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My wife is a bit of a Lego addict and she saw these on the Lego website shop and bought a set for the kitchen to use as food storage jars. I understand they were around £16 for a set of four as in the picture. I thought that was quite expensive but I suppose you only need to buy storage jars once or twice in your life as they rarely need to be replaced.
The storage jar set arrived in one box. They were packed into the box in a way that they formed a big square. If I remember correctly, they stacked both of the small pots on top of the medium sized one so they formed an easily packable shape.
You get four plastic rectangular shaped storage containers. The lids come as one of each of the four main Lego colours- red, blue, green and yellow. There is one large storage jar, one medium one and two of the small jars. My wife commented she had thought they would all be different sizes, but it turned out the two small jars are the same size.
Also, as the bottom of each jar has an indent all of the jars stack. So if you really wanted to you could stack all four on top of each other. This makes storing these in your kitchen cupboards easier as they do stack well and it is not just a case of balancing things on top of each other.
I though the tall jar could be used for dry spaghetti but it turns out it is too short so if you want to fill it with pasta, you have to cut about three inches off the top of all the bits of pasta and then think of somewhere to put the 3inch pasta shards.
The two very small jars are a bit too small to store anything in. They only have a storage space of around 1 inch. So you could use them in other places around the house for tacks or push pins but I have yet to be able to think of anything food related that would fit in them.
The medium sized jar is a very nice size. It can be used for coffee or tea bags or even for peanuts or anything where you need a medium sized storage space. It holds a full 100g jar of nescafe to give you an idea of it's storage area.
All of the lids can be changed around. The lids just lift completely off the jars. They are not hinged and there is no air tight seal. If the jar falls over, the top will fall off and the contents will spill out. This has happened to me a few times and it can be annoying.
The negatives of this product are the poorly sized jars. The tall jar needs to be taller, the small jars could be replaced by another medium jar. For the price they are disappointing as I have not found a use fo the two smaller jars yet so we are only using half of the set. Also that the lids do not stay on.
The positives are the design. The colours of the lids and the design of the lids so they are exact replicas of lego bricks. This is a funky design product and I think if you focus on the design and forgive Lego for the poor sizes and the non secure lids, then you will love them. I am glad we bought these are they are unusual and attention grabbing. Not so functional, design over substance I think.
I saw these on the internet one evening and thought my wife would love them for her birthday (with some other presents of course, salt and pepper shakers would be a rubbish gift on their own).
I paid £12 for the pair- one white and one black and when they arrived I was disappointed at the size. They are really small compared to other salt and papper shakers. The size of them hits you when you are used to using salt and pepper mills that are normally quite tall. These measured less than 2 inches high and around an inch wide. Fortunately we do not have a dining table at present, so have to make do with salt and pepper mills/pots for use in the kitchen when food has just been cooked.
I know my wife loves lego products that are designed to be used as homewares and are not actual toys to use when you build something out of lego- these are obviously designed for adults and not children to play with. They could be used to teach children about using salt and pepper I suppose. But I think overall they are marketed as a product for adults.
They are easy to use. The base parts just pull off, you tip the salt or pepper in and that is all. They are plastic so will be easy to clean and will not smash if you drop them. It is a shame lego have dropped the ball with these as they are just too small to be taken seriously. For the price too you do expect a bit more. If I saw these in a shop I would not buy them- I made the mistake of getting them online where it was not clear from the picture the size of the item.
My wife and I were commenting a few weeks ago that we really needed to go and hire a carpet cleaner as we live in a rented property and the carpets throughout the house are a grey-beige colour with a sort of raised bumpy texture so we really ought to keep them clean as our deposit could depend on it when we come to move out.
I happened to mention this to my parents as I wondered if they knew where was the best place to go to hire a carpet cleaner and was told it would probably cost me around £80-£100 to hire a carpet cleaner with the cost of detergent and as we do not have a car it would be awkward to get the cleaner back from a carpet cleaner hire place.
My parents decided to surprise us and as a late wedding present, bought us a VAX V-124 Dual V carpet cleaner and had it sent to our house. The cleaner arrived in a huge box and was a lovely surprise. We were over the moon. I opened the box and to my delight saw the machine comes all but assembled (there is a note that VAX have decided to supply these with the handle attached so it is easier for us consumers). All I had to do was attach the hose if I desired to use the hose feature and slot the tanks on to it and hey presto. It also came with a bottle of VAX carpet cleaning solution so everything we needed came supplied in the box.
My wife decided we had to use the carpet cleaner the other day as the state of our off beige carpets became apparent when she bought some new slippers and within two days the soles were starting to look dirty. The machine comes with an easy to use manual which is 18 pages of everything you need to know to use the VAX dual-V. The manual starts with a diagram of the back and front of the machine and safety information which it is a very good idea to read as there are some things on it I would not have thought of- such as vacuum the carpet before washing and unplugging the machine before cleaning of the unit.
Then the manual goes on to show you how to attach the hose and hand tool attachments. Then there is a four page step by step guide to using the cleaner then it goes on to cover accessories, cleaning and product maintenance and finally a troubleshooting section at the back. I love the layout of the manual and my wife who is a bit of a technophobe found the carpet cleaner easy to use just from following the manual.
The VAX dual V carpet washer comes with a tank for collecting dirty water, a tank where you put warm water and the carpet detergent supplied- the machine mixes the detergent for you so you do not have to worry about measurements. It states 40ml detergent to 1litre of water which makes it effiicient with detergent use. Primarily we used this on the carpets in the main rooms of our house- the front room, living room and bedrooms. We both found it VERY easy to use. The tanks on the front of the cleaner are transparent so you can actually see the machine working and you can easily see when the tanks are full or empty.
There is a pedal at the back that you step on so the push handle moves backwards and lets you push the machine backwards and forwards as you would an upright vacuum cleaner. The cleaner has its operation buttons on the top of the handle. To turn on, you plug the machine in and slide the on/off button to the on position. You have the option of using the manchine to wash or rinse carpets and to turn the brushes inside the bottom of the machine on (for carpets) or turn these off (for picking up liquid spills).
As soon as you turn the machine on it starts whirring. The noise is not too loud- it is actually quieter than a Henry Vacuum for example. But you would not be able to hold a conversation with someone whilst this was turned on wthout hollering. To clean your carpet it is a very simple process- you start at the opposite side of the room so you are not walking over a damp carpet whilst you are cleaning. It is easier if you use this machine in straight lines so you can tell the parts of the carpet you have cleaned.
To clean, you simply squeeze a black button on the underside of the handle and push the machine forwards slowly then (with the button still pressed in) you pull the machine back over the same strip of carpet When you pull the machine back you can see water being sucked into the machine. Then you go back over the same strip several times without having the button pressed in- this lifts off the water and detergent and you see all the dirty water filling up the dirty water tank at the bottom of the cleaner.
You then repeat these steps until your whole room is done. We were amazed that you can instantly see a difference. As we did each strip of the carpet, it appeared to be paler and cleaner than the rest of the carpet. After we had finished the first room, my wife commented that the carpet was both cleaner looking (in an instant) and not as damp as she thought it would be. Normaly when you think of washing a carpet, you think you will have to use a cleaner then go out for 6+ hours so you are not walking on wet carpet. The carpet we had cleaned felt damp to the touch but not wet. It was possible to walk on the carpet just cleaned within 15 minites wearing socks and not have wet patches on the socks.
We love this machine. It is by far the easiest carpet cleaner I have ever used and my wife loves how it looks (the colour scheme is red and grey with transparent sections) and that she can use it too as it is not too heavy or too bulky or awkward for her to use. The machine is not heavy to push forward or pull back. It is easy to move around even when there is water in the tanks by lifting the handle into an upright position then tipping the machine back and rolling it on it's wheels. It has made an immediate difference to our carpets. The carpets also smell fresher too. So the house smells better overall.
The most shocking thing was the colour of the water coming up off the carpets- the dirty water. The water and detergent that goes into the machine are both colourless. The water that came off the carpet was black and cloudy. It was totally disgusting. There was even a gritty sandy residue in the dirty water tank. We hoover our carpets twice a week and we knew they were a bit grimy but did not expect the dirty water to be anywhere near that colour.
The dirty water tank has a yellow float in it that rises to the surface when the dirty water tank is full so you know you need to empty this out to continue cleaning. It is easy to remove the dirty water tank merely by flipping two switches and lifting the tank off by its handle. Both the clean water tank and the dirty water tank have handles with smiley faces at the sides. This is a great attention to detail from VAX. The lid of the dirty water tank is easy to remove just by lifting it and there is a mesh filter inside this that collects fuzz and hairs- this is easy to rinse out to clean the dirty water tank.
