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When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, there are so many different exercises you can perform to get your heart rate racing and lose a bit of weight whilst burning away those calories. York are a pretty good manufacturer when it comes to sports and fitness equipment. I have previously bought their Vinyl weights and have also more recently bought this skipping rope, which is great for a bit of skipping in the garden or a large inside room.
The skipping rope is 8 feet long, which is a pretty decent length for me being 5 foot 7. The handles have a foam coating, which is of a decent circumference and easy to grip. The rope itself is made of some strong material and it hasn't really got damaged at all despite slapping the floor a few times. I find doing skips really fast gets my heart rate hurtling and I can really feel it if I do quick bursts of skipping with intermittent breaks.
The quality of the rope is pretty good and I'd say it's reasonably waterproof too, although the foam part may be liable to damage from water. The rope is really easy to store as it's not very large and you can fit it in a bag to take it out so it's pretty portable. The rope cost me £10 and I think that is a reasonable price for a fun bit of fitness equipment. I must admit that I don't use the rope as much as I used to, but it's always there for a quick workout.
I like to vary my workouts and skipping is certainly a fun alternative to working away on a treadmill or cross-trainer. The downside is that you need a bit of space to use the rope in. It's ideal for outside or a large indoor room, but I'd recommend some kind of mat or carpet to absorb the impact of you jumping on the floor to avoid damage!
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I thought it'd be a good idea to invest in some medicine balls as they can be great for many exercises to help tone your body and train your core. I mostly use my medicine balls for ab workouts rather than investing in a set of weight plates. The Reebok medicine balls appealed to me as they are quite attractive and look pretty modern. I am pleased with my purchases, after buying a 3kg and 5kg ball in blue and silver colours respectively.
The balls have a two-tone design, which looks modern and very neat. One half has a more matt finish with an indented Reebok logo into the ball. The other side has a more modern design with a pattern of circles on the surface that helps to provide better grip too. Grip is vital whilst using these balls as with a weight in your hands, you want to ensure that you can hold it comfortably so you can carry out the exercise that you are doing efficiently.
In the centre of the circle pattern is a number in a circle, signifying the weight in kilograms of the medicine ball. This is quite large so it's always easy and quick to identify a particular medicine ball you are looking for, which is also helped by it's unique colour.
The balls themselves are made of thick rubber, which is of good quality and they feel like pretty sturdy balls. The balls do have a 23cm diameter, which is actually quite extensive meaning these may not be used easily by younger people. You can purchase smaller medicine balls with similar weights - it all depends on the density and weight of the material inside.
You can use this medicine ball for most things. Due to its size, you need to hold it off the ground slightly if you have it behind your head whilst doing crunches. However if you are doing your obliques as you move the ball from side to side whilst balancing on your buttocks/lower back with your upper back in the air, the medicine ball works efficiently for this to provide some much-needed resistance.
The balls are of good quality and I have had no issues with them. They aren't ideal for all exercises due to their size but you can decide this if you are willing to buy them. The 1kg medicine ball starts at £20, which isn't that cheap. The increments of 2kg in weight increases the price by £10 a pop, so the 3kg ball is £30 and the 5kg ball is £40. To me these prices are pretty expensive for such an item, but even if you shop around you won't find the same quality for a much cheaper price.
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It wasn't until recently that I realised what the iPad was great for and I decided to go ahead and buy one. I purchased the iPad 2 as the thought of having a camera and being able to use Facetime was quite appealing. I must say that I am very pleased with my purchase. The iPad can be used around the house, on the move, in conferences and wherever else. The size seems a little awkward at first but whenever you are stationary it's a breeze to use.
The iPad comes in a compact box with the charger and everything else you need. The battery life is actually very astonishing, with my iPad lasting a good day or two with some intense use. It depends on what you are using the iPad for - watching videos will run it down faster. The iPad charges well within around 4-5 hours from an empty battery.
The iPad has so many abilities as it's an inbetween of the iPhone and a Macbook. You can write documents on it, send emails, browse the web, watch videos, listen to music, play games and use 1000s more applications thanks to the App Store. The iPad is really easy to use with it's large touch screen. You can flick across screens and down menus, pinch to zoom in and out and twist your fingers to rotate pictures. It all feels so natural, rather like the multi-touch abilities of the Macbook Pro touchpad.
