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The third film in the Madagascar trilogy is the best in my book, it is confident, brilliantly written, colourful, exciting and has an unforgettable song which is in equal parts annoying and genius.Starring the same old gang from the previous two installments, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), this installment follows them as they initially go to find the missing penguins, but then follow their dream to return to the New York Zoo, by joining a circus.The film is hilarious, colourful, absolutely brilliant for kids and adults alike and is both likeable and annoying in equal measure. Without giving too much of the plot away, the film takes in a romantic rendezvous in Rome, exhilirating car chases through the streets of Monte Carlo, intrigue in London and adventure in New
I have to admit, possibly due to lack of any military training, that I find shining my shoes to be a chore, therefore the thought of using a brush and polish fills me with dread. I think the Kiwi shoe scuff cover was created for lazy people like me who simply wanted a simpler, more convenient solution to keeping your shoes clean.
Rather than relying on hard grafting and spit and polish, this simply requires you to shake the kiwi shoe scuff cover bottle vigorously and them wipe the brush over your shoes to release some polish which you then wipe over the shoes to hide any scuffs.
The bottle is 75ml and is small and easy to carry in a bag if required, it can be used anywhere and is particularly useful prior to important professional or personal engagements, it provides a waterproof protection and sheen to shoes and helps maintain them to the standard they were originally at.
The bottle is a convenient size and is easy to keep in a small cupboard with cleaning items. It is available in black, brown or white and mine cost me £3.50 for 75ml from our local shoe repair shop. My only real criticism with the product would be that after shaking and applying the polish it can leak over the floor, therefore if you do it on the carpet absent-mindedly like I have on occasions or at work prior to important meetings, you are liable to permanently damage the flooring around you.
I generally hold the shoes over newspaper when polishing them, but have on occasion used this product whilst wearing the shoes due to time restraints, I really don't recommend this and suggest you take your time and take care over this. This product will help maintain your shoes and add life to them, so it does pay for itself fairly quickly particularly in households with lots of leather shoes, like mine.
The product is available at selected supermarkets and also on Amazon and is excellent, providing an easy shine, with minimal effort or cost.
Having recently begun commuting by bike, i've had to buy an enormous amount of kit for it. Part of the process has involved working out what is absolutely necessary and what isn't. I decided that along with a helmet and colourful clothing, lights were an absolute essential.
Being a real novice, I decided to begin with some fairly basic lights, purchasing this front and back light from Argos for £5.99. The light system was fairly simple to fit, although there are no instructions, it involves removing a screw for each light and then finding a way to attach the light and refit the screw to preferred parts of the bike.
The problem I had was that I found it difficult as a novice, finding an area of the bike to place the lights on, after a lot of trial and error, I found some spots and the lights fitted absolutely perfectly.
In terms of fitting, the product is fine but could do with some instruction.
The lights require 4 x AAA batteries in total, 2 for each light, these are also very easy to fit.
In terms of switching the lights on, there is a button behind each light which is big enough to press, by pressing the front light once, it produces a constant light, twice provides a flashing light and three times switches it off. The back red light flashes after one press and becomes constant after two.
My preferred settings are a constant light for the front and a flashing one for the rear.
The bike is mainly used early in the morning and late in the evening so the lights have been tested greatly, I really wouldn't think of replacing them. They do a perfect job and I see no reason to replace them with something more expensive that would do the same job. The range of the lights is around 15 feet which is fine for me as much of my cycle is done on cycle paths, but they are perfectly acceptable on dark country lanes too.
Overall, I didn't expect much from these and have been very pleasantly surprised, after about 40 minutes trying to fit them, I had a eureka moment and haven't looked back since. I've had no issues with reliability, they are plastic but have shown no wear, the batteries are running strong after 4 months and i'm a very happy customer, I expect these to last at least 2 years and would most probably replace them with the same product as i'm more than happy with this for my cycling requirements.
A good product at a good price.
Recently i've been doing the food shop later in the evening to gain maximum benefit in avoiding reckless trolley pushers and also because my local Asda often have some good deals on just before they close.