Our 5m x 5m living room used three quarters of the clean water tank and three quarters of the dirty water tank. We cleaned the dirty water tank and refilled the clean water tank before moving onto the second room. Technically, we did not need to do this as the machine would make a higher pitched noise and stop working when it was full, but we decided to refill it before it got to that stage.
This carpet washer has spin scrub technology and features a heated cleaning system with brushes to it can scrub your carpet and this helps it to get your carpet cleaner. There is a hose with a hand tool that fits on the end with little brushes on it so you can use this to clean stairs or you can use the hand tool for stains or stubborn areas. I like how you can use this machine to immediately lift and liquid spillages- so if you spill a bottle of wine- just grab the VAX, turn the brushes to 'off' and start using the machine to suck up the liquid. It could save your carpet.
I have done some research and have found these selling for between £260 and £340 and they come with a 6 year guarantee. I am so glad we have this as hopefully we will never have to buy another carpet cleaner again. All the parts are cleanable and I think this takes the hassle out of cleaning your carpets, it takes the hassle out of hiring a cleaner. It is multi functional as it can be used for stains, whole rooms, stairs, spills and the manual is so easy to follow.
I would highly recommend this as the best carpet washer I have ever used. If you are looking to buy a carpet washer, then definitely give this a try. It will save you time and money and maybe even the deposit if you rent your house!
I am aware that this may be seen as quite a controversial review and may well alienate me from some people who regularly read and rate my reviews but this is my opinion and isn't that what dooyoo is all about.
About a month ago whilst bored flicking through the usual terrible TV channels on a Saturday evening I came across an advert for ITV's new dating show Take Me Out that was going to be on later that evening. I thought due to the fact there seemed to be nothing else on TV at that time my wife and I decided to watch it, note to self never ever watch terrestrial TV on a Saturday evening ever again.
Shown on a Saturday between 7pm and 8pm on ITV and repeated throughout the week on ITV's sister channels it seems as though ITV are really pushing this to be their flagship show for the much fought after light entertainment slot on Saturday evenings.
I really should have know better when I put on this show or maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, I have not watched or enjoyed anything that ITV have produced in probably around 10 years and even thinking back that long I can't think of one show I have sat down to watch weekly, needless to say Take Me Out is also going onto the list of "Arnolds things he will never watch again".
As soon as the show began I knew I was going to hate it, for starters it was hosted by Paddy McGuiness who is inexplicably popular thanks solely to the fact he is friends with Peter Kay and that he very luckily managed to ride on his coat tails and somehow carve out a very comfortable living himself without actually possessing any talent, it does appear now-a-days that if you have a regional accent then you already have a foot in the door to get on to TV, I really don't understand this. Secondly, when they bring out the 30 "lovely single ladies" to stand behind their podiums it like a Primark runway show, I have no idea where the producers found these woman, as even at a real push I couldn't find one attractive or decent human being out of the lot of them, they are just a bunch of overly made up, fake tanned, silicon implanted air heads with aspirations of being a WAG to a third rate footballer.
The concept of the show is bog basic, I was expecting something along the lines of blind date but I was sorely mistaken. 30 single girls stand behind a podium and on that podium is a light switch which the ladies are allowed to switch off if they are not interested in the man available throughout a series of rounds. Then we come to the male contestants, like the ladies I have no idea where they drag these people up from, each of the men are overly groomed, fake tanned idiots with a even less interesting hobby, normally the men can barely string a sentence together but look quite pretty, it does make you wonder sometimes how these people actually function in the real world and if its good for the British population to actively pair these morons off with each other but that's another question.
Anyway back to the show, the show starts off with all 30 girls stood there with their lights switched on then Paddy introduces the first male contestant, based on first impressions and looks alone the girls can then chose to leave their lights on if they like the guy or switch them off if the don't, Paddy like the great sage he is created his own memorable quotation or catchphrase if you will for this "no likey, no lighty" at the point I heard this it I felt I was actually going to cry with embarrassment but because I had endured so much of it by now I had to see it through.
Round two, oh no theres more, well unfortunately so. At this point in the show the girls get to see a short video clip of the male contestant's friends or family usually revealing something extremely dull and irrelevant but able to gain ohhs and ahhs from the crowd, again the girls get to chose if to leave their lights on or not.
Round 3, by this point I was losing the will to live but I persevered I think it was masochism on my part but I wanted to see how low this could possibly get. In round 3 the male contested shows off his special skill that makes him appealing to the opposite sex, be it juggling, weight lifting, cage fighting, whatever this poor man thinks that makes him stand out in the crowd, again the girls chose to leave there lights on or switch them off.
Now If the male is lucky (or unlucky in my opinion) enough to still have girls interested and have there lights on this is where the tables turn, then man now gets to switch off the lights of the girls he doesn't like leaving 2 remaining women. Once the man has chosen his 2 potential dates he gets to ask them one question to which both girls have to respond, you would think that if you were to go on a date with one of these total strangers you would ask them a meaningful question but not on this show, the questions range from poor to ridiculous and the responses are supposed to be innuendos and have underlying sexual connotations, at one point I did find myself laughing out loud when the male contestant asked "if we were to have a nice romantic meal together what would you cook for me?" fair enough question I thought the first girl replied something like "beans on toast as its quick and gives us more time for dessert" the crowd went wild and met the response with raptures of oooohs and applause, the second girl then gave her answer "I would make chilli con carne, because I like it" well fair play to the girls for her honesty but I don't really think she got the point of the question, it made me chuckle anyway.
So once both girls have given their answers the male contestant gets to choose which one he wants to take on a date, the decsion is made and the couple are congratulated by Paddy and then told where they are going for their date. The date is always at the same place Fernando's in Manchester, now I don't know if I've missed something or I just don't get it but every time Paddy McGuiness says "now off to your date at Fernando's" the crowd goes wild as whipped up into a frenzy and everyone laughs and claps and the whole things doesn't make any sense to me. Over a 1 hour show you usually have 3 or 4 guys come out trying to win a date and the ladies stay on for as long as they don't get chosen, which in some of the girls cases will be the duration of their lives not just as long as the show is running.
All the way through the show Paddy makes idle small talk to the girls, giving us a insight into what they are all about and what they look for in a man, I think if I were a girl I would be quite embarrassed to watch this as they are so pathetic that it just gives women a bad name and really it comes as no great surprise they are all single. Paddy attempts to keep the show ticking over with jokes and catchphrase all of which are met with great applause from the girls and the assembled audience but to me are met with deafly silence apart from the occasional rustle of tumbleweeds passing by.
This really is television at its worst and It amazes me that anyone watches it at all, what it has done however is make me get over my social anxiety and made me want to leave the house more because I would rather be anywhere else than near a TV between 7pm and 8pm on a Saturday ever again.
About 6 months ago my wife came home from work with a carrier bag from Boots, this is not an unusual occurrence as she tends to go to Boots everyday in her lunch hour to see if there are any bargains or to spend the points she may have accrued on her Boots Vantage card. What was unusual this day was in the bag was something she had found in the reduced to clear section for me; it was Ted Baker Shaving Gel. Knowing that I am a complete devotee to the Ted Baker brand and in particular their range of male personal grooming products it seemed an absolute bargain at 99p reduced from £4 for a 150ml squeezable tube of shaving gel.
I am normally quite particular about my shaving gel and it is certainly one thing I pay that little bit extra for brand name products. Due to my sensitive skin I'm always on the lookout for new products to try but have to be very careful that the products cater to my needs, the bottle of Ted Baker Shaving Gel claimed just that, the bottle read 'ideal for sensitive skin' and the ingredients contained Aloe Vera, Tee Tree and Vitamin E, in my experience all these are normally good for me so I didn't see any problems arising from trying this new gel.
Before using the gel I removed the top and gave it a quick sniff, the bottled boasted that it was fragrance free, now I cant claim I know much about the chemistry being these types of products but the term 'fragrance free' suggested there would be no odour, well that simply was not the case. The gel seemed to have a very off putting minty toothpaste like aroma which did not sit comfortably with me, I thought it may just have been the bottle so I squeezed a little out onto my finger so I could investigate further. I was right the first time for some reason it did smell of toothpaste, thinking I was going mad I asked my wife for a second opinion and although she didn't think it was as bad as I was making she did concur that it did have a toothpaste like smell.
Upon first impressions I wasn't too inspired by this product but after persuasion from my wife I decided that it was unfair to judge it just on its smell and I was best to give it a try whilst shaving to judge its performance. I quickly jumped in the shower had a wash then came to shaving. I squeezed some of the gel onto may hands and tried rubbing them together to make a lather like I do with every other gel product I have ever used, not matter what I tried I couldn't get the gel to the consistency that I am used to and I ended up using around 4 times the recommended amount to cover the area of my face that required shaving, not a good start in my book.
