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Klima
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Member since: 27.08.2011

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      19.05.2012 13:10
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      Highly recommended.

      I bought this a few years ago as the cheap old travel hairdryer I'd been using blew up in my hands!

      I had to borrow my flat mate's super-charged 'cermaic' hair dryer and was so impressed with how sleek and shiny my hair looked after use I decided to invest in a really decent hairdryer.

      I was looking for a compromise between performance and cost and found this item in Boots for just under £30 which was a good price (the £15 listing on Amazon is an absolutely bargain!). It was the lowest price 'performance' haridryer in stock. I've had many Babyliss gadgets before and have confidence in the brand.

      This came with minimal packaging and instructions (which again I didn't read, as it's simple to operate!). Mine is in silver and has a rubber 'valve' on the end so it can be hung up for storage when not in use (like in the hairdresser's).

      It comes with a detachable diffuser (as pictured) and which I use all the time as I find the directed heat helps to keep hair smooth during drying.

      It comes with three settings which increase the power of the warm air rather than the temperature. It also has a button for cooler air. I use this setting all the time as I find it is perfect for damaged or over-processed hair (my hair can't stand exposure to a lot of heat). I find it takes a bit of dexterity to hold the dryer and depress the button with one hand and this is my only criticism - it would be much improved by having a cool air switch rather than a button, but this is a minor quibble. I do have some RSI and problems with my thumbs but have managed with it so far! The button is quite small though so not sure it would be suitable for anyone with arthritic joints in their hands.

      Sincce using my hair has been more manageable, shiny and healthy looking.

      I liked it so much I bought one for my mother too.

      Highly recommended.

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      19.05.2012 12:42
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      Don't invest in a hard drive for backups or extra storage - get a virtual onlineCloud drive instead.

      This is not so much a review as a cutionary tale!

      I received this as a gift for Christmas 2011.

      I had asked for an extrenal hard drive as I was totally running out of memory on my ancient laptop, but I'm not yet ready to part with it. I asked for Toshiba (as I have always found their hardware to be very reliable) and for something in silver or chrome.

      However, John Lewis didn't have anything similar in stock, so I ended up with this Iomega model.

      Aesthetically, I wasn't disappointed. It is a dark gun metal colour, rather than the silver I had hoped for, but it has a very nice soft satin finish, is a good size and nicely curved around the edges. There's an LED light at one end to indicate the disc is reading which is in a very cold pale blue. I think Iomega are jumping on the Apple bandwagon of making 'touchable' IT kit and it doesn't dissappoint in this regard.

      The drive comes with a USB cable and power cord and doesn't require any installation - it is ready to use out of the box, just plug-and-go. Not sure why the description refers to it not requiring a power cord because it does, and it's a stretch to call it posket sized - its about the size of a small (cA5) hardback book and over an inch thick.

      Anyway, I had connected my drive, backed-up everything on my harddrive, and was able to delete some old files I'd now 'archived' and freed up some space.

      Fortunately, I've learnt through hard experience that there's a lot of truth in the adage "data you have less than 2 copies of is data you don't care about". I backed up files from the external harddrive on CDs, USB keys and my iPod.

      Within less than ten months the drive was broken.

      First signs of decay were slow running and the PC not being able to 'locate' the disc. I should have acted quickly then to transfer the data but didn't realise how serious this apparently mild irritation would become.

      Then it developed the fatal 'click of death'. The drive heads had gone, and would cost about £200 to replace. It's a very common problem with hard drives of all sorts and is not at all specific to Iomega. Unfortunately Iomaga's warranty won't cover you for data recovery if their products fail, even within the guarantee period.

      I had to decide whether this was worth the outlay or not.

      I went to my backups and managed to reconstruct most of what was on the drive but some was still missing. Oddly, I managed to retrieve this from the broken drive by operating the drive from inside the freezer (google how to do this, it actually works!).

      In total I lost only 6 files, luckily, and John Lewis gave me a full refund (of £79.99) as it was still under warranty.

