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Released in 1972 Boggle is an incredibly simple game that has made it to the puzzle pages of many national newspapers.
What you need
Basically, Boggle is a word game for up to 7 people, the box recommends that players are 8 years or over as a necessity of the game is having a good knowledge of words. Boggle is a 16 space board with dices within, you have a cover for the board, shake it and then make sure that a letter faces up from each position. All players then have 3 minutes to make words from letters next to each other, words must have at least 3 letters and points are gained for the size of the word and whether it has only been used by you.
For the game you need a pen and paper, the board and the dice and the timer and you have a game right there.
Available for a tenner on Amazon, I bought my box for 7.99GBP in Woolworths many years ago, it has served me well and is small enough to easily fit in a bag for long train or coach journeys, its a good game as it allows lots of people to play and it also stretches your brain a little bit which I find enjoyable.
The concept of the game is incredibly simple, there are various rules for Boggle in different countries, but I like to keep it simple and just find as many words as I can within 3 minutes. When I was younger I would play alone to improve my word skills and I think it worked. The game is easy to play, cheap and fun for all of the family. Its well worth a purchase and while its not in the premier league of board games it is definitely worth a 4 out of 5.
A fantastic ice breaker of a game, this has come out at teen parties and awkward family get togethers all over the world throughout the ages.
How much does it cost
The game is available on Amazon for 7.26GBP, I bought my game for 12.99GBP in Hamleys about ten years ago. It has been well worth it as its a game the family can play, kids can play or dinner parties can descend into chaos after a few bottles of wine and the introduction of this silly game!
What is it
The box used to have some unfashionable people twisted up on the mat to show the fun that could be had, nowadays, the figures on the box are cartoons to avoid the box dating very quickly. The box comes with a large spotted floor mat, There is also a spinner which is held my the moderator who spins it to decide who twists where.
How to Play
Basically you can have up to four people on the mat and one person controlling the spinner, the spinner spins the wheel and whichever colour it lands on the player has to put either their hand or foot on that coloured spot, as the game progresses and it becomes difficult to reach across the mat to have hands and feet on the relevant spots, you are compromised by the other 3 players who are twisted in your way also trying to maintain position on spots.
The game itself is incredibly simple but it is great fun, the winner is the person who maintains their position when others fall over.
For me this is a great game, timeless really, i've enjoyed it as a kid with the family, had great fun after a few beers and it is great with the family too, it is physical and ridiculous and after playing this game you really do feel closer to the people you play with, but you have to have a bit of confidence to play as its not for people who are very shy.
Overall this is another 5 out of 5 for me, writing these board game reviews has made me realise just how good they are for families and how sociable they are compared to computer games.
A nice, new and different fragrance from Calvin Klein, Crave is designed for the man who knows who he is, but doesn´t need to show it, or the man who has everything whilst having nothing. Sorry enough perfume advertising speak. This is a flash new scent with the innovative idea of having the button to spray on the side of the bottle rather than the top. It is also a bottle within a bottle which psychiatrists could spend weeks debating.
This is a small product, I have the 100ml spray, which cost me 32.99 in Boots, but you can also buy the 40ml or 75ml spray. The bottle in many ways reminds me of a toothpaste tube, it is a lovely bottle within a toothpaste tube shaped container, there is a red button on the side of the bottle to spray the eau de toillette and it is ergonomically friendly and fairly nice looking, although the red button does take away from the general ´less is more´design of the bottle.
This is a manly scent, it has a good level of musk and a woodiness which makes you feel fresh without feeling like you have sprayed perfume, it has
been a big hit with friends, who do find it fresh and zesty but not to the point of making your eyes water, I do note an undertone of Jasmine in the smell, which I like a lot and I think there is pine or something similar which allows the scent to remain fresh and makes me smell good long after I really should.
