- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
== Introduction == Lily-May's Peppa Pig scooter was getting a bit old and tired, even though she has only had it little over a year. She kept seeing her friends come into nursery on their inline scooters, and kept saying that she wanted one. There is a buggy storage facility in her nursery and a lot of the other parents use it for storing scooters as well as buggies. Lily-May was adamant that she wanted a Hello Kitty scooter for her fourth birthday, I can't stand Hello Kitty, I think it looks quite cheap and tacky, but 'Princess' says that she wants a Hello Kitty scooter , so I have to comply with her demands. I was cashing in some of my review money for Amazon vouchers and that is when I saw this, so I checked with Lily-May first and she told me this was the one she wanted. == The Scooter == The Hello Kitty Micro Inline Scooter is a scooter mostly made of steel, with little bits of plastic here and there. The scooter is in nice girly colours of pink and white stripes, it looks like a vintage boiled sweet, and the foot plate has "Hello Kitty" written in white writing with the image of Hello Kitty below it. The foot plate is quite rough to touch and this is good to help your child's feet grip onto it when they stand on it. The handle bars are made of a foam material and the ends are made of plastic, with images of Hello Kitty's bows in two-tone pink. The folding section of the scooter has pink with white polka dot stickers on each side, with an image of Hello Kitty on each side (I hate putting stickers on things, so I was glad that I didn't have to put these on)The main front pole is pink and white with "Hello Kitty" written in pink writing and the lower section has the image of Hello Kitty facing to the front. The front wheel grips are light pink with two-tone pink bows, overall the scooter looks like something a girl would really love and with all the images and writing on this, you couldn't mistake it for not being Hello Kitty. The scooter also has a rear pink metal mud guard, so it saves getting dirty splashes up your child's back. The scooter is meant for ages 5+, I neglected to look at this when buying the scooter, and when it arrived I did wonder if it would be alright for Lily-May. My daughter is of average height for a four year old and the scooter has two height settings on it and I found the lower of the two settings was a perfect height for her. I couldn't see any measurements for this unfolded on Argos or Amazon, I have just measured it from foot plate to handlebars and it measures 27 inches on the lowest height setting, and there is roughly about an inch difference between the two heights, so that will give you a rough idea before purchasing. Adjusting the height was really simple, the scooter comes with two Alan keys, both are the same size, I am presuming one is a spare, and you just turn the Alan key, and lift up the front pole until the little lock knob fits into the hole of your desired height. When I got it out the box the only thing that I needed to do to it was adjust the height, there is no assembly required, so that was a time saver, although I did check when it arrived as I didn't want to have to put it together on Lily-May's birthday, nothing worse than an impatient child piling on the pressure. The whole scooter folds up completely for storage, that includes the handle bars. The handle bars have an elastic string inside them and you just press the lock knobs on each of them, pull the handle bars out of the socket and they just slot into the plastic handle bar holders on the front pole. To fold the main part of the scooter you just lift the black plastic folding lever, which is located towards the front of the foot plate and you fold it towards the foot plate until it clicks into place. You repeat these steps backwards to unfold the scooter. When folded the dimensions of the scooter are (H)63, (W)23, (D)13cm, so it will fit into a nice compact space for storage. == Price == I bought this scooter from www.amazon.co.uk for £19.99, while writing this review I have had a look on amazon and it is currently unavailable. At the time of writing I have seen this in Argos for the same price, although they do have it on special offer in their two toys for £30.00 range, which is quite a good offer in my opinion. == Verdict == Even though Lily-May had picked this scooter out, I had wrapped it up as soon as it arrived and she had totally forgotten about it by the time she opened it up on her birthday. She was absolutely over the moon with it and couldn't wait to go to nursery on it that morning. It took her a couple of weeks to get used to it having only two wheels, where her other one had three, so she had to practice balancing on it. I am lucky to have a large living room with plenty of space for Lily-May to practice on her scooter, and it wasn't too long before she was riding it like a pro. The main gripe I have with this scooter is with the gripped foot plate, it is quite difficult to clean and I have shredded a few cloths wiping Lily-May's dirty foot prints off it (She moaned that it was dirty). I love it that the handle bars totally fold down too, and the scooter is really compact when folded, that it takes up a lot less room than her previous scooter. Overall, this is a great little scooter for the next step up from three wheelers and despite the small gripe with the foot plate, I will still give this 5/5 stars.
== Introduction == For my daughter's Christmas I bought her a Barbie with a sofa and a flat screen television, the imaginative play had its limits, as Barbie only had one pair of shoes and one outfit. On Boxing Day I surveyed all Lily-May's presents and I noticed that she played with Barbie the most, even though she only had this single Barbie toy. She received some Argos vouchers for her Christmas and I had a look at the Barbie toys on there to see if I could get some more accessories for her, that is when I saw this. == What is it? == This toy is part of the 'Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse' range and is in the style of a vending machine, it has a sticker on the centre piece displaying a coin slot and keypad, everything a vending machine should have, although, why Barbie would have an accessories vending machine in her house is beyond me. The vending machine is made of plastic and it has two clear plastic doors on either side of the control panel. This toy comes with three bags, four pairs of shoes, one pair of boots and a necklace with necklace display bust. In the left cabinet there are also some cardboard displays of some more accessories, I would have thought for the price I paid for this that it would have included more shoes/boots, bags etc, instead of cardboard versions. As with other doll accessories that I have opened in the past, this seemed to take a lifetime to open, it was well packaged and there were various sections of sellotape/elastic/plastic to cut open before I could set the unit up properly. This required minimal assembly to get it started, as it came pretty much fully assembled, aside from an ornamental feature that just clips onto the front. The dimensions of the toy are 25.2 x 9.5 x 31.5 cm, so it is not too small and not too large, although it only just fits into Lily-May's dolls house mansion, so bear this in mind if your child has a small dolls house. == How Does It Work == There are three controls on this vending machine. Starting on the right side of the machine, there is a handle which you turn to rotate the different racks to the top of the machine. Once your desired item has reached the top, you slide the diamond shaped button on the roof of the machine towards the left and this slides the item into the vending machine chute and out through the bottom of the machine. The instructions state that boots cannot be dispensed, so the catalogue photograph for this review is inaccurate. The last control is on the left side of the roof of the machine and you turn this diamond shaped button to rotate the racks in the left cabinet, I was disappointed with this, as there is no way for this left side to dispense the accessories, you have to open the door to get the stuff out. Sometimes things fall out of the shelves and this requires an adult to open the back of the vending machine by unclipping it to retrieve them (The toy comes with instructions showing how to do this, although I haven't had the need to do this yet). == Price == At the time of writing this review this is for sale in Argos for £19.99, reduced from £24.99. You can also purchase this from www.amazon.co.uk for £17.99, which is a more reasonable price for it, but I had vouchers for Argos, so I wasn't too bothered about paying an extra £2.00. == Verdict == Lily loves this, she hasn't stopped playing with it since she got it. I was disappointed with the amount of accessories that came with the machine, but this also leaves room to build on it and to add more accessories as you get them. My other gripe with the toy is that in order to dispense the necklace, you have to dispense the whole display bust, rather than just the necklace, but I understand this would require more intricate engineering than the simple pulley system. Overall this is a great little toy and worth the money I paid for it, it does pay to shop around though, so try to grab it at a bargain price while you can. It is nice watching Lily-May play with it and accessorize her Barbie, the Fashion Vending Machine is just the thing your Barbie needs, it looks stylish and promotes interaction, not to mention help with their fine motor skills. I will give this 4/5 stars, it only loses a star for the lack of accessories.