The shave itself was smooth but to be fair I expected that due to the sheer amount of gel I had to use to get an even covering. Almost as soon as I finished shaving my face felt hot and very tender to the touch, I could already feel that I was going to have some sort of reaction to this product so I quickly tried to remedy this with my Nivea post shaving cream and my Ted Baker Moisturiser, this did seem to do the trick and stop any reaction happening but my face still felt a little tender.
Due to these reasons I have not used this product again and it now sits in my medicine cabinet with the other toiletries that are for emergency use only. I really hope that I was just unlucky and I picked up a faulty bottle as like I have said before I love Ted Baker's range of male toiletries and for most things it's the only brand I use. Unfortunately I had such a poor experience with the shaving gel I will not get the opportunity to find out if I did just get a bad bottle as I wouldn't ever consider buying it again as £4 is a little steep if I'm just to be disappointed again. It's a real shame because I really wanted to love this product, but I guess sometimes things in the bargain bucket bite back.
No matter if you class yourself as a foodie; like me, if you enjoy good food and dining in quality restaurants or if you are happy having beans on toast every evening I would challenge anyone who claims they don't love Heinz Tomato Soup, there just simply isn't a soup that even comes close to matching it.
I think it is just one of those things that are like an unwritten law that I would happily bet that around 80% of British households have at least one famous red tin of the stuff lurking in the back of the cupboard somewhere in case of emergencies. If you don't you should, the knowledge that opening a can popping the contents into a pan over a moderate heat and 3 minutes later you have this amazing red liquid should bring comfort to everyone.
I find Heinz Tomato Soup the perfect comfort food, for me it has to be served in a large mug and never a bowl (this is very important in my opinion) with a couple of twist of black pepper to help bring out the tomato flavour and served simply with a fresh warm baguette, torn not sliced or some nice brown bread, my mouth is already watering just writing this review.
My wife has just informed me the rules of comfort food are: women need chocolate whereas men need Heinz Tomato Soup. I for one couldn't agree more.
It's actually quite difficult to describe the taste of the soup as basically after all it's just tomato soup. If you are trying to find a comparison you will find that Heinz is in a league of its own, its rich smooth creamy texture with a real punch of tomato flavour is simply unrivalled by anything I've tried anyway. I love trying new things so I have tried pretty much every brand I could think of but no matter what they don't compare and I always go back to my much loved Heinz. Perhaps its just one of those things like Heinz Tomato Ketchup, that because you are brought up with something and you are so used to its flavour that trying a different brand variation always leaves you disappointed and questioning why you thought you would try something else in the first place.
Now here comes the bit I don't like doing but feel you have to always put it in the review regardless.
Tomatoes (84%), Water, Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Modified Corn flour, Salt, Dried Skimmed Milk, Milk Proteins, Cream, Spice Extracts, Herb Extract, Citric Acid
Contains Milk, Free From Artificial Colours, Free From Artificial Flavours, Free From Artificial Preservatives, Suitable for Vegetarians
1 serving = 113 Calories, 5.9Fat, 1.4g Salt
So if this is so a whole can must be
1 400g can = 226 calories, 11.8g of fat and 2.8 g of salt
You can buy Heinz Tomato Soup pretty much everywhere it's arguably the most widely available brand there is out there. The cost of a normal 400g tin is around 82p but if you shop around Heinz tend to have a deal on in supermarket or another and you can normally find a 4 cans for £2 deal which I did recently at Sainsburys.
Overall I would recommend this soup to everyone who is a fan of pre-prepared soups and in particular fans of tomatoes. If you haven't already tried this (which I find impossible to believe) then you should because you are missing out on world's finest soup.
Its 5 stars from me every time.
I have always assumed that Sainsbury's was a high end supermarket so when my wife suggested that we switch doing our monthly grocery shopping from the reliable relatively cheap tesco.com I thought she had gone mad. My wife and I live on a very strict budget for food so to think going for the high end options just seemed totally illogical. I reluctantly decided to indulge her and let her put together a monthly shopping list using the www.sainsburys.com.uk website whilst I slyly did the same shopping list on tesco.com much to my surprise the Sainsbury's shopping list came in a startling £20 cheaper than Tesco and the delivery fee was cheaper still.
Before I was made redundant around 9 months ago my wife and I would spend quite frivolously when it came to grocery shopping, we had no plan or system and would go to a supermarket at least once a week and end up coming out with completely random things. Since money now is tight we have been much more careful and organised when doing our shopping. We do one major shop once a month which we have delivered as we don't own a car at the moment; we then set aside £10 a week for any fresh groceries milk, bread, vegetables etc. and this has been working quite well. Our average bill for our monthly shopping was coming in at a not unreasonable £90-100 including delivery but any way to get that figure down would always be a bonus.
When we decided to try www.sainsbury.co.uk as I said before I was certainly not convinced that this would remotely be a money saving excercise but in things like this I love being proved wrong. We went on to the website and had to set up a account which required your name, address, contact number, email address and a password and then you could get going creating your shop.
The website is very user friendly which makes it easy to navigate around to find what you want. There is a search facility so if you know exactly what you want you just type it in and it brings it up, you can search by brand or by product and you can also search by the basics range of products which will bring up a extensive list of all Sainsbury own brand value range products. We have used this site for the last 3 months and have been very impressed.
I find creating the shopping list online to be much easier than going round Sainsbury's shops as I often find their layouts in store are very confusing and difficult to find what you need, I also think doing shopping like this, once a month and online, means you have much more control over what you are spending as doing it this way means you are less likely to but something that wasn't on your shopping list just because you were in the shop and it took your fancy.
Once you have created your shopping list by finding the products you want and adding them to your basket you are all ready to go to the checkout, Sainsburys.co.uk does allow you to log out of your account and save your basket mid shop which is a great feature so you can build your shopping list up over the month meaning you don't forget anything when it comes to the actual order. There is one drawback with this as my wife has had problems where sometimes she would add products, save her trolley and next time she goes back to it random items are missing so I think your best bet is to be vigilant and also keep a hard copy of a shopping list so you can cross reference before proceeding to the check out.
At the checkout a helpful message comes up which asks you if you would like replacements for any products that may be unavailable when your order is dispatched, we tend not to accept substitutes just in case the replacement is a lot more expensive than the original but its your own choice. After you have gone past this message you are asked to choose a delivery slot, we have as yet never been able to get same day delivery and normally have to chose a slot a couple of days later, which is a bit of a pain as Tesco's do offer same day delivery. The price of delivery is much cheaper than Tesco if you spend more than £40, once your shopping reaches £40 the cost of delivery goes down to £3.50 as opposed to £6 for orders under the £40 barrier. The slot is a 1 hour window and If they don't deliver in the specified slot even if they are 2 minutes late like my first experience using them you receive a £10 voucher which need to be redeemed with 3 weeks of receipt but you do have to use it online and If you your spending under £40 you will still have to pay the £6 delivery as you can't use the voucher against delivery, but its still a nice gesture in my opinion.
You simply pay for your items using your debit/credit card on a secured page and hey presto you are done and you its down to sitting and just waiting for the delivery men to come. The delivery drivers are helpful and if it's the first time using them they will read you a prepared statement with your rights and terms of the Sainsbury's quality agreement. You can choose to have your shopping delivered without bags which is part of the green policy and your shopping turns up in crates and you just empty it onto the floor and put it away once the driver has gone.
I wholly recommend this site as its range of basics far surpass that of Tesco's value range thus meaning our shopping came in a lot cheaper. The only thing I would say is keep an eye on your basket and double check it before you proceed to check out just to make sure everything you want is there. With cheap delivery and good value for money products this makes for an excellent way to save a few pennies off your monthly shop if you are trying to live on a budget.
My wife is an avid Dooyoo user and one night when she was going through peoples reviews and rating them she came across something that made her stop and literally yelp with excitement. She looked at me and just said she had found something that I would absolutely love, she wasn't wrong that's for sure, she turned the laptop round to show me what she had found and it was the Lego Brick Light.
Both my wife and I are massive Lego fans and love their range of home wares available from their website www.lego.com and places like eBay and Amazon, so we thought the Lego Brick Light would make a great addition to our ever growing collection that currently features, cutlery set, salt and pepper shakers and silicon Lego brick muffin tray.
Having a little bit of money in her PayPal account we found a Lego Brick Light on eBay £9.99 plus postage and packaging so we thought that these might be hard to find again so we bought it there and then. About 5 days later a box turned up with the light inside.
From the minute I opened the box and saw the light I was impressed, the light itself is around 9cm squared and about 3cm deep, it has a blue base, I believe they come in a variety of colours but I have only seen red and blue available online. The light itself is frosted white that is not opaque but not see through either, it's kind of like a pearl light bulb in colour.
I carefully removed all the bits that were holding the Lego Brick Light in its box this was actually quite tricky and meant you had to spend about 5 mins untwisting all its wire holders, then I took the light out and grabbed the instructions.