The Eau de Toilette is available in Boots and Superdrug as well as all good supermarkets and department stores, its more manly than CKOne and less pretentious than Eternity for men, overall I like this, I find it refreshing, not overpowering but it smells good, and I smell good, while the spray is easy to use and I don´t end up spraying the air, or my face by accident as can happen with other sprays, as it is clear from the red button, the direction the spray will go in.
I bought this to play Mario Kart on and I have to say this is the kind of innovative product that puts Nintendo in such a good position in the innovation stakes with computer games.
Purchased for 10GBP at Game (It is now available from Amazon for £5.99 on Amazon). I bought two so that I could play against my partner.
The steering wheel really doesn´t look like anything special when you take it out of the box, it is a white plastic wheel, in the style of a car steering wheel, the front of the wheel has a rectangular space where you fit your wii controller, whilst, the wheel is split like a normal steering wheel for the best ergonimic fit. The wheel has hand grips making it incredibly easy to hold for long periods of time.
Basically, you get your Wii controller, place it control side up in the rectangular space and fit your string part which fits to your wrist through a small hole and you are ready to go.
I have only used this for Mario Kart, but after initial difficulties (I had the steering wheel facing away from the tv, meaning all actions were reversed), I found it was incredibly responsive and played like an arcade game, I thought there would be glitches with the control but it works perfectly and really is incredibly simple but really innovative.
After the initial rush it is now really cheap and easy to find in all good game stores and online via Amazon or Play, prices are generally around £5-£8 and Game have their own version of the wheel for £5.99 which does exactly the same job.
I do hope in the future there are more games of an arcade quality available via the Wii that will offer me the chance to use this controller to its full capability, but this wheel adds so much to the Super Mario Kart Game and is such fun, it is well worth £6 of your hard earned cash.
I will start by saying I really like Adidas sports equipment, clothing and trainers, they are one of the two best sports brands for me, but their deoderants stink!!!
Ok, you can guess this probably isn´t a positive review. I have to be honest, I only have myself to blame here, I bought a can of this Adidas Blue Challenge Deoderant in Poundstretcher for a pound, so perhaps it was my own fault for being thrifty, but this deoderant is one of the worst I have experienced since Brut was the fragrance of choice for hairy men in the UK.
It is a blue 250ml aerosol spraty, the Adidas triangle logo and name appear on the blue can whilst the lid is black. Spraying is easy with the aerosol spray and it actually looks pretty good when all is said and done.
This is where the product falls down, and unfortunately with a deoderant it is the only thing that really matters. The spray has a underwhelming scent, it is masculine and has a zesty fruity smell, but that is the initial smell, I found that after a while I smelt of grass which I really didn´t expect or enjoy. The light and fragrant scent had gone and been replaced by something which I couldn´t wait to wash off. Also I found I had red marks on my skin where I had sprayed, i´m not sure if it was some kind of allergic reaction, but I have had the same problem with Adidas Shower gel and I think there must be some strong chemicals in there to cause this reaction.
I would suggest that if you sniff it in the shop, you will find the manly zesty scent pretty good, but I would suggest spraying it on yourself and returning after an hour, the smell dissapates to a horrible squelch and if your skin doesn´t sting, check if you get a similar reaction to mine.
The product is available in all good chemists and supermarkets, but for me , i´m going to stick to Lynx which doesn´t cause any problems to my skin and smells good hours after the first spray.
Lynx Fever shower gel is widely available in most supermarkets and Boots and Superdrug in the UK. Prices can vary but generally 1.49GBP is a decent price, you can get it for 99p on offer in the pound shop from time to time, but generally Tesco or Asda have an offer of 2 for 2GBP.
In a curvy, swirling plastic container, with black plastic cap, this is ugly in my opinion, the shower gel itself is a sludgy fake orange that looks more like some chemical overspill than something you would appreciate cleaning yourself with.
The plastic container is 250ml and has the Lynx insignia on the front, with some details of the product.
