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==Samsung PL120 Digital Camera Purple== In need of a new and up-to-date camera around a year ago, I decided to go to trusty old Argos and purchase something that was going to be easy to use and practice with children. I find it totally baffling when looking through the Argos book or any other retailer as I am not at all technical and generally have no idea what I am meant to be looking for when it comes to purchasing items such as these. However I was in luck when this little beauty caught my eye, purely because it was on a better than half price offer in Argos at the time, which is the only real reason I bought it! ==Price and Availability== So the recommended retail price of this Samsung camera is around the £170 region. I paid a smidgen over £70 which is around the sort of price that I always seem to pay for my cameras and I personally wouldn't really want to spend out any more for one. Compared with other camera that offered what this camera does, at the time, you really couldn't get better value for money and this was really the only reason that I decided to purchase this one. Like I say I purchased mine in Argos although at the time this camera seemed to be in the shop window of a lot of high street retailers and you could pick it up on line quite easily. Now however it doesn't seem to be available other than second hand on various auction sites although you may be able to find a new one from the same sort of sites and generally at a fairly reasonable rate by the looks of things. However I am sure that Samsung have bought out a similar sort of camera just new and improved and this may be worth checking out too. ==Look and Design== The look of this camera is pretty funky really and far more appealing than any other camera I have owned previously. The one I have is a purple colour but I was aware at the time I bought it, you could also choose a lovely shiny red version or a boring silver one. The purple appealed to me because it is something that is a little different and quite eye catching. The other thing that appeals to me personally is that this camera doesn't look too fussy and has quite a minimal amount of buttons which makes it seem as though it would be easy to use and not too complicated. The front of the camera has the majority of the purple colourings with the good sized flash housed in the top left corner and the black lens taking up the right side of the device. There is also a small lens in the top right corner which is where the camera is able to take good selfie shots!by offering a front LCD panel. The side of the camera has the port where the USB adaptor can be put in so that you can connect to either your computer or use an extension cable to the plug so that the camera can be charged without being plugged into the computer. On the top of the camera there are three buttons of different sizes which are the large circular button being the take photo function, the small circular button being the power one and a small rectangle button being the button that will change the camera from taking a regular photo to taking one using the front LCD display. There is also a small speaker on top that works when using the video function of the device. The back of the camera is where you will see a good sized (2.7 inch) LCD display that just about leaves enough room for the neat little collection of buttons which are all labelled and easy to use. The top button is the zoom function which is used by either pushing and holding the protruding button down or up depending on whether you are zooming in or out. The other buttons include the menu, the mode, the play and one where you can choose the various types of settings such as flash, timer and the like. The camera uses a rechargeable lithium battery which of course comes with the camera upon purchase. This is housed easily in a little compartment located on the bottom of the camera. The cover of this section is very sturdy and I have never had any problems with it slipping open. Inside this covered area, along with the battery, is also where a small memory card is located. This is a micro SD 4GB card and again this came with the camera. It is easy to remove by the standard push in to remove method. ==General Use== So I have to admit now that this review is not going to be very technical at all as like I said at the beginning of this review I am not very technical minded and neither am I a keen photographer. I am purely a regular mother who like to take a few family snaps with easy and simplicity and this is what I hoped I would achieve when using this camera, and I was right. When turning on the camera the lens pops out of the device ready for action, the back screen lights up and immediately shows you what it can see through the view finder. On the screen are the settings which have been chosen to take the picture and from here it is easy to change any settings you might wish to. Pressing the menu button will bring up the options for the photo function however if you wish to take a video or do a more advanced photo feature change then the mode button would need to be pressed to bring up that menu. The display with each and every menu option is clear and easy to understand what you are doing for the most part. There really is quite a lot of option to choose from and I have to admit that I spent ages setting up what I find to be the best options for me and I haven't fiddled with it since. Of course I have changed the scene mode a few times when perhaps I am shooting a photo at night or in the bright sunlight and again this sort of thing is easy to find on the menu and quick to change. I like the option of having a "Smart Auto" function on the camera as this basically means the camera will find the faces of the people who you are taking a photo of and get the right focus on them rather than the background. I am not the best photographer so I do feel that the camera really is helping me along somewhat! By far the best option that I think the camera is wonderful for is the children mode. You have the option to set 1 of 5 sounds which will catch any child's attention and while these rather crazy beeping kind of clown noises are being played from the camera the front LCD display is also playing a cute little short film about a penguin. This has always grabbed the attention of any child I am taking a picture of although some times I can get quite an intense little child starring at the camera blank faced rather than a smile and a pose! But hey they are looking in the right direction! The camera itself is very light weight too and although it boasts such a good clear quality in the 14.2 mega pixel it has and 5 x optical zoom it seems to me that there is such a lot to offer in such a neat little item. When I have transferred the pictures from the camera to my computer and printed them off I must say that I am happy with the general look and quality of them. The colours seem vibrant and captured well as done the clarity of each shot. The fact that this camera has double the pixel capability of my last camera does mean that I have been used to something that is well under standard for a long time however for me this little Samsung does give great all round performace. ==Overall Opinion== Personally I can't seem to find anything negative to say about this Samsung PL120 camera. It has good looks and easy to use design whilst looking fresh and rather cool. The front LCD display is a real bonus for all those selfies I take;) and of course the child friendly aspect is wonderful for getting wriggly little people to stop what they are doing and take notice. However that said this does wear off from time to time but thankfully with the five choices of sounds to draw their attention you can change the noises as they get bored with a particular one. The camera came with a nice little case which protects it well if you remember to put it safely away each time you use it (which of course I always do!) and this is needed even more so with the fact that there are two LCD displays to protect. The rather chunky instruction booklet it came with has stayed pretty much pristine since I purchased the camera as although it seemed easy to navigate round I feel that the camera menu options are pretty self explanatory and even a photographic novice such as myself was able to set the camera up ready for use and work the camera to more or less its full capability ( or in any case take a half decent photo). It is a light compact camera that still offers a high quality when taking pictures and also produces some great pictures too. It is for me a top product which is well deserving of a 5 out of 5 star rating and an exceptionally high recommendation. If you want to know more about this specific camera you can always check out the Samsung website for all the technical stuff on this particular camera here: www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/ -camera-camcorder/cameras/compact/EC-PL120ZBPBGB I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Epson Ultra Glossy Photo Paper== Getting photos printed out can be an expensive business and its difficult to weigh up whether getting them done in a shop or via an online specialist site works out less economical than printing them at home. However having the ink and printer already I decided on getting a little bit of paper so that I could print out at my leisure when the fancy took me. ==Price and Availability== Any Epson paper I find is fairly easy to get hold of and it is stocked in a good deal of high street shops such as Staples and supermarkets such as Tesco. This particular "Ultra Glossy" version of photo paper I purchased online, as generally the price is always a good deal cheaper and online is where the best prices can always be found. I bought the large A4 sized sheets of the photo paper because I was planning on printing off various sized photos to fit in a selection of frames. The recommended retail price of this sort of paper is about £29 odd so its not a cheap choice and compared to the cheaper brands or Stores own version, it is a lot more money. I was lucky enough though to get this paper on a very good special offer at Amazon for a smidgen over £10 which is much more agreeable to me and it is still on offer at the moment if you are in the market for some. I don't really think I would have purchased this paper had it not been on special offer due to the fact that in my mind I just wanted some high quality branded paper for around the ten pound mark and this particular brand and type is just what Amazon came up with. ==Look and Design== The paper itself is housed inside a relatively thin cardboard type case which is adequate enough at keeping the paper clean and fresh until such time that it is needed to be printed on. There are 15 separate A4 pages in the pack that I purchased although I am sure you could choose a pack which is larger and contains more sheets per pack. The standard A4 page sizing is 297 mm x 210 mm but I wasn't needing to print anything quite this large but instead print a variety of sizes and use my