The light is in 3 parts, there is a back plate that fits into the body of the light via the traditional Lego brick fixings which I though was a very clever nice touch. You need to remove the back plate to get into the main body of the light, once the plate is removed and the body exposed you see an on/off switch and instruction for the batteries, it requires 3 AAA batteries. To fit the batteries you need to remove 2 screws holding the body plate to the bod to get inside then simply put in the batteries replace the body plate screw it back in place and switch it on. I thought at this point the light would come straight on but it didn't I was left wondering what I had missed as the instructions looked simple then I realised my stupidity and the on/off switch was only to enable the actual push button on the front of the light to work.
The light itself is 4 small LED's that are encased behind the white covering, this gives off quite a bright light but due to its covering allows it just a mellow glow. The distance the light travels is quite limited which I think is fine as I wanted it as a night light as before I got this every time I would switch on my bedside lamp it would wake my wife from sleep, the Lego Brick Light hasn't disturbed her sleep once and has enough power so I can have it on and read a book or do a crossword in bed.
The back plate on the light has pre-drilled slots available for mounting to the wall, although there are now screws included for this. There are instructions in the box on how to do this and it is very simple. You remove the back plate from the main body using the Lego fitting technology, place the back plate onto the surface you wish to mount it, screw two screws in the holes provided in the back plate and simply screw it into the wall or surface, you then just push the body of the light onto the mounted back plate and thats it.
As of yet I can't comment on the battery life of the Lego Light Brick as I only got this product last week, I have placed 3 bargain basement Morrisons own brand AAA batteries in and I really have no idea when they will run out, I shall make a note to update this review when they do run out just so I can provide as much information as possible.
I adore this product mainly because its Lego and I love all things Lego, I do think there will be a increase in products along these line dues to the rising popularity of Lego thanks to James May's toy stories TV show where he built a full size Lego house and lived in it for 24 hours, I also noticed that Santander have jumped on the bandwagon with their latest advertising campaign. I do hope that this is the case and Lego bring out more home wares like this because the world is just a prettier place when it's made from little pieces of Danish magic.
My wife and I were lucky enough to get a promotional copy of Disney Pixar's latest movie offering Up. We eagerly sat down and started watching the film. I'm not going to the review the film as that's for another day but needless to say we loved it, In fact we loved it so much that when it came to our local cinema we went and saw it again.
Its had been a while since I'd seen a movie that made me laugh and cry that much and had really brilliant characters, in particular the talking dog Dug. So when I was searching through the bargain basement on www.amazon.co.uk for Nintendo Wii games I couldn't believe when I saw Disney Pixar's Up Wii on the site for only £9.99 plus postage and packaging.
Due to the fact I'm completely reliant on my wife's income at the moment whilst I'm fighting a battle with the Department of Work & Pensions I needed to persuade my wife to buy the game. A plan was now in order, whilst she was at work the next day I decided to cook her favourite dinner (lasagne) and I had made sure I had done all my chores around the house, then when I heard her keys in the door I strategically opened Amazon on the page where I had found Up Wii on the laptop and let all my hard work take its course. After we enjoyed the lovely home made lasagne my wife turned to me and asked if I had seen you could get Up for the Wii? I replied that I had just glanced at it and asked her how much was it. Well my pan worked a treat and she ordered the game there and then.
Like good old Amazon the game was through my letterbox about 2 days later. I would normally get straight into the game but I was in the middle of a marathon Mario Kart Wii session so it would just have to wait. A couple of hours later when I got frustrated my Mario Kart I thought I would give Up a go.
From looking at the box the game looked a little childish and I thought that this may be a bit easy for regular game player, the box also stated "basic reading ability is needed to fully enjoy the game" this did not fill me with a lot of confidence that the game would be to the level of gaming I would be used to.
I popped the CD into the Wii and created a saved game when prompted and began the game. The game requires you to use the Wii nun chuck as well as the Wii remote so I put them together and waited for the game to start. The first level was very different to the back of the box; it was a flying level where you play as Dug. The idea was to fly round in a little plane and protect Carl and Russell and their flying home from the flying forces of the evil Charles F. Muntz and his brigade of talking dogs. I found this aspect of the game actually quite difficult and it took me quite a few goes to get past this level so from there I thought the game wouldn't be as childish as I had previously thought.
After completing the flying level on about the 10th attempt the real aspect of the game began. The game is an adventure game where you play as Carl and Russell and later you can play as Dug all at the same time switching between each character to use their individual strengths to navigate through each level, solving clues, fighting different baddies and collecting information to help in later levels. Whilst playing the opening few levels there are in game tutorials so you can get used to what each character can do and what to do at each obstacle you face throughout the game.
The game stays loosely to the story of the film where our hero's pensioner and all round grump Carl Fredrickson and his sidekick wilderness adventure (boy scout) Russell trying to fulfil Carl's late wife's dream retire moving their house to the magical Paradise Falls. The game begins in Paradise Falls with the overall objective to get the house to its final resting place whist navigating various obstacles and enemies along the way.
The overall game is quite easy for an accomplished game player but because of the love of the film and the cute cartoonish nature of the game I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. The game has very nicely animated environments to investigate around and many hidden little objectives and missions throughout the game. I did manage to finish the game in around 4 hours which I know is not a long time but upon competition I realised there is also hidden mission which I hadn't done so I had to go back through the levels and find all the hidden objects to completely finish the game, which I thought was a nice little extra in a sweet game.
Overall I would recommend this game if you loved the film as much as I did, but I would mainly recommend this game if you have children as I think it's the type of game children would love. The game play wasn't very challenging for me but for the younger less experienced gamer I could see this being a little more difficult thus making it a good stepping stone for more complex games in the future. Regardless of the easiness of this game I loved it and I have continued to play it long after I had finished the real game aspect trying to complete all the hidden missions and I will continue to do so. A great little game for a bit of fun.
As with most of the reviews I write about food stuffs they all normally stem from my wife popping into Morrisons on her way home from work and taking a peak on the reduced-to-clear aisle or on the Frozen food offers aisle. My wife tends to do this once a week and it's a lottery as to what I get as I cant physically walk to Morrisons myself any more to make my own decisions.
I like to cook a proper meal from scratch using fresh ingredients around three or four times a week but on a Monday night I tend to have some one could say was the unhealthy or quick and easy option I suppose. On a Monday I normally have things like fish fingers, waffles and beans, frozen pizza or something that my wife has got that was offer that week from Morrisons. This week's choice from the frozen offers aisle for Arnold's tea was Bernard Matthews Golden Drummers which my wife picked up for a very reasonable 89p for a pack containing 6 drummers.
Well being quite a foodie and also enjoying watching cookery shows on TV when I looked at the Drummers I started thinking of the Jamie's School Dinners TV programme that was on a few a years ago where he complained about some processed turkey type product and went on a crusade to have them removed from our children's lunchtime menus. Well I am very fortunate in the fact I don't put on weight regardless of what I eat or how much and I only have things like this once a week I wasn't too bothered about Jamie's crusade as I was just hungry.
I had one major concern when I looked at the pack in all its plastic shrink wrapped glory and that was one of memories. You may seemed puzzled by this, well let me explain. I have had this problem with quite a few different foods of late, I have bought things or tried things I used to love when I was a little kid only to find them disgusting now, probably the worst example was when I bought a Frey Bentos Steak Pie because I used to love them, I couldn't wait to cook it and eat it all, but upon opening it there was a very odd smell, whilst cooking it the smell was worse and by the time it had cooked I had pin pointed the smell, it smelt like cheap dog food, I had one mouthful and I spat it out and I was most upset because something I had such fond memories of was wiped out that quickly, I was worried the same thing would happen with my Golden Drummers. When I was in high school they used to sell what was Turkey Drummers back then at tuck break and I think they were 10-15p each, now I never used to eat my dinner at school because I would save my dinner money for better things but I always needed to have something to get me through the day so throughout my high school days I think I had at least one turkey drummer a day, so I have a long history with these things an I was scared I wouldn't like them now.
Using a knife I made a slit in the plastic packaging and took out 3 drummers as they looked quite substantial they were drummer shaped (obviously) and were about 8cm long and about 2.cm deep. They looked exactly as I remembered them, drummer shaped and covered in breadcrumbs. I put the oven on and took a peek at the cooking instructions, Oven cook from frozen at 200c or Gas Mark 6 for 25mins turning half way through cooking or you could grill them on a moderate to hot grill for 15-16 mins turning occasionally. Now knowing my temperamental oven tends to cook things at full cooking time plus a 3rd of the cooking time again I decided to cook them for 15 mins and then turn them and cook for a further 15 mins, this seemed to work perfectly.
