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Content by Louise G
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Reviews Written by
Louise G "loolabub" (UK)

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MICRO Pedi NANO Orange Portable Pedicure Device
MICRO Pedi NANO Orange Portable Pedicure Device
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic product, 10 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Absolutely fabulous product. Basically it is a rotary sander for your feet - like using a pumice stone but way more effective and works best on dry feet so extremely convenient.

Having used the similar looking Scholl Express Pedi I was expecting something similar but I much prefer this product. It is compact and easy to hold and the results are so quick. Simplicity to use - simply an on/off switch and a button to eject the roller for cleaning or replacement. The unit is ergonomically shaped with a rubber insert pad on the end you hold to help keep a good, comfortable grip. The roller is rougher than the Scholl product giving quicker results. The design is such that much of the dust accumulates in the lip under the roller making it less messy and easy to clean.

The instructions say to not use for more than a few seconds but I have rolled it around for longer on some particularly horrible toe skin and it caused no damage to the soft skin just satisfying powdering of the dead/hard skin. Quite simply the results are better than anything else I have used or even had from a professional pedi where they shave off the dead skin with a blade. The results here are so quick, a lot smoother and easy to maintain.

I can see that replacement rollers are easily available and inexpensive on Amazon so that is great too.


Oral-B Pro Vitality Plus Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral-B Pro Vitality Plus Cross Action Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £20.00

4.0 out of 5 stars The best type of brush, 9 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent toothbrush with a gentle but thorough cleaning action. The Oral B rotating brushes were recommended by my hygienist and since starting to use this my gum health has improved significantly and my teeth feel so much cleaner and free of plaque build up. I have just deducted one point from this model because the description says there is a 2 minute timer in the handle but nothing happens on mine. Charge lasts around 5/6 days brushing twice a day, and good that this comes with a spare brush head. Would like to have a charging light indicator but you can't have everything!

Update: After reading another review, the two minute timer works by slowing down briefly. I have totally missed this in normal use but after testing the brush just running by itself, it does do this. I would not notice this during brushing so it isn't very effective as a two minute alert.


The Gracekeepers
The Gracekeepers
by Kirsty Logan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Dreamlike dystopia, 9 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Gracekeepers (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really enjoyed this book. The dystopian future where the flooded earth is split between damplings and landlockers is well drawn and the language has a haunting, dreamlike quality that draws you in. Each chapter focuses on the perspective of one of the characters - so that stories and mysteries are gradually revealed. An enjoyable read.


The Dream Cafe: Lessons in the Art of Radical Innovation
The Dream Cafe: Lessons in the Art of Radical Innovation
by Duncan Bruce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.88

3.0 out of 5 stars For brand marketeers. Not for me!, 9 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was attracted to this by the quirky cover and from the title and jacket blurb thought it might be an inspiring book for someone looking to develop their own (small) business ideas. It is however aimed at corporate brands - from what I can work out from the marketing speak! It concerns the "art of radical innovation", but I found it rather fake, shallow and unpleasant when they are talking about big brands adopting or emulating radical and counter cultural ideas and methods. I couldn't get on with it at all personally at the text is quite impenetrable for the non marketeer. I have tried to read it from the start, and dipping into the A-Z format but for the most part couldn't understand what the feck they were going on about!


Gourmet Mon Petit Indulgent New Meat Recipes with Game Liver and Beef Wet Cat Food (Pack of 8)
Gourmet Mon Petit Indulgent New Meat Recipes with Game Liver and Beef Wet Cat Food (Pack of 8)
Price: £15.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small portions and fiddly packets but cats love the food, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So you get 8 boxes, each containing 6 50g packets - 2 each of Game, Liver and Beef flavour. My cats love this stuff and I can't get it out of the packet fast enough for them. Which is one of my gripes - it is quite difficult to get it all out of the packet and I have resorted to using a spoon to get it all out.

The portion size is too small I think. My cats each usually manage a 100g packet of their regular brand at each meal and there is never any waste, here I am just feeding them more often. They are active cats and not overweight. It does look appetising as far as cat food goes and they do really enjoy it.

One of my cats can be sick if she eats different cat food to her usual brand (which is one of the cheaper ones!), however she has no problems with this and loves it. Good for a treat but I'll probably stick with the old brand in 100g pouches for convenience.


Rexel Jiffex Bright Foolscap Transfer Files Assorted (Pack of 12)
Rexel Jiffex Bright Foolscap Transfer Files Assorted (Pack of 12)
Price: £33.06

4.0 out of 5 stars I like them because they are nice and compact for laying ..., 19 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The classic Jiffex files but in bright colours. My kid loves them and is using them to organise all her projects. I like them because they are nice and compact for laying flat or in a filing cabinet, but they don't stack side by side on a bookcase so well being made of cardboard (although they are pretty strong).