The speed of the iPad 2 is impressive too and you can navigate around and complete tasks very quickly. The camera is good and links to many other applications such as Facebook as you can quickly edit and upload photos here. The quality of the camera isn't as great once you upload the photos onto a high quality screen however. The camera can also shoot videos, which are very smooth but could be of slightly higher quality.
The Safari browser works very well and is certainly better than on the iPhone or iPod Touch. The screen is a lot larger meaning you can navigate round more easily and see a lot more. Many more pages will work and be compatible with the iPad too. Sky News even advertise a special App to keep up to date with the latest. The iPad has become an integral part of community today.
You'll be able to buy one of these for around £480. It's not cheap but it's certainly a great product. I find it very useful as a student and would imagine it is just as useful if you are working in an office for example. You can store lots on the large 32GB hard drive and it's great for accessing the internet whilst on the move. I'd recommend one if you are currently in doubt about it's capabilities and worthiness like I once was!
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I recently bought one of these toothbrushes after realising the importance of healthy teeth! This toothbrush has many built in functions to improve brushing and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. The toothbrush comes in a dark blue box and you can view it through a plastic film. The box is pretty informative and explains some of the main features of the toothbrush including an advanced timer, pressure sensation, and a very specially designed toothbrush head, which oscilates and pulsates.
The toothbrush is re-chargeable via a shaver port and it fully charges within 4 hours or so. It will last at least a week at a good speed of twice daily brushing. The pressure sensation ensures that you don't actually damage your gums by applying too much pressure on your gums. I sometimes used to wash out my mouth after brushing and notice a little bit of blood due to brushing my gums too hard. I assume this protection system in which when higher pressure is detected, the brush head continues oscillating but stops pulsating, helps to protect gums from damage and possible further complications such as infection.
The advanced timer is pretty good as it ensures you brush your teeth properly, but has more regular notices every 30 seconds, to signify the brushing of each quadrant of your mouth. There is a further vibration, which is rather long once the 2 minutes is up, which signifies the advised time for brushing your teeth by dentists.
Due to the electrical toothbrushes more advanced movement patterns and brush design, it will most probably give you a better clean than a manual toothbrush. The toothbrush may cost a lot more than a manual one but I'd say it is very worth it in the long run. I can see my toothbrush lasting me years. The toothbrush has a retail price of around £80 but you can certainly buy one for half this price online. I'd certainly recommend this version - it's comfortable and efficient to use. All the work is in the brush and you simply have to glide it over your teeth for it to work well.
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I have moved into a new house and am currently using this fridge-freezer. I have previously been skeptical of using a combined fridge and freezer, but I am very pleased with this one so far. I must say that Hotpoint seem to make excellent kitchen appliances and I would highly recommend them based on this. This fridge freezer cost almost £300 but is a rather large one, which would easily contain food for a family of four or perhaps 5.
The top half of the appliance consists of the fridge, in which there are three main shelves with two drawers at the bottom. The drawers slide out very easily but I do find they are lacking a bit in capacity. You can fit some fruit and vegetables in the drawers, but if you have a lot of these, you will struggle to fit them all! This means I have to leave some fruit outside the fridge, which is fine in itself.
The shelves are pretty sturdy and do come out so you can adjust their height. The one thing I found with this fridge is that the top part doesn't contain a shelf with spaces for bottles to lie on. Sometimes this specially designed shelf can be annoying as it's quite bulky. On the plus, it would mean that bottles are kept more sturdily in the fridge with less chance of falling out. However with the lack of these, I actually find that it conserves the space better and you are still able to place bottles on the shelves as long as you do so carefully.
The shelf in the fridge door is quite large, which means you can fit several bottles of condiments and your milk and whatever in there. There are two more compartments above for things such as eggs, cheese and perhaps pieces of fruit that you wish to finish later. Overall it's quite spacious.
The freezer part is pretty good too. Here, there are four drawers with the bottom one being the largest. They are quite deep and you can fit quite a lot in the freezer. It works very well and there has been no frost build up yet, although I'm sure this is helped by shutting the freezer door whenever you can if you aren't going to attend to it in less than 10 seconds or so.