I served my drummers with some curly fries, lashings of salt and vinegar and plenty of tomato sauce. The drummers smelt really good on the plate and before I began to eat them the customary thing to do in our house of late is to allow my wife to first measure them, give them a good sniff and fell and then have a little bite out of the for dooyoo review purposes. Once my wife had gone through her routine I could start my dinner, I went straight in there for the Golden drummer, the breadcrumb was crispy but still cut easily and didn't flake away from the meat like some cheaper ones do. The meat inside although I couldn't really tell you what it is as it's processed looked quite nice and smelt great too. I went straight in for a bite and all those memories came flooding back to me from being a kid, the things were lovely, I was so pleased. The meat was meaty (for want of a better word) it tasted of poultry perhaps a little stronger tasting than chicken but it didn't really taste like turkey either, anyway it was nice so who cares. I quickly wolfed down the lot and with my curly fries I was completely full and I had no room for my raspberry turnover that was in the fridge which was a huge surprise.
If you have read my other food reviews I don't really care about the fat contents or nutritional values of the products I eat as they don't impact on me in anyway so what I do here is copy down some Info from the back of the packet and hope it's enough to satisfy the needs of you dear readers.
Turkey (62%), breadcrumbs, batter (water, wheat flour, maize flour, salt, raising agents E450, E500), marinade (water, palm oil, "natural" flavouring [???!], salt, stabiliser E450, milk protein, rosemary extract, dextrose, caramel), vegetable oil.
I have no idea what some of these things are and in some cases I don't really want to.
340g per pack = 6 drummers. The nutritional information is given per 100g "as sold" AND per 100g "baked" which is very confusing!
Per 100g "as sold": 258 calories and 18.0g fat (3.7g saturated fat)
Per 100g "baked": 295 calories and 21.1g fat (5.6g saturated fat).
Odd how something gains calories when cooked but I don't understand what those numbers mean anyway it just caught my eye.
In summary like a majority of these food reviews I will keep easting these as long as my wife buys them, which as we know is dependant on how long they are on offer for then I shall try the next thing she gets and more than likely review it on here. I like the taste of the Golden Drummers they are simple to cook and quite filling for a main meal with some kind of side dish.
One interesting thing though is where they ever called Turkey Drummers? I always thought they were and if they were why did they change the name? Is it the reason I can't really distinguish the meat taste? Just one to ponder over, if I find the answer I will update this review.
One thing I really love about Heinz soups is that almost always there is some major supermarket doing a deal on them and recently my wife and I have been doing our monthly "big shop" at Sainsburys. After filling up our online basket with all the usual things we normally need we then turned to the offers section on the website and had a good trawl through to see if there was anything that was worthwhile getting. I was delighted to see that all Heinz 400g tins of soup were on offer for 4 cans for £2, we thought this was a bargain so I quickly put 4 tomato soups in the basket and I was going to be done, until my wife suggested I get another 4 for my lunches. Imp currently not working at the moment and most of time we don't have snack food in the house so when it comes to my lunch Vie either got to properly cook something from scratch or from the freezer which always seems like a bit of a waste of money when I'm just for me.
When coming to choose my next 4 cans we realised that the offer was for every flavour of soup they had in the range so since I was well and truly stocked up on my favourite tomato soup I decided that I would get 4 soups I'd never tried before. I ended up getting Mulligatawny, Scotch Broth, Carrot and Lentil and Potato and Leek. I had never tried these before and 2 out of the 4 were pretty obvious as to what they will taste like the other 2 the Mulligatawny and the Scotch Broth were a complete mystery to me.
The Sainsburys delivery was at around 10am a couple of days later and after struggling due to my persistent chronic knee pain to put away all the shopping I was worn out and hungry and need something to pick me up. I looked in the cupboard at all the soups I had bought and I seemed to be drawn to the Mulligatawny, I think I liked the name it sounded Welsh or possibly Indian I wasn't too sure put I grabbed the can anyway and took a look at the label. The label took me quite by surprise It said something along the lines of it being a Beef curry flavoured soup with a blend of spices and mango chutney, what a bizarre combination for a soup I thought to myself but never the less I thought I'd give it a try.
The deal was on the 400g cans and the can was its usual Heinz red colour which we all know and love and had the fantastic ring pull opening mechanism which is just fantastic. I didn't really need to look at the can to find out the cooking instructions because it's a tin of soup its not rocket science. I got a pan out of the cupboard lit the hob and pour the contents of the can into the pan. It appeared to flop out all in one big brown lump which I really wasn't keen on and also wasn't really expecting, I quickly swapped my wooden spoon for a whisk and started to stir the soup to try and break up the blob into something that resembled soup. After about 2 mins of constant stirring on a low heat I and managed to break up the blob and it was now looking like a thick brown soup with flecks of beef and some bits of vegetables and I think a little rice, the aroma now started to really come through and It can get a bit to your eyes, the smell is quite a pungent curry smell and it smelt like it could be quite spicy, which is good for me but something to keep a eye out for if your not into spices. After about 4 mins the soup was done so I poured the whole contents into a bowl, grabbed some bread and went and sat down in the living room.
I firstly ripped a bit of brown bread off and dipped it into the soup I let it soak for a few seconds then a took a bite, the soup was unlike any soup Id tasted before and also any curry Id tasted before either. The taste was quite beefy and it certainly had a spiced curry kick to it, its sort of a middle of the road in heat just enough I think for this type of thing. I then went into the bowl with a spoon to try and get a taste of the soup just on its own, this time I got a little more heat and it was still very beefy.
After I finished the bowl of soup and 2 pieces of brown bread I was defiantly full and so I took my bowl into the kitchen and made a coffee. I was sat for about 5 mins trying to figure out if I had enjoyed the soup or not, I liked the flavour of the soup but I wasn't sure if I actually liked it as a soup, what I think I mean here is you could use this as a sauce maybe or as a thickener for a spiced beef stew, the idea of a curry soup is still a little alien to me. I took a swig of my coffee still trying to make my mind up and realised that they coffee tasted disgusting, it too tasted beefy and spicy which I can assure you is not a very pleasant flavour experience. I was worried that the taste of this soup would now taint everything I ate or drank so I felt I had to go and brush my teeth straight away to get the taste out of my mouth, this probably made me come up with the conclusion that I don't like this soup.
Well as you probably all know I've reached the point of the review I don't like, its technical time so here goes
Water, Concentrated Tomato Puree, Beef (6%), Apples, Tomatoes, Rice, Mango Chutney (Mangoes, Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Salt, Acetic Acid, Ginger), Curry Powder (contains Wheat Flour, Celery, Mustard), Vegetable Oil, Sugar, Modified Corn flour, Wheat Flour, Salt, Corn flour, Colour - Plain Caramel, Herb Extract
Contains Celery, Contains Gluten, Contains Mustard, Contains Wheat, Free From Artificial Colours, Free From Artificial Flavours, Free From Artificial Preservatives
The Nutritional Info:
This is little trick for me as I don't understand any of this kind of thing but anyway I will try and make sense of it, the can says that one serving is half of the can so by that note I assume what I ate will be double that, the figures are as follows:
1 serving = 105 Calories, 3.6g Fat, 1.3g Salt
So if this is so a whole can must be
1 400g can = 210 calories, 7.2g of fat and 2.6g of salt
In summary this was a interesting soup and by no means unpleasant It just didn't really work for me and that was more to do with the idea of a curry soup in a can, it still doesn't really sit right with me. Heinz always have some offer on but I think in future I shall be skipping this one off the 4 for £2 deals as long as they continue.
When I first decided to move in with my girlfriend now wife I decided to do it very spare of the moment, I was living in Cumbria with my parents, one evening I was on the phone to my girlfriend and I just decided what the heck and I packed a bag with some clothes In and got a train to Leicester the very next morning to move in with her.
Due to how quickly I decided this rather rash decision I only packed clothes, a couple of books and my IPod thinking that I could always get the rest of my stuff when I needed it. After moving in and getting settled I realised there would be no place for any of my stuff as my girlfriend was renting one room in a shared house and that was quite small.
Now at my parent's house I have an enormous DVD and CD collection, I have around 150 DVDs and bordering on 500 CDs so I had nowhere to put anything. I was loving my new life but I was missing all the entertainment I had at my fingertips when I was back at home. I was trying to figure out a way I could get all my DVDs without having to use up any of the limited space we had in our room with storage for my DVDs. I decided to phone my father and ask him if he had any idea what I could do because I knew he was always doing something or other with DVDs himself, he suggested that he would go through my DVD collection that was still in my room and he would rip the DVD using a program on his computer then compress the files so I he could fit 4-5 onto one blank DVD, I thought this was a great idea so he began sending me DVD's down to me once a week.
After about 6 months I had finally got an all my DVD's converted and onto DVD at my house (there still was around 50) they would only play on my laptop because the files were in avi format so I could get more onto each disc, I kept them in a wallet to minimise space and everything was good. Also around this time I came into a bit of money, it was enough for us to get married and to move into our place. Off we flew to Las Vegas and got married not then two weeks later we moved into our own place.
