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I am a huge fan of lighting gadgets and find items like Lava lamps and retro style lamps very cool. I saw on a recent visit to Maplin's Electronics this plasma ball which is designed to be stylish but for all ages.
On first appearance when I saw it in the store they had the item on and it looks very good however it does not reflect some of the problems you have with the item.
You have a mains plug with this item to use it so it is not battery operated for those who want a battery plasma ball.
The ball is made from glass but feels like plastic so it feels cheap when you pick the item up. There is no such weight to the item so if something was to fall against it or it dropped from a small height it would more than likely crack.
The ball is basically made up of strands of lightning and inside you can see these strands hoover around the centre and when you place any sort of pressure on the plastic ball the lightning swaps focus and the strands reach out to the edge of the ball to your pressure point.
It is a fun item to own because it does work well for a small present maybe for children but to me it is just a plastic toy with limited usage.
In the dark you would hope the lightning strands would be much sharper in terms of brightness but also how they appear and in my view it is poor. You can see the purple colour clearly but sometimes when you press the plastic ball the lightning strands do not appear to do anything.
I have found also that the black sleeve which fits over the ball to sort of hide background light is very poor it never stays on and slips off within a few moments of putting it on which is pointless.
The ball is 8 inches in diameter which is kind of big to see but for the price they had at the time which was a special offer £14.99 I would look elsewhere for something which has a purpose.
After using many printers in the past I had to get one for a new job I got in the New Year and this is the printer I chose as a cheaper option.
== Design ==
This printer is designed by HP so instantly your mind makes you think quality and on first viewing that is how the printer looks.
The printer is designed in a white colour with plenty of grey around various import sections such as the paper tray and ink draw.
On the top of the printer face you have the scanner which is quite evident and on the left hand side is the buttons to turn on the device and the Wi-Fi function to let you know it is wireless.
On the back is where the power location is stored and also the printer cable as well should you need it.
== Key Information ==
This printer is wireless which is the biggest appeal overall. When turning the device on and installing the various drivers to use it the printer then asks you to go wireless on your own network which is pretty good.
You can use Apple Airprint with this device which means in theory you can just simply print pictures and everything else you have on your Apple devices without the need to have drivers on the device.
You get with this printer some decent software which helps you make various amendments to your pictures to improve the overall quality and this is free.
This printer has high capacity cartridges which mean you're able to do more with them such as printing more documents and pictures then you would with normal cartridges.
Included with this printer is the scanner which enables you to read at 1200 dpi in enhanced mode. The overall quality is pretty good.
The paper tray can support up to 60 sheets of paper and you can easily put different sizes inside with the measurement chart included on the paper tray.
The printer weighs in at 3.5Kg so it is pretty light and durable and size dimensions are 42.5cms x 30.5cms x 15.6cms.
== My Experience ==
When I first got this printer I did plenty of research on some review sights scattered around the internet and in my view I was led astray.
The installation was very simple to do you just had to insert the disk into your computer and download the required drivers which is pretty standard and easy to do.
When it comes to the wireless section of the setup again this is quite easy to sort out and when done you're given a nice blue light on the device to let you know.
I wanted to experiment at first how to do photos because this printer would be used a lot of the time for scanning and copying various images and I wanted to see how it would do.
The scanning is absolutely brilliant I have to admit it is perhaps the best feature overall. My brother has recently found out he is expecting his first child and brought me a scan picture and I wanted to scan the image and the results were amazing.
I have used the scanner on a range of pictures from top quality ones with so much colour and depth and the printer has managed to pull it off superbly.
The biggest fault for me has been printing. It is perhaps the biggest flaw you can have in a printer but some of the issues I have experienced have been rather weird but common faults.
I wanted to print 10 pages of writing which was just normal black and white text you would produce on Microsoft Word. I told the printer to print and it was doing okay the speed was consistent and the overall end product good except sheets went missing.
If you want to print more than 7 sheets in one go the printer misses pages or it prints half a page and sends it out like it is complete so you have to reprint documents which are time consuming.
Not only that but on the screen in the corner you get an error message saying HP could not print the document yet it has and the end result is right in front of you. It is confusing because most of the time you're either checking your end results to check everything is there or your making sure the printer is working okay.
Using the software was pretty easy you have your own program on the computer and you can instruct the printer to scan documents in to PDF files and see the end result right in front of you, this is all done wirelessly as well.
When printing a photograph the overall results have been pretty good the speed is slower than I like but the end results are good especially on proper photo paper.
I was very unimpressed with the printing part and the ink seemed to disappear in the meter rapidly. I found printing 50 sheets of paper with perhaps 500 words on each sheet made my ink disappear by half and yet when I take the cartridges and put them back in they tend to go back to the top again on the level metre.
== Apple Products ==
A good and perhaps key selling point to the printer was the fact you could use your iPad and any Apple product and not need to install the time consuming drivers which enable you to print items wirelessly.
I am slightly over the top when taking images of gardens or pets and most pictures end up getting deleted but the annoying problem I have had in the past is taking pictures and having to load them on the pc to print off.
This printer has on there this ability to let you print pictures without the drivers. I had to test it for myself and on my iPad I got a picture up and went to click on print. The iPad found my HP printer within seconds and began printing the image.
There was no problem with colour at all and perhaps the biggest problem was the speed was slower than expected but it did produce a decent end result.
This feature was a key part to me getting this item and it proved to be the best overall part about the printer.
== Good Points ==
The Apple products being able to print without any fuss and this is very good news if you like to print photos.
You get great scanning results and overall quality is superb. You can scan virtually anything you want and the end result sometimes looks better than the original so that is very good.
The installation is quick and hassle free and the good part is you can just follow the instructions if you're not the best with just going at it alone so everything is clearly marked.
== Bad Points ==
The printer giving false information on a regular basis and this is just extremely frustrating. Your printing out a document and the printer displays an error message telling you that there is an error and the document has not printed. However you see in the paper tray the document has printed and you're left confused.
The fact the printer will sometimes print out half a page of a document and might print 5 out of 7 pages you need as well, this is extremely poor.
== Final Thoughts ==
I think if I was getting a printer this is one I would avoid. I have spoken to a few people with them and some of the problems I have experienced are the same as they have had.
Printing is a problem if you're attempting to print many documents all at once because the printer tends to forget sheets and this is not good.
I would avoid and go for something more expensive. I got this printer for £40 and that is too high.
Over the last few months I have had serious issues with my iPhone 4 and it was about time I went out to get a new phone and I decided to invest in a Samsung S4 and I was so glad I did.
== The Design ==
This phone looks stylish instantly when you view it. I was at the Carphone Warehouse where they seem to have more choice in terms of colour. I picked out a red colour which in fact looks more purple than anything else.
The phone on the front has the large 5 inch screen and underneath is the button to basically get you around the phone.
On the right hand side is the on and off button and the opposite side is the sound control.
You have the camera feature on the back and headphone connection as well so you can listen to music or movies whilst on the go.
The phone is slim and has a plastic backing which in all honesty is poor. If you need to lift this up to place a sim card or a micro SD card inside you could very easily break the back.
The phone overall is basic in appearance but does look very stylish.
== Features ==
You have on this phone 16GB memory but you could very easily change this with a Micro SD card which can be positioned in the back of the phone as mentioned above.
You have sensors which monitor various things you do and one of those is an accelerometer and Barometer and temperature and humidity.
The CPU speed is 1.9 GHz and is on the 4G service as well.
The weight of the phone is 130g but feels much lighter than this.
The size of the phone is 136mm x 70mm x 8mm, overall it is big in terms of size but suitable enough to use.
The camera at the rear is 13MP and on the front is 2MP. A very decent camera overall with plenty to use and appreciate.
== My Experience ==
I got this phone and was told many stories about things you could do with it. Some of that information is very accurate but some things people may not realise when you get the phone can leave you feeling annoyed.
I got the phone and was told there was 16GB memory I was expecting perhaps a few gigabits disappearing with the various apps already installed on there and programmes. However, you actually have about 9GB free so you lose 7GB when you get the phone.
That was the most annoying aspect of the phone so you will most likely need to invest in a Micro SD card which adds extra expense to an already expensive phone.
I found myself frustrated as well with the back of the phone, I had a case which I needed to use because phones are too expensive if you just drop them and they are ruined. I found the back was extremely difficult to get off.
The plastic is so thin that if you were to be excessive in your handling you could very well damage the back which is very annoying.
I turned on my phone and registered with various companies such as the Play Store and downloaded some of the apps I needed and I began to explore the phone.
I put on various security measures and you get options such as passcodes or a pattern design depending on what suits you best.