This appliance has automatic fridge defrost as well as fast-freeze functions. I have only used the latter so far, in which you place your items in the fast freeze drawer, and I am quite satisfied with the time that it will freeze your food in, being a matter of 2 hours or so.
This combo is definitely worth taking a look at. It has been very reliable so far. It does seem to grunt sometimes and make odd noises, but I'm pretty sure most fridge-freezers do this as they work to control the temperatures inside. The fridge is well lit in a dark room if you are heading down for a midnight snack and I can't think of any major faults!
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I bought one of these recently as the trackpad on my computer decided to stop working. It cost me just £10.50 from the library as they had some in stock. I thought this couldn't have been a bad price for a mouse so I went ahead and got myself one.
It's a very simple mouse with two buttons and optical laser tracking. my mouse is black with a black wire, which doesn't seem to tangle up too much. Having a mouse doesn't detract too much from my computer being portable, as it's a very small and portable mouse in itself. The two buttons to either side at the front of the mouse work very well as you click them in. The tracking is smooth and very accurate. With the ability to adjust tracking speed, scroll speed and double click speed settings on my computer, I have been able to personalise the mouse to my own liking.
The scroll wheel works smoothly and the mouse seems to be of pretty good quality as a whole. There is a Microsoft logo towards the back of the mouse, but apart from this it is very plain. My mouse came in a little cardboard box with a warranty and safety manual. The mouse doesn't require a mouse pad to be used on, and I have found it has worked well on any reasonably flat surface or the cursor will jump around the screen. It's a cheap and efficient mouse, well worth buying if you need one. It's compatible with Macs as well as PCs, as I am using mine on my Mac.
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Last year I bought a new toaster and it wasn't really up to scratch. You'd try to get the thing working and it would simply not heat up once you lowered the toast in as it was hard to get it to 'click' and lock in place. I bought this new 2 slice Tesco Value toaster for around £5 and it works like a dream. It is simple and easy to use and even has the added bonus of a crumb tray for easy maintenance.
The toaster comes in a large but very light white box with instructions in there including a guarantee. It's easy to get working - it simply needs to be plugged in and it's ready to go. The toaster is quite safe as the sides don't get overly hot when it's in use although some heat does escape. The toaster has a timer, which I think signifies the minutes the toast will be in. You simply turn the wheel to the time setting you want, lower the toast in and the rest is history. Toast I have cooked so far as always been a little over-done however, and that's from frozen, so I would be careful when you first purchase the toaster.
The toaster is white so can easily get dirty but it's easily cleaned too with a little bit of cleaning material and a damp sponge or even some kitchen roll. The crumb tray beneath the toaster slides out pretty easily and can be emptied in the bin and given a quick wipe or clean in the sink.
Overall, for a fiver I'd definitely recommend this toaster. You could get a large 4 slice one for a little more money, which I imagine should be just as good.
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The second generation iPod Nano is one of my favourites. It's pretty old now but if you can get one today that is still working well then I'd certainly recommend so. 2GB is not huge in volume but it's plenty for around 500 songs or so of average length. The lesser size just makes the iPod Nano cheaper, so depending on what you want the iPod for and how many songs you may want to store on it, this size may be ideal.
The iPod is actually available in a few colours like the iPod Mini. I personally went for the silver version, as a guy, because you can't really go wrong! The iPod is really easy to operate as with the previous version. This iPod has a well lit colour display and a few more features than previous iPods such as storing photos on the iPod. I love the feel of this iPod - it is very thin and although pretty long, the width is small too. It's just 0.26 inches in thickness (or should I say thinness) and weighs 1.41 ounces, which really is nothing.
You operate the iPod by using the scroll wheel and a thumb/finger as well as the buttons on this wheel and the centre button too. You can scroll through menus very easily with a finger/thumb and it's pretty smooth providing there isn't dirt on the wheel. The menu button at the top of the wheel can be clicked in to go back. There are skip buttons on either side with a play/pause button at the bottom. The centre button has the same metallic colour as your iPod, which contrasts with the wheel, and this is used as a select button.
You can also lock the iPod to prevent buttons being pressed and your iPod functioning if it is in your pocket or bag. The iPod originally comes with the Apple Earphones as well as instructions and a charging cable, which plugs into a USB slot in any computer. It charges reasonably quickly but does take around 4-5 hours to fill it completely. The battery then lasts a bit longer for me when taking it out and about. Increased volumes, more use of the lit screen and playing games on the iPod uses up more battery and it goes faster.
