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My previous earphones started to only work in one ear, so it was time for a new set. I had a look on Amazon as always and looked through the products listed, taking into account the price, who they were made by, and the consensus opinion in the reviews. There are a lot that offer extra bass, or bass boost, but I wasn't interested in that, I just wanted a standard pair of the in-ear type. I looked at popular brands such as Skull Candy, but the reviews of their products always consist of people complaining that they become faulty very quickly. Finally I settled on these Panasonic ErgoFit HJE120 earphones. The cost is much cheaper than other top brands and the reviews gave me confidence as the vast majority were positive and hardly anyone had anything negative to say.
These earphones are available in a wide range of colours. I opted for white, but I also saw black, blue, pink, purple, red and orange on offer. The cost differs depending on the colour, and white is currently £5.49.
The product is packaged in strong transparent plastic casing, and inside, another piece of moulded plastic firmly holds the earphones and the earpieces (which are given in small, medium and large sizes). The earphones are packaged fitted with the small or medium size (I can't remember which) so I needed to change these up to the large size straight away. Taking the ear pieces off is easy enough, but putting another size on over the little oval shaped plastic bits was tricky at first until I realised the trick is to fold the earpieces inside out first, allowing them to slide over easily. Also in the packaging is the usual printed information on white card. The cord is 1.1m and the plug is of the L shape variety. The cord length works great for me as it's long enough to go down to my trouser pocket with plenty of slack to spare for movement.
The earphones themselves have a unique shape and I was a bit skeptical that they would be comfortable, but as soon as I used them I was very happy with the fit and the comfort. I can go for my brisk walks without even worrying about them falling out or even becoming loose, so that has been ticked off the concern list too. You get a good depth of sound and there is no lack of clarity as you might expect with earphones as cheap as this.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with this purchase. The price is great. It's a quality brand. The product is comfortable to wear, well designed, and the sound quality is excellent in my opinion. So long as the longevity checks out, I'll definitely just buy the same ones again if I need to in the future.
Fairy is a top quality brand of washing up liquid, which comes in a variety of fragrances, and from what I've used so far the best of the bunch for me is Apple Orchard.
Currently on sale in ASDA for £1 for a 433ml bottle, and £2 for a 1.25 litre bottle, these compare reasonably well to the own brands on offer such as the ASDA apple & pear washing up liquid that is currently priced at 87p for 740ml. In fact, like a good consumer, I might give that one a go next.
This Fairy liquid comes in a transparent bottle which has nice looking grooves shaped into the design, and at the top we have the standard red flip top that you find on these products. There are stickers on the front and back of the bottle, with the usual fairy branding and some simple information about washing your hands thoroughly after using this product.
The liquid inside is green like an apple orchard washing up liquid should be. It's lighter and more vibrant than the traditional green washing up liquid colour we're accustomed to seeing. The lid is easy to flip open with a little click up with the thumb (or whatever opening technique you decide to employ) and it clicks down firmly enough so that nothing can escape in the event of the bottle getting knocked over.
The smell is a very pleasant apple smell and it actually adds a bit of enjoyment to the monotonous task of washing up when you have a nice scent rising out of the sink. When using it, you only need to add a quick squirt to the running hot water as it foams up really well and the magic ingredients in the liquid do a great job of helping clean the dishes, cutlery and pans etc, leaving them with a very nice fresh smell. I've also noticed that the bubbles last for a very long time, which is another plus point as you can have a break and come back to the bubbles looking like they've lost none of their potency to get the job done.
With greasy dishes and more stubborn burnt-in foodstuff for example, this liquid has performed really well for me, and I haven't had to scrub for very long with these items before they are clean (with the aid of hot water that is). With rinsing the items, it's also quick and easy to get rid of any suds or liquid, and if you feel in the mood you can then rub your finger down a plate for that satisfying squeak.
I don't use rubber gloves for washing up as I somehow always manage to fill up the gloves with water during the process anyway, so there's no benefit. My skin is always in direct contact with the bubbles/liquid, and I haven't had any problems with sensitive skin or the product giving me any irritation. As it says on the back of the bottle, just make sure you always rinse your hands thoroughly after using it.
So in conclusion, this is as good a washing up liquid as I could expect to find anywhere, and it has a nice scent to boot. Other fragrances in the Fairy range include Lime & Lemongrass, Silk & Orchid, Eucalyptus, Apple Fizz, Lemon Burst, Orange Crush, Pomegranate & Honeysuckle, Tangerine & Ginger, Lemon, and of course Original. The Fairy brand is a little more expensive than similar-sounding supermarket brands, but when it comes to such a monotonous task, if it can be made easier with a superior product, for me it's worth it.