After I was using the phone I noticed how quick it was and going from one menu to the next was flawless and with very prompt speed. I found also that at the top of the screen you could easily turn on items such as GPS and Bluetooth with a single click without needing to visit the settings every 2 seconds.
I then experimented with the phone using a Smart Remote app which allows me to get my Samsung television and my phone to send various things to each other such as photos and movies. You can use your phone as a remote control for your television as well which was extremely handy.
I noticed that also another cool part of the phone was updates on my apps were being done on the phone in the background without me having to sit there and consistently update them myself like I had previously with the iPhone.
After exploring the phone more I decided to use the camera and I was not disappointed. I found the camera easy to use and even the zoom feature produced some pretty good photos. I think the video feature as well allows you to go and grab those special moments and produce some pretty good video quality movies as well.
After using the phone for an entire day the battery seemed to disappear to around 50% of its limit but when I was using the phone for games it disappeared much quicker which I guess is to be expected.
Overall I was proud with the phone and the various features you can use but using this phone you have to be warned that you will not have the full 16GB you have around half of that which I think is extremely bad.
== Dropbox ==
I mention this on its own section because this is a free application already installed on the phone and you can download the same item for your computer.
The idea is this can be used to send yourself photos and various other items so you can explore them later on, it is a cloud service.
When I set up my registration with the dropbox I got I believe 50GB memory which is a very large amount and you can add pictures to the app and when you connect your phone you can sync your phone and computer and send files easier.
You can obviously still send photos and videos via messaging and email should you wish to do so but you have that security there to back up items you are worried you might lose.
This is without doubt my favourite part of the phone and I have so much stuff already in my dropbox it has been a life saver at times.
== Good Points ==
Without a doubt the biggest plus is the accessories for this phone. I found many variations of cases ranging from leather pouches to simple fold over cases that are hard cased.
I have found many screen protectors as well with the phone which enables you to scratch and do many other things to the phone with no damage at all.
The camera has been superb allowing me to take such top quality images of pets and family and the speed to which images are captured as well is pretty amazing.
The phone is extremely easy to navigate around and the fact you can alter pages right in front of you without needing to connect to a certain application on a computer says a lot.
There are also many ways to get a cheap insurance monthly for this phone and the one I currently have is just £5.99 a month which covers the phone from any sort of damage which is fantastic.
== Problems ==
The biggest without a doubt is the annoying amount of memory you lose and not told about until after you have the phone. I was told in the shop I would have 16GB memory however this is not true.
You end up with just 9GB and when you start downloading some apps to help you with your daily life and take some pictures the images alone can really eat away at the memory you have.
Buying a Micro SD card to fit in the back of the phone allows you to expand the memory further but in my view you should be given that for free as your being misinformed about memory in the first place.
== Final Thoughts ==
My overall thoughts for the phone are it is light and durable and easy to handle. You have a few colours to choose from and many accessories to make your phone unique to you.
Memory is a problem but everything else works well and sending and receiving files is very quick and easy.
I am paying £32 a month for this phone and various deals can be found in different cities (due to 4G) and different companies so if you look around and get a deal for what you need it might cost more of less depending on your circumstances.
This is a decent phone but does have a few annoying teething problems.
When it comes to getting items or accessories for the iPad I rarely find anything which I find remotely worth buying due to the look of the product. More recently I have found this fantastic Marvel iPad case which is fantastic.
This item is very well designed in terms of the overall product. The entire case is done in a glittering range of pictures which range from X Men and Spiderman to the Incredible Hulk. The images displayed everywhere on this item are done with this comic book feel.
On the inside your product is protected by two types of layers. You have a section where the iPad is slotted into but this is Velcro strapped so it means your item will hardly move whilst inside. The second safety point is this additional flap which sort of comes down to protect the screen further.
The case also has on the side an additional piece of material where you could attach this product to maybe a bag so if you're out and about and have a bag with this item inside for even more security you can attach this item further with key or a chain.
Throughout the case unit you have additional sections cut out for the camera lens and the main button to display between the menus.
The item is designed in such a way that if your iPad was to fall on the floor whilst inside this case unit it would be very well protected.
When I first got this item it was an amazing product because it securely fastened the iPad in place. At first the item was very tight because it was brand new but after a few tries at getting my iPad in and out the item became looser letting me enjoy it more.
The design is what truly got my attention because it is this retro look from the Marvel collection. When you pick it up the weight is quite a lot but when you see your iPad inside the case you know it will be protected very well.
On the inside the border is done with the Marvel design and the iPad looks like a book. In fact in my view this item could be used to add more security because you could put this on your book shelf and most people will assume it is a book rather than a case for the iPad.
The good part is my iPad fits inside this item but so do all the other iPad generation models as well which is superb. I have dropped this case on the floor numerous times and my item has never moved or received any damage at all.
The case is also easy to clean as well so if you're someone who has maybe put a small mark on the case you can easily wipe this down instantly.
The range of pictures as well is what has got me because I never saw any duplicate images and in the past items similar to this have been very boring and repetitive. You will see an image displayed on the front of the product and then on the back it is there again.
I think the fact this has many images displaying huge ranges of Marvel comic legends it will appeal to many different fans.
The weight is without doubt the biggest drawback for this item everything else is great. When placing the charger into the connection slot and even using headphones everything has been able to fit in nicely.
If you want a secure retro iPad design case this would be the one to use. I got mine from Maplin and it cost me £19.99 which is reduced from the RRP price of £39.99.
When it comes to Sat Navs I am not the best for choosing as I tend to buy cheaper products which hardly help at all. Recently my older TomTom kept on asking me to do a U-Turn on a one way street over and over, I thought it was time to get a new one.
== The Design ==
This sat nav is like many others you see in the shops a basic looking device with a screen and a backing to it. However, this device has got lots of other design features which might appeal to potential new buyers.
The first would be the size of the screen which is not over the top in terms of size and is not going to get you searching forever by looking at the map. Some of the models recently tend to have longer screens which are very off putting to say the least.
This item is light in weight so it means you're not carrying around an item which is going to be heavy and you know it is going to be safe from any bangs due to the case it comes with.
The speaker is located into the top corner of the device and is very small so it does not overpower the main screen which is extremely handy.
On the back of the device is where the power button is located and this is literally all there is to say about this product in terms of the design.
== Features ==
This sat nav has many useful features and one of those is the lane identification you have when approaching a junction. If you're heading towards a motorway merge such as the M6 and the M1 and you're unsure where to go exactly this Sat Nav will actually show you on the screen which lane to stay in and to remain in.
You get given spoken street names and in the past with my previous Sat Navs you just got told to go right or left and never given a street name at all so when this device reads them out to you it adds extra confidence in your journey.
When approaching a speed camera on the road you can guarantee this device will show up a camera image in the corner to let you know that the speed camera is around but also sparks a sound which alerts you to the current speed you should be doing.
This device has a touch screen so you have no annoying keypad to type in various postcodes and street names which is very handy as well.
You can get this Sat Nav to help you locate a parking area on your journey. If you're unsure about the various parking areas in a place your visiting you can just turn this on and the Sat Nav will take you directly to the nearest parking area.
== My Experience ==
I do a lot of travelling to various places and some are new to me and I have no idea where I am going or where to park and some I am used to but still end up getting lost or confused when problems arise like roadworks.
When I got this Sat Nav it was very easy to set up but a major pain when it came to registering the free lifetime maps. You had to provide a receipt number along with where you brought the product from which was difficult since I had no receipt.
After eventually doing this route I found that the device was already up to date and if you are not sure if you are you can plug the device in and use the setting buttons to find out if you are or not.
I decided to visit Coventry on my first outing to visit my brother who currently lives there and I know all about the various speed cameras on route through the dual carriageways and I was waiting to see whether this Sat Nav would pick them up.
I was not disappointed at all, within around 100 metres before the camera was even due to be seen this device picked up I was approaching one and instantly played a loud sound like a ping sound to let me know something was coming up.
I found that not only did it assist me with speed cameras but any type of camera at all. At times it was playing this loud ping even when I did not notice a camera on my side of the road but it was on the opposite side.
So far so good, and then I went to a concert in Oxford, this is one place I have never really been to before and parking seemed to be a major problem in terms of where to park and how to get to my destination.
Upon arriving in Oxford the Sat Nav actually directed me to an underground car park which I never knew existed whilst looking online and it was directly behind the theatre I was visiting, so again I was very impressed.
I also like the fact that when you're travelling down a motorway and you begin to creep up the speed you get told to slow down. You hear another ping and the speed in the corner of the Sat Nav will tell you that you're currently going over the speed limit.
