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My husband received these as a Christmas gift as he wanted headphones that were not 'in ear' for a change. I am most impressed with the quality of construction and the effortless sound.
The headphones rest on top of your head with a little cushion underneath which adds to the comfort factor. The headband is adjustable and the ear pieces swivel so that you can get a good fit for any size head. The ear pieces are no larger that the average size ear so you don't look like to have two burger buns strapped to your head.
The headphones cover a range of 16 Hertz to 23,000 Hertz, that is, a range wider than our ears can sense. The cable is 1.4 m, which is long enough for most needs. The headphones are light too, apparently due to the lightweight diaphragms and metals. The makes a difference if you are going to have them on for any length of time. The headphones also come with a small black carrier bag that should keep them reasonably safe.
Sound wise, they are excellent, and deliver a detailed, full-bodied sound experience for all types of music and the spoken word. I have tested it out on classical music, brass bands and some catchy pop tunes from the current hit parade. You can also hear the difference between a CD and an mp3. They are a vast improvement from the standard 'in ear' headphones that came with my mp3 player. They do a good job of blocking out external sounds.
Lightweight and stylish
High quality sound
Some 'leaking' of sound so that others can hear
Pressure on the ears from the ear pieces may take a little getting used to
The headphones normally retail for around £75 which is a bit pricey, but is currently on special on Amazon for £52 which is more acceptable.
Women seem to put themselves through all sorts of stress when trying to fall pregnant, and ovulation testing is one of these little trials.
When I first decided to try falling pregnant I thought it might be a good idea to see if my body still knew how to ovulate after 18 years on the pill. I duly went onto Amazon and was shocked at the prices of ovulation tests. I had already read a review about the 'clearblue' tests and thought that they sounded like the easiest option . . . needless to say paying almost £15 for 7 test strips was against my principles!
I went back onto Amazon and found a pack of 30 strips for less than £5 (they now cost £5,49). As with most things ordered on Amazon I expected the tests to arrive within a week, but they only arrived about 3 weeks after placing the order (thus missing my first month of testing while attempting to fall pregnant).
Each test trip is sealed into its own packaging. The packaging has a little indicator mark on the front to show you where to tear it open. A clear instruction leaflet is included with the test strips
How to use the tests:
*Start testing from day 11 of your cycle (i.e. 11 days after the start of your previous period)
*Collect a urine sample in a clean container (I used a yoghurt pot!) and allow to cool for about 10 minutes
*Remove test strip from packaging and place tip in urine for 10 seconds
*Place strip on even surface and wait for 5 minutes.
*There are 2 pink lines that appear on the strip: The top line is the control line. If the test line is the same colour or darker than the control line then you are about to ovulate (the test detects the release of Luteinising Hormone) and you should throw your partner on the bed within the next 72 hours! (but conception is most likely to occur within 36 hours)
1) The results are not always clear - trying to judge just how dark the test line must be can be tricky:
The month before I fell pregnant the test results were very clear, but the month that I fell pregnant showed unclear results. The test strip showed that the test line was lightly lighter than the control line on day 13, when I tested again on day 14 the test line was much lighter. Some time between the 2 tests the LH surge must have happened, but was not clear on the strip itself.
2) Some men find it very stressful to have to perform at specific times
One of my favourite snacks is popcorn and for Christmas I had the Princess Popcorn Maker on my wish list. Luckily Santa knew what he was doing and a popcorn maker duly appeared under the tree!
The Princess Popcorn Maker is beautifully designed. The main 'body' is brushed silver in colour with a plastic lid (a brownish tint to the plastic). The lid has vents at the top as well as a popcorn spout to let the popcorn out. You also get a plastic measuring holder (which can double up for melted butter if you want it to).
Popcorn is the ideal low calorie snack, and with the Princess Popcorn Maker you can always have a fresh supply ready within 3 minutes.
It is very easy to use:
1) Measure out the raw popcorn (£0,65 for 500g at Tesco) using the measuring holder
2) Pour into top of popcorn maker (the whole top lid flips up to allow you to pour the popcorn in)
3) Turn on the switch (need to be careful as the popcorn maker gets very hot) and place a large bowl under the popcorn spout
To clean you simply wipe the inside of the popcorn maker with a cloth. No oil or butter is used in the popcorn maker, so it doesn't get messy.
The Princess Popcorn Maker is available at John Lewis for £24,95. This is well worth the money and has become one of my favourite kitchen appliances!