You can buy this iPod used for around £25-30 online. I'd still recommend it but make sure it does work well as after a lot of use, the iPod's functioning seems to go down hill as it becomes unresponsive to inputs.
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This summer I have been out quite a bit camping around, whether it be for festivals or just chilling with mates. With Argos being an excellent local shop selling pretty much everything, I thought I could get away with buying a camping mat there, which I had planned to use to sit on and also sleep on within a sleeping bag.
The mat cost me £6 from Argos, which isn't expensive at all. However you most certainly get what you pay for in this instance! The mat is blue in colour with a size of 180 x 48cm. This is a great size for most people and children would easily fit on it, never mind adults. However the quality and comfort of the mat is pretty appalling.
The mat comes wrapped up with two black straps on either end. This means it's a little curly when you take the straps off and it does take a good while for the mat to straigthen out a bit. However, it's best to fold up the mat when transporting it as it's more compact.
The mat is very thin and made of foam. It's not very comfortable, and although most camping mats seem to be made of foam, I'm sure they cannot be as uncomfortable as this one. The mat has several marks and dents on it too and I wouldn't be surprised if it soon rips after a few more uses. However for the price it comes at, it provides more comfort than lying on bumpy hard grass so it's worth buying in that respect, although don't expect utmost comfort and long lasting quality!
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Story - 8.5/10
I have always found it difficult to understand the Halo story. This is the third game in the trilogy and I was so lost by this stage that I literally played it because I enjoyed the combat style and multiplayer by now. When this came out, it was the game to have and it was hyped up a lot, but with good means as it's a great game. So, not understanding the storyline terribly well makes it difficult to comment on. However, with some basic understanding I can assure you that the ending to the trilogy was pretty good although perhaps not ideal, but then again it's hard to please a large number of gamers with a great ending after such an intense storyline. At the end of the day, a finish with some sort of cliffhanger is better than knowing all the answers, as it leaves you thinking - although this view isn't shared amongst everyone! The Campaign is great though and you can play on different difficulties. You get to use a huge range of weapons - many new. You can now dual wield weapons, which is great fun and you can even mix and match. Some of the missions have you flying planes and travelling vast distances in vehicles across some really scenic maps, which is nice. I must say the final gameplay at the end of the story is truly epic - very exciting and fast-paced, although tricky too.
Gameplay - 10/10
This is why Halo is so great. The gameplay in the game is excellent and truly addictive when you bring your skills online to fight in a variety of playlists including slayer (death matches) and objective based games such as king of the hill and capture the flag. The gameplay can be fast paced and exciting or as slow as you want it with weapons ranging from automatic sub machine guns to sniper rifles. There are many multiplayer maps - some of which have excellent layouts for a well-balanced battle. With the use of new equipment in Halo 3 such as bubble shields to protect yourself from fire, power drains that can be thrown to take away enemy shields, flares to blind enemies, regenerators for your own health and more - the game is a lot more fun and slightly more tactical to play. Everything works very well and even in the Campaign, your team mates are quite fun to do battle with, even as bots.
Graphics - 9/10
The graphics in this game aren't the first thing you think 'wow' at. They are pretty good and certainly not lacking. They become more evident in the Campaign and/or larger maps where there are some truly scenic views, which gives you a real sense of reality and freedom. Details such as strands of grass in this game are even reasonably detailed to the extent you will see them swaying in the wind. Details on buildings are impressive and backgrounds in the maps are great too. At first the whole screen seemed crammed ful of stuff when playing this game with the HUD showing your health, equipment, weapon information and more but I soon got used to it. The great thing that remains with Halo is the clear cut graphics without too much 'fuss' on the screen. Everything is quite simple whilst retaining a sense of reality and detail - it looks good and simple, which makes it fun to play.