Whats in it:
Not sure if these are real but apparently, in this are Brazilian Hot Mud and Red Dragonfruit extract, the shower gel has a gritty texture which must be the Red Dragonfruit extract, and when you do wash with it, there is a heated sensation, that personally I don´t like, the product smells artificial a mixture of faux fruitiness and spice, which is great for an air freshener but isn´t something you really want to smell of. Its not particularly masculine and whilst I do like the gritty texture which is useful to exfoliate, I do find that after washing with this, I feel like I want another wash, which I don´t think was the point of the product.
This is a mid range product that does what it says on the tin, it looks different and artificial and it smells and feels different and artificial too. I personally don´t like the bright orange, or the shower gel container which is awkward to stand in the shower and can´t be hung like other shower gels. What is in its favour is the fact it is well priced and widely available, but personally this isn´t my favourite flavour in the lynx family.
I never really understood why but Robbie Fowler was known as God in Liverpool for many years, while he was a decent striker, I don´t believe he ever really fulfilled the potential to be considered in the same bracket as Strikers of his era such as Michael Owen or Alan Shearer despite a heck of a start.
This book follows Fowler from scally youngster to Premiership superstar and two things came across for me in this book, his willingness not to take things seriously and his business acumen.
We follow Fowler through Youth leagues as he breaks every goalscoring record created on Merseyside until he joins Liverpool and is promoted very quickly to the first team squad.
Part of the problem of this introduction is that it also applies to Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrards books. Also as with their books, Fowler is open about his problems with Gerrard Houllier, with some of the foreign footballers within the Liverpool squad and the sqauds image as the Spice Boys. He is open in what he says and eloquent at times, but moments such as the sniffing the penalty area, or baiting of Graeme Le Saux come accross as vindictive and a bit nasty.
Fowler does explain his actions at all times and there are funny moments such as the time he hits Liverpool Coach Phil Thompson on the bum with a shot and calls him big nose.
The book is also honest in Fowler accepting he didn´t fulfil his potential and that moves to Leeds and other clubs were really a step down from Liverpool personally for him.
The elements where Fowler talks about family show he has a big heart and he does seem to do a lot for his community as well as being one of the biggest landlords in the UK, but for me this book is about unfulfilled dreams of a potentially great player.
I bought the book on Amazon Marketplace for 39p plus 2GBP for posting and packing, it is 352 pages long and easily available for a similar price today.
One of my favourite foods is Fish and Chips, I have always loved fried foods, but obviously being a health conscious individual understand that not every meal should involve chips......until I bought this little baby, now every meal can involve beautiful, crisp, healthy chips, and not require me to have to get my hands greasy in the process.
The Buying Process:
I have had a Tefal Deep fat fryer for 3 years and I used it regularly, favourite dishes included battered fish and twice fried chips. This involved lots of use of the fryer, but whilst the results were generally good, the food did smell of grease and the residue of burnt oil stank out the kitchen, my clothes and made me feel reticent to eat the fried foods. When my frier became something of a greasy liability, I decided to use some of my Amazon vouchers and pay the difference for something that would add to my kitchen.
When reviewing the best fryers on Amazon, this really stood out to me, I love the idea of a fryer that uses a spoonful of oil, its healthy, easy to clean and convenient, but surely there is a catch, surely he chips are just limp potatoes, or the fryer isn´t reliable?
Well i´ve had this for nearly six months and don´t have a bad word to say about it, its easy, convenient, much safer than a deep fat fryer when you have kids or irresponsible adults in the house and the food doesn´t taste greasy, it is cooked well without the residue of dirty grease. I love it.
Eventually after really checking review after review I shelled out 129.99GBP for this beauty, it arrived in 3 days in a reasonable sized box, the fryer itself isn´t huge, its about the same size as a deep fat fryer, but you will save lots of cash on regular purchases of oil as this needs to little. Or thats my excuse for buying it anyway.
