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Quiverbow (Kent, England)
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First Alert CO-FA-9B Carbon Monoxide Alarm
First Alert CO-FA-9B Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Price: £13.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Sleep soundly, 5 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is one essential piece of equipment that every home should have. In fact, I'm not sure why it hasn't been passed as law by government. That necessary bit of equipment is a Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector. You can't see it, you can't smell it, you can't taste it. But it can (and has) kill. For the sake of £15 or so, you can get an early warning of any CO presence.

This one from First Alert fits this bill. It's small, unobtrusive and can be either ceiling or wall mounted or, thanks to it's sloping design, be stood upright. Battery operated (supplied), all these detectors consist of is two LEDs, a test button and a sensor. Insert the two batteries, the green power LED will flash to show it's working the press to test button and prepare yourself for an ear splitting alarm. The LED shows red for this.

The power light blinks every now and then to show the batteries are still sending power but once they do start to drain there's an audio visual warning in the shape of a regular beeping accompanied by the flashing red LED. (That's how it should work, but I've had this for just a couple of days.)

It conforms to BS and EU safety standards. Buy one.


AmazonBasics Padded Bed Bolster Bed, Large
AmazonBasics Padded Bed Bolster Bed, Large

4.0 out of 5 stars Let sleeping dogs lie, 4 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To be honest, I forgot I ordered this and wondered what it could be that took up such a large box but didn't weigh a great deal. Murphy, a six month old crossbred something or other, decided to assist with the opening of the box. Usually he enjoys playing with the empty boxes but took an immediate liking to the rather large bolster bed inside.

Currently, he has a basket to sleep in at night and an oversized 'pillow' that he lays on when looking out the patio doors (which he does a lot). Added to those two is this 'bolster bed', that has padded sides and a too thin base but seems big enough for even the largest dog. The thin base isn't an issue as many pets lie on the floor anyway, so they obviously don't mind. Murphy has taken to using this as a place on which to lie and chew his rubber bones, along with anything else he can find.

Yes, its footprint may be on the large size, but if it keeps your pet happy then that's all that matters. There is a caveat though. A lot of 'fluff' comes off this bolster bed, though that might just be because it's new.


K&F Concept 58mm 6pcs Lens Filter Kit Includes: UV Circular Polarizing Filter Set (FLD CPL UV )+Graduated Color Blue Orange Neutral Density ND4)+ Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth + Flower Petal Lens Hood + Center Pinch Lens Cap/Cap Keeper + Filter Pouch for CANON Rebel T5i T4i T3i T3 T2i T1i XT XTi XSi SL1 DSLR Cameras 18-55mm Lens
K&F Concept 58mm 6pcs Lens Filter Kit Includes: UV Circular Polarizing Filter Set (FLD CPL UV )+Graduated Color Blue Orange Neutral Density ND4)+ Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth + Flower Petal Lens Hood + Center Pinch Lens Cap/Cap Keeper + Filter Pouch for CANON Rebel T5i T4i T3i T3 T2i T1i XT XTi XSi SL1 DSLR Cameras 18-55mm Lens
Offered by dcmall
Price: £43.98

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Filter it through, 1 July 2015
Okay, so you bought a new DSLR or CSC and have used it enough to be familiar with all the buttons and settings and you now understand Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed. But you want to get a bit more adventurous and experimental. Apart from splashing out and investing in different lenses, which can be somewhat expensive, another path to take is that of the well trodden one of filters.

The obvious one to get the day you buy your camera is a UV (ultraviolet) one, mainly as a protection for your lens. Replacement glass is wallet groaning but a scratched UV filter is pocket money stuff. (It can remain in situ, so put it on and leave it there.) Okay, it won't make any difference to your photos but can save you a stack of cash if the worst should happen. The next step is the plethora of filters that can emphasise your pictures in a myriad of ways. There are two sorts; slot-in and screw-in. This is the latter.

Within this K&F Concept pack is a lens hood, a wrist strap for something or other, a lens cap, a microfibre cloth (mine is white) and six filters, which are housed in a neat fold-up wallet. The wallet has mesh compartments for each filter with even finer mesh padding inside the pocket so you don't need to keep them in the individual wrapping. The filters are a decent mixture:
A UV filter.
A circular polariser.
A graduated orange.
A graduated blue.
A graduated grey.
A fluorescent light.

The thing with these is it's a nice assortment and it's up to you to experiment with them. The beauty of filters is that not only are they interchangeable, they can be stacked together to give wider options so you keep trying different things until you get something you're happy with.

