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grey0220

grey0220
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Member since: 19.10.2009

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      10.06.2010 04:56
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      Great for making memories

      My niece has just turned 7 months, and as part of our celebration of her birthday, we bought her this set of Crayola washable finger paints to commemorate the momentous occasion. The product is marketed for being only appropriate for those 3 years and above, but under close supervision, I don't see why it might not be enjoyed by those even younger.

      These paints are non-toxic and washable, which makes them absolutely ideal for would-be baby Picassos. We sat my niece on the floor in the middle of a sea of newspapers, taped them down, and then taped down pieces of paper for her to go wild on (having squirted the paints on a paper plate and showed her how to get the paint on her hand). She ended up with the paint all over her legs, clothes, face, and handlers (my sister and me!) but it all easily washed off without any harsh scrubbing. This, however, did not mean that the colours of the paint were any less vibrant - we got a number of great little handprints out of the session which all dried within an hour, and will undoubtedly brighten up my office in the coming months.

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        10.06.2010 04:25
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        Handy for breakfast parties

        My husband's mother gave us this egg boiler sometime last week as part of a massive housewarming and birthday present for my husband. She had had one herself for a number of months, and had been in the habit for years of saving time at the beginning of every week by boiling a couple of eggs for breakfast or lunch. She had found that the egg boiler helped considerably in this respect - she could turn it on and walk away from it, and come back to perfectly boiled eggs.

        I have been very happy with this machine's hard and soft boiling functions, but I have to admit that it takes much longer than boiling eggs in my usual way (about 7 minutes versus 12 minutes), but it is nice to plug it in and walk away. I have been less happy with the poaching function, however - though my poached eggs, admittedly, are not as perfectly shaped as the ones produced by this machine, take about 5 minutes. These poached eggs take about 20 minutes!

        I can imagine this machine might be of great use, however, the next time I have people over for breakfast - I'll crack the eggs or pop them into boil as soon as they walk through the door, and have Eggs Benedict ready within half an hour, I suppose!

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          09.06.2010 18:22
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          Small price to pay for peace of mind

          I bought this laptop lock as an undergraduate student, to be used when I was working in cafes and university libraries.

          I found this laptop lock very easy to use, and ideal as there was no key to lose - I chose a combination which was easy for me to remember but hard for others to guess (no 1234 or 0000 for me), and I was able to leave my laptop behind with peace of mind for only 20 pounds. Even when it was locked, however, I was also able to lean back in my chair on occasion and work on my laptop from literally my lap, due to the cord's length.

          I think it's a much better alternative to a laptop carrying case to use every time you have to leave your laptop behind - either to run an errand, or even simply just to go to the bathroom. For those of you who would prefer to have all of your keys together, though, or the more forgetful of you, this might not be ideal. It is also not useful in situations where there is no place to anchor the lock - i.e. in places where the tables can be easily lifted.

          I would recommend this laptop lock to hot-deskers or students or anyone else who usually finds themselves having to leave their laptop unattended in public places. It's a small investment for a huge benefit.

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          09.06.2010 17:54
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          A great addition to your kitchen

          We initially purchased a George Foreman grill not due to its purported health benefits, but because we wanted a versatile toasted sandwich maker! Back during my undergrad days, one of my housemates brought the grill to our manky student kitchen and shared it with us for the entire year. Whilst he used it often to grill a variety of meats and vegetables, we all primarily used it to make cheese and tomato sandwiches. It being a student house, it was rarely cleaned very well, and the dish which caught all the dripping fat was pretty atrocious after a couple of uses - but when it was cleaned, it was a surprisingly easy undertaking (with the fork-like plastic object which scraped the residue off of the grill and its crevices).

          From those inauspicious beginnings, the idea of the George Foreman grill was planted in my mind, and upon becoming a proper adult, I resolved to make it one of my first kitchen purchases.

          I have used the grill primarily for making steak for my husband and I, and it works a treat. The meat is left so juicy but without any of the burnt bits that can come with cooking steak in a pan. It also leaves those great grill marks on the meat - a simple pleasure in the middle of February in a tiny flat kitchen! Of course, it has also been used for the occasional melted sandwich - delicious.