After accidently squashing my last toaster while moving house, I went on the lookout for a new toaster that wouldn't cost much and did the job as expected. The Tesco 2T07 2 Slice Toaster looked good enough to me at the time for around £5. That was two months ago, and the price has now changed slightly to £6, so maybe they've upped the quality of the product since then to justify the increase. After many years of toasters existing, I figured even though it's cheap it'll be able to achieve it's purpose and I'll just see how long it lasts for.
The box is standard with the usual Tesco logos on it, and inside you have the toaster in a transparent bag with instructions. It's packaged securely enough with a couple of extra cardboard pieces, so there was no concern over it having been bashed about during transit on it's journey to the Tesco shelves. The instructions contain the usual safety details, for example not to immerse it in water when it's switched on, and there are also basic instructions on how to use the toaster and how to clean it.
The toaster itself is made of fairly thin white plastic and the design is more or less oval shaped. The controls consist of a dial that goes from 1 - 7 for how well done you want your toast, then below that there's the cancel button, and above the dial there is the standard lever piece to push down to lower your bread for toasting. These parts are made of equally thin grey plastic. The lead is about a metre in length, which is long enough for me, and it is attached to the body of the toaster on the right side of the controls, so depending on your kitchen set up this can be a plus or minus point. Dimensions of the toaster are: Height 17.5cm, Width 25.5cm, Depth 19cm, and it weighs 860 grams.
The toaster can only accommodate slices with a thickness of up to around 1.5cm. I thought this would be fine but recently it couldn't handle the end pieces of a standard loaf, so that's another thing to consider before purchase. The basic loaf of sliced ASDA bread I currently have works fine, but taller slices from more quality brands do stick out the top a bit. Bagel halves can just about be squeezed in. I'm pushing this poor toaster to it's limits.
When first using the toaster, it will emit a plastic smell and that will make your toast taste awful, but after the first use that smell should disappear. For timings, I keep the toaster on number 5, and this takes approximately 2 minutes and 10 seconds. I haven't timed a toaster before so I'm not sure if that's a long time for an average piece of toast. Once it's toasted, it pops up in the usual way. It's not a loud clunk noise, so I need to keep my ears open for it as I like to get the butter on straight away to achieve the optimum slice of buttery toast.
Cleaning the toaster is easy enough. The plastic surface is smooth and you can just wipe food/drink splashes off with a slightly wet cloth. You might want to wait until it cools though as the plastic casing can get a bit hot if you've just been using it for multiple amounts of toast. At the opposite end to the controls, you can pull out the crumb collection tray for emptying, then just slot it back in.
So overall, this is a basic toaster for people who buy basic bread. Anything larger than basic bread, like more expensive higher-quality bread or if you're slicing the bread yourself, and you will struggle. Other types of foodstuff will fit, but sometimes, as with bagels, it's a bit of a squeeze and this can make the toaster refuse to work even when you have the lever clicked down and the bread is lowered for toasting.
I am actually contemplating spending money on a proper toaster now due to these issues, which is very telling for a cheapskate. I don't want to have to push a toaster to it's limits. It should be able to accommodate the variety of products designed for toasting, and that is basically why this one is so cheap.
After staying with just glasses for a year or so, I recently decided to buy contact lenses again. If you've ever ventured out into the rain while wearing glasses, you'll know it can be quite frustrating without mini windscreen wipers attached, then you get inside a building and the glasses steam up, so it's nice to have a choice available to help avoid all that messing about, especially during the English winter.
I searched online for suppliers as I knew the measurements/power for each eye and I didn't want to get involved with the hassle of Specsavers as I had done with contact lenses previously. I was looking for the cheapest monthly lenses. I've always found monthlies to be the most cost effective type of contact lens for me personally especially as I never use them every single day so I can push that duration a bit further. I eventually settled on Bausch & Lomb's Soflens 59 from a third-party supplier on Amazon. Currently these are for sale at £13.56 for a pack of six (plus £3.90 postage), so that's three months at a very competitive price. I actually bought a couple of packs and the postage cost didn't go up at all, so it worked out even better.
The packaging consists of a basic cardboard box with a simple blue and white design. On one side, the power of the lenses is written along with the expiry date which, for these ones, gives me five years to use them. Inside, the three pairs are neatly stored together, with each pair of moulded plastic containers fitting snugly with each other. Each one is sealed with a foil-type top upon which the power and expiry date is again printed.
The lenses are made from a silicone substance called Hilafilcon B and have a slight blue tint to them. I think this is standard in order to help you find them in the saline solution in your contact lens container and if you ever drop them for example. Each lens is made up of 59% water, hence the name Soflens 59, and each one is stored in a solution of borate buffered saline. For fitting to the eye, the base curve is 8.6mm and the diameter is 14.2mm as standard.
