Welcome to our new blog style site

 This site has grown and grown over the years, and it seemed important to to offer a more up-to-date service, with interactive functionality for its core users. So, here we are. Essex Recommendations: the blog. Enjoy!

Feel free to send amendments, new suggestions, and any other feedback to recs[at]essex.ac.uk.


Posted in Site guide

How to use these recommendations

Every so often someone sends a request to the University of Essex’ small-ads mailing list for recommended services, trades, facilities, suppliers, etc. Here are some of the resulting lists.

Use the A-Z list (right-hand side of all pages), the site search (top of page), or the Google Search facility to seek reviews of services and suppliers.

Generally we’ve removed the names of people passing comments from these recommendations and in one or two cases we’ve obscured the
details of “services” that come in for some criticism – We don’t want to have to deal with disgruntled people complaining about what’s been said about them!

If you have any additions or amendments, please see our Contact page.

University of Essex staff can control their membership of University mailing lists, including the small ads list, at http://www.essex.ac.uk/contact/mailinglists/default.aspx (password restricted).

Please note: the University is in no way endorsing any of the services listed here, and the webmaster and the University take no responsibility for any actions taken after consulting these lists! Please see managing the recommendations lists for more information.

Posted in Site guide

Holiday homes

April 2013

“Any recommendations for a holiday home, or short term let, in the Colchester or Wivenhoe area?”

  • Wivenhoe: We’ve just had family visiting us from Brazil and while in the UK they stayed in a beautiful holiday home called Waters Reach, situated on Marsh Farm just outside Wivenhoe, and I want to be able to recommend the place to anyone who, like us, ever needs to accommodate far-flung relatives but wants something other than a hotel or B&B. Sian Leyland, the owner, was fantastic – very helpful and friendly at all times – and the cottage itself is in a great location with views across Wivenhoe and the river. There’s plenty of space and light, everything’s on one floor, and it’s a lovely mix of rustic and modern; both charming and very comfortable. Probably not the cheapest way to put relatives up, but it worked out to be less expensive than a hotel for us, and our relatives absolutely loved the place. The owners have only recently started letting Waters Reach. Their website is http://watersreach.weebly.com and details can also be found at http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/england/e7691.htm. Sian Leyland’s email address is: seleyland[@]gmail.com
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Posted in Holiday homes, Holidays, Hotels

Coffee machines

I am after buying a coffee machine (the type that use capsules) and I am looking for recommendations (what to buy and avoid).

September 2011

  • We got our coffee machine with Select drinks at Colchester and it works extremely well. We have a flavio machine
  • Dolce Gusto – Excellent – had mine for over 4 years and still use it and never had any problems
  • We’ve been having an inexpensive (around, or little over £100) Krups Nespresso machine for 3 1/2 years and it works very well. I fully recommend that one if you don’t want to overspend and still have a perfect cup of coffee.
  • Tassimo make the best, the cartridges that you buy are from many makes so you are not restricted to one type of coffee e.g. Nescafe, Dowe Egberts etc. You can get even Cadburys hot chocolate cartridges for it. It makes lattes, espresso, cappuccino, Americano, macchiato, mocha you name it. Also if you are going to go for one of the Nespresso or similar make sure you taste the coffee before you buy, my uncle bought a coffee machine that only uses it’s own brand of coffee and he didn’t like the coffee and was stuck with the machine. Personally I would invest in one you can choose the coffee you put in it. The cartridge ones are wonderful but you need to be happy with the coffee selection, DeLonghi make excellent coffee machines too. Hope this helps!
  • I don’t have any second hand machine to sell but I can only recommend Nespresso MOST highly. I think that I’ve ‘sold’ over 10 of their machines over the years, every time friends or colleagues tasted the coffee they were so impressed they bought one. And now Nespresso have a free capsule recycling system so they’re even ecologically friendly. I’ve been using them for over 20 years now (yes, I know…) and I’m onto my third machine only, so they are very tough. I had the first one for 10 years and then gave it to a cousin of my husband, so it didn’t even fail! I now have the Lattissima (which does cappuccino etc.) and I’m really happy with it. But if you buy it, get it from Amazon, you can buy it for £199 instead of about £250 if you go through the Nespresso website: see here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nespresso-Lattissima-DeLonghi-EN670-Mysterious/dp/B000X8JS1G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316696910&sr=8-1. I think that the cheapest models are about £100 but any of their machines is entirely worth it in my opinion.
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Posted in Coffee machines, Drink

London restaurants

Can anyone recommend a restaurant in London overseeing the Thames or any London canal? Not interested in cruising, just good food with nice view (avoid pubs).

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Posted in Eating, Restaurants, Restaurants in London

Guttering maintenance & replacement

“Can anyone recommend someone to clear and refit some guttering which has come adrift? It’s a fairly simple job, but high (c. 20ft)”

August 2011

  • AGE Roofing in Wivenhoe
  • Richard cleared out my gutters about a year ago but I had to provide the long ladder. Richard, DIY builder: decorating, general maintenance, flat-packs, gardening. ~60 years old, very nice chap. 01206 573 181 / 07754 448 280.
  • Paul Flynn 01206 861261, he has done various jobs for University Staff.
  • 07592891100- Bhanam. Good at work and very economical.
  • Ian Newman 07889659627
  • We have a chap two doors away from us, Frank Fortunato he is a roofer, he has done some work for friends who say he was very reasonable his mobile is 07970 016234 his company is called Exterior Care.


  • I ended up choosing Age Roofing in Wivenhoe as I realised the job wasn’t as straightforward as I’d originally thought. They have done work for us in the past, and are very good. Their website is: http://www.ageroofingltd.co.uk.
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Posted in Guttering maintenance & replacement

Beauty & skincare therapists

July 2011

  • A friend of mine who I trust is Leila Beauty Therapy, an experienced beauty & skincare therapist. Leila offers manicures, pedicures, hot stones, sports therapy massage, & facials. Within The Gallery Hair & Beauty, 27a Holland Road, Clacton on Sea, CO15 6BT. 01255 222944, info[at]leilabeautytherapy.co.uk . www.leilabeautytherapy.co.uk
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Posted in Beauty, Beauty & skincare therapists


“My Dad is looking for a brickie to do a small job on a wall at the front of a house which has a pillar on the point of collapse.”

February 2011

  • I can highly recommend Ian Longhurst, who is just finishing doing the same thing at our house. His number is 01206-826512.
  • Try jamesowden[at]yahoo.com, 07948 443166.
  • I can recommend a guy called Ian Longhurst from Brightlingsea.
  • Slightly biased as he’s family, but he’s done work for other university staff before: Alan Blanchette, 07788 813650.
  • I can highly recommend Rodger Alexander- Please ring 07881951621 for an estimate.
  • I can thoroughly recommend Ian who has recently completed repairing my garden wall. Apart from being competitively priced, he has made an excellent job, came when he said he would, and proposed solutions to problems of water penetration which were not suggested by any of the other (5!) bricklayers who came to give quotes.  I will definitely use Ian again. (Tel: 01206 826512).
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Posted in Bricklayers
lists A-Z