One such bargain which I purchase weekly are the Asda fresh doughnuts, generally 59p for 5, they retail for around 10p close to closing time. Obviously they will go stale reasonably quickly so need to be eaten within 1-2 days.
Coming in a brown paper bag, the packaging is irrelevant really, they look fine without being showy at all. The options i've seen are chocolate filled doughnuts, custard filled doughnuts, apple filled doughnuts or holed doughnuts.
So far i've tried the custard and chocolate doughnuts, I have to say, of the two the custard doughnuts were far superior, as the filling contrasted well with the sweet, reasonably well cooked cake, the chocolate ones were fairly awful, the flavour of the chocolate wasn't sweet or tasty, it was sufferable and that really isn't a description you want for your food (Even if it only costs 10p).
The doughnuts themselves are fine, coated lightly with sugar, they have a soft doughy centre and a filling whilst being reasonably hard to the bite.
Overall, I think for 10p these were good enough, I would have eaten the custard flavoured ones at a higher price, but won't go back for the chocolate option again. Whilst the price is enticing the flavour really isn't.
I'd recommend these as a product to late night shoppers, but would warn you, the packs of 5 have to be eaten reasonably quickly, so be warned you'll have to spend a fair bit of time, walking, cycling or exercising to work off the calories consumed in ensuring you finish the doughnuts before they go hard!!
A 3 out of 5 product despite the price
I heard about a deal to buy one of these with lifetime maps on ebay for £79.99 and after extensively reviewing Amazon, PC World, Dooyoo and other websites to check it was good quality I took the plunge and bought my very first satnav.
I'm really glad I did, it comes in a small box and is well presented, it is simple to put together, the instructions explain how to initially connect the usb cable to your pc to download accurate maps and then you are off and running.
The satnav comes with a sticky holder which you attach to the inside of your windscreen and then you click/attach the satnav within this. The battery doesn't seem to last for more than three hours so there is also a charger which connects neatly to your cars cigarette input, the lead is easily long enough to connect this from either side of the windscreen, although when using this we decide to have the satnav on the passenger side to avoid loose wires annoying the driver.
The satnav is colourful, has volume which can be amended depending on how avidly you want to listen to the instruction and is brilliant. There are numerous options to find where you want to go, you can type in a street name, town or postcode, you can also choose from numerous options while moving, if you want a restaurant the satnav gives you a list of the closest options and you choose your favourite and it'll guide you there, this also works for petrol stations, hospitals, shops, supermarkets etc.
The satnav provides advance warning of speed cameras which is very useful, although it can be off putting on the M25 when it lists every camera that checks speed, not just speed cameras.
The satnav will provide details on how far you have to travel, estimated arrival time and even distance to the next turning, it is brilliant and so far the only time i've foxed it was in asking for directions to a bowling alley, we got close enough that I could see the alley, but the satnav told us to go a different direction. Otherwise we've completed plenty of 200-300 mile journeys without problems.
The Satnav is colourful, provides clear instruction on motorways of which lane to be in, gives advance notice of problems and has been a real bonus to us.
The voice is grating after while, it sounds like a posh lady, although occasionally the voice stutters in certain situations sounding like David Bowie singing Ziggy Stardust. This aside, I love my satnav and wouldn't be without it, i'm delighted with the bargain I received and would be confident using this anywhere. It is small enough to fit in a handbag or glove compartment and whilst the battery isn't too strong I can't think of another issue with it. The lifetime maps is a bonus, which I think attracted me to this initially, but I feel vindicated as friends who told me to use my android phone have since lost signal on vital journeys and found their satnav apps to be useless, whereas my Garmin has performed consistently well, even recalculating routes when I miss a turning and thus saving me hours of finding my way again.
This has been an unexpected pleasure for my wife and I, and we would both give this 5 out of 5 for quality, reliability and longevity.
Having recently bought a road bike for my commute, I was horrified to realise the seating was far less comfortable than I remembered my old 'Raleigh Budgy' to be when I was little. After an arduous 4 mile trek getting the bike home and a further two days hobbling around I realised I had to get a gel seat before riding the bike again.