          The grill is incredibly simple to use and, now that we are proper functioning adults, easy to maintain. A great, quite inexpensive addition to your kitchen.

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          • Siemens TT911P2GB / Toaster / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 17:45
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            Up to you to decide whether or not it's worth the extra 100 quid!

            My husband bought this toaster in order to match his Porsche Design kettle and replace the previous Porsche Design toaster we had (that went to his parents) - it is a considerable toaster. It toasts in increments of 30 seconds - but beware that, like its predecessor, it toasts incredibly efficiently and stays hot for a while. This means that if you are toasting a number of slices of bread (say, you are making breakfast for a group), your last slices, unless you adjust the timer, are liable to be overly 'crisp' (read as: burnt).

            However, it is even more aesthetically pleasing as its predecessor - it looks almost space-age, with the two antennae which extend upwards to hold larger pieces of bread in place or simply keep your bread warm. What I like about it is that though it is clearly designed to toast two pieces of normal-sized bread, the fact that the opening is as wide as it is means that you can toast other, more unique types of bread. I was trying to make a savory bread pudding two weeks ago, for instance, and after having made a loaf of bread, I was able to cut it into length-wise slices and toast those, as the toaster could accommodate its length.

            If you are looking for a swish toaster to match a stainless steel kitchen which actually adds more value than your run of the mill toaster, then this is the toaster for you.

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            09.06.2010 17:29
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            Great protection for your favorite toy

            I had never used a sleeve or anything for my 1st iPod (the 3rd Gen click-wheel), and I am a very clumsy person, so it was only a matter of time before I dropped it one too many times and it stopped working. When I purchased my 2nd iPod (the 3rd gen, 8gb nano), I thought it might be worth the money to invest in a sleeve for it and therefore avoid any damage to my new toy. I thought this sleeve would be best as it didn't seem to add any excess bulk to the nano, which a lot of the other leather sleeves seemed to. Also, I bought my iPod primarily for use at the gym, and the silicone seemed a better option to withstand the grime and sweat of a normal workout than some of the fancier, more expensive leather options.

            I have been very happy with how this decision has worked out so far. The case is effective, and it has protected my iPod after a number of falls. My only problem with the silicone is that, due to its tacky nature, it seems to attract all the dust and detritus from the bottom of my purse - not a great look. But it has kept the iPod almost entirely scratch free - which is handy as I often use the back of the iPod to check out my make-up before meeting my husband for dinner!

            Worth the investment as it does exactly what it says on the tin - though get used to having a bit of a grubby, dusty iPod. It's what's on the inside that counts...

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          • Samsung E1120 / Mobile Phone / 7 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 17:20
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            Almost a relief to have a phone that just works as a phone!!

            I have been very happy with this very Spartan phone - I bought it along with a Orange PAYG sim card, and the total was only 5 pounds plus 10 pounds top-up credit (which I needed anyway). I was only intending to use it for calls to the US, as I already have a smart phone for my domestic calls.

            If you're used to all the gadgetry and pomp of a smart phone, this is not what you need - it doesn't even have internet access! But if all you want is a phone that works as a PHONE (not as an MP3 player, camera, web browser, GPS, etc!) then this is worth the small price.

            The phone comes with a charger only - no headset. This might be problematic for people who are concerned with being able to use their phone on the go without having to use their hands, but it does have a speaker, so if you are in private, you always have the option of enabling the speaker function. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the sound from the speaker, and often use it - it's sufficiently loud to carry on a conversation in a car. However, I have found that using the speaker for conversations longer than half an hour does mean that I have to charge it afterwards - it does wear out the battery.

            However, for making and receiving around 2 calls a day without using the speaker, and making and receiving up to 10 texts a day, I have found that I can go up to three days without charging it. This is probably because I use it, again, ONLY for phone calls - no MP3s, videos or anything!