Sound - 9/10
Sound may not be a huge part in games but it subconsciously adds to your enjoyment. The music is the one thing in Halo that everyone loves - mostly composed by Martin O'Donnell, who is responsible for most of the great songs. The music has much power behind it and some tracks are used ideally at times to bring a tear to your eye as they can be quite emotional. The music in the Halo series is truly phenomenal and much better than most other games. They vary in tempo and I find they really emphasise the ambience nicely as the music changes in the Campaign for example. Sound effects drop the overall score by a point for me as they aren't superb. They are pretty respectable and the guns feel realistic to shoot with their noises. The enemies also speak, which is quite funny sometimes with their one-liners (namely the Grunts in the Campaign such as 'You think you soooo great!' and many others). The characters are quite interactive in this way, although all being alien. I think the guns although mostly fictional (besides ones based on real guns I mean) could sound a bit more realistic like in Call of Duty, as I'm sure players would get used to it and it would be better overall.
Replay Value - 10/10
Halo 3 is really addictive. The Campaign is excellent and it's the one storyline you'd play through more than once as once you do understand it, it's a pretty good story. That's probably 10% of the replay value. The other 90% comes from the multiplayer, which is massive. I have played thousands of online games through the years on Halo 2 and 3. The multiplayer in this game is the best out of them all so far in the series and I find it works really well, without being too different such as in the newer Halo: Reach where you have proper powerups such as jet packs. It's still the same good old Halo but with some new stuff that works and is fun. The multiplayer is very addicting due to the ranks and trying to level up in different playlists, with the ability to customise your badge.
Controls - 10/10
Compared to other games, the controls in Halo 3 are excellent so I have to give them full marks. The controls feel very natural, movements are all very smooth and you can easily play and efficiently use equipment, throw grenades, fire guns and move quite freely (not all at the same time obviously) but it flows very well. A comparison would be to Call of Duty where you can run and dive into 'prone' when lying on the ground but you have to move your hands/fingers quite a bit to hit the B button and then try and preferably turn/move around using a combination of the analogue sticks to fire at an enemy and it's all a bit awkward although the option is there, which is good. Halo seems a lot smoother and your actions will generally be carried out as if the game knows what you want to do. When approaching a vehicle, you can hold X to enter it and you'll be able to swiftly jump in and zoom off quickly. Obviously you can't jump in from across the map but it all flows well. Picking weapons up off the ground is similar too, you can run over a weapon holding the button to pick it up and you won't have to pause and hover over it waiting to pick it up - it's all instant and simple. This is what makes the game great for me - it's simple and fun.
Overall - 94%
This game gets a pretty high rating from me and it does deserve it. I have always loved the Halo series and this was a great end to it. The Campaign is brilliant fun and really diverse and the ending is brilliant. The multiplayer is just as good as always but improved just to the right level and it's not over the top or complicated at all. You can buy this game for £12-15 online, even if it's the classic version - it's well worth it if you haven't already played it! Many people still play this version online too and I don't think it'll really be outdated for a while yet. Superb work by Bungie (the creators)!
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Story - 6/10
This game has a pretty good storyline in which you play as an agent trying to force through a revolution amongst some quite tropical islands in the immensely-sized map that you play on. There aren't a lot of missions in the main storyline, which is dissapointing. A lot of the gameplay comes from side missions, rather like the Grand Theft Auto series. However they are all of the same type, in which you overthrow local governments. There are other things to do such as collect hidden objects around the vast map. The cut scenes look good and some of the missions are pretty exciting but the storyline is too short considering the possibilities with the size of the map.
Gameplay - 7/10
This game is great fun to play. You can drive a huge range of vehicles including many planes ranging from an enormous one like the AN225 to small private jets and bi-planes. There are many guns, which you can use and grenades too. Some attachments to vehicles you get to use throughout the main story are fun as well. You can free roam when not in a mission and enjoy the enormous size of the map. Despite all the features, many of them don't have a great feel to them however, such as flying planes. You simply 'accelerate' and 'slow down' but the realism when it comes to landing the planes for example is atrocious. You'll find yourself just bailing out and skydiving/parachuting down most the time.
Graphics - 9/10
The visuals in this game are stunning. You are playing in a whole array of tropical islands. You can use planes to fly up high before bailing out and skydiving or parachuting your way down, when you can admire the most awesome views. Unless the changing weather is bad, you can see far into the distance and it looks awesome, which adds to the quality of the game. More refined objects such as cars, bikes, trees and bridges still look good but you get a better impression of the wider surroundings when playing this game than the details within them.