      But if it had broken just a few weeks later, and I hadn't made careful backups, I'd have spent £80 for a device that ultimately lost all my data, and I'd be feeling pretty annoyed.

      Now I use a cloud drive which is free and not subject to hardware failure.

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      19.05.2012 10:39
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      If you find yourself without a kitchen, buy this grill. If you want to lose weight, buy a steamer.

      My Goerge Foreman grill was first bought for me as a gift in 2002.

      There had been lots of hype around the grill this year, with a heavily promoted television advertising account featuring George Foreman himself. I understand that this is a celebrity endorsement, but I had no idea who he was! Since then Wikipedia has enlightened me that he is a former heavy-weight boxer (fronting the 'fat-reducing grilling machine'?!) and has five sons each called George Foreman.

      Anyway, back to the grill. I was excited the receive this gift as I had heard a lot about it, but I had no use for it whatsoever - after all, I had a fully equipped kitchen (and I can't cook). So it sat in the box until I moved into a halls of residence later that year and found myself without a kitchen. This is when have a portable, stand=alone grill that you can plug in anywhere really came into its own.

      My model is black, with two hinged plates so that meat grills simultaneously on both sides. It is very lightweight and sturdy and has a handle at the top for transportation. On the lid is an orange LED to indicate when the plates are hot enough for cooking. The grill is super easy to use - just whack the food in, close the lid, and wait for it to brown up. Because of the double plates food cooks all the way through quickly, and it's easy to open it up hilsts its on to check how things are progressing.

      The plates slop downwards as a sort of 30 degree angle - this is where the fat reducing part comes in. As you grill, fat and juices run out of the meat and plop out of the opening to the grill. The grill comes with a shallow plastic dish that you are supposed to position under the opening to catch this mess but that quickly went walkabout, after which I needed a lot of paper towels to clean up. My goodness, this grill is messy! The main problem is that the entire grill is moulded in one piece. The grill plates do not detach from the electrical parts. So you can never wash them. Never. You have to make do with scrubbing the plates with a dry brush and then running a damp cloth over them, which is far from ideal. Perhaps later models now have detachable plates as this was certainly the most counter-intuitive element of the overall design.

      And what about weight loss? The grill certainly does remove a lot of liquid from meat, but is it more than grilling in the oven? I'm not sure - I think that the George Foreman just makes the removal of fat much more visible than the oven, and so in that respect the whole premise is a gimmick. I personally did not lose any weight while using the grill. My neighbour in halls got over the 'no kitchen' problem by buying a steamer and the weight really dropped off her.

      For this reason I recommend the George Foreman as a stand-alone kitchen appliance, and not as a weight-loss device.

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      • DeLonghi KBO3001.PW / Kettle / 29 Readings / 29 Ratings
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        18.05.2012 12:56
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        Upgrade your kitchen with this smart kettle.

        I purchased this and the matching toaster from John Lewis in January.

        Appearance

        My motivations for buying this kettle were purely aesthetic! My old Kenwood toaster had broken and I decided to by the Delonghi as a replacement and to get the matching kettle to help make my kitchen look a bit more 'uniform'. Also I love that the finish on the toaster is a pearlescent white which I haven't seen on a kitchen appliance before and looks that much more expensive than the flat white plastics of other kitchen goods. I did agonise over whether to buy the set in black or in pearl white and opted for pearl white because it does look like a much higher spec item. I first saw these on the shelf in John Lewis and was attracted by the sleek curves and glossy chrome detailing. I was quite surprised to find, on close inspection, that the pearl finish was plastic, as from afar I had assumed it would be enamel. Viewing these close-up, I was a little disappointed by how 'plasticky' some of the items in the range are - the chrome details are not metal, they are coloured plastic - although this does not detract from the overall impact of the kettle (it is more noticeable on the toaster, with its plastic buttons and levers - I will be posting a seperate review of this later). But I still really liked the sparkly white finish so I was undeterred!

        However, my love of the pearl white was also the source of my first disappointment with the Delonghi range. Having bought the toaster and the kettle I was also in the market for a latissima nespresso machine, but Delonghi do not manufacture this in a matching pearl white (though they do sell a conventional fresh ground coffee percolator in the same finish).