== Introduction == For the past eight months I have developed a fascination with die-cast toy cars from the 1930's,40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's, boys and their toys. It all started when selling some of my friends collectables on Ebay, I decided to use my earnings to buy joblots of die-cast cars, which I would sell individually for a profit. I don't really see myself as a collector, I am more of a dealer, although I do keep all the photographs of my listings in a folder and it is nice to say "I had one of those". When writing up my listings, I like to give the customer as much information as possible about what I am selling and I often do my research on the individual item. I would initially use the internet to do my research and then I decided to get some books, the first book I purchased was 'The Great Book of Corgi', when looking for a book on Dinky Toys I found 'The Great Book of Dinky Toys' was out of print and is a collectible sought after item, 'Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures' was the next best thing. == Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures == 'Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures' is volume 4 of the 'Hornby Companion Series', which was a series of 9 volumes and 4 compendia dealing with the product history of the Mecanno factories. Each volume was written by a experts in that particular field and the edition of 'Dinky Toys & Modelled Miniatures' which I have includes. 'The Dinky Toy Compendium Volume 4A'. The book is broken down into 9 chapters, with the first 4 chapters concentrating on the origins of Dinky, pre war models, the ships and the aeroplanes. I did expect the book to give more of a biography of Frank Hornby, the man behind Dinky Toys, Mecanno and of course, Hornby railway sets, although I would imagine this would have been covered in greater detail in one of the earlier volumes. Each chapter is well illustrated and a table is included listing the model number, model name, production year, deletion date, followed by comments. During the first chapter we are given an insight into how Dinky Toys were made, which I found incredibly interesting and some of the photographs of the wooden prototypes are shown in this section. Chapter two deals with the pre-war models starting with the Modelled Miniatures sets of the 22 Series through to the 39 Series. The chapter ends with a section on Dinky military pre-war and post-war issues. Chapter three is a short chapter that highlights all the ships Dinky Toys produced, with the majority of them being pre-war models, and only eight models produced since the war. Chapter four talks about all the aeroplanes in the range, including the rarest of them all 'Avro Vulcan Delta Wing Bomber', only 500 or so were made of this before the tools used to make them became unusable, I have seen the odd replica one appear on Ebay and they seem to go for around £90 - £100 and that's just for a replica! The bulk of the book concentrates on the post-war years to the close of the Binns Road factory in 1979, most of the models are photographed and also there are various illustrations of plans and reproduction pages from 'Mecanno Magazine'. There is a section called 'Novelty, T.V. Tie-Ins and Miscellaneous', Dinky's main rival in the toy car industry, Corgi, seemed to steal the march when it came to the lucrative film and T.V. car market, although Dinky did manage to produce quite a few tie-ins, Captain Scarlet, The Prisoner, Joe 90, Thunderbirds and the horrible plastic Pink Panther Car are all given a worthy mention in this section, amongst a few others. As with 'The Great Book of Corgi' there is a section that deals with models that never made it to the shop floor, although nothing quite as imaginative as Corgi, so don't get your hopes up. At the end of the chapter we are treated to two colour reproductions, the first one is a 1953 Dinky Toys catalogue, and the second is the final 1979 catalogue. Following on from the main chapters we have a few appendices, Appendix 1 - Copies of Dinky Toys, which talks about the many different copies that came onto the market, some of them more blatant copies than others. Appendix 2 - two photographs of Dinky scales. Appendix 3 - The Dinky Numbering System, this discusses how all the numbers and series came to be numbered so. Appendix 4 and 5 are quite short, spanning a page between them, the former lists the small amount of Dinky Toys that were produced during the war between September 1939 and March 1945 and the latter, Appendix 5 lists all the post-war sets and gift sets. Appendix 6 - January 1980 Trade Catalogue, the final one. Appendix 7 is another photograph, this time of the Dinky Toy dimensions, this is followed by the final appendix, which is a couple of photographs of tables showing the markings on the Dinky models. The book is finished off with Volume 4A - The Dinky Toy Compendium, this is a full listing of all British made Dinky Toys issued from 1931 - 1979, it is cross-referenced with the main book, so for each listing it has the model number, description, colours it came in, length in mm, when it was introduced, when it was deleted, any comments (e.g. was it a variation of another model number), and the page of the main book this can be found on. I have found this section incredibly useful, if I know the model number I can look it up in this section, find the page number and gather more information about the model (now I've just made myself sound like a geek, that isn't the case at all, honest). == About The Authors == Mike Richardson had been collecting Dinky Toys from an early age, after leaving school he moved to Glasgow and while there he phoned his parents, who didn't know what he wanted them to do with his possessions. He decided to collect them and bring them to Glasgow. It was then that he realized he still had all his old toy cars, this spurred his interest in collecting and he visited model shops in Glasgow to see if he could buy some more. He happened upon one shop in Glasgow that had some old Dinky stock and he bought them for the original prices. A few years later Mike met his future wife Sue at a party and they both had a passion for collecting, one of Mike's first presents to Sue was a Tekno E-Type Jaguar. In 1971 Mike helped start a modelling magazine called 'Modellers World' and in 1981 along with his wife, wrote this book. This book was followed in 2000 by 'The Great Book of Dinky Toys', which is considered to be "The Bible of Dinky Toys". Sadly Sue passed away in 2010 and Mike died earlier this year after a stroke, at the age of 75. == Product Information == Hardcover Publisher: New Cavendish Books (1989) Number of Pages: 312 plus 69 in the compendium. ISBN-10: 0904568334 ISBN-13: 978-0904568332 ASIN: B002L4QLHO == Price == This book is out of print , although you can purchase second hand copies of it on Ebay and Amazon for under £20.00. The copy I purchased was in mint condition and cost me £15.00, which is not a bad price and you wouldn't think it was a second hand book. == Verdict == This book has proved to have been a worthwhile investment, it has came in really handy when writing up my listings for Ebay and when buying models on Ebay. The main downside I have found with this book is the lack of colour photographs, the majority of the photographs in this book are in black and white, and this can be frustrating when looking for colour variations, so this often means I have to use the internet as well as the book. This book will do for now, as this book is the second best book on the market, second only to 'The Great Book of Dinky Toys' and I don't have a spare £100 to purchase that book at the moment or friends kind enough to buy it for me, although it is my 40th next year so if your reading this, maybe now's the time to start putting some money away. Overall I will give this book 4/5 stars, it is packed with lots of information and photographs and the only thing it loses a star for is the lack of colour photographs. This is just one of those books that, as a dealer of die-cast cars, I cannot do without.
== Introduction == Purchasing this book was one of those happy accidents, I was having a browse on Amazon for The Beatles 'Yellow Submarine' story book for my four year old daughter, she is Beatles mad at the moment. When I found 'Yellow Submarine', this book came up as part of the package, "buy 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Octopus's Garden' together". My eyes lit up and I had a look on the 'Octopus's Garden' page, and after reading a few reviews I purchased it. == The Book == The book is in hardback (I hadn't checked and was expecting a paperback when this arrived, so it was a nice little bonus), complete with dust jacket and an audio CD inserted into the back cover, it definitely looks worth more money than I paid for it. The book is basically the lyrics to the Ringo Starr composition of the same name, which ended up on the last album recorded by The Beatles 'Abbey Road' and is beautifully illustrated by Ben Cort, who has also illustrated various books written by Claire Freedman. It is hard to read this book without singing along to it, although if you want tips on how to read it, Ringo does a marvelous job on the audio CD, he even adds a little interaction, by asking little questions throughout his reading. The song book doesn't really have much of a story and if you Google the lyrics, you will see yourself. The audio CD also has a new version of 'Octopus's Garden' performed by Ringo and his band, so for I'm sure any Ringo fans out there would love to have a copy of this. There is also a karaoke version of the song, for those that aren't familiar with the melody when singing along to this book. == The Song == The song was the second song Ringo had written, The first was 'Don't Pass Me By' from the 1968 album 'The Beatles' or as it is commonly known 'The White Album'. The song came about while Ringo was on holiday aboard Peter Sellers' boat of the coast of Sardinia. The Captain of the boat told Ringo all about Octopus's and how they look for shiny objects on the sea bed and build little gardens with them. George Harrison helped Ringo out with the song, the credit on the album has no mention of this and it is credited to Richard Starkey (Ringo's real name). The song is similar to 'Yellow Submarine', in that it is basically a children's song, and has a catchy sing-along feel to it. == Price == At the time of writing this review you can buy this book for £9.09 from www.amazon.co.uk, I think I paid around £7.99 for my copy, so it has gone up slightly, it is still worth the money for under £10.00 though. == Verdict == Lily-May loves this book and it is another fantastic way to introduce your child to The Beatles, I have seen other books on Amazon in the same vein, such as Bob Dylan's 'Forever Young', which is next on my hit list. I love how they have turned this classic song into a children's book, I think it is a great idea and I hope they do a lot more similar ones. The first week that Lily-May got this book I got my money's worth out of it, I have read this so much and it's great that she can sing-along to it too. I found it hard to not raise a chuckle when I first heard Ringo's narration of it, especially when he threw in the odd unexpected question, it sounded quite cheesy to an adult, but Lily-May enjoyed it and answered accordingly, it is a children's book after all. The book is of great quality and it doesn't look out of place on her shelf at all, and I am sure it will be read for many a time to come. This book gets 5/5 stars from me, most of them are for the idea of turning the song into a children's book, a must have for any young Beatles fan out there.