Every road you visit your told the name of the road and the speed limit and also you're told updates on the estimate time of arrival at your destination which is just fantastic. However the voice you pick you need to be careful to choose one which speaks street names because some of the options for the voice do not do this.
On my journeys so far this device has not once let me down and got me to every single destination. I have found that perhaps one issue is when you have to type in a street name the Sat Nav in my view prefers the postcode option and locates the road much quicker.
I found that the screen offered plenty of colour when it camera to pointing out my speed and the road layout as well and listening to road names you previously never knew before helped me an awful lot.
== Final Thoughts ==
I love this Sat Nav the free lifetime maps worth around £75 alone which is free of charge is amazing but the fact this small device constantly wants to assist you.
This item gives you great speed in terms of finding routes and alternative routes and also the fact you get given spoken road names helps you identify if you're actually going the right direction in the first place.
You get told about speed and the cameras at all times so you're aware of your surroundings and it helps you avoid those horrible fines for wreck less driving.
Overall this item in my view due to the weight, the screen size and the overall price which is around £120 I think offers amazing value.
== Other Information ==
Screen Size is 5 inches.
Battery life is around 2 hours.
There is an SD card slot to help you put in information.
Weight is 216 grams.
Screen dimensions are 134 x 95 x 20mm
Available on Halfords and Amazon.
Recently my phones inside my home were beginning to not work as well as they did and I managed to win some new ones designed by Siemens, this is them.
== The Design ==
This phone is designed to try and look stylish by having a nice sleek look. You have the main part of the phone in black so the earphone is in black and the screen has a black background as well.
Where the keypad is located there is a grey surround colour which helps highlight the keypad rather well. The buttons are soft to the touch with either numbers on or a symbol to indicate the main purpose.
An example would be a green button which you press to make a call and the red one which ends the call which is similar on most telephones.
The back of the phone has the battery section but you charge this phone by putting it back in the unit you're supplied with. The phone has the word gigaset at the top as well and the overall speaker is done in a very nice way so your ear fits nicely to hear what is being said.
== Features ==
This phone set has 21 ringtones to choose from and most are common tones you hear but recently I have changed mine to a more fun sound but it can be annoying as well. You also have the option of how loud you wish to have the volume because some rooms such as a kitchen might have more noise than another room.
On the phones background you have 4 available colour options to pick the right sort of look for you. You always have the date and time displayed on the screen which is handy when you're on the phone and someone wishes to know the date you can take a look instantly.
You can display the caller's number which is extremely handy if you wish to avoid those nuisance calls from the PPI people or cold calling.
On the phone you can store 250 names and numbers which is a large amount and I currently have around 40 on their which is really good and saves me locating numbers in diaries.
You can send messages up to the maximum size of 160 characters but I have yet to do this as unsure if it would send and lack of confidence as well.
You can view up to 25 missed calls and look at them to find out when people rang you and also can redial the last number that rang you without ringing 1471 to find out who they were.
Your answer phone can be pin protected so no one can hear messages left on your machine if you do not trust them and you can store up to 25 minutes worth of voice messages as well.
If you're in a room where a phone is located and the main base is somewhere else you can hear the voice message on that phone so it saves you moving around to the main base to hear the message.
== My Experience ==
When I first got the phones I knew they would be quality phones due to the brand name of Siemens. My last set of phones had issues with the charging and also the volume which tended to go up and down as it pleased.
I put the phones in all the rooms I wanted them stored in and the main base in the hallway and used this as the way to send all the numbers of my contacts to the other phones.
I found some issues with this as it seemed to take forever to store numbers on the phone and it felt more of a challenge due to the fact the buttons were so soft you ended up sometimes pressing a number twice without noticing.
I then had to sort out a ringtone and as mentioned previously they are the basic ring tones you hear all the time and some of them are good and have a nice melody to them but the vast majority are annoying tones.
I found you could also wall mount them so it saves you always bending down to pick up a phone so one of mine is on the wall so it helps me pick it up quicker.
After this was done I wanted to experiment with the various features so I rang the phone up myself to see how the keypad reacted and the background colour and theme was nice and it made the phone look very impressive.
After a few hours when the phones had charged I had to wait upon the first phone call and the volume was a hard problem to solve. In my bedroom the volume only needs to be on a lower setting due to the peaceful nature there. However the living room due to the noise of animals and television the volume has to be louder so it is a small issue to deal with.
My first phone call I missed due to being busy on my mobile phone was put through to the answer phone service and whilst I was upstairs in my bedroom I could hear the message being left behind and it saved me from running to the hallway to check the main base unit which was fantastic.
I found the phone a bit a problem if someone pushes something to hard into them as the phone is rather light in weight they come out of the unit they are in and tend to fall onto the floor which is rather annoying.
I have left a phone out of the unit which charges it for over 24 hours and the battery life was superb so this shows they are very good when it comes to charging and remaining charged for a large duration.
As the weeks have gone on I have found ringing numbers very easy to do especially if the number is stored into the phones contacts list but not only this but the buttons are so smooth to touch you enjoy pressing them.
The only issue for me is that I am still unsure how to use the SMS on the system as it is not very well explained which is frustrating at best but the manual does explain everything else.
== Final Thoughts ==
I think the phones are very good for something I won in a competition a few weeks ago. The price for the quad set online is around £100 which is a high price but they do have a lot of features to appreciate.
I think the fact you can store so many numbers is a fantastic feature to have because some of us have multiple numbers for various people. I have 5 numbers to contact my mother so it can be difficult if you have a smaller storage area to contain numbers to pick one which would get in contact with her best.
I like the buttons and being so nice touch helps because my previous phone had issues with the buttons going very stiff and it made everything more difficult to do.
Most people would like the fact you can hear a voice message being left anywhere in the house where you have the phones stored so you do not have to use the main base all the time.
Overall performance I would give these phones a 8 out of 10 and the reason they would not receive 10 out of 10 is because I feel the phones need a better ringtone and maybe the option of using your own music as a ring tone which would be excellent.
== Other information ==
Base Size - 115mm x 127mm x 39mm
Handset Size - 152mm x 27mm x 49mm
Battery is 2 x AAA
Indoor Range - 50 Metres
Outdoor Range - Up to 300 Metres
Talk Time - 20 Hours
Standby Time - 300 Hours
I do suffer from sweaty feet and sometimes the smell can be horrible but I have never suffered from Athletes foot until a few weeks ago.
Whilst taking off my socks I found myself looking at this rather disgusting scene between my toes. I had these deep cuts with the skin missing and flaking away. The biggest problem was this excessive itch which was just horrible.
I decided to try and find a product which would work and help remove this stubborn problem and the pharmacist recommended using the Scholl cream and not the powder.
== How to use ==
Well you get this rather small 15g tube which you have to pierce yourself using the lid and eventually this white cream comes out which looks quite thick. I had no information really on how much to use so I decided to put a small layer on between the toes and hope for the best.
I believe some people use a large amount and end up with sticky socks and I decided I would use this cream whilst having sandals on so it meant the toes had room to breathe without being warm.
The pharmacist did say that do not keep putting the product on every few hours because it would not work and make things worse.
== What is athlete's foot? ==
Having looked around various places it seems athlete's foot is known as tinea pedi and ringworm of the foot which sounds disgusting. Usually this fungus is caused by heat and moist conditions especially between the toes.
The fungus causes a burning sensation and an itch between the toes and sometimes other areas of the foot.
The causes are usually due to things such as swimming pools where people have the condition and it spreads so it is best to use your own towel so it is not spread amongst friends and family. Having thick shoes which are tight can also help trigger the problem further.
== What happened next? ==
The tube insists that the product will work within 7 days and this is a false claim. Not only that but the itchy feeling came back within a few hours after applying this cream.
The worst sensation came between my little toe and it was horrible pain and the itchy feeling made me want to just keep scratching. During the night the problem persisted so I decided to apply a larger amount and the cream does relieve the problem but for a rather short time.
After 10 days I found some of the problem had cleared but not everywhere was healing well and I was wondering if I was doing something wrong. I had dry feet and was using my own towel so no one else would end up catching what I had.
I wore cotton socks during the day if I had to visit somewhere and made sure at all times my toes and my feet were always dry using a fresh new towel.
I was even wearing no socks when at home so my feet were not to warm and yet the situation remained the same. I think the biggest problem was I did not know what else to do without looking foolish.
I kept up with the product until it had run out and after 15 days it did show some results of success but it was a long drawn out issue and I personally believe there is other products out there which will offer better results.