I bought the ETC Saddle Cover for £10.99 on Amazon having read reviews that suggested it would fit all bikes and that it did provide immediate relief for riders who were looking for comfort on their bike ride.
After 3 days my saddle arrived it was roughly 36cm by 14cm by 3 cm, it fit my bike perfectly and was simple to fit, with nothing more than a requirement to fit it over the seat and tie it on. I've had this item for over a month now and initially I did still feel a bit uncomfortable when riding it, but this has settled down and the gel seat has proven its worth on numerous occasions and makes the commute much less of a chore than it would have been.
£10 seems a reasonable price for improving the comfort of riding a bike, the gel is well padded, the seat is plain black apart from the ETC logo and seat name at the back of the padding. I am impressed with this product and expect this to last as long as my bicycle. The stitching seems well done, the design is good and the product looks the part. I would definitely recommend this and view it with fondness when recalling how painful the bicycle was before it arrived.
This isn't a sophisticated bin, it is under £10 and well worth it.
The bin costs £8 and is obviously only available from tesco, it comes in a dark silver/grey colour which is compatible with most kitchens.
The bin is swing lid, which means it doesn't suffer the issues i've had with some other bins where the mechanical lid gets stuck or breaks. This is low maintenance and only needs wiping with a flash wipe to clear off any debris as it is made of plastic.
The bin is a decent size at around 70cm by 30cm, it holds 50litres of rubbish and fits most large bin bags, we've tried tesco value bags and Asda normal bags and both have fitted fine.
The bin is easy enough to fit in a car if you want to take it home yourself, it weigh about 1.5kg and is really lightweight and easy to move around.
Initially I had been considering the well regarded superhuman range or brabantia, but this has done an absolutely fine job at a fifth of the price of these other bins. We have found it to be simple to use, easy to put together (put the lid on top of the bin) and low maintenance in both cleaning and holding rubbish.
The height of the bin means our toddler could reach into it if not well policed, but I would imagine this is the same for all bins. After 4 months there is no sign of wear and tear and this sits alongside our other bin, as a bargain which has done a fantastic job at a fraction of the cost of more expensive bins.
While it doesn't fit into a kitchen as cleanly as a shiny stainless steel bin, it is fine, we have no issues with it and it isn't ugly so it doesn't really detract from the look of our kitchen at all.
At £8 this is a real bargain and I have no real faults with it, some say this is too small for them, but it holds what it advertises it holds and that is more than enough for a bin bag, so we are more than happy with it.
Buying a printer has become a strange ordeal, as the printer cartridges generally cost similar amounts to the actual printers, the turnover of these machines can be overly regular.
I've had my printer for four years and use HP300 printer cartridges to ensure I can print, I am on my third cartridge in four years, so generally they provide fairly good value, although i'm an infrequent printer.
I recently found an offer on Tesco where the printer cartridges cost £8.50 each, but offered a 30% discount when buying two as well as 750 clubcard points per cartridge, this seemed like a great reason to buy a few more and save cash and clubcard points into the bargain.
The cartridges are well packaged in a small black box with the colour and cartridge number shown clearly, when opened you have to rip a foil bag and then take a piece of tape out of the cartridge, but this is for protection of the item.
Fitting the cartridge is simple, I remove the old one and simply fit the new one in the same way, lowering the front of the cartridge and then rolling the cartridge into the gap, it is simple and reliable, unlike some I use at work which require a degree in engineering and an ability to show items into spaces they really can't fit.
The cartridge works smoothly when put in place, they hold around 4ml of ink (you can buy the xl cartridge for more ink). This lasts me over a year, printing around 4-5 pages of stuff per month, but could be used up fairly quickly for more frequent users. The cartridge includes a decent facility that allows you to continue printing a document even when the cartridge is very low on ink.
Overall these are reliable and fairly reasonably priced (currently £10 on Amazon, or less via Marketplace). They do last for a good amount of time, if looked after and are simple to fit, without causing too much frustration.
While they are still a little pricier than i'd like to pay, there are some good offers around for double packs or other opportunities at the moment, so these are well worth looking at.
