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After being a self-proclaimed "fan" of the iPhone and iPad, and when my windows based laptop finally gave up on me, having been so impressed with my previous apple products, I chose my next computer to be the new 21.5" Apple iMac.
The iMac is a truly beautiful machine to look at, a single unit with only one cable, the power cord, cased in an all aluminium shell with a gloss black border surround of the screen. It comes with the bluetooth connected wireless keyboard and magic mouse, however, I bought the apple trackpad to replace the mouse as it offers more flexibility when using the operating system by making the most of the multi-touch gestures available.
The specifications offered were not as good as some of the desktop machines available on the market, but this is by no means a slouch. The 2.5 GHz intel i5 quad core processor is a powerful beast, I still am yet to find a piece of software that prevents me from running it at maximum resolution setting, this is of course helped by the 4 GB of ram as standard which is upgradable to 16 GB if you so wish. The Hard-drive is offered as 500GB or 1TB versions for the 21.5" model when bought 'out-of-the-box' from an apple store or other retailer, however, further changes to these specifications can be made if purchased from apples on-line retail store (at a price of course). The system comes with a built in 'FaceTime' camera for video calling, etc. and has bluetooth and wifi capability. As well as the standard re-writtable DVD slot, this new model also has the new thunderbolt socket as well as 4xUSB, a firewire and ethernet attachments. Thunderbolt is apples new connection designed for very high speed data transfer, at the moment limited to plugging in an external display but could be used for external hard-drives, etc in the future.
The built-in software run on the operating system Mac OS X Lion, which is apples new and shiny platform. Having previously only used Windows machines I was a little apprehensive about making the move to Mac OS, worrying about finding the transition fairly difficult, and I must admit, it did take me a certain amount of time...about 1 day. The user interface is unbelievably simple to use and I know everyone seems to say this about Macs, but they really do "just work", theres never any messing around and fiddling to try and get applications to work properly, which I seemed to spend half my life doing on Windows. For example, I bought a new HP printer towards the end of my previous Windows laptops life and after re-installing drivers, several attempts of "switching it off and back on" it never really worked properly, always dropping off-line. After buying my iMac, I switched it on, and bobs your uncle, worked straight away, no drivers, no fiddling, in fact I didn't quite believe it could be that easy, but it was...everything is just that easy.
Other software that comes with the mac are the iLife suite, including iPhoto, iMovie, and Garage-band. It also has a native calendar and mail app, and a few more. The iMac now has its own app store, allowing you to access thousands of other software titles and download directly to you iMac in a few clicks. One really great feature that I love about mac OS X Lion is the multiple desktop feature, using a three-finger swipe on the multi-touch trackpad, you can switch between a full-screen view of your calendar, emails, PDF documents, anything you want. A very useful tool for me.
The price is probably one of the big negatives about this device, it is expensive, but this also ensures that you get a quality product and you do "get what you pay for". This is certainly true in this case. The base model is £999 and the higher spec being £1249. There are even 27" display options available for a higher price.
The iMac is pricey, but in my opinion, worth it. As a family computer it is ideal, it offers very user-friendly interfaces and with very few viruses on the mac, a safe computer experience. If you are a hard-core gamer, this isn't the machine for you, but for a casual user or someone working from home, this is ideal. Believe me, once you go Mac, you'll never go back!
After being a big apple fan ever since the iPhone 3G era, and having every model of iPhone to be produced ever since, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the iPhone 4s as soon as it came out. The model that I chose to have was the 32GB version as i find the 16GB fairly limiting on capacity and in the colour black and this is what I have reviewed in the following paragraphs.
Even if you aren't particularly a fan of the apple ethos and prefer to follow the Android club, in my opinion there is no denying that the iPhone 4s is one of the best looking mobile phones available on the market. It comes in two colour options, White and Black, and as I stated earlier, I opted for the traditional gloss black look.
The iPhone 4s comes with a flat glass plate covering to the from and the rear, giving a very sleek, glossy finish which looks fabulous. Unfortunately, this has become one of the major problems as they are prone to smashing if dropped without a case as my previously ill-fated iPhone 4 became victim to. In between the glass plates is metal surround which acts as the phones antenna, not suffering the same controversial signal drop that its predecessor had when held in a particular way. On the back of the device is the 8 mega-pixel camera with LED flash and the front boasts another camera for video calling, a fantastic "retina" screen and the standard home button.
