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I love my darts and often dabble in a game at my local. My nephew is also a fan of chucking arrows. The problem is as he is only 12 years old he can only play whilst supervised. So as a present I got him a magnetic dart set. I bought the set from Amazon for £14.99.
The set comes in a solid tube (bit like tube that would hold a bottle of alcohol). The tube contains a scroll when unravelled reveals a fabric dartboard. Behind the fabric is a flexible metallic layer suitable for magnets to attach too. You also get two sets of 3 x metalice darts. The shaft and flight are made of a tough, durable plastic with a small magnet built in for the nib to attach the dart to the board.
To set up simply unravel the dartboard and hook the attached string onto a nail or screw in a wall. Sometimes my nephew will just hang the board from a door handle or wardrobe which works fine.
The darts have a little weight to them which allows you to control your throw. When hitting the board they do stick to the first point of impact with a good deal of accuracy. My only qualm is that if you get two or three darts too close together then they can move and attach to each other making it very difficult to land the perfect 180!
My nephew spends hours playing darts all-round the house and is a perfect gift for any youngster hooked by the oche. The fun of the pub sport safe for all ages.
The old fashioned money purse is becoming a thing of the past now with the average gent needing space for credit cards and what not. However, my Grandad was a big fan of a handy pouch for his spare change and decided to get me one as a present a few years back.
The one he got me was the Tony Perotti Style 3017-14 Gents Italian Leather Tray Purse. The purse is constructed of a tough tanned leather that flips open with a pocket built in perfect for spare change. The leather is beautiful and is apparently a vegetable tanned leather which is of a high grade. All I know is that it looks luxurious and the leather is strong and robust. Inside the pouch is a soft suede like inner. This inner cushions the coins and feels lovely to stroke. The name "Tony Perotti" is stylishly crafted on the lid of the inner pocket and there is also the logo of a tortoise on the front outer of the pouch. The size is good to easily keep in a pocket although I tend just to use my wallet. Most of the time I keep it in my car for spare change for metres or tolls which is a shame because I would love to use it more often but it just is not practical for today's modern world.
I have seen the pouch online available for £20 - £30 which is good value for the quality of leather. However, I would not go out a purchase one myself as I just haven't got a big enough need for a change pouch. Saying that I do love it as a gift and it does make me feel a little swarve.
I adore music and have a number of instruments in my house. My electric guitar used to be hidden in its case and place out of the way. However, my brother bought a Stagg SG-A108BK Acoustic/Electric Guitar Stand and it was perfect to show off his pride and joy. I was starting to create a music room and thought to copy him to add a bit of style to the room and show off the guitar.
The Stagg stands alone with two legs crossing together to support a guitar above the ground. Two metal hooks keep the guitar in a upright position and provide a great display. The metal hooks/arms are covered in a soft foam. This foam is ideal as it protects the guitar from scratches and wear. The entire frame is made of metal that is sturdy and difficult to knock over by accident. What is great is that the top part is hinged to allow you to fold the legs together making the stand easy to store away. Four little rubber stoppers sit on the legs. These a very handy as they prevent the stand from sliding and stop any scratching from the metal frame on the floor.
I found the Stag stand at my local music shop (Ape Music) for a reasonable price of £16.99 that seemed good value to me. Having looked online you can get it cheaper down to £8.99.
For the year I have had the Stagg I have never had a problem. It props my guitar on the display and makes it so easy to have a quick strum. It allows me to provide a constant music to my developing room. £16.99 for me was a great price, but when it is even cheaper online I can't find any excuse not to buy this.
I have always kept myself involved in football from a decent level on a Saturday to kick abouts with my mates. With the growing improvements to artificial pitches the world of 5 aside football has grown vastly. Goals Soccer Centre's have taken the lead in the competitive market place by setting up pitches all over the country. I have taken part in tournaments and leagues in their centres in Reading and Southampton.
