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Probably one of the cheapest blenders money can buy at under £10 from Argos. A midrange blender is likely to cost you between £25 and £40, whereas top quality industrial use ones could set you back hundreds, even thousands! If all you want to do, like me, is make the occasional smoothie or sauce then spending anything more than the bare minimum is an unattractive concept.
It's design is very basic and wont be winning any aesthetics awards any time soon - but it is functional. it is large allowing you to make a litre and a half of mixture at once. The base has suction cups, allowing you to secure it to your surface - this is particularly useful as the blender can shake a fair bit when in use. So much so that without the suction cups it could fall over.
The white finish looks cheap and plasticky, but this is a very cheap blender. If you really feel it ruins the atmosphere of your kitchen, you can simply pack it away in the cupboard when it isn't in use.
The blender has multiple speed settings, and the highest has made short work of everything I've tried to blend. If you are energy conscious, you can use the lower settings, which will be fine for softer items such as fruit and vegetables.
The blades are strong and sharp, and I haven't yet came across anything I couldn't adequately blend. That said, I use the blender mainly for making smoothies and sauces, so nothing too tough (like meat) has been tested by myself. However, I would judge that on the highest setting this blender could easily liquidise most foodstuffs.
My only real complaint would be the noise, this is an incredibly noisy appliance. When in use it can be heard in all rooms adjacent to the kitchen. However, it is never used for extended periods of time due to the speed at which is works - meaning this isn't a major problem.
All the parts that need cleaning are easy to hand wash, as well as being dishwasher friendly. All in all, this is a fantastic liquidiser, considering its cost. I would only advise you spend more money on a more expensive branded machine for two reasons; you will be regularly liquidising food that will be tough on the blades (eg cooked steak), or you desire a more attractive machine to complement your kitchen.
When buying this camera I was apprehensive - it cost only £65. Far cheaper than many other digital cameras, but the mass of good reviews all over the internet swayed me.
For a pocket camera, the picture quality more than delivers, exceeding my expectations significantly. 12.1 megapixels is more than adequate for the casual photographer. Well-taken pictures in good lighting are brilliant quality - I have had some developed at large sizes with zero distortion.
The face detection software is accurate - only a few times have errant patterns been considered faces! It works as you would expect it to do so.
The camera takes an SD card - so memory is not an issue. Especially useful considering the availability and relative cheapness of high memory SD cards.
The LCD display, used for reviewing photos and changing technical details, is large and clear. Perfect - probably the best feature of the camera, considering the price.
The battery, when fully charged, lasts long enough to survive extended use and then some, making it a perfect camera to put in your pocket or handbag when on days or nights out.
The build seems robust - not that it has been put to much test by me. I am extremely paranoid with my appliances and insist that anyone using it wears the wrist strap!
All in all, its a good little camera with an even littler price. Your photos wont be displayed in any galleries, but it is perfect for the average user who just wants to immortalise some memories.
If you are going to spend £100+ on an iPod, you should also invest in new earphones, as the provided apple brand ones are simply not good enough. Why Apple do not seek to remedy this long lasting and largely documented problem is one of the worlds most puzzling mysteries.
The earphone is shaped in such a way that they do not sit correctly in the ear, making them uncomfortable to wear.
The connection that you plug into the earphone jack is straight as opposed to L shaped - much easier to break in your pocket and during day to day use.
The sound quality is bad. Your iPod is capable of outputting music at a high quality, do not limit it needlessly by using the trashy, poor quality earphones provided.
The only advantage to Apple's iPod earphones is merely the fact that they come free with the iPod, they should be replaced immediately and used only in an appropriate earphone based emergency.
Most people will have experienced apple earphones at one point in their life - such is the dominance of the iPod in the MP3 player market. If you are one of the few who didn't know they are poor quality wastes of plastic and copper, then heed my advice, buy new earphones and hear what you've been missing.
When I think of sunglasses, the first brand to come to mind is always Ray Ban. Immortalised as a style staple by Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Ray Ban aviators are a must for pilots and holiday goers alike.