The main selling point for many is the phones incredible 3.5" display with a resolution of 960x640 pixels, producing such a highly packed screen, the human eye cannot distinguish between pixels, hence "retina display". It also has integrated Wi-fi and bluetooth, an accelerometer and a gyroscope for use with gaming, etc.
The camera also has impressive specs, with 8 MP capability with f2.4 aperture to allow more light to be captured. The video recording is now at 1080p HD and a neat new feature is that the camera now uses the built-in gyroscope for image stabilisation during recording. The camera also allows for HDR (High Dynamic Range) shots to be taken which means it will take three instant shots, one under exposed, one over exposed and one normal, then merges them to ensure they best lighting. The HDR function does work well although I do find the quality does reduce when this function is used, but only slightly. This camera is among the best I've seen in mobile devices and I have now done-away with my compact Samsung camera as I find the iPhone can produce just as good pictures and far better video recording.
The internals have a very fast Apple designed A5 processor chip with dual core technology allowing for very fast responses during use.
Another big selling point is Siri, the personal assistant. Siri will interact with the users voice, learn accents, names, etc. and will help with simple phone based tasks including voice dictation for emails and texts. This function works well but in my opinion has some way to go to be a really useful tool, the useful tasks are limited and in the UK, the business look-up function will not work which is quite restrictive. Its a little bit of a gimmick at the moment.
Battery life is definitely not the best on the market but what do you expect for a device with all the power and complexity that this phone offers. I tend to get between one and two days usage from them, depending on how much they have been played with throughout this time. I don't find this a problem though, I always just plug it in when I head off to bed every night so I have a full charge every morning.
****The App Store****
This is the one feature which allows apple to stand out from the crowd, the app store contains hundreds of thousands of apps performing many many functions and most of the time theres one to meet your needs. Apps can be downloaded through iTunes or directly on to the iPhone itself, ranging from free to paid apps and all charged to your apple iTunes account. This is the biggest selling feature of the iPhone and with apple, each app that is submitted to the app store is scrutinised by apple to ensure it is safe and secure with no built-in viruses which for me is priceless.
Obviously, coming from apple, the iPhone 4s is by no means cheap. They range from £499 for the 16GB version to £699 for the 64GB version contract free. If, however, you choose to have a contract, the prices vary massively depending on plans with different carriers, depending on how much you're willing to fork out each month.
Overall, this phone is a great option for anyone wanting to move or upgrade to the smart phone market. They are simple to use and look great with awesome functionality. A great option for anyone.
I first purchased the iPad within the first week of its release after seeing all the hype and build-up to this products début, mainly because I am a self-proclaimed apple fanatic, but also because I am in huge agreement with the apple philosophy, to make stuff people actually want, centred around the user and as aesthetic pleasing as possible.
There has been a large amount of controversy surrounding this product, some saying it is "just a big iPhone" and others saying it lacks the functionality of other tablet devices on the market, but one thing about the iPad is unquestionable, it is a game changer. Before the iPad, there were no really competitive tablet devices available on the mainstream market and the devices that are available since the iPad release have followed apples lead and in my eyes are always playing catchup.
The iPad has a 9.7 inch LCD screen with a great resolution (although not quite as good as Apples "Retina" display found on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch) making video watching and book reading very easy on the eye. The backing is made from aluminium, with a black antenna strip on the top for the 3G models. The front is a simple glass panel with a border of approximately 1 inch so that your thumbs aren't inadvertently touching the screen when gripping it. The only button on the front surface is a home button located centrally bottom of the front panel. The top of the device has the on/off button and on the left side are the volume buttons and a mute switch (which use to be a screen rotation lock before the latest software update).
There is no doubt the iPad looks very good and sleek and the 9.7 inch screen is a perfect size for usability, unlike some competitors which have produced some smaller 7 inch designs, but in my eyes, they are just a little too small for certain tasks that the iPad is perfect for. I will say that the iPad is heavier than I thought it would be and would certainly be easier to hold for long periods if it was a little lighter.