My dad rented a van and filled it with all the stuff I had previously left at their house before moving and he drove down from Cumbria to Leicester to help us move. After we had moved in we had the delight of unpacking all the boxes and my dad had brought me all my DVD's and CD's as well as my Imac. After a few days of unpacking and putting everything away I realised I didn't actually have a DVD player oops. So I was looking online for one, whilst I was doing this I was also looking for a new portable hard drive.
On eBay I found something called Cyclone Multimedia HDD 500 GB Drive so I looked at the specifications and asked the seller what it did and if I could pop video files straight onto it and have it plugged into my TV and use it as an entertainment Hard Drive. The seller responded saying that was exactly what it did so I put a offer in and won the thing for £90 (this was about 9 months ago now the price has now come down and I shall talk about this later in the review).
About 2 or 3 days later the Cyclone Multimedia Player turned up so eagerly I opened the box and looked inside. In the box you got the shiny black Hard Drive machine which is about 10cm squared and about 3cm tall, a remote control, an usb cable, power supply cable and a scart lead. Oddly as this was a piece of electronic equipment it had no instructions with it. I ok with things like this so I put it all together and thought great. I plugged it in at the mains, switched it on and attached the Hard Drive to my IMac using the USB cable, instantly the Mac recognised it and it showed up on the screen.
Right this is perhaps one of those things I shouldn't say but I will anyway, I download films illegally at times and I had quite a lot on my Mac waiting for me to do something with them so I thought great before going through all the DVDs I have and dragging them onto the Hard Drive I would start with the files I have already to go. I opened up the folder for the Hard Drive it came with 3 in built folder already Movies, Music and Photos, I then opened up the folder with films in on my Mac, I had around 100gbs worth of movies and TV series so I thought here goes. I selected all the files on my Mac and then dragged them to the Hard Drive folder and walked away because I thought it would take some time transferring all that data. After around an hour I went back to the Mac only to see an error message saying Hard Drive not compatible, as you can imagine I wasn't very happy.
I was scratching my head as to what was going on, I tried dragging only 1 file over, nothing, I tried putting some of the music into the music folder, nothing, I was very confused. After a little time I decided to Google the problem, good old Google came through for me and told me that the Cyclone is not compatible with Mac systems they only work with windows based computers. Well this was going to be a real pain.
Now I had over 100 GB of movies on my Mac as I said before and I needed to figure out how I could get these onto the Cyclone. I decided the only thing for it would be time consuming but I had to do it. I unplugged the Cyclone from the Mac and plugged it into my wife's laptop with the USB, the laptop found the Cyclone pretty quickly and auto play started so I chose the open folder to view files options, I then though I would have a trial run. I put an avi (a compressed movies file for people who don't know) onto my wife's laptop and then dragged it from the laptop into the Moves folder in on the Cyclone. Eureka it worked, the transfer took around 20 seconds and I had my first film on the Hard Drive.
Now I was still left with the tricky problem of getting all the files off my Mac and onto the laptop to then transfer them to the Cyclone Hard Drive. I decided that the only way to do it was to use my 4gb pen drive, drop as many files I could fro my Mac onto the pen drive until it was full then remove it from the Mac plug it into the laptop and then drag them from the pen drive to a folder on the laptop. Now you probably thinking this is all just a long and confusing way to go about things and believe me it was, but it was worth it in the long run. After about 4 hours of transferring all my movie files from my Mac to my wife's laptop I was done. I then selected all the files I had transferred and dragged them all into the movie folder on the Cyclone, a box flashed up saying it was going to take an hour or something so this time I decided to wait and watch it for 5 mins to make sure it was working. After 5 mins it was clearly working so I walked away.
After an hour and half I returned to the laptop and it was done, I now decided that before I try anything else I really ought to check to see if it works with my TV. I unplugged the USB from the laptop and plugged the scart lead from the Cyclone into my TV and found the correct AV channel. The TV screen opened up with a title screen asking me what I wanted to choose, movies, music, photos or settings, I chose movies as that was where I had put everything. The movie folder option opened and there were all my files woohoo, I clicked on one and the movie started and was great quality on my TV, I tried a few more and they all worked, I was delighted.
I then decided to get all the DVD's I had on the disc my dad had sent me, I plugged the laptop straight into the cyclone using the USB whilst the cyclone was still attached to the TV, surprisingly it worked, the screen goes blank on the TV so if you are watching something and you want to transfer something else at the same time you cant. I then went through all the discs dragging them all onto the Hard Drive when I had finally finished I had filled 270 GB of the 500 GB capacity.
It was at this point I began to think of organisation as the Cyclone doesn't have any search facility, it just organises everything in alphabetical order so if you have loads of files it would take an eternity to go through all them to find the one you want. I plugged the laptop back into the Cyclone and opened up the folder containing all the movie files, I decided that I was going to organise the films into genres so I right clicked in the folder and chose create new folder, a new folder appeared and I named it comedy, I continued to do this until I had all the folders I wanted and then dropped all the movies into their respective genres and now I needed to test that this had worked. I unplugged the laptop from the USB cable and powered on the cyclone, I clicked the movie folder as I did last time, but this time rather than a bunch of films organised alphabetically there was now the folders with the genres I had created and In each folder the films I had put there, piece of cake really.
So that is simply how it works, I have found it only plays movies that are avi files so if you were wanting to put all your DVD's on it you would have to compress them to that format using some kind of software I'm not sure what.
I have had fun organising all the folders and files but that is because I'm really anal about things like that and I quickly filled the Cyclones 500gb capacity (it was my own fault, I put every episode of every season of 24, Lost, Heroes, Dexter, The Wire and Always Sunny in Philadelphia). When I realised that the Cyclone was almost full I decided I needed to get rid of some things so I did a cull of films to make around 75 GB worth of space. I plugged the Cyclone into the laptop again and started deleting. After I deleted the files I didn't want I checked to see how much free space I had and to my surprise it was the same, I hadn't got anymore space despite deleting all the files I was confused again. I scratched my head once again thinking what to do, I then right clicked my mouse on the icon of the Cyclone in my computer on the laptop and I hovered over the format button for awhile but I fortunately didn't press it instead I chose the disk clean up button and let it run, after it did its thing I checked the memory again and this time the 70gb of space was now available, phew.
For those of you that need to know the technical details of the product I can't really tell you but I can swipe some Info from the site:
TV system: NTSC / PAL 4:3 / 16:9
Video Output: HDMI (Auto EDID, 480P, 576P, 720P 50Hz, 720P 60Hz,1080i 60Hz.) Composite
Video input: Composite
Video Data Format: AVI, MPG, VOB, DAT, Codec : MPEG 1/2/4, AVI, XVID, DIVX3/4/5, Resolutions up to 1080i
LANWired: 10/100Mbps LAN (RJ-45) x 1
HumidityWorking Humidity - 10% 50%
Power12V/3A 35W; 110~240V Free Voltage
Net weight500g (without HDD)
Environment SpecificationFan and Working Temp - 40mm Brushless FAN ; 0°C ~ 60°C
Attach Video FormatRMVB/RM (Must install the corresponding software in computer and access it with network )
Dimensions(LxWxH) : 170 x 165 x 40mm
Subtitle TextSMI, SUB, SRT, TXT
Audio OutputStereo L-R
AudioMP2/3, WMA, WAV
HDD TypeSATA HDD "default package HDD is not included", HDD File System - NTFS / FAT32, Up to 1TB
USB hostHost Port x 1, 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible), Supporting to read USB devices like External USB HDD, Flash Drive.
USB FeaturesUSB Device - Device Port x 1, 480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)
Operating System Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/VISTA
Product Description CYCLONE HDD Media player
Languages English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch
Picture format support JPG/JPEG/BMP
I'm not sure what all that means I just know that it doesn't work with Macs, I use avi files and it has a 500gb capacity and that's all I really care about but I know some people need the info.
You can buy this product from EBay and it's normally around £65-75, you can also get this and other similar products direct from the suppliers at http://www.sumvision.com.cn/product.aspx
With all things like this there are some negatives, sometimes when searching through the files the Cyclone "jams" or gets stuck and normally if you switch it off and on again using the remote control it comes back to live. Sometimes after transferring some files to the har drive from the laptop and even if you have removed the Cyclone correctly from your laptop using the safely remove device way in windows you can switch on the hard drive and up comes a flashing warning saying no HDD detected, I find if this happens switch the Cyclone off using the power switch at the back of the hard drive wait 30 seconds switch it back on and you should be up and running in no time. The remote control range is ridiculous you may as well be turning it over or using the control pad on the machine it has a range of about 2 metres. Sometimes when you transfer a film onto the hard drive there is no sound, this doesn't happen often and I have no explinaton why it does this or what you can do to fix the problem. Finally sometimes when you transfer the file you find that it starts and then stops and goes off onto the next file in the folder but again this is rare.