The fryer can cook a 1kg bag of chips in one go, but that really is enough for a family and you shouldn´t generally need anywhere near this many chips. You place the chips or other food in the internal bowl, add the oil and your off. If you are really dull you can watch your food cook as the top is transparent plastic which heats up, the sides however remain cool, meaning if you have to stop cooking for whatever reason you can do so and return, without having to throw away the food, there are timer and power buttons which all look snazzy, and the general look of the item is modern and stylish, it adds to my kitchen and really doesn´t look out of place.
I mainly use it for chips or fish and both cook perfectly, I have tried sausages and steak and I was happy with the steak but will have to think about what went wrong with the sausages as they were cooked on the outside but not in the middle. The actifry comes with a recipe book which is handy to help you understand the cooking processes and to talk you through it for the first few times until your comfortable, but really its incredibly easy and no hassle at all to cook anything, generally place the food in the fryer, fill the accompanying spoon with oil and ladle over the food then cook to the required time and eat.
My chips have been crisp on the outside and nice and soft inside without having the greasy texture of the deep fat fryer, this is a sensible way to cook and the lack of too much oil means you can take the required bowl out and clean easily and quickly.
I like this product a lot, it looks good, doesn´t make too much noise, is easy to clean, cooks easily with little hassle and I feel like I can eat the foods I want without constantly thinking about my health. If I use this for the next 9 years, I figure it will pay for itself in the money I save on Oil!!!!!
I have had my tried and trusted old 80gb Ipod Classic for about 2-3 years, it was bought for 299.99GBP on Amazon but is now available for 199.99GBP as it is one of the more antiquated members of the Apple Ipod Family.
This is a big chunky piece of black metal, it it about the size of a wallet, or about 2 inches larger than an average sized mobile phone. with a large screen, a hole for headphones, another for your adaptor, to charge the Ipod or connect to your laptop, and a button to ensure that controls can´t be accessed whilst your on the move, to stop you having to faff about with it.
This is easy enough, set up I-Tunes on your computer, download songs from their website or cd´s and then connect your I-Pod via the adaptor which has a USB access and download the songs to your ipod, you can always go back and change them or delete them or add more at a later date.
I hated the ear phones, but I do love my Ipod, it has access for about 15,000 songs, I have 8.000 songs on mine and being honest that took me years of downloading songs constantly and I really don´t use about 20% of the capacity of this thing. The musical sound is good and if you download films, the 2.5 inch screen display is big enough to enjoy the film, its not as good as a laptop, but it is convenient and small and easy to pack away.
For 199.99 I think this is comparable to other products on the market, I had problems with it after 4 months and sent it back as it was within the 6 month warranty, this allowed me to get a new one, and that has worked perfectly for me ever since.
I have thousands of songs and on shuffle this means I can listen to a different playlist every single day, I have playlists of my favourite styles of music, and genres, the music is also alphabeticised (Is that a word??) by artist and by album name.
There are a couple of games, solitaire and bricks wh¡ch being honest would have been good fun on the Commodore 64 but do feel somewhat dated today, however, who cares, this is a mini music library which is absolutely awesome, its small enough to fit in your pocket, has the capacity to hold every song you´ve ever heard and when you buy a decent pair of headphones, it sounds awesome.
Whats not to like.
I have had two pairs of these, the first pair came with my Ipod, the second I bought to replace the first which developed a problem.
I bought the second set on Amazon.com for 4.99GBP about 2 years ago, and after that experience decided not to purchase any further sets of this brand as I don´t think they are the best quality for the cost of Apple products.
Earphones from Apple are available in all Apple stores and most good larger supermarkets or Electrical stores.
These are clear white with a grey band around the ear piece and the wire, it looks natty and distinguishes the product as being an Apple brand, but that also has its downsides as even if people can´t see your ipod, its clear you are listening to one which makes you a potential target for thieves.
I found the quality amazing at first, clear, the bass and volume controls worked perfectly, balance was exceptional but over time this started to become worse through wear and tear and eventually only one ear piece worked which makes the whole listening experience, difficult, unbalancing and painful. The loss of sound quality through wear and tear wasn´t anything too rough and ready but simply wearing them and packing them away after use. The second pair lost sound in the right ear after two months which I found unacceptable and I haven´t bought another pair since as I found them to be slightly style over substance and not as reliable as my current Gumy headphones.