The aviator style tear drop lenses and metal arms are the epitome of timeless. Other styles, such as wayfarers or clubmasters, come and go with the fashion trends. This isnt the case when it comes to aviators - they will see wear every summer. Aviators look right at home paired with literally any outfit in your wardrobe - from summer shorts with a t shirt to your three piece business suit.
The metal arms and frame manage to be both lightweight and sturdy. If you are used to wearing any sort of glasses you will hardly even notice they are on - that is how light they are. At the same time, Ray Ban are sacrificing quality. Should you accidentally drop your glasses they will not break, in fact I would say the only way to snap the arms of a pair of Ray Bans is if you actually tried to do so.
A common complaint regarding cheaper sunglasses is that over time the tint on the lens can be scratched off easily. I've had my two pairs of Ray Bans for over five years now, and both look good as new.
The branding in the top corner of the right lens is a classic. It is placed and sized with expert subtlety, so as to mark a quality product without turning the wearer into a walking advertisement.
When buying Ray Ban you pay more than you would opting for cheaper brands - but you are getting a trustworthy product that will last you a long time, if appropriately looked after. If you are the sort who loses or breaks sunglasses easily, then these probably aren't for you. If you will look after them as I do, with an almost motherly instinct, then they are a great purchase.
I've always been a very hairy man. Legs, chest, arms. And other places that I wont mention on a family friendly website. It used to annoy me a lot - particularly in hot weather.
If you have the same problem I had, and aren't quite ready for a full on shave, then the phillips body groom is a great option for the modern man.
It has two sides - a shaver and a trimmer. The shaver is good for areas you want completely devoid of hair. It cuts very close, is pain free and after months of use I am still yet to experience itching or irritation.
The trimmer is useful for areas that you want to control, but don't want completely bare. The body groom comes with an attached adjustable guard, allowing you to choose which length you want the hair. The guard has three settings, but it would have been nice to have a shorter one - for me sometimes no guard is too short and the shortest setting is too long. But that is my only complaint.
Otherwise, the body groom is a joy to use. It can be used dry or wet. Using it in the shower is very convenient - all the errant hair is washed away down the drain, never to be seen again! However, the body groom does cut hair quite a bit more efficiently when used dry. The only downside is it creates mess, but it does give you an excuse to hoover up!
The battery lasts for an hour which is more than enough for most trim jobs. It needs to be charged for 8 hours to have a full charge. This seemed excessive to me at the beginning, but I just started leaving it on the supplied charging dock overnight and it hasn't been a problem.
After having the same mattress for over fifteen years we decided it was time for a change. I personally didn't have a problem with the old one, despite springs being broken and it being tea stained. However, the decision was taken out of my hands.
We bought it from Argos for £130, including home delivery. Very good price considering it is a high quality double mattress, which can often cost you nearer to £300.
After putting fresh sheets on it, I did what comes naturally after acquiring a new mattress. I had a short, midday siesta.
The improvement over the old mattress was literally unbelievable. I instantly realised how wrong I had been every night I slept on the monstrosity without complaint. That night I had what was definitely in my top 10 best nights sleep ever.
The mattresses springs are firm, and the padding makes it very soft to lie on. The springs seem to be very strong and spring back into position, but like all mattresses I would avoid putting to much pressure on the edges, particularly by sitting. This can cause irreparable damage, and was one of the many problems with my old mattress (caused by sitting on the corner whilst using the laptop.)
If you are needlessly suffering an old, poor quality mattress then this is a great and economical replacement. You may even be unknowingly suffering, like I was. Replace your old mattresses, your spine deserves it.
I bought this webcam in Asda when it was on special offer. I had long since become fed up with the poor quality integrated webcam build into my laptop. I was making a lot of skype calls and I needed something with a little more firepower.
I knew I was safe buying logitech, they are the first name most people think of when you think of miscellaneous computer accessories. Their products are cheap and cheerful and rarely fail to please - this webcam is no different.