== Introduction == My daughter Lily-May has just recently discovered The Beatles, like my brother who brainwashed me when I was young, I have done the same with her. Well, I haven't brainwashed her as such (don't want to be reported to social services for cruelty), she has just picked up a number of songs as I have played them. The thing about The Beatles, is they catered for all age groups and there is a vast amount of sing-along songs that mainly Paul wrote that cater for children, the main one being 'Yellow Submarine', which is one of the main songs that Lily-May loves to sing at the top of her voice (I use the word "sing" very loosely, "shout" would have probably been a more apt term). For Lily-May's fourth birthday I decided to purchase the DVD of the film 'Yellow Submarine', which is a good place to start as it is animated, I also decided to purchase this book to accompany with film (double brainwashed). == The Story == The film was released in 1968 and was a psychedelic animated adventure. The book tells the fictional tale of a place called Pepperland (a reference to the 'Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band' album), and a band of blue people called The Blue Meanies. The blue meanies hate anything to do with love and music and decide to invade Pepperland, turning it into a desolate wasteland, where music is obsolete. An old sea captain, Captain Fred, tries to save the Lord Mayor, and the Lord Mayor tells him to climb in the Yellow Submarine and get help. The submarine travels to Liverpool, where Captain Fred enlists the help of The Beatles and they travel back to Pepperland. The bulk of the book centres around The Beatles journey to Pepperland, where they have many little adventures along the way and meet various interesting characters, including Jeremy the 'Nowhere Man', this was Lily's favourite part of the book, when we got to that part of the book she would sing 'Nowhere Man', so you can have a little bit of interaction if your child has the film too. Will The Beatles be able to save the day? You'll have to read it and find out. The book is hardback and comes with a dust jacket, which I have taken off and kept away in a safe place to prevent it from getting damaged, the main body of the books cover has the exact same image that is on the dust jacket. The book is packed with illustrations that have been taken from the film and it is a great way to introduce a child to each member of the fab four, and it has a great message about love and peace. Hardcover: 40 pages Publisher: Walker; Midi Edition edition (1 Sep 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 1844289230 ISBN-13: 978-1844289233 Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 19.7 cm == Price == You can purchase this book from www.amazon.co.uk for £5.99 including postage, which isn't too bad, as the book is of good quality, I certainly didn't expect it to have a dust jacket. == Verdict == I actually like the book, it is a condensed down version of the film, although I did find it quite wordy for a four year old. I think this would be a good purchase for an older child, possibly eight years and over, as Lily-May did lose interest half way through the book, because of the amount of words, although this hasn't deterred her from asking me to read it to her. Some of the lines and especially the jokes are aimed at older children, so quite often, the humour was lost on my daughter. Overall I will still give this 5/5, it is a nice read and I'm sure if Lily-May was just that little bit older she would appreciate it more, it is a good companion to the film nonetheless and a must have for any Beatles fan.
== Introduction == At the beginning of the year I started selling some items on Ebay to earn some extra pennies. I eventually got the bug and it became so addictive, that I was rapidly running out of things of my own to sell, I needed a niche. My brother buys and sells antique jewellery on Ebay and I though it would be courteous of me not to compete against him in that market, I remembered something he said about old toy cars though. I had a look around Ebay and bought some joblots of Dinky and Corgi cars, and started selling them on individually, I found it quite easy to turn £26.00 into £52.00, I know it's not going to make me a millionaire, but a profit is a profit in my book. As I was buying and selling these models on, I became more and more intrigued by them, I didn't just see them as an object of sale, I saw them as little works of engineering. I started keeping the odd one or two back, as I had heard about people restoring them and either giving them away as presents or selling them on at a higher value. I decided that if I was going to start collecting these pieces, even to sell on, I would need some sort of reference book, I mean there are lots of sites you can go on and gather information, but you usually need to use about three or four sites to get the information you need, what I needed was something that had all the information in one single place. The first book I looked for was 'The Great Book of Dinky Toys' by Mike and Sue Richardson, it is long out of print and it will cost quite a lot of money to buy a copy, so I settled for 'Dinky Toys and Modelled Miniatures' by the same authors. Right, that was the Dinky book sorted and now I needed one for Corgi, that was when I saw this book.... == The Author == Marcel Van Cleemput affectionately known as 'Mr Corgi', was a French toy designer who moved to Britain in 1935 and in 1954 he joined the newly founded Mettoy company, where he designed the very first Corgi model; The Ford Consul. Since then, he has overseen the designs for every Corgi model including models of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Aston Martin DB5 from 'Goldfinger'. He was with the company from their first models, right through to 1983 when the company went into liquidation. He went on to write and compile this book, which has been classed as 'The Bible' amongst Corgi collectors. Marcel sadly passed away on 15th March 2013 at the age of 86, and this book and its contents are his legacy, and as long as there are Corgi collectors his legacy will live on. == The Book == The book starts off with an introduction and a background of the company, from it's early days under the name Mettoy, to it's change of factory and change of name (we also hear why Corgi was named so, the clue is in where they were eventually based). The whole book is in chronological order from Part 1 1956-1983 (the years Corgi was in production), and then Part 2 1984 Onwards, post liquidation. Each year has a page (or two - three in some cases) with a list of all the models produced for that year, with the number of sales for each model, the scale in which they were made, when they were withdrawn from production and colours each model came in. Throughout each year there is an informative description on each model made and in the order they were made in, some of the stories on how certain models came into production are fascinating, i.e. When Corgi produced the Corporal Missile & Loading ramp it was only by chance they actually got to take the measurements and sketchings of it, as there was very little on the television about it. The missile just happened to be transported and was going past the authors house, when he jumped in his car and gave chase, hoping to get in front of it to take some photographs. By coincidence the transporter stopped near Corgi's offices and the driver asked where he could get a cup of tea, so with a cup of tea in hand for the driver who was told to take his time, the draughtsmen, model makers and artists were called out to sketch and photograph the missile and transporter. The book is littered with little stories like this, some of the stories behind the models are pretty basic, but there are a few of them such as the James Bond vehicles and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that really stand out and make this book a worthwhile read. Corgi were an innovative company when it came to die-cast models, and their is a page dedicated to the design features of Corgi Toys, starting from windows in 1956 (Corgi's main rival at the time, Dinky, had been producing toy cars without windows and Corgi's slogan was "The ones with windows"), through to Trans-O-Lite (a way of piping reflective light often using a fiber optic panel, when the panel is covered, the headlights are off and when the panel is uncovered the lights come on), musical movement in 1965 (There was an ice cream van that had a little hurdy gurdy with a handle that would play an ice cream chime) right up to Corgi-Tronics in 1981 (a range of vehicles that would have electronic sounds added to them, which you would either operate remotely or manually), there are many other inventions in between, but I didn't want to give too much away. Each chapter starts with a little taster of whats to come, and each chapter ends with a little bit of a recap and also a lot of information regarding sales of each model. The book is littered with colour and black and white photographs, diagrams and blueprints of some of the designs. Every model mentioned in this book has an accompanying photograph, some other books I have read on the subject haven't shown every photograph, and it this has left me guessing what the model looks like. I quite like the section that chapter 31 deals with; 'What Might Have Been', this gives information on prototypes that didn't quite make it to the finished article, such as the Bay City Rollers Roller (Pictured), there is also a distasteful hearse complete with coffin amongst many other little gems. Part 2 of the book covers the years 1983 - 2010, it seems to move through these years quite quickly, as Corgi slowed down its productions and became more of a developer for the collectors market (initially Corgi's target market were children, and they were a primarily a toy manufacturer, this is why mint condition models from the 1950's and 1960's fetch quite a lot of money at auction). I don't really care for the collectors models, I would much prefer a battered old vintage toy from the 1960's to one of the models that Corgi are producing now. The Appendices section of the book gives a nice little biography of the books author, 'Mr Corgi' himself; Marcel Van Cleemput through is years with Mettoy/Corgi and then onto forming his own company 'Technical Design Services' in the 1980's, who were responsible for the invention of the first commercial cold cure machine (which did sell really well, but had to be withdrawn because it was outselling Boots cold medicines, that figures), and the first ever laptop computer for Thorn EMI. Hardcover: 396 pages Publisher: New Cavendish Books; Rev Rei edition (30 Nov 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 1904562108 ISBN-13: 978-1904562108 Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm == Price == The book is quite expensive at £27.90 from www.amazon.co.uk, but this has come down in price from the £45.00 RRP. I had traded in a few of my old university books, so it took some of the cost down a bit. I think it is good value for money and it is the only place I have seen nearly every Corgi model in one place. == Verdict == I love this book, it is quite a large book and so it sits in the pride of place on my coffee table, quite often when people come to visit they have a flick through the book. This has been a great source of reference and information, it has proved invaluable when compiling my Ebay listings, I believe it helps sell the models I have for sale if I have a little bit of detailed information about the model. Before I bought this book I saw a number of reviews on Amazon from disgruntled collectors, who were comparing this book with the previous edition, now, since I didn't have the previous edition to compare it to, I was none the wiser and so I looked at this book as the only edition. I have heard the previous edition is a lot better than this edition, but unless you're a really serious collector with a lot of spare money to spend on a few extra pages, then I really recommend this book, as it is the only book out there that you can still buy in brand new condition. I would definitely recommend this book for any toy enthusiast, or even anyone looking for a good walk down memory lane, even as a child of the late 70's and early 80's, I have found lots to look at that I forgot I even owned and now wish I still had. All in all this is a fantastic book and at £27.90 with free postage it is an absolute bargain and it definitely gives my coffee table a nice talking point when people come round.
