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JB (Chudleigh, Devon)
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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TCP LED GU10 5 Watt LED Spotlight, White
TCP LED GU10 5 Watt LED Spotlight, White
Price: 5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good light, low switch cycle rating, 17 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have steadily been replacing conventional lighting in my house with various energy saving lamps. Over the years the technology has improved and the prices have continued to fall. I have a kitchen with 16 GU10 spot lights and have purchased several makes over the years, often at great expense.

The one down-side of my experience with LED GU10 lamps is I've had several of them fail. I have sometimes managed to obtain a replacement from the vendor, but it really cheeses me off when the lamp expires just after the guarantee runs out. This lamp is rated to last for 25,000 hours which seems to equate to around ten years. However, my one concern for this lamp is the relatively low number of switching cycles; this lamp is rated at 12,500 cycles. Several of my other lamps are rated at 45-50 thousand cycles; a huge amount more.

Now for some pointless maths; if the lamp is to last it's full life and it expires on its last switching cycle the lamp will have to left on for two hours each time. If the lamp is switched on and off 10 times a day (a conservative estimate in our kitchen), then the lamp's life will be shortened to around 3 1/2 years. As I said pointless maths but vaguely interesting?

With reference to this particular lamp, I like the colour temperature (3000K (Kelvin)) and I find it's slightly whiter than the temperature of a standard 50 Watt halogen GU10. It fits easily into my light fitting, however this lamp is 2mm longer than a standard GU10, so with my light fittings it just protrudes slightly out of the light fitting. I find the brightness comparable with standard 50 Watt lamps. The beam angle is just a little narrower, so it depends what one's lights are 'aiming' at? In my kitchen most of the lights are pointing at cupboards and work surfaces so the beam angle is fine for my application.

As other reviewers have commented, the price of this type of lighting can seem rather prohibitive, and many have done the maths to show how money will be saved over time. As mentioned earlier I hope that this product will provide a better experience than I've had with some other makes of lamp I've purchased.

I can't find out how long these are guaranteed for, but I really hope they will last for the suggested 10 years.

I'll update if there are any problems.


1Byone Wireless HDMI WiFi Dongle iShare Videos Images Docs Live Camera Musics from All Smart Devices to TV, Monitor or Projector
1Byone Wireless HDMI WiFi Dongle iShare Videos Images Docs Live Camera Musics from All Smart Devices to TV, Monitor or Projector
Offered by 1Byone Products Inc
Price: 36.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Smarten-up less-smart TVs, 16 Sep 2014
This dongle, supplied to me for review, is a quick, easy and cheap way to smarten-up less smart televisions. In order to use this device one's less-smart television does need to have an HDMI socket. It's also preferable if the same TV has a spare USB socket too ... more about that in a minute.

In the box there is a dongle with a cap,two leads and some 'okay' instructions that I did not use.

Connection (for me) was as follows:

Plug the micro USB connector into the dongle; on the other end of this cable is a standard-sized USB connector. Plug this in to provide power to the dongle.

Plug the dongle into an HDMI socket (there's a useful short HDMI cable provided if access is tight).

Switch the TV on and navigate to the HDMI channel that corresponds to the socket you plugged the dongle in to.

If all is well one should see a iShare screen with information about the dongle, a password and three options depending on the device one intends to use to communicate with the dongle. I am using a Note 2 and merely scanned the on-screen QR code with my phone. A similar method is available for iOS users.

Once the EZCast app is up and running I used my phone to tell the dongle to connect to my home-network.

The TV display now asked if I'd like to update the dongle firmware ... YES. The update was seamless and that was that really. Although the dongle's password is displayed on the TV screen, at no point have I been asked to enter it (yet).

I have streamed photos and videos from my phone to the TV and the quality of the images has been superb. There is a slight delay on the TV when the picture on the phone is moved to the next, but less than a second. There was also a small amount of buffering at the start of some of the videos; this can be cured be pausing the video for a few seconds and after that everything is fine.

The EZCast app is easy to use and has a series of icons to tap for various actions including Photo, Camera, Music, Video and Web. Taping Web gives access to a host of services such as YouTube and Google; they work very well indeed.

The device is also DNLA enabled which may be useful if one's devices are ready and able.