The HD quality video is fantastic, truly lightyears ahead of what I was used to. To be honest, I may be overly impressed with this webcam due to the sheer amount of improvement it is over Lenovo's integrated effort - it's like my skype contacts were blind and now they can see.
The audio isn't as massive an upgrade as the video was, but again it is superior to the integrated microphone of my laptop.
The webcam is the epitome of plug n play, you are not forced to install any dodgy software onto your computer. It has a handy little clip which lets it slot nicely onto a laptop screen on monitor. It's design is also pleasing - much preferable to the round 'big brother' style design that was fast becoming a standard.
Being of very average height, I often find myself not quite tall enough to reach certain things. Lightbulbs that need changing. Tins at the very top of the cupboard (which raises the question of how they got there in the first place!) The entrance to the loft. I'm sure you get the picture.
Obviously a massive ladder is bulky and annoying to carry around, assemble, disassemble and repeat whenever you need to just be a little higher up.
Enter the hop up. The branding is Zarges, and I got this at B&Q. It feels very secure (tested by bravely jumping up and down on it a few times). That removes any fear of falling whilst doing something delicate, such as painting the ceiling of your bedroom to resemble the Cistine Chapel (an ongoing personal project of mine, which I would be loathe to see ruined by shoddy hop-up manufacture.)
Luckily, that is not the case. The hinges and legs are secure, the base upon which you stand is capable of supporting a great weight (my girlfriend and I both stood on it, to see how much weight it could withstand.) Needless to say, the Zarges hopup rose to the challenge magnificently.
Whilst the world may be moving in the direction of blu-ray, I am staying firmly put - anchored strongly by my 300+ collection of DVDs no doubt.
When I sold my Xbox 360 I didn't miss it - until I realised it was also my only form of playing DVDs (bar my laptop, which has far too small a screen to be enjoyable.)
Realising this, of course, I rushed to amazon and ordered the cheapest decently branded DVD player I could find. Within two days the Toshiba SD2010 was at my door.
Due to its slim design it slotted very nicely into my existing rack, and it had all the necessary cables and connections to accommodate my TV.
The remote is basic to be sure, but it does it's job more than adequately. The DVD player itself plays DVDs as you would expect it to - I haven't noticed any slurring of the video, distortion of audio or scratching of discs. Nothing untoward to be seen - simply a cheap and functional DVD player that does all it promises.
Apart from plain paper, I'm struggling to think of a product more simple than good old sandpaper. Because of this I spurned the ever so slightly more expensive name brands and bought tescos own value version.
I needed it to sand down a door that had been defaced with permanent marker (which was proving incredibly resistant to all other methods of 'cleaning').
The value sandpaper indeed proved invaluable in accomplishing this. It's cut into an appropriate size for me, a man with average sized hands, to use. Other sandpapers are often so small they become fidgety, or large enough that you have to cut it yourself. This was fine.
After some hard work on the door I removed the permanent marker .The door was a bit miscoloured where it had been sanded, but this is a fault of the process itself, the sandpaper is blameless.
By the time I was finished the sandpaper was barely scuffed. I can see one piece lasting many more jobs, making it even better value for money. A+ product at a low price from Tesco which made me happier than I ever thought sandpaper capable of.
Bought this a few weeks ago as a pure impulse buy, and I could not be more happy with it.
It is easily assembled, and once you've done so it is very sleek and professional looking. I happily leave mine assembled on the kitchen counter, knowing it fits in with the modern design of the room.
The juicer has two settings - one more powerful than the other. For the likes of lemons and oranges the low setting is more than powerful enough - due to the extremely formidable blades of the actual juicing contraption. The higher setting makes short work of tougher fruits such as apples. You guide the fruit towards the spinning blades using the cylindrical pushing part of the juicer.
The pulp of juiced fruit is collected in a vat attached at the back. The pulp can be used for baking, or simply recycled. You can tell the juicer really gets as much liquid as possible out of the fruit due to how dry the pulp is. I recommend putting a recyclable bag inside the pulp collecting vat, it saves the annoyance of cleaning out the pulp and means one less component to clean.
