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chucklingMonkey

chucklingMonkey
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Member since: 15.05.2009

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    • Beko WME8227 / Washing Machine / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
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      07.09.2010 15:54
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      Overall good quality machine with similar specifications to more expensive brands

      When our washing machine broke down we were looking for a reasonably priced machine with a slightly larger capacity to help with our increased wash load for our growing family.

      I had heard good things about the Beko brand and this machine- at the time we purchased it was on special offer at currys via a quidco deal so it was the largest capacity machine within our price range.

      The machine is also A rated for energy efficiency but B rated for the spin function.

      The machine has a variety of functions including a daily quick wash function- which I have yet to use, a baby and toddler program, and the usula functions- cottons, mixed fabrics etc.

      So far we have been pleased with the machine and I have decreased the amount of wash loads that I need to do- due to the extra washing.

      The spin is slightly dissapointing and on a larger load the washing is still a bit over damp.

      The machine has a digital display and tells you how long each program lasts- and how long you have left before the end of the program.

      The machine can be slightly confusing- in that each of the programs has a preset temperature- so you need to make sure that you check the temperature of the wash befpore you start- to avoid washing at 90 when you want to wash at 40.

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      07.09.2010 15:40
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      Fantastic car seat- especially for pregnant mums.

      This car seat is fabulous. It was about the same time that we found out that I was pregnant for the second time that we were due to upgrade our car seat. I had read good things about this car seat and it is a generally well respected brand.

      The main innovative feature with the car seat is that it twists around so that it is easy to get child out of the car- this means that it is easy to get the child out of the car. Initially it would not have been a problem but our son keeps on growing- as does my bump and it has been a godsend in the later stages of pregnancy as my bump gets in the way and my backache increases.

      The car seat fixes securly into the car using the seat belt system- the main difficulty is that it is quite a complex method of fitting the car seat in- which means that it is difficult to transfer from car to car. However it is very secure and rock solid.

      The seat reclines and our child happily sleeps in the car seat.

      When we purchased the car seat we found the best price was from kiddicare, it is available from mothercare and John Lewis.

      Overall I would recommend this car seat if you do not need to move it from car to car, and if you have back problems.

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      • Phil & Teds Sport / Pushchair & Pram / 14 Readings / 13 Ratings
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        06.09.2010 22:54
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        overall a great purchase. I wish I had purchased at birth of child one

        This is pushchair number three for our family. We have a 16 month old son and are exppecting the arrival of our second child over the next few weeks. When we found out we were expecting our second child we decided that we would need to purchase a double buggy- and went for the phil and teds for a variety of reasons.

        The Phil and teds fits into the boot of our car (Suzuki Swift- we only need to remove one wheel) I only have use of the car at the weekends so we needed something that could be used with ease on public transport and the buggy needed to be able to fit into our narrow hallway with space to fit around it. I originally wanted a side by side buggy- but I could not find one which fit all of our requirements- so we felt that the phil and teds would last us longer as it would go back to being a single buggy when our oldest son wants to walk everywhere.

        As yet I have only used it as a single buggy- however it is easy to manovere and fits through most doorways. It can go off road- however the tyres do puncture easily.

        Our son likes to be upright and enjoys the view he gets from the pram.

        The adjustable handlebar is great for my partner and myself- we are both comfortable pushing it.

        I am worried that the visability for the youngest child when it gets old enough to sit in the lower seat position- however I will be fixing a variety of toys to the back of the upper seat.

        There will also be limited storage in the pushchair when the youngest child is old enough to sit in the lower seat- and a changing bag will be impractical to hang on the handlebar with two children. To combat this I will be investing in the pannier bags for extra storage.

        Disadvatages

        The break on the pushchair is very stiff and impossible to operat in flip-flops- but with solid shoes on just require a hefty kick.

        Expensive- especially if you invest in the accessories. However you can find bargains on ebay and the prams do sell for a good second hand price

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          06.09.2010 22:36
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          Overall a usefull compact high chair that aids family dining.

          We first used the me too high chair at a trip to wagamammas and we ere very impressed. After using one at a Yo Sushi we decided to invest in one for our upcoming holiday so that we did not need to take a high chair with us- in order to save some space in the car. Our son was approximately 13 months old at the time.

          The seat is made of a black nylon fabric with a steel support which scre4ws onto a variety of tables. There are adjustable safety straps that help to fix your child into the seat. The seat is very strong and sturdy and has tolerated a lot of bouncing by our energetic toddler.

          You do need to be carefull as to the type of table that you fix the car seat to - it needs to be strong and sturdy, we have fixed it onto a standard picnic bench and the seat has enabled us to go on picnicsas a family, without having to chase a todler around a field or confine him to his pushchair.