home guillotine to cut them down to fit the frames I had. The paper to look at is of course lovely and bright white in colour and the front side of the paper is indeed very glossy, some might say "ultra" glossy! The page itself feels quite thick to the touch and also fairly durable, as far as paper goes, though not to the point where it is bordering on a type of cardboard but instead just a good quality photo paper. On the backside of each sheet there is a light Epsom logo repeated in pattern across the entirety of it. In my view you can instantly tell by the look and feel of the paper that it is the high quality stuff and not just the cheaper imitation. ==General Use== I use a ink jet printer which is nothing really special and not designed specifically to print outstanding quality prints however I was very surprised at the finished articles when I printed out a few different snaps of the family. The printer wasn't very quick at pumping them out but I must say that the photos were well worth the wait and the hassle. The ink seemed to be dry as soon as the page hit the table and the high glossy finish of each photo made for a professional look and gave a wonderful finish. Of course it is difficult to say whether the ink or the printer made for the prints to look so good but having printed out the photos accidentally on regular, non-photographic, paper I can say that the density of the paper and the sheen of the front does indeed make all the difference when printing out photos. The photos I printed came out with a fantastic look about them and I was proud to put them in frames and hang them on the walls. The larger photos I printed out were especially good and these were the ones that I worried about most as I was unsure of what the quality would be and seeing as they are far more noticeable than the smaller ones when being displayed I thought these needed to be looking perfect. Comparing to other photo paper that I have purchased in the past I can say that this Epson ultra Glossy is far more superior. It has a professional feel about it that I have never experienced before and my photos have been on the wall for a good deal of time now and they are still looking bright, clean and very glossy. The colour or ink has not become dull or faded at all in that time and I don't expect it to in the future either. ==Overall Opinion== All in all I think that I made the right decision in purchasing this particular type of photo paper. It is generally a fair bit more money than the cheaper brands but if found on a good special offer it doesn't work out that much more money wise. However although I probably wouldn't pay out for the paper at the full RRP, I can say that the quality of the paper is well worth every penny I paid and I would definitely be happy to buy this particular paper again. In my view it is a 5 star photo paper that beats its competitors hands down in overall performance. I can't find anything negative to say about it other than the fact that it would be nicer if it was even cheaper! However, I am more than happy to give it an exceptionally high recommendation. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Canon Coloured Ink CL 41== I purchased this single coloured ink cartridge to fit into my Canon Pixma IP1800 printer. I had previously bought the black ink separately and now I realised I probably should have saved myself some time and bought the two together. ==Price and Availability== There are a good few places that sell this particular ink such as Tesco and Staples. Having looked online you can pick it up on the usual sites such as Amazon. There are also a good deal of sites offering cheaper alternatives to this branded ink for a fraction of the price. Seeing however that it was on offer in Amazon (and I had some Amazon voucher money left) I decided to stick with the original Canon ink. The RRP of this solo colour cartridge is £23.22p (rather a random number I feel) but at the time of purchase I managed to get it for £16 odd. This is a fair saving and having had a look online now it would appear that Amazon still have it n an offer although not as good. This price is considerably cheaper however than buying it from a high street outlet such as Staples and much cheaper than the likes of Tesco. ==Look and Design== It amazed me how all the different colours could be inside this one small little chunky plastic box. It is the same size and shape as the solitary black ink and I couldn't understand what is inside of it to allow for all the separate colours to be used. I have always before had to pop in a separate cartridge for the yellow, blue and pink in my previous Epsom printers so it felt I wasn't getting as much for my money with this one little box. However that said the fact that it is just one box makes it easy to install and there is definitely less mess and hassle. I somehow used to get ink all over me when replacing my Epsom cartridges but with this the chunky little box gets slotted in without a drop of ink in sight. ==General Use== As soon as the ink cartridge was in place I was able to print my photos without any bother at all. The ink came out smooth on the paper and the colours were where they were meant to be. Of course my printer has a lot to do with the output of the ink and so forth but I must say the ink dried well on the paper I used looked very good. I didn't need to do a nozzle clean or anything even after the replacement of the cartridge as I encountered no problems with the printing. I was able to print out quickly and efficiently and I must have done around 25 pictures (I was creating a collage of photos) before I was confronted with an error message telling me that my ink levels were low! I was quite astounded and of course removed the cartridge to give it a good shake and make sure that there wasn't some mistake. Of course there wasn't and I had clearly used up most of the ink already in printing these photos. I wasn't too happy as you can imagine but I guess when you think of that many photos being developed in the old fashioned way at Boots or somewhere you are probably still saving money with the cost of this ink. As yet I am still to replace this ink for the second time and I am just printing with black ink. ==Overall Opinion== As far as the quality of this ink goes, I can't fault it. The Canon brand is a good one and seems to offer ink cartridges at a slightly cheaper price than a lot of other companies. However this may well be because of the fact that there isn't much actual ink inside the cartridges themselves. I think a whole job lot of these need to be purchased at the same time so that you are saving yourself of the bother of continually having to get online to order and replace if you are intending to do a fair amount of printing. I think to sum it up they are an affordable price, with great quality and ease to change in the printer. However they contain a pretty small amount of ink that doesn't last long. This means that I think an average score of 3 out of 5 stars is in order and a slight recommendation. Compared to the black ink this coloured gets used up a lot quicker when printing photos and it needs to be at least twice the size. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Tresemme 5543U Diffuser Hairdryer== Having hair that can either be curly or straight I tend to always buy a hairdryer which comes with a diffuser so that I can increase my naturally wavy hair. These hairdryers however are not always that easy to find and the last time I needed to buy one I had to look online as all the shops locally either didn't have any hairdryers with diffusers or I had already tried the brand before and wasn't pleased. This is where this Tresemme Diffuser dryer comes in to play.... ==Price and Availability== I hadn't seen this particular model in any of the high street shops that I had done a little research in so I am not sure if this is still something that would be sold in Boots and the like. However living on the Isle of Wight the amount of shops that have hair dryers in few and far between and when they do actually stock them there are not a vast amount of them to choose between. As far as hair dryers which have diffusers with them I must say that some of the shops I looked in didn't haven't any of these available where as others might have just the one. This is the reason I looked online and was able to find a good few to choose from. This particular make and model was in a fair few of the online stores such as Boots, Very and others and the price did seem to range quite a bit. I purchased mine through Amazon where there was a slight money off promotion going on at the time and because of not having to pay out for the posting and packaging of the item it worked out considerably cheaper than other sites. I think I paid around the £15 region although having had a look today the offer appears not to be on and buying it from Amazon would cost you more like £25. As with most things it is always worth having a search around to get the best price on the day. ==Look and Design== As far as hairdryers go I am not really bothered about how they look but I just want one that works well and is practical to use. This Tresemme one is nothing special as far as looks go and it is an all black design which in my opinion makes it appear a little cheap (but then it was really). It of course comes with the diffuser and also a concentrator nozzle which are again both a black plastic colour. There is not an excessive about of buttons or knobs on this product which makes it simple to use and the instruction booklet which accompanied the drier are really not needed. The buttons are located in an ease to reach place which sit just by the thumb when holding it in the position to dry with. There is one solitary button which is the "cool shoot" and the other speed/heat button which is less of a button as it is a slide operated switch. All in all the look of the dryer might not be the most beautiful one I have owned but it is clean looking and the design is a good one in everyday use. ==General Use== The use of the hair dryer I find very easy and because the one slide switch gives both the settings for heat and speed at the same time there is never any confusion over getting the speed or heat mixed up as would often be the case with my last dryer. It simply works on three speeds whereby the lowest speed is also the coolest and the faster you want the dryer to blow the hotter the heat coming from it will be. It is by far the most simple hair drier I have ever use and I must say I am very impressed with it. I find that the two lower speeds are not suited to me as I tend to prefer it fast and hot! The highest setting is pretty powerful and the heat although hot is not scalp scolding in any sort of way. Not only do I find the hair dryer easy to use but it is also very lightweight and good for the wrists. Fitting the diffuser on is simply a matter of clicking it in the front nozzle of the blower and it fits in very securely, so much so that you do need to give it quite a pull for it to come off. Of course if you have been using the diffuser