The pitches are very small approximately a sixth of the of the size of a regular pitch and caged in. The cages are from metal and wood and keep the ball constantly in play which makes the game fast paced and very tiring. The matches I have played in lasted 36 minutes with a couple of minutes break at half time. Although 36 minutes is not long I can assure you that it is a lot of hard work and you will feel benefits to your stamina by playing every week. Due to the small size of pitch and high tempo there are many goals which add to the excitment.
The league tables and fixtures are always updated when you come in for your game. They stick them up on a notice board that often has bundles of people looking at where they stand. These league tables are also very easy to view on their website (www.goals.co.uk) which also shows you upcoming events and tournaments.
Although the leagues and tournaments are well run it is the level of referees they employ that frustrates me. I'm not expecting the best officials but just someone that cares and wants to be there. I have seen it too many times where ref are not even watching the game and on some occasions texting on their phone whilst the ball is in play.
For a team it is usually five pounds each if you have two subs (which can be used roll on roll off). It is great value for money and I urge anyone who likes playing the game to get their friends together and join a league. When we won the league we all got a free pint. What can be better than football and a free pint?
Through my love of football I have purchased numerous items and equipment. An essential item for me is a boot bag to keep my boots and shin pads inside keeping my other things in my footy bag clean.
After recently buying some new Adidas Copa Mundial football boots I decided that I wanted a new boot bag to keep them in. As the boots were Adidas I wanted to have a matching bag. I came across a few brightly coloured ghastly bags before finally coming across the Adidas essential shoe bag in Sportsdirect. For a bargain price of only £5 I picked myself up a simple black and grey bag perfect for my boots. The main colour is plain black with a little grey trim and "Adidas" written across the front in big letters. For me the bag looks good and doesn't stand out and make me look like a prima donna. It is fastened across the top of the bag with a zip. The zip is actually quite annoying as it is always catching on the material inside the bag. When it catches the material the zip becomes stuck and take reasonable force to release.
The material used for the bag is 100% polyester. This fabric is tough and strong providing great protecting and withstands the rough use I get out of it. The polyester is easy to keep clean I tend to just wipe down with a baby wipe. There is a little black handle which makes it easy to carry. The dimensions of the bag are 36cm x 18cm x12 cm which is enough size for two boots and a pair of slip in pads. It might be a bit of a squeeze to get much more in but I easily manage to fit tape and a stud screw. I have actually used it as a travel bag for my toiletries and it worked a treat.
For 5 pounds this is a good little bag although the zip is rubbish. It acts as good protection for your boots keeping it separate from you other gear.
(This review is for the firm ground/moulded studs version of the Umbro Speciali)
I go through football boots at an astonishing rate. I have tried many brands and different styles but I believe you cannot beat the classic black leather boot. There are 2 boots on the market that have been around for years and, in my opinion, still the best. There is the Adidas Copa Mundials and the Umbro Speciali's.
The Umbro Speciali is a black boot with a large white Umbro logo stuck on the outer and in step of the boot. Black lace holds the tongue down that folds over that has "UMBRO Speciali" stitched in white. The black leather is stitched expertly together and attached to a white sole. The white sole has 13 black moulded studs made of a tough rubber that makes them ideal for hard pitches or even astro turf. The boot looks great and my only negative is the big Umbro logos stuck on. These actually tend to fall off over a bit of wear and tear and then leaves you with a better looking all black leather boot.
The boot is made of K leather (kangaroo) which keeps the boot lightweight and moulds easily around your foot. I tend to wear the boots in the bath first to shrink the leather to fit perfectly. The K leather provides a deft touch bout generates extra power when striking the ball. Beware that there are other versions of the Speciali's made of goat leather. These tend to be slightly heavier and I find not as easy to generate shot power. The boots are relatively robust and tend to make it through a season.
No matter what other designs and styles brands try and release I will always end up using the classics. Speciali is a special boot and if it was good enough for Alan Shearer its good enough for me.
I paid £79.99 last season for my pair.