When I first started trying to fall pregnant a few months ago I thought I had better stock up on home pregnancy tests . . . needless to say I was shocked at the prices being charged (having not had experience buying these products before). I have heard that overall Clear Blue is probably the best on the market, and not surprisingly seems to be the most expensive. I decided to be thrifty and go to Boots for their own brand, but as I was walking along I happened to pass Superdrug and popped in there instead.
I managed to get Superdrug Early Pregnancy Test on special offer £8 for 2 boxes (2 tests each).
The Superdrug Early Pregnancy Test is easy to use and I had no problem seeing of I was pregnant or not. Each test stick is individually wrapped with clear instructions.
How to use:
* Remove plastic cap
* Hold testing end in urine stream for 10 seconds
* Place on a flat surface for 3 minutes
* There are 2 windows on the top of the stick. If there is a pink stripe in the right window only - you are not pregnant. If you have a pink stripe in both windows - you are pregnant (even if 1 stripe is fainter than the other)
The leaflet enclosed in the box states that the test can be used up to 4 days before your first missed period and is >99% accurate.
My first 3 tests were clearly 'NOT PREGNANT', but I have been fortunate enough to get a positive result with my 4th test (just as well as I had only bought 4 test sticks!).
I received 2 Susanna Gregory books as Christmas gifts, and the fact that I have already read both is a testament to the fact that they are really enjoyable to read . . . I simply could not put them down once I had started. I think my next dooyoo voucher will definitely be spent on more books in the series.
This review is about the second book in the Thomas Chaloner Mysteries called 'Blood on the Strand'.
In every book review written by me I add in the follow message: I am not one of those people who like to give away the story in a review as I don't see the point of reading a book after reading a detailed account of what happens in the story.
I prefer to give a brief outline of the story so that you can make up your own mind whether or not this is a book that you would like to read:
The book is set in Restoration London in 1663. Thomas Chaloner is once again involved in solving a number or murders, starting with the death of a wealthy merchant called Matthew Webb on the Strand. All the murders seem to be connected and point towards important figures in White Hall. As the plot thickens Thomas turns to his old boss and friend, the ex-spymaster John Thurloe for advice and a few of his former spy colleagues. As always Thomas is trying to help John Thurloe as well as his current boss the Lord Chancellor. Placing himself in danger seems inevitable.
Like the first book in the series the pace of the storyline is fast and keeps you guessing right until the end. The range of characters is vast and nobody knows who they are able to trust.
Blood on the Strand is available on Amazon for £6.39.
I have always preferred milk chocolate as opposed to dark chocolate, as I am not too fond of the bitter aftertaste, with only 1 exception up to now: 'After Eights', which I find irresistible. Last week my husband spotted 'Elizabeth Shaw Mint Cream Chocolates' and we decided to try them instead of my usual 'After Eights'.
The verdict: I loved them! After Eights remain my favourites, but the Elizabeth Shaw Mint Cream Chocolates are delicious.
Each chocolate is individually wrapped and has a hexagonal shape. The initials ES is on the top of each elegant looking chocolate. In the centre of each chocolate is a thin layer of mint cream (similar to After Eights, but with a slightly stronger mint flavour and thicker chocolate)
Elizabeth Shaw Mint Cream Chocolates comes in various packaging and I think I might have got a box specially designed for Christmas as I have not been able to find an example of this exact box anywhere on the internet (not even on Tesco's website, which is where I bought the box in the first place). The 150g box that I bought is hexagonal in shape with a lovely dark green colour decorated with lighter green leaves. This box was on special at Tesco for £1,50.
As far as nutritional values are concerned these chocolates are not too sinful: each chocolate consists of 30 calories, with 3.4g sugar, 1.6g fat (of which 0.9 is saturates).
I have always loved reading. As a child I can remember being a member of the local library; as I was only allowed 4 books at a time I convinced my brothers to also get library cards so that I could use their allocated 4 books each as well as my own . . . thus I could take out 12 books at a time!
Growing up in South Africa meant that books were really expensive (and they still are), so coming to the UK has meant that I get to buy books now instead of using the library.
I love browsing through bookshops and looking for books that I might enjoy reading (mainly historical fiction, crime, murder mysteries and the occasional fluffy romantic novel . . . and not to forget Terry Pratchett's discworld series).