Is there anything I didn't like? Well no, not really. The only irritation is that my older Panasonic TV does not have a USB socket to power the device so I had to use an extension cable with a male / female adapter (which I already owned) so I could plug the device into a mains charger.

I have a relatively new LG TV and that has only 2 USB sockets, and on that set they're both already in use. So getting power to the dongle could be bothersome.

However, I do think this device is definitely worthy of one's consideration.


Rapesco Stapler, Heavy Duty Stapler Zero-02
Rapesco Stapler, Heavy Duty Stapler Zero-02
Price: 16.10

5.0 out of 5 stars How long will it stay on your desk?, 14 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We've been using this stapler for around two weeks now and it has performed faultlessly. It's design gives extra leverage with the staple head halfway along the arm, rather than at then end, It takes half-strip 26/6 or 24/6 staples and is supplied pre-loaded (a half-strip is 105 staples). Replenishing the staples is easy, just raise the arm and drop them in. The manufacturer suggest the device will staple 20 sheets of paper; it does ... with ease. It will also accommodate hard-wire staples if desired.

Apart from its obvious functionality is the stapler's splendid form. It's die cast aluminium body with its smooth matt finish looks just great. The anti slip base gives access to the anvil for closed or splayed stapling and there is a small window to identify the stapler. I suspect that will be quite useful because the office magpie will definitely be after this stapler. It really is very good, both at its job and in its looks.


Kipling Women's Halia TT A4 Shoulder Bag K10624B78 Black Pearl W
Kipling Women's Halia TT A4 Shoulder Bag K10624B78 Black Pearl W
Price: 90.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A capacious and versatile bag, 13 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very stylish and well-made bag. It has a capacity of around fifteen litres, which is about the same as a child's medium-sized rucksack.

The bag comprises three large zipped pockets (with large zip toggles; great in the dark or the wet or with gloved hands) and if used as a work-bag two of the pockets would easily accommodate an A4 ring binder and one of these pockets has a series of small open pouches for example they would hold a small mobile phone, a pen and either a Smartphone or power-bank charger. It also contains a key-clip on a tethering cord (the key cord is sensibly long enough to use one's key without unclipping it from its tether). The slightly smaller pocket (behind the chequered panel) will hold an A4-sized plastic wallet.

The main compartment has a recessed zipped pocket that will easily hold an iPad in its case and still have room for a charger and cables for example. Unfortunately (for some) the main compartment itself is not secured by a zip, but uses a single magnetic popper-style fastening; it is however quite a strong catch and is unlikely to open by accident. This space would easily accommodate a laptop in a slim case, but because of the fastening, not a good idea on a rainy day. There is also plenty of room for a lunch box, make-up bag and a waterproof. There are large press-studs at either end of the bag to reduce its width if the full capacity is not being used.

The handle loops are large and comfortable and will easily allow the bag to be slipped over the shoulder. For heavier loads, style or convenience, the detachable, fully-adjustable strap is long enough to be worn across the body if so desired.

The attention to detail is just great and the gunmetal detailing looks superb against the black exterior. The interior and exterior of the bag are made of 100% nylon and offer a degree of water resistance, although remember the point about the zip-less central compartment.

In summary, this smart looking bag will hold a great deal and the clever use of compartments makes it easier to locate things that otherwise disappear to the bottom of a single compartment bag. A zip in the largest section would be useful but given all of the zipped options one can easily pack the bag to overcome this (of course many will welcome a quick-opening compartment). I think it is a great bag especially with regard to taking it to work.


1Byone Upscale PU Cambridge Bag for iPad, iPad Air, Preppy Look and British Style- - Blue color
1Byone Upscale PU Cambridge Bag for iPad, iPad Air, Preppy Look and British Style- - Blue color
Offered by 1Byone Products Inc
Price: 30.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A practical, versatile, very-stylish, slim satchel, 13 Sep 2014
We've been using this very smart Cambridge satchel-style bag, supplied for review, for over a week now and the conclusion is that it is absolutely great. The nine images on the Amazon product page really do show this bag as it is; stylish and functional.

With an iPad installed it weighs in at around 1.4 Kg and whilst the bag is padded enough to protect the contents, it's really rather slim at 5cm. The handle is comfortable, but I prefer the detachable strap which really adds to the satchel styling. The stitched PU (polyurethane coated) leather (mine is blue with white piping) and chrome plated studs really look the part such that few people would ever guess what the bag contains.