Currently available at ProDirectSoccer - £39.99 (in sale)
Towels are an essential in life. It was one of these many essentials that I forgot to purchase before I moved out of my parents home. Oh what a twit I did look when drying myself down with a hairdryer and kitchen roll after my first shower. So I nipped down to my local supermarket, which happened to be Tesco, to see what they had on offer.
After picking up some house warming party essentials (booze) I eventually ended up in a small aisle that had a selection of towels. At this point I had spent all my money on the new house and just wanted a couple of towels that were cheap and kept me dry. Tesco had their own range of towels that looked soft and were only £5.17 each. They all came in block colours with purple, light blue, dark blue, red, black, and white. All of the colour's where vibrant and strong. I ended up opting for the dark blue and black colours because I feel lighter towels show stains clearly and look tatty quicker.
The towels on purchase have a soft and snug feel about them. Made from 100% cotton they are thick and fluffy. The fluffyness (if that is a word) is actually annoying for the first few dries as you end up covered in the stuff. The size is approximately 70cm x 130 cm. This is a good size and leaves me with ample cotton to get myself bone dry. They are a bit annoying to dry because when I put them on the radiator the bottom always hits the floor leaving it damp.
I have used these two towels on a daily basis for over a year now and they have begun to fade in colour and are a little bit tougher on the skin. This fading is to be expected when they are continuously washed, taken to the gym and even on beach holidays. I am due a new towel and I will be straight back into Tesco to pick up 2 brand new ones. All in all a cheap towel that does the job.
In my humble abode I really am stuck for space so where ever I can find a bit of spare area I try and utilize it to fit more of my junk throughout my house. After some rejigging in my bedroom I had a piece of visible wall. I instantly though this would be ideal to put a shelf up to hold some of my bedtime reading books.
The next time I was in Ikea I decided to act upon my thoughts and look for a small shelf. After getting lost in Ikea many times I finally came across some shelves. After some browsing I decided a wood effect was fine as it went with my other furniture and so I just wanted something cheap. This is when I discovered Ikea Ekby Shelf. The shelf is around 60 cm wide with a depth of 24 cm and a thickness of 2 cm. The shelf Is simply cut into a rectangular plank with a beech effect finish. The beech effect fits in well with a room with other wooden furniture.
The shelf was ridiculously cheap. For just £1.80 I got the plank/shelf. For an additional 50p each I was able to get brackets (you need two) to fix the shelf to the wall. The shelf sits on the brackets where you screw down to secure. Then I put another screw through the back of the bracket into the wall. I am not great at DIY but found the shelf very easy to attach to the wall.
The shelf is relatively strong. I keep about 8 chunky books on the shelf with two bookends. It is held up comfortably but I would not put too much more on there just in case of overloading.
For under 3 quid I managed to utilize some wall space and keep my mess slightly under control. It looks good, although I would prefer solid oak for the price I paid I refuse to allow myself to complain.
Back in my metro sexual days I bought a number of things to make me look a mighty fine young chap. One of these items was a hair dryer. I thought it would give my hair a more vibrant effect and more manageable for when I went out to woo the ladies. I saw one available from Amazon for £9 so I decided to give it a go. My Vidal Sassoon VSDR5818UK Silky Performance Hairdryer arrived not long after.
The hairdryer looked funky with a curvaceous black surround with shiny metallic panels and buttons. The nozzle has an attachment that closes in towards the end and looks almost like a sci-fi gun. There is a long cable (1.8,) that reaches easily to the plug allowing you to manoeuvre the dryer around your barnet.
The dryer comes with a 200watt motor. To me it feels powerful on my head and dries my hair quickly. On comparing to other dryers on the market it would appear there are a lot more powerful ones on the market. There are three settings on the handle of the dryer. These settings are off, 1 and 2. Setting 1 is a hot setting the blows out at a slow speed. Setting 2 is equally as hot a blasts out at a high tempo (very good for a quick dry). Also on the handle is a cool shot button. This instantly transform any heat to cold and gives a refreshing blast.