I've been using these for a couple of months now, mainly for days and nights out, and I have no complaints whatsoever. To avoid any potential soreness, I always apply plenty of saline solution and once the lens is placed on the eye, I will apply some more saline solution just to make sure there is no risk of discomfort. I can happily report that I haven't experienced any discomfort with these contact lenses. I don't work on the computer when I have them in though so I can't say whether they are conducive to that environment. I have kept them in all day even to the point where I forget I'm wearing them. I remember times in the past when lenses would get sore during the day, so I keep my lenses container in my pocket just in case I have to suddenly take them out, but there have been no problems thus far. Also there have been times where I thought I might have torn them, but then discovered this not to be the case, so another plus point is that the material seems to be very durable.
Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase. They are the cheapest monthly contact lenses I have seen and they have not disappointed me at all, so I will certainly be looking to purchase the same product again once my current supply runs out.
Recently I've had a lot going on with work and with life in general, and it's been very difficult to switch my mind off so I can get to sleep. Being one of those people who is willing to try anything before resorting to a visit to the doctor, I went to my local ASDA in search of a product that would help me get to sleep at a proper hour.
There's a range of products to choose from, offered by brands such as Nytol and Kalms, and while there was nothing wrong with those products, I opted for these Natrasleep tablets as they offered the best value for money at the time while having the same sleep aid benefits. Currently in ASDA, this product is £3.20 for a pack of 50 tablets.
The packaging consists of a tablet box in a blue/purple colour, which states that this product is 'a herbal remedy traditionally used to encourage natural sleep'. Inside you get five tabs that hold 10 tablets each in the standard way and these oval-shaped tablets are white with a very slight grey/greenish colour to them.
All the information you need is printed on the box: Ingredients, Dosage, and a list of Cautions. The two active ingredients are Hops and Valerian extract which have both been shown to encourage natural sleep. Exact measurements of these per tablet is: Hops Powder Extract 5:1 (33.4mg) equivalent to 167mg of Hops Powder, Valerian Powder Extract 4:1 (62.5mg) equivalent to 250mg of Valerian Powder.
Also contained within the tablet ingredients: Calcium Phosphate, Croscarmellose Sodium, Microcystalline Cellulose, Silicon Dioxide, Magnesium Stearate, Maltodextrin, Glucose Syrup, Hypromellose, Purified Talc, Titanium Dioxide (E171), Copper Chlorophyllin (E141), Vegetable Carbon Black (E153).
You are directed to take one to three tablets about 30 minutes before going to bed. I have just been taking one, mainly because I'm a skinflint, but luckily that has been enough for me. It's not very powerful but the strength has proven just enough to tip me over the edge and get to sleep. I would imagine that taking three of them would guarantee a very satisfying full nights sleep.
Among the listed cautions is the reminder to check you're not allergic to the ingredients and not to take them if you're on anti-depressant medication. It also states that, similar to other herbal sleeping tablets I've seen, this product is not recommended for children.
The best before date is printed on each tab and this batch is fine until June 2015, so if you pass the bad sleeping period, you can store these away and chances are they'll still be good to use when these temporary sleeping issues occur again.
In summary, I'm very pleased with these Natrasleep tablets. After getting through a tab of 10, I've now stopped taken them as they have helped me get back to my normal sleep routine, and I didn't have to go to the doctors for anything stronger and less natural!
At the time of purchasing my new printer, which I recently reviewed, I also picked up some A4 paper. I just asked the cashier in Staples what their cheapest A4 plain white paper was and they pointed to the HP Everyday plain paper that was being displayed nearby in an impressive circular-stacked pattern.
At the time of purchase in Staples this was £2.40 and for that you get 500 sheets of plain white A4 paper (measuring 210 x 297mm).
This paper is made with 'ColorLok Technology' which, as the label states, enables faster drying, bolder black and vivid colours. Apparently, when compared to ordinary paper, the colours of your images/text when printed out on this paper will be 25% brighter, the ink will dry 2.5 times quicker, and the black is up to 16% bolder. It is also made for use with both laser and inkjet printers, though I think that's a given and they've just written that on the packaging for the sake of filling space.
You're also made to feel better about your purchase as we are told that HP papers are a responsible choice as they're recyclable and they're from 'forests that are renewable'. A renewable forest - who would have thought?
The printer I recently purchased does not have colour toner, only black, so I cannot vouch for the claim that the colours will be brighter on this paper. However, I can say I'm very pleased with the quality of the print in black and with greyscale images. The paper is perfectly white and is of a high quality. When printing there is no running of the ink or accidental smudges as it's already dry when I pick it up. I'm also very pleased with the price!