There is an outer pocket (protected by the top flap) that is easily accessible and is big enough to store a wallet / purse, USB cable, Smartphone etc. It would take a wall-charger but most are little too bulky, so I'd prefer to carry a power-bank charger. Anyway, the pocket is approximately 23 x 14 x 3 cm when expanded. Inside the double zipper compartment there are two useful pockets with a Velcro strip, and behind the iPad layer is a space for six individual credit / bank cards.

The iPad is held in position by four circular neoprene (I think) rings which really hold the device securely, As shown in the photographs, the iPad can be used flat, at an angle (held in place by a smart magnetic popper) or with a Bluetooth keyboard which will fit in one of the pockets.

So there we are. What you get is what you see. If one is after a practical, versatile, stylish slim bag for a tablet this has to be one to consider. It's really rather lovely.


PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
Price: 7.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Pinch, punch everyday of the Month, 12 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Small enough for use at home and more than capable for use in a small office. It will punch through 20 sheets of 80gsm paper (I did get as high as 24 sheets but it's pushing it a little); I have been making coloured confetti for my daughters who are planning a Barbie & Ken wedding (really) so it's had a very thorough work-out in the last few days.

It really does not require a great deal of effort to punch sheets and the paper guide is accurate and easy to adjust (A6, B6, A5, B5 and A4) and its non slip feet do the job. The waste chamber is easy to empty with the rear of the base folding down (a door), so no need to take the whole base off and have confetti all over the floor. Out of interest I tried to use the 888 feature (4-hole punching standard at 80mm centres), but couldn't quite get that to work (my fault I'm sure).

Oh! and if the punch needs to live in a drawer, then its height can be reduced by half down to 5cm with a simple locking-pin mechanism; very useful in our cluttered-desk house.

In all of our paper-punching the PaperPro did not jam once. I doubt I'll need to buy another hole-punch; this is really very good.


Creation Station Spotted Feathers
Creation Station Spotted Feathers
Price: 2.13

4.0 out of 5 stars Used to decorate masks, 11 Sep 2014
Bought to decorate masks for my daughter's seventh birthday party. They obviously have other uses, but they were just what we needed and the children thought they were great!


12 Die Cut Eye Masks ready to decorate, come with elastic FREE DELIVERY
12 Die Cut Eye Masks ready to decorate, come with elastic FREE DELIVERY
Offered by Stars Craft Products Ltd
Price: 2.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun at a children's party, 11 Sep 2014
Bought for my daughter's seventh Birthday party. They were a great success (we needed two packets). We decorated a couple before the start of the party to give the children some idea about how lovely these masks can look with a little time and effort (sub-text: to stop them rushing through and finishing in one minute).

We had a table with glue, feathers, sequins, glitter, crayons etc. The children really didn't require any close supervision at all.

Both girls and boys really enjoyed these and wanted to take them home at the end. Remember to put the children's names in the masks otherwise ...


Tacwise A54 Hammer Tacker Bundle with 140/10mm Stainless Steel Staples
Tacwise A54 Hammer Tacker Bundle with 140/10mm Stainless Steel Staples
Price: 24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for the keen DIYer, 11 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly, I note some reviewers complain about not getting the staple where they intended; this is all about practise and I would liken it to trying to knock a series of nails in with a hammer. With practise one can soon hit the head of a row of nails every time ... it's a hand-eye coordination / confidence thing. It's the same with the hammer tacker; have a practise first and the accuracy will soon be there.

This latest A54 Tacker is reasonably heavy but nicely balanced and it's around 40cm long. It holds around 150 staples (sizes 6, 8, 10 & 12 mm) and the body is finished in orange paint; not easy to lose! This particular deal includes two packs of 5,000 140/10 mm Stainless Steel staples, ideal for outdoor use with 50 year anti-corrosion guarantee; that is excellent value and that many staples would last an average DIYer a lifetime (maybe?).

I much prefer this tool to a conventional (mechanical) staple gun, especially the fact that one's hand is distanced from the recoil when driving larger staples. When using a normal stapler I find the repeated impact really starts to hurt at the area between the thumb and index finger; I'd say I could use this hammer stapler all day without any pain whatsoever.