Most people have heard of Bruce Lee; the master of kung fu/the movie star. I have never been a fan of his, martial arts films have never interested me at all. Why then would I go out of my way to read this book, you might ask? Well it was one of those happy accidents really, I had stopped smoking and was sorting my diet out, as I had let my body go a little over the years. I started getting into keeping fit and was looking for ways to tone and shape up my body, I was starting to feel good, and I wanted to look good too. Whilst looking through lots of youtube videos, different muscle building websites etc, I came across a few posts where people had talked of Bruce Lee's build. I looked at images of him and noticed he wasn't a big stocky muscle man, he was lean and trim and just really well toned, his muscles were really well defined. Now, I thought to myself, "I will never be as toned as him in a million years, age isn't on my side anymore, but if I can take some of his training techniques and apply them into my own training, I shall at least be a lot fitter than I already am". I read more and more posts on Bruce's training methods, and the more I read online, the more people kept mentioning this book. I downloaded it in PDF format initially, from a torrent site (oh the shame), after reading a couple of chapters on the computer, I decided to go and buy a hard copy (I think proper books are better than PDF/digital books, call me old fashioned, but that's the way I prefer to read a book). == About the book == This book was compiled by John Little as part of the Bruce Lee library, this is volume 4 of the collection, I haven't read the other books in the series, as they aren't continuations i.e. you don't have to read volumes 1-3 to be able to understand the information in this book. The book goes into great detail about how Bruce Lee's physique was created, compiled from his personal notes, diaries, letters, reading annotations, and also from interviews with people who knew him well. There is a page where different people who knew him spoke about Bruce's physique and the one that really stood out for me was from Chuck Norris, "Bruce took off his T-shirt, and I marvelled again, as I always did every time I saw his physique, he had muscles on muscles." , I thought that saying just summed up his physique really well. The book contains 24 chapters, with some of them dedicated to different muscle groups, some exercise routines for beginners, and some that a beginner would struggle with. The book also contains training routines designed by Bruce Lee for his students and also a compendium of Bruce's training routines (this made really interesting reading, how he managed his day around training). There is one saying in this book that serves as my motivation when I am out running, which Bruce Lee said to a student "If you put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into the rest of your life. It'll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits, there are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them, even if it kills you, a man must constantly exceed his level". This book also explains in detail exactly why he decided to build his body up the way he did, he was one of the first martial artists that saw that doing martial arts training was not enough to be a complete fighter, strength, muscle and stamina played a big part too. == Price & Further Information == I purchased this book from Amazon.co.uk. It was £24.99 to buy it new, but I decided to get a second hand copy, which cost me £11.50 including postage, and it is in fantastic condition. Sometimes when it comes to books, second hand copies are fine, it's not like I'm going to frame it or anything. Whilst reviewing the book I have seen it reduced from £24.99 to £15.84 including postage. Paperback: 256 pages Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (27 Oct 1998) Language: English ISBN-10: 0804831297 ISBN-13: 978-0804831291 Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 21.1 x 27.4 cm == Verdict == Although this book probably wouldn't suit someone looking to read the story about Bruce's life, I think this book is fantastic, it is a great source of inspiration for myself. It is also worthy of noting, this book will not teach you how to be good at kung fu, there is in fact only a small portion throughout the book that deals with martial arts, the majority of this book is about training and building muscle. I will probably not use some of the exercise routines in this book, but I have been doing what Bruce Lee did, and using the exercises what are relevant to me. I also think this book is a great insight into the training routines, ideas and how Bruce came about some of the methods he used to get his body in shape. The book is packed with lots of black and white photographs, training routines, and bits of trivia from people who knew him and trained with him, including his widow Linda. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to build their muscle up or anyone who is a fan of Bruce Lee. At the beginning of this review I stated that I have never been a fan, this book has changed my mind after reading the lengths he put himself through to get the level of fitness and strength that he had. Bruce's old sparring partner Chuck Norris states in the book that Bruce was probably pound for pound, one of the strongest people in the world at one time, yet he is more famous as a martial artist, than as a strongman. After reading this book and with a lot of practice you too will be able to do push ups using only your thumb and index finger!
== Introduction == I have just rediscovered the author Irvine Welsh, having not read anything he has written since 1994's 'The Acid House'. I decided to buy the Trainspotting trilogy and I had seen the trailer for a film called 'Filth', which is based on one of Welsh's novels. I decided before seeing the film that I would read the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was whilst reading 'Filth' that I found out there was a sequel featuring one of the characters from the book and I decided to buy that too. In between reading 'Filth' and reading the sequel 'Crime', I had started to read 'Trainspotting', when 'Crime' arrived through the post, I decided to read the first page, just to see what it was all about... == The Story == The story is set ten years after the events in the previous book 'Filth'. 'Crime' is kind of a sequel, in that it does reference some of the events in Filth and also some of the characters, but it can also be read as a standalone book and would be easy to follow. Ray Lennox is a police officer working in Edinburgh, he has a cocaine habit and is currently going to Narcotics Anonymous. After finishing up a harrowing child sex murder case, his boss orders him to take a break, to avoid him having a mental breakdown. He goes to Miami, Florida, with his wife to be Trudi, who is too busy trying to plan their wedding to really understand Ray's demons. After an argument Lennox finds himself alone in Miami and seeks solace in a bar, where he meets Starry and Robyn. Following a coke fueled cocaine and alcohol binge, he comes into contact with Robyn's daughter Tianna, another victim of sexual abuse and he decides he must protect her at all costs, he's already lost one girl to a sexual predator back in Edinburgh, he is determined that he isn't going to lose another. The book flicks back and forth between the events that lead up to his vacation and the present time, so you get a clear picture of what happened with the child sex murder case and it helps you understand the character more. You also get to know more about his relationship with Trudi and how the wedding plans came about, this all amounts to the stress that Lennox is under throughout the course of the book. I quite liked the way the book did flick back and forth, it played it out like a movie and I would imagine this book would translate really well to the big screen. Paperback: 352 pages Publisher: Vintage (2 July 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 009950698X ISBN-13: 978-0099506980 == What Others Have Said == "Powerful...A bracing and engaging read" - Daily Telegraph "You never know what you're going to get with Irvine Welsh, other than guaranteed intelligence. But what you get here is a triumph. A brave take on paedophile rings and the minds, fast and slow, behind them...There are echoes of 'Rebus' of Christopher Brookmyre, even of Carl Hiaasen... There's only one Welsh and you should be reading him again" - The Observer "Crime is by some distance Welsh's most restrained and thoughtful work" - The Times == The Author == Irvine Welsh was born in Leith in Edinburgh and throughout his life he has had many different jobs before opting to study an MBA at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. It is rumoured that whilst on breaks from his studies Irvine wrote his first novel, 'Trainspotting' which was published in 1993 in the library. He has since gone on to write a further seven novels and various plays and collections of short stories. Welsh's novels usually have characters in them from the seedier sides of the town, and more often than not, Edinburgh is the setting, although not the glamorous Edinburgh from the tourist guide books. == Price == I purchased this book from www.amazon.co.uk in paperback for £5.75 including postage, the RRP on the back of the book is £7.99, you can also buy the Kindle edition for £5.22. == Verdict == Well, after reading that first page, I couldn't put the book down, 'Trainspotting' got discarded for a few days, while I read this. I didn't think I would have the same passion for this book, as it is mainly set in Florida and not in my home town for a change, there are a lot of places mentioned in the book that I couldn't relate to as much as I would if it were set in Edinburgh. During the course of reading the book when it flashed back to Edinburgh, I found myself wanting to get back to the Florida pages, as I found that part of the story more gripping. This is one of the darkest books I have ever read, compared to other Irvine Welsh novels and is not for the faint hearted. The content matter deals with pedophilia, murder and drug use, so if you aren't of a strong disposition then it is probably not wise to read this book. The books I have read by Irvine Welsh prior to this have all had a nice comic element to them, I didn't find it with this book, I found reading this to be quite similar to watching a good thriller, with every page turn I found myself gripped. This novel sees Welsh dig really deep into the bowels of human society, this book is so far removed from anything else I have read by the same author. After reading this I can move back to reading the 'Trainspotting' trilogy, but I have to say, this novel is going to take some beating. Overall I am going to give this 5/5, an absolutely stunningly captivating read.