For my rather short hair the dryer made very quick work of evaporating the moisture. It would leave my hair fluffy, bouncy and easy to style. It probably is not powerful enough for someone with long or medium hair but for under a tenner this is a great accessory for the modern man. I have now moved on from my metro sexual phase and tend only to use the dryer to warm up my socks on cold winter days.
I love fishing but sadly don't have much spare time to spend a day sat at the side of the lake. Due to my lack of dedication I am somewhat of a rookie despite adoring the sport. I do have some gear but it is quite limited. One of my items is Shakespeare Omni X Rear Drag Reel which I managed to pick up off Amazon for around a tenner.
I chose this reel purely on its price and the picture made it look like a standard and easy to use reel. To be honest I don't think the quality of your gear makes much a difference to what you catch, as long as it works its fine for me. This is exactly what the reel does giving you great control over your line. The instructions state it is a "free spool system". Not sure what free spool system means but it sounds pretty good.
The reel itself is very light bade of grapghite and certainly does not weigh down the total weight of your rod. The graphite is strong and very durable as I often leave it rattling around my box. The handle on the reel is made of a grooved plastic that makes it comfortable to use. The graphite shines and actually looks pretty classy.
When you get a bite the reel rotates in very smoothly in a good rhythm but gives off a few annoying clicks. The reel comes with its own line which I usually use the reel to fish for perch and roach. It works perfectly for the smaller fish but my friend used it to catch carp and said it was useless.
For a tenner this reel has been fantastic for me. I probably have used it ten times now and it works every time (although my catch is limited).
A brush for your toilet is one of those things that you never really think about but is absolutely essential. My girlfriend kept moaning at how out of place and ugly our cheap plastic on was so I treated her to a new one (what a present!!!). We had a look at various ones in Robert Dyas and Wilkonsons but none really appealed. Then my girlfriend came across the Caraselle Direct Stainless Steel Round Toilet Brush Holder online at caraselledirect.com. The site looks like a distributor site but we were able to order from it easily.
The toilet brush is actually very stylish and looks amazing. It is free standing, the brush sits inside a shiny spherical base with a flat bottom. The handle and base are made superbly with a solid chrome. It glimmers and shines hiding away the brush part. The base has a bit of weight to it making the brush stand to attention and difficult to knock over.
The brush itself if like many other toilet brushes. It has many bristles and makes light work of unwanted mess. There is a little stopper at the top of the handle which is very useful, it prevents the brush from slipping from your hand.
The chrome outing is very easy to maintain and clean. I just wipe it down with a damp cloth. Then when dry I give a rub with a dry cloth to restore its gleam.
We paid £22 for the brush which is quite a lot for a toilet brush. On the plus side it looks amazing and is very practical.
When moving into my new home there were countless items that I needed to buy. So off to Ikea I went with a vague idea of what I needed to fill my house. One of the items of home ware I did come back with was the Ikea Lampan Table Lamp.
For just £2.79 I was able to purchase a handy table lamp that sits perfectly for reading on my bedside cabinet. The lamp comes in two parts with the base and the lampshade (you need to provide your own bulb). It is very easy to fix together you just fit the bulb connecting lampshade to the base. Then all you do is plug the lamp in and flick the switch and you have a handy lamp ideal for reading.
The lamp is light in weight and is quite easy to knock over. The base is made from plastic and does not provide much sturdiness for the whole lamp. Saying that, if you're not clumsy like me then you probably won't know it over and if you do the lamp is tough enough to take a few knocks.
The lamp I purchased the white version of the lamp and it gives off enough light to read by. I would not advise this as your main light for a room. The lampshade is a little thick and constricts the light a little too much for me. There are two other colours available in red and grey. The red one looks quite jazzy but would not fit in the design of my room. The grey one looks dull.
I use this every evening and it has been excellent. The design is simple but is crafted well and looks rather neat. It is only when on close inspection someone would realise it is cheap plastic. For under three pounds this is a bargain worth having.
My I first moved into my home with a garden I had to buy a few essential to maintain it. One of these essentials was a watering can. As I had some spare Amazon vouchers I decided to look on there to see what they had on offer. This is how I managed to come across the Treat Her Wild Tomatoes Watering Can. What attracted me was the design and colour whereas all the other cans I had seen looked dull and boring.