        Unpacking and setting-up

        I was also surprised by how heavy the item was - it is heavy packed in the box (I could life it but had planned to take the bus home from the shops, which was a mistake!) and when filled to capacity the kettle can be heavy to lift.

        It is ready to use out-of-the-box with no assembly or wiring required. It is exceedingly simple to use (as you would expect, fill with water, plug in, and depress the lever!) so I did not read the instructions. It comes with a fair deal of packaging but I would not deem it excessive and I have retained the external box in case I need to re-package the kettle as I wouldn't want the finish to become damaged during a house move etc.

        Operation

        As I said, it is exceedingly simple to operate. The kettle has a millimeter guide on the side under the handle indicating the minimum and maximum safe fill levels, and it clicks off automatically once it has reached boiling point. Although heavy when filled to capacity I have found this an extremely safe product to use - it is sturdy on its wide base, the water pours in a precise stream from the spout with no leaking or spilling, and it gives of almost no visible steam as it boils.

        Boiling is rapid - I tend to boil just under a litre at a time and this takes less than a minute. The kettle does not have an internal 'element' - rather the heat rises up through all of the broad metal base - which not only makes boiling quick but I also hope will make the kettle easy to clean. It's been in use since January with daily use (probably boiled about 10 times a day) and there are no signs of any limescale build up inside (I lived in a normal-soft water area).

        Value

        I still love the look of this kettle as much as when I first bought it. It doesn't do anything that a £2.99 value range kettle from the supermarket wouldn't do, though I have found it simpler and safer to use and clean that any other kettle I have owned before. Clearly by labelling it the 'icona' Delonghi are trying to intimate that this is a design classic, and really smartening up the kitchen is the main advantage of this over cheaper models. Whether you can justify the outlay will depend on whether you're looking to create a showroom kitchen, or just to make a cup of tea. I paid £60 for this in John Lewis - at the time I knew it was available cheaper elsewhere but I was lucky to have store vouchers to treat myself with. It is currently retailing on Amazon at just over £50, which I would certainly pay if I were making my purchase again - remember, this is not a value-for-money functional item, it is a luxury purchase for your kitchen, and is priced accordingly.

        (PS - ignore the ratings for sound and picture quality - must have a word with dooyoo!)

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          13.05.2012 19:07
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          Highly recommended as a minimal-effort alternative to conventional mopping.

          I bought this on Amazon in January at a reduced price of £39.99.

          The manufacturers claim that steam cleaning can remove stubborn stains, mites and allergens, and sterilise floor surfaces.

          The Vax stem mop cosists of a canister that you fill with water, a triangular mop head, and a handle with a trigger. It comes with two removeable cloth mop 'heads' and a protective base for use on laminate floors. There was a small (but tricky) amount of self-assembly required, as the head needed to be screwed onto the handle once unpacked.

          The reservior holds 250ml and is filled from the tap, then clicked into the main body of the mop. I find this enough to clean about 30 sq ft before it needs refilling. Once the reservoir is filled, plug it in to the mains, wait for the green light to indicate that the water has boiled, and then squeeze the trigger to apply steam to the floor. There are no buttons or switches on the mop (save the steam trigger), meaning it will begin to heat as soon as it is connected to the mains, and needs to be immediately unplugged when you've finished use.

          I've been using this mainly to clean the tiled floor in my kitchen. I find that the steam doesn't work the instant magic I was expecting - stubborn stains (like dropped food) will need a couple of goes before they are removed. The floor is then left clean (and slightly warm). The best feature of this product is that the steam simply evaporates after it's done its work - you don't have gallons of murky water to dispose of when you're done, and the minimal application of water to the floor means it dries super quick. I also find it requires a lot less physical effort to use than a conventional mop, as it's very lightweight and you don't have to put any 'elbow grease' into cleaning tough marks - just keep squeezing the trigger and it will melt away. You also don't need to use any detergent, which is great for the environment - but more on that later....