I'm not sure what else there is to say about paper, so basically if you're looking for some quality yet cheap A4 paper in plain white, I would definitely recommend buying this HP Everyday paper from your local Staples.
I was suddenly running very low on my regular Bionsen roll-on, so on a trip to my local Asda I took a look at their deodorant section. I couldn't find any Bionsen and I was pushed for time, so I grabbed what appeared to be the best option - Sanex for Men with Dermo Active Control. It was only £1 so I thought I'd give it a go out of desperation.
The main selling point of this roll-on deodorant is that it has an 'anti-irritation complex' so it's been made with the idea of minimising the risk of skin irritation. It offers 48 hours protection (I love how they use the word 'protection' on these products, as if our underarm stink is physically harmful). It's an anti-perspirant with 0% alcohol, and apparently keeps the skin healthy (according to what's written on the label).
The product itself comes in a standard 50ml roll-on container. The standing lid part is a cloudy transparent white and has the information labels stuck on front and back, then the navy blue roll-on part is unscrewed from this for use.
The list of ingredients is as follows: Aqua, Aluminium Chlorohydrate, Glycerin, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Steareth-2, Cyclomethicone, Steareth-21, Parfum, Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycerol, Talc, BHT.
The first negative about this roll-on is that it contains aluminium. Aluminium has been associated with a variety of health issues including Breast Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease, and this is one of the reasons I go for Bionsen as it comes without the ingredients that could potentially be harmful in the long run.
Also comparing this to my regular Bionsen roll-on, this Sanex one was less than half the price and offers protection for twice the time. But I wonder at what price health-wise. The smell is a pleasant enough generic soapy sort of smell and it does keep you fresh-smelling, though I can't confirm the 48 hour protection claim as I shower every day. And for the major one - I have had some itchiness in one armpit since using this product so I won't be buying again. Why should a roll-on cause itchiness anyway? There's something in the ingredients of common deodorants causing this and we're absorbing it into our bodies.
So in conclusion, I give it two stars for the fact that it is cheap and will do the required job for most people, and admittedly it causes less itching than other standard roll-ons. However, the next time I go to Boots, I'm stocking up on Bionsen!
After gifting my last printer to a friend, I went on the look out for a new one. I always look for Samsung products first as they have never let me down. It had to be an affordable laser printer, and I never print in colour due to the extra costs involved, so I was looking for one that only required the one black toner cartridge.
I found the Samsung ML-2165 printer perfectly suited what I was after. (Incorrectly stated as 'All in one' in the product type here) This is a standard mono laser printer which I found in my local Staples for £59.
The item comes boxed and is securely packaged inside with the standard polystyrene blocks surrounding it. You also get the power lead, a quick installation guide, and a sealed bag with an installation cd and guarantee/warranty booklet. When I purchased the printer, I noticed all of them showed signs of previously being opened. I asked an employee why and they told me that they had received them with the wrong power leads, so they had to open them up and put the correct UK one in. So I actually have two power leads in this box - one with a UK plug on the end, and one with a three-pronged one which I don't recognise at all so I'm not sure what country that's used for.
Also of note is the fact that this does not come with a USB lead to connect to your PC. The reason for this is that the printer apparently comes with WIFI capabilities but I'm not technical enough to even bother with that and it's straight forward enough to just use a USB cable, which was an extra two pounds.
Out of the box, the printer is slightly off-white in colour with touches of grey here and there. Its dimensions are 331mm (w) x 178mm (h) x 215mm (d), and it weighs 4kg. It's a very compact size and doesn't take up much room at all on my desk. On the right side of the printer, there is the on/off button, a 'print screen' button, and two lights that will notify you about toner and status warnings.
Installation is easy enough. The quick installation guide supplied is a one-sheet that gives you very simple steps to follow. There are little sticky strips that are holding the paper tray shut to give it extra protection in transit in the box, so you need to first peel all of those off. They are delicate enough and don't leave any marks at all. You need to also click on the tray lid piece for when your printing comes out the top. Then, opening the printer up, you need to remove a plastic piece from the interior and then take the toner cartridge out and give it a few quick shakes as it's been sitting around on its own in the dark for a long time and it needs waking up. Next, you need to load some paper (it holds up to 150 standard sheets), and as you can load different sizes of paper/envelopes, there is an adjustable plastic bit which holds your paper/envelopes securely in place. Accepted sizes are A4 / A5 / Letter / Legal / Executive / Folio / Oficio / ISO B5 / JIS B5 / Envelope (Monarch, Com10, DL, C5) / Custom (76 x 127mm - 216 x 356mm / 3" x 5" - 8.5" x 14").
