Category Archives: Shopping

Crock Pot

To begin with, this post was going to be about getting what you pay for. The pot pictured below is a similar style to a Le Creuset pot but isn’t one. A genuine Le Creuset would be 4 times the price but that’s because they’ve been making kitchenware with care since 1925 and their cast iron pots come with a lifetime guarantee. That’s what you’re paying for. Experience and care.

This supermarket sells it’s own alternative version for those with smaller budgets. That’s fair enough and ordinarily, you might pick up the weighty iron lid and wonder what’s the difference. Where they’ve gone wrong this time is having this one out on display with great chunks of coating missing before it’s even seen a kitchen! What’s worse than it no longer being value for money is that it’s damaging their brand. You can see from the tag that this is Sainsburys but the same would apply in any store. If a product on display appears to be badly made, we lose trust in that brand.

Maybe it was dropped in the last 5 minutes and the staff haven’t noticed yet. I didnt have time to find a member of staff to point it out to or to go back and check on it. I did have time to take a quick snap on my phone though and now I’m sharing it to demonstrate that sometimes, a higher price is worth paying, but also to say take care of your brand. Your reputation is priceless.


Portraits are old school!

I’m just kidding, portrait photography will always rock!

However, if you wanted a portrait for a gift and were looking for something a bit different (but not as scary as a commissioned original portrait painting from an artist of your choice), then think 3D!

This is my friend Rachel. She had this portrait made for her Grandma who lives too far away to visit often. It’s a brilliant idea. The company she used mostly do corporate events (also a great idea – what a lovely team building exercise – to get a set of mini-models for the office or as prizes) but they do personal portraits too. Apparently, the shoot is as fast as a normal shoot as you stand in the middle of a ring of cameras and they all fire at once. You get to approve it before they ‘print’ and are allowed a couple of tries.

Original portrait 3D model

Original portrait – 3D Rachel

They’ve been around for a while. My3Dtwin ( started back in summer 2011, then there appears to have been a publicity campaign in October 2013 with even Asda offering the service ( And this is a good article from the Guardian (also Oct’13 During this research, I found they’re quite popular for wedding cake toppers too – how perfect is that? Price and quality varies but with 3D printing technology improving all the time, I hope they’ll be the photobooth of the future. I’d have one!

You can have the world…

…for only £591, oh and did I mention, you have to build it yourself?

There are lots of ads on TV at this time of year, selling us a new magazine containing something we can make or collect in weekly parts. The first issue is usually 99p, then the small print says the other 99 issues are at least a fiver. I once started buying a ‘make your own clothes’ series. I think I only reached issue 6 before I got bored and owned up to the fact that I hadn’t actually made any of them. I felt incentivised by it for at least 3 weeks though (and got a nice binder to keep them in).

They’re called partworks. I wanted to write about it because they make me laugh. The ‘build a model’ types have me screaming ‘Don’t be so stupid – have you added it up?’ and whilst I wonder how many people actually reach issue 100, it doesn’t matter. Research for this blog reveals it’s the fourth best-selling magazine sector so it’s a serious business. And for those that take their collecting seriously, there’s even a partworks model forum.

Ooh, I’ve just spotted a ‘build your own 3d printer’. That’d be cool. If I get them all, that’s £625. How much do actual 3d printers cost? Got to go…

Some links:  the world that inspired this blog