          The main disadvantage is the cloth mop 'heads'. These are triangular pieces of cloth that you slip over the part that makes contact with the floor and fasten in place with a drawstring toggle.

          I find that these become very dirty very quickly - they are white and need a good boil wash after every use.
          Now, clearly, white fabrics that clean you use to clean dirty floors will need to be washed at very high temperatures. This is obvious, and must have been clear to the manufacturers. But fabrics washed at high temps rapidly shrink, and you then have a devil of a job trying to get them back on the mop for their next use. The other option is to replace them but they are up to £10 for a set of two on Amazon which makes disposal after every use expensive (and not very green). Also, if you have any reservations about putting floor cloths in the washing machine, this item is not for you.

          I have not used the 'laminate floor protector' (which is really just a triangle of grey plastic) as I do not have any laminate floors, but having had them in a previous property I am aware that they are senstive to moisture and do not know how the triangle could possibly serve to protect them, so do not feel I can recommend for this purpose.

          What the steam stick is unexpectedly excellent on is carpets. I read a few consumer reviews describing their use on carpets prior to purchase and decided to try it out.

          I have found that it is great for reviving the pile on worn out thoroughfares in the house, and for spot cleaning really awful stains (a dropped cup of coffee on a cream wool carpet, to cite a recent incident at home!). It requires about two refills to shift a stain like this. You will still need to shampoo the carpets for a good overall clean but for a quick and convenient 'freshen' or to clean a stain in an emergency it's invaluable.

          As I mentioned, I bought this at a discounted price of £39.99 and it has been EXCELLENT value for money at that price. I believe the reason it was on offer is that VAX have recently released a new model with a chamber for detergent at £79.99. Now, given that the selling points of this model are that you don't need detergent when you have the sterilising power of steam, I'm a bit baffled by this. I recommend seeking out the original model at a bargain price.

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          13.05.2012 18:44
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          If you're willing to splash out on puppy then I recommend this whimsical little treat.

          This fun little piggy friend was actually bought for me, not my dog!

          I first spotted this item when I was thinking of adopting a puppy and browsing the pet accessories displays in my local Morrisons.

          This toy stood out because it is so cute and I do like pigs. Unlike a lot of dog 'squeakies', this toy doesn't squeak - instead, it gives a low piggy grunt, which is lots of fun. I find my dog likes his toys to make a variety of noises - he has some that squeak, some that crinkle - so this made a great addition.

          As I said, this toy was bought for me as a gift. I was given lots of dog accessories as a Christmas gift (becuase it's not OK to give a dog for Christmas anymore!) and I was fully intending to keep it with my collection of rubber pigs but eventually relented and let the dog have it.

          He had a great time playing with it. It is a good size for a puppy and lightweight so they can pick it up and run around with it. It's also made of quite thin pliable rubber which is great for teething and he got a lot of relief chewing on its ears.

          Eventually it went the way of all dog toys - actually piggy only lasted a few weeks before his head was ripped off. The downside of the soft chewy rubber is that it tears easily, but then, that's what the toy is for! As I've mentioned in my other Good Boy toy reviews, it's filled with a soft synthetic fibrous textile that has to be immediately binned before the dog chokes on it, so this item is not at all suitable for unsupervised play.

          I have no idea how much this item cost as it was a gift - however, I see it is available on Amazon for just over £5 - I'm not sure how to rate this in terms of value for money - I do think it is too much for a toy that will only be around for a few weeks, but then piggy is such an unusual and whimsical toy he might just be worth it.

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          • James Wellbeloved / Dog Food / 26 Readings / 25 Ratings
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            10.05.2012 15:54
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            If you dog has 'behavioral' problems, I recommend switching to Wellbeloved or another natural brand.

            I have a 5 month old Jack Russell puppy who, when I first collected him from the breeders, was fed on Royal Canin. I wasn't happy with Canin for reasons I've outlined in a separate review of the product on this site, so I was looking for something less expensive and more natural to feed my dog. I did some research on the JR forums and Wellbeloved seemed to be recommended time and again. I bought a 2kg ag from my local garden center for £11.69 and gradually added it to his diet.