Philips GC2045/26 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120 g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Blue
Philips GC2045/26 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120 g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Blue
Price: £27.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and lots of steam., 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nice item. Good weight and comfortable to use. I don't do a lot of ironing if I can help it and have made do with the same old £10 iron for the last 20 years so due an upgrade. This is heaps better! It is pretty easy and intuitive to set up. Tank fills with water easily and mess free. Has all the usual settings for delicates, synthetic, cotton, linen, steam and spray. I tested it ironing a 100% cotton crumpled bed sheet, and used both my old and new iron on max steam setting. This new one produced lots of nice steam as opposed to my old one that leaked and dripped a lot. The spray was also nice and even. The ironing plate glides smoothly. In terms of getting rid of the crumples it does a decent job. It was a tough challenge and the sheet was well flattened but a few creases remain, so it doesn't get 5 stars. The steam also got used up very quickly. One tank was just enough to finish one sheet. Anyhow being much more effective than my old thing, now relegated to the bin, I might iron more often!

The box works really well. It is just a sturdy cardboard box about the size of a shoebox, but it takes the hot iron immediately after use and you can just stack it away. Looks sweet.


The Lie Tree
The Lie Tree
by Frances Hardinge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.64

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Victorian adventure with a strong young heroine, 16 May 2015
This review is from: The Lie Tree (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really enjoyed this book. Marketed for young adults it has an interesting and complex plot and ideas that should appeal to older readers also, as for example Philip Pullman's books do. Set in Victorian times in the world of science and archaeology. Creationism was under threat from Darwin's Theory of Evolution, gentlemen scientists were vying for new discoveries, and an intelligent female was either invisible or deemed a freak of nature. Faith, the teenage central character, has a fierce intelligence and longs for the confidence of her father the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly. When he dies in suspicious circumstances while the family are in exile on the island of Vane, Faith seeks to solve the mystery of both his death, his recent exposure as a fraud and a cheat, and his secret and prized specimen the Lie Tree. The truths are slowly revealed and the book reaches a thrilling and violent climax with some great twists in the tale. I really enjoyed the style of writing, which was true to the era while challenging the prejudices of the day, and found Faith to be a brilliant character and role model. A wonderfully complex, original and intelligent mystery and adventure story that I would recommend anyone to read.


Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (Black)
Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (Black)
Price: £292.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sound, love AllPlay Radio, but not as convenient as Bluetooth speakers., 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Set up required a bit of doing, including a firmware update and a factory reset but relatively straightforward if you follow all the instructions carefully including the extra note tucked in the box! It looks good and is quite big and solid - 22cm high by 37cm wide so you need decent shelf space for it. Also while wireless it does need a power source so you need it near a plug! The sides are sloped so you cannot position it any way other than horizontally as shown.

You need the Panasonic Music Stream app installed on a smartphone or tablet to connect the speaker to your wifi network (I used my iPod Touch. Once that is done you can connect supported services to the App to enable play through the speaker. Supported services seem to be Napster, Spotify, AUPEO! Personal Radio and AllPlay Radio. Unfortunately I use Google Play and that doesn't seem to be supported. I can connect music devices on my wi-fi Network, so I play music via my iPod, and use the AllPlay Radio service which is free and totally brilliant. An endless variety of stations and podcasts to choose from. Sometimes it is a faff connecting - maybe it needs a firmware upgrade, I have to reset it, or it simply doesn't appear on the Network for a while and then magically appears after I think all is lost! It simply is not as convenient as other bluetooth speakers I have, particularly I have a couple of portable ones with decent sound that I can take anywhere round the house with me. This speaker is for use in a permanent location with reliable wi-fi.

The sound is excellent - deep and rich and room filling with strong bass tones. Absolutely no complaints there. It also has a wired network connection to use if that is convenient, and an Aux in so you can also connect non-network sources that way (or for use where there is no wi-fi).

In conclusion it is a great sounding, solid product but the software needs some improvement and not as convenient / simple as Bluetooth connected speakers.


No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well constructed and designed with some thoughtful features, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I will add here the disclaimer that this is a Vine Voice review of free product. There was a mix up in the delivery meaning that these went missing at Royal Mail, then reappeared, so they are no longer on my official review list. Being a high end product, I asked a sound engineer friend (Graham - thank you!) to give me his expert opinion:

Sennheiser RS185 Wireless Headphones

These headphones speak of well thought out construction and presentation from the moment that they arrive in a large box which contains the cans, base unit and accessories.

The first thing that emerges from the box is a sub box containing a power supply, (which comes usefully equipped with euro, US and UK mains plug adaptors). The power supply for the transmitter is a relatively slimline wallwart which shoudn’t take up an unnecessary amount of plug board space.

A set on decently long RCA to RCA phono cables are included, as is a fairly sturdy optical cable. The transmitter features both analog and digital optical in., which was an intriguing feature for someone who has never used wireless headphones before.

Next to emerge from the packaging are the cans and the transmitter unit (removal from the box is facilitated by handily thought out tabs marked ‘pull’).