== Introduction == For my daughters main Christmas present of 2012 I bought her an Innotab 2 children's learning tablet, it's been a great purchase and I've had my money's worth out of it ten times over. Recently Lily-May has been getting into Hello Kitty and for her birthday I bought her a Hello Kitty scooter and I decided to get her this Innotab Game, despite my own feelings on the Hello Kitty brand. == The Product == The Hello Kitty cartridge is compatible with the Innotab 2 and the newer Innotab 3S, which only came out a year after I bought the Innotab 2 unfortunately for me. For anyone that hasn't bought an Innotab for their child, I highly recommend it, there are some great learning apps out there for children and this is just one of them. As with all the other Innotab cartridges, this one is also designed to help with the school curriculum. The instruction booklet explains what part of the curriculum each learning game on the cartridge helps with, for example; Cake Time on this cartridge deals with colours/shapes/memory skills. This cartridge is split into three sections; Interactive Story, Learning Games, & Creativity. After the cartridge has loaded up, we see a little animated screen with all the different activities on the cartridge, and to do each activity you just tap an icon with your finger. ===The Story=== Each cartridge comes with an interactive story and this one comes with 'Hello Kitty's Surprise'. Each page is interactive, you can tap on the illustrations to watch some animation or hear Hello Kitty and her friends say something. There are also certain words, which are highlighted in red and clicking on them prompts a little box to pop up explaining what that word means, such as "wondered - When Hello Kitty wondered who would be at the party, she was thinking about it because she was not sure". The pages of the story turn automatically after about a minute, this is usually a lot longer than your child will probably need on the page, so your child can turn the pages manually swiping his/her finger across the screen. The story has different modes, you can have it narrated, or you can read it yourself, when it is being narrated each word turns red as it is being read and then changes back to blue when the whole page has been read, except for the keywords, which are highlighted red. The story on this cartridge isn't that great, and even Lily-May rarely plays the story, it just doesn't have the same appeal as previous interactive stories she has read and at the end of the story there is an option to read it again and Lily-May always touches "No". The story basically follows Hello Kitty as she is trying to organize a surprise party for her friends. ==Learning Games== This cartridge has three learning games on it, which I shall explain in more detail below, the games are Cake Time, Hello Kitty The Magician, and Dance To The Music. === Cake Time === This game has two difficulty settings, easy or difficult, there is no in between level, although, the difficult setting isn't that much harder than the easy setting, it does provide a bit more of a challenge for your child though. The game starts off by asking you to pick a coloured item and drag it onto a cake with your finger. This is good for helping your child with colours, Lily-May found this to be too easy and whizzed through it. At the end of the colours part of the game, you get a time limit to rearrange the items on the cake, this is just a bit of fun to make your child feel he/she has accomplished something. The next part of the game is a memory game, two characters are displayed and above their heads of a short time limit are the items of food they want, your child should pay attention and memorize what each character wants, at the bottom of the screen are three items and you have to drag the correct item to the correct plate. I found the second part of the game to be a good test for Lily-May, she didn't find it too easy and got a few of them wrong, you get three life's, so it does provide a bit of a challenge. The next part of the game deals with shapes, another game that Lily-May found really easy, a shape is called out and you have to drag the corresponding shaped topping onto the cake. Then we go back to the memory game, which is slightly harder with three things to remember, on the easy level two of the characters are having the same food item, so it isn't too challenging. At the end of the easy level of the game you are given the option to try something more challenging, tapping on "Yes", lets you play this game on the difficult level. Curriculum - Colours / Shapes / Memory Skills === Hello Kitty The Magician === As with the previous game, you are given the option to select the easy level or difficult level. The first part of the game your child has to count the balls on the table and tap the magicians assistant who is wearing the corresponding number on his hat. You get two rounds of this and after each round Hello Kitty does a bit of magic, before moving onto the next round. This is one round of shape sorting, your child has to drag and drop buckets in order from largest to smallest, Lily-May found these first rounds really easy, I can see how it fits in well with the curriculum though. We then have another counting round before the final round of shape sorting, with more buckets this time, in the same order, from largest to smallest. This was probably the easiest game on this cartridge, it wasn't long until Lily-May was onto the difficult level. Curriculum - Numbers / Maths / Logic === Dance To The Music === The first game on this is a matching game, you have to match the silhouette of the musical instrument with the musical instrument, when you get it right the narrative explains what the instrument is and what family it belongs to i.e. brass family, string family etc, I think this is quite good for familiarizing your child with different instruments and the families they belong to. Lily-May has a couple of toy instruments that are depicted in this game and she now knows what family they belong to due to playing this game. The next game uses the motion sensor of the Innotab to make Hello Kitty dance, depending on which direction sign is showing on the screen e.g. right arrow, left arrow etc. We then go back to the silhouettes game, before finishing off with some more directions. This was the most challenging game on here, Lily-May struggled a little with the directions, the silhouette game was pretty easy and educational too. Curriculum - Musical Instruments / Directions ==Creativity== Just so your child doesn't get bored with all the game playing and puzzle solving, this is the section for your child to let their creative side out. === Hello Kitty Greeting Card === On this little app your child can create their own virtual Hello Kitty greetings card. First of all your child can choose from six different coloured backgrounds for his/her card. Then your child can add different decorations to the card, followed by adding different greeting lines e.g. "Happy Birthday" etc. When your child is happy with the card he/she can save it, you can also save it half way through creating the card and come back to it at a later date. This is just a little fun app that your child can mess around with, there are no rules on this app and your child can really make some lovely virtual greetings cards, this would help when making a proper greetings card for someone. .Curriculum - Creativity === Hello Kitty Album === This allows your child to create their own photo frame. Your child can select from a few photo frames on offer and choose whether he/she wants to add a photo to the frame or to make changes to it. When you make changes to the frame your child just drags and drops the decorations on the frame to wherever they want to put them on the frame, so there isn't much a child can really do here, and Lily-May found this quite boring. When your child is happy with the frame you can add a photo by selecting a pre taken photograph from the Innotab's photo gallery, this could be a photo your child has previously taken or one of the built in photos. Curriculum - Creativity === Hello Kitty Camera === This allows your child to take photographs with Hello Kitty backgrounds. Your child can either click on photo studio or gallery. When photo studio is clicked the Innotab's camera opens up and your child can scroll along to the desired background for their photograph and take a picture. Your child can then save their photograph in the gallery for later viewing. Lily-May has used this once and has taken a photo with it, although I am not sure who or what she was snapping away at, it is quite dark. Curriculum - Creativity ==Price== You can purchase this from www.amazon.co.uk for £9.99, which is about a reasonable price for these cartridges, it cost me £19.99 last year, so it has come down in price a little. ==Verdict== I wasn't too enamored by this cartridge and neither was Lily-May, I had expected a little more from it, considering her previous cartridges have kept her entertained for hours. I am not a big fan of the Hello Kitty brand as a whole, although Lily-May is and I expected her to really enjoy playing it, this is now the most least played cartridge in her collection and it is little wonder that you can now buy it for less than ten pounds. The plus side of this cartridge is the music game, Lily-May is starting to really get into music at the moment and familiarizing her with the various instruments is quite a good thing. The game is marked for ages 4-6, and to be honest, I think a 6 year old would be bored with this within an hour of playing on it, I think a 3 year old would have no trouble playing this and would find the majority of the tasks on here quite tedious. Overall I can only award this a low 2/5 stars, it just didn't live up to Lily-May's expectations
== Introduction == For Lily-May's Christmas I decided to build up her games cupboard, she already had snakes and ladders and a Toy Story card game, and I wanted to get her a couple of more games that we could play together. The first game I purchased was Connect Four, and Lily-May had seen a few adverts for games like Doggie Doo, and wanted that, but I had seen bad reviews about it so decided to look for an alternative. When browsing the amazon website I came across this game, and then I saw the advert for it and it looked quite good, so I bookmarked it until I had the spare money to buy it. When it came to buying this game from Amazon it had gone up in price to £22.00, so I found it on Toys R Us website for £10.67 and collected it instore. == What is it? == Pig Goes Pop is a game for two - six players aged 4+, and is made by a company called Drummond Park. The object of the game is to feed the pig burgers and whoever feeds the pig the burger that causes his stomach to explode, loses the game. The game consists of one large plastic pig, dressed in a chefs outfit, four red, four, yellow, four green and four purple coloured burgers, and one die with coloured sides. There are only four coloured burgers, so on the other two sides of the die are a miss a turn side, and a pick any coloured burger side. To play the game the player rolls the die and picks the corresponding burger to the colour the die lands on. On the underside of the burger there are numbers ranging from 1 - 4, so a player then looks at the number, pops the burger in the pigs mouth and pumps the pigs head up the corresponding number of times, then another player takes a turn, and so on. Lily-May needed a little help pumping the pigs head, and sometimes you feel that you haven't actually pumped it enough at all. Eventually the pig will have had enough burgers and his stomach will pop open, when that happens the game is over, so depending on the number of players you could have 1-5 winners, which seems odd, so you are probably better off playing it with two people. To restart the game, you turn the pigs tail to expel any air out, remove the burgers from the back compartment on the pig, and clip his belt up. The game doesn't come with instructions enclosed, these are written on the back of the box, and it is fairly easy to get the hang of them. There is no skill involved in this game, it is a simple game of luck and Lily-May soon got bored with it, she would rather play Connect Four or even her Toy Story card games that she got for her Christmas last year. == Price == As I have mentioned earlier, this was originally £10.67, but went up to £22.00 on www.amazon.co.uk, it has now gone up to £28.99 from there, which is far too expensive for what it is. Toys R Us have this game for £9.99 on their website, it is probably a little bit more expensive in store, although if you reserve it online and take proof of their online price, you will be able to purchase it for the online price. == Verdict == I was extremely disappointed in this game and Lily-May wasn't too impressed with it either. We have only played it a handful of times, before it was put back in the cupboard, and each time I've had to tell her that the pig has popped. On the television adverts it seemed that when the big popped it was like some big explosion, instead what happened was something similar to when you light a firework and it doesn't go off properly. It even says on the box "Feed the pig and watch him get bigger until...pop!", I didn't notice the pig get bigger at all. I wish I had read similar reviews on this product before buying this and I am glad I managed to get it for £10.67 instead of the £22.00 it went up to on www.amazon.co.uk, as I would have felt really ripped off. This was the game I was so excited about playing with Lily-May and it just didn't live up to its expectations, especially after rushing about at the last minute to ensure Lily-May got this game, so unfortunately I can only award this 2/5 stars.