            Very quickly my pup became much calmer, more responsive and easier to train. The pieces in Wellbeloved are quite small and clover shaped, which are very managable for little pups to chew on, and I noticed his teeth also ecame much cleaner after the switch. Wellbeloved does not have a strong or bad odour, and puppy's breath also lost the bad smell it had previously had. Although I'm not feeding Wellbeloved any more (I couldn't resist swtiching to all-natural Harringtons at £3 a bag) I am absoutely convinced of the importance of feeding a natural food without unnecessary artificial ingredients - a lot of what I thought were behavioral problems went away after making the switch and I will never go back to conventional dog foods again.

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          • Pedigree Puppy Pouch / Dog Food / 10 Readings / 10 Ratings
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            10.05.2012 15:45
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            Don't risk trying your dog on this food, particularly not if they have a sensitive tum.

            I bought this for my little Jack Russell pup some weeks ago. I had totally run out of dog food (he was going through a growth spurt!) and this was the only wet puppy food available in my local supermarket. Of course I'd heard a lot of negative opinions on the pedigree brand from my fellow dog owners but really had no choice and thought the puppy formulation might not have the additives and problems that the adult dog formula does.

            I took this home and opened the packet and was surprised by how large the pieces in the product are. It consists of large 'meaty' chunks (which look very processed) suspended in jelly, and the pieces are really quite large relative to the mouth of a small puppy. In line with the feeding guidelines on the box, I gave him about a third of the packet. The product has quite a strong though not unpleasant meaty 'dog food' smell and my puppy was immediately interested in it, particularly in licking up every scarp of jelly. I was pleased that he seemed to like it, but within an hour or two he vomited on the living room carpet. I fed it to him again the next day, and again, within half an hour he was sick. Luckily, he wasn't at all concerned by the vomiting, just got straight back to play, but I took the food back to the Morrisons store where I bought it (for £3.65 for the box) and was given a full refund.

            My dog is not a fussy eater but I do find I have to be very selective over what I feed he as he will quickly have adverse physical or behavioural reactions to anything that's not quite right. If you dog is happily eating pedigree that's great, but if you're thinking of trying your pooch on it I recommend against doing so.

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          • Royal Canin in General / Discussion / 9 Readings / 9 Ratings
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            10.05.2012 15:24
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            You can get great organic dog foods for half the price of this gunk.

            Not sure why DooYoo has Royal Canin listed as cat food when they make food for a variety of small pets but never mind. Apologies for postng under cat food but I think the points will be valid for all types of Royal Canin products.

            Straight off, I cannot recommend this food. I was given a 2kg bag of Royal Canin Junior and Small dog food by the breeder when I collected my puppy. She is a very experienced breeder and Royal Canin was also recommended by my vet, but I was wary of continuing to feed it for two reasons:
            1. It is hugely expensive, about £25 for a 2.5kg bag from my vets. I see other reviews on here quote a lower price but the vets is the only stockist within about 15 miles of me.
            2. I read the ingredients list. Chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, every type of meat ground up and freeze dried, coated in preservatives, and popped into pellets. I wouldn't eat anything that heavily processed myself, so no way doggy is getting it either.

            I gradually switched puppy to James Wellbeloved, which is organic. I immediately noticed a change in his behaviour. Much more calm, less aggressive, a lot of problems I'd been trying to train out of him magically disappeared overnight.

            Puppy had had a lot of tummy touble when I first got him, which had cost a lot in vet's treatment, and for which he was given prescription dog food (again from Royal Canin, this time a tinned wet food). Since the switch there have been no more problems, making cleaning up after him much easier...

            Also, a weird patch of dry skin on his tummy (possibly a hot spot?) also disappeared.

            He longer suffers from foul flatulence (which was so embarassing!).

            He is no longer on Wellbeloved, he's on Harrington's, but as both these brands do not use artificial ingredients (which Royal Canin does) he has been fine on Harrington's too and his coat has become very soft and glossy.