The two sections in the cyclone marked Photos and Music I am yet to try as I use the Cyclone purely for films and TV series, you are supposed to be able to play your music though a CD player or through your TV and also able to watch through your photos on the Tv screen but I'm not sure. If I do try them I shall udate my review with a little note about it.
Overall I would recommend this product it is a sleek black design with a blue digital screen. It has a huge hard drive capacity and I love the fact that it plugs straight into the TV so that you have your entire movie library in a small box near the TV and don't need tonnes of space for your DVD's. The picture quality is that of a DVD (if you have ripped the file properly or got a good download) and sound quality is excellent too. The product is quite cheap and so makes good value as a hard drive as well as an entertainment unit. It's just a great piece of kit that gets tonnes of use and my house and also means I've been slowly selling off all my old DVDs.
If you have read any of my reviews done so far this year you may have noticed that I am currently not working and at the moment I'm registered disabled with a knee injury that has been baffling doctors, specialist, bound, I can go outside but I cant walk very far so all of the things I normally enjoy doing are kind of on hold until I can get a miraculous cure for this pesky problem. Normally I like nothing more than taking a walk into town, doing some shopping, visiting museums and art galleries but I can't do any of these things any more, the main thing I miss doing is going to gigs as I really love live music.
Anyway just before Christmas when my pain was at its highest and the painkillers I was being prescribed were at there poorest I was pretty much reduced to sleeping on the sofa and when awake sitting there all day too as I couldn't walk very far at all. As you can imagine this is enough to get even the most naturally cheerful of people (which I am not) down in the dumps and pretty bored too. I had slowly been getting more and more depressed and a pain to live with over a few weeks until one day my wife had had enough.
My wife works full time but is also a painter and artist, she is extremely talented and I can't believe the work she can produce, so when she suggested painting to me I thought I can't do it and just shrugged off her suggestion. The following day my wife arrived home with what looked to me distinctly like a canvas and I was a little annoyed thinking she had ignored me and was going to get me painting no matter what I wanted. My wife asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands and then when I opened them I was quite pleased with what I saw, a Reeves Paint by Numbers set. It was a box/packet with paints a paint brush and a picture of an underwater scene which looked colourful and fun.
The box/packet is A3 sized and almost flat with a complete image of the painting on the front, on the reverse of the box is a another smaller picture of the finished image as well as a very handy outlined image which has the all the numbers you need throughout the painting as I later find out it is impossible to not paint over a few so you need a secondary point of reference. The box was quite tricky to open as I didn't want to rip or tear anything as the box said it also doubled up as an easel. Once I got into the box I took out its contents and grabbed the instructions and attempted to assemble the easel, it was quite easy but was way too flimsy and you also need to keep referencing the box for the numbers so I thought it was a waste of time. The Instructions also had a rough guide as to what to do with the painting it suggested looking for the large blocks of single colours and do them first before having to move onto the mixed colours, being a man I don't really follow instructions but seeing as this was my first attempt and I didn't want to ruin it I thought I'd follow it.
In the box itself there was a canvas/board that was outlined with image to paint and numbered, there was a set of 10 pots of acrylic paint with a piece of cardboard you can sit your paints in that also has a reference to their unique numbers, it is important to use this as the paint pots don't have numbers on them, a tip from me is to use the cardboard holder but also to use a permanent marker or some sticky labels to mark the numbers on the pot just to be on the safe side. There was also a paint brush which I did start to use at the beginning but I found when doing the slightly more intricate bits it was a little thick so I stole one of my wife's finer brushes and I used that instead, I still used the brush provided for the larger areas of colour.
I wanted to get going straight away so I got everything out and got myself a jug of water and some tissues for cleaning my brush on my wife's recommendation. I ditched the easel and sat upright on the sofa using a cushion to prop up the board on my lap. As the instruction said start of with large blocks of singe colours I duly obliged. I opened a bottle of number 21 which was black as I thought that would be a good starting point and gave it a little stir and began to paint.
I have never painted in my life and although I am quite creative, artistically minded and when I am actually working I do engineering and architectural drawings and 3D models using the computer, I found the actual painting quite easy, the lines on the painting were thick enough so you didn't stray out of them too easily, the paint was smooth and went onto the board nicely and I was soon getting really stuck into. On the first evening I managed to complete all the plain black numbered colours I could see and thought I'd leave it for the night and start again tomorrow.
The next morning was a Saturday and my wife was doing some overtime, I was so excited to get cracking on the painting I got up with her at 8am (I never normally rise before 12) made a cup of coffee, got my painting and all the bits and bobs out and I started cracking. That day I knew I was meeting my wife at the local pub at 12:30 due to there being a Liverpool match on, so I set my alarm on my phone and started on the next set of colours. The next thing I knew my alarm was going off and it appeared as though 4 hours had just flown by in a heartbeat. I got dressed and hobbled over to the pub to meet my wife and watch the game. During the match I spent most of the time talking to my wife about the painting and getting her input.
When I had got home from the pub I decided I would just have another hour and then make dinner, I wanted my wife to now show me how to mix colours, we had to get a old plate out of the cupboard because annoyingly the Reeves Paint By Numbers despite giving you pretty much everything you need it failed to give you something to mix colours on. My wife explained to me to mix colours you start with a bit of the lighter colour you are mixing then add a little of the darker colour at a time until you have the desired mix, I forgot this a few times and wasted quite a lot of paint but I have the hang of it now. Mixing the paints was quite easy and I began starting to pull the image together. Now I had said I was only going to do one more hour, but in that time my wife had now set her easel up in the living room and I had my I-deck on and we were both sat painting listening to music, low and behold when I next looked up another 5 hours had passed and dinner was still not made.
Over the coming days I would do a couple of hours during the day and because I have been trying to encourage my wife to finish off one her ongoing painting so she can start another, I would do a couple of hours in the evening with my wife also doing hers. I quite like this, we were both engrossed in our own things and own world but still talking and spending time together, and I just found it all very nice.
I finished the painting in a little over a week and my confidence had grown so once finished I changed some colours I didn't agree with and put some effects in to make the whole thing look that little bit nicer.
The paint by numbers my wife got me was a Acrylic paint one and was A3 sized she got this from the shop The Works which you find in most high streets and the cost of this one was £4.99, you can get smaller ones for around £2-4. I have now bought quite a few and I think they are a bargain for a few reasons, 1. They are quite cheap, 2. You get a good week or so of entertainment from them, 3. At the end you are left with a nice picture you can put up on your wall and get a real sense of achievement and 4. The most surprising thing I found was whilst working on a painting for a week I wouldn't spend so much on cigarettes, I would be so engrossed in the painting I would forget to smoke thus not smoking as many therefore saving money, so its a winner all round.
There is a whole variety of different kinds of these paint by numbers by Reeves and we have now been buying them from eBay, we have bought another 4 A3 ones for between £3-6 plus postage and packaging. I've decided that with each paint by numbers I buy I would choose something that looked a little more demanding, I have since gone on to paint a Panda Bear scene, a Light House and Beach scene and a New York City scene, these have all been acrylic based paint by numbers so once I believed my skills were getting better we then bought a oil paint based one which is a replica of Waterlillies by Monet. This paint by numbers was again by Reeves and a little more expensive it was around £8 plus postage and packaging.
I began the Waterlillies painting about a month ago and it is vastly different to the other paint by numbers I have now done, It is a lot harder both to paint (oil paint is much harder to work with) and the subject of the painting is very difficult. I have found myself picking up and leaving this a few times but as of tomorrow I shall be making a real effort to get it finished as I'm really interested to see what I have to do when I've filled in the colour, from there it says I have to add all the finishing touches. If you are familiar with Monet's work you will know that his paintings are not blocks of colour they are all blurred and merged due to the fact he went blind at a young age, so upon finishing this I will have to see what I have and then play around with it.
I really thank my wife for introducing me to Reeves Paint By Numbers as it has helped my greatly, it has given me a focus and something to do when I was getting really down, it is giving me confidence that I may well embark on a Arnold original in the coming months but I would like to think I will always have a paint by numbers on the go at some point. I would highly recommend this if you have ever had the desire to paint but afraid to start or don't want to buy all the kit and realise you don't like it, I would also recommend it to anyone thinking of taking up a new hobby.
This sounds flowery and a little naff but it really has changed my life for the better over the last few months.
I am going to write this review now even though I've only being playing it for a couple of days. The reason I am writing the review now is beacuse if I do not stop paying the game on the Wii shortly I'm going to end up smashing the Wii remote and nunchuck against the wall due to my quickly growing frustration and the fact that of late I've noticed that i do have quite a short temper when it comes to playing computer games.