          Our son lovels sitting up at the table with us and we can enjoy family meal times all together. The seat also fits well into the shopping basket of the phil and teds sport buggy.

          Overall I would recommend. We purchased the seat from Kiddicare and it has been one of our most useful baby purchases.

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          22.01.2010 11:31
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          Worth a punt - was 20 quid in HMV when I bought it

          This DS game is a side scrolling platform puzzle / action game with a very original feature. The goal in each level is to collect a shiny star called a starite. The levels are split into action and puzzle - for the action levels the star is protected by a series of obstacles, in the puzzle you need to fulfill some criteria before the starite appears.

          Your character is capable of creating objects out of thin air, all you need to do is name what you want. Almost anything you can think of can be generated. For example, in one level you need to kill the rats in a restaurant (but not kill the owners dog or be killed yourself by some of the armed mafioso customers). I killed one by conjuring up a lion. That was easy I thought. However the lion then killed the dog. I armed myself with a knife to kill another, but got gunned down by a mafia hitman.

          The vast number of objects is incredible. And playing around with them can be fun, you can create a dragon, generate a shrink ray to make it smaller, then see if it can kill an accountant.

          The action levels require a different sort of thinking, which tend to revolve around transporting your character to the star or vice versa without destroying either one. For a while I was using a jet pack to fly from place to place (your chap can jump - but not far enough for most of the levels) - the helicopter and hot air balloon was too bulky. But even the jet pack didnt give me the height that I needed on one level a week or so into the game.

          I don't want to spoil the game but a flash of imagination allowed me to come up with a much better way of moving vertically. Its these moments of ingenuity which are the pay off. The 'what if I..' moments. Rescuing a sheep that had fallen into water with a fishing rod was one such moment. Using a freeze ray to get past a security guard was another.

          Add to these levels a reasonably well featured level editor and you have something that really does last the distance. I would give this 5 stars but for the slightly awkward control scheme (using the stylus for movement and object interaction sometime causes you to move when you want to interact)

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          • Cadbury's Mini Eggs / Chocolate / 49 Readings / 49 Ratings
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            16.01.2010 10:17
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            Little eggs of chocolate yumminess

            After Christmas I always think there is nothing to look forward to - but there is! The Cadbury's mini egg is launched for Easter. So in January when the weather is usually gloomy and the shops are empty of anything good the mini eggs bright yellow packaging is here to brighten the day. Last year I scoffed loads as I was pregnant and used this as an excuse. I believe that they must have contributed to at least half a stone of my excess weight gain - this year I need to find another excuse.

            The packaging is a cheerful bright yellow with the cadbury purple highlighting it and pictures of the eggs on it. You can either buy the mini eggs in a tube or in a bag - there are various sizes all equally scoffable.

            The product:

            The centre is delicious Cadburys milk chocolate. It is however the sugar shell that marks these eggs above all others. The shell is light and crisp and melts in the mouth. Most own brand eggs have a shell that is too thick and crunchy and does not melt so easily in the mouth. This spoils the best way of eating a mini egg - this is to pop it into your mouth and allow the sugar shell to crack and dissolve and then allow the chocolate to melt through.

            Price:

            The mini eggs cost for a 360g bag is £3.99 and 59p for a 45g tube and £1.09 for a 100g bag although you can buy them on multibuy offers or in pound land for the 100g bag. So overall they are quite expensive (top tip: after easter you can get them for less).

            However overall the cost is just about worth while.

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              15.01.2010 18:00
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              Tasty and good for you.

              I don't think it really matters which tin of sardines you pick up. We got these in a three for a pound offer, but all supermarkets do tinned sardines in tomato sauce at a similar price point with really not much to differentiate them. I've tried sainsburys own brand, asda, waitrose, and john west. And if you put all of them in front of me and asked me to tell the difference between them I would have difficulty.

              This isnt necessarily a bad thing, as its likely that the same supplier is supplying many supermarkets with sardines, the asda own brand may well be the same product as the tesco ones - just in a different tin.

              Tastewise - well - it depends on how you eat them. Here are a few ideas.

              You can eat them on their own, cold, straight out of the tin. This is what I normally do, with a bread roll and it makes for a delicious lunch. You tend to get bones in the tin, but the canning process softens them down so much that they are edible (and adds a nice subtle crunchiness). The tomato sauce adds some juicyness to the fish which really isnt that dry anyway like tuna can be.

              Another popular combination for me is to add the sardines to a noodle soup or cup noodle. You can buy these in 'just add water' form for around 40p if you are prepared to shop at Lidl or Aldi. This can make for a delicious, cheap and nutritous lunch - and a final top tip is to add a teaspoon of english mustard to give the final meal an added dimension.