Next, I plugged the power lead in and then the USB. Once switched on, the driver is installed automatically, there's a moment of whirring as the printer prepares itself for being used for the first time, and then it's ready to go. Printing is as efficient as I expected with a laser printer. After a momentary whirring sound (the printing noise level is less than 50dBA), the print time is very quick (print speed is up to 20ppm in A4). The toner you get with the printer is a 'starter' toner, which has a 700 page yield. One thing to remember is the fact that at some point you will need to buy a new toner cartridge. In Staples, the cartridge for this printer is currently £54, so almost as much as the printer itself, and the yield for that is 1500 pages so it should last a good long while especially considering I don't print very often.
Other technical features for this printer are that it has a 300MHz Processor, 8MB Memory, Power Consumption is 310 Watts (Printing) / 0.9 Watts (Sleep Mode) / 30 Watts (Standby), Up to 1200 x 1200dpi effective output Resolution (very important for graphics people!), and compatible Operating systems are Windows 2000 / XP / Vista / Win7 / 2003 Server / 2008 Server / Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.7 / Various Linux OS Compatible.
Only time will tell on how good this product really is, but for the moment I am extremely happy with this purchase. The cost, plus the ease to set up, the efficiency and the quality of the print, are exactly what was I was hoping for, so it's 5 stars from me.
I recently purchased a Galaxy S3 Mini and along with it I knew I needed some sort of protective case/cover. There are many of these on the market but I eventually went for this Gel Skin Cover as it looked nice, was well priced, and the existing reviews online were positive.
Available on Amazon from a third-party supplier, these are currently provided in a range of colours - Hot Pink, Blue, Purple, Smoke Black, Solid Black, Solid Hot Pink, Solid Purple, Solid Red and Solid White (Sold meaning there is no transparency whatsoever. Where the colour isn't 'solid' you can see though it so that the colour mixes slightly with the colour of the phone and you can also still see the 'Samsung' print). Prices range from £2.49 - £2.99, depending on the colour chosen.
I didn't want anything too vibrant so I opted for the Smoke Black colour, which is basically a standard sort of greyish colour that is slightly transparent. It mixes well with the colour of the phone (I have the phone with the blueish back as opposed to the white option), giving it a darker tone, and achieves the look I wanted.
Packaging for this cover consists of a basic plastic bag with details of the manufacturer and the selling points of this product. Namely that: It provides protection from scratches and impacts. It is an exact fit for the device. It allows functions to remain fully accessible. It gives your device a more dynamic look.
It does indeed fit perfectly onto the phone. It's made of a gel-like material, so it's easy enough to fit on and stays firmly in place. The cover has various holes on it that are perfectly situated over the camera and speaker, and the ports where you need to plug in headphones or the charger etc. In the hand it's slightly more bulky of course with the case attached, which helps ol' butter fingers a lot, and I'm happy to report I haven't even come close to dropping it.
However, we now come to my problem with this product. With the power button and the volume button on the sides, the case has these bumps going over them, which may well be there to protect the buttons, but I found them to be extremely annoying as I had to press much harder to use these side buttons and I had to try multiple times before pressing it hard enough to get a result. Without the case, these buttons can be simply and gently clicked, but with the case I had to push really hard and, aside from the annoyance, I felt like I was potentially damaging the longevity of the buttons by having to push against the plastic so hard I couldn't gauge if I was actually then forcing the buttons in too much. I have solved that issue by neatly cutting holes into the plastic in those specific areas and I'm now much happier.
I would recommend the product for the range of colours and the way it fits snugly onto the phone. It does look great and offers a layer of protection, however the issue I have pointed out was a big annoyance to me so if you feel that would annoy you too, don't bother, as there are many other products to try out.
I wanted to try out one of these retractable dog leads so I went into my local Pets at Home store and after looking through the selection I settled on this Flexi Classic Compact 3.
The current online price is £14 for the small size, £16 for the medium size, and £24 for the large size. My dog is medium sized but he is a very strong 'puller' when the mood takes him (many leads/harnesses have been snapped/broken), so I opted for the large size. Thankfully he has calmed down as he has aged but the large size is still necessary for him. There are a range of colours available and I chose to have it in black.
Firstly, the packaging is transparent vacuum pack with the actual product showing through. The cardboard inside tells you about the product, what size of lead it is, and gives you a quick run through of how to use the lead with a series of images.
Inside the packaging, you get the large lead and also a collar. I found the collar impossible to use on my dog. He has a smallish head and the neck isn't much thinner so it would be very easy for him to slip out of the collar that is supplied, however I am sure this will be useful to other dog owners. There is also a little booklet for the product.