The operating system used on the iPad is part of Apples mobile operating platform, know as iOS. Currently the latest release of this version is iOS 4.2.1, which was a major upgrade for the iPad, bringing with it the ability of multi-tasking which is of huge benefit. This update also brought with it "AirPrint", the ability to print directly from the iPad to any AirPrint enabled printer without the need for cables or installing drivers which is a fantastic addition. Other features include AirPlay and Folders, amongst others.
One of the most appealing features of the iPad is access to the appstore, apples primary method for distribution of software for installation on this device. At the moment there are hundreds of thousands of apps available from the appstore, ranging from office tools, business applications to games and utilities, and this is continually growing, however, unfortunately the apps for the iPad tend to be slightly more expensive than those for the iPhone, although the quality does appear to be better.
As you might expect, you also have direct access to itunes from the iPad, being able to download music, movies, tv shows and podcasts.
The iPad price, thanks to apples regulation, is pretty standard no matter where you buy it from. For the model with 3G capabilities, for the 16GB version it will set you back £541, the 32GB for £612 and the 64GB for £714, slightly higher than they use to be due to the VAT increase.
There are rumours of a new iPad version coming to market in the near future nick named the "iPad 2", as apple tend to release product upgrades on a near clockwork yearly cycle. This is rumoured to contain a forward and backward facing camera for use with apples "Facetime feature", improved screen resolution, lighter weight as well as more. This could be announced as soon as February 2011 so if I were you, I'd hold on before buying until the next release.
Overall, this is a fantastic product which has changed the way in which portable computing is developed for ever. In the future, I wouldn't bother with buying a laptop computer any more, I'd be more than happy with an iPad and a desktop for the home, because with remote desktop applications available, you can access everything on your home computer while your on the move.
I know the iPad does lack the use of a USB connection, which other tablets have and also a DVD drive, but the way in which computing is developing, in my own opinion, cloud computing is the way forward which will hopefully remove the need to carry around memory sticks and DVDs all the time.
I would say this device is a must have and I can't wait to see what apple produce next in the iPad line-up. 5 stars from me.
After being a former owner of the previous iPhone (iPhone 3G model), when I heard the news of the release of the Apple iPhone 4, sadly I must admit, I was pretty excited to see what it had to offer and ended up purchasing one within the first month of release. I have to say that I was not disappointed with the phone from day one, it is a huge improvement on the 3G model which was also a fantastic phone.
Product look and design
The new apple iPhone 4 has a strengthened glass front and back casing with an metal central casing which doubles as an antenna for the wifi and the mobile phone reception. The look differs from the older iPhone design being far more rectangular than the more curvy 3G/3GS version.
Other noticeable differences from the previous model iPhone are the forward facing camera and the rear camera with LED flash. The forward camera is designed for use mainly with the new "face time" feature which allows video calling for the user, unfortunately the main problems with this application is that it is only usable between iPhones, as well as only being available over wifi which is a restriction that has been placed on it by the mobile phone companies due to data restrictions.
The rear camera is a much improved 5 megapixel resolution and has an integrated LED flash which can be activated manually or automatically which is surprisingly bright and works rather well. With a new software update released by apple this month, the camera now has the ability to take HDR or High Dynamic Range photographs which avoids under and over exposure. It also has the capability of taking HD video footage in 720p resolution.
The phone also has two microphones to give better background noise cancelling and improve the phone call quality.
The screen size is 3.5 inches with multitouch capability and is OLED backlit to improve battery life, it incorporates the new 'retina' display which has over 320 pixels per inch, which is of greater density than can be deciphered by the human eye, and in my opinion, probably the best screen I have ever seen. The battery is also 40% larger than the original iPhone to improve the usable time, one of the biggest complaints with the original iPhone.
The memory capacity comes in two versions, 16GB or 32GB, from my previous experience, 16GB doesn't seem to go quite far enough if you have a large volume of music or put any quantity of movies or apps on your phone so I opted to go for the 32GB version, but this comes at an extra cost of about £100 ish.
