Gadgets Galore and the Gottmans

Gadgets galore and the Gottmans

If you’re a gadgety sort of person, and, of course, in particular you can’t walk past a kitchen gadget without at least having your curiosity aroused, then it maybe that you and I are on different planets. But I’ll come back to that later, because this week I‘ve something that I missed out last week, with my time constraints of being away (in the South of France, as it happens!). This week I’m remaining with my feet planted firmly on terra firma (none of this unnatural flying stuff) and in Blighty.

As you know, I’m a great fan of the entrepreneur Steven Bartlett and his Diary of a CEO interviews. He continues to get some of the most interesting guests on, the only downside being that I don’t have time to watch them all or even keep up with his productivity…however, a friend recommended this one to me, and I’m very glad she did, as in it, he was interviewing two doctors, husband and wife team John and Julie Gottman of the Gottman institute.

The Gottman’s, have been studying couples’ relationships for about 40 years. And when Steven asked Julie why they had focused on love in their research, Julie had this to say. ‘We wanted to focus on love* because love is the great healer. It heals people’s hearts, it heals people’s souls, it brings people together, it unifies people’. 'But', Julie added, ‘nobody has taken “relationships 101”. Nobody** knows how to have productive relationships that are calm, and gentle and compassionate. At the beginning of our research, we had no idea what successful couples did, to solidify their relationship and sustain it’. 

So, their early research taught them, through observation and scientific measurement, what “masters” of relationships do, and what “disasters” do.  

*Love in the sense of really appreciating someone day to day, despite their shortcomings!
**In using the word Nobody, it’s clear later, that she means the majority of us.

Avoiding blame and saying your need.

Now, this interview is just over two hours long, so there’s no way I can really do it justice in the few paragraphs that I have here. So let me give you just one example, out of as dozen or so, that I found interesting, as I listened to this extraordinary couple’s findings.  

Blame, Julie says, needs to be avoided. She defines this by saying that it is “blame” when there’s a lot of “you” in what your partner is saying.  

Statements such as

‘you never put the top back on the tooth paste’ 

‘you never do the washing up’, 

‘you never help with the housework’ 

All are blame statements.

And surprise surprise, as Arthur Brooks observes in his book “Love your Enemies”, no one has ever had their mind changed by being told that they are lazy or an idiot.  So, what the Gottman’s research showed was that instead of blaming your other half for what they aren’t doing, instead the “masters” in relationships say, what their positive need is. So, a rephrased request can be dramatically different in outcome.

‘I’d love it if you put the top back on the tooth paste’

‘I’d love it if you’d help me with the hoovering on Sundays’

‘I’d really appreciate you emptying the dishwasher when you come home’……

An entirely different message, I suspect you’ll agree. There’s a softness, gentleness and inclusiveness in the latter approach.

It took my first therapist (30+ years ago), to point this one out to me. Although I can’t claim to have employed it every minute of every day since, when my brain is properly in gear, I’ve found it one of the most releasing of approaches, to challenges, where I’m saying  truly what’s on my mind (without any implied blame), but saying it without offending the person in front of me….in fact, I’m just asking for their cooperation or their help….  

If this approach is a new one to you and also gets your attention, I wonder if you might do worse than commit a couple of hours of your life to watching this video or listening to the podcast. The messages in here, for me, were profound, I hope you find it interesting as well.

Dreamfarm New Product

Ok, so back to product.

I hinted earlier that I have a dislike of gadgets. Perhaps what I should have said is that I have a dislike of gadgets for gadgets sake, I like a gadget to be solving an everyday problem. And although we obviously sell quite a lot of gadgets, we generally avoid ones that are clearly unnecessary or that just don’t work very well or for very long. 

However, I have several treats for you today because all the pieces of gadgetry, and the non-gadgetry, are all designed by the chaps at Dreamfarm. Who, aside from their naming policy (which stretches me well beyond a groan) design and produce products of the highest order, mechanically, and some of them are quite genius in their off the wall approach to problem solving.

Dreamfarm Flapple (Fold Flat Apple Slicer/Wedger) £14.95

If you are in need of an apple corer wedger, then you have just found the best ever (by a country mile) apple corer wedger that I suspect you will ever use.

Taking it off its backing card, it appears as a flat disc vaguely reminiscent of a decent sized burger press. It comes off as one piece. Unfold the two handles and the base plate, that the apple will sit on, falls away and the eight segment cutting blades are revealed, along with the circular corer.

Turning to examine the base plate, it is subdivided into matching eighths and a central protuberance (for want of a better description!) that later will pop the core up as you finish your cut.

Place your apple centrally on the base plate, put the corer on top and push down firmly and with confidence. You will be rewarded with 8 apple segments and a core that are all perfectly cut right through, courtesy of the base plate design (indents moulded in it).

To clean run under the tap or stick in the dishwasher. When dry, put the Flapple back on its base plate, fold in the handles, which simultaneously attach the plate to the Flapple and Bob’s your Uncle.

It can be put away safe and sound in the drawer, with the sharp blades protected from damage to themselves, or to you, and it takes up very little space.

We’ve had very nice apple corer wedgers, from some very good manufacturers, before now, but none have cut so cleanly and easily, or taken up so little space… A truly great product, really nicely engineered.

See offer below.

Dreamfarm Fluicer (Fold Flat Easy Juicer) from £12.95. - £18.95

The oddly named Fluicer is a cleverly designed, flat folding juicer that comes in three sizes. Small for limes, a touch bigger for lemons, and a big one for oranges.

It’s another clever design from the Dreamfarm stable. And it does exactly what it’s meant to do, and does it with consummate ease. So, rather than me writing a whole load of fluffy words about it, may I suggest you watch the video. And yes, it is as easy as it looks because of the leverage lent it by the long handles. A great product that efficiently extracts all the juice from the fruit. And, I’ve just been reminded, that it also catches the pips!

See offer below.

Dreamfarm Lestrain Straining Spoon (no drips/reduced drips) £9.95

This is a clever idea, but not a perfect one. Look the video for its upsides, with its novel way of catching most drips, but be careful what you use it for. As Em pointed out to me, having tried all these products at training on Tuesday this week, if you’re fishing a poached egg out, to put on your plate, you need to be careful that the water from the little well, built into the spoon, doesn’t flood all over your toast.

Having said that, used for many purposes, this is undoubtedly a clever and simple design.

See Offer below.

Dreamfarm Mini Chopula £7.95

The Mini Chopula is a versatile, flexible cookie turner that slices into the corners of brownie pans, Heat resistant up to 250°C/480°F.

A useful, highly flexible spatula of good quality for right-handed people! Dishwasher safe of course.

This week’s offer is buy any Dreamfarm product and get 10% off, buy two or more and get a smidgen more than 20% off (Only because Andi couldn’t make it work!).

Use code DREAM24 if shopping online. Just tell us who you are if coming into Cobham or Reigate.


Shop All Dreamfarm



We are currently looking for a part time sales person (3 days per week) in Cobham, and a mixed role of marketing / picking and packing at the warehouse in Redhill.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested, please contact Emma Hay in the Reigate shop 01737 242302 or email 

Details of the basic jobs are on the website here - as is the application form.

The Last Word

Ok, that’s it for this week, but talking of kindness and thoughtfulness with our other halves, this observation from Eric Morecambe brings more than a smile to my face.

“I always take my wife her morning tea in my pyjamas. But is she grateful? No. She’d rather have it in a cup.”

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend, full of tea and, if necessary, soggy pyjamas.


Warm regards,


Andrew Bluett-Duncan


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.