on a high speed/heat setting you have to be careful as the diffuser will be rather hot to touch so either wait a short while or use a towel to pull it off. When the diffuser is in place it doesn't add excessively to the weight of the dryer and it is by far the lightest hair dryer I have ever used. So it may well be the simplest and lightest hair dryer I have owned but with regards to the noise of the thing it is not the quietest. On the highest speed/heat setting there is no chance of holding a conversation in the same room as it is pretty loud but to be fair who wants to hold a conversation when your upside down drying your hair!?! The two lower speeds is where it runs quieter which I suppose is to be expected really. I find that the dryer will dry my hair in around 7-10 minutes depending on how much I have towel dried it before hand and for me having long curly hair I think this is very good going indeed and it is certainly a lot quicker at the job than other makes and models I have used and owned previously. The dryer does get hot to the touch on the outside so I would just mention that for safety reasons, even after use, this dryer need to be kept well out of reach of little fingers or even big fingers as you will get a little shock with it being pretty hot. The hair dryer can come apart to give it a clean if you so wish to remove any hair or dust that generally these types of products do attract and probably aid in the eventual death of such products. I have to admit to not cleaning mine nearly as often as I should and this is probably the reason I tend to go through hair dryers at a rate of about 1 every 7 months or so! It is surprising once you have removed the mesh backing, how much dust can be removed. Of course it is just advised to clean this out with a little bristled brush and don't go thinking you can give it a rinse under a tap as of course water and hair dryers do not mix! The power cable of the hair dryer is a nice long length that enables me to move around my bedroom slightly, from mirror to mirror, as am I drying my hair which I have struggled with when using other dryers before. It does get tangled somewhat because of this length but it being longer than most seems to be more of a positive than anything else. ==Overall Opinion== All in all I think this hair dryer is a brilliant one for the price. The only downside I can see is that it looks a bit cheap but really for me I don't think that is too much of a worry as who really sees your hairdryer anyway. The fact that it works very fast and super efficiently is for me by far the best aspects of this dryer. It may be a little louder than most in the highest setting but again taking into account the simple ease of using this product I don't feel that I can't really hold it against it too much. The lightweight feel of the dryer really counts for a lot as other dryers I have used take their toll on my wrists especially with the diffuser stuck on the end but this one didn't. I really think this is a super hairdryer for the price I paid and even at the price that it is up for now on Amazon I would still be pleased with my purchase! I am going to award a top score of 5 out of 5 stars for this nifty little dryer and just say that the little bits I have found to pick at really don't matter in terms of all the other aspects of the product. It is definitely an all round good hair dryer especially for those who like to use a diffuser and even those who don't will be pleasantly surprised with the speed at which this lightweight blower can get you dry. I would be more than happy to give an exceptionally high recommendation of this Tresemme Hair Dryer to everyone and anyone. With any luck and me giving it a clean out every once in a while it should last me a good few more months to come! I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Phillips Bluetooth/USB Car Stereo== I had been using my AM/FM in car scanner to connect my iphone to the stereo unit in my car for sometime. This worked well for the most part and although a little fiddly I certainly got my monies worth with £30 I paid for it. However It began to play up as it was attached via the charge port to the iphone and in the end it managed to damage said port and I had to get this replaced in order to charge my phone. I wasn't happy as this cost me £40 and I wasn't able to use the scanner again either as it was sure to damage my newly replaced port. So with the idea of not being able to connect up to my car stereo I decided to have a look in Halfords to see what they had that might be suitable. My LOOK in Halfords was not to be and thee was a very good deal on at the time I went in to browse which is where this Phillips car stereo comes into my life..... ==Price and Availability== So as I said, I purchased this car stereo from Halfords and it was on a very good offer. The RRP for this unit is £139.99p but I paid £79.99p. However I wanted it fitted then and there and another cable is needed for it to be installed so with all the extras and fitting of it I paid a few pence under the hundred pound mark which I still don't see as very expensive when thinking about buying a car stereo. I was initially looking at getting the model down from this which was around £20 cheaper and the only difference with this was that there was no blue tooth and you simply connected your iphone via the USB cable. The sales guy was great however and he swayed me to this model so I spent a little extra for a better all round product. Although I spent near on £100 in Halfords for the stereo, extras and fitting I have to say that I was able to get a little bit of this money back by making sure that I was signed up to a cash back website that have Halfords down as one of their in store cash back partners. This may not have saved me a lot but it probably took the price of the cable off for me so this is also something I would suggest looking at before forking out a lot of money for an item such as this. Having had a quick look online it would appear that the deal is still on in Halfords so whether it is going to be a long standing one or not I don't know but it would appear that this is the best price from this particular stereo that I personally can find. Of course if you know how to fit items such as these you are saving yourself some cash compared to me and when I watched the technician fit the stereo, it took less than 10 minutes and didn't look too hard a task. ==Look and Design== Once the stereo had been fitted into my car it was like it was made for it and looked far superior to the one that had been removed. My car lights up with a red dash at night when the lights are on and this stereo mirrors that as it has a red glowing front panel and the buttons are illuminated red also. The panel has not too many buttons or knobs and I feel has quite a sleek look to it. It is not overly confusing which is handy as generally I am easily confused! One thing that you won't see on this stereo in an area to put CDs as this is something that this product is lacking in. Yes you can listen to the radio and yes you can attach an Mp3 player or your iphone but listen to CDs you cannot. For me this is not a big issue and of course was something I was well aware of when purchasing this item. I feel that this is probably why the front of the product looks less fussy and has a simple overall design. It does seem to attract the dust as I am forever cleaning it with the microfibre cloth we have in the car. However it may just be the case that our car is pretty dusty anyway! You need to make sure that the display is kept clean otherwise it is hard to see what is being shown on the screen especially in the day light as I feel the display is not very clear at all. ==General Use== The Phillips stereo, once installed by the men that know, was up and ready to go as soon as I got back in my car. I was able to attach my iphone to the bluetooth system easily and very quickly. Turning the bluetooth on my iphone and then selecting the "bluetooth port" on the stereo I was able to pair the devices and save them so that now every time my bluetooth on my iphone is on and I get in the car they will automatically find each other! It is worth taking note that this will drain the battery of your iphone very quickly and I will often plug it in to charge through the USB port at the same time but keep the connection bluetooth as this works easier for changing tracks. Not only are you able to play your music through this stereo when the bluetooth is linked up to your iphone but when you want to make a call or receive a call the phone will use the car speakers as your phone and the person who is calling will be coming to you loud and clear through your speakers! So cleaver and in my opinion the best hands free you can get! You will have to buy a separate holder for your phone to go in and these can vary in price depending on what you get. Or like me you may well be able to flutter your eyelashes at the sales guy and get him to give you one for free. Some car stereos now have these holders built into them but unfortunately this is not one of them. So as far as connectivity goes there is not just the bluetooth or the front USB option, as there is also another USB cable which is located in my glove box and named as the "rear USB" on the stereo when choosing your port with which to listen too. This makes it a lot easier when I want to control the music and I'm the front passenger as I can link up and still have a nice amount of power cable, charging my phone at the same time. Having all these options is a really great thing although to be fair I have probably used the rear USB port only a mere handful of times. The radio that this stereo has is very good and it will automatically tune in the stations for you and then you can have up to a selection of 8 pre-tuned stations stored by using the buttons on the front panel. It is a little bit of radio wars with me and my other half whereby I like to listen to modern music and always have Capital tuned in whereas he loves to have the local station on to get the old tunes mixed it. Suffice to say that Capital is on a lot more than the local station! The sound quality on the stereo is very good too and a vast improvement on the previous car manufactures one system that we had in there before hand. It is strange but I wouldn't have thought that the sound would have changed as I assumed that this would all be down to what sort of speakers that you have in the car but apparently not. This Phillips stereo does actually have four built in 50 watt amplifiers which of course aid with the quality and clarity of the sound. My favourite button on the front panel of the device is the "Max Sound" button which just makes the bass a whole lot more noticeable. Of course this isn't ideal when the kids are in the back as I have often seen their chubby cheeks shaking with the baseline if I have this up and I was surprised at how well the speakers of my car could handle the louder volume and heavier bass. Being able to turn the volume up and down with this button as well as the sturdy twist dial on