The software is as you would expect from apple, very intuitive and well made. The main selling feature of the iPhone is the app store, which allows you to download free or paid applications directly to your phone so you can customise the device to your liking. Some of the best apps that I have found are the sat nav software, some of the games, the news apps and the cooking applications. The iPhone comes with google maps built in which activates the built in GPS receiver and allows you to locate anything from restaurants to public toilets. You can even use the the built in compass which has an integrated magnetometer to show you how to get there.
Overall, this is a fantastic phone which improves on the previous device no-end. It does come at a premium cost as all apple products do but in my own opinion, it is well worth the price. This has to have 5 stars out of 5 from me.
For a perfect end to a hard day at work, I can think of nothing better than sitting back and enjoying a nice cup of hot chocolate and what better hot chocolate than that of the masters of milk chocolate in my opinion, Cadburys, and their very own brand of drinking chocolate.
It has to be a favourite of mine at the end of the day and definitely puts me in the mood for a good nice sleep. Unlike some other cocoa powder drinks available, it comes pre-mixed with the required amount of sugar and therefore the only thing that needs to be added to the powder is the milk (quite an important ingredient not to be forgotten). There are several rival hot drinking chocolate powders available on the market as well, for example, the mars brand has several alternatives such as the galaxy chocolate blend and the malteasers variety to name only a couple, both of which are not to my tasting, I tend to find them both initially nice in flavour but get quite sickly after a while. However I could drink the regular Cadburys branded product all-day everyday.
Packaging and Price
The Cadbury drinking chocolate comes in the standard size container which is the more commonly found capacity of 250 grams, shaped as a cylindrical cardboard tube with an inner foil lining in an aim to preserve it's freshness. The lid is a flexible plastic disc which provides a near air-tight seal with the base being aluminium, again to provide a tight seal. The 250 gram will set you back about £1.50 from most supermarkets. There is also a larger size container of 500 grams available from larger sized supermarkets costing around the £3.00 mark. For those who shop in cash and carry stores, you can also purchase industrial sized containers but these are mainly for restaurants and cafes.
The drinking chocolate isn't the healthiest drink that you can have for obvious reasons and a single portion size (estimating a cup of around 200ml of milk) will give you about 165 calories, 22.9 grams of carbohydrates and 4.6 grams of fat.
Overall this is a very tasty drink and has to be my favourite hot chocolate powder available. I will definitely continue to buy this in the future and if you haven't tried it already, the I recommend that you do. It gets a big 5 stars out of 5 from me.
Unfortunately for me, my latest bout of flu left me extremely weak, feverish and with a very sore throat. After looking to get plain old paracetamol from my local supermarket I was to find that they were all sold out. This left me with the dilemma of continue feeling sorry for myself and fight the illness on my own or try something new, the latter option was the only real choice so I went for the very appealing "Beechams - All in one" which claimed to, by the look of the box, cure almost anything that stood in its way. At the very least the box stated that it contained Paracetamol so I thought that it would at least have the same effect of taking Paracetamol but hopefully a bit more. It seems I was wrong...
Price and Packaging
The product can be bought from most supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda as well as pharmacies and chemists and will set you back anywhere around £4 to £5. It comes in a standard dark brown glass medicine bottle of capacity 160ml which is 8 adult doses of 20ml each with a child safety cap, the box also includes a measuring cup for working out correct dosages for different age groups. There is a cardboard outer box covering which states all its claims, that it can help cure a range of ails including Headache, Sore throat, Fever, Blocked nose and Chesty cough.
Where it comes to the effectiveness of the product I have to admit it is not the best, in fact it is one of the worst medicines that I have used in a long time. The product just had pretty much no effect on me, the sore throat remained as painful as ever and the fever remained, I saw no evidence of the claims that it makes. In fact, when I finally got hold of some paracetamol it had a much greater effect than this product had.
Overall, I really wouldn't bother to buy this product, it is something that I thought was worth a try in desperation to cure my illness, but it is not something that I will bother with again.
The price is by no means cheap and effectiveness poor, therefore I would not recommend it to anyone looking for a quick fix from illness. It gets a very poor 2 stars from me.
Thanks for reading.
The perfect addition on a hot summers day has to be a nice cold ice cream, and what better ice cream than Wall's Magnum. They come in a number of different varieties but my personal favourite is the white chocolate version, but don't think that I'm not a fan of the other flavours because I am, they are all very tasty.