They have helped encourage me not to replace my printer each time I need more ink and have never caused me a moment of bother.
I spotted this in Tesco recently and returned a few days later and bought one for £8.99, it looked quite expensive and after doing some initial internet research it seemed to be a good price for a well regarded product. The seat organiser is now £5.66 on Amazon, so I could have waited, and probably should have as i'm not so sure it was worth £9.
The seat organiser comes in a small rectangular box, it doesn't really require instructions as fitting is fairly self explanatory. Basically you strap the lower half of the organiser around the front of the passenger seat, moving fittings until the seat organiser is tightly held to the back of the chair, you do the same at the top of the passenger seat, adjusting fittings until the organiser is tight to the chair.
For the passenger in the passenger seat the additional strap attached to the chair is hardly noticeable. I have found that even when strapping the organiser to the chair at the tightest setting it doesn't hold the organiser tightly in place, therefore when you place cups or other slightly heavier items in the organiser it droops.
The organiser is useful in providing a number of pockets for a small passenger to pick up drinks, snacks, books and toys on a long journey, there are 5 pockets in total and while all are useful, when you place something in each one the organiser droops a lot making it less than reliable, meaning somebody needs to help your little one try and pick things up.
Our little one is under three and not quite large enough to grab things yet, due to their short arms, but I am sure this will prove more useful as they get older.
Overall, this is a basic black piece of material that attaches to your car seat, as it is a little loose it doesn't look great. The looseness and the fact this can't be fixed mean this is probably a 3 out of 5 starred product at best. Useful but not overly effective, its a nice idea which hasn't been implemented properly.
I bought one of these today, having borrowed my father in laws and accidentally mown through the electrical wire, I felt it necessary to replace it and also to mow the lawn whilst the weather was stunningly warm and inviting.
I bought a Flymo Chevron 34VC from B&Q for £108.99, i'm not sure if it is cheaper elsewhere as I was in a hurry, having searched since I understand it might be possible to buy one on Ebay for £98.99 but this price is actually around the norm for this higher range Flymo mower.
The mower came in a reasonable large box around 1m high by 60cm in diameter, it was possible to fit it in the boot of my car without problems.
On returning home and opening the box, the mower needed some assembling. The mower, the basket and the handles are separate, bolts are provided to fix the handles to the mower, the instructions are reasonably vague therefore I felt quite proud fitting this together. Fitting the mowing box to the back was easy to do. Fitting the mower together took roughly 10 minutes. It looks good when fully fitted.
Following fitting, the instructions suggest moving the mower rotors to a height suitable for the grass, this worked well as our garden had tall grass, by moving the rotors it was easier to cut the grass and then cut again with the lowered rotors to give a sharp finish.
The mower was excellent, it was easy to cut through the long grass with the high rotors and then cut the grass shorter, the mower moved smoothly, it is necessary to push down a lever on the handle to power the mower motors but this feels very natural. After my accident cutting through the previous mower wire I was very careful when mowing to hold the wires well away from the mower, but this was probably the only awkward issue I had with this mower.
The mower looks really good, it is sleek, looks very sharp in the traditional Flymo Orange and Black and has a lovely design. The mower has a handle so you can pick it up, the basket can be easily broken down and placed on the mower and the handles can be easily removed if required for ease of space.
The mower comes with a one year guarantee from Flymo. I feel as though I had a masterclass in how to use (and not use) the Flymo Chevron 34Vc today, it is an excellent mower that gets through a lot of heavy movement with ease, the basket is perfect for holding grass and is simple to empty and the mower is easy to store, carry and push.
Overall one of the more expensive products in the Flymo range, but definitely worth the money.
We bought our little one this game for their second birthday. Red dog blue dog is a card game based around memory and helping children match two similar items.
The game comes boxed and contains four boards and 24 cards. The game could really be played anywhere you might have space for the boards so is portable.
Each player has a board with six pictures, the 24 cards are placed face down between the players and each player then picks up a card, trying to match the card with those on their board, the first person to match all 6 pictures on their board is the winner.