the front is a real bonus and the range of volume with each is very good. As far as the clarity of the sound in general goes I am really impressed by this stereo and the range with which you can get. ==Specifications== I am not the most technical of people and unfortunately I cannot write about the stereo in a jargon filled review like a am sure some people could which is why for all that stuff it would probably be best to look on line at the Phillips website to get all the list of dill specifications that you might be interested in. Here however are just a few that came from the box of the stereo: Bluetooth compatible Detachable faceplate Front AUX Made especially for ipod/iphone MP3 1 Preout Front USB Port Compatible with iPhone 3, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iphone 5 18 pre-set FM stations SD/SDHC card ==Overall Opinion== I think that all in all I got myself a very good item the day that I went to window shop car stereos. My view on this Phillips product is that the price was very reasonable, especially considering what you get for that cost and that it works well and looks good in the process. I haven't missed not having a CD player in the car and neither has my partner as we both have iPhones which we link up and most of our music is stored that way any how. The only time there was a little bit of disappointment was when we took the boys on a recent trip to Longleat safari park and on arrival they give you a CD of Steve Bracknall from Deadly Sixty to pop in your CD player and play as you are driving round the park. Of course we weren't able to play this so there was a bit of moaning until Daddy did his own talk in the voice of Steve Bracknall ( not very well) but this got the laughs. I would say that if you are thinking of investing in a stereo for your car which allows you to link up and use it for a charger, a hands free kit and a music player then this really is the stereo for you. We have had it around 6 months now and I haven't had a single problem with it at all. I found it simple to use and from the get go have worked out how to choose different sound options and select the options from the ease to figure out menu which is shown on the display. It really couldn't be easier to get top quality sound. I am more than happy to give this Phillips bluetooth car stereo a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and I would certainly give it the highest recommendation to any that asks and even those that didn't! If you would like more information or to find a stockist located near you please take a look at the Phillips website which can be found here: http://www.philips.co.uk/c/car-entertainment-systems I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Canon PG 40 Black Ink Cartridge== Having recently acquired a very cheap second hand printer by Canon I needed to buy some ink to use with it so that I would be able to print out some coupons. I wasn't keen on buying the multi pack so opted for just buying the black in on its own to save money as although buying the inks separately works out a little more costly if you intend to buy the colour at a later date but at the time I wasn't planning on printing in anything other than black and white. ==Price and Availability== Buying this ink is very easy as it is widely stocked in a good few supermarkets such as Tesco along with other high street stores such as staples and the like. Of course in these places you will generally be paying a slightly higher price and I would highly recommend searching on line for the best price. The recommended retail price of this solo ink cartridge is approximately £23. This is the price that Tesco had it on for when I was on the hunt for one. At the moment Amazon have it on offer for £14.65p which is quite a considerable saving so as you can see well worth hunting around for the best price to save a lot of money. The Canon PG 40 is suitable for a whole load of Canon ink jet printers and you would need to check off your model number with the long list on the side of the packaging that the cartridge is housed in. ==Look and Design== The printer cartridge is of a chunky design and is just like a solid black block of plastic with a little strip on the base where the ink will obviously come out. This looks a little like a mini bar code. Even when taking the ink cartridge in and out there never seems to be any leakage from the cartridge which is a good thing as usually with my last Epsom printer I used to get quite messy when changing ink. There is a label on the top of the ink cartridge which goves very limited information such as the brand and the product number. It states that it is is black ink and there is also a bar code printed on this label too. ==General Use== Installing the Canon ink cartridge is super easy and it is literally a case of pushing down and pulling out the empty ink canister and then once the security tag is removed from the new one slotting this in and then pushing it up into place where a click can be heard. My printer will then be more or less ready to print once the cover of the printer has been replaced. The ink itself is a good one and although the 16 grams of ink doesn't' seem that much I would say that it lasts me well. However this information is irrelevant as everyone prints different amounts and what might last me a good deal of time may well not last everyone else the same. The ink is a strong and deep colour and it seems to dry well and I have not had any problems with the ink running or clogging at all in all the time I have been using this particular one. I think there are cheaper alternatives which are not actually from the brand but I could see them being of an inferior quality to this actual branded Canon ink. ==Overall Opinion== I really think this ink is a good buy and I wouldn't hesitate to buy this branded ink again. The fact that you can find this ink on offer for a fairly cheap price makes it even more appealing to me and I don't think that a little over £10 is that expensive for a named brand ink. The cartridges are strong and sturdy and have never leaked whilst the ink inside lasts me well and prints to a high quality. Therefore I think that I am happy to award a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and give this ink an exceptionally high recommendation. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Skullcandy Ink'd Ear Buds== I am a big walker and although I often have the buggy with me I tend to have one ear plugged into my iPod and the other ear free to listen out for the baby. Most working days I have to walk back from work which is around a half an hour walk and in this time I will always be plugged in to my music. I really wanted a pair of Dre Beats headphones but seeing as I'm not 16 anymore I thought better of it. The fact that the Dre earphones have pretty mixed reviews also put me off especially as they carry a rather hefty price tag. This is where these Skullcandy ear buds come in..... ==Price and Availability== I bought my pair of these in HMV as I was in a rush to have them then and there and I am well aware that I should have looked online as there are so many stores on the internet that the price of these particular headphones is a good deal cheaper than the price I paid. I am sure there are even other high street shops that sell then at a cheaper price and I have seen them in places such as TK Max as well as HMV and other similar stores. I paid £12.99 for them but they can be picked up for as cheap as £6 from online and I was pretty upset that when I went into TK Maxx a few minutes after buying these that I saw them in there for around the £9 region. So I would well advise shopping around and getting the best price on these as it does vary a lot. ==Look and Design== There are a good number of different colour options and designs for these particular ear buds but seeing as I didn't want them to stand out too much, I opted for the plain old black colour. HMV didn't have a wide range like the sort that you can get online and I wasn't fancying purple or a Jamaican flag colour pair either. The black design has the simple Skullcandy logo on each ear piece in a bright white colour which can be seen clearly when the ear buds are in the ears. The length of the power cord is a very good one indeed and I can easily put my iPod in my shoulder bag and have the ear buds fit without strain into my ears. Of course the long length does mean I am forever untangling it when I have had the ear buds in my bag without using them but this would be the same with any sort of earphones. The ear buds themselves have a rather strange rubbery type of cover on that make the plastic bud fit kind of securely into the ear. This is rather unique and I can't say that I have ever seen another brand use this type of cover method before and I was intrigued as to how they would feel when in situ. ==General Use== Having had these Skullcandy Ear Buds now for a good many months and using them on a very regular basis I have to say I have been a little let down by the quality of them. I did think that the strange covering on each of the ear pieces was going to make sure that the ear buds felt secure and neat in my ears. This isn't the case however and I find that the strange material feels a little odd in my ears and they will often fall out or just come ever so slightly loose and wobble about needing readjustment on a regular basis. I know this design is unique to Skullcandy and maybe most people get on with it but for me personally I find that the comfort of using them is not the best I have encountered over other types of ear phones. Along with the poor comfort I have to say that I find the sounds quality of these ear phones a very big let down too. No matter how much I change the settings on the device I am using to play my music I find that these ear buds are really just not up to the job that I need them to be. I do tend to play a lot of heavy bass music with listening to hip hop the majority of the time and I find these little ear phones to be lacking in bass and lacking in power. Okay so they might be able to give out a loud sound but that sound is in fact a rather hollow tinny like sound and one that is made worse when the volume of my device has been turned up. So to combat this problem and still keep using these rather poor headphones I have to have the volume at a middle sort of option and although the tinny sound is still there it is a little more bearable than listening to anything at a high volume. ==Overall Opinion== As you can guess I really am not very impressed by the overall use of these ear phones. Okay so they look a little stylish and they are from a well known brand but for me there are a lot of negatives too. The rubbery ear pieces don't fit comfortably into my ear for any length of time and personally I don't find these a good aspect of the ear buds. Also the main point of me finding these ear phones such a rubbish product is that the sounds quality is really very poor and I can't see why everyone raves about them so much. I probably should of paid out the high price of the Dre Beats ear phones and got those instead because I do think that the £13 that I paid for these Skullcandy ones was pretty much a bit of money wasted. At the moment I am still using them but only because my old ones completely broke by the wire being cut through and these are all I have until I can afford some decent ones. I think I will be doing a lot more research on which ones I will buy next and get myself a pair that have a much greater quality all round. I really feel that these Skullcandy Ear Buds have let me down and for that reason I feel that a 1 out of 5 stars is all that I can personally award. I know a lot of people find them rather good so I suppose it must be up to individual preferences but for me this is not a product I would be recommending at all. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Black & Decker Dust Buster Turbo== I love a Dust Buster because with two little boys, aka the crumb monsters, I would be pulling out my Dyson after every meal and snack time due to the fact that they seem to make so much mess. As well my youngest son who is just 10 months old literally hates the hoover and will scream as though he is being murdered every time I drag it out let alone put it on. This means I have to do my main hoovering downstairs when he is asleep at night! Thankfully he doesn't mind the Dust Buster as I don't think it looks as scary or sounds as menacing either. ==Price and Availability== My most recent Dust Buster Turbo was given to me as a Christmas present from my mum which might sound like a lame present but I actually needed one after my old one was just not sucking up as well as it should do and I was forever moaning about it. I hadn't had my eye on one but if I had been looking this would have been on my top contender list. It seems to be quite widely available and the price can vary from around £20 to £60 depending on where you buy it from and whether there are any special offers on at the time. Seeing as it is a big name brand, Black and Decker, who are well known in the Dust Buster market and they are who I would straight away search on when looking for a product such as this. I have owned around three Dust Busters throughout my adult life and all of them have been made by this company and have all been very good and served us as a family well. ==Look and Design== This Dust Buster has a very similar look to all the others that I have owned from this brand. There are ones you can get that look a fair bit different but it seems that this style suits me well and you know what they say about if its not broke don't try and fix it, well this is very apt here. The look of the DB (Dust Buster) is white and burgundy and the dust collector section of the product is clear so that you can see the debris collected and know when it needs emptying. I am not too keen on this aspect as it can make it look dirty and generally you can gauge when it is full and I would rather not see the dirt I have collected. The DB is not overly heavy and I find it easy to hold and turn the switch on and off. It is comfortable to keep in one hand and manoeuvre around the table legs and between the chairs of the dining table. There are a couple of tools that came with the DB but to be fair I haven't ever used these as it is more fiddling around when using this is meant to be quick and easy. ==General Use== This DB extreme is far more of a machine than my last product like this. It has a much more powerful engine which boasts a 9.6 volt that is double the power of the last one I had and this seems to collect more duct and crumbs with far better ease. However as far as it being a cordless product and that it needs to be charged up regularly means that there is not a great amount of power which can be kept in the machine at any one time. When using it for a larger suction jobs I find I get around 10 minutes or so which is a little less than my old one which would probably do around 15 minutes however I suspect this would be in relation to the higher power this Extreme model has. The rubber stopper pad inside the nozzle of the DB does a very good job at keeping all the dust and debris inside the machine and I have never had any trouble with anything coming back out of the machine. This can all be cleaned pretty easily as well and the little filter type bag which covers the main battery type engine inside the DB. This needs to just be washed and rinsed and then left to dry over night before being fully dry and then clipped back inside so that the product can be used again. The charger is more of a charger pad which enables wall mounting if desired although this is not something which I have opted to do as I don't have an area where this would be suitable although fixing it would be easy with the fixings which have been supplied and would make it easier to always find and be fully charged. The best thing about owning this powerful little hand held vacuum is that it is ideal for my six year old to use and he can pick up his and his brothers crumbby mess without any trouble at all and in the process earn himself a star or two for his star chart. It is not too heavy or awkward for him and is ideal. Even my youngest has picked it up and moved it around like he is hoovering so hopefully he can do it soon too!! ==Overall Opinion== I have to say that having owned two Black and Decker Dust Busters before this is by far my best. It has a great amount of power which enables fast and efficient cleaning of a larger area in a short space of time and with minimal effort. It can hold a good amount of cheerios which seems to be the main thing it collects these days and I find it easy to use and easy to empty. The cleaning of the product is very easy and has worked well at keeping it up and running to the best of its capabilities. I like the look, design and feel of this product and along with the fact that it is very powerful and works very well for my needs I really have nothing whatsoever negative to say about this small yet mighty hand held vacuum. I am more than happy to award this an extreme mark of 5 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend this item to everyone and anyone especially those with children (crumb monsters) and without a dog (living vacuum). I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Bush 22 inch Tv/DVD Combi== When we moved into our new house I decided a TV in the kitchen is really what we needed and I was thinking about getting a white one as this would fit in and look a lot nicer against the cabinets and have an all round fresher cleaner look. ==Price and Availability== As with most of my large electrical items I went straight to the Argos catalogue to check on prices and then compare online. I tend to buy things from Argos as not only do they have good prices with sales and price cuts very regularly but I always find that things are really easy to take back and exchange if they go wrong. I was pleased to see that there was a special offer on this Bush 22 inch full HD, built in free view TV/DVD combi in my desired white colour. The usual price was around £150 but it was a smidgen under £100 and having had a search around was the cheapest price for this particular one and more or less the cheapest white (good brand name) television anywhere. ==Look and Design== I wasn't really thinking about even getting a TV with a built in DVD player as to be fair watching DVDs wasn't something I was planning to do in the kitchen but then I did think if we were to move it elsewhere in the future maybe having a DVD player built in was just an added bonus. Having bought the TV and got it home there was literally no real set up needed as the channels on the free view tuned themselves in and the TV screen pops up questions such as language select and a few pushes of the select button on the remote will set the TV with all that is needed for the channels to be found and the TV to be fully up and running. The TV looks exactly as I wanted it to. The lovely white edging of the set makes it look clean and modern in the kitchen and against the worktops and cabinets gives a far better appearance than a black. To some it may have a cheaper look than the black design but for me it is a new and refreshing style that works well in the designated room. ==General Use== The remote that came with the TV already had batteries with it which was very handy indeed. The remote does look very basic and rather cheap looking and it is not branded with the Bush logo so you can see it is like a cheap universal one which does do the job and doesn't have too may buttons to confuse so really I can't complain about it. The DVD aspect of the combination TV isn't really something that I used much and to be fair I can count on one hand the amount of times I did used this. I did feel that the pop cover for where the DVDs are put in felt a bit flimsy and when a DVD was pushed into the TV that it made a rather lot of noise trying to read the disc and even when it was playing I could still hear the disc spinning around inside the machine which isn't really a good thing. It plays okay though and the picture is fine and it is easy to navigate around and the couple of times I used it I couldn't really complain about anything. The sound of the TV is not that great even after having fiddled with the basic sound options on the menus screen. It has a rather tinny sound to it when it is up high although being in a relatively small kitchen I don't need it that loud and this isn't a problem for me. However I think if it were in my bedroom or in my front room I wouldn't be very impressed with the sound quality at all. As far as the 1080 pixels of screen resolution goes it is okay and nothing less than I have with the other television sets in the house. Of course it is not as sharp watching the regular free view as it is when you watch the HD channels on Sky but it is fairly clear and crisp and pretty much what I would expect when buying a TV of this price and size. However I must say that after 13 months of owning this TV and using it more or less every day the screen just suddenly went blank and although I had sound I couldn't see anything. No amount of fiddling around with the tele and using my limited technical ability seemed to help. Of course seeing as it was out of my year guarantee with Argos there was nothing they could do and seeing as I couldn't find my receipt I couldn't contact the Bush helpline although I expect that I would have had to pay out to get them to fix it anyway. So I contacted a chap in my local paper who I dropped the TV off to and paid £60 for him to fix it. It was fine for around a week and then the screen went again along with the sound this time! I called the chap I had already contacted and he wanted more money to buy some sort of part which he said had gone. Now weighing up the fact that the TV was under £100 I decided to cut my losses and take the broken Tv to the local dump! ==Overall Opinion== Now of course I can't say whether mine was just a bad egg in this batch from Bush but I did feel rather you get what you pay for and although I previously though Bush was a good make