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I lead a really busy lifestyle at the moment, between 2 jobs and university, so I really need a reliable, good quality watch, but also like to have one which is comfortable, feminine and stylish. One of my jobs involves a lot of heavy lifting and I have broken a few bracelets and watches in the past due to catching on something or general wear and tear, so durability is also a big consideration. On top of all that, it has to be affordable!!
As you can imagine, its not easy to get all of that in one watch! I often shop in Argos for my watches as I find them affordable and they have an alright choice, so I looked there but could not find anything I really liked, so I looked online instead and found this one on eBay for a little over £13 including P&P. I was happy with that price and I was also very happy with the initial look of it when it arrived. On trying it on, I also found that it was really comfortable - the strap is adjustable so you can wear it how you like. So first impressions overall were very good!
At one of my jobs, my uniform is all black so I love the splash of colour, and a lot of people have commented on the style, in particular the dimantes around the face. I tend not to wear it at my other job as although it fulfilled all the other categories I was looking for, it doesn't feel robust enough for continuous heavy lifiting.
Overall a really nice watch, great look and good value for money!
On so many occasions, I have ended up burning to crisp on holiday, purely because I did not like any suncream I had ever tried; they always left me feeling greasy and like my skin was shiny, and generally just uncomfortable. The fact that this lotion advertised itself as being invisible was really appealing to me - to disappear into the skin and leave no marks seemed just idealistic!
While I was shopping for going on holiday to Barcelona last March, I knew I had to give the suncream a try as I am well aware of the health risks. I bought two of the 75ml travel sized bottles (£5.99 each RRP) rather than 1 large 200ml bottle (£12.49 each RRP), both for ease of carrying in a handbag on holiday and because the price worked out cheaper in an offer that was on at the time - there are often offers on the suncream products both in store and online. I took them both on holiday - one for me and one for my fiance - and it was definatly the best I have ever tried. It soaked into the skin very quickly with a nice, light scent and no greasy marks! The fact that it is a spray lotion probably also contributes to its equal coverage. The weather in Barcelona was absolutely gorgous and the factor 30 was more than adequate for me. Unfortunatly it is not waterproof and this may be something to consider if you were going to be spending a lot of time around the pool or sea.
Since I passed my driving test 3 years ago, driving in the snow and ice has been my worst nightmare!! I work very early in the morning and since I love my bed too much, I'm usually running late, so I like to have a de-icer which works quickly and effectively. I bought this particular de-icer from ASDA as it was on offer at 2 cans for £2 (or £1.49 each). Living in Scotland, it didn't take me long until I needed to use it and I have to say I was sorely disappointed. It comes in the form of a spray-can, like they sprays which spray deodorant, but all I got was a thin line of liquid spraying out while I froze my fingers off holding on to the freezing metal tin. I continued to use it, since I had bought it and didn't want to waste it, and since it does work, but all in all it would be so much better if the spray system actually worked and would spray an even coat over the windscreen.
Once I had finished that can, I discovered that the other tin was disappointingly exactly the same. There are not many other options for sale in ASDA, but I have seen an option in Tesco which looks like it would overcome all of the design flaws of the Car Plan de-icer - it is in a plastic bottle which avoids the frozen finger problem, and it has a trigger gun spray system which looks like a more effective method of delivery... I think I will be buying that when this tin runs out!
Just over the Christmas period, typically, since all shops and services are shutting down, my HTC smart phone broke, and I could no longer access my text messages. Considering that I live with my phone in my hand, and that I pay almost £30 per month for the contract, I decided to get a cheap phone which I could use with my contract SIM to still get the advantage of my unlimited texts and calls until I could get my phone fixed.
I went into Tesco and picked the cheapest phone which would fit my needs, which was this one. At just under £10 I thought it was really worth the money, even though it is intended as a temporary measure. Having been used to a smart phone, I had forgotten how few functions these phones had - just one game, and very few theme/colour options, and I really miss the camera and internet functions! But it does the job! And one thing which really was a pleasant surprise, was the battery life!! Usually I charge my HTC every night, or at least every second night. I have had this little Samsung since before Christmas and I have charged it twice! Absolutely fantastic.
The display size is 1.43 inches, is 1.8 inches wide total, 4.2 inches long and half an inch deep. I was also pleasantly surprised at the light weight - just 65g.
All in all, the phone was really good value for money, and although it is very basic, it has a good feel and a good quality - at least it doesn't fall into a million bits when I drop it like my HTC!