Wall's Magnum is a shaped Vanilla ice cream (and also other flavours in special limited editions) on the end of a stick for portibility, covered in a chocolate shell. The chocolate covering as previously mentioned can be in different flavours, generally white and milk chocolate, but limited edition flavours also pop up from time to time as well as chocolate and nut coverings, etc.
Packaging and Price
The standard packet for Wall's Magnums are generally packaged as 3 in a box however, they can also be bought from freezer units as individual ice creams in certain stores. The individual size of the Magnum bar is 258 grams and they generally cost between £1.00 to £1.50 per bar, but if bought in a box of three, the box can cost about £2.50 and you can often get buy one get one free offers.
As you would expect, the nutritional information is not going to be good news, after all it is ice cream covered by chocolate. The number of calories for a single bar is about 260 with about 26 grams of sugar and 15 grams of fat. But as with most things, in moderation is the key.
Overall, the white chocolate magnums are extremely tasty and the thick chocolate surround goes well with the vanilla ice cream interior. The other variations of magnum are also very nice, you can also get versions with caramel laced inside the vanilla ice cream, another favourite of mine. This is a product that I will definitely buy again and again in the future, but not too often or I'll get fat. I give this product a Dooyoo rating of 5 stars out of 5.
Oh my Goodness, I had these biscuits for the first time yesterday and they are definitely the best shortbread biscuit that I have probably ever had! Now I must admit, I am definitely a big biscuit fan and it is probably a bit of a crime that I have only just tried these, thats not to say that I have not had any of the Walkers shortbread variety because I have, but they are usually the standard shortbread fingers style, which are almost as good, but not quite as they lack chocolate.
The biscuits are not as crumbly as others and hold their shape better, which is a big plus when it comes to dunking into you cup of tea. They are not as sickly as others I have had where they have been made with too much butter and therefore are a little drier, but this does then mean that it is difficult to stop eating them as they are incredibly more-ish.
Packaging and Price
There are several different shapes and sizes, the type I had were the 175 gram box which contains a single row of circular biscuits which have four stacks of biscuits each stack with three within it allowing you to have 12 top quality biscuits.
The price obviously will vary widely on where you buy them from especially since these are a high quality premium product. I bought mine from my local supermarket Budgens and they cost approximately £2.50 for the box. As a comparison, the same product can be purchased from Tesco for a far lower price, but they were definitely worth the money.
Overall, these are a great product and I would buy these again and again if the wife would let me. I will give these biscuits a Dooyoo rating of 5 stars out of 5. These will be a difficult one to beat, probably the best biscuit around.
EasyJet is a "low cost" European airline that operates from several bases across the UK and Europe and is one particular airline that I have travelled with several times before. It follows a similar philosophy to other low cost carriers in Europe such as Ryanair, all of which emulate South West Airlines in the USA which has been unbelievably successful at using the "No frills"model. I have to admit, I am not the greatest fan of the low cost airline world where air travel has gone from the more glamorous, exciting and fun method of transport to being no more than a glorified aerial bus service where you can get flights across Europe for less than the taxi fare to the airport.
However, whenever I have used this airline in the past they have always been on time and have provided a reasonably efficient service. They operate from several different airports throughout the UK which at present are Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Gatwick (which at the moment is the largest base with 43 aircraft presently based there), Luton, Stansted, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. I have only flown with EasyJet from Luton and Gatwick, both with positive results.
The fleet they use is a very new and modern Airbus A319 and A320 combination which contain 156 and 180 seats respectively.They also have 4 Airbus A321 aircraft, which have 210 seats that were acquired when EasyJet took over the British Airways franchise GB Airways as well as a few remaining ageing Boeing 737 aircraft that were part of the original EasyJet fleet before they went Airbus. All of these aircraft are single aisle with six seats across and follow the "No Frills" philosophy of the airline providing very little in the way of in-flight entertainment systems and the seats are fabric rather than leather, but never the less comfortable.