Sound - 6/10
I am not a fan of the sounds in this game. The music is really good, which brings the rating up for me, but then again it is repetitive. The music is fast-paced or slow according to the scenario and has a great southern american feel to it. The sounds of the guns aren't great and are usually blown out of proportion by the music that kicks in. The sounds of vehicles and such are really monotonous and don't sound realistic. The sound effects when you crash vehicles and blow things up are attrocious in my opinion and a bit annoying! The music is definitely very enjoyable at first though.
Replay Value - 6/10
This game doesn't score highly here as there is a severe lack of missions. Yes, there are plenty of side missions but these get boring and unless you want to unlock every bit of gamerscore in the game and/or love to complete all your games inside out, you won't be playing this game constantly after you finish it once.
Controls - 7/10
The controls feel pretty natural although I don't like the third person view and the controls that lead out from this. Your character is very responsive to controls but some of the in-game moves such as jumping doesn't feel very natural and has a jerky feel. Other moves such as jumping on to car roofs from above and parachuting down amongst the lovely graphics - although quite surreal, feel more natural and enjoyable.
Overall - 68%
This game is pretty good fun if you like large open maps and messing around with guns, cars, bikes and planes. The storyline is too short though and the gameplay isn't brilliant. The game will cost you just around £10 today, which isn't bad if you feel you'd like to give it a go. However I'd point out that there is a second version out now, which although it has a similar feel, has much better gameplay.
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You may have seen one of these before. It's like a small wheel with two handles on each side. When I first saw one and attempted to use it, I thought it was really difficult and awkward but I built up my core strength through other exercises and then started using this in my local gym. I eventually went to buy my own and went for the Gold's Gym one after reading some good reviews.
I agree that this piece of equipment is pretty good - it's sturdy, works well and has really good grip. The wheel itself is white and the rest is black so it doesn't look ridiculous. The wheel has a little bit of grip so it doesn't slip away, but the whole idea is that you are forced to use your core to stop it from doing so. You are supposed to use the wheel whilst in a pressup position, except on your knees. You then hold onto the wheel out in front of you and slowly guide it in towards your knees and out again, stretching out as fully as you can.
At first I didn't have my knees on the floor, but my feet. This makes the exercise extremely hard and you'd need abs of steel to do this. The handles have little indents where your fingers can go, which makes for great grip as it's quite necessary when using the wheel. There are a few other ways you can use it but it generally helps build core strength.
I have dropped it a few times carrying it around and nothing has broken - it seems pretty sturdy to use too. It's nothing magnificent, but a simple exercise tool that can really help to strengthen and build your abs. This wheel sets you back £10, which isn't bad although you could say it's expensive for something of its type! It is of good quality and built well - you won't get better.
I wouldn't recommend this if you have weaker abs or are just starting to train them as I'd say it was a 'level 3' exercise, meaning it's quite difficult. If you don't have the core power already there, you'll find the wheel pointless, you'll be losing balance and face-planting on the floor - not recommended!
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Sometimes I forget that I wear contact lenses and the drawbacks that this has. When packing for a holiday recently, I realised I had forgotten to pack my contact lens solution. But it was too late! We were already on our way to the airport, so in case we couldn't get elsewhere, I popped into Tesco and found this contact lens solution. I used it the whole holiday, and thanks to it I was able to witness the beautiful sights very well!
The solution is like any other really. It comes in a little box and inside is a 250ml container - not large, but large enough for a few weeks at least. The container has a screw cap, which comes off easily to reveal a very small pin-prick hole in the top, where the solution squeezes out.
The solution has a few great uses:
1. Used to clean your contact lenses. Squirt on a little bit of this and use your fingers to rub them clean.
2. Used to store your contact lenses. Squirt some in your contact lens holder or even a cup if worse comes to worse and store your contacts safely in here.
3. Add a little moisture to dry eyes.. this isn't really what the product is for but I found it did the job when I needed it!
The solution has worked well to keep my monthly contact lenses in good condition. I don't imagine you'd use it for dailys unless you took them out for a short while whilst showering for example, as the contact lenses come in cases with some solution already in there when you first put them on. For £4 at Tesco, the price isn't cheap but it never is with contact lens solutions. I would recommend this to anyone.