Yes, these are cheap but there's no point in spending a lot of money at first. Try this pack, see how you get on and then you can graduate to more expensive and better filters. A nice blue tint or orange glow to the sky is fair enough but try the FLD on the dog and see what it looks like. One thing to remember is that though Photoshop can be used for a multitude of things, the one thing it cannot do is replicate the effect of a polariser. Along with the UV filter, this is a 'must have'.

Bear in mind that photography has no right or wrongs. Don't let anyone tell you your pictures aren't any good; if you like the photos you take, that's all that matters. You will only improve through discovering what works and what doesn't (for you that is, not anyone else) and this set can help.

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes.
Comment Comment | Permalink


Rosewood Apple BioSafe Dog Toy
Rosewood Apple BioSafe Dog Toy
Price: £6.35

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An apple a day..., 30 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A giant squeaky, noisy apple. Perfect.

This new toy for Murphy is BioCote protected (whatever that is) and fruit scented but no one in this house can detect anything other than a plastic odour. It has two serrated sides to aid his teeth and gums and is supposed to satisfy his urge to chew at everything, but that remains to be seen. It floats, though Murphy isn't too keen on water so it won't be thrown in the sea for him to fetch, and it bounces – a bit.

All I know is that it will have to be taken away when it's bedtime, as I don't want to be woken at the dead of night by an apple pleading for its life. The company, Rosewood, produce a whole gamut of fruit toys, so pick your favourite.

It's a resounding five stars from the dog.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 5, 2015 4:00 PM BST


50th Anniversary Anthology
50th Anniversary Anthology
Price: £17.71

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm hearing something good, 29 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have in my collection a 1997 CD 'The Very Best Of' compilation. Though an official EMI release, it's a cheap, nasty looking thing with an insert that any compiler would be ashamed of. It had all the hits and that included so it sufficed. However, EMI has seen fit to issue CD boxsets of everything ever released (with a few never before issued tracks) from Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Hollies and a few others but Herman's Hermits have been conspicuous by their absence in this series of releases. It's taken Bear Family to rectify this. Whilst it doesn't include the group's complete Columbia recordings, what it is does have is the songs (bar eight that have been issued in a hard-to-listen-sort-of-stereo) appearing in true stereo for the first time.

A superbly packed double CD, the lavish 140 page enclosed booklet is worth the admission fee alone. Pages of photos of exotic labels and picture sleeves (I counted 128), trade adverts, sheet music, tape boxes and posters are complimented by a plethora of group photos, and brilliant liner notes from Andrew Sandoval. This is how collections should be produced. Other labels please take note. My only misgiving is that the songs aren't in chronological order, something that allows you to hear the progression made. It's a minor quibble.

From their first recording in March 1964, with two members who didn't last beyond this session and issued here for the first time, through to January 1970, the remastering and remixing brings out every nuance in both vocals and backing. Previously buried piano and guitars are clearly heard. Backing vocals are more prominent and you can now hear things you didn't even know were there. Some songs have brief snippets of a count-in, whilst others are 30 seconds longer, grinding to a halt when they were past the point where they knew the song would be faded, which is something that makes releases such as this far better than a simple 'Greatest Hits'. 'I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving' has an alternate spoken outro. The two demos, 'Only Last Night' and 'Thinkin' Of You', sound rather twee in retrospect but it's easy to see why the group was passed over at the time and asked to come back with a different drummer and lead guitarist. One of the last things they recorded, 'It's Alright Now' was also the heaviest thing they committed to tape and had you not known, no one would have suggested it was by them.

Not blessed with the best voice but one good enough for their material, it wasn't all Peter Noone, though. The band members wrote ten of the songs here and whereas Gerry Marsden, Freddie Garrity, Billy J Kramer, etc. were lead singers with seemingly faceless musicians, even though they stood behind 'Herman', the Hermits were an integral part of the whole. The tub thumping original 'My Reservation's Been Confirmed' shows they were rockers at heart

A merited 50th Anniversary collection, compiled with the care it deserved. That 1997 CD is now in the boot fair box.


Summer 1967 - Complete Us Concert Recordings
Summer 1967 - Complete Us Concert Recordings
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £127.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Monkeemania, 22 Jun. 2015
During the 'Summer of Love', that's 1967 for those unaware, the Monkees toured the USA (and played three nights in London). The final three nights of that tour were recorded for a potential live LP for the lucrative Christmas market. Though professionally recorded, the equipment and conditions were rather primitive 48 years ago, which is why nothing was released at the time. In addition to those three nights, a fourth (earlier) night was also recorded, this time from the mixing board. Twenty years later, 16 of those songs were issued on a live CD and one on a compilation boxset. In 2001, accompanied by a booklet that incorporates some great photos, Rhino, as pat of their Handmade series, remixed all the shows and released a quadruple CD box.