I found that the listening experience from Heavy Metal to Electronica was excellent at first picking out all aspects of sound but eventually with one ear, it became awkward and unbalancing listening to music through them.
I like the look of them, but won´t buy them again because of doubts about reliability, when my second pair broke, I researched on Dooyoo and Amazon and found that this wasn´t simply a problem for me, this is a regular problem with the product. It undoubtedly provides excellent sound at first, but until they resolve the reliability issues, I will purchase cheaper, more reliable alternatives.
The Beach is a book by Alex Garland, it was made into a big screen feature film by Danny Boyle and starred Leonardo Di Caprio, but it really didn´t hit the heights of paranoia of the book.
The book follows Richard a young English Traveller in Thailand who in a sleazy little hostel bumps into a Scotsman called Daffy Duck, who gives him a map to a hidden paradise island for travellers, where people go to be free and live, love and have fun.
Daffy mysteriously commits suicide, but Richard and Étienne and Françoise, two good looking french travellers decide to have an adventure and find this beautiful place.
The guys find the island, but are not welcomed by the travellers who orginally found it with Daffy, Sal a sturdy American girl and Bugs, her lover. The three are allowed to stay to ensure they don´t tell others about the place, but there is a clear hierarchy to the community and they clearly aren´t welcome in it.
However eventually a greater foe hits the islanders and they have to work together to survive. As a back plot, Richard falls for the french girl and this creates even greater tension within this close, closed community of travellers.
I liked the book, because it had a real edge to it, that of free spirited travellers who actually aren´t that free spirited, it was similar to Lord of the Flies in many ways, but perhaps not as vicious in many ways.
I enjoyed the writing style which was descriptive and flowing, the speech made sense and sounded like real travellers whilst you really do get a feel for a paradise island that people would be prepared to fight and die for.
Overall its a good book, and a better book than film. A paperback copy is available for next to nothing on Amazon Marketplace and it is well worth a read for anyone off to Bangkok or Phuket this summer as required fiction.
Frank Skinner is a comedian from West Bromwich, in reality his name is Christopher Skinner and he had to work incredibly hard to make the breakthrough in comedy and like most comedians there is an element of sadness behind those eyes.
I bought the hardback of this book in 2003 for 12.99 which was a huge sum for a book, but it was when he was at his peak, just after Three Lions and Euro 2000. I was a big fan of his honest, smutty comedy and found him very personable on the television.
The book like any autobiography tells the story of a boy with a passion for humour and West Bromwich Albion, Skinner is at his best when talking about his beloved West Bromwich, like any real footy fan he experiences more lows than highs and there is real passion and humour in his writing on this subject.
The book is interesting on a number of levels as Skinner has a degree from Adult education and clearly is keen to develop and better himself, but he was also an alcoholic and is honest and brutal in his assessments of himself as a person during this period.
The book is a real mix of the laddish humour for which Skinner became famous, with plenty of one liners and some really emphatic drama which puts his career on stage into focus. We read as Skinner moves up the comedy ladder, working for years in small clubs before achieving fame, he is honest enough to admit what work was rubbish, but does at times come across as somewhat self obsessed and vain.
Overall, however I found the book a really good read and nowadays you can easily get a copy for 1p on Amazon Marketplace (But obviously beware of delivery costs people!!!).
The book is wordy, well written, mixes bawdy humour with moments of degradation, sadness and real joy, such as the realisation that 3 Lions had caught the attention of the nation in 2000.
I like this book and would recommend it as one of the better autobiographies from modern comedians on the market.
Purchased with Dooyoo Points on Amazon, I got 100ml for £23.05 which seems to be a great deal looking at some of the prices mentioned for this product.