Over the past few weeks I have realised that I can use my accrued Nectar points in excahnge for rentals at Blockbuster and of late I have really been getting into getting games for the Nintendo Wii my wife and I got for christmas. Being a 30 year old man and having been out of the video game world for quite some time I have been going for the games with favorite titles from my youth, Super Mario Bros, Mario Kart, Sonic etc. These where the games I loved when I was younger and from seeing some advertisments on the TV I am of the opinion that Nintendo have simplyfied the gaming experience and brought it back to basics albeit improved on their original concepts. This for me is fantastic as the old games I loved I can now play and they are fundamentally the same types of games just improved gameplay, larger game environments and new special features.
My latest rental from Blockbuster is Sonic Unleashed Wii, I got the game essentially free using my nectar points but the game would have been £4.25 to rent for a week. Whilst looking up some information of how much it is to buy I found that its only a very reasonable £12.73 on www.amazon.co.uk so if I'd have rented the game for £4.25 and found out the price to actually buy was ony £12.73 I would have been very annoyed indeed.
Anyway for the unititiated Sonic the Hedgehog was first introduced to us gamers all the way back in 1991 and quickly became the mascot for the Sega systems. Sonic is a little blue hedgehog who is extremely fast, in older versions of the game when it was in 2D it was basically just about setting him off running and navigating the platforms, avoiding or killing badies and collecting rings with a loose plot based usually on saving the world from his mechanical nemesis Dr Eggman.
Over the years the Sonic brand has had many different games on many platforms and has had spin off games involving secondary characters introduced when systems and game developers improved. Sonic has become a icon in the gaming world, it has even sparked a movie and a cartoon series so even if you have been away from it for as long as I have (around 15 years) its a icon that is still easily recognisable hence why I rented the game in the firts place.
From looking at the back of the box I was quickly aware that the game had seriousy moved on since I had last played it, for starters the game is now 3D. From the screen shots on the back of the box it appeared as though you play as different characters and the graphics wre obviously a million miles away from the sonic games I was used to, but never the less I was excited to get playing it.
As soon as I got home I put the CD into the Wii and looked at the instructions to see if I needed anything extra, the game requires you to have you Wii remote and the nunchuck, although you can also play with the classic controller or gamecube controller. I put the Wii remote and nunchuch together and began the game.
The game begins with a video sequence explaining what the game actually is about, much to my surprise this game seemed to have quite a decent storyline and plot to follow. I often skip the videos put the jist of the story seems to be something along the lines of that Dr Eggman has reversed the power of chaos emeralds that hold the world together, having done this the worlds 7 continents have been pulled apart and Dr Eggman has awoken a great beast named Dark Gaia. Not only has the world gone into chaos strange things are happening all over the continents none stranger than the transformation our hero Sonic has undergone, now whenever the sun goes down Sonic transforms into a Werehog. This is pretty much all I listened too as I got the gist, the idea of the game seemed to me like I had to travel across the continents reinstating the polarity of the chaos emeralds.
All sounding good to me. Once you have got through many many little cut aways and videos you finally get to play and the beginning of the game is mainly about getting used to the controls, you start as sonic and learn all about his new moves and what he is now capable of doing, this is very very useful if like me you haven't played a Sonic game in years. You then do some simple levels to ease you into the game play. After your first few goes with sonic and yet more video cut aways you are introduced to Sonic as transformed into a Wearhog and you again go through some missions in a attemt to work out his moves which are very different to normal sonics. From ths i deduced that the sonic elements of the games would be similar to old style sonic i.e. flying round levels at breakneck speed and without much real adventure, but playing as sonic the Werehog is a whole different story he has a host of missions and adventures to do and is a entirely different playing experience, one that in my opinion is a fantastic addition to the game.
The game as all others starts off easy and gets progressively harder with more things to do and learn, throughout the game you are give more tutorials so learning how to use new powers gained throughout game play.
In my opinion the game is quite tricky to control at times especially using the nunchuck (but this maybe because its the firts time I've used it and I am getting better with it), the games camera angles sometimes lag slightly making it quite hard to see where your supposed to go at times but this is only a minor pain as it doesn't happen that often. My only real problem with the game is the fact that you can't skip through the video cut aways, so normally when a sequence begins i nip for a ciggy or something.
I have only been playing this since Sunday evening and already I'm hooked, renting it for only a week means I need to finish it by Sunday and I'm fairly sure that is achieveable. The game play is fantastic if a little difficult at times, but who wants a easy game? This game has everything, great play, a good story, lots of hidden extras, new characters and is frustrating like all good games should be. If I hadn't rented this game and will probabally finish it by the end of the week I would definatly buy it and I would reccomend it to all Sonic fans.
30 mins After finishing writing this review I went back onto Sonic Unleashed and I've now twisted my wrist using the nunchuck and controller playing it, this is not a reflection on the game just more of how stupid I am, I thought you all should know this.
*** What did you do in 2009 that you have not done before? ***
This year I got married. I managed to plan, organise and pay for our wedding in 2 days, My now wife and I flew to Las Vegas and got married with no families and no stress it was one of the best descisions we have ever made.
*** Did anyone close to you give birth? ***
No, nobody im close to, I have seen a few people on my facebook that have had children this year but i'm not really that close to them.
*** Did anyone close to you die? ***
Unfortunatly my Nana passed away on New Years Eve this year. It was very sad but I had known it had been coming for awhile so I was prepared. Also our beloved hamster Hamlet died and I was completely heartbroken, it took me more than a month to be able to go into the room he had pretty much to himself to finally clear away his cage, I still really miss him he was such a cool little character.
*** What countries did you visit? ***
*** What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? ***
A job and money or to win the lottery
*** What dates will you remember from 2009? ***
25/04/09 this was the day I got married (I think lol)
*** Did you suffer illness or injury? ***
Oh well this has been the story of the 2nd half of my year. After a trip to London on 10/10/09 on the way home I started to feel a pain in my knee, the pain subsided but a week later i walked to morrisons and it went properly since then the pain has gotten worse and worse and now im registered disabled for the time being. I have had one MRI, 4 or 5 Doctors, 1 Specialist Surgeon, 1 Sports Physio baffled in almost 5 month and they still can't tell me whats wrong with me. I am currently pilling painkillers down me everyday, I have a box where i had to take 6 sets of pills 4 times a day just so i can walk around the house and I have weekly phone consultations but as yet I still have no diagnosis.
*** What was the best thing you bought? ***
Hmmm, my wife and I moved into our first place together and we had to buy every piece of furniture but out of all of the i think I would have to say my Samsung TV.
*** Where did most of your money go? ***
Big expenses were the wedding & having to completely furnish a house, but i would say most of my money went on ciggarettes and alcohol.
*** What did you get really excited about? **
Getting married and moving into our new home.
*** What song(s) will you remember from 2009? ***
We Still Got The Taste Dancing On Our Tongues - Wild Beasts
First Day Of Spring - Noah & The Whale
Two Arms - The Maccabees
*** Compared to this time last year are you . . . happier, fitter, or more productive? ***
I'm a lot happier, i'm certainly not fitter as I can barely walk, I'm a little more productive its takes me awhile to get motivated but when I do i can accomplish a lot.
*** What do you wish you had done more of? ***
Working, I barely worked for most of 2009 not for the want of trying, i desperatly want a job now, anyone reading this in need of a AutoCad Draughtsman???
*** What do you wish you had done less of? ***
Nothing much really, probabally drink alcohol, since the start of 2010 i have been making a real effort to cut down the amount I drink and the reasons I do.
*** Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year? ***
My wife and I both tend to suffer slightly from social anxiety so therefore dont really spend enough time around other people to hate anyone. There are some celebrities I hate now I hadn't heard of last year Pixie Lott, La Roux, Florence and the Machine. I think the thing i hate the most is the Department for Work and Pensions that see fit to give me no benefit whatsoever despite acknowledging that im disabled.
*** What's been the best book of 2009? ***
I don't really read new books I tend to read older books and cult classics, I think last year I loved Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
*** What is your favourite film of the year? ***
Tough one I would probabally say Milk but im not sure if I watched that last year, if it wasnt Milk then Gran Torino. I did see a older excellent film called Wristcutters: A Love Story (see one of my older reviews)
*** What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? ***
I was 30 and my cousin popped over in the afternoon with a present then my Wife and I just had a party in our house.
*** Who was the best person you met? ***
Well I didnt really meet anyone new that impressed me but when my wife and I were in Las Vegas a uncle of mine I dont know to well decided to fly in from LA where he works for our wedding day, I hadnt seen him in around 15 years and I had never really spoken to him certainly as a adult. Over dinner I got to know him quite well and I found him a truly fascinating human being.
*** Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009? ***
Sometimes good things do happen to you if your not always pessimistic