I am a sports science student in my 3rd year, so these kind of products interest me. I have had 2 different types of shaker, one with a wire ball, which I found left horrendous lumps in the protein shake I use post-workout, and ones like these, with the mesh, which I find work much better to make a smooth, great-tasting shake. I think that the 500ml size, smaller and more compact-looking than the other shakers available on the market, and the pink colour of the lid are particularly great for females who want to be fashionable but functional at the gym. Females tend to have a perception that weights, protein shakes etc. are all manly concepts and I think the design is a great one to break down those perceptions and encourage their use.
The only negative I found with this product was the flip-lid - maybe I'm just heavy handed but it snapped on its second use, which really annoyed me as I paid almost £5 for it. However I still use it now and then when I go to the gym, it still works fine apart form the cover is no longer attached to the lid. The lid however is really secure, I use the shaker sometimes just for holding water for uni or work, I generally just throw it in my bag and off I go, but have never had it spill in my bag.
Overall a great looking shaker, not so sure about the quality since it broke at the attachment, but mostly fit for its purpose.
One thing I learned throughout my bronze and silver Duke of Edinburgh awards is that comfortable, reliable equipment is of paramount importance. The most important piece of kit is undoubtedly the rucksack - it keeps all your clothes, food, camping equipment, maps etc. clean and dry (or not!) and can really make or break the trip. For my bronze award, not really knowing anything about walking and camping, I hired a rucksack very cheaply through my school. This was a huge mistake - it was uncomfortable, smelly and just generally awkward to use. Having learnt my lesson, I went out and bought one of these prior to my silver award, and what a difference.
The rucksack has a 60 + 10 litre capacity - plenty of room for a 4 day/3 night trip. It has a total weight of only 2.1 kg, which is a good starting point if you don't want to heave around a lot!! The straps are quick and easy to adjust, and the zipped base allows easy access to clothes etc stored right at the bottom of the bag. The hip belt is one of the most comfortable I have tried, and this is particularly important as it is the function which moves the weight off your back and shoulders and onto your hips which can carry the weight much easier and with less risk of injury. There are many pockets on the front and sides, ideal for maps, compasses and snacks. The bag is compatible with hydration sacs, although I have never tried one, as well as hooks for walking poles or ice axes, if you're really serious! The detachable waterproof cover is ideal for the weather I am used to up here in Scotland, but at the same time the mesh keeps your body dry and comfortable and sweat-free. The sternum strap just adds to the comfort due to the weight distribution, and also provides a safety whistle, which is essential for hiking out in the hills.
Overall, I really enjoyed this product and it improved my overall experience drastically. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of walking and camping recreationally, doing DoE awards, or scouts etc. However I am not sure about the validity of the bag for the more experienced and serious walker; Vango do recommend the bag as entry-level.
This CD player was bought for me as a present from my Fiancée; I have an old car and was stuck with an old tape-player, and this CD player became a welcome substitute!
The Sony CDX GT23, as far as I can see, and from what I have found on various websites, is no longer in production, which is a shame. I lost the front plate and it was easy enough, and cheap enough to buy a new one on-line.
I find in particular that it has a great sound quality, due to the Xplod feature, although I have to really crank up the volume when I go over 50mph and my car starts to rattle and shake!! Even when driving, the CD player is easy to control, I just feel the large volume dial and the track forward and back buttons are almost touch-sensitive and I never have to look down to find out what's going on.
The only one negative I find with this product, although more of a suggestion than a negative, is that is has no USB port - my Dad's car stereo has a USB plug and I would find that a lot easier than making CDs of my favourite music.
Overall a brilliant product, looks stylish and is easy to use (for people like me, who are not technologically inclined!).
It must be said, that I am not much of a wine expert. However, there is nothing I enjoy more than a beautifully chilled glass of Rose wine after a hard day at work. I have tried several types, but none have struck a chord quite like the Echo Falls White Zinfandel Rose. Lying back on the sofa, cosy pyjamas on, one sip of this exuberant, fruity and flavoursome wine and all the troubles melt away. The Mission Bell winery use fruit for this particular wine from the warm Lodi district of California, which ensures the fruit is perfectly ripe at the time of production, and this comes across in the tasting.
This wine, made in the USA, can be bought from all major supermarkets and even some smaller shops. Personally, I wait for the offers in the local supermarket and buy several bottles at once to last me until the next offer! At usually £5-7 per bottle, the offer can bring the cost down to £4, which is well worth it for this moment of peace and paradise!!
Indeed, this wine can also be bought in the smaller bottles and the larger boxes, which allows you to sample this delicious wine whatever your amount requirement or price budget.
This new offering from the popular Fuji stable is a 14 mega pixel travel compact zoom.
Basic and uncomplicated by nature I bought and road tested this camera for a non-photographer friend who was looking for something light, easy to use and with decent results for the price.