The juicer also comes with a serving jug that has a filter, to prevent froth getting into your drink. Useful when you make a large batch for the family or to show off to guests.
Cleaning the juicer is the only downside - yet it is inevitable. The blade needs to be scrubbed thoroughly to get all remnants of demolished fruit from it. The other parts are all dishwasher friendly.
Aside from that, this juicer is a fantastic investment that will surely see lots of use in even the most fruit n veg averse households! My personal favourite is a concoction that is made of 3 golden delicious apples and 1 lemon - it tastes just like lemonade, but is 100x healthier!
This time last month, approximately half the storage space in my house was occupied by books. I had amassed a simply monstrous collection of books, dating back from when I was but a mere babe in arms to how am now, a man fully grown and still reading everything I can get my average sized hands on.
Don't misunderstand me, each book on my multiple shelves represents memories of a great life fuelled by my first for knowledge, be it knowledge of open heart surgery or knowledge of middle earth.
But times have changed. Physical books are no longer needed. I used to be firmly in the camp that supported physical books, but now I say burn them, and use the heat created to warm your body whilst reading on your kindle.
The screen is fantastic, it doesn't torture your eyes like a bright mobile phone or computer screen would. I can read my kindle for hours and my eyes are strain free.
Since acquiring my kindle I have been slowly donating my physical books to charity and replacing the now free storage space with my now growing contemporary art collection.
When in the market for a laptop, a most knowledgeable friend gave me some very good advice. And today I will give the same advice to you - buy Lenovo. I myself am not knowledgeable about all the in ands outs of the computer world, so I won't go into too much detail - simply because I wont, but because I can't!
First impressions - Superb build quality. The metal palm-rest simply oozes class. This is the sort of laptop you can prop up on your desk and instantly feel like a God amongst machinery - in an almost 'Neo from the Matrix trilogy' fashion.
Although I said I wouldn't mention the more technical aspects, I'm sure you know the i5 processor is a monster, the 6GB of RAM is enough to run whatever you can dream of reasonably doing on a laptop, and that 750GB HDD is enough to store about 1000 hours of video - thats 3000 episodes of Home & Away fyi.
The integrated webcam isn't great, but they never are. If you do anything more than the occasional skype, buy an external webcam. The battery life is absolutely immense, will go for 6+ hours if needed.
All in all, a wonderful laptop.
...And that is the fact the next book in the series may take five or more years to be published!
This boxset contains the the first four books in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series. After these four the fifth book, A Dance With Dragons, is also available. The sixth book, and said to be the penultimate novel of the series, is far into the distance. Winds2017 could be an appropriate tagline.
But I digress, these are fantastic books well worth reading. The characters you love will die in ways you hate, the actions of the 'villains' will horrify you and even the heroes will often find themselves wanting morally.
The first three books are definitely the strongest. This isn't to say the fourth is bad, just not as good. Not as good in the same way that finding a ten pound note on the street isn't as good as finding a twenty.
This review is short and sweet because you simply have better things to be reading - and yours is the song of ice and fire!
If you love playing around on all the cute little apps on the iPhones of your friends and family, but would rather not sell your first born to afford one of your own, then what you need is an iPod Touch.
Combine it with a cheap old school mobile handset (perhaps using ducktape?) and you have a killer product at a low low price.
The iPod touch can run all the games iPhone users enjoy. And let's face it, iPhone users spend 98% of their time playing angry birds. 2% is spent making calls, and 90% of said call time is discussing angry birds tactics.
The one clear flaw of the iPod touch is the hard drive capacity, which quails in comparison to that of it's cousin, the iPod classic.
The classic may be larger and more dignified, but without the apps of the touch it is significantly less fun.
If ipods were cars, the iPod touch would be a Mazda MX-5: quick, fun and sexy, albeit a little superficial. Whereas the classic would be a Volvo: reliable, trustworthy, dependable, yet distinctly boring (why else would one need three synonyms to describe it?)