            I'd recommend this phone to parents who are looking to buy pre-teens mobiles in order to keep in touch with them - there is little to be distracted by with it! I'd also recommend it for people who are looking to minimize the clutter in their bag as their smart phone needs may be covered by a work BlackBerry, which is what my situation was - it's very light, and smaller than your average mobile, so it's no extra hassle to carry around.

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          • Siemens HB86E560B / Oven / 5 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 17:13
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            If you're looking to upgrade a small kitchen, this is the oven for you!

            The new flat my husband and I have just bought came with an exclusively Siemens kitchen - being a flat in the centre of London, the kitchen designers were clearly aware of the need to make the most of what little space they were given, and thus our oven is this combination microwave and electric oven offering from Siemens.

            It took a while for me to figure out how to use this microwave, but in all honestly, this was because I refused to read through the guide as I wanted to learn via experience instead. This mode has slowly but surely paid off, as I'm now completely familiar with the workings of the oven.

            I have nothing but good things to say about it - it is a tremendous space saver, having the two functions combined, though admittedly I have not tried to cook a roast dinner yet as I'm unsure of how I would work the timings of everything that needs to be chucked in the oven as it is quite small. I have used it for many dinner parties though, as it has a plate warmer function.

            Besides the somewhat small size (which is both a blessing and a curse), I have two other minor quibbles with it:

            1. When I have tried to microwave things without taking the big baking tray out, the food has remained stone cold while the baking tray has gotten finger-scaldingly hot. Admittedly this was due to me being a bit of a dunce, but having used 'normal' micorwave ovens all my life prior to this, it took a bit of getting used to - now I always remember to take the big baking tray out before nuking anything.

            2. It's incredibly noisy - and in a very small flat, it can get in the way. As the oven heats up and then cools down, it makes a very loud mechanical whirring noise, which is more than a little irritating when we have friends over for meals, or even when we are just trying to talk before or after dinner. It also makes catching up on the phone whilst I'm baking something of an ordeal.

            Other than those minor problems, though, I am incredibly happy with this piece of equipment - the benefits definitely outweigh the cons in this situation!

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            09.06.2010 16:53
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            Not for me - and not for people who are constantly travelling

            My parents are and always have been electric toothbrush fanatics - and when I lived at home, I always had my own special 'head' for brushing my teeth. When I moved abroad, however, I found it was much easier to carry back and forth a regular toothbrush, rather than try to bother with finding an alternative way of charging your toothbrush (because when an electric toothbrush runs down, especially with a head as small as this Braun Oral-B, you might as well use toilet paper to brush your teeth!).

            My husband has a Braun Oral-B, but after so many years, I found it difficult to transition back from using a manual to using an electric. Whilst I know the reality is actually the contrary, in my mind, putting in the actual manual work of brushing my teeth does offer a superior clean than running a spinning brush lightly over my teeth.

            It is very nice, though, if I'm feeling lazy - again, a quick run over my teeth with the special head my husband has thoughtfully reserved for me finishes the job in about 2 minutes.

            Is it worth the extra expense? Admittedly, after paying the initial 20 pounds, you can get replacement heads in packs for about 0.50 a head. But as I am still and will be for a while a frequent traveler, I'm not willing to convert back entirely just yet - even when traveling within the UK, it's just not worth it to me to pack the charger (especially as, because it lives in the bathroom, it often gets wet and unsightly!).

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          • Apple iPod nano (3G) 8 GB / MP3 Player / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 16:43
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            Check out Apple's iPod refurbs and eBay for this great, reliable alternative to a new iPod

            I have had my 3rd generation 8gb iPod nano since 2007 - it is red, as it was part of the special (Red) campaign, with a percentage of the proceeds going to fight AIDS in Africa. It is my second iPod - my first iPod was a 20gb (4th gen) iPod click-wheel which I had from 2004 to 2006, and which died before I had filled it with 15gb-worth of songs. I refrained from buying another iPod for a while, as I was wary of having lost all the music on my original iPod, but was soon lured back into the promise of having all of your favorite music on hand, all the time. I opted for the nano, as like I said, in my experience there was no point in getting the higher capacity iPods, as they seemed to break or become redundant before you realized their full capacity. I'll say now that I am a big music fan, though maybe not a full blown fanatic.