Our little one loves this game and pesters us regularly to play it, often the game descends into anarchy as all the cards seem to be turned over with regular turns being pointless.
The cards are excellent, each gives a little one the chance to describe a name and colour, so for example it could be a green bear, yellow car, red dog or something else, it helps children differentiate between colours and animals etc.
We bought the game on Amazon for £7.99 and I think this will prove good value, the game is aimed at children of three years and upwards, so we have it a year ahead of the anticipated age, we expect to get at least 18 months to two years out of this. The game is good fun and whilst it is aimed at toddlers, adults playing will find a fun game which still requires a reasonable memory and ability to match pictures to your board.
We enjoy playing this as a family, it is colourful, very good at testing toddlers memories as well as their verbal skills in articulating what characters they find on each card. I feel awful admitting it, but my little one has a habit of picking up 2-3 cards in one turn due to their lack of understanding of the rules, as a competitive dad, I haven't discouraged this as much as I should as it gives me a chance to check if any of the cards match my board prior to my turn!!!
Overall this is a fun game which will appeal to young children, it is compact and easy to transport, the cards are well designed and can take a good twist from a toddler and they look very good too being both colourful and glossy with an appealing simplicity. This is an old fashioned game which really stands the test of time.
I am really happy that I found these, they were initially bought for weeding in the garden and have proven really useful at ripping out stinging nettles and thorns but I have also used these extensively recently while smashing up our driveway.
These gents heavy duty gloves are available in Poundland for £1, they are white and green, they are big and should fit all mens hand sizes as I have large hands are there is still some space in these.
The gloves look fine, they aren't aesthetically amazing and there are a few finer edges which make it clear these were only £1 due to the stitching of the green and white parts of the glove, however, I think these are great value and look as though they are probably worth about £5-£6.
The gloves are especially protected around the wrist and finger areas which I like as these are the areas where you are most likely to be cut or stung when weeding.
Whilst weeding i've not had issues with weeds cutting through the gloves, i'd suggest these are excellent for this. With regards to smasing up our driveway, I wasn't quite as impressed. Because of the space in the glove, I got a couple of blisters from the glove and sledgehammer rubbing, however, these gloves weren't bought or designed for this purpose, so I would say that was a user issue rather than the glove.
I've used these half a dozen times in the garden and am delighted with these, I will get a couple more pairs in case they ever leave the shelves, I expect to get at least another year out of this, but wouldn't begrudge only getting one or more uses out of this due to the cost.
I've seen these gloves in 3 separate Poundlands so would presume they are available nationwide, my Dad and father in law also have these gloves and rate them really highly, word of mouth in our family means other family members will no doubt buy these in the future, these are a well designed and well priced item which will come into their own in autumn and spring when the garden is tended less often.
For £1, these are fantastic, they fit, they protect the most sensitive parts of your hand and they look pretty good for the cost.
I rate these highly and would recommend these to other guys doing the gardening. There are also women's heavy duty gloves available.
Room on the Broom is a short animated film based on the popular Julia Donaldson book.
Following on from The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child, this is the third film made jointly by the BBC and German television adapting Donaldsons books. For me the Gruffalo was an excellent film recreating the magic of the book with the interesting story and characters. The Gruffalo's Child is fairly weak in comparison and almost felt like a cash in on the first book as it is a flimsy story that doesn't hit the heights of its predecessor.
Room on the Broom is a perfect return to form, combining an excellent story with some wonderful characters. I didn't like the book when I read it, but that was obviously down to my poor reading of the prose, as I loved this film and thought it was possibly as good as, or even better than the Gruffalo.
Narrated by Simon Pegg, who puts in a masterful performance filled with control and enthusiasm, this story tells the tale of a Witch (Gillian Anderson) and her cat (Rob Brydon) who travel on the broom and meet a variety of animal friends.
As the story begins, the witch and her cat decide to move as they realise a dragon is on the move, whilst travelling away from the dragon on their broom, the witch loses her hat and it is returned to her by a dog (Martin Clunes) who asks if he might be able to travel on the broom too, as the newly formed trio travel they meet a bird (Sally Hawkins) and a frog (David Walliams) who both find things dropped by the witch and request a ride too.