I almost always buy the books from Amazon as they tend to be cheaper than bookshops - if you wait long enough the books you want will be on special at some point. I also like the convenience of having books delivered to my home as I don't need to carry heavy books around with me after purchase. Most books bought on Amazon can be delivered free of charge if you are wiling to wait a few days.
My only problem now is space to put the books that I buy . . . will definitely need a bigger house soon!
I have suffered from acne since the tender age of 11. I remember my mother promising me that at the age of 18 the spots would miraculously disappear . . . I am now 35 and still waiting for that magical day!
I must confess that my acne has always been more annoying than serious and I have never suffered from scarring. When I was 18 my doctor prescribed contraceptive medication for me and this happened to be my miracle cure for my skin. As long as I have my hormones my skin is absolutely flawless.
My current 'outbreak' is as a result of my husband and I deciding to start a family. After leaving my contraceptive medication I used to examine my skin in the bathroom mirror every morning for signs of spots, and they only started appearing sporadically after about 2 months.
Luckily I have discovered the amazing T-zone Spot Zapping Stick. Every red spot that appears gets 'zapped' immediately and so far it has managed to keep the spots under control. I apply the stick directly to each spot and they get smaller and fade after 2 - 3 days. The main ingredient in the T-zone Spot Zapping Stick is tea tree, which is a natural anti-bacterial agent.
The T-zone Spot Zapping Stick consists of a glass cylinder just slightly bigger than a lipstick (thus fits easily into a handbag) with a green lid. The bottle contains 10ml and is available on Amazon for £3.35 (+ £2.50 postage). Surprisingly the ingredients are not listed on the bottle. I have very sensitive skin and have not experienced any problems using this product.
I have never been terrible interested in owning an iPhone until a marvellous day in summer when I was mooching about the Apple shop waiting for my husband . . . I ended up playing around with an iPhone to pass the time and fell in love with the it.
I finally got around getting an iPhone 3G by signing up to an O2 contract in October and have not looked back since. I pay £35 per month on the contract which includes a free iPhone 3G handset, unlimited internet access, 500 free texts and 600 free minutes per month.
To start with the iPhone has a beautiful sleek design. It measures approximately 11cm x 6cm (not the smallest handset on the market) with a touch screen which measures 7.5cm x 5cm. There is only one 'button' on the front and that takes you to the home menu; all other features are controlled by the touch screen.
It is worthwhile mentioning here that the main disadvantage of the iPhone is that the touch screen can become very grimy from constant use and I am continually polishing the fingerprints off of mine!
The iPhone has so many features that it would be impossible to discuss them all in a single review; instead I will concentrate on the features that I like the best and those I use most often:
* As a telephone it works brilliantly (although that seems to be a secondary requirement for most people these day!). The keypad numbers on the touch screen are large enough that you never type in a wrong number.
* Texting is really easy and the automatic predictive texting is very useful. The qwerty keypad is not very big and you can easily mistype words if you have largish fingertips (although the predictive texting will generally correct typing errors)
* I personally do not browse the internet much on the iPhone as I find the screen annoyingly small for this purpose. Where it does come in handy is when I need to look up an address, telephone number or the price of a product at various shops while I am on the move.
Standard internet access can be quite slow, but when you switch on the wi-fi access internet surfing is much quicker.
I have connected my email accounts to my iPhone so that my messages automatically get sent to my iPhone.
* The iPhone doubles up as a fully fledged iPod. I am also very fond of listening to Podcasts.
* Applications: there are thousands of applications for the iPhone and choosing which ones to download can be fun. Loads of basic applications are free, or you can pay a fee for the more complex/advanced applications. The iPhone automatically has certain applications already installed when you buy it.
The applications that I use most frequently are:
1) Maps (you can type in where you want to go and it will use your current location to work out a walking, driving or bus route for you)
2) Weather and Accuweather (you can put in numerous locations and it will give you basic and detailed weather forecasts)
5) Alarm clock
7) ATM hunter (find your nearest bank machine)
8) London tube map
9) Tube status (detailed tube report as well as line or station closures and maintenance work)
10) Thetrainline (train timetables)
11) Sky news
12) ITN news
13) Road Trip LE (logbook for your car
Short battery life - I generally charge my iPhone everyday or every other day.
The iPhone integrates seamlessly with all modern Apple computers. Syncing with contacts, music, photographs etc is quick and easy.