            Like I said above, I have had this iPod for coming up to 3 years now and it still (touch wood) works a treat. I have used it to store photos and videos as well as music, and am now just reaching the 8gb mark - I will occasionally go through "cleanses" where I'll delete songs I have not listened to for a while (or never got around listening to), and this allows me to keep updating and renewing my music.

            My favorite feature of the iPod is the on-the-go playlist feature. This means that if I am en route to the gym and want to make a so-themed playlist, I can easily do it on the Tube - without having to plug it in to any computer. Once you plug it into iTunes, it automatically saves the playlist, allowing you to rename it and reuse it later.

            I also really like how you can choose to turn on your shuffle (either by album or by song) whilst listening your music - with the click-wheel iPod, you had to go all the way back to the menu to change the settings. Now, if I'm listening to all my songs on shuffle (by song) but then realize I want to listen to the entire album, it's as simple as double clicking the centre of the wheel.

            I love this iPod, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a refurbished or used iPod.

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          • Sony BDP-S350 / Blu-Ray Player / 7 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 16:29
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            Needs to be seen to be believed

            After my husband and I bought our first place together last year, we allocated the design of each room according to interest - this is why I was given the kitchen, and ordered premier Wusthof knives and olive wood cutting boards, and he was given the living room, and ordered a Sony Bravia TV with a corresponding Blu-Ray player.

            This was our first Blu-Ray player, and I gather that it is at the lower end of Sony's options (though, because this is Sony, still more expensive than other competitors). Like all other Blu-Ray players, it is capable of playing your regular DVDs ('unlocking', so to speak, a much better picture from the discs than your old DVD player is literally incapable of doing) as well as the special (read as: more expensive) Blu Rays. I was somewhat skeptical of the extra expense of buying special Blu Ray discs, so wasn't entirely convinced that the purchase of this Blu-Ray player would change my life.

            I am now utterly and completely converted! The picture quality is unparalleled - this is undoubtedly thanks to the combination of the Sony Bravia and the Blu-Ray, but the difference between viewing a regular DVD and a Blu-Ray is substantial.

            I'm not incredibly 'techie', so unfortunately I can't offer you the breakdown of what's going on behind all the screens, but I will say this: I would recommend this player to epic film and nature documentary buffs, and tell romantic comedy or indie film buffs to not bother - for the former crowd, the quality of the image is central to enjoying the film, and you will definitely get more 'bang for your buck' if you splurge and invest in this player. But if your favorite films and TV shows are more about the characters and the chat, the enhanced image (and the extra money you've spent!) might be wasted.

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          • Tesco JK07 Jug / Kettle / 8 Readings / 6 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 16:19
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            This kettle has served me very well!

            I first bought this kettle some years ago: I was staying in temporary accommodation and was only intending to use this kettle 3 days a week, so I sought the cheapest option I could find - Tesco, naturally, filled this need. I figured, if it broke, I'd be able to chuck it out - and at less than 5 quid, if I made more than 3 cups of tea with it in the morning rather than buying them from a cafe, the kettle would have already paid for itself. After all this time, I'm pleased to report that this kettle still works like new! I have been pleased with the operation of this kettle for a number of reasons.

            Firstly, it's easy to use - like any kettle, it's self-explanatory (you press the little button the side and wait until it goes 'ding'!).

            Secondly, it's just as fast as any old kettle. If I filled it to about 50% capacity (so just under .9L - it's capable of boiling up to 1.7L), I'd be able to switch it on, brush my teeth, and have boiling water ready for pouring by the time I came back.

            Thirdly, the power cord is very long but can be wrapped underneath the base and tucked away. This is good if you often reorganize your kitchen - it can be any number of feet away from the nearest plug.