Using the lead takes a little bit of learning if you haven't used this type of lead before. It's 5 metres long, so when it is not locked, my dog can think he's off the lead and suddenly decide to sprint. The handle is fortunately good to grip so it has never flown out of my hand when the 5 metre limit is reached, and he is used to the limits of the lead now so does this very rarely these days. This is all good testing for the product though as my dog pulls very strong when he has the scent of a rabbit for example and so I have to have faith in the lead not giving in to him like many other leads have done in the past when he would pull all the time.
The locking mechanism is great. You have two plastic pieces at the top of the handle. The first one can be held down with your thumb to stop the lead from extending or decreasing, and while this is held you can flip up the second part to lock it completely. It took a bit of practice but I can now do this in one swift move. It's a very handy feature in certain situations, for example, when another dog suddenly appears and before you know it my dog has set off to greet them, but he's very energetic and some dog owners and/or dogs may not appreciate that so it's better to lock him on the shorter lead and make sure it's okay to say hello. Things like this make me really appreciate this lead.
So the durability is not an issue for me. This is a great lead that is robust and 5 metres is the perfect length. The one issue I have to voice is that the lead itself is very easy for a dog to chew through. It's very rare for my dog to still do this, but he had just been put back in the car after a walk and the lead was not taken off straight away so he started to chew at it and the damage was beyond repair within about 30 seconds so I had to go and buy another straight away. Obviously I've made sure not to do that again and have fine-tuned my system but it's worth noting.
In summary, this is a great lead with an extremely useful locking mechanism so that you can give your dog a bit of freedom or bring him/her under control at your side whenever the situation requires it.
I needed a new kettle, so on my weekly trip to Tesco I browsed their kettle selection. Instead of going for the cheapest option, I went for this Rapid Boil Kettle that was still relatively cheap at £12.50.
The kettle comes in a box which is coloured in a gradient from dark blue to a lighter inky blue, and there is a picture of the kettle on each side. Apart from being a rapid boil kettle, the four other selling points are stated on the box: It illuminates while boiling, there is a water level indicator, it has a 1.7 litre capacity, and it has a 360 degree rotation base.
Inside the box there is the white kettle and the white base with plug attachment. These each come in a transparent bag and have a cardboard divider between them. There's also an extra piece of cardboard at the bottom of the box for added protection. You get a leaflet user guide that runs through cautions/safety guide, preliminaries/before using the kettle, connecting and using the kettle, the safety features that have been built into the product such as boil dry protection and overheating switch-off, and then some info about cleaning/descaling the kettle. The kettle also has a mesh filter located in the spout part for trapping scale, and the leaflet tells you how to remove and clean that too.
Using the kettle is simple enough. The only thing to remember with any new kettle is that you need to fill it and boil it a few times before you actually use any of the water for a drink. If you don't do that, you'll have a rather unpleasant cup of tea that tastes of plastic.
One issue with the kettle is when you need to fill it with water. At the top of the handle you click the button with your thumb and the lid pops up unlocked. However when you move it manually to make it open up further, you find that the lid opening is quite restricted, so it doesn't allow you to fill the kettle as easily as with other kettles. It would be normal to open up to somewhere close to a 90 degree angle, but this one opens to around 60 degrees, so you sort of have to angle it if filling directly from the tap. I have a filter jug so it's not so much of a problem to tip the water in, but if you fill directly from the tap the restricted opening could potentially be an annoyance. As you fill it with water, you will see the handy water level on the side, where it has markers for 2, 4, 6, and 8 cups.
This product is well made and doesn't feel like a thin lightweight basics kettle. It leads me to believe I'll get some good usage out of it. The measurements of it are: Height 25.5cm, Width 15.9cm, Depth 22.7cm. The kettle fits perfectly onto the base, and as advertised, you can put it on any way you like as they connect via a circular piece in the centre. The little lever to start the boiling process is located in the usual place underneath the handle, and the water level area lights up a nice blue colour. The kettle lives up to the rapid boil claim as it takes about a minute or so for a few cups of water. When it reaches boiling point it is no different in behaviour to any other standard kettle. Then the little lever clicks up, the blue light goes off and you're ready to enjoy a fresh cuppa.
So in summary, I would recommend this kettle but only if you can put up with the restricted opening of the lid. I'm not sure why it's been made like that, but it does annoy me that I can't opening it up anywhere near as close as other kettles I've had in the past.
*Just to note, the 'Quick Rating' made me rate Picture quality and Sound quality, which do not apply here, although maybe kettles will come with a TV attached in the future, which I think we all agree would only be a good thing.