== Verdict ==
I think my final verdict would be not to use this product. Yes it did clear up my problem but the price I paid which was £5.82 for a small 15g tube is rather a lot of money to pay. I do wonder if I went to the doctors and got a proper prescription for a few pounds more maybe might have solved the issue sooner.
My own problem was listening to the pharmacist and not looking at reviews online. It did solve the heat sensation and the itch but they both came back far too quickly and that for me was very poor.
This is one of those games which is challenging but can be fun to play at the same time, is called 4 pics, 1 Word.
== The Game ==
This game is one of those I saw a friend playing on Facebook and it made me want to know what all the fuss was about and I was glad I did. This game is one of those where you need to link up four pictures with a single word.
You are given four pictures and these are somehow related and at first this might be very obvious and sometimes it can be really hard.
All the pictures are small but if you click on them you can expand them further to view them more closely and maybe notice something you haven't seen when it was small. At the bottom of the screen you're given an idea of what the answer is because you're told how many letters it has.
You are given 12 lettered tiles and these all have different letters and sometimes very odd combinations of letters and you use these to find the answer you want. If you're correct you are given some coins and if you're wrong you need to keep trying until your right.
The game gives you coins to use for hints and these cost a fair amount of coins and if you want the game to assist you it will cost you many coins. However, you can also send a screenshot of the images you're looking at and ask your friends on Facebook to give you answers which is what I do regularly when I am seriously stuck.
Now the four pictures are usually at the start I find very simple but I think the game does this to make you assume this is going to be an easy game to play but that is totally wrong. The game can at random spoil this idea for you and give you a really tough set of pictures.
An example of pictures might be four images displaying the colour blue and the answer might be 'blue' but if they are all dressed in hot clothing and it looks cold the answer might be 'cold' it just depends on the pictures and the letters your given.
The game continues for what seems forever and considering I am on level 273 and stuck at the moment it shows how far the game can go especially when there are updates which occur often allowing you to keep on playing.
This game is one of those which gives you plenty to think about and because the game is tough and it can be easy at the same time it makes everything much more fun.
You're always told your coin count at the top of the screen and the level you are on and if you wish to have sound on the game so you can hear those tiles being placed down you can but it can be very annoying indeed.
== The Hints ==
You have the option of two hints but be warned using lots of coins can be at a cost to you in the long run.
The first hint which costs 60 coins is where the game will put in a correct letter into the missing answer for you. You do not get to decide which letter it gives you and that is the problem. Most of the time the game will give you a letter which gives you no assistance at all and you never get given the first letter of the word.
The second option is the one which can help in the long run but proves costly at the same time. This hint costs you 90 coins and this will remove potential tiles in your answer. So instead of browsing through 12 tiles you now have 9 to look at and help you work out the missing answer.
If you have a long word to find such as a 7 or 8 letter word this option could be very valuable for you but if you have a small word to find this hint usually removes letters such as 'Z, Q and V' and to be fair for 90 coins it is a lot of coins to throw away.
You get given 2 coins for each screen you get correct and that is a good amount of coins to get for each screen but using coins when you're stuck soon reduces your coin count so you have to be careful when you use them.
They can work for some people but in my own experience the game makes sure you get stuck and use coins which eventually dwindle down to nothing and then you're totally stuck.
The last hint is your friends on Facebook and this option can allow you to post the screen you have got with the pictures and ask your friends to give you some help and this an option I use a lot but you never know what friends are going to help and which will not.
== What the Game Needs ==
The game for me is lacking in some areas because seeing four pictures linked by a single word is rather boring after a while and this will happen to most people in my view.
I think the game could do with perhaps a lives system. You get given 5 lives and every time you give a wrong answer you lose a live and when they have all gone you have to restart the entire game again.
It might sound easy but you will forget answers you previous got. Another option might be for combinations so if you get 20 answers in a row correct you get given 10 coins as a bonus and if you get five answers wrong in a row you lose coins. This would add awareness to the game and make it more challenging.
I would like to see a way for people to play friends in competitions or maybe a league table option where you can create your own game board and let friends play it or send it to the game producers and they add it to the game so everyone can play it.
There are so many various options this game could use to improve a rather dull output.
== Game Play and Graphics ==
The game play is rather good but I think the speed you get answers right is what determines how good the game play is. If you are getting answers promptly and running through the game easily obviously the game play looks impressive.
The problem with the game play is when you're stuck on a set of pictures you end up getting bored and for me that makes the game play boring at times and nothing can help it get quicker than you getting correct answers.
If you use the tiles to answer a question I admit this is done quickly but overall the game play lacks something which is annoying.
The graphics is mainly based around the pictures and this part of the game extremely good because the pictures are what give you the answers to advance further into the game. The pictures when you zoom into them can give you plenty of colour and depth so you can perhaps see more then you did when they were smaller.
The problem with the graphics is the background to this game which is a dull black. You see the pictures on a black background and that's it and I would like maybe different colours or perhaps you as the player choose the background colour you have got which might make the game more interesting.
== Final Thoughts ==
This game is good to play if you are willing to be patient. The problem with the game is that once you have stopped maybe for a few days you sort of think why am I bothering playing this game again.
The reason is because there is nothing there to challenge you further and gaining coins and spending them on hints which either give you major help or cause you more problems it sounds boring as a concept.
I think the game needs something adding to it and although the game is free and friends can assist you it can become boring and quickly. My final rating for this game mainly due to the dull factor is 4 out of 10.
When we lose a pet it is one of the most upsetting experiences you have and once your pet has passed away it is tough to know what to do next.
In the past I have buried a pet and found it really difficult to do and I wanted a new idea where I had the pet with me in the home so I decided to visit a pet cremation service and I am glad I did.
== How to find the right place ==
It is not that difficult to find pet cremation services online and sometimes these places look superb but reviews state otherwise.
I spent a long time in my own mind wondering if this choice of a final goodbye would be suited to me and then had to take more time in working out where to go. Near to where I live I have found a few places which specialise in pet cremations but they seemed really cheap and nasty.
I have found if you just focus on what you want to happen to your pet and do some research online via search engines and also asking friends and family with pets what they think you can gain some extra insight. I asked a vet I knew and they recommend the place for which this review is based upon.
After reading a few various reviews on this pet cremation service I decided it would be the place for my cat too go and I feel I made the right decision.
== My Experience ==
I knew a few weeks before my cat passed away that I would be going ahead with a pet cremation and it was a new experience for me and my family. I looked around the website and saw a few ideas of how I wanted to celebrate in my eyes the life of my cat.
A few hours after my cat passed away due to a short illness I rang up the pet cremation service and they were extremely pleasant on the phone. I had them tell me about looking around the website for ideas and that it would be best to bring in a picture of my pet as well.
On approach to this rather secluded destination in Northampton, I found myself thinking was it the right decision because it was a working farm with a business involved. I walked in and you're instantly taken to a rather relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.
It is hard to explain but it was as if your cat was being treated to a luxury final ending you had a cabinet full of various coffins and how to use the ashes and your taken through to the chapel of rest where you have remembrance books and this is where the picture comes into effect.
The idea is that you put the picture into the book and write about your pet underneath them and this was so easy to do but I read back through other entries and to get an idea of how people were writing their own little stories. I could not stop writing about my cat because he was 11 years old and it was a nice little way to let everyone see who he was and what he meant to me.
The best part to the chapel of rest is you have tissues there and you have a little bed and you can actually have your cat brought through and laid there so you can say goodbye which I never did but it could be something people look at and think it would help them.
Once I had done the picture you walk back through the entrance where some remembrance plaques are situated and you then begin the process of working out what you want to use as the coffin or urn. There were some amazing designs and the one I went for was a cat coffin which is shaped like a cat sleeping and underneath a small plaque with my cats name was added.
I was told that literally within 90 minutes he would be ready to go and collect and I could take home my little fellow. I got upset because I knew it was an end to me seeing him again but I felt so happy that I was letting him return home.
After a few hours I returned and collect my cat in a nice display box and I was given a certificate to put down when he was cremated and you could add your own words but this is purely up to the owner.
I got home and found the whole experience pleasant and relaxed and the staff amazingly friendly which is always an added benefit.
== The Designs ==
The website shows a range of designs from cat coffins to the simple look which is a wooden box which to me looks nice but boring. I wanted something where people walk in and know there is a cat inside rather than no one really knowing the true identity of the pet.
I felt the website never really gave you a true idea of how good the options were for you to choose from. One example of a really special product was you could have your pets ashes turned into jewellery which takes a bit longer but the option was there.