            It really did not perform any differently from other kettles I've used, including ones that are 3 times the price, and ones that are over 10 times the price. It didn't fall apart after it brought its first batch of water to the boil, and it has stood the test of time as well as any of my other kettles.

            My only quibble with the kettle is the top and closing mechanism. The top sometimes jams, preventing you from opening it easily. Other times, you have to almost slam the top closed, as it does not smoothly close itself. But this is a problem, honestly, that is not unique to this make of kettle.

            I'd recommend this product to new homeowners who are looking to flesh out their kitchen supplies, to students living in dorms looking to streamline their routine in the morning, or just about anyone else looking for a cheap, good-working kettle. It's not much to look at, admittedly, but it gets the job done.

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          • wikipedia.org / Internet Site / 6 Readings / 5 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 16:06
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            For your degree's sake - don't just copy and paste!

            Wikipedia.org is a collaborative website with articles on subjects from literally A to Z - from Ashton Kutcher to Zoology, from Astrophysics to Zanzibar and everything in between.

            When I was a History undergraduate, I would always joke with the other people on my course about how obtaining a degree in the era pre-Wikipedia would have been, undoubtedly, impossible - or, at the very least, substantially more difficult than it is today. In all seriousness, "Wiki" is the student's best friend - for well-established, well-known facts, such as the dates of World War 2 or even the atomic number of Oxygen, Wiki is your one-stop shop for all-night essay writing.

            More controversial is relying on Wiki for less well-established facts - particularly when it comes to the lives of celebrities. I once Wiki'd Justin Timberlake to find his article only consisted of one line - "Justin Timberlake is a Lance Bass-loving freak". Clearly the page had been hacked - but this anecdote is evident of how reliable the website can be at times.

            Does the fact you've just read somewhat suspect? Is the source unreliable or even non-existent? Then feel free to disregard it - or do some more in-depth research on it. Like the other reviewers have said before me - take it all with a grain of salt!

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          • thetrainline.com / Internet Site / 10 Readings / 9 Ratings
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            09.06.2010 15:59
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            Better off checking with NationalRail.co.uk first!

            I'm sure you've all seen the commercials with the sheep - TheTrainline.com is clearly trying to foster a public image as the only way of getting cheap, affordable train tickets, the only alternative to buying your tickets at the station. I think this is misleading and unfair - especially as TheTrainline.com is probably the second most expensive option of buying your train tickets!

            TheTrainline.com is very similar in feel and function to NationalRail.co.uk, and if you plan your journey on NationalRail.co.uk, they will offer you the option of buying your tickets at TheTrainline.com. Once you click through to TheTrainline, however, you will find that the grand total is actually 1 pound more than the grand total you were given by National Rail - and that's only if you're not using a credit card. TheTrainline also imposes fees if you are not using a debit card - if you are looking to purchase train tickets for, say, 3 pounds, the processing fees specific to booking with TheTrainline can easily outweigh the total cost of your journey! You're much better off booking directly with the network companies themselves - First Great Western, etc.

            Another thing about TheTrainline is that I've actually had difficulties with accessing the website before in the past - it literally will not work. Unimpressed.

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            • Bio Oil 200ml / Skin Care / 14 Readings / 11 Ratings
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              09.06.2010 04:30
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              Even if you think your stretch marks are immovable forces, try it out

              My sister was recently pregnant with her first child and was very anxious about stretch marks. I asked my other friends who had already given birth and Bio Oil was 9 times out of 10 their weapon of choice against defeating stretch marks. For friends who had not been privy to the secret during their pregnancy, they found that using Bio Oil on already existing stretch marks actually did quite a lot to minimize the appearance of their marks - in some cases, completely getting rid of them. This was the case for some women whose stretch marks were years old.

              Pregnant women are not alone, however, in their worship of Bio Oil. Spying bottles of the product in some of my single guy friends' flats, I've discovered that it is also a good friend of exercise fanatics whose growing muscles often leave unsightly scars on their insides of biceps and thighs.

              So reach for Bio Oil as both a sword and a shield - it'll help prevent stretch marks, as well as diminish the appearance of pre-existing ones!

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