A brief multi language paper set up guide is included along with a comprehensive manual on CD. The set up guide does what it says on the tin and allows you to get up and running as first as you can plug the transmitter into a convenient audio output.

I couldn’t get the optical in to work from the TOSLINK output of my MOTU 828 soundcard, but the pro audio world is not the market that sennheiser are targeting with these headphones. I am confident that thee will work happily with the optical out from modern TV’s.

The analogue input worked fine – selection between the two input sources is via a switch on the back of the transmitter.

The cans promise uncompressed audio wireless audio – and are clearly aimed at the discerning consumer market.

With the above target audience in mind my first impression is that Sennheiser have very much fulfilled the design remit.

The transmitter is a little lightweight and perhaps a touch ‘plasticy’ at this price point, but is very stable and unlikely to get easily damaged in normal usage.

The cans are reassuringly well constructed. The headphones comfy and don’t feel heavy or constricting, but have some solidity to them. A good range of adjustment was available in the headband. The steel adjustment band gives reassuringly well constructed clicks in operation. The cans are well padded – with nice additional pads inside the band (presumably to keep the top of ones head from getting fatigued).

Set up is quite intuitive – the only delay I found (I don’t like reading manuals..) was actually locating the on/off switch, which turns out to be on the headphones themselves in the form of a fairly well concealed button.

The transmitter features two modes for adjusting input gain. ALC controls the input level automatically, whilst MLC allows the user to manually adjust the gain via a knob on the transmitter. The manual suggests that MLC might be the way forward in getting the best from these cans and it does indeed offer a lot of gain – with handy metering on the front of the transmitter which lights red when input distortion is detected. I can’t imagine having a problem with quiet input sources here.

In truth the ALC function works very well. I was able to squeeze a little bit more input level using manual control but in most circumstances the results would be negligible.

Output level controls are sited on the headphones themselves via + and - buttons. I didn’t find these particularly ergonomic whilst wearing the cans, but it would of course be self defeating to include this control on the transmitter unit because hey, the point here is wireless right ?

The headphone mounted controls additionally allow you to access the MLC and ALC function and also pan the signal from left to right. The cans bleep when you have panned the signal to either extreme left or right – I’m not quite sure where I would use this feature (perhaps to listen a loved one in one ear with TV in the other ?) pressing both buttons together flips the headphones back into stereo centre.

It should also be pointed out that the headphones fade nicely in and out when a different input function is selected or reception is lost – this is far preferable to a sharp noise burst (and it could be sharp, as these cans will put out a good deal of level).

In Use

As a musician I primarily use headphones for the late night jotting down of ideas unfortunately this exposes the issue with wireless headphones in that a slight latency emerges. Presumably this is a result of processing time in the transmitter (the audible delay matched against speakers from the same sources was approx. 20-25ms). This is in no way an issue when listening passively to music (though I would imagine a little disconcerting watching the TV unless you can similarly delay the visual signal) but when playing music this latency makes the task impossible – so these cans are not recommended (or indeed designed for muso activities).

In music listening mode however these headphones are very, very good – they claim to offer ‘uncompressed sound’ via wireless. Indeed I could hear none of the companding / compression artifacts that I would associate with wireless audio.

Being new to wireless cans I decided to go for a wander whilst listening. The headphones claim a 100m line of sight range and I have no reason to doubt this. I managed to get consistent coverage throughout my house across 3 floors with no drop in level or sound quality. Some occasional drop out occurred when in stone built cellar two floors below the transmitter, but again this to my mind exceeds what can be reasonably expected of any wireless system. Drop outs where well handled – fading in and out rather than nasty noise bursts. Good work on this sennheiser !

Sound

Again these cans are aimed at the consumer market so I wasn’t expecting any real revelations. My (subjective) opinion based on listening to a range of music through them and a/b ing against other cans and speakers was that they are quite ‘warm’ and flattering around the low mids (I’m guessing that they will work really well with TV and movie dialogue for this reason). Low frequencies were a little hyped but very solid. HF perhaps lacking a touch of detail in comparison – I found myself wanting to wind some 10kHZ in on dense rock mixes.

What I was really impressed with was the very detailed stereo image – nice sense of space without being artificially wide.

A wee bit of noise floor was in evidence when the output was cranked up – but again under normal circumstances this would be no problem at all, and I did have to check to make sure that I wasn’t imagining this a couple of times. I can only assume that this is processing / transmission noise.

Overall – a not at all tiring listening experience, and probably flattering for most material, even after a couple of hours which I guess is the intention in the design.

Conclusion

Pros
Well constructed and designed with some thoughtful features
Nice stereo image
Very comfy both sonically and physically
Excellent reception range

Cons

Latency (research suggests that this is common to all wireless headphones)
Bit ‘warm’ and hyped – so maybe not as transparent as hi-fi buffs would want for some styles of music.
Touch pricy..


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