== Introduction == Now that my daughter is starting to appreciate music, largely my fault, and partly Dooyoos fault (due to the many music reviews I have written). She often asks me what a certain song is called when she hears me playing it while writing a review, so her tastes range from The Beatles, Wings, Petula Clark and The Jam at the moment. For her Christmas Santa brought her a stereo and a few CDs and I had put some songs on her Innotab, but I wanted her to have something more portable. Lily-May had received some Argos vouchers from her auntie and I saw this at a reduced price, and I thought it would be perfect for her. == What is it? == The Philips GoGear Mix is part of Philips MP3 player range, which has lots of MP3 players at various degrees of storage size, some play videos etc too. The version I am reviewing plays MP3, Wav and WMA files. This product has an inbuilt battery, which means that you just have to plug it into a USB port on a PC/Laptop to charge it, I prefer inbuilt batteries, as it saves having to change batteries all the time. It also has a fast charge, which can give you an hours use for a six minute charge, pretty fast in my opinion. The screen size is 1 inch, the whole unit measures H8.25, W2.45, D1.59cm, which is quite petite and a nice discrete size. The GoGear Mix doesn't weigh much either, only 22g, so it is nice and light. I MP3 player comes in various colours, Argos have two available; Black and Pink, although I have seen it in blue, like the product photograph on here, I purchased the pink one for my daughter. This product has a plastic clip on it, so you can clip it onto an item of clothing and in order to charge/transfer music, you just pull the clip off to reveal the USB. On a full charge the device has 15 hours of battery life, which is quite a substantial amount of battery life for such a little device, meaning that even for the longest of journeys it will still go on playing. You get a quick start guide with images to help you understand how all the functions work. I found this to be complicated in parts and I learned more about the device just by playing around with it, that is why I have went into a lot of detail below. == Transferring Music Across == The MP3 player is really easy to transfer music onto it, you simply plug it into your laptop/computer and open up the music folder inside, then it is just a case of dragging and dropping (copying/cutting and pasting) a song into the music folder. On the first use there are a couple of sample tracks, which I just deleted; I can't imagine Lily-May wanting to listen to waves crashing or the sound of rain. The 4Gb GoGear Mix holds approximately 1000 songs, possibly more songs than my child would need (I have only put 28 songs on it for her so far), but it has given me plenty of room to build up her collection as she gets into more music. == Functions == === Play/Pause === This is the main button on the device, it not only operates as a play/pause button, but it is the main selector button similar to "enter" on a keypad. You also press this button to switch the device on and you hold it in to switch the device off. After a period of no use, the device automatically switches off, handy for when Lily-May just takes it off and leaves it lying dormant. === Lock === The device has a lock button, which you press and hold to lock and unlock the device, I think this is quite a handy little button. We've all been there, you're out having a morning run and the "next track button" accidentally brushes against your body, resulting in skipped songs, the lock button prevents this from happening. The lock button also doubles as the function button, just tapping it you can scroll through the different functions on the device, such as the microphone and radio, which I will explain in more detail below. === Volume === My only gripe with this device is that whenever you turn it on, the volume is always locked at 8 and 8 on this is about 2 on any other similar device I have used. In order to increase the volume you hold the volume up button in and then when the screen display says "Do you wish to increase the maximum volume?", you use the next track or previous track buttons to select either "yes" or "no" and then press the play/pause button to select. The maximum volume on this device is 16 and according to the manual, the maximum output voltage is not greater than 150 mV, so it is not loud enough to give your ears any damage. === Next Track/Previous Track === These two buttons not only enable you to skip tracks or go back a track, but they also double as option buttons. For instance, when turning the maximum volume off, a message appears on the screen, giving you the option to say "yes" or "no", you press these buttons to scroll to the answer of your choice. === Microphone === The microphone is located at the bottom of the MP3 Player, I never have any use for this, I'm not sneaky. Although I can imagine it would come in handy for a student recording a lecture. I have freaked my daughter out with this, by recording "boo" and when she gets to that track I watch the look on her face. Using the microphone is very simple, you tap the "lock button", then scroll through the menu using the "next track/previous track button until you reach the display that says "Recordings", then you click on "Start voice recording", using the "play/pause button" you start your voice recording. When you are finished you press the "lock button" and you get an option to save your recording, using the "next track/previous track button", you scroll to either "yes" or "no". === Radio === The MP3 player has a built in FM radio, and it gives you the option to manual tune or auto tune it. The headphones act as the radio antenna and I found it picked up a clear station really quickly when using auto tune. You can also save the tuned in station in the presets folder. Again this is found using the "lock button" and scrolling through using the "next track/previous track buttons". === Settings === This function enables you to change a lot of the devices settings, such as volume settings and display settings. The device has a built in, very basic graphic equalizer, and you can change the settings for this. You can also restore it back to factory settings by scrolling through this folder. As with all the other functions, you can get to this function by using the "lock button" and scrolling through. There is also a manual reset button located next to the microphone, you just need to insert a pin into it. == Price == At the time of writing this review you can purchase this from Argos for £12.49 in pink, or you can buy the black one for £24.99, both have an RRP of £49.99, so you are getting quite a bargain. There is only one difference between the black one and the pink one, and that is the colour, so I have no idea why the black one is more expensive. == Verdict == This is a fantastic piece of kit and a great first MP3 player for Lily-May. Every parent out there who dreads the shopping trips with their child, should get one of these. Gone are the days when Lily-May, tries to run around the shop, shouting "I want that", putting stuff in my basket that I don't need, etc. Now I pop the MP3 player on her before we leave the house and she skips to the shop singing along. When we get to the shop she walks beside me singing along to herself, the days of her yapping constantly on a shopping trip when I am staring at a shelf trying to think of what to buy are long gone. The volume level doesn't go too loud, even when at full blast, and I also use children's headphones with it, rather than the earbuds supplied, so it doesn't blast her ears, she can still hear her music and she can still hear me when I speak to her. I wouldn't recommend this for an adult, or someone who likes their music loud, although I do have a little plug in amplifier to use with it when I want to blast my eardrums, but for a child, this MP3 player is perfect. The other thing I like about this MP3 player, is that it is compatible with Lily-May's stereo, it just plugs in and saves a lot of space on her shelf for CD's. I have found this device to produce a nice crystal clear sound and despite the low volume levels I will still give this 5/5 stars, as I did buy it for my daughter and it does the job it was intended for. If I were buying this for myself, however, I would give this only 3/5, as the volume just isn't loud enough for me.