Booking can now only be made via the internet which is suitable for me as I now do most of my holiday planning this way. There is no seat allocation on your ticket which is something that I really dislike as there is no guarantee that a family can sit together aboard the aircraft, however there is their "Speedy boarding" service where you can be the first to board the aircraft, but with all extras, this comes at a price which is between £2.50 and £7.50 per person depending on the route (For a large family can amount to quite a sizeable amount).
For on-board services, as you would expect nothing comes for free. The uniforms of the crew have improved substantially since Andy Harrison became the CEO with cabin crew now where 3 piece suits rather than black jeans and an orange polo shirt. There is a food service on board where you can purchase certain Sandwiches, hot and cold snacks as well as soft and alcoholic beverages, nothing is complimentary though. There is unfortunately a real feel of "no frills" on board with a desperation from the crew to push you to buy items from their carts, I especially dislike when towards the end of the flight the cabin crew march though the aisle with a black bin bag asking for your rubbish before the plane lands as the airline is too cheap to pay for cleaners to come on board and the turnarounds too tight for them.
The route network that EasyJet provides is excellent flying from many different airports in the UK (as stated earlier) but also going to a lot of different destinations numerous times a day. Unlike other airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet fly to the main airports of the cities advertised whereas Ryanair can fly to airports a long way from the city that it advertises. At present they serve approximately 80 destinations from their biggest base, Gatwick, alone which is very handy for me as I live very near by. Apart from just UK bases they also have several bases outside the UK namely Berlin, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Paris (both Orly and Charles de Gaulle) and Rome as well as some non-European bases in Basel and Geneva operating under the EasyJet Swiss name.
Since the UK's launch of the low cost airline industry, it has been an invaluable resource which so many people have taken advantage of. If anyone needed any extra evidence about the UK's dependency on air travel services, the recent Volcanic activity from Iceland has certainly put things into perspective, where people were stranded across the world and were completely at a loss about how to get home. The thing that amazes me is that people who paid as little as £5 for their ticket expect the airlines to compensate them financially, pay for their food and alternative transport and place them in 5 star hotels until they begin flying again which in my opinion shows peoples unrealistic expectations of what they want from airlines, but are completely unwilling to pay for it. When you pay practically nothing for you ticket, what do you expect? They wouldn't expect a bus or train company to provide hotel accommodation if this service was cancelled. Either prices have to go up from the unrealistic prices charged today or peoples expectations have to change. The low fare rival Ryanair actually makes a loss from ticket prices and makes up for this by being paid by local authorities in return for flying to their back end of nowhere airports.
Overall, EasyJet is one of the best low fares airlines around, the service you get is adequate but certainly nothing special. They are definitely very smooth operators where it comes to ensuring that the price that you thought you were paying for your ticket isn't the price you end up paying by adding discretionary prices from the moment you book your ticket to until you leave through the aircraft door. They are none the less a lot cheaper than many alternative airlines on the market and very efficient at the service they provide. Their aircraft are mostly very new and the number of destinations they serve is outstanding. In a comparison between EasyJet and Ryanair, I would personally choose EasyJet every single time. I have used them several times in the past and will continue to use them in the future. They get 3 stars out of 5 from me.
Cadbury's Cocoa is a chocolate powder used for multiple purposes, well two at least, these to me happen to be first and most importantly baking, which I happen to do quite a lot of and making hot chocolate. This product is made from 100% cocoa which is also fair-trade, a big plus point.
For use in baking, it proves to be an excellent ingredient in making chocolate cake, for the main sponge part, adding 1 to 2 table spoons of the cocoa powder (depending on your own preference) to 6 ounces of self raising flour, which tastes great. The butter icing is made by adding 1 table spoon of powder to it and the same to the glaze icing topping.
For use as a hot chocolate I have to admit in my own opinion lets it down, I am not a fan of this type of dark chocolate and far prefer the milk chocolate alternatives such as the dairy milk option or the galaxy hot chocolate powder that is available. This is the only real reason that this product will loose a star from me.
Packaging and Price
The product comes available in two main size options, although there are some super-sized cash and carry ones available. The main sizes are a 125 gram portion and a 250 gram one. They however don't come cheap, the larger size setting you back £2.18 from Tesco and the smaller 125 gram version costing £1.75. There are cheaper versions available, the Tesco Value powder costing under half the premium price being only 99p for 250 grams.