I have now decided that I probably won't be buying a low priced Bush TV again. Apart from look how I wanted it to I can say that it was pretty much a waste of money. Every aspect of the TV wasn't really anything to complain about although had a general cheap feel to it when it was working it did a mediocre job. Of course the fact that it broke after a very short period of 13 months makes me feel that on the whole the TV is a very poor one and I can only award it a 1 out of 5 star rating and of course I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they wanted to waste £100!!! I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Canon Pixma IP1800== After having had Epsom printers for quite some time and my last two breaking down by the black ink not working I was in the market for a very cheap second hand printer just to enable me to print out the coupons I so regularly take on my weekly shop. I was lucky enough to be sold this Canon Pixma printer from a lady on a locally based selling site for a mere £6. Of course I needed to buy some ink but to be able to get it for such a low price I wasn't expecting much with the general operating of the printer, but how wrong I was. ==Price and Availability== Okay so this is a relatively old style printer and having just had a look online I don't think you would be able to pick up a new one from any sort of retailer online. However there are a good deal of them being sold on internet auction sites for next to nothing and if, like me, you can pick this printer up for around the £6 price range then I would highly recommend that you do so. Even most other second hand printers seem to sell for more than the price I paid so I am really rather pleased especially as the condition of mine is still more or less new! ==Look and Design== This Canon printer is really nothing fancy and looks just what it is. A no frills basic printer. I like the small simple look of it as I am used to having a large 3 in 1 printer which has a scanner and copier and generally used to take up too much room! This relatively small printer however sits nicely on my sideboard and doesn't look too overpowering in my front room. There are not a ton of buttons to have to learn the function of each of them on this printer and again the basic and simple style is shown by the fact there is literally two buttons and LED lights on the top of this printer. The one button being the power button and this has a green LED light next to it, indicating of course, when lit that the printer is on. The second button is the reset and problem button. This has an orange coloured LED light which will flash if the is a problem such as ink shortage, paper jam and that sort of thing. The back paper rest is easy to flip up and when this is in a down position it makes the printer into one sleek and smooth oblong box and rather seals it up nicely and keeps the inside dust and crumb free! Once up the rest does a fairly decent job at supporting the paper which is in the feeder ready to be printed on although it leaves around a third of the paper hanging over slightly creating a bend. This however isn't really a problem. As far as other paper trays go this printer is lacking in that department and doesn't' have any sort of holder or tray to catch the paper which has been printed on. To me this again is not really a problem because I would always have the printer in an area where there would be enough table space to catch the paper one it has been printed on. I suppose this just adds to the simplicity of the printer and if there were another tray or holder it would of course make the printer bulker. ==General Use== I didn't get any instructions or instillation disc with this printer when I purchased it but this wasn't a problem at all as all I needed to do were connect the printer to my laptop and it was instantly recognised and I was able to print straight away. The lack of instructions didn't bother me either as it is such a straight forward printer to install and use that I am sure even my little boy or my mother could do it ;) Printing with this Canon is really wonderful when comparing it to my previous Epsom. It perhaps isn't the quietest printer but saying that it is not at all the loudest either. The speed at which is prints out text documents is really very fast and the clarity of the text is without a doubt unquestionably perfect. I have printed a few photos with the Canon too and again I was really amazed at how well the photos turned out. The pictures seems crisp and clean cut and again they were printed out still within a good amount of time and without excess noise. The ink usage of the printer is really good too. When I purchased it a good while ago now I had to buy both ink cartridges which were not too expensive (again comparing to Epsom) at around £30 for both the black and the colour and have as yet not run out of either (although my black ink is on a warning level) which considering I do a fair amount of coupon printing does seem very good to me. Changing the ink cartridges is a complete doddle and can be done in less than a minute unlike the faff that was changing the Epsom ink. With this Canon you literally lift the lid and the inks will position themselves in a place where they can be pushed down and slipped out. The new cartridge can then be slipper in and pushed up. Close the lid and your ready to go! ==Technical specification== Can still be found on the Canon website if you input the model number and I am loathed to copy all this out as it means diddly squat to me and if you are interested looking it up on the official website should be no bother ;) ==Overall Opinion== Wow, Wow, wow. I have to say for a tiny £6 purchase price I do think I got myself a bargain and seeing as though I have always seemed to by Epsom it has opened my eyes to how good other printers are in comparison and I don't think I will be buying an Epsom again. This is a very simple and basic style printer but it really does the job that I need it to do and does it well. It is cheap to buy, quiet when printing and fast at text documents and pretty speedy at printing out photos. The clarity of printing is very good and doesn't really represent the cheap nature of the printer. Buying ink cartridges is still expensive although cheaper than Epsom and there are cheaper alternatives available which do the job just as well as the proper Canon ink. Replacing the ink is easy peasy and the small size of the printer means it doesn't take up much room or look too out of place in the front room. All in all this printer seems to tick all my boxes. All right so it probably won't be a printer suitable for everyone but for me this is pretty much perfect and I don't seem to be able to find a single negative about any aspect of this product. I therefore am more than happy to award it a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and give it an exceptionally high recommendation. If you can get your hands on it and you want a simple yet good printer then its well worth getting. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you many thanks for taking the time to read
==Black& Decker EPC18CAK Cordless Drill== Now I may not look like the type of person to be wielding power tools but actually I love a bit of DIY and I am more for getting pain on my hands than painting my nails. This Black & Decker drill was a purchase when we moved into our new home around 18 months ago now and I have to say that it was well worth every penny and we tend to call it "Emma's Drill". ==Price and Availability== I purchased mine through Amazon online due to the fact that I have a few vouchers to use there are at the time I bought it there was a considerable reduction on the normal recommended retail price. £65 is the RRP, however at the moment it is on offer for a slight reduction to £54 but if my poor memory serves me I do believe I paid only £40 for it. Having had a little look online I think there are a good few tool shops that seem to have this particular drill in stock and the price ranges from a low of £54 to a high of £69 so with this in mind it is most definitely worth having a hunt around for the best possible price. I'm not sure if this drill is available from shops on the high street and places such as B&Q but with a big brand name like Black & Decker I would have thought so but assuming it was I would then think that the price would be far higher than online. ==Look and Feel== Now instantly you could recognise this as a Black and Decker product as it has the standard colourings of any of their power tools and the drill itself is a orangey red colour with a black battery and trim whilst the carry case that the drill comes with is black with red clips and the Black & Decker logo located centrally on the front. I must say that it is a lot smaller looking that the last power drill I had which was in fact a hand me down from my Dad and gave up the ghost a short while before purchasing this. I had the feeling that this smaller drill would look more fitting for a lady to be using it and I was right. The drill is very much lighter than my previous one too. That's not to say that it is light but it is comfortable to hold and lift up for good amounts of time without feeling as though your arms are going to fall off. The information on the product states that the drill has a weight of 2kg which is not overly heavy. ==General Use== I have used this Black & Decker drill a lot since moving into our new home. I have put up various shelving units in a number of rooms and our walls are like solid concrete so that seemed to be no easy task. I have fixed the back gate outside by putting in a few odd screws here and there and that should last us for a couple more years hopefully. Not only have I drilled holes into walls but being able to use this drill as the screwdriver makes light work of any flat pack furniture that's needs putting together and the drill/screwdriver element will sail through tasks such as these. There is 18 volts of power with this drill and although that really doesn't mean that much to me all I know is that I am able to use my drill bit at a fast enough speed and the power is there to make drilling a deep hole into my wall easy. The drill although noisy as you would expect does not seem half as noisy as my old drill so I guess improvements have been made on drills as the years go on and not only is it lighter and smaller but quieter whilst still being powerful and up to any job I need it to do around the home. When I first received the drill it had tons of charge already in it and I was able to use it straight away (and I more or less did). The battery life of the drill is very good and I don't have to recharge it every time I use it as it does do well at holding the charge it has init. Charging is a pain however as you have to plug the battery into charge with the drill in place whereas the old drill I had there were two batteries and a charger which allowed for one to be charging while one was used and then these could be switched over when the power was low on one and this wouldn't interrupt the use of the