              One final recipe idea is to make a sardine dip or pate, by mixing a tin of sardines with half a small pot of creme fraiche, a few leaves of fresh coriander and a dash of chilli sauce (change the amount of creme fraiche depending on how creamy you want it - ie less for a pate, more for a dip).

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            • Swizzels Parma Violets / Sweets / 23 Readings / 22 Ratings
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              15.01.2010 17:41
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              Try a small pack first

              Parma violets are divisive little sweets, made by Swizzels Matlow in the uk. Some people love them, others hate them. They come in two sizes, the small size tube (wrapped up like a cracker) about as long as your forefinger, with sweets the size of the nail on your little finger. Identical in size to the Fizzers sweets which were sherberty flavoured sweets.

              You can get these in a large size - giant parma violets - similar to the size of love hearts. I have also seen these in lolly form (like the double lolly).

              The flavour is hard to describe. They smell a bit perfumed, and I think they taste like a very subtle blueberry flavour with hints of rose. Sounds bad but tastes great. And reminds me of my youth!

              The name apparently comes from the flower of the Parma Violet, which is apparently small and violet (and presumably perfumed). I havent seen them, and I'd advise against eating these..

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                10.01.2010 16:59
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                Excellent co-op mode if you have any friends.

                If you found the latest iteration of Grand Theft Auto a bit too serious and limiting on the gameplay front then have a look at Saints Row 2. Its what a next gen GTA San Andreas would have been like.

                For those people who have no idea what GTA plays like then this is an open world sandbox game. Do anything to anything, and play odd little missions to progress the storyline. The city you are based in is large, and so you need to steal your transport to get from A to B.

                The array of vehicles is vast (yep planes are available), mini games include base jumping, driving a flaming bike through a college campus (earning points for toasting the students!), and firing sewage at city landmarks.

                The best that GTA 4 offered was the odd vigilante mission and car jacking.

                The array of weapons is broader, and the best thing is that the whole game can be played in co-op.

                Sounds like somethings gotta give here, and there is a niggle which will put your style over substance brigade off a bit. The presentation isnt as solid as GTA. Its a minor offence though.

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                  10.01.2010 16:48
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                  Worth a second hand or budget purchase.

                  I bought this as a game to play primarily in cooperative mode with my brother, what also has a PS3. We had the previous rainbow six vegas game on the PC and we played through the entire campaign having a lot of fun in the process.

                  If you have played any of the rainbow 6 games you have some idea what to expect. Team based first person shooter which is very unforgiving of gung ho tactics. If the baddies see you first then its likely you will be dead quickly.

                  In single player you have two computer AI characters to help you - you can give them orders to scout up ahead, hold their position and throw grenades - all using the D pad on the controller (if you have a headset you can use voice commands but I found them hit and miss). This comes in handy as often assaulting enemy positions from multiple angles will be the best way to protect yourself.

                  In Co-op you only get one additional player to help. Also actually connecting a game can be a bit of a pain if you aren't familiar with your router (you need to open about 6 ports on it).

                  This game doesnt add a great deal to the previous iteration of the game - one notable addition is that of experience points unlocking new camo and weapons. But unlike some recent FPSs you get no choice in what to unlock.

                  All in all in co-op and single player this is an entertaining and challenging addition to the rainbow 6 series. And I'd recommend a purchase second hand (at time of writing you can pick this up for 12.99 from GAME).

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                  07.11.2009 12:38
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                  Update to wii fit that will have you dusting off the balance board again.

                  i really enjoyed wii fit- but more as a motivational tool rather than a training tool ad there were some areas where it could have been improved. However the temptation grew when the up date came out and we could not resist the update any longer and we purchased the new game yesterday from toys-r-us for just over £16.00- but is £15.00 0n Amazon

                  The disc transfers all of your previous data over from the old disc. All of the old games are there in addition to this there are a variety of new games and functions. These includes a baby weigh facility- this will help to track the weight of you baby and also creates a cute mii of your baby that crawls into view in the plaza- I am probably easy to please. And a pet weigh function for cats and dogs.

                  The game also has several training functions that will help you to chose areas that you would like to work on and will devise a training program for you. I have yet to test this- however I will be using. A calorie count facility that will give you a guide to how many calories that you burn. I also believe that it will give you a diet guide line but I have yet to explore the feature.

                  There is a vairety of new fun games to play including yoga and muscle work outs and the more fun games such as skate boarding and rhythm kung-fu. It is now more easy to switch between characters in the training mode. In addtion to this there is a multiplayer function which you can use as a competitive fun activity- this only has a small variety of games and it does not save scores- so it might be better when playing just to switch characters in the training mode.