They had rings and necklaces and the whole idea is that you can have your animal with you wherever you go and I found this an amazing idea and it would work well for some people. The best part is that if you get home and you have the ashes in the urn or coffin you can go back and have them turned into this jewellery items whenever you wish.
I think some items not all of them have options of colour because my design was done in 3 different colours and your shown which colours are there so you can choose from those as well so variety is there as well.
They do a dog design, they do love heart type stones and urns and some of those have paw prints on top as well.
There is a nice range of products and some are not even shown on their website but the options are there for when the time comes.
== Final Thoughts ==
I am so glad I went ahead with the pet cremation and in total for the coffin, the cremation and plaque it was done in such a dignified way that the price of just £145 sounded cheap. Obviously some options are cheaper and my option might be more money due to the actual design.
The website offers helpful advice for people who have lost pets and this is done via leaflets and telephone numbers and although some people think it is hilarious for people to get extremely emotional after a pet dying it is something people feel strongly about.
I think you have to know in your heart whether this option is right for you. Look around view the photos on the website perhaps or email the people who run the facility and see what they say.
The staff are so friendly that they never seem bored with you and are so sympathetic it is fantastic and helps you feel relaxed.
The surroundings and chapel of rest were superb and the entire atmosphere never felt like a cremation was taking place at all it was very well laid out.
I would highly recommend the destination in Northampton but there are other locations they are situated at such as
== Further Details ==
I enjoy playing games on the iPhone and this game is one of those which require plenty of speed and accuracy.
== The Game ==
This game is named 94 seconds and the reason is because you have to answer some questions within 94 seconds and the more you answer and get correct the higher the score you will achieve.
The game is done in different stages and questions are based largely around America which I shall explain further on. The game begins with you having a countdown timer at the top of the screen starting from 94 seconds.
You will be asked a question such as 'Countries Capitals' and your given the starting letter you can use such as the letter 'L' and you can pick London and get yourself a point.
However, if you find a more obscure answer to that question that the game likes and agrees with your given 2 points. Your aim is to achieve the highest score possible. Each question is different and may present a different letter or the same one.
Now the game is also there to help you because spellings are tough to get correct when you're in a rush and if you are spelling a long word the game sometimes puts down a word it thinks your aiming to write and will acknowledge that word in the final summary.
So far it sounds simple but the game is so quick that you will be sat there at times stuck on simple possible answers and this is why this game is so good for. This game makes you think about everything and the most challenging for me is the States and Cities in America.
You can also gain help but this is hard to get because you have four possible helpful solutions and what these do is either give you an answer or they will give you a few options and one of those is correct the rest are wrong.
The problem with the helpful options is you get given a few for playing the game but once you have used them all you could end up not having any for a while until you reach a set achievement the game has.
The game also has ways to unlock new questions but these unfortunately require a cash payment so the free version of the game is much easier to play without the hassle of those payments the game wishes you to make for further questions.
If you get a good chain of correct answers at the end of your 94 second game you get more points and the overall aim is to achieve a top score amongst everyone online who plays the game and aim to get the best more obscure answers possible.
== The Helpful Hints ==
The first out of the four is a joker and this option will put an answer into the answer box for you. Now this joker help does not necessary give you a 2 point answer so you never quite know the value of the answer until the end of the game. Your aim is to try and remember the answer you're given and hope that for the future you can use it again.
The second icon to help you is basically a list of four answers. If you are given a question on countries and you need this icon to help you out there will be a list of four answers and only one is a true country the rest are fake so you have to click the correct answer promptly or lose time and points.
The third piece of help is basically there to assist you in the future. You will get to see the next ten questions and letters required for them so you can think in your own mind what's coming up so you can prepare some answers. This is a useful hint but when you read through all of the available options coming up and questions you lose time on your current game.
The last hint is the lock and this can prove to be the best hint you will have on the game. Imagine your given a topic such as countries with a letter 'B' and you knew you could think of 10 potential countries quickly this lock will actually let you write as many countries as you like for that particular letter and question until you run out of options. The timer is still counting down and this could give you a very high score indeed.
== Problems ==
The game does have issues and the first is how the game determines what is a 2 point answer and what is a 1 point answer. When you play the game you will notice you answer a question with an obvious answer and get rewarded 2 points and think wow that is fantastic.
However an obscure answer in your view could end up rewarding you with 1 point and your left amused as to what is worth more in terms of value. I think the game needs to seriously consider how it works out these scores. The perfect example is when the game asked me for a Vegetable with the letter 'C' and I opted for carrot and the game gives me 2 points which I was shocked over.
I was also asked to name a country with the letter 'T' and I opted for Tahiti and this game gave me just 1 point and yet Turkey a more obvious choice was given as a 2 point answer.
The next problem is the game can sometimes cheat you out of scores. When you are rushing on a game like this basic spelling errors will occur and that is going to happen to anyone who plays the game for a fact. Now the game will sometimes offer you the right spelling regardless of the word you're trying to spell.
However, at times the game will put down your version of the spelling and act as if it never offered to give you the right spelling costing you valuable points so you're actually lost as to what the game is doing and lose trust in it.
I once was rushing around and I needed to spell the word 'Rectangle' and I missed the last letter E and yet the game gave me a point by changing the word. 2 days later the same word I deliberately missed the same letter and the game refused to give me the point.
Finally the game can be boring because you play against no one. You can compare scores with friends on Facebook and boast about how well your performing but you cannot take on a friend in a contest at all which can make this game very dull and quickly.
== Game Play and Graphics ==
The game is quick and this goes for everything so if you use the hints which I do sometimes when I am seriously stuck you end up seeing either the correct answer or options to help you instantly which I do appreciate.
I think the only issue with the game is when the game finishes and the game has to display the answers you have given and what their value is because this can take forever sometimes depending on how many correct answers you have given.
The graphics are all about bright lights and colours. Every single screen is done with lots of vibrant colours to make sure you are fully aware of what is going on in every screen.
You see the sky blue colour, orange, green, red and more and the game is done this way so it is not made to look like a boring word game which you can get sometimes especially on the iPhone.
I would perhaps like to see something done with the final answer page maybe have the wrong answers you give in a red cross so you are given a telling off because it would add humour and fun to the game which I think it lacks seriously.
== Final Thoughts ==
This game is a free game but as stated above if you wish to have more categories in terms of the questions you're offered given to you they come at a price.
There is currently a lot of updates taking place so the game has added new themes such as shapes and jobs which make the game a little more interesting.
I think the game has lots of faults which are annoying faults but there are a few bonuses because when you're given your final score if you give the wrong answer for a question you can actual get the game to reveal a correct answer and that can be used by you in the future which is nice.
I like the speed of the game and it has actually helped me learn more about animals and capital cities because some answers I gave were so bad and wrong and when I learnt new ones I found myself gaining new knowledge.
I think if the game let you compete against friends it would make a big difference but I suspect this might come with a price tag attached to it. Overall this game is 5 out of 10 for me.
When it comes to taking decent pictures I rarely produce an image which I would deem as professional quality. However, with this camera my results have begun to improve.
== The Design ==
This camera is designed mainly to make sure the biggest focus point is the LCD screen on the back which dominates the overall design. The back of the camera has the LCD screen and plenty of buttons which help you decide upon the type of picture you require.
You have a dial at the top of the camera and you twist this to various settings such as Panoramic, Manual and others. You then have a display message put on the screen when you do that to indicate the setting you have selected.
You have other buttons on the back such as a playback which enables you to view pictures or videos you have created and also buttons to delete pictures as well and that can be useful. You have the memory card slot and battery compartment on the side of the camera as well.
On the top of the camera is when you use the lens zoom feature and this is done by gently touching this switch which zooms in and out quite quickly. The main button for taking pictures is located on the top of the camera as well.
The front of the camera looks ugly and that is perhaps being mean but it does look horrible. The lens looks massive and if you want a camera case for this item they are hard to find and look just as nasty as the front of this camera does as well.
All buttons are big enough to press and most have pictures or helpful guides displayed on the screen to help the photographer know what they are doing.
== Features ==
This camera has some features which are noteworthy and one of those is the camera has 12 mega pixels and I sometimes hear people say if you see a camera with more megapixels it is better which is not accurate. This camera has a good amount there to make you have the urge to buy it.
The camera has a 15x optical zoom and 6.3 digital zoom which is fairly good and when you zoom you do notice the zoom is quick and very accurate which is a great feature to know about.
This camera has face detection and red eye fix so if you take a picture and you're at a party you could identify faces and if someone has red eyes you can remove that on the camera rather than messing around on the computer.
You can produce movies on this camera which is easy to do but this enables you to take pictures which are good quality but also produce a movie so a party again would be excellent for this feature. The movies can be high definition as well but this is not explained well.
