. It’ll make anything from intricately detailed chocolate creations to printed pizzas. Precision engineering for food!

How to sharpen a potato peeler

Imagine the scene. You’ve got a whole family of mouths to feed and a big sack of potatoes. All you have to do is peel the skin.

But horror of horror, your peeler doesn’t work. It’s blunt. And no matter how hard you try, that skin isn’t coming off!

So to avoid all that, let’s learn how to sharpen your peeler and see what to do with any other spuds that may be left over.

How to sharpen your potato peeler

If the aforementioned horror has happened, and your peeler is blunt, there are two main options.

1. Flip it over

As long as you haven’t been using both sides of the peeler, then this is the option for you. First remove the blade and find the blunt side, then simply flip the blade round, place back in the peeler and use the sharper edge.

2. Sharpen the blade

For an even simpler answer to blunt peelers, get a cheap pairing knife and run it across the top blade of the peeler; in both direction on both sides. The metal on metal action will have you peeling potatoes quickly in no time.

How to peel a potato without a peeler

What if you can’t find a peeler or you have broken yours? Well then there is another way to peel potatoes without any tools at all.

First, make a small incision around the circumference of the centre of the potato, then boil it till cooked right through. Remove the spud and place in ice water. Leave for 5 to 10 seconds.

Remove the potato from the ice water and with both hands, twist the skin ever so slightly then pull it. The skin will come off with ease.

How to peel without your hands

Electric potato peeler

Spudalicious

Some people have problems with dexterity and find peeling spuds a difficult task. But thankfully, there is help at hand.

With an electric potato peeler you can peel the skin off in minutes, without having to do any work at all.

Place a small amount of water into the bowl of the automatic potato peeler and then throw in the potatoes. The blade will then remove any skin, leaving you with naked spuds prepped and raring to go.

How to power a clock with a potato

Potato with battery

Not quite how it works
Source: Matthew McElliot

If you have one potato left after peeling and cooking, then you may want to take a look at this trick. Because believe it or not, a potato can power a small clock.

You’ll need two potatoes, with a galvanized nail inserted into each one. Then put a short piece of copper wire into each potato, as far away from the nail as possible.

With an alligator clip, connect the positive terminal of the battery compartment to the copper wire in potato one. Then connect the negative terminal to the nail in potato two. To finish the circuit get a third alligator clip and connect the nail in potato one, to the copper wire in potato two.

As if by magic, you’ll have a functioning clock, powered only by a potato.

Whether you’ve peeled your potatoes, with a nice sharp blade, a little water based trick or a clever gadget, you are ready to cook. But just keep an eye on your potato clock to make sure they don’t burn!


How to cook a chicken in a halogen oven

If you haven’t heard about halogen ovens, then prepare to be blown away. Because one of these nifty gadgets can cook a chicken 40% quicker than a conventional oven, at the cost of around 8p!

Halogen Oven

Speedy, healthy and tasty

So if we’ve got your attention with this time saving purse protector, then you may want to know how to use it.

Here is how to cook a chicken in a 12 litre halogen oven.

Ingredients

For the chicken
  • 1.5kg chicken
  • 2 white onions
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 2 medium sized parsnips
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • For gravy
  • 2 tbsp white flour
  • Gravy browning
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Preparation

    Woman Crying While Chopping Onions

    Image source: Thinkstock
    A halogen oven can’t save you from tears

    1. A halogen oven drains away fat when cooking, but if you do want to catch it for a gravy (see below) then place silver foil at the bottom of the bowl.
    2. Place the onion, carrots, parsnips and garlic gloves on the bottom rack.
    3. Pre-heat the halogen oven to 200°C (400f) – which should take around 3 minutes.
    4. Glaze the chicken in oil and season to taste.

    Cooking

    Man with Oven Mitts

    Image source: Thinkstock
    Ready for hot potatoes

    1. Place the chicken on top or around the veg, also sitting on the rack.
    2. Place lid on halogen oven and set timer for 35 minutes.
    3. When timer goes, remove chicken and check if it is cooked. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. If not, then return to the oven.
    4. If making a gravy, leave the chicken to rest and transfer the juices to a pan, with a small drop of flour. Put the pan on a low heat and mix the flour into a paste like consistency. Then add a some chicken stock, a bit at a time, until you have the right thickness. If needed, add gravy browning and seasoning.
    5. Serve and enjoy!

    Chicken Carcass with a lot of meat

    The end product
    Source: A Mothers Ramblings

    So there you have it, a low cost, simple way to cook a chicken. And with the hectic Christmas calendar upon us, this clever gadget can take some of the hassle out of cooking, so you can worry about something else.


    Essential winter gadgets

    These days there is a gadget for everything, but some are more useful than others. The laptop desk that attaches to your steering wheel is a certainly rather stupid idea, and the less said about the iPotty the better.

    But there are plenty of gadgets that make life easier, and in the cold winter months that’s just what we want.

    So to make the festive season go smoothly this year, here are our top winter gadgets. Enjoy!

    Dehumidifer

    peltier-dehumidifier-AquaDri.

    Say no to chesty coughs this winter

    In the months that end with ‘R’ the air is moist due to low temperatures. This can cause damp, which in turn can cause mould spores and dust mites, both are bad news for your health.

    With a dehumidifier however that risk is diminished. It works by collecting moisture either via a fan, electric current on crystal and turning it into water. Simply dispose of the water, and job done.

    Log splitter

    D3803 Dual Logmaster Logsplitter 2 Cj

    Fire the fast way

    Chopping wood is always a hard task, but especially in the depths of winter. No one wants to stand in the cold swinging a rather dangerous axe around! That is where a log splitter comes in handy.

    Simply put, log splitters make better fires. This is because wood that has been split into smaller pieces burns better. The oxygen needed to keep a fire going has more access to the wood as there is a larger surface area, and this in turn means a brighter, warmer fire.

    Instead of a sharp point being swung at speed, a hydraulic or foot operated log splitter works with a splitting wedge, meaning you don’t have to strain your back and you can split more wood than you could by hand.

    Halogen oven

    Halogen Oven

    Impromptu roast dinner anyone?

    With winter bills rising, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and a halogen oven will slash bills. Based on a 1300w 12 litre halogen oven cooking a chicken in 40 minutes, you’ll only have to spend 9p on electricity!

    You may be wondering how a chicken can cook in 40 minutes? Well, because of hi tech halogen bulb technology and a fan to ensure all of the bowl gets heat, a halogen oven is able to cook tasty food fast.

    Potato peeler

    Electric potato peeler

    How do you like your spuds in the morning?

    Stews, roast dinners and soups are the epitome of winter warming food – and potatoes are often an important part of the meal.

    When shivering and in need of a winter warmer, like the traditional Welsh dish of cawl, peeling potatoes can be a time consuming task. And for those with joint problems, it can be painful too.

    But an automatic potato peeler uses a rotating blade to quickly take the skin off your spuds. Meaning those with poor dexterity needn’t be in pain, those that get cold hands needn’t get numb fingers and those who have a huge Christmas dinner to make, can get on basting the turkey!

    For hands that don’t ache, a fire that burns well and fully functioning lungs our gadgets will see you right. And if you do want to research halogen oven recipes online, avoid the steering wheel lap desk, the M1 is for driving after all.