Especially during the summer months it's important to have a drink of water to hand if you're taking your dog on a long walk. I picked up this water bottle for my dog because it appeared very useful with the addition of a tray to tip the water in, and at £3 from the store Pets at Home, it was worth trying out.
The entire product is made from plastic and although I wouldn't say it's very robust, it does appear to be perfectly durable so long as you treat it with care. The bottle is of a good size. The product dimensions are H39 x W6 x D5cm. For my medium sized dog, there are three good drinks in there on a hot day with a little bit left to spare. He drinks until satisfied and it covers our two hour walks perfectly.
The bottle unscrews from the lid that is fixed to the blue tray part of the product. Once filled with water, just screw it back into the lid firmly and fold it snugly into the tray for carrying. I personally just carry this in my hand for the entire walk but there is a clip attached which allows you to hang it on your rucksack or wherever. I tried to hang it from a loop on my jeans but it was far too bulky swinging about as I walked.
When your dog wants a drink, just tip the water into the tray and he/she can lap it up as normal. If there is any left over you can tip it back into the bottle via a bottom corner of the tray if you wish. I have read more than one review that states if this product isn't held upright it will leak, even though Pets at Home state that this product is designed to avoid leaks and spills. I have not experienced this personally, mainly due to the fact that I have it upright in hand from the moment I step out the door, plus I'm a bit OCD about screwing lids on things so I'm always certain they are completely secure, so for me the product works perfectly as advertised and I'm very happy with this purchase.
After looking online through many reviews for many different clippers, I finally settled on purchasing the WAHL 300 Series. It's quite difficult to tell the difference between a lot of these clippers to be honest. Even with the WAHL brand, there are a lot of clippers for similar prices with the same abilities, but I felt that these were a good price from Amazon at £19.98 especially considering the amount of items you get in the kit with it.
A bit of history about WAHL: They're an American company that have been going since 1919 making hair clippers, so they know what they're doing and are a leading brand which is used by professional hairdressers.
The packaging for this WAHL 300 Series consists of a cardboard sleeve which shows images of the product and all of the extra equipment that is included inside. Special features of this product include the ergonomic shape making it easy to use and cut at all the necessary angles, and precision ground high-carbon steel blades that stay sharp for longer. Once the sleeve is removed, you have the black plastic case with a handle and latch. It's nice and compact with everything inside. It opens out on a hinge and the complete list of items is as follows:
Mains operated clipper with protective plastic clip over blades.
Set of 8 guide combs to clip over the blades for various lengths (from 3mm to 25mm).
Small sturdy brush for cleaning clippers.
Small 5ml bottle of blade oil.
Blueish see-through plastic sheet to put around the person getting their hair cut.
A soft brush for sweeping hairs off of neck.
Comb with narrow gaps between teeth one end and larger gaps at the other end.
Booklet covering important safeguards, clipper maintenance, methods for cutting hair, and the product guarantee.
The instructional DVD is great. First of all you choose the language you need it in (there are 10 different languages to choose from). Then the next menu consists of Techniques, Hair Styles, Clipper Maintenance.
'Techniques' shows real people cutting hair as well as showing you the occasional diagram while you're talked through how to use the equipment. This part lasts 3m57secs. 'Hair Styles' covers cuts with such names as Contemporary Business Cut, Long Sport Cut, The Fade, The Bald Look. You're taken through exactly how to achieve these styles while again seeing people have their hair cut for real. It's really helpful and gives you confidence seeing it presented in this way. This part lasts 19m07secs. 'Clipper Maintenance' is also extremely useful as you are taken through exactly how to look after your clipper set and ensure that it lasts for years. I really appreciated this DVD as they have made it with great care and attention to detail so that you really get the most out of the product.
Using the product itself is straight forward enough. These clippers do not have a rechargeable battery ability so you will need a plug socket. I find this is better anyway as if you are not 100% fully charged on ones that have the battery, you can get a very uneven cut and the hairs can get torn out rather than neatly cut with clippers running on mains at full power. You click the switch on the side and the product emits a low hum sound. If you find this to be a bit loud you can tighten or loosen a screw which gives you control over that. There is also a lever on the side of the product which you can use to move the blades closer together to achieve a closer cut. Clippers tend to be quite bulky and hard to hold for a long time with the constant vibrating but these are definitely easier to handle for a long time compared to others I've used.
I've been very happy with the results of these clippers on myself and on a couple of friends who wanted to try them out for a trim. Once you learn exactly how to give yourself or someone else the perfect haircut, just think of the savings you'll be making by not getting your hair cut at the hairdressers anymore. I'm glad I made this purchase as I won't be going to the hairdressers ever again, that's for sure.