You can use wires supplied with this camera to view images and movies not only on your computer or direct to a printer but also a television as well which might be good viewing to show families.
There are 16 scene modes to use on this camera and intelligent scene mode which are meant to assist you when you're unable to judge which scene setting is best for your current circumstances.
The weight is around 330g and size measurements are 7.5cm in height, 11cm in width and 8cm in depth.
== Taking Photos ==
When you want to take photos this camera is very easy to use. You have to first understand the various settings you can adjust the camera to use and some are more complicated to understand then others.
On top of the camera is a dial which has different settings and some are marked with a letter such as M for manual or A for aperture. Some have got words like Panoramic and some have pictures like a video camera
When you use this camera the biggest problem is the amount of text and information displayed on the 3 inch LCD screen on the back. At the top you have all sorts of information displayed and I have never worked out once yet how to remove this information is annoying and gets in the way for when you are taking pictures.
You can zoom into images really well but results do not always match the picture you see on the screen. If I sit back and across the room see my dog sitting in a lovely position when you try to focus with the zoom setting the image on the screen looks great, but when you take the picture and see the results it looks blurry.
If you use the manual setting pictures tend to look very good indeed and the overall results look impressive. Colours look great and really solid so if the colour is an orange it produces a sharp finish and this is reflected in the cameras overall results.
However, there is a negative with taking pictures and this is the facial recognition which for me is not the best. If you read the guide to this camera it does suggest you can find up to 10 people with the facial recognition but at best it can find five before getting confused and losing track altogether.
I have also found if you are taking pictures in the dark results are not great with the flash. The results produce either a picture which is to dull in colour or a picture which looks rather bright and ruins the moment you try to capture.
== Playback and Settings ==
When you want to view a picture back you can usually see the pictures you have taken within a second after you have taken the image. If you wish to view all your photos you can do this with a play button highlighted in green.
When you press this button you can travel forward and backward through photos and you can then remove any images which look really bad or keep the images you believe are good.
The photos you take revolve around how good your skills are. The settings can only alter images to a degree such as the red eye problem which is very easy to do and out of thousands of images I have ever taken only one has ever had a red eye problem which never went even on my computer software it never went.
The best part of the playback when watching movies and viewing photos is the fact you can see instantly how good the images are you have produced but the results always look different when on a computer screen or the television.
An image I took recently looked so bad on the camera playback I was upset it came out so bad but when I viewed the image on the television the results were amazing and the print out where great and people did pass comments on how great it was but I nearly deleted the image due to the camera making it appear so bad.
When you want to return back to taking pictures from the playback feature you have to turn the camera on and off again which is really silly in my eyes but it is the only way to returning to taking pictures again.
The video capturing is good it offers a decent range of images for the video camera but the sound is not the best but you can hear information being told in the background. I would personally not use this item for video images if you have better alternatives.
You can alter the amount of light you take in a picture with the various settings but this again is not explained that well anywhere.
== My Experience ==
In the past cameras I have used have all been Digital cameras so this was the first bridge camera I had used and it was a decent price. The features seemed to help what I needed this camera to do for me and the results were mixed.
The first problem with the camera is the silly lens cap which is useless. The cap never stays on and does not fit and it seems most people who report a fault with this camera document this as a problem and it is annoying one as well.
When you first use the camera you want to experiment which feature suits you best but with me I found just the manual setting was the best. I turned the camera to aperture setting and all this seem to do was offer more light for the picture and that was it.
All other features never altered the image at all except one which was producing really nice results and this is the panoramic feature. I was at a football match at Wembley last year viewing Ukraine vs. England and I decided to use this camera before the match started and you take one picture and then move the camera slightly and then take another picture and finally a third one.
The result is an excellent picture showing everyone in the ground and it was superb and this is a great feature and works a treat. When it came to face recognition this camera did not produce great results.
If you have a room with 5 people in the camera tends to work out about three of them if you're lucky but never all five. The camera is meant to be able to locate 10 faces but it has never come close which annoyed me when I was at a party for blood donors and I missed some people and it was unexpected.
I found myself looking at batteries a lot if you put in the 4 AA batteries they never last long and this includes the top class batteries as well. You need to use rechargeable as the amount of money used purely for batteries is crazy.
The camera is heavy and although the weight is 330g it is bulky and when you're aiming to take a picture it is a complicated process. If you're trying to zoom into a special feature or target you find that the weight plays a huge part on whether the image is any good or not.
I found colours very good but when it comes to producing images at night I have yet to find a decent result which is upsetting for a camera which does well in other areas.
I have an 8GB SD card inside this camera and the average size of a picture is around 3.3MB a time so you need to take a fair few photos to fill this size up but most images you will delete when you first use this camera as it can be tough to adjust to.
== Final Thoughts ==
This camera does produce good quality images and if you have a nice summer's day the results are amazing and are excellent overall. If you wish to delete a photo hold fire until you have viewed it on the computer or television as sometimes the results are better by a long distance.
This camera has got decent features but not all of them work accurately or produce the kind of results you may want from a camera. The video capturing is good but I admit to rarely using this feature.
If you use this camera to view animals or flowers it would be excellent but for animals far away it is pointless as results are not great. I like how the buttons are all close together but the end results of the images you take regardless of the settings look no different and this is confusing for me.
I paid over £100 for this item just over a year ago and for me it is one camera you would use for the easier shots as a beginner but not something to use for anything spectacular.
I am a big fan of toast for breakfast and recently my older toaster has had issues with heating up so I went and brought a new toaster, the Russell Hobbs 13899.
== The Design ==
This toaster is done in a clear white and instantly I didn't like the colour I was made to believe it was a beige colour but it turned out to be totally white. At the front is where all the dials are located to help use this toaster.
You have four slots to position toast inside which is really good and each two slots have a separate set of dials to use.
You have a dial to indicate the heat setting so this is meant to help you in terms of working out how quick the toast is meant to be done. You have separate buttons which help you do a variation of tasks.
One is used to pop the toast up and this is an instant movement and occurs very quickly. The other button helps you know when the toast is done. The idea is when the toast is done you press this button beforehand and the toast will pop up ready when it is done.
The final button is in regards to frozen bread and I have yet to fully work out how this is done. The stand is basically four miniature legs and at the back is where you pull out the crumbs left over by the toast.
Overall the design is done to make everything easy but the product does feel cheaply made.
== Features ==
This toaster has the ability to get frozen bread and make it turn into toast. It sounds like it is very rare feature but I have seen this on other toasters in the past. This feature is very good because if someone has frozen bread instead of waiting for it defrost to use or go out and buy new bread this toaster can save time and money.
You have a browning control which helps you decide how brown you wish the toast to be. This to me is just another way of putting that the toaster is done when you want it to be done.
You have the cancel button which lets you have the toast pop up when you think it might be done. This is good because it can halt you potentially burning the toast, which I have very good experience doing.
== My Experience ==
I decided when I got this toaster to use all features and check out the way it can prepare toast with different types of bread.
I first set up this toaster and decided to use Warburton's white bread and I put in just two slices and decided to turn the setting to 3 and to see how it would turn out. There was a problem instantly because the bread had around half an inch sticking out the toaster even when pushed down.
You would look at ways of trying to push it down to make sure every part of the bread is toasted but this did not happen at all. The setting made the toast pop up when it was barely warm so the setting on the front is hard to judge.
So far the toaster had a problem in terms of the size of bread you wish to use. I eventually got the toast out which took around 90 seconds or so and it was warm and looked very good.
I then decided to use Kingsmill bread and this had the same issue you could not place the entire slice inside the compartment to toast it properly. You would have the toast pop up and have the very edge of the toast weak and untoasted.
I found the only way around to making sure all the bread is toasted is by removing the crust and this helped but it is not good if you enjoy the crust like I do.
I decided to test out the crumb tray and they come out very easily and to be honest the toaster always looks clean inside the crumb tray does an excellent job collecting all those little bits which fall off and they are very easy to clean. Although the crumb trays look flimsy and by this I mean if you were to bump them into a wall accidentally you could bend them.
The toaster always feels and looks cheap to me and you get the feeling it could stop working altogether at any time. I have not used the frozen bread feature but a friend of mine has a few times and has commented on how easy it was to defrost the bread and then heat it back up again.
However the problem in regards to some of the bread sticking out the toaster remained.
== Final Thoughts ==
The toaster is light in weight and has a brand name so your first assumption is the item has some quality attached to it. As a buyer I got this item largely due to the brand name because I have had items from Russell Hobbs before and found the quality excellent.