The animals differ in personality and struggle to all fit on the broom until eventually the witch suffers further inconvenience due to having no room on the broom.
The whole time the dragon is gaining on the witch and eventually corners her, as he fancies witch and chips for tea, can the animals work together to save the witch or is she about to have her chips!!!
I really enjoyed this, it is beautiful to look at, the animation is wonderful and the animals reactions are brilliant, just like Gromit in Wallace and Gromit, the animals reactions say more in this film than a thousand words and actually make this better than the book in my opinion, as the story is told in its entirety but added to by the layers of personality and reaction of the characters.
The actors don't have too much to say but each is good in their own way, Clunes is slightly at odds with his dog's behaviour, sounding regimented while the dogs seems fun and relaxed while Rob Brydon has almost nothing to say. I liked David Walliams as an OCD frog and Timothy Spall is amusing as the hungry Dragon. Gillian Anderson provides a perfect performance as the witch while Sally Hawkins is shrill and birdy as the bird.
The story is perfectly paced, the animation is colourful and really well designed while there are nice touches as characters bump into the snake or squirrel from the Gruffalo, also my little one falls about at the frog in the mud blowing off, I have to admit it is amusing too.
The DVD is available on Amazon for £7.27, my wife bought this for £9.99 on release and I think that is quite steep for what it is, particularly as it has been on tv, but it is a treasured film which we've already watched about 15-20 times.
The DVD includes interviews with the makers, this is interesting, but aimed squarely at adults rather than kids. In some ways when you see the computers creating the images from the drawings, it does take away from the magic ever so slightly, but it is interesting watching the craft that has gone into this film.
I have to admit to not liking the bumbo play tray one bit. We bought one to go with our Bumbo seat from Ebay for £8.99 as friends had told us both were indispensible. I have to be honest, this was a hassle and one which really was dispensible into a bin fairly quickly.
In theory this is an 'easy to install tray for your baby to sit upright in their bumbo seat and either eat or play with small toys on. in practice, it is incredibly difficult to install and I found myself not using it, as you have to place your little one in the bumbo seat and then while they are seated, place a clip over the lipped area holding your babies arms away from the area to avoid trapping them, then clipping the bottom end of the tray attachment under the chair entirely (which involves lifting the chair), whilst holding the child and ensuring you aren't squashing the childs legs.
Lifting a seat with an unsecured child in it whilst trying to clip a niggly clip is difficult enough, ensuring you then have baby in the right position to ensure they aren't being trapped by the tray is another, the saga continues when you want to take the tray off, as you try to unclip it from the bottom lifting the seat slightly, whilst little one wobbles uncomfortably around. Instructions are sent with the item, but they don't help you.
With two people this is possible, with one it is uncomfortable and not necessary, I really didn't like it at all. The clip is fairly simple to fit, but finding the element to clip it to isn't.
We didn't get much out of this because it is a tight fit and our little one simply felt restricted and cried most of the time it was in place. The Bumbo seat holds a child in place, the tray simply seemed to add a further layer of restriction, unfortunately for us when little one was small they were unable to eat independently from the tray, when they were bigger they found this restrictive.
Our child rallied against the tray, for those who don't I can see it being useful as it is white cleanable plastic which you could put small foods of toys on for baby to push at. My partner found it just as difficult to fit this easily each time, on occasions it was hassle free but most of the time it involved putting baby in unwanted positions and generally upsetting them.
For me it is simply a shaped piece of plastic that can take a bit of space in the cupboard, I found it fairly useless and couldn't wait to get rid of it. Irrelevant and restrictive, we have found much more interesting alternatives that are less restrictive and better designed.
Available for £6.99 on Amazon, it appears others have enjoyed the product far more than we did whilst some have experienced the same difficulties fitting the item. With baby products the key elements are that they are safe, easy to fit when alone and practical, I had my doubts about all three of these areas so we got rid of our bumbo tray and if we have more kids we will definitely use the easy bumbo chair again but definitely will not even consider buying another tray.