As a light sleeper I've tried foam, wax and silicone earplugs, and I have to say silicone is by far the best. It shuts out the most sound and also has the least downsides compared to the other types. Foam earplugs don't shut out enough sound for me and wax earplugs can soften to the point of melting in hotter temperatures, stick in your hair, and be difficult to get out of the ear, so it's silicone all the way!
Running low on supplies, I checked on Amazon to find the best deal on some silicone earplugs. I looked for the price (obviously) plus how many pairs you get. The brand is also a factor in this. I've tried all the major ones and I've never had issues with them so I wasn't focusing on any one brand in particular.
I found 7 pairs of Hush Plugz Silicone earplugs for £3.21 including postage. The item is listed on Amazon by quite a few suppliers and prices seem to change ever so slightly all the time, but this is as good a price as I have seen for 7 pairs so I made the purchase.
Coming in pink cardboard packaging, the plastic earplug holder is slotted neatly inside. On the back of the packaging, it lists all the potential uses for these earplugs such as sleeping and swimming. There are also instructions for use, but they seem a bit ridiculous as I have never needed to reach above my head and pull the top of my ear to put an earplug in as we are instructed to. The plastic holder contains all 7 pairs lined up in 3 rows. There are no dividers at all, and it just has a thin plastic sheet over the top of them for protection. The earplugs are cloudy pink in colour and the sizes are not all perfectly identical but they are close enough not to be an issue, so those looking for earplugs of a perfect uniform size may want to look elsewhere.
To use, they are nice and malleable for you to squeeze into shape for putting in your ears. They block out the sound as expected and stay in the ear. Sometimes earplugs can be too large for your ear so I just trim those types down to be the correct size for me, but these ones fit perfectly straight away. When you've been wearing a pair for a while, a few weeks or so, they will start to go dry and cracked. When that happens it's time to change them over as you will end up making your ear sore.
From other earplugs I have owned, it is not uncommon to receive a container for each pair of earplugs. The downside of this packaging is that you only have the large plastic container with all the pairs in together. Because of this you may find that you have to keep using it to put the current pair of earplugs in while not in use, which may bring unwanted contamination onto the unused ones, and expose them to air everyday that could add up to them drying out slightly before use, when they should just be kept in a drawer in ideal storage conditions until needed. This may be a bit OCD on my part, but longevity is very important to me. To avoid this issue, I have kept a container from previous pairs so that I can just keep the current pair I am using under my pillow.
So in summary, I will always recommend silicone earplugs above all other types, and for this product they live up to my expectations. The only downsides to be aware of would be that they all come in one container and the sizes are not all perfectly identical, but personally I'm happy with this product and would definitely purchase again.
I sit on the computer working for many hours so I tend to get sore, dry eyes during the day. I thought I'd try out this eye wash as I've never tried an eye bath product before. Costing just £2.40 for 200ml from Amazon it sounded like good value potentially.
For starters, the box and bottle I received in the post are missing the word 'herbal' for some reason, but everything else, as far as the packaging is concerned, is as advertised. The selling point of this product is that it soothes and refreshes red, tired eyes. It contains 'natural extracts', however nowhere on the packaging or printed on the bottle does it say what these are. There is however an image of blueberries on the bottle so I'll assume it has those in, similar to the eye drops from Vizulize I had previously purchased. Inside the box, you get the 200ml bottle with screw lid and the green plastic eye bath with grip patterns on the sides.
Using the eye bath can be a little bit tricky if you're a beginner to these products. After my first attempt with the eye bath I came out of it with wet shoulders, so my t-shirt was soothed but my eyes were still sore. It's best to tilt your head back and slightly to the side so, once the eye bath is placed over the top, the liquid will go to the nose side of your eye and find its way onto your eyeball via that route. It's a little hard to explain exactly, and it's probably just down to my lack of coordination, but if you're at all like me then you'll figure it out after a few wet shoulders.
The actual performance of the product is really below par for me. It doesn't soothe at all. After adding the liquid, my eyes and my eyelashes are wet with it. That stops the dryness, but it's not soothing; it's just made my eyes and eyelashes wet. This goes after maybe 15 - 20 minutes whereupon the dryness returns. This is probably due to the fact that I am still working on the computer but the point of purchasing this was to help me work through it.
It says on the packaging that it is suitable for use with all types of contact lenses. I'm flirting with the idea of buying contact lenses again just to have the choice so I'll at least be able to use it for soaking the contact lenses in their containers. On that front I can ensure that my money spent was not completely wasted, but as a product that soothes eyes, I can't recommend this at all.