This toaster is plastic and has some decent features but the overall problem is how much of the bread is actually toasted. You will find online misleading pictures showing the bread inside and looking all tight and with the crust on top and this is not good.
You cannot place bread in there fully and I have tried 7 different brands so that is the biggest problem with this toaster and in my view a silly one to have.
I think the speed in which the toast is done is pretty good and usually most toasters have the same sort of speed. In terms of the browning effect on toast I am unsure how accurate that part is.
The cancel button and the crumb tray do what they are meant to do and do it very well. You do not have that smell you get with some toasters when you're using them which is when the crumbs at the bottom are burning and you worry it's your toast.
Overall this toaster in my view is 6 out of 10 and I did pay £27.99 for this toaster and for me it is not worth that price.
Recently I have had some bad luck with my electrical items and I was defrosting my table top fridge and accidentally hit the metal bars and the gas shot out causing it to fail. This is the new fridge I brought as a replacement.
== Design ==
This fridge is done by Argos and is apparently part of their value range although it is fairly expensive considering. The design is extremely basic on the outside with this white colour which has nothing at all remotely interesting to look at.
On the back is where you have the thermostat control and all the essentials and this includes the power cable which comes from the back and you have to really work hard to get it out without damaging anything which is a real pain.
The inside is where most of the design is featured and the first part of the design would be how the door is done. When you open the door you have a plastic shelf which you could put perhaps some eggs or maybe a small chocolate bar it is not a large area but it does have some decent space for a smaller item.
Beneath this section is a place to store a bottle of wine and maybe a few beer cans or a small drink anything bigger then perhaps a 500ml bottle would struggle to fit into the gap due to the height.
The main area of the fridge has a small freezer section in the top right hand corner with an opening which opens sideways and you have a 2 floor kind of look to it all. You can place many items here but it depends what you really want stored away.
== Features ==
The first feature to mention is the door because you can actually take the door off and position it the opposite direction. In my bedroom which is where I have the table top fridge I found when I got the fridge I needed to move items around so the door would open correctly. Fortunately your given an instruction manual how to take the door off and place it facing the opposite direction.
You have the ability to change the temperature as well so perhaps you have been out somewhere and have some chilled items in the back of your car you can place them in this fridge and turn the thermostat higher or lower to help that item.
The energy efficiency rating is A. This is pretty good I am sure my previous fridge was rated at C and that to me is a good thing and helps me know I am doing my own bit to get better rated products.
The item weighs a nice 15kg and it is heavy but you could carry on your own but my advice for safety is to have someone assist you in case you end up slipping or straining yourself to much.
The storage capacity is 1.76 cu feet. I am unsure how good that number is compared to other fridges of the same size. Some seem to offer a higher amount and some lower and yet when you open the door up they all seem to appear the same size. This number is meaningless to me in a way but important to other people.
The size is 51cm in height, 47cm in width and 44cm in depth. I would definitely check these measurements and weight sizes above to see if this works in your home.
== My Experience ==
I got this fridge from an Argos discount store located in Corby, and the price was cheap and although it is still being sold online I never had much details given to me about the product.
I got this item home unpackaged everything and found myself instantly annoyed by the plug. This product is heavy and I am terrible for undoing plugs and getting them caught around various objects in my home so I decided to leave the plug tied up until the item was in place.
To my horror the plug was inserted in the back where all the mechanics were and stuck and I had to make sure I got it out safely without damaging anything which was a real problem.
Eventually I got the plug out safely and took about taking the door off and positioning it the opposite direction and the manual gave you advice which was accurate and extremely easy to understand.
I then placed inside the fridge yoghurt, a bottle of wine and some cans of Cola. I went to check on the items about 2 hours later to assess what the temperature was like and whether everything was working correctly.
I found the wine bottle very cold and looked in good shape however the cola can had exploded. I was unsure what caused this so I placed inside another can to assess if there was a problem with the fridge or whether it was a can which had a problem.
I checked again and found that the can was bulging out and it was because it was frozen solid. Within an hour the cola was frozen so I had to do some checks on the thermostat and it is not exactly the easiest thermostat to get to.
It is placed at the back of the machine and is a dial which you turn gradually but unless you look by moving the fridge out you never truly know what number it is on. I would much rather have this dial inside the fridge or closer to the eye so you could check the actual temperature you put it to.
After this fiasco I found the fridge began to work well until the night time and the horror sound of noise and vibrations. I have my fridge on a small but solid desk in the corner which has a kettle and is a bit of a kitchen upstairs. During the night you could hear the fridge making loud noises.
The noises would last 10-15 minutes then appear to stop and then return later on maybe an hour later and sometimes you heard vibrations and it sounds and feels like a cat is purring very loudly and the echo is trapped around the room.
I also noticed that the fridge had no real feet or stand to hold it onto. My previous fridge had plastic feet in all four corners allowing me to feel the item was safe and secure. This fridge does not have that at all it has these steel ones which are not the best.
== Problems ==
I mentioned a few in my experience with the fridge but some are safety concerns for me. The first was the main socket which was situated into the back of the fridge all tangled up and near some components which enable the fridge to work properly. If you pulled this plug out in temper or brute force you could end up causing damage to the fridge.
The feet on the fridge are not great and in my view a hazard. The fridge can actually tilt if you have too many items on the one side. I place some wine and some jars in the fridge and found when I went to open the door the fridge as tilted on the heavier side which in my view is not the best.
The noise levels from this fridge were extremely annoying and it got a problem during the night. You find that if you have this item near you at all the sound is bad and if the fridge is touching a wall it sounds much worse.
Finally the thermostat being at the back is a nightmare. You cannot view the numbers or where you're positioning the thermostat setting unless you pull the fridge out and check yourself. If you have got many items inside the fridge this can lead to plenty of complications.
== Final Thoughts ==
I appreciated I got this fridge for £49.99 which was an amazing deal in theory. I do however, wish I took the time to assess everything first but unfortunately it was the last one remaining on the shelf and was not out of the box.
I am angry with the plug situation more than some of the other problem due to the damage you could cause by being heavy handed. There seems to be more problems with this fridge than compliments and to me that is not good enough.
Online this fridge is available on the website for around £79.99 and to me that is not a good price. If you can sort out of the feet and find somewhere quiet to store this product it might work for you but otherwise stay clear.
Lately I have been having major issues with my vacuum when I dropped it down the stairs and it has not been the same since, so it was time to invest in a new machine and this is the machine I brought.
== The Design ==
This vacuum is designed by Hoover who are a big brand when it comes to making pretty decent vacuum cleaners. This machine has a rather different look to it because it looks out of shape.
The vacuum is done with huge wheels at the back to help you move it around and it dominates the design of this vacuum with ease. On the back of the machine you have the cord section and this is where the cord re-winds itself back into the machine.
On top of each wheel is a huge button which is very good in my eyes because if your someone with poor vision these buttons are so big you cannot miss them. They both have symbols on them to reflect what they do and one of those is the power button.
On the front is where the cylinder is held into place and this collects all the dirt and has a nice handle attached for when you need to empty out the contents. The front has a section for the vacuum components to be fitted into place and this is the basic design of the vacuum.
The colour is a light blue which is kind of nice it makes the vacuum have more appeal rather than the usual dull grey and black colours I have brought in the past.
== Features ==
This vacuum allows you to set what speed of suction you want when vacuuming up the dirt and dust. I have leather chairs in my home and crumbs can easily go down the sides and you need a vacuum to try and remove those stubborn crumbs. My previous vacuum would actually mark the leather so in the end it got to the point I never used it. This vacuum allows you to set speeds so you can use a quicker speed for thick carpets and a slower speed for a delicate material like leather.
There is 2300 watts of power with this machine and as soon as you turn the machine on you can hear that speed which is tremendous. It is loud which I expected but due to the power it has got I was impressed.
There are the HEPA filters which are good for people who suffer from asthma and allergies relating to dust and pollen. This machine uses these filters to trap the pollen particles and small dust particles so it can remove them from a room. The HEPA filtration is also washable as well.
You have different components to attach to the main hose itself for different surfaces you need to vacuum on. I use the brush component to remove pet hair and you might need a smaller one to do underneath a chair perhaps. Some of the tools you have extra are upholstery and pet brush to help clean various surfaces.
This vacuum is bag less so it can save you money in the long run when it comes to buying those annoying bags we all used to get and they would rip open if you even tried to touch them.
The cylinder offers 2 litres capacity which might not be a lot to some people but it does offer a large amount of dust and dirt to be collected and then emptied out.
The weight of this machine is around 7kg which is heavy in some ways but you would find it easy to carry around if you needed to due to the handle which is with the machine.