drill itself. However because this drill does hold the power much longer than my old one I shouldn't really complain and I haven't as yet needed to charge this drill half way through a job (even when it came to putting up all the blinds in my new house) ==General Specifications== Item Weight- 2kg Product Dimensions- 33 x 28.2 x 9.8 cm Power source- Cordless (Rechargeable battery included) Voltage - 18v Shipping Weight - 5kg Reverse Switch Charge Time 3 hours Carry Case and 1 Battery Supplied 24 Position Clutch ==Overall Opinion== Really I can't find a single strong fault with this Black & Decker drill. Okay so the charging aspect is a little rubbish but because it hasn't affected me much when I have been doing big jobs I can't really see this is a valid negative on the drill. I think that you can see the good quality of the item itself as it is made solidly and looks as though it would last a life time if it was looked after right. Of course the fact that the drill comes with a lovely carry case will aid in the whole looking after aspect and you are always able to find the drill and the bits when ever you need too. I really am a little sad but I must say I love this drill. It is super easy to use with the smallish size of it coupled with the lightweight feel when using it I feel as though the thing was designed especially for me. You would think that the fact it is smaller and lighter than other drills would indicate that it is not up to the toughest of jobs but I can assure you this little drill is hard wearing an a tough little thing. I am so impressed with it and I think that it is well deserving of a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and a exceptionally high recommendation. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Kenwood Smoothie 2 Go== I celebrated my 30th Birthday in March of this year and had big plans on a weekend away with my girlfriends. However I hadn't bargained on getting a bad case of pneumonia and feeling as though I wouldn't make my 31st Birthday. I was ill for nearly a couple of months and not just with the pneumonia but with oral thrush from the antibiotics and a host of other ailments that would generally bring me down. So when I was beginning to get back on my feet I swore that I would treat my body as a temple and make sure I blasted my system with as much fruit and veg as I could handle. In comes the Kenwood smoothie maker...... I did a search online and had a look at a few different ones which had dispensing taps but the general consensus on those is that the cleaning aspect of the tap makes it hardly worth using because of the hassle of cleaning. At the time of purchasing this item was on offer in Tesco for a good price of £19 which I think was around a £10 discount and was actually one of the cheapest ones I could find. The smoothie maker came housed in a relatively small box although inside was a small instruction booklet, two clear plastic handled jugs, two on the go lids, a large lid with a four blade blender attached and of course the main base of the product. Everything came individually wrapped in plastic and it was housed in extra cardboard and it did seem to be excessively packed. The power lead on the product is of a good size and I can position the smoothie maker a good deal away from the plug socket with ease. I made sure I gave everything a good soapy wash and rinse before using it and apart from plugging it no set up was required and it is ready and waiting for the fruit to be added. I googled a few different smoothies to make and there are a ton online so don't waste any money on buying a book as this really isn't needed due to the pages of tried and tested smoothies online there really is something for everyone. I started off pretty simple and used frozen fruit which not only keeps the smoothie nice and cold but also is better in terms of having a wide variety of fruit which isn't going to start going mouldy quickly. There is plenty of frozen fruit available in supermarkets and the price is very reasonable too. I liked using the basic strawberry's, kiwi and apple which was lovely. One of the plastic handled jugs needs filling up with the fruit to the fill line. There are two separate fill lines on the jug, one for frozen fruit and the other for fresh. With either fresh or frozen fruit you do always need to add a splash or two of some sort of fruit juice just to loosen the whole mixture up a little. Once the fruit is in the jug the lid which has the four chunky blades on then needs to be screwed to the jug and the whole thing then turned upside down and twisted into the base. There is a twist knob to the front of the machine and it has two speeds. Generally I always cranked it up to two just for quickness but on either of the settings the smoothie marker is very noisy and disruptive although I guess this is what you would expect especially when it is trying to liquidise frozen fruit! It doesn't really take too long to get the fresh items into a smoothie state and of course it takes a little longer with the frozen fruit. Occasionally the jug lid will leak ever so slightly but generally only if I have over filled the jug with the ingredients in the first instance. I found if I left it to continually blend then over blending will heat up the mixture inside which of course is not ideal. The jugs in which the smoothies are made are really quite big and chunky and the whole "2 Go" aspect of the smoothie maker although appealing to me on the day of purchase once I had seen how large and thick the plastic of the lid was I didn't think taking this out and about is really a great idea. I tend to drink the smoothies in the morning for breakfast out of a glass rather than the cumbersome jugs that I don't really feel have been made for taking out of the house. However the thick chunky plastic of the jugs is needed when making up the smoothies and not being able to take the jug and lid out doesn't really bother me in the slightest. Cleaning the smoothie maker is really quite easy and again I feel that this thick and chunky design of the jugs and lids makes this aspect very easy. Everything can go in the dishwasher and it always comes up very clean although the lid with the blades in will take on a bit of water so will need to have a shake out after getting out of the machine. The Kenwood smoothie maker I have at the moment is actually the second one I have had as I did think it would be a good idea to try and blend up a shepherds pie in the smoothie maker to give to my little boy. Unfortunately this didn't go to plan and I think I worked the parts too hard and it burnt out. I did try and change the fuse but that didn't work so I ended up taking it back to Tesco who kindly replaced the item (even though it had gone back to the full RRP). All in all I find this is a very good item for the money I paid for it. I don't think I would have wanted to pay any more for it than £20 and the whole idea of taking the jugs out with me seems a little silly as they are not lightweight or easy to drink from. The machine although loud will blend up all the fruit within a short period of time so it is not noisy for too long. The ease of cleaning is a real plus and I feel that this is a smoothie maker worthy of a good score of 4 out of 5 stars. The one minus mark being for the design of the travel lids. Possibly if these lids were made of thinner plastic, making it more comfortable to drink from, I may well have thought about taking one out "2 Go" as the main USP of this product. However I would still recommend this smoothie maker as it does a good job and surprisingly it is still on my work top and being used on a regular basis (albeit not as regular as when I was claiming to make sure my body was a temple - but still). I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Tassimo Coffee Machine== I never liked coffee at all until I got pregnant with my second son and then I had a really major craving for it (and lots of it). Since giving birth I have carried on my love for all types of coffee and to feed my addiction I have since purchased a Tassimo Coffee Machine. These machines are sold in a variety of places and can often be found on some sort of special offer. I unfortunately couldn't wait for one and rushed into purchasing one from the Next catalogue which cost me around the £80 price and I know for a fact that Morrison's were selling them for around half this price a few months prior to me purchasing mine. There are a ton of second hand ones that can be bought cheaply online too so I would again recommend a hunt around. The machine I have is a solid black in colour although I do believe you can get the machine in a variety of colours to go with your kitchen. The black has a high shine finish and needs wiping over every day even if you haven't used it. The look of the machine is really rather nice and it fits in with my other kitchen items nicely. There is not an excessive amount of buttons on this appliance and it has really the bare minimum to include the on off switch and the brew button. It came housed with the instructions (and no free coffee I might add) in a ton of cardboard packing. There was no real setting up and it was purely a case of filling the water container up and filtering it through a few times before use to make sure it was flushed out and ready to make a coffee. The machine itself will only make one cup at a time and of each time it brews a type of coffee you will need to have the T-Discs that fit in the top of the machine. I tend to like buying the Costa Latte packs of coffee. These aren't cheap at all and usually set me back £4.99p for a pack of a meagre 8 lattes (although of the large cup variety). This consists of using both a milk t-disc first through the Tassimo Machine and then using a coffee disc to finish the latte. Using the machine really couldn't be simpler and although the machine came with a large booklet which contained instructions I haven't really looked through this too much. I think the thickness is because of the multiple languages that it is explain inside though. However it is so simple that even a child could do it (although as of yet I haven't trained my eldest to do it.....yet!). You literally turn the machine on, make sure that there is enough water in the back container, place your T-disc in the flip up area on top of the machine, push and clip this down into place, wait for the green brew light to flash on before then pushing the brew button. The Tassimo machine will then begin brewing the coffee for you. Once it has finished and ready for you to take your cup away the little brew indicator light will change to the second light and you can either choose to add any extra water (where you need to push and hold the brew button) or take your cup away and enjoy! The brew time of each different drink is of course dependant on which of the Tassimo discs you are using. Each of the discs has a little bar code on the front which is read by the machine. Which I suppose is how it knows how much water to apply with the disc etc. It really is quite cleaver. It isn't especially noisy when brewing up a coffee although compared with my kettle it is a fair bit quieter actually. The drinks however are far superior and nothing beats a Costa Latte at home and a little bit cheaper too! Of course as a way to drink coffee regularly it is a very expensive way to do it and I would say that I am only having one a day, if that, which is a shame as I really would love to drink the drinks from this machine all day long. There are other T-discs that can be bought like hot chocolate, espresso and even tea. I have tried the hot chocolate which was really nice and I am sure I will be buying some of those discs again come the winter months. There are a good many to choose from in Tescos and Morrison's and they can sometimes be on offer with a pound or so off the price. However you will be lucky to get a pack of the discs for under £3.99p so as I said before it is an expensive way to drink coffee (albeit nice coffee) All in all I really do rate my Tassimo Coffee Machine highly. It might have been a little bit expensive to purchase initially and I know if I had been patient and looked around I could have probably got it for at least half the price but I do think the coffee drinks you get from it are well worth the money as they taste so very delicious! I think for the machine as a whole I am more than happy to award the top score of 5 out of 5 stars and a high recommendation. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Boba Baby Wrap== When my second son Kai was born in December 2012 I was keen to get some sort of carrier so that I would hopefully find it quicker and easier doing the school run every morning and not have to faff about too much with putting the baby in and out of a pram and layering him up with a ton of winter clothes. This Boba wrap was suggested to me as one of the better ones to purchase from another one of the mummy's at school that also happens to run the local "Baby Sling Library" so she was of course clued up on which ones were the best buys. ==What is a Boba Baby Wrap?== A Boba Baby Wrap is basically a long piece of material which is approximately 5 ½ foot in length and around 1 ½ foot wide. It is made of a cotton and spandex mix which gives it a very soft yet rather stretchy make up. It comes in a variety of different colours but I had a very nice burnt orange coloured one. The idea of the wrap is that you learn to tie the wrap up as there are no buckles, poppers or buttons to use it is just used with a series of folds and ties out of the long bit of material itself. This will then create a safe, snugly and super comfortable for baby ride. There are other sorts of wraps like these on the market, some you have to be careful of especially if buying online off places such as eBay as lower quality imitations are on the market. ==Price and Availability== I couldn't find anywhere on the High Street that did these particular wraps although because of knowing about the Sling Library group I was able to order from them and they seemed to offer it at a slightly better price that I could see it for on the internet. There are plenty of stores that seem to sell this item online though I would be a little apprehensive about buying it from eBay and the like only because I know that copies of these are quite rife. The price of £35 which I paid was a little under the usual £38 I have seen on the internet. Of course you also have to take into account that you have the postage and packaging fee to whack on top of this thus making it a little bit pricier. However compared to other wraps and baby carriers of this sort, this price seems pretty reasonable and I know for a fact that they more or less keep their money and selling it on after you have finished should be easy and make your money back as they are in big demand. ==Look and Feel== As I said previously the wrap is really very soft and feels very nice to the touch. It has a more textured feel to one side of it and this is making you aware that this is the inside which aids in the folding and tying technique as you need to make sure the wrap itself doesn't get tangled or twisted up. The outer side of the wrap is smooth and has a solitary label with the Boba logo on which again is positioned to aid with the wrapping as this need to be on show at the front and central on your babies back. Because of the fact that there are so many colours to choose from I think there is something for everyone here even the men that of course would not want to look too out of place with a bright pink one as there are plain black ones or navy ones to choose from. The different colours do not seem to affect the price when buying new although for resale value it might be wise to get a colour that would have a bit of universal appeal. ==General Use== Seeing as the baby wrap is really just a long piece of material I was quite daunted with the prospect of being able to tie it up correctly and then it being safe enough for me to actually place my tiny baby inside it but my worries were really unnecessary. I was shown how to tie the sling by my mummy friend who runs the local Sling Library. She needed only to go through it a couple of times before I was able to get the idea completely and there really is nothing to it. Making the wrap from the long piece of material literally involves putting it centrally around your chest, crossing it over at the back, bringing the ends round to the front and over the shoulders (making sure not to twist the fabric), tucking the ends down the band you initially made and round your back again crossing over to finally bring them back to the front and tying the ends off. It probably sounds more complicated writing it down that it does actually tying the thing up itself. I found myself being able to confidently tie the length of material to create a wrap strong and secure enough to put Kai in and he absolutely loved it from day one and would still love it now if he hadn't out grown it. I found it a god send on the school run as I could leave the house with the wrap tied around me and park the car near school and rather than fiddle with getting the buggy up and down could just get Kai from the car seat and slot him into the wrap. The majority of the time he would stay asleep! The fact that it takes less than 1 minute to tie the wrap up anyway meant that it is handy to carry around and even if I didn't wear it out from the house I could pop it in my handy bag and use it if I needed to. The fact that I could leave the house with Kai cuddled into me was lovely too, it meant that I could still hold onto my eldest child's had with ease and that we could still do our "off road" adventure walks where no buggy dare to go. Whilst doing all of this, Kai was warm and cosy and of course mostly asleep when he was a tiny baby. As Kai got bigger the sling was able to grow with him because of the stretch and it just meant that I had to tie it with extra "give" in it. I found feeding him a bottle in the wrap was no bother at all and he seemed to feed better in this upright position that he would do lying down in my arms. I loved the closeness it gave both me and Kai and I think he benefitted from it a lot too although I do think it has made him somewhat clingier than my eldest child was at the same age but I don't mind that too much as I am sure he'll be a moody teenager before I know it. ==Overall Opinion== I really can not rate this product highly enough. The price is affordable for anyone and especially as you can either buy these quite regularly second hand or indeed find out If you have a local Sling Library operating in your area where they also loan these out to people on a trial or monthly basis. In my opinion they are worth every penny and more besides. The material of the wrap is constructed well and will surely last for many years if you plan to use it with several children. Wrapping it is easier than tying your shoe laces once you have the idea and it feels rather liberating to be without a pram or buggy whilst baby is getting that much need close comfort. I am amazed at how much I loved this Boba baby sling and am now looking for something to purchase from their range now that he is approaching the year mark and still likes to be held. I think nothing but a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and an exceptional recommendation will do for this fantastic product. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.
==Tesco Desk Fan== Since moving into our new house it seems to be so hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Even keeping all the windows open didn't help when the weather was at its hottest this year and last. I tried keeping curtains drawn and windows closed too but this still kept the temperature inside the house way too high for my liking. Last year when I was pregnant in the summer it got so bad that I went out and bought this desk fan from tesco. It was a fairly good price at around £6 and seemed to be one of the cheapest on the high street at that time. It's nothing particularly fancy and has only basic settings but I can say that it has well had its use and we have certainly got our money's worth from it. The desk fan itself is a white plastic make up and has a metal wire casing to the three fan blades. This can be removed easily for cleaning with the clips on each side of the cage it stands around 60cm approximately in height from the dressing table and has the option to oscillate (move from side to side) or be pointed in one direction. As with most fans of this basic sort there is a pull up push down button type thing behind the casing allowing the moving option to be selected. There are speed buttons located on the base of the desk fan at the front. There are only two speeds of movement to choose from although there are three buttons but the first button in the row is the one allowing the fan to be turned off and this is indicted by a 0 speed choice. These plastic grey buttons are quite robust and like the fan as a whole rather chunky whilst feeling like it is made to last. The fan has been used throughout last summer and this summer as well and we have had no problems with its general use or running. Ok so it's no air conditioning system but I was told if you place a tray of Ice by it and direct the fan toward the ice this will create your own kind of air conditioning but I didn't much fancy doing this with the kids around. The fan worked wonders at taking the edge of the super warm and Very 'close' weather. Although when the baby monitor said 31 degrees in Kai's room this fan really didn't do anything to bring the temperature down only help to keep him a little more comfortable. All in all I think as far as a fan goes this works well. It is not overly noisy but rather relaxing when it is on. God knows how much our electric meter was spinning round whilst it was on but it was well needed and did come in handy. I think for the price you can't really go wrong and I would highly recommend this fan and for that reason award a top score of 5 out of 5 stars. I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you. Many thanks for taking the time to read.