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This was one of the first iPods I ever had and it was pretty good, although back then, considering the features it did have, it wasn't that reliable and sometimes messed up as it got older. The iPods today tend to run a lot more smoothly. This was the mini version of the original iPod and it had a screen, although not in colour, it coud light up. The iPod mini is available in many colours such as pink, green, silver, red and blue.
The battery on this iPod was actually pretty good - it'd last for a good few days quite easily of fair use. The iPod Mini is even heavier than the iPod Touch today but it's small compared to the classic size. However this has an effect on it's memory as it can only hold 4GB of songs, which is around 1000. This isn't too bad but you cannot carry any photos or videos on the iPod - purely music. The iPod does have a few games on it including the classic brick game and a parachute and cards game. There is also a music game, which is played with your own music where clips are played and you must select the song as quickly as possible from the list.
The iPod mini is pretty easy to use. It has the classic scroll wheel design - you scroll the menus by moving your finger along the outer wheel, on which there are 4 buttons as controls. In the middle of the wheel is one last button, which is used to select titles on the menus. The screen isn't large compared to the size of the iPod but it's useful having it - in a way, you are getting a good size storage and a screen for a cheaper price than you would pay for the latest iPod Shuffle, which lacks both of these really. The main problem with this iPod nowadays is the weight.
It was fairly reliable to start. Songs upload onto it very quickly, taking around 5 seconds each, which I found amazing at first. However it started to mess up as it got older - skipping songs when I would press 'forward' through them and sometimes freezing before spontaneously un-freezing again. It did this for a while but was still working alright so I sold it on at the time to upgrade my iPod. Nowadays it can be bought for around £10, which is great really. I'd still recommend it as an iPod to be taken out, but not as a more portable one or for things such as the gym/exercise as it's a bit too heavy and ironically large for this.
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The Call of Duty series has been going for a while now and currently the Black Ops version is the very latest (not for long as modern warfare 3 will be launching this November. It's an excellent game and although different from previous versions, it still has all the great parts from the older versions, although some of the realism I felt way back with Call of Duty 2 has been lost since then.
The Call of Duty campaign follows a character who is being interrogated and as he is made to remember where he has been and what he has done, his flashbacks bring you, the player, into gameplay and action. You fight through a whole range of places, which brings many different environments to the game to give it a good variety, compared to some of the older games, which got a little boring in the same place all the time. The gameplay is still pretty exciting and you get to take control of a whole host of guns - some new, some old as well as aircrafts, helicopters and more.
The multiplayer is great fun as usual. This time round, there is a huge number of ranks and prestige levels to get through. As you battle your way to your first level 50, you can enter prestige mode after this, in which you are given a rank until you reach level 50 again and can choose to enter the next prestige level. You lose all your unlocked weapons, perks and killstreaks but your combat record remains and you are able to use more custom slots to personalise your own weapons, perks and more. There is a great range of weapons ranging from the MP5 sub machine gun to the classic AK47 and M16. However you like to fight, you can do so in this game.
The game still remains quite tactical, with a whole range of tactial equipment and grenades for use such as flash grenades, smoke grenades, willy pete's, claymores and more such as motion sensors. This gives every player a little edge over others, but it's up to you to decide the equipment you wish to use and then fight your hardest. You can switch between classes within the game too, which gives you a good sense of freedom whilst playing.
The graphics are pretty good and even up close, most things look quite interactive. There is a great deal of [scripted] ongoings whilst you are playing too, such as rockets blasting off and things moving around you. The maps are quite realistic and look great. There is a good variety from small to medium and large maps for all sorts of gameplay and all the gametypes including death matches, capture the flag games and many more objective based games.
The sound effects are pretty good too. If you pump up the volume, it's quite exciting getting behind the guns in this game as they act and sound very realistic with things such as recoil, reloading times and more having an effect on the gameplay. The replay value of this game is excellent too - especially if you have Xbox Live to play online. I have found it pretty addictive and as you get better and also unlock more things, it gets more exciting! It's like the typical 'level up and unlock more stuff and get better' sort of game.
The game can be bought for around £25 now, which is well-worth it as many people still play it and it's a great game in itself. Perhaps not the best in the series, but currently a great game and very popular - highly recommended.
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