I received 2 Susanna Gregory novels for Christmas (after I had read a review that her books are really good) and have just finished reading the first of the Thomas Chaloner Mysteries called 'A Conspiracy of Violence'.
Being new to Susanna Gregory I was unsure of what to expect. I was utterly engrossed by this story and could hardly put it down once I had started reading. The plot is intricate enough to keep you guessing and the characters are compelling.
I am not one of those people who like to give away the story in a review as I don't see the point of reading a book after reading a detailed account of what happens in the story . . . so I am only giving you a brief outline to make you curious:
The story is set in Restoration London in 1662. Charles 2 has been instated as King and London is teeming with people trying to prove their loyalty to the King. Anyone who had any connection to the parliamentarians is in danger of being exposed as a traitor.
Thomas Chaloner is in the unfortunate position of having been a spy in Holland (which is threatening to go to war with England), has a Dutch girlfriend and had an uncle who was one of the men who signed the death warrant for Charles 1. Thomas is finding it difficult to secure work because of his connections, but manages to secure a temporary position (to prove his worth) helping the new Lord Chancellor who asks him to help find a treasure. His old boss, John Thurloe ex-spymaster, also asks him to help uncover any plots against him, as well as finding out how and why another spy sent to work for the Lord Chancellor had been murdered. Thomas quickly realises that all his investigations are connected and tries to unravel the mystery while thwarting attempts on his own life.
'A Conspiracy of Violence' is a fast-paced book that keeps you in suspense until the very last page. I can highly recommend the novel to those who like a good mystery novel as well as those who enjoy novels set in historical times.
'A Conspiracy of Violence' is available on Amazon for £5.99
In 1995 I came across a Terry Pratchett book in my local library, decided that the cover looked rather interesting and thought I'd give it a read . . . well after 14 years I am a great fan and his latest Discworld offering 'Unseen Academicals' doesn't disappoint.
For those who have never read a Terry Pratchett discworld book here are a few basics:
* Discworld is a fantasy world consisting of a flat disc which rests on the backs of 4 huge elephants, which in turn are on the back of a huge turtle swimming through space.
* The main city on Discworld is Ankh-Morpork (which seems rather like London in many ways).
* The characters in the books range from humans, trolls, dwarves, witches, wizards, vampires . . . the list goes on and on (just about every fantasy creature imaginable).
* These are not children's books, they are in fact adult fairytales and hold a mirror up to our own society.
* Each of the 37 Discworld novels is a story in its own right, but I have found the books more enjoyable if read in sequence so that you meet and develop an understanding of the characters.
I am not one of those people who like to give away the story in a review as I don't see the point of reading a book after reading a detailed account of what happens in the story . . . so I am only giving you a brief outline to make you curious:
The theme of Unseen Academical is football and is based around Ankh-Morpork and the Unseen University. Lord Vetenari (the city's tyrannical ruler) has decided that the street foot-the-ball needs to be regulated and has enlisted the wizards at the university write down the rules of football and create their own team to play against a mixed city team for a goldish cup (that is full of beer).
Apart from the story of football the book is centred round a mysterious new candle dribbler at the university called Mr Nutt, his friend Trevor Likely and 2 of the girls (Glenda and Juliet) who work in the night kitchen.
The reason that I love the Terry Pratchett books is because of the humour and sharp wit that you will find on every page of the books.
It is hard to put the book down once you have started reading, definitely recommended for those who love Terry Pratchett books as well as those interested in finding out what the fuss is all about.
Unseen Academicals is available on Amazon for £9.48.
*** What did you do in 2009 that you have not done before***
Went on a cruise holiday - to be highly recommended as a very relaxing way of travelling!
*** Did anyone close to you give birth? ***
*** Did anyone close to you die? ***
*** What countries did you visit? ***
Egypt and Jordan
*** What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? ***
Would love to have my first baby
*** What dates will you remember from 2009? ***
10 September - my anniversary. My husband took me for a meal at the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly where we had our wedding reception the previous year
*** Did you suffer illness or injury? ***
My husband and I were unfortunate enough to get Swine Flu
*** What was the best thing you bought? ***
A wonderful coat at BHS on sale . . . feels like I am wearing a polar bear!
*** Whose behaviour has merited celebration? ***
My 10 year old niece who is very brave while facing a devastating illness called dermatomyositis. She was diagnosed 2 and a half years ago and is still remaining positive after all this time.
*** Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? ***
Gordon Brown - he means well but is a hopeless PM. I think our road to economic recovery would have been faster had we already had a general election.
*** Where did most of your money go? ***
The household bills and expenses
*** What did you get really excited about? ***
My first visit to Egypt! I got to ride on a camel at the pyramids.
*** What song(s) will you remember from 2009? ***
Too many to mention
*** Compared to this time last year are you . . . happier, fitter, or more productive? ***
. . . I think they will all be on my new Year resolution list!
*** What do you wish you had done more of? ***
Got to visit my family in South Africa
*** What do you wish you had done less of? ***
*** What was your favourite TV programme? ***
*** Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate last year? ***
I try not to waste my time with hating people.
*** What's been the best book of 2009? ***
Too many to mention . . . I love reading!
*** What was your greatest musical discovery? ***
Not that into music to know
*** What did you want to get in 2009? ***
My own house
*** What did you want and didn't get? ***
My own house
*** What is your favourite film of the year? ***
*** What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? ***
Didn't do much, 35
*** What political issue stirred you the most? ***
Growing unemployment as my husband was retrenched
*** Who was the best person you met? ***
Reconnected with an old school friend
*** Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009? ***
Life is what you make of it and happiness is a choice you make.
I put the Philips Earclip Headphones on my wish list for my birthday this year as I have 'odd ears' as just about any in-ear earphones hurt me and/or constantly fall out. I wanted headphones which would be comfortable, but small enough not to get in my way.
These Philips Earclip Headphones are marvellous as they are comfortable to wear (no pain involved) and they give great sound.
They are well-designed and stylish consisting of 2 white earpieces measuring 3.5cm in diameter with a sliver disc design on the outside and soft cushion pads which fit snugly against your ear on the inside. Each one has an adjustable grey earclip attached which fits around your ear. The two earpieces are connected by a thin white wire.
I am afraid that there are 2 negatives when it comes to the Philips Earclip Headphones:
1) The Earclips fall off my ears rather easily
2) The wires get very tangled and it can take a while to detangle them when you want to use them.
The price of the earphones were just under £20 when I received them as a gift in July.
I am afraid I am one of the people who feel very strongly that smoking should be banned in ALL public spaces, but the issue is not clear cut and would be rather difficult to implement.
I am not a smoker (obviously) and don't really have an issue to people choosing to smoke. My husband smoked for more than 20 years and finally quit at the beginning of 2009 . . . it is the hardest thing he has ever done and he still desperately wants a cigarette everyday.
My problem with smoking in public is that I suffer terribly from sinus problems and even walking next to someone in the street whose smoke is wafting my way sends me into coughing spasms and my nasal passages close up totally. This means that I am permanently hauling out my Sinex nasal spray to try to breathe properly!
I know my sinus problem is rare and most people would hardly notice someone smoking close to them, but it is a problem for me and I am sure there are plenty of other people in the same boat.
Having said all this I sympathise with smokers who pay hefty taxes for their habit and are forced outside to smoke (in the freezing cold). The only real (but expensive) solution is for businesses and high street shops to offer 'smoking rooms' fitted with extractor fans as it is unrealistic to expect smokers to light up early morning before work and then have to wait until they get back home for their next cigarette.
Everyone who reads my reviews will realise that I love puddings and love trying out new ones when I spot them in the shops. Recently I saw some Tesco Creamy and Fruity Bread and Butter Puddings and thought it would be nice to try them. Tesco always seem to have puddings on special and I managed to get these on 'any 2 for £3'.
Tesco Creamy and Fruity Bread and Butter Puddings taste delicious! They consist of slices of bread set in custard made with cream, with some sultanas and nutmeg on top . . . yummy!
The puddings are easy to prepare as they come in individual pots (2 per pack). All you need to do is remove the film lid and microwave for 70 seconds. I like to serve these with Tesco custard or Ambrosia custard.
The packaging is quite plain and consists of 2 pots wrapped together in a beige cardboard sleeve. There is a picture of a prepared pudding on top (which looks very dry and uninteresting). The nutritional information is on the bottom of the cardboard sleeve. The important bit to take note of is: each 120g pudding contains 385 calories, 26.9g sugar and 24.1g fat, of which 14g is saturates.
I would highly recommend Tesco Creamy and Fruity Bread and Butter Puddings, but be warned that they taste healthier than what they are in reality! Oodles of calories, but worth it!