            I really don't understand why Canin has such a great reputation, just a quick glance at the ingredients will tell you this is not a wholesome natural food for dogs. Avoid it.

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              10.05.2012 15:01
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              Try a packet!

              I have a 5 month old Jack Russell puppy and use these for training. I have found that they are absolutely the best possible training reward, because my dog has a sweet tooth and will never refuse the offer of a chocolate! Sometimes he will turn his nose up at a piece of kibble or a savoury snack, but the chocolate gets him to obey everytime.

              I first bought these in Morrisons for just over £1, and think this is excellent value for money, given how long a packet lasts and the almost magical powers of persuasion a piece of chocolate can exert over my sometimes stubborn little pup. I find that a packet lasts a long time - about a month - as they recommend that a dog not be given more than 10 drops in a day. I sometimes break the drops in half to make them go further during a training session.

              The chocolates have a very strong and pleasant vanilla scent which helps to keep his attention. I have to confess that I have tasted one of these drops myself when I first bought them (don't judge me, I was curious!) and they have a subtle sweet flavour, much nicer than carob (though I won't be swapping my Dairy Milk for a bag of these anytime soon!).

              In addition to using these during training, I have been giving puppy a chococlate treat at night when he is crated and have found this stops any bedtime tantrums and is helping him to learn to love sleeping in his own little den. I will continue to use them in training and can't recommend them enough.

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              10.05.2012 14:51
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              Great value to keep dogs active at home.

              My mother bought this as a gift for my 10 week old Jack Russell Terrier and he loved it. I believe she bought it in Morrisons for about £3 and given the hours of play my pup got out of this it was excellent value for money. This breed has a strong prey drive and love chasing anything that bounces and squeaks, but the little ears on this toy were a real hit as he could get these between his teeth and give it a good shake.

              At the time this was bought my puppy was too young to go for walks and this really was ideal for making sure he got enough exercise around the house. He would tear round the kitchen with it in his mouth and never got bored of playing with it - he could have played with it all day without tiring. My one criticism is that 'hunting' the toy, though excellent exercise, could sometimes bring out a very aggressive side of his personality which I haven't seen when he plays with balls or sticks, and for that reason I would advise caution if your dog has any problems with dominance or aggression.

              Eventually, this went the way of all dog toys and the rubber tore (about 8 weeks after purchase) - by this point he was off out for walks and I was trying to help him adjust from being an excitale puppy to a well-mannered toddler, so I would have ceased using this toy at this point anyway. It is filled with some kind of synthetic fibre - make sure to catch and bin the toy if it tears, because your dog will want to eat this (at least mine did). I have not replaced the lobber as he now has one of Good Boy's squeaky Turkey toys instead, which he adores and which he can play with much more calmly, sometimes just curling up to chew on his wing, instead of tearing round the kitchen in a squeaking frenzy. Even though I wouldn't give my dog this toy again now, it was ideal in those early days when he was cooped up in doors and gave hours of entertainment.

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            • Kong Dog Toy / Dog Accessory / 4 Readings / 4 Ratings
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              10.05.2012 14:34
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              My puppy gets much more pleasure out of an old stick he found in the garden.

              I have a 5 month old Jack Russell Puppy and bought a small puppy Kong for him before I went to collect him from the breeder.

              I had read so much about how wonderful Kongs are I was beginning to believe that they are magical cure-alls that will calm your dog, prevent destructive chewing, and keep him from boredom. They are not.

              I bought my Kong on Amazon for £3.65 where it had received fairly good consumer reviews, the main complaint being that they are often destroyed by enthusiastic chewers. I read up on how and when to use the Kong and how to stuff them in two or three different dog training guides. I collected my puppy and gave him the Kong, stuffed with kibble and liver, to keep him happy on the journey home.

              He has absolutely no interest in the Kong. I've stuffed it with dry food, pieces of meat, peanut butter, doggy chocs, even popped it in the freezer for a good soothing chew, but nothing will entice him.