Taking the camera out of the box I couldn't help but notice how light the unit was, weighting in at around 250 grammes once the battery and SD memory card was fitted.
The metal body is smooth and rounded, and the overall size of 97x57x28.5mm is smaller than many models of this class, making it ideal for slipping into a shirt or trouser pocket.
The lens is a reasonable 28mm at the wide end and 280mm at the tele end giving a 10x optical zoom, an ideal range for general travel photography.
Aperture wise the lens offers f/3.3 at 28mm and f/5.6 at 280mm
The 2.7 inch LCD back-screen is a sensible size and gives out a good preview even in sunlight, an improvement over earlier models.
This model has many useful features including-
Image stabilisation - to prevent camera shake, useful when using the zoom end of the lens, and also when shooting in low light when a longer exposure time is selected.
Automatic scene recognition - Where the camera detects what you are shooting be it a landscape, portrait, macro or night shot and chooses the optimal setting for you.
Video - HD 1280 x 720p video recording at 24 frames per second. With full use of zooming during recording, mono sound, and a recording time of 15 minutes per clip.
To save memory, the video can also record at a lower quality of 640 x 480 or even 320 x 240.
Face recognition - The ability to concentrate on the face of your favourite person within a group.
Pet recognition - Yes, honestly! The ability to focus on your fast moving dog or cat, and only click the shutter when they are looking at the camera!
For ease of use, the main control thumb operated ridged wheel with eight basic settings, is situated at the rear of the camera. Two of these (SP1 SP2) are reserved for your personal programmed settings.
Most of these main controls (Auto, video, program etc.) are self-explanatory and easy to access.
For those who like to tweak and twiddle, the more complex settings menus are accessed by the lower dial.
The menu system is very easy to navigate through.
The included CD manual gives full and concise instructions on how to set these.
Also included is an integrated flash, with al the usual auto setting, red-eye reduction, forced on/forced off settings which are easily accessed.
The large on/off button is recessed in the camera top to prevent accidental activation.
Next to this is the all important shutter button which I found to be quite positive when using at half-depressed to lock focus. Surrounding the shutter button is the zoom in/out lever.
The power-up time is very fast, with the LCD showing a preview in just over one second.
And with a half pressed shutter the camera gives you a reassuring confirming 'beep' to show that focus and exposure are set and ready to take your photo.
On taking the photo, the writing of the JPG to the memory card is reasonably fast.
The resulting pictures from the camera were of acceptable if not outstanding quality. Some fringing did appear in hi-contrast situations, but overall a very acceptable result.
This camera would not suit everyone, due to its small size it would not be the preferred model for someone with large hands.
However, the balance between portability, image quality and ease of use makes this model a very acceptable choice for the on-the-move traveller.
I was looking for something to assist on my wildlife photography jaunts and forays when a bird watching friend recommended to me the Luger MD range of monocular scopes, instead of the usual range of binoculars telescopes and dedicated bird scopes available on the current sub £50 market.
He had been using this brand for years and was thoroughly impressed with their overall performance over price ratio.
I settled on the 6 X 30 option as a compromise between price, carry weight and usability.
The optic gives a generous 6 x magnification, (making the image appear 6 times closer), ample for helping in most wildlife photography scenarios and general hill-walking.
Giving a field of view of 30 degrees, this works out at a width of 183 meters over a 1000m view using a 30mm diameter objective lens and a 5mm exit pupil.
What was impressive was the lightweight, easy to carry weight of just ¼ K - 250g including the supplied zipped case, which also has a handy belt loop retainer.
A good quality microfibre cleaning cloth is also supplied in the manufacturers box, as is the case and a carry strap.
The unit is well constructed and does not feel at all flimsy, plasticy or cheap, and fits snugly in the hand making it very comfortable for use, especially when using while walking.
The unit has an eye cup to make viewing even more comfortable and this retracts when not in use.
When in use the overall length of the unit is only a very compact 130mm, or 116mm when the eye cup is retracted.
As I normally wear glasses I was impressed by the ability to twist up the eye caps allowing viewing when wearing glasses, albeit at a slight distance back from the unit.
Optically, the image is very crisp for such a economical device, giving only slight distortion at the outer edges of the viewable range. Very reasonable considering the price.
Focusing is achieved by moving the focusing ring located behind the eye cup and this was found to be very smooth and reasonably accurate.
The unit has an integrated tripod mount for longer time use and that was found to be an invaluable extra when laid up by a river, watching out for some very shy otters.
The unit works well in falling light, unlike some units of a lower quality and using at dawn or dusk did not cause any undue issues.