I have just used the A54 to fix breathable membrane to a new garage roof, using stainless staples. I had a practise on an old bit of timber first (just to get my eye in) and then it was easy to get the staples to penetrate to the full depth and two of us managed to get the membrane on in next to no time before the next lot of horrid late-August weather. This tacker has a plate surrounding the nose of the tacker which prevents any damage to more delicate materials such as breathable membrane.

I have also used a hammer tacker to replace the felt on my shed (first a breathable membrane and then 40Kg felt). It tackles the thicker felt with no problem. It's also indispensable for holding carpet underlay down.

If you're a DIY person then do consider getting a Tacwise hammer tacker because they are just superb.


BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker Cordless Home Phone
BT8500 Advanced Call Blocker Cordless Home Phone
Price: 49.99

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caller Display required, but a really excellent Call-Blocker phone, 10 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing to note with this phone is that to work properly the line must have a 'Caller Display' service enabled for the key feature to work. BT charge 1.75 a month for this service (but there are exceptions). If you do not have or want Caller Display, don't purchase this phone.

At its simplest the phone will block calls automatically, ask unknown callers to declare who they are and let you know before deciding what to do, or send messages straight to the answer phone. Known callers (on your contact list) will come through normally.

So, if this phone is still of interest, here's more detail: The phone is easy to unpack. Inside there is a phone, base unit and two cables (that are already connected to the base unit). The phone is supposed to be charged for 24 hours before use, but in reality mine was ready to go in around 4 hours. When one is ready to set up, plug the cord into the wall socket (one may need to use a broadband ADSL filter depending on existing set up).

The instructions are very easy to follow; in fact I'd say they are great compared to the current trend of hard-to-decipher pictograms and multiple-language fold-out A3 sheets of paper.

An on-screen wizard takes one through the set up stages. Each may be skipped and returned to later.

The first task is to record one's answer phone message (I skipped this).

The second task (very easy, but always rather tedious) is entering contact details. Each contact can have a home, mobile or work contact. Remember that anyone on the contacts list will get straight through to you, so maybe time to lose a couple of old numbers?

Your phone is now ready to use.

At this point I decided to play with the Call Guardian feature using my mobile phone. If a call comes through that is not on the contact list the caller will automatically be asked for a name (at this point the phone hasn't rung), then Call Guardian rings one's handset and when one picks up, the phone announces the caller's name; at this point one can:

Press 1 to accept the call

Press 2 to ALWAYS accept their calls

Press 3 to block their calls

Press 4 to send straight to answer phone

Hanging up will end the call

Well, I tried these features and they all work. It's easy enough to unblock blocked callers from the list and it's easy to listen to messages, (and skip, repeat or delete them too). The blocking features are easy to customise, for example one may choose to block calls from payphone, International, mobile and withheld numbers and then to decide what happens to these numbers should they call.

It's also possible to block an area code (which can be rather useful depending on one's circumstances). Hopefully one can see that the Call Guardian system is really rather effective.

With regard to use as a `normal' phone the 8500 has all the usual features one might expect including a useful `speed dial' (great for elderly relatives), 'do not disturb' and barring controls for dialling mobile and international numbers.

There's also a useful alarm feature that can be set for a time, month and even year. Again, that could be really useful; the phone can send and receive text messages too. There are a lot of other useful features, but nothing quite as useful as the Call Guardian feature.

The quality of speech is on the bright side, the ring-tone (a choice of 15 if I recall) is loud enough (consider additional handsets in a bigger house) and the arrow keys on the handset are just on the small side for me, and rather close together but it depends on what one is used to of course.

Additional handsets can be added later (up to five) and contacts will automatically be transferred to all the sets. I have three older Siemens Gigaset handsets which `should' be able to connect with the BT8500, albeit with reduced features. All GAP (Generic Access Profile ... a standard to allow DECT phones to talk to each other) compliant phones should be able to operate with this system. I'll post the results when I have tried this.

Additional handsets can be purchase separately or with a multiple handsets in the package. At the moment the twin set looks good value with the additional phone amounting to 15 extra.

In summary I think this is an excellent phone. For me nuisance calls are just that, but for some members of the community unwanted calls can have a dilapidating effect, and not just calls from sales-people. I mentioned the need for caller display, that adds up to 21 a year (plus the dreaded VAT), but if one can afford that, then this phone is a definite winner in my opinion.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2014 6:08 PM BST


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