What you hear on these CDs is exactly as it was all those years ago. No sweetening, no overdubbing. From start to end, everything is as you would have heard it had you been there. False starts, clowning around, tuning, unintentional feedback, unruly audiences, duff microphones, snippets of unconnected songs, spluttering instruments. It's all here, which is what makes it such a treasure. Trying to play songs on guitar, bass, drums and percussion that utilised a multitude of instruments on the records, it's real ragged garage-thrash band stuff.

Whilst there are four CDs, there are only 17 disparate tracks, including the introduction. The group didn't vary their set list, so you get to hear each song four times. But don't let that put you off, as the performances are contrasting, especially the bits in between and the introductions. Unusually, their live shows incorporated a solo spot for each member. Tork blows the dust from his banjo on 'Cripple Creek', and backed by The Sundowners, Nesmith grabs a pair of maracas and storms through a blistering 'You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover', Jones grabs the spotlight for 'Gonna Build A Mountain', and Dolenz baffles the audience with a James Brown parody on 'I Got A Woman', most of whom, if not all, had never heard of him.

The 2½ minutes of 'Mary Mary' is extended to eight due to Mike singing a [planned] impromptu 'Singing In The Rain', 'Steppin' Stone' is double the record length, Davy sings both lead and backing vocals on 'Forget That Girl', Peter introduces Mike by playing the final part of 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'. Davy lambasts the 'idiots' who own the building for not allowing cameras inside, so encourages those who sneaked theirs in to take as many photos as possible. And get this all those who may mock; he even plays bass and drums on a couple of things. If the audience was enjoying themselves, the group seemed to be having an even better time. Whereas The Beatles appeared to want to get their shows over with as quickly as manageable, The Monkees wanted to stay out there for as long as possible.

I'm still nonplussed why music critics still deride The Monkees. I thought they would have grown up by now and given the group their deserved plaudits. Mind you, if Zappa, Hendrix, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and even Lennon and Harrison gave them their fair dues, what does it matter what critics think?

If you're just dabbling, look out for the 'Live 1967' single CD. If you're a fully fledged Monkeemaniac, not only is this fabulous, it's fabulously expensive, too.


Smatree SmaPole Q1 Extendable Handheld Selfie Gopro Pole / Monopod with Tripod Mount and Smatree Thumbscrew for GoPro Hero 4/3+/3/2/1 & SJ4000, SJ5000 and Cameras with Tripod Socket
Smatree SmaPole Q1 Extendable Handheld Selfie Gopro Pole / Monopod with Tripod Mount and Smatree Thumbscrew for GoPro Hero 4/3+/3/2/1 & SJ4000, SJ5000 and Cameras with Tripod Socket
Offered by Kumu-UK
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Look at me, 17 Jun. 2015
To compliment the 'selfie' stick, which, even though such things aren't that old, is seemingly already outdated, is a far better and more useful monopod. This particular model is advertised as for use with a GoPro or something similar (a mounting bracket is included). Though I have a DBPower SJ4000, I've also used this with an Olympus TG860 compact camera.

Extending from 12 inches up to three feet, the three sections are simple to raise by pulling out and twisting until they lock, it will suffice as a cheap monopod capable of holding something up to around the 10oz. weight. (It may take more but if you have something heavier, look elsewhere.) As a hand held 'selfie' video stick for your GoPro, etc. it does what it's supposed to do but I wouldn't trust screwing it to a tripod for extra height, as it does seem rather flimsy.

Whilst it's not intended for the serious photographer, it is light and easy to extend and is a cheap substitute for a wall or something if you want to take a few quick snaps without camera shake. It's just too short for anything else.

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes.


Cootree Winnersun - Extendable Selfie Stick / Self Shooting Monopod with Bluetooth Remote Shutter Built-in for iPhone 6, 6 plus, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, SAMSUNG Note4, Note3, 2, Note Galasy S5, S4, S3, LG, BlackBerry etc. IOS/Most Android Smartphones, Smart Android Stick (Black & Black)
Cootree Winnersun - Extendable Selfie Stick / Self Shooting Monopod with Bluetooth Remote Shutter Built-in for iPhone 6, 6 plus, 5s, 5c, 5, 4s, SAMSUNG Note4, Note3, 2, Note Galasy S5, S4, S3, LG, BlackBerry etc. IOS/Most Android Smartphones, Smart Android Stick (Black & Black)
Offered by Kumu-UK
Price: £15.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A picture of you, 16 Jun. 2015
The selfie stick. A new 'invention', if that's the right word, that will be a five minute wonder. Not because people aren't interested in them, but due to them being banned from many places. Be that as it may, they can't be un-invented, so they're here (albeit briefly).