Although not advertised as ruggerised or waterproof this monocular has had quite a rough ride from me as it is being dropped constantly and has been submerged in water, including sea water, more than once and continues to give excellent service after a quick rinse under the tap.
I am unsure as to the technical coating specifications of the lenses but they do seem to have some form of anti-scratch resilience, and with me using them they probably need this!
I am sure they will still be in service for many years to come, and offer a great viewing option for a reasonable outlay.
Much lighter and easier to use than a pair of binoculars, the Luger 6 x30 offers a great asset for any photographer, hill walker etc.
There is something about having a jar of Nescafe in the cupboard that is so very reassuring.
I've tried cheaper instant coffees, more expensive instant coffee, supermarket own brands, filter, ground and even once (but never again!) that stuff out of a bottle that looks like, and tastes like gravy browning!.
Always end up coming back to Nescafe Original, the quality is always consistent, and, as I like my coffee quite strong, works out reasonably economic.
Cheaper coffees often need two or three spoons to get a bit of taste out of them and dearer coffees can be stronger but somewhat bitter to my palette.
Must be granules though, not powder, and, if you don't mind I'll make it myself just to get the right mix of strength and exactly the correct amount of milk.
Another plus point is Nescafes ability to remain drinkable from a vacuum flask, unlike many other coffees which become bitter if left hot for any period of time.
Having worked in catering for many years I cannot emphasis the importance of using a quality coffee like Nescafe Original. Whether for a morning pick-me-up before breakfast, or a relaxing after dinner treat the brand is the only one to consistently hit the spot.
Unlike other brands, it never scums up, never tastes 'burnt' through overproccessing, always dissolves correctly and has a constant rich consistency.
Perhaps my only gripe is seeing the 50% extra free jars in another supermarket just after buying a months supply.
This latest offering from is one in a series of small all in one inkjets suitable for home use.
The all in one term means it can be used as a printer, scanner and photocopier.
Also this item offer a Wifi connection to eliminate the need for yet another wire poking out of the back of your PC and the ability to use in conjuntion with a smartphone, tablet etc. you can also e-mail documents and photos directly to the printer, and insert your SD card and follow the instructions on the LCD panel..
I found the set up instructions easy to follow and the printer was set up and ready to go 20 mins after taking out of the box.
Very impressive was the small footprint this printer takes up on a desk.
I thought I may have problems with the Wi-fi set up but this was configured automatically after installing the set up software. There is USB connection for those who prefer hard wiring.
Doing a few test prints, from my own photos the printer was shown to be capable of producing good to very good reults without the need to re-edit the photos, printing in greyscale was crisp and well toned.
With a printing resolution of 5,760x1,440 dpi any decent resolution photo should print at an exceptable standard.
An A4 or 10x8 photo takes less than a minute to print and banding is minimal, colour rendition is good and contrast constant throughout.
With a claimed speed of 33 pages per min for plain text the printer will churn out your reports etc at a reasonable speed, without setting the desk on fire.
As the printer uses individual ink cartridges you only need to replace the colour used, so you do not waste as much ink as the multi colour ink cartridges.
On the subject of ink, my personal bugbear is the price of the refills.
This unit uses the 18 series refills, eairily identified by a picture of a daisy on the box.
The original epsons refills come in at about £9 for black and £7 for each of the three colours totaling £30 for a full set, almost as much as the cost of the printer!
Depending on what you want to use the printer for, cheaper third party inks are availible but if you are looking for archival photo quality it is better using original epson ink
You could always keep two sets, third party for gereral use and keep the originals for your treasured photos.
The software provided is easy to install and use and is quite intuative.
An 'all in one' is never going to replace three seperate units for quality but this latest offering does a very good job in combining three office machines in one small footprint, ideal for home office use.
Samsung is not a name that immediately springs to mind when thinking about high end photography equipment, however they, along with others such as Sony, are challenging the big names of Nikon and Canon.
This latest lens offering from Samsung the EX-M60SB shows how far these companies have progressed over the last few years.
This lens, for the Samsung NX range is the 35mm equivalent of a 90mm prime lens, nestling nicely between the 50mm standard lens and the 135mm Tele.
The F-stop range is f2.8 to f32
The lens itself is of plastic construction, but is well constructed and is in no way flimsy or cheap feeling, with metal NX mounting.
When attached to my NX200 it did make the camera/lens combo seem quite end heavy as it is a chunky and heavy lens, weighing it an a not unsubstantial 389g.and is 73.5 x 84mm in size.
Image stabilising is contained within the lens as opposed to within the camera body as with some brands.