Overall, this is a great option for an ingredient for baking, but for use in hot chocolate, its not to my taste but I'm sure it is for many peoples taste. The price is a little steep but the quality is good, that is why it gets 4 stars out of 5 from me.
Before I start, I must admit that I am not the greatest cook in the world, in fact I am probably one of the worst, but when I have time I do enjoy to bake the odd cake, mainly for two reasons. The first reason for my occasional baking is the most obvious, I have an incredibly sweet tooth and love enjoying the fruits of my labour, the eating. Secondly has to be the cost aspect, its a much cheaper alternative to bake for yourself than buying from the local bakery or supermarket.
An important ingredient to most of my cakes is always icing sugar as I tend to cook a standard sponge with a butter icing layer in the middle and a lemon icing topping, probably because this is the absolute limits of my culinary ability. The icing sugar is required for the butter icing filling as well as the topping.
Packaging and Price
The icing sugar of choice for me has to be Silver Spoon Icing Sugar, probably because in my local supermarket it is one of the only options available, but none the less the quality is second to none, with no impurities and a great taste. It generally comes in two different size boxes, these being a 1kg as well as a 500g portion. The prices will obviously vary on where you buy them from but you can get the larger sized 1kg option for about £1 to £1.20 and the smaller sized option for about £0.50 to £0.80.
The nutritional information is not going to be good news and so this section will be relatively short and sweet, this is pure sugar after all and gives you 396 kcal per 100 grams and 99.4% carbohydrates. When used to make things like butter icing, it get even worse adding butter to the mix as well.
Overall, this is an excellent quality ingredient for use in baking and can be bought for a very reasonable price. A product that I will continue to buy in the future. 5 stars out of 5 from me.
I bought the Sony BDP-S360 Blu-ray player approximately 3 months ago from Currys for just short of £150. First impressions were that it has a very sleak gloss black look, with a fully moving front face which moves via a hinge located at the bottom when the disc tray is ejected. One large noticeable feature, or lack of, is that there is no clock on the player which is a nice to have feature in my own opinion, however, there is a numerical display to show remaining and elapsed time from movies etc. that are being viewed. There is also a nice light on the front of the machine which fades from both the left and right side, which is coloured blue when a blu-ray disc is playing or white when another format is playing.
The Sony S360 is compatible with several different formats of disc being blu-ray (goes without saying really), DVD video which includes up-scaling ability, audio CDs and Data discs. This player also has the ability of being able to be connected to the internet through a LAN cable input in the rear of the unit for use with blu-ray live, a function that is offered on a number of blu-ray movies as an added extra. This internet connectivity also provides the ability for the unit to update itself to the latest software version, a feature that I consider vital with a blu-ray player, as new discs may not play on old players if not updated.
Quality and Price
The build quality is obviously second to none being a Sony machine, it is solid and looks fantastic. The picture quality is of no exception, providing great picture resolutions and colours, the sound quality is also very good. The price of the product is obviously not the cheapest player on the market, being Sony, but you get what you pay for, even though I think that £150 for this unit isn't too expensive seen as the budget makes are around the £100 mark (there are some even cheaper models on the market if you shop around).
Overall, it is a great unit with a stylish clean look and produces fantastic picture and sound quality. I would definitely recommend this blu-ray player to anybody who is looking for a non-budget brand. 4 stars out of 5 from me.
In the past, I have been a bit of a fan of 'the Linx affect' and have generally only ever bought branded deodorants and antiperspirants including Linx, Nivia, Dove, etc. Given the current state of my finances though, I thought I would give Tesco's own brand Reactive Antiperspirant a try, even if the first time I tried it was only a couple of months ago.
The Tesco Body Reactive Clear Antiperspirant Deodorant was surprisingly very good. There are several different varieties of this product including a male and female variety. The smell is nothing fancy, but a clean fresh odour and the "Clear" version of this product produces no white marks which is handy when trying to keep your work uniform in good order. As an actual antiperspirant with the aim of stopping you from producing horrible sweat marks on your clothes, it also works remarkably well, as well as any other branded products that I have used in the past.