I bought it because I have always had really good experiences with Calvin Klein after shaves, I find them efficient, good value and generally smell good without being overpowering or making the hairs on your chest grow by 5 inches at a time.
I really like the Calvin Klein Euphoria bottle, it is square with a thick glass surrounding the fragrance which really makes it stand out, the name Calvin Klein and Euphoria are on the bottle but not the detriment of the bottle styling, think understated and classy much like the product itself.
I can´t get my head round this talk of a bouquet of Patchloui with elements of Cinnamon, but I can confirm that I can notice the pomegranate in this smell, I also like the really floral smell coming from the scent, apparently it is Persimmon with black violets and lotus blossom, which sound absolutely awesome and smell, sweet, citrussy and unobtrusive.
You won´t come out this scent stinking a room out, you will leave a lasting smell which is understated, classy and really nice.
I don´t have too much of this left as I use it on special occasions and really like to spray it all over, but I will be buying more as I really like everything about it, the brand is simple and stylish, the bottle is effective and looks good whilst the scent is really cool and classy and I think it suits a man in a suit and tie or a really nice blazer, jeans combo perfectly.
If this scent were a bloke it would be somebody like Olivier Martinez, cool. good looking, stylish and probably fragrant.
Well worth checking out, if only to say when asked that you smell of Black Violets!!!
I like World Soccer, it is a magazine for people who want to get past the dreary world of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool and find out what is happening in the whole world of football rather than simply knowing who John Terry beat on Call of Duty 2 last week.
The magazine follows most world leagues with respected and informed journalists in each country. For me the magazine is probably the best journalistically for sheer coverage of football, although Four Four Two is the best overall and Champions is the most interesting for in-depth coverage of top European teams.
With respected journalists including the ancient but brilliant Brian Glanville, the writers go into great detail on Asian Football, African Football, a lot of depth to European Football and Latin America and general trends within the game.
If you want to know what Ledley King´s favourite bar to get kicked out of is, you won´t find it here, but if your interested in why Racing in Argentina, Atletico Madrid and Spurs share more than a penchant for snazzy football shirts, this is your magazine.
I subscribe one an annual basis for 37.05 and I feel it is worth it as the magazine takes a good while to read. It lacks the adverts of Four Four Two and fills each page full of information, its not as visually attractive as some of its rivals but for content and writing is excellent. Looking beyond results to talk about social issues involving clubs and competitions and to really review how the game is developing globally.
It is an expensive magazine, but really good for real footy anoraks and people who like to delve below the surface of World Football (Note to self, the use of Soccer in absolutely any context is wrong and should be abolished!!!!).
I bought this book in paperback from Waterstones on a three for two offer, so you could say it was free or it was very cheap, however it is available for 5.99GBP at Waterstones or 4.00GBP on Amazon.
This is the debut book from Yann Martel and is a pretty good read all in all. The book is the story of Piscine "Pi" Molitor Patel, an Indian boy from Pondicherry, Pi is caught on a small boat at a very young age and survives on the shipwreck for a number of days with some strange and perplexing ship mates in the Pacific Ocean.
Pi is the son of a zookeeper and the boat is filled with animals being relocated, when the boat capsizes, Pi is left with some very dangerous and interesting animals as compatriots on the boat.
The story follows the adventures of Pi and the animals, will he survive, will they survive, will the situation cause predatory animals to behave naturally or will the experience make them look out for each other.
In many ways the questions are hyphothetical, spiritual and aimed at much at mankind as at animals, the story is an elegant, well written tale which makes you question life and human behaviour, some have compared it to Paulo Coehlo´s ´The Alchemist´but personally I see these as two entirely different things, I preferred this story and found the ending interesting and slightly dissatisfying at the same time.
The cover is elegant, the story well told with a sympathetic young hero and a story which will entertain children as well as adults although they may struggle to spot some of the undertones within the story.
I would definitely recommend this as a holiday read or something for the train, its enthralling, has a good story, good characters and builds up to a decent if not great ending.