              On the few occassions he has deigned to chew on it (probably just to avoid disappointing me!) he has extracted the easiest pieces and then got frustrated when the rest of the filling doesn't come out. He is a very active and intelligent dog, so getting the pieces out shouldn't be a problem for him - in fact he has another hollow toy, the 'everlasting chew', that is quite similar in principle to the Kong but a totally different shape, which he loves. The problem is the shape of the Kong - the narrow end is supposed to store material to challenge the dog and keep him chewing, but this is actually more frustration than a young puppy (particularly one who demonstrates any anxious or nervous behaviours) can cope with. I imagine that a larger dog would have no problem wrapping his jaws around the smaller end and giving it a good squeeze but a small dog cannot do this (even though I'm using the smallest puppy size available).

              Also, it's near impossible to clean. If you use anything other than dry food you will not be able to clean it out of the narrow end. Last time I used it I hand washed it twice and then gave it two goes in the dishwasher but there's still meat trapped in it. I've given up using it now.

              In terms of teething, my puppy gets much more pleasure out of chewing on fabric (especially old socks and his favourite soft toys) than out of chewing on anything cold and rubbery. He also loves chewing up sticks and twigs, of which I have a plentiful (and completely free) supply in my garden.

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              09.05.2012 20:00
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              A good budget all-in-one printer for high-quality home printing

              I've owned a really wide range of printers over the last few years: Epsons, HPs, ink jets, laser jets...but I keep coming back to the Epson ink-jet range for two reasons: the excellent print quality, and the ease of use of the software interface.

              I didn't actually purchase this printer: it was given to me by John Lewis in exchange for the totally execrable SX215 I had purchased from them. Retail price was around £35 which is a fair price: I certainly would not be prepared to pay any more for it.

              I was pleased by how small the printer is: it takes up almost half the space of the previous SX215. It is also very lightweight and has a nice matt finish (I found the shiny SX215 looked too 'plasticy'). Power cable, installatiion CD and ink cartridges were included, but no USB cable - I am using the cable I bought with my first Epson model.

              While the SX235W has lived up to my expectations in terms of print quality, I have to admit that in-store I was baffled that a wireless device would come at such a bargain price. It seemed too good to be true. And it was. The wi-fi function does not work. Because my printer is next to my computer I had no interest in using the wireless connection and this was not a selling-point for me, and for that reason it has not impacted my overall assessment of the printer, but if I had bought this expecting wireless connectivity I would have been sorely disappointed. And even though I have no need for the wireless connection, that doesn't mean it hasn't intefered with my printing. When first installing the printer I decided to try out the wireless connection. Two days and a lot of faffing around with configuring the wi-fi router in my home and changing various print and internet settings on my PC, I had it up and running. During this time I contacted Epson support via their website for advice and I have to say that they were utterly useless. There is no continuity of service so you do have to re-explain your problem to several different members of staff. They will try to redirect you to information on their website which of course you've already consulted and doesn't answer your question (else you would not have contacted support!). My memory's a little hazy, but eventually I fixed the set up issue by setting up a wireless network between my computer and printer using a wizard in windows and making sure that the new printer was set as a shared nework device - but nowhere in the instructions for the printer, on the Epson website, or in conversations with support was this simple fix described. However, that only worked for a couple of days - and then suddenly Epson's scanning software refused to open. Back to support who advised me to re-install the printer, which I did, losing the wireless connection I had taken such pains to set up! The scanning software would work with other user accounts on my computer, just not my own (administrator's) account, which was not something Epson had ever heard of (though a quick google search tells me it is a common problem) and which Microsoft eventually fixed for me. Now I only ever use it via USB - I'm not risking experimenting with the wi-fi again!

              The only other problem is that the printer can be very slow to print large full-colour documents. But that's a minor quibble. Overall, I am very happy with the look, performance and cost of this printer, and relieved to be shot of the SX215.

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              09.05.2012 19:00
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              • Reliability

              Disadvantages

              Really takes the strain out of vacuuming, makes doing the stairs a doddle.