It states a claim that it is activated by body heat but obviously I have no way of testing this, short of hiring a science lab, so I'll have to take their word for it but it seems to provide protection all day long. It does also state a claim that it provides 24 hour protection which seems to be true as I generally don't need to re-apply it in a day.
Packaging & Price
The container is a standard pressurised can providing a quantity of 250ml. It looks professional with a clean which can and an easy to use single push button top to activate it. The price is one of the most appealing things to me about the product, I bought my first replacement can today at the very reasonable price of only 77p, and this can will last you about 2 months with average use.
Overall, this is a fantastic deodorant and antiperspirant, which does exactly what it advertises. The price is superb and the quality is equally as good. A product that I will definitely continue to buy in the future. 5 stars out of 5 from me.
I bought Avatar on the first day of release a week ago on blu-ray, which provided a standard DVD version and a digital copy for a portable device. I'm not usually one who buys DVD's when first released, I try to avoid the price hike and get them when they reach a more reasonable level but after seeing this movie in the cinema (in 3D which was unbelievable), I just couldn't wait to see it again.
This has to be James Camaron's (the movies director)finest movie that I have seen to date, its not surprising to me why he won all the awards that he did.
The movie is based around Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, a former military marine who has lost the use of his legs and struggles to adapt to life outside the military. After the death of his brother, he is offered to take over his job as a driver of a remotely controlled body for use on an alien planet called Pandora. This planet has an indigenous population called the Na'vi who are causing a mining company problems in obtaining a subterranean substance called appropriately "Unobtainium" so these remote controlled bodies are grown from a mixture of human and Na'vi DNA so the company can negotiate with the natives better and try to get them to relocate, as at present their home is on top of a very large deposit of Unobtainium.
The film then follows Jake Sully's experiences on Pandora as he completes his integration into Na'vi society but also reporting to the military commander providing intel from the inside.
The movie also shows Jake as his loyalties become tested as the company becomes more aggressive to the indigenous population.
This movie is an absolute must see with superb animation and has to be one of the most original movies that I have seen in a long time, with all the different plants and species on the planet it is extremely imaginative. The movie does have a political slant to it, they might as well have called Pandora Iraq and Unobtainium Oil.
This DVD can be bought from any DVD retailer at the moment, I got mine from Tesco for £22 on Blu-ray though.
The film is quite long with an approximate run time of 155 minutes and has a rating certificate of 12. I'm a big fan of blu-ray and would recommend this format to you.
An Absolute must see!
Right, where to start with Eastenders. Definitely my favourite of all the soaps Eastenders is a tv program based around the lives of the residents of 'Albert Square', a fictional area of London's East-end in the town of Walford (also very fictional).
The stories that take place within the soap develop around characters from certain families which live in Albert Square, in the past being the Wicks, Watts, Fowlers, Mitchells and Beales to name but a few (with the former three really stretching my memory to its limits) and even though the Wicks, Watts and Fowlers are no longer in the soap, they have each been replaced with equally interesting families, with the latest family yo cause the biggest stir being the Masoods.
Every year like clockwork Eastenders has a Christmas special broadcast on Christmas day which usually involves the death of a fairly main character. This year saw the demise of Archie Mitchell played by Larry Lamb, with a murder mystery "Who done it?" follow up which was finally revealed to be Stacy Slater.
In the past, Eastenders has had some very controversial story lines bringing with them a lot of media attention, with one old one being the resurrection of Den Watts and his return to the soap, even though he had been killed off in a previous episode. More recently though, the Muslim family on the Square have created more controversy than I can remember around their story lines, the first incident being the breaking of the Ramadan fast, but even more than that is the very recent story of the Masoods Muslim son Syed having a gay relationship with Christian, another character on the show.
My personal favourite characters from the show have to be Grant Mitchell played by Ross Kemp, a tough guy character dedicated to the defence of his families honour and even though he is no longer in the show, he is still one of my long term favourites.
My other favourite character who still lives on the square is Ian Beale, a local Business man/Entrepreneur also known as "Squeal" and "Weasel" whose tight fisted way I find hilarious to watch.
Overall, I find Eastenders a great watch with constantly changing story-lines and an excellent variety of characters to keep you entertained. If you've never watched it I recommend it.
It airs on BBC1 on Mondays and Fridays at 8pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm. Give it a try!