                  Overall the updates are excellent and this is great fun and is possibly doing what it should have done to begin with. It is keeping me more motivated to lose the last of the pregnancy weight in a fun way that fits in with my lifestyle so overall it is a useful tool.

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                  • Totsbots / Baby Care / 92 Readings / 90 Ratings
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                    28.08.2009 15:03
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                    Tots Bots produce a variety of nappies one of which should suit you and your baby

                    I am rapidly becoming a fan of reusable nappies and tots bots were the first that we purchased and I now have a small variety of types.

                    The first type that we have is an aplix fastening fluffle nappy in a size one and we also have size two nappies that are fastened using a nappy nipper- a safe alternative to a safety pin these nappies need a wrap. The wraps come in a variety of colours patterns- and are very cute. The main problen with the two part nappy system is that it is very bulky. However we have used this system over night with a booster and although the nappy is saturated in the morning there are no leaks.

                    We also have an organic all in one pocket nappy from tots bots this is green with stars and uses bamboo as it's main soaker. The nappy is slimmer fitting than the two part nappy system and fits better under clothes. The nappy copes well with poo - although it has not yet had to cope with a major poo explosion and the bamboo is absorbant. This type of nappy is good as it is very convenient.

                    Overall tots bots are great. I believe that they have helped to revolutionise the cloth nappy system and they always seem to be coming out with different nappies that will suit different requirements.

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                    • Game / Highstreet Shopping / 65 Readings / 62 Ratings
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                      28.08.2009 10:07
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                      Good chain overall, though market domination is a worry.

                      Game is a large chain of shops in the UK selling computer games. The chain has been around since the 90s and has grown considerably in recent times - they bought Electronics Boutique and also Gamestation (who's focus is preowned games and who's brand is being retained).

                      In a way this is both bad and good news for the consumer. In theory, the large buying power of the chain enables them to get hold of some exclusive deals, for example they were selling Okami for wii for £9.99 recently, but on the downside the lack of competition means that the pressure on value (competitors prices) is not present on the high street.

                      The range of product has changed over the years. When I was younger the split of PC versus console games was more equal. These days the PC section is a lot smaller, and the DS and Wii sections have outgrown the Xbox360 and PS3 sections.

                      This absorption of competitors has created a strange situation in Southampton where in the city centre there are four Game stores in a very small area - helping very much to homogenise britains high streets.

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                        27.08.2009 19:47
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                        Bright interactive playmat and the tunes are not too annoying.

                        We purchased this playgym for our son from TKMaxx prior to him being born- and I think we paid about £30.00 for it. The gym is usually available for around £40-50. The gym consists of a mat with two hook over arches to which are attached a variety of toys, includng a clear rattly sun, an apple shaped teether a mirror. The main toy for the mat is a sun that plays a variety of tunes and flashes lights. The tunes are activated by touch and motion.

                        We used to put our son on the mat when he was newborn and he would not do a lot apart from stare at wall, as our baby grew he started to become more interactive and enjoys playing with the toys. His particular fovourites are the sun rattle and the sun that plays tunes. Now he is four months old the mat I would say is too small for him as he can now manovre himself about either by wiggling or rolling- so he can often roll off the mat.

                        We were also given another playgym with a larger mat which he usually plays on but he seems to prefer the toys from the baby einstein playgym.

                        Although the mat is now not quite big enough it is good because it is transportable and it does fold down to put into the car to take to relatives houses.

                        Our son still loves the toys and I think they will have plenty of use, and overall the gym will be worth the money that we paid for it.

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                        25.08.2009 18:03
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                        Innovative wii add on

                        I got the wii fit last year when it first came out and I was initially hooked. I tracked my weight before I got married. After a while the novelty wore off a bit and I got pregnant and I stopped weighing myself on the board and for a while stopped playing on it. However one baby later I hve now blown the cobwebs off the board and I have got it out again. I am using the board as a way of tracking my weight loss post baby, and for this it is ideal- although my mii is somewhat chubby at the moment.

                        The game is fun, particularly hula hooping and skiing although I have my reservations as to whether the board is actually much use as a fitness ai- I do not think so. To get fit I think you would benefit from getting out for a walk a swim or a run. What the wii fit does is provides a tracking service and some motivation- I really need to slim down my mii back to prepregnancy weight- and a weekly/ n2 weekly weighin really helps with this. As a bonus I can also weigh my baby using the wii-fit to get an approximate weight.

                        I have only used the balance borad for the wii fit game so I can not comment as to how good it would be for other games although I can see that it could have some excellent applications.

                        Overall I would say as a motivational tool this is good, but as an aid to actually getting fit I do not think that it will work.

                        Overall it is a quality product and was easy to install and use.

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