As the auto focus is performed internally with no outward movement a polarising and graduated filter can be used with ease on the 52mm thread.
I found the autofocus fast and accurate in reasonable light but it does falter somewhat at the lower end of the light scale and some hunting occurs. A focus limiter switch can be utilised to limit this hunting
Sold as a dedicated Macro lens the M60 performs well in most conditions.
With a close focus range at a reasonable 18.7mm some shading from the lens may occur and a reflector would be a handy accessory to carry around when using for macro and close-up work.
Manual focus, if preferred is smooth and the rotating ring easy to handle, a centre zoom in the preview screen assists precision focus.
The image stabiliser gives reasonable chance to lower speed hand held shots.
Picture quality is good to excellent, with only slight not noticeable fringing at the f16-f22 end in certain lighting conditions, as with most digital offerings.
This and the slight corner fall-off at the wider end can easily be tweaked out on the PC.
Barrel and pin distortion is present but minimal, again easily tweaked out on the PC when editing..
Slightly disappointing is the rendition of reds, especially on natural subjects like flowers but having come from using a Fuji SLR this is perhaps to be expected.
What is impressive is the ability to contain contrast when shooting into the light.
A large deep circular lens hood is provided to help omit extraneous light but this becomes cumbersome at close range.
The lens supports the i-funtion feature found on the NX range giving quick access to manual controls within the camera body.
The sharpness of the lens overall is impressive, and the optic stabiliser is a great aid to composing at longer distances, perhaps less effective at closer and macro distances.
Overall a somewhat expensive but good value lens offering from Samsung,
At present no other lens maker provides NX fit lenses, which is perhaps a shame as a bit of competition would do this brand no harm both quality and price wise..
Got a bit of a shock to come home to find one of these lurking in the kitchen after asking the builder who was doing up my kitchen to 'organise something for me'!
Fell in love with it immediately, the black colour and huge American styling is superb and the low-noise and low-enery use is a complete boon.
This unit is so eye catching two people who were visiting have gone ahead and bought their own!
The 'side by side' aspect works well for me and the unit takes up less of a footprint in the room than one would expect from such a large unit. The unit would not be suitable for a small kitchen.
The unit should be available at sub £1000 in the UK.
Food keeps fresh extremely well and the plumbed water and ice facilities are something I had not planned on but could not live without now!
There is also a 12 hour power outage protection for your food, open door alert and all controls work from a simple to use LED panel which lays flat on the unit.
The frost free promise really works too unlike some of this units competitors and you just switch it on and forget about it.
The fridge and freezer units work completely separate from each other ensuring that the different requirements of humidity and temperature to preserve food at its optimal conditions are never compromised.
The multi air flow system in the freezer section ensurers a good even temperature and assists in the fast freezing mode.
One particularly interesting feature is the 'Holiday mode' a sort of sleep mode for fridges, keeping everything ticking over when one is away.
With the LED tower lighting a miners lamp is not required to see what is in the cavernous five shelved fridge space. There is also ample space for bottles, wine (white only, please!) dairy goods, salads and eggs in the 357 litre fridge unit.
The Freezer side has eight storage compartments and two separate plastic drawers. The unit claims a whopping 180 litre capacity.
These plastic drawers seem to be slightly flimsy but adequate for the purpose, time will tell as often these plastic fittings in fridges and freezers tend to deteriorate and become brittle over time and easily cracked. Replacements should be made available..
The one issue I did have was the inability to move the unit to clean behind without ripping the lino on the floor. Solved this by placing on a plastic mat available from a DIY store. Please do not let this put you off, if you have the head room slimline rollers are available to ensure easy movement!
Although the unit looks good, I believe the finish could be done to a slightly higher quality, and could be available in different colours.
Somewhat pricey at around the £1K mark, but should be available at a lower price through price checking and negotiation, perhaps a bit of a luxury but certainly good overall quality piece of kit and definitely good value for money. Get One!
I bought this camera as a walk around when the SLR would be too cumbersome.
Reason for buying was the ability to use full manual control when needed but I have to admit the pre-set modes are well worth using.
With very little, but still noticeable distortion at the wide end This camera more than makes up for it with the large zoom.
Very pocket-able, this camera is light and small but is so easy to use and not fiddly even for someone with big hands, something a lot of smaller cameras fall down on.
Whereas it works well in most conditions, the ability to up the ISO/ASA is invaluable in low light.
One feature I found stunning was the pet detection - point the camera, press the shutter and the photo will not take until both dog/cats eyes are in focus - you try doing that manually with EVF and a hyperactive springer spaniel!
All round, very pleased with this purchase, in fact its made me a bit lazy about carrying round the SLR