== My Experience ==
When I first got the machine out of the box I was impressed by how sturdy it was and how nice it looked. I am a buyer who tends to go on appearance more than reviews of a product which does not help much especially in the past.
I liked the vacuum partially because of the huge power button and with my previous vacuum cleaners I have had issues in relation to the power button being hidden behind wires or being so small you have to bend over and try and locate it so I was happy with this button being so big and easy to locate.
My first challenge was to test how good the machine was. I have a rug in my home which is a normal rug and covered in pet hairs which my dog loves to let lose every few hours. I have found vacuum cleaners claim they can remove this hair but often they cannot.
I put the pet hair tool onto the end of the hose and began to power up my machine and within a few strides on the carpet I found the hair being removed completely. It was not just taking a few hairs up it was removing them all and the crumbs underneath I placed there to test it out.
The first test it had it passed with flying colours. I then found myself trying to vacuum my stairs which are really awkward due to the angle the carpet was put down so sometimes you need to use a dustpan and brush and aim to knock out any dirt.
I again tried this rather narrow tool and applied it to the hose and it machine to suck out those stubborn dirt particles and left my stairs looking excellent and I began to realise this vacuum was proving to be a great purchase.
I found the wheels very strong and the hose itself offered a lot of assurances to me because it was solid it was not a cheap plastic hose it was a steel type material which felt heavy and offered you a peace of mind it would not be broken easily.
I did however encounter a few problems on my journey. The power cord is very small in length and this presented some issues when you are trying to vacuum around a rather large living room and you to stop and unplug the power lead and place it elsewhere. This is frustrating and can result in you needing an extension cable.
I did also find that with the pet hair tool attachment although it did suck up the hair very rapidly it could also get blocked just as quickly. I found myself on my second attempt the following day spending 10-15 minutes attempting to remove some of the hair attached to the brush itself because it was causing an obstruction.
I found the power of this machine excellent it really did suck up all those horrible dust particles really well and my home didn't have a smell anymore it had with my previous vacuum cleaner which was also being blocked and left horrible smells around the home.
== Problems ==
This vacuum is good for the power and cleaning dirt I cannot praise it enough but some people might find some of the problems I have had with it to be a reason not to purchase it.
The cleaning of the cylinder is a real pain. The problem is although this does save money on the vacuum bags and makes everything potentially easier I found myself actually every day picking this cylinder up and emptying the contents.
I do not have 2 litres of rubbish to collect daily at all and the problem is the machine seems to be sucking up actual fibres from my rugs as dirt. I found myself finding strands of carpet in the rubbish and it was damaging my carpet so this was a problem.
The second issue is the HEPA filters you can wash yourself and I never done this myself a friend did for me due to a cut on my hand I watched him and it was easy to remove any dust from the filter but trying to clean it completely was a waste of time.
The hose is very strong and offers a large range of tools or components to be attached to the machine to help you clean up your home quicker but blockages are a regular occurrence which is just annoying. Before you begin or put this machine away you will find yourself trying to remove a blockage usually on the piece of equipment you have used as an extension.
== Final Thoughts ==
This machine has the right features in terms of removing pet hair, HEPA filters and a solid speed of 2300 watts which give this machine a really good feature list.
However, there are issues which are silly and should have been looked at and the size of the power cable is beyond pathetic. You cannot leave a room and enter another without needing to unplug this machine and then plug it back in elsewhere.
You get a lot of tools and accessories which are useful and dirt does disappear with this machine but for the price I paid which was £60 and the RRP on some websites stating £199 I find that a hard figure to justify.
The brand is good but there are some basic flaws which make my machine rating for this vacuum 6 out of 10.
It is that time of the year when people are ready to get the good old barbecue sets out and some people might want a new barbecue to make sure everything turns out okay. This is my barbecue set I got last year.
== The Design ==
The barbecue is made from black steel which has a nice rich colour which looks great in the sunshine. The lid is done in a very deep dome type of effect which makes everything look bigger inside.
The lid opens and can be kept open via a little gadget but this is not always the best idea which is explained further on. On the side is a small table feature which enables you to perhaps place food products or drinks whilst you cook.
Between the four legs of this barbecue is a great shelf which has plenty of storage room to put everything you would want and this is very sturdy and holds plenty of weight. This shelf is also made from steel and has holes there to make you aware it is a shelf. The colour is kind of odd considering the overall colour of this barbecue set.
Both the table on the side and shelf are done in a grey colour with little shine and it makes this barbecue set kind of silly looking in my view. The shelf needed to be the same colour as the barbecue.
There are two wheels on the legs to help you move this item around and the other two legs are there to add a bit of stability overall. The legs do have a fun unique look to them rather than being the dull straight legs they do have a bend to them which I think makes them appeal more to the customer.
You're given a nice stainless steel griddle to place food products onto when cooking and the part I like is underneath the main cooking unit is a little section you open and it can pour all the contents from inside the barbecue into this storage unit to empty. This helps you clean this barbecue out much quicker.
== Stats and Info ==
The cooking area for this barbecue is 50cm x 50cm and it is perhaps smaller then people would think due to the overall size of the whole barbecue. The design has been done to make it appear bigger then it is.
The barbecue weighs around 18 kilograms which sounds a lot as well but when you wish to move this item you can move it very easily with the wheels attached to the legs so this enables you to move this item around very safely.
The product is made from steel so you can pretty much guarantee it has quality and for me that steel is very solid and offers lots of protection for the contents inside.
The size measurements are height 24cms, width 75cms and depth 60cms. These measurements are pretty accurate and rounded to the nearest number.
== My Experience ==
I got this product just over a year ago and at the time I had previously not been a big fan of doing my own barbecues because in all fairness I cannot cook that well.
I got this item when in Tesco and they had it on display and it let you have a good look around and I eventually brought it and in some ways I am glad I did.
This product was easy to assemble with little fuss and perhaps did not need that instruction guide.
I found when I put in the coal and the lighter fluid that everything lit very simply there was no issue with the wind coming in and causing me problems and the biggest reason for this was due to the depth.
When you open up this barbecue it does not look that deep compared to how big the lid is but there is a nice deep gap there for you place lots of coal and to make sure everything is piping hot before use.
The problem I had was the lid and to this day is still the lid. You have a latch you use to make sure the lid stays in place whilst cooking and for me it fails to do that at all. If the wind blows or you accidentally wobble the barbecue unit for any reason you sometimes experience the lid fall down.
The latch is not strong enough and does not even look capable enough to contain the lid in place and this has big issues when you are cooking. I usually place the lid down and let the smoke leave the barbecue via the small opening on the lid which is very useful.
Whilst I was using this item I placed many items on the shelf unit and on the top table which is small and works out the size of someone's arm I would place some drinks and utensils for the cooking. I found the items did heat up very quickly compared to previous barbecues I had been to where people have smaller sets to use.
The other issue was when I nearly had the barbecue disappear on me down the pathway. My garden has this rather odd slope and unfortunately cannot be removed so if something reaches this area it will fall down the steps eventually. I pushed the barbecue slightly and although you should not be able to do this the barbecue did try and roll away.
I have found the lid very irritating as mentioned above but also for marking. If you need to clean the lid for any reason you need to make sure you do not use anything to abrasive otherwise marks do appear as I found out.
Once everything was cooked I removed the griddle in the centre for cleaning which is very easy to do there is no issue there for disconnecting this item at all. You have a small valve which opens up to empty some of the charred coal and this enables quicker cleaning in my view.
Overall experience for me has been the ease to set this item up, how quick the cleaning is to do on this item and finally how quick food is done but this might be down to how much heat I create rather than how great the barbecue set truly is.
== Final Thoughts ==
The lid I will run down all day long even to those people who own this item the lid is terrible and even in the store recently during are good weather the lid on the store demonstration had problems as well.
I appreciate the lid does not need to be rigid and unable to move but you need to be safe when you're dealing with a lot of heat, food and smoke and if the lid did fall down it could cause mayhem. I think the fix is obviously to put in a better latch or something to hold the lid steadier but I doubt that would happen anytime soon.
I found there were no utensils given with this item which would have been beneficial in my view. I had to use my own equipment and yet the box did display images of utensils and never mentioned none were included so that was a big let-down.
I think the final problem might be the price and how Tesco justify this price tag. Currently this item is retailed at £90 which I find quite shocking with the issues I have mentioned above.
This item does cook food and is easy to clean but it is not as durable as some might like and there are better models and brands out there for not much more cash.
Last year I paid just £49.99 for this item so unless the price does decrease I would perhaps think long and hard about this item.