== Introduction == For my daughters fourth birthday I decided to buy her the DVD 'Yellow Submarine', she had heard the title song when I was writing my review on The Beatles 'Revolver' album and loved it. I also bought her the book to accompany the film and as she is getting into music, I bought her a stereo and a few CDs for her Christmas, one of the CDs I bought was The Beatles 'Yellow Submarine Songtrack' (Since I bought her the film, I have heard her singing along to it). == Background == The animated film 'Yellow Submarine' was released in 1968 and as The Beatles were busy doing other things, actors were used to play the parts of the fab four. The Beatles did provide four original songs for the film and George Martin provided the musical score. Originally a soundtrack album was released, which included the four original songs, plus 'Yellow Submarine' and 'All You Need is Love' alongside the musical score which made up half of the album. For a number of years if you wanted to listen to all the songs from the film, you had to contend with the bulk of it being a musical score. As I don't care too much for musical compositions, it was very rare that I would listen to the soundtrack. As a companion to the 1999 re-release of the film this songtrack, which omitted the musical score and included most of the other non original songs that were in the film, even though a lot of the songs were only heard briefly in the film. == Track By Track == === Yellow Submarine === The title song from the film and one that originally appeared on The Beatles 1966 album 'Revolver'. This was a song written primarily by Paul for Ringo to sing (Ringo used to get a musical number on each of The Beatles albums, with the only exceptions to this being on 'A Hard Days Night' and 'Let it Be'. The song is a great children's sing along, with a catchy chorus to boot. === Hey Bulldog === The first of the original songs from the film to appear on this album, 'Hey Bulldog' was written primarily by John and Lily-May calls it "sweaty hands" from the line "Jack-knife in your sweaty hands". The song is very piano driven and was born out of the promotional video recording sessions for the single 'Lady Madonna'. The actual promotional video for 'Lady Madonna' has stills of the band recording this song. The song ends with impromptu dog barking performed by John and Paul, and it has a very catchy chorus of "you can talk to me, if you're lonely you can talk to me". === Eleanor Rigby === Another song from 'Revolver' and one of Paul's finest compositions in my opinion. This was the second song to appear in the film and is kind of a theme tune that leads us to our first encounter with Ringo, who complains that nothing exciting ever happens to him. This song tells the story of Eleanor Rigby, and Father McKenzie, two lonely people whose paths cross towards the end of the song, when Father McKenzie conducts Eleanor's funeral service. It is a sad song, with a catchy chorus; "All the lonely people, where do they all come from, all the lonely people, where do they all belong". === Love You To === The first song to appear on this album written by George, we don't hear the full song in the film, just a snippet when we first see George. The song is very sitar driven and is basically a precursor to George's contribution on 'Sgt. Pepper', 'Within You, Without You'. As with the previous song, this also appeared on 'Revolver', and in my opinion, is one of George's weaker tracks. Lily-May isn't too keen on this song and always skips this track, Indian music isn't her thing at the moment. === All Together Now === Another children's styled song, written and sung by Paul, this was played during the film and reprised at the end of the film when The Beatles appear as themselves. This song has a bit of a sea shanty feel to it and was first sung in the film when the band were setting off in the Yellow Submarine. This was one of my favourite songs when I was little and I can see now as an adult that it does still have that childlike appeal to it, it sounds like a modern day nursery rhyme, similar in style to '1,2,3,4,5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive". === Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds === This is the first song from 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' to appear on this album. This is a great slice of psychedelia, and one that fit into the drug culture of the 1960's, largely because people read too much into the initials of the title L.S.D. It has since been widely documented that the title of the song came from a drawing John Lennon's son Julian had drawn of his classmate Lucy in the sky with diamonds, believe what you will, this is a great song. The song uses a lot of imagery of "cellophane flowers" and "newspaper taxis", not to mention the "girl with kaleidoscope eyes". === Think For Yourself === Another one of George's compositions, this song originally appeared on 'Rubber Soul' and is distinctive with its fuzzbox guitar. In my opinion this is one of George's strongest Beatles compositions and it is a shame that it often gets hidden away on 'Rubber Soul' and this album, probably due to their being far stronger Lennon/McCartney compositions. I love Georges really droll Liverpudlian vocal on this song, in contrast to McCartney's put on American accent on a lot of his songs. === Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band === The title song for The Beatles groundbreaking album of the same name, and the opening track on that album. The song plays out like an introduction to a concert "We're Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, we hope you will enjoy the show". A testament of how great this track is, on the first weekend after the release of this album, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix had learned how to play it and played it at his concert in London. === With a Little Help From My Friends === As this was originally segued onto the end of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', we hear a little bit of it right after the band sing the previous song, although the full version doesn't appear in the film. This was a song written for Ringo to sing on the iconic album and he takes on the persona of Billy Shears, a fictional band member in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. This is another catchy song, in my opinion it isn't one of their best songs, this is probably down to the fact that I have heard it so many times, covered by various artists. === Baby Your a Rich Man === The whole song didn't appear in the film, only a snippet when The Beatles free Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band from the large bubble they are encased in. This song also appears on the 'Magical Mystery Tour' album, and was intended to be released on the original soundtrack for 'Yellow Submarine', before being relegated to the B-Side of 'All You Need Is Love'. This was a song made up of two parts, which were written by John and Paul individually. John had a song called 'One of The Beautiful People' and Paul had the 'Baby Your a Rich Man' chorus and the two were joined together, in a similar vein to 'A Day in The Life' from 'Sgt. Pepper'. In my opinion this is an underrated track, it has quite a catchy chorus, but is not a Beatles song that I have heard often, aside from listening to it on 'Magical Mystery Tour' and this album. === Only a Northern Song === The third of the four original compositions from the soundtrack, this was a song written and sung by George. This song was written and first recorded around the time of the Sgt. Pepper sessions and is a bit of a dig at the publishing company Northern Songs. As John and Paul were majority shareholders of the company, they earned more from George's songs than he did, so he sang "It doesn't really matter what chords I play, what words I say or time of day it is, as it's only a Northern song.". The whole song sounds a bit flat, although George does explain "he just wrote it like that", it really works though. Towards the songs conclusion it builds up into a crescendo of psychedelic noise. This is one of my favourite Harrison compositions and so underrated in my opinion, definitely too good to be lost on the soundtrack of this film. === All You Need Is Love === The Summer of Love anthem, 'All You Need Is Love' was first recorded for the live satellite broadcast 'Our World, which was the first live satellite broadcast. This was included in the film presumably because it fitted in with the theme that "Love is all you need". The song starts off with the intro to the French National Anthem and also includes snippets of Glenn Miller's pre war song 'In The Mood'. Overall lyrically the message was clear, that no matter how bad things get in the world "All You Need Is Love". The song appears in the film towards the end, when the peace and love music sung by The Beatles, helps to restore peace and harmony to Pepperland. === When I'm Sixty Four === Another jolly sing along song, a slice of music hall and another track from 'Sgt Pepper'. This is a Paul McCartney composition and appears in the film when the Yellow Submarine is passing through the Sea of Time. Apparently this was a song written by McCartney before the band were famous, and was thought of again when the band were recording 'Sgt. Pepper'. This isn't the greatest song by the band, and I wouldn't miss it if I never heard it again, but like 'All Together Now' it does appeal to younger fans, especially with its inclusion in the film. It is also one of those songs that you can't help but sing along to when you hear it, even if you dislike it. === Nowhere Man === This is my daughters favourite song at the moment and one I was sick of hearing by the time she went to her mums on Christmas Day, I think hearing it 10 times in a row was a bit too much. This is a song that was originally on the 'Rubber Soul' album and appears in the film when The Beatles meet a character called Jeremy, and they call him a nowhere man. I love the harmonies on this song, I have seen a video of them performing this live in Japan and when it came to the harmonies the band would wave at the audience, resulting in the audience screaming and muffling any bum notes. === It's All Too Much === The final original song on this album and the fourth George Harrison composition. This appeared in the film as the finale and it does have a finale feel to it. This is the longest song written and recorded by George during his time in The Beatles, it clocks in at just under six and a half minutes, although a lot of this is down to the extended outro, which has the band singing "with your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue" lifted from the Merseys number 4 hit 'Sorrow' (The original writers of this part of the song didn't get a songwriting credit). Even though this song is 6:28, it doesn't get boring like other long tracks I have heard and it is one of my favourite songs from the original 'Yellow Submarine' soundtrack. == Price == I purchased this from www.amazon.co.uk for £11.95 including delivery, which isn't a bad price. The CD came in a cardboard gatefold sleeve and a booklet with stills from the film and the names of all the tracks on each image. == Verdict == Lily-May was so excited when she opened this present, I had bought her a few children's albums for her too, but this was the one that got the best reaction. I don't think my neighbours were too pleased when she put it on her new stereo at full blast at 6am on Christmas morning. The album is packed with a great selection of songs from 'Rubber Soul' to 'Sgt. Pepper', some of them my daughter skips past, I don't think she is quite ready for the Indian themed 'Love You To', although this does have a nice selection of songs that weren't included on the original soundtrack album, but were included in the film.Overall this is a great album and much better than the original soundtrack in my opinion, this is a great starting point for offspring of fans of the fab four, 5/5 stars!
== Introduction == For this Christmas I decided to go with a Disney Princess theme, I figured with my daughter being four, I thought it was the right age to introduce my daughter to Disney princesses. I bought her the colour change Rapunzel doll after she had seen it advertised and claimed "I want that!". I then bought her the film 'Tangled' and once I had pretty much bought all her presents I noticed this set of jigsaw puzzles at a nice cheap price. == What Is It? == The Ravensburger Disney Rapunzel Puzzle is three 49 piece jigsaw puzzles in one box. Each puzzle measures 17 x 17cm when complete, so they are quite small and don't take up a great deal of space. All three puzzles have pictures on them taken from the Disney film 'Tangled', which is basically a jazzed up version of the fairytale 'Rapunzel'. The main picture on the box shows Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, with Rapunzel holding her long hair, another shows Rapunzel with a magic wand and her Chameleon Pascal, and another really shows off Rapunzel's hair. All three puzzles are really colourful and for any child that has seen the film, they have got characters they can relate to. Each puzzle has a similar floral border with a mixture of purples, pinks and yellows, which coincidentally goes well with the colour scheme of my daughters bedroom. Also included in the box are three mini posters with each of the scenes on the puzzles depicted on them, you can either stick these on your child's wall or keep them in the box for reference when doing the jigsaw puzzles. == Price == I bought these puzzles from www.amazon.co.uk for £5.99, which isn't too bad really, considering that I paid the same price for one Toy Story jigsaw puzzle. == Verdict == The recommended age for these puzzles is 5+, I know my 4 year old daughter is more than capable of doing these puzzles. These puzzles provide the challenge she needs, as the other puzzles she had prior to this were completed far too easily, resulting in a bored child. There is a "but" though, and it is a large "but", do not expect your five year old child to be able to do these puzzles when he/she first opens the box, to my horror I found that whatever idiot packaged these, decided to pack all three puzzles in one bag. Yes, one bag with the pieces of three jigsaw puzzles in it, and if you look at the puzzles you will notice that all the edges of them are similar in colour. This resulted in me having to waste an hour on Christmas morning completing all three puzzles simultaneously and then separating them into freezer bags (I didn't notice until now, that on the amazon website it says that each puzzle is marked separately for easy sorting). Lily has completed the puzzles since then, she has been told to take one bag at a time and put it away before getting another puzzle bag out. Looking back on it, it was fun doing the puzzles all at once, I like a challenge, although some of you might not, hence the warning above. Aside from all that I will still give this set 5/5 stars, as they do provide the stimulation and enjoyment that my daughter needs, and I got to do some puzzle solving myself, so two members of the family got enjoyment from them.