This particular one is black, has six extendable sections (up to a maximum length of 80cm), a carry strap, a USB charging socket in the base (lead supplied), with a 270º rotating head at the top. The head is spring extended to take any size phone width-wise, that is. A thumb screw keeps the head from moving. Pair your phone with the stick using the button on the handle and off you go. Take a photo using this same button but there is a two second time lag.

Now when I say it fits any phone, there is a caveat to that. I have a Huawei Honor 6 and it has to be offset to the right in the head otherwise the on/off button will not only be covered, it keeps turning itself on and off because of this. Other brands of phone may experience something similar. I've used this a couple of times and after finding it not worth it, it's back in the box in the loft. The major problem with something like this is that whilst you can take a photo of yourself and another, you can't get much of your surroundings in shot. It's just as easy to ask someone else to take your photo. Even my two kids didn't want to know, as, even now, it's "ancient stuff".

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes.


DBPOWER® USB Charge Smart Snooze Alarm Clock with Intelligent Backlight Week/ Date and Temperature LCD Display Bedside Sensor Clock White
DBPOWER® USB Charge Smart Snooze Alarm Clock with Intelligent Backlight Week/ Date and Temperature LCD Display Bedside Sensor Clock White
Offered by MyStore365
Price: £15.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Time on your hands, 13 Jun. 2015
An alarm clock charged with a USB lead that is supposed to be the 'first intelligent alarm clock with a Lithium battery'. The first is certainly true enough but I'll defer to their better knowledge than mine regarding the latter claim. What's it like?

It's white and has a huge digital time readout, so you won't have to squint. Less prominent are the displays for date, temperature and alarm setting, though these are obviously of lesser importance. On top of the unit is a snooze/light touch sensitive option, which gives the display a watery blue hue for a few seconds. At the rear are the buttons for setting the time (24/12hr), date, ºF/ºC, three alarm settings, and on/off. There is also what I assume to be a sensor for the temperature and to sense the lighting. The alarm itself attempts to rouse you from your slumber with a single beeping soon to be replaced with a double beeping and then a continuous one. If that doesn't wake you, you're in big trouble.

Be aware though, that if you turn this off, you will have to reset everything. To make things easy to read when it's dark, the display does glow. You also get a USB lead but bear in mind it charges a lot quicker if you can use a mains outlet than going through a PC. An alarm clock that works.

I was sent this by the manufacturer for review purposes.


Bosch PTC 470 Tile Cutter
Bosch PTC 470 Tile Cutter
Price: £106.71

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A night on the tiles, 10 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There I was minding my own business watching cricket on the telly and a courier knocks on the door, struggling to carry a parcel. I didn't order anything, but I know someone who might have, so I opened it. We have a new kitchen and bathroom, and it took me a few seconds to register (there was a wicket in the cricket, so my mind was on that). Both rooms need tiling and I was all in favour of getting a man in to do it. "Now you don't have to" was her comment when I saw my new tile cutter. Apparently it's 'my' tile cutter. Not 'hers' or 'ours', but mine, so I knew what I would be doing for the next week even though I'm a DiY accident waiting to happen.

The first thing to know is that this is a bit of a beast. Yes, you can get smaller and cheaper tile cutters but there tends to be a reason why they're priced as they are, but that doesn't mean everything is top notch with this cutter, of which more later. This is such a monster that it has two carrying handles and a press on stud strap to prevent it coming apart when transported. Unlike many other cutters, this has a separate locking lever, which holds the tile in place by means of pushing down on the handle so the hook is under the base plate. Once you've aligned your tile and done this, score and break it. Easy.

This is the PTC 470, which denotes the maximum tile size of 470mm (there is also a 640 version but both have a 12mm maximum tile thickness) and it can also cut at an angle of anything up to 45º, but I have yet to try this. When used with fairly large tiles, it works like a dream but not everyone wants larger tiles. Now, this might be in the 'Rolls Royce' box of tile cutters but when it comes to cutting small tiles (I tried it on some 100×100mm I have for the bathroom) or thin slices from any size tile, it suffers badly. There are two reasons for this:

1. The black surface is springy so when the breaking stamp is pushed down to split the tile, there doesn't seem to be enough reverse force to ensure it breaks.

2. Both the breaking stamp and locking lever are too big. You can't cut off anything less than about 20mm as the locking lever covers the first 15mm of a tile, so the footprint of the stamp isn't big enough to create any down force to break.

At least I can get the kitchen done, though I'm going to have to find a way round the part tiles needed in the bathroom. I guess that's one of the advantages an electric cutter has. I'll still give a four as it's obviously meant for the larger tile. Mind you, it's going to be a bugger to store. Damn you Bosch!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 13, 2015 10:34 PM BST


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