It is in the shape of any other watering can but has a picture of tomatoes covering the entire outside of the can. I love the design as I can leave it out in the garden and adds more colour and does not stick out like an ordinary tool. The colours a vibrant and really catch the eye.
The can itself is made of a strong metal and can hold over 2 litres. The water is distributed out of a sprinkler head which keeps my plants watered evenly. When there is no water inside the can is light and easy to store away. I tend to leave it out as it makes my garden more colourful. After leaving it out months on end there is no sign of rust or damage.
I paid £20 for the can around 2 years ago and have been thoroughly impressed. The tomatoes are still colourful and the can still waters my plants brilliantly. It is currently out of stock at Amazon but I believe it is available from Treat Her directly.
In my garage I have a variety of gym equipment. I often make additions to this as I try to stay in some kind of shape. One of these additions was a punch bag which I thought would help with my fitness, upper body and release stress. I got the bag home and then realised I had nothing to hang it from. So then I set out on a new adventure to find an adequate bracket.
The bag I had was an old one from my friends boxing gym. It is huge and weighs around 150lbs. So I knew I had to get a top end bracket to support it. I was advised a about a brand called Fit-Box as they were the brand my gym uses for their brackets. I eventually chose the Fit-Box 3ft Pro Folding Wall Bracket for Boxing mainly because it is recommended for bags up to 80 kg.
The bracket itself is made of black metal. You need to build it up yourself with the given nuts and screws. This takes around 10 - 15 minutes and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Epoxy powder coated for indoor or outdoor use. Attaching the bracket to the wall is not easy. You are supplied screws but I had to ask my builder mate to fit it as I was worried I would ruin my garage. Apparently it is "Epoxy powder coated for indoor or outdoor use".
The bracket sticks out from the wall with a couple of feet. This gives ample room for the bag to move. A good feature is that the bracket can fold down completely to free up space in my garage.
If secured to the wall properly the bracket is superb. It holds the full weight of the punch bag and handles all of my haymakers with ease. The hold drops down with the bag moving with punches but not going out of control.
I paid £75 from Gymworld.co.uk. Although this is pricey I have no reason to think the bracket will last for many years if not my lifetime. Over the past year I have used it around 5 times a week almost every week. There is no sign of wear or damage.
On a quick check online this is now available for £73 from Gymworld. I would recommend it to anyone using a heavy punchbag. Although a bit pricey it does everything I require from it.
When I first moved into my new home I invested in a value bin to save the pennies. A year down the line I had basically a bucket left as I had broken the lid due to its poor quality. This prompted me to go in search of a new bin which had a nice sturdy lid.
Whilst shopping in Wilkinsons I came across a plastic bin for just £5.49. After giving the lid a few whacks to make sure it was sturdy I was happy to take advantage of this generous bargain.
The bin comes in a dark grey/black colour from head to toe. I prefer a dark colour bin in the kitchen as light ones tend to look disgusting it you spill anything on them. The bin is a good size for a kitchen holding 25 litres. For me it fits nicely inside one of my taller kitchen units although it is not a complete eyesore and would not ruin a kitchen if out. It is made from a tough plastic which over the past 7 months I have owned it has never lost its shape. Despite being in constant use the colour of the bin still looks. When empty the bin is extremely light which is handy when moving it around.
To maintain and clean the bin is very easy. I just use a few squirts with antibacterial spray and wipe it down with a damp cloth. If I accidently split a bag in the bin I sometimes take it outside for a hose down.
The lid is very useful. It slides backwards to open up the bin. When closed it keeps the smell of the bin inside. When removing the line you simple lift the off. I have dropped the lid many times and given it a few whacks and it still works fine.
I saw a few weeks ago this was still in Wilkinsons for £5.69. This time I saw it was available in a variety of colours such as blue, red and white. In my opinion the black/grey still looks the best. I would highly recommend anyone in need of a bin to snap this up.