== Introduction == I was browsing around a local disount store a few days ago, I was waiting for my daughters mum to finish her shopping. I was having a look at the DVD rack, and I saw how cheap the DVD's were, so I decided that being the holiday season, I would look for some Christmas DVD's to watch with the little one. I saw 'Home Alone' for a really cheap price and that was the first thing to go in the shopping basket. == The Film == 'Home Alone' is a comedy caper written and produced by John Hughes, who was also responsible for numerous box office hits throughout the 80's, including 'The Breakfast Club', 'St Elmos Fire', 'Uncle Buck' and 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles'. It is the holiday season and the McCallister's are getting ready to go away for a Christmas vacation to France. After a fight with his older brother, 8 year old Kevin McCallister is sent to the attic room of the house as a punishment, where he wishes he never had a family. That night there is a small storm that knocks out a power cable, resulting in the McCallister family's alarm clocks resetting themselves, which in turn contributes to the family sleeping in. The family rushes out the door and eventually make it onto their plane, and are half way to France when the parents realize that they have left Kevin home alone. The film centres around Kevin's mum trying to get back to her son, and Kevin dealing with life on his own. There are some funny moments and some really heartwarming moments. The film really kicks in when two burglars brilliantly played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, attempt to rob the McCallister's house, only they weren't banking on one small problem......Kevin. == Soundtrack == 'Home Alone' was scored by John Williams, and as with other film scores such as the 'Star Wars' films, 'Jaws', 'ET The Extra Terrestrial' etc, the music fits in really well with the film. Being a Christmas film it is also packed full of festive songs such as 'White Christmas', 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' and 'Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree'. == DVD Extras == === 1990 Press Featurette === This is a four minute film that was given to the press to advertise the movie. This little feature includes clips from the film, with sound bytes from the cast and crew, discussing what the film is about. === The Making of Home Alone === A twenty minute feature documentary with interviews with the cast and crew detailing the making of the film, from script to screen. I thought this was quite interesting, it was good to see how some of the scenes came together and some of the actors points of views on the scenes. === Home Alone Around The World === Home Alone was a big hit all over the world and this little extra has various scenes from the film, translated into different languages from all over the world. Some of the scenes that weren't meant to be funny had a funnier element to them with a different language dubbed on top. === How To Burglar Proof Your Home: The Stunts of Home Alone === This seven minute featurette has the crew discussing the funniest parts of the movie, the slapstick stunts. It was quite interesting to see how some of the stunts happened, and how very little padding was used to perform them. === Where's Buzz Now? === The cast and crew discuss what may have happened to Kevin's older nasty brother Buzz, with some suggestions being that "He will probably have served time somewhere". The featurette finishes with the actor who played Buzz (Devin Ratray) in character explaining what he had been up to since the events of Home Alone. === Deleted Scenes/Alternate Takes === This section features fifteen different deleted scenes and alternate takes. I have never been a big fan of deleted scenes, I think if they have been deleted then they weren't good enough for the film, they were deleted for a reason. This didn't change my perception, I still think the best parts were included in the film, and the deleted scenes didn't add anything else to the film. === Blooper Reel === Actors forgetting their lines and falling over inappropriately are included in this two minute short. === Mac Cam: On Set With Macaulay Culkin === Put a camera in a nine year old actors hands and see the making of Home Alone through the eyes of the child star. === Trailers === Three of the original theater trailers for the film. === Games === Three fun games for the family to play, in '''Battle Plan''', you have to pick the traps to prevent the burglars getting you, in the same order that they appear in the film, if you guess wrong on three occasions, the burglars catch you and it is game over. This game is played out with cut scenes of the film. In '''Trivia Quiz''', you answer questions about the film using your remote control. In '''Head Count''', you have to keep a close eye on the film clips and answer the question that follows. == Price == I picked this up in a bargain store for the bargain price of £2.99. You can buy this from various different retailers for a reasonable price e.g. www.amazon.co.uk has it on DVD format for £3.00 including delivery or of you prefer to watch it on Blu-ray, you can buy it from the same place for £8.00. == Verdict == This is a timeless Christmas classic, although it could have been set at anytime during the year and would still have had the same comic appeal. I wasn't sure if Lily-May's attention span would be able to cope with a long film, and aside from a couple of moments where I had to tell her to sit down and watch the film, she sat through it really well. The funniest moments are reserved for Kevin's battles with the burglars and Lily-May was in absolute hysterics, even though I had seen this film countless times, so was I. This is a great film for all the family, I even managed to shed a little tear at the end, I must be getting emotional in my old age. I think this DVD is one for the fans, I personally wouldn't entertain any of the extras, having watched them once, I would, however, watch the film over and over again
I recently stopped smoking and went all out on a health and fitness kick, I had toyed with the idea of joining a gym, there are a few of them nearby. I then thought of the use I would get out of a gym membership, my daughter is in nursery part time, and she goes to stay with her mum every second weekend, then there's the school holidays, she would be with me most of the time. So the question I had to ask myself was, could I justify paying out £20 something a month for a gym membership? I figured that I have a massive park around the corner, that's the treadmill out of the way, because I could just go and run around the park when Lily is at nursery. I also have a loft conversion room, that is doing nothing, just lying empty. I decided if I purchased some weights and a couple of benches, that would be all I would need and I could use it when Lily is in bed or when she is at nursery. I had a look on Argos to see what they had in the way of equipment, when I saw this Pro-Power 13-in-1 adjustable training bench. == What is it? == The Pro-Power 13 -in-1 adjustable training bench is a workout bench that allows you to adjust it in 13 different settings, dependent on which part of the body you are working. I bought it primarily to do abs work on, but I have been using it for working my forearms and my biceps. The soft sponge roll bars serve to keep your feet/legs in place with relative comfort and the padded seat/backrest also stop your back from getting damaged. I haven't used all the different positions on this bench as it does the job that I bought it for in the first place, that's not to say I will never use all the positions, no doubt I will come across an exercise that I will need it for. == The Instruction Manual == The Instruction manual goes through all the important safety notices when using this equipment and also gives some general tips on how to maintain the apparatus. Following on from all the legal and safety notices, there are a few tips on how to warm up the muscles before attempting a workout, followed by some instructions on how to do certain exercises eg. Biceps curl, chest press, rows, and sit-ups, each exercise using a different position on the bench. The next pages are dedicated to building the bench, I have included a photograph, just so you can see what I was dealing with and what level of flat packing you need to be at before attempting this. == Building == The bench was pretty easy to build, the first snag I had was that I didn't have two adjustable spanners, so I quickly nipped to the shops and bought one for a couple of pounds. Putting the backrest on was a little tricky, out of the four holes on the backrest, only three of them seemed to align properly, eventually I just gave up with the fourth screw, I checked to make sure that it would be sturdy enough without it, and it was. Yes I could have sent it back and got a replacement, but I was looking forward to using my bench that weekend and I had paid extra to have it delivered on a Saturday. The next problem I had was that I couldn't seem to put the bench in all its different settings, I rang Argos and was about to go online and order a replacement, when I decided to take the thing to bits. It was after taking the seat off that I realised even though all the holes were aligned properly, there is only one way the seat can actually fit in order for the bench to be put in all its different positions. I fit the seat properly and bench worked fine. Yes, so as I was saying, the bench was pretty easy to build, considering the instructions were pretty weird, just as well I have a bachelors degree in flat pack furniture or it would have got sent back and I would have had the same problem with the replacement. == Price == I paid £69.98 for this bench and a set of Pro-Power 15KG Cast Iron Dumbell Set. I know for all you weight lifters out there 15KG isn't a lot, but for a beginner it will do for now. To buy the bench on its own it costs £49.99 in the Argos catalogue. == Verdict == Despite the problem I had with the backrest, the bench works really well and gets a lot of use. I even purchased a Pro Power Bench with Fly and Leg Curl, which gets used as well as this bench, I would say I use this bench a lot more though, mainly for leg raises and sit ups, occasionally for dumbells but that's only because I've got a couple of dumbells I keep downstairs for when I'm in the living room, reading or watching television. I had thought about moving this bench downstairs, as it would get even more use down here, but I have no room for it in my livingroom. I would definitely give this bench a 5/5 star rating, once this is built I can see this lasting a long time, well at least until I'm ready for much heavier weights anyway. This is a fantastic bench for beginners.