              I purchased this model from Amazon just after Christmas. After years of battling with my increasingly unreliable (and dangerous) Hoover upright, I was looking for something lightweight, bagless, and with great suction. Having never owned a bagless cleaner before, I was confused by the array of sub-Dyson models on the market, and alarmed at some of the prices going. I researched this model further on the Vax website and can say that it is exactly as described, and I am very pleased with my purchase.

              The vacuum is extremely lightweight, weighing about 6 pounds. It can be lifted with one hand, and neither I or my mother have any trouble manoeuvering it around the house or up and down the stairs (we're both about 5 foot tall and she is in her 70s!). Weight and ease of use were the main reasons why I purchased this model and I am totally satisfied in these regards. The vacuum also has an extremely long power cord and I can just about do the whole house (large 3-bed semi) without changing sockets.

              I did debate whether to go for this model or the 'pet' model in the same range, as I have a puppy who is constantly shedding. This model is able to pick up every strand of pet or human hair from the carpet. The brushbar is great and picking up dirt and refreshing the pile of the carpet. I also use the vacuum on the tiled floor in my kitchen, but don't have any laminate floors so can't comment on its effectiveness on those.

              However, while the brushbar is great at cleaning carpets, it does also require a lot of cleaning itself. The cover has to be unclipped and any longer pieces of debris that you've picked up (like long hairs or loose threads) will have wrapped themselves tight around the brushbar and have to be cut off with scissors. I find I'm doing this quite regularly, about as often as I empty the cylinder.

              My one complaint about this product is that it seems to be constructed entirely of small plastic pieces that clip together. This is probably how they keep the model so lightweight, but it's very annoying when clips and buttons come flying off the machine as you're cleaning the house. As an example, the handle of the vacuum is actually a detachable hose that can be used the vacuum hard to reach places (like the top of ceiling lights or door frames). When you're not using it as a hose, there's a clip to keep it in place for use as a handle. This clip spung off the other day, and it was a tough job getting it back into place. This vacuum comes with a number of handy attachments - particularly good is the smaller hand-held vacuum head that I use for cleaning stairs and the car - which are clipped onto the main body of the vacuum for storage. Well, all these clips have also failed, and I've got a pile of random attachments in the cupboard - not quite as neat and tidy as it was when I first bought it! Also, the machine did come in pieces and did require a bit of straightforward self-assembly before it was useable.

              I found this model discounted to £199.00 and, and that price, it represented fantastic value for money. I would be prepared to pay up to £250 for it - look out for offers on Amazon, as the current listed price of £325 is too high.

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              29.08.2011 20:45
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              (Rating)

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              Classic, subtle, feminine.

              Dolce&Gabanna Feminine is an extremely light and wearable scent suitable for everyday use. Of course, the smell of a perfume varies depending on the individual, but this is an extremely fresh and clean scent on most wearers. On me it has a smell something like talc and cucumber - actually much nicer than it sounds! - by which I mean that it has a really fresh floral scent without being too 'girly' - despite the name. What you won't find in this perfume are strong smells of musk, alcohol, roses, or any of the other cliched components of women's fragrances. Instead, the product is light, clean, and suitable for wear during the day.

              I think the fresh and sophisticated scent of the perfume is well reflected by the packaging, which I love, with its sleek, shiny, and straight-forwardly elegant design. You won't have to worry about this looking out of place in your bathroom or boudoir.

              What I like best about this product is that it seems to be a well-kept secret - I have never smelt this fragrance on another woman. When I used to wear scents by Hilfiger and Davidoff (and even CK One during my teenage years!) I would always be running into people wearing the same fragrance, which was not what I wanted at all - with Feminine I have a unique signature scent.

              In terms of prices, I always buy my fragrances in bulk when I'm passing through duty free, but I've seen the 50ml size on Amazon for just less than £60, which is a little more than I would be willing to pay for any fragrance. However, my current 50ml bottle has been in use for nearly two years now, so I cannot say that the £60 price would not offer good value for money. Just one or two spritses of this fragrance in the morning will last you all day. I've never needed to carry the bottle with me to reapply. It's not a strong scent, but it will last, without ever being overpowering. I've worn this fragrance for over eight years now and it's a firm favourite.

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