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Scott Fannen (London, United Kingdom)
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VicTsing® Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Waterproof Outdoor / Shower Speaker, with 5W Speaker/Suction Cup/Mic/Hands-Free Speakerphone - Blue
VicTsing® Wireless Bluetooth 3.0 Waterproof Outdoor / Shower Speaker, with 5W Speaker/Suction Cup/Mic/Hands-Free Speakerphone - Blue
Offered by VICTECH
Price: £14.59

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value for money - not a style winner - loud but clear enough, 22 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, so it isn't a design classic, and it isn't high fidelity but it seems to work fine. I bought this primarily so I could listen to podcasts in the bathroom instead of exposing my iPhone to steam. It's inexpensive and it seems to work fine for that purpose.

There's a number of basic controls and supposedly you can make phone calls on it to, but so far I've just used it to listen.

You connect via Bluetooth in a similar way to connecting to a car stereo, you see it via Bluetooth, you pair to it, and once that's done, you really just need to turn it on and off (although it will automatically shut off if you leave it idle). There are controls for next, previous, volume, etc but mostly I've just used the on/off button and initially used my iPhone to set the volume (having the volume up on the VicTsing). The volume is definitely loud enough to listen to in the shower (and can go louder). The quality is good enough for podcasts - and in terms of music, it's like having an old-school portable stereo - not hifi but enough to bounce around to a tune.

It charges via USB with a supplied cable. I've charged it once and it's still going after a month.

The only other thing I'd mention is the suction cup attachment. It works but will fall off regularly. This worried me originally as I put it beside the bath (to keep it out of the way). Falling and hitting the bathroom floor isn't just a worry for the internal components - it can give you a big fright if it happens in the middle of the night. So, I've placed it on the wall at the edge of the bath. If it falls, it falls down a couple of centimetres - so no damage and no scaring myself silly.

FYI: the IPX5 isn't part of the product name as such, it's an standard to define things like the level of how waterproof something is. There's a Wiki article on IP Codes. It defines IPX5 as this: "Protected against water jets - Water projected at all angles through a 6.3 mm nozzle at a flow rate of 12.5 liters/min at a pressure of 30 kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters." There's no way I'm going to try this myself to see if this is true (it's only got the odd splash from me), but that's the theory behind it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2015 2:49 PM GMT


Skagen Titanimum White Label Men's Quartz Watch with Blue Dial Analogue Display and Black Titanium Strap 809XLTBN
Skagen Titanimum White Label Men's Quartz Watch with Blue Dial Analogue Display and Black Titanium Strap 809XLTBN
Offered by Joyeros Venus
Price: £149.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous looking watch - but fragile, be warned, 21 Aug. 2014
I have the same model as this but with the leather strap. The watch looks elegant and it is light and thin. It is great to wear. As another reviewer mentioned, the smaller dials are very small so I only usually use this for the basic time - and again, it doesn't have an illuminated dial so that is a liability at night. That said, I still love wearing it.

While I love the look and feel, I have to put a warning here - and I've again see this on a few reviews of Skagen watches (Google it too) - the watch face (the "glass") isn't strong and can crack. Apparently any knock can weaken the face, and later that can cause the watch face to crack. As this has never happened to me in a lifetime of wearing watches, I was skeptical (it's not as if I'm particularly violent with my arm movements), but this year it happened, I woke up after a non-eventful sleep and found my watch face cracked (a split all the way through). Because this was a gift from a loved one, I got it repaired (which was cost effective - compared to a new watch - but took over 2 months in Poland through their official repair shop because the parts took so long to arrive) and it was good as new. A few months later it cracked again. Watches aren't supposed to do that so I'm rating it 3/5 for that reason. I'm still undecided whether to repair it again.


Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar 1 Litre (Pack of 6)
Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar 1 Litre (Pack of 6)
Price: £20.10

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite cider vinegar, 21 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, so it's unusual to review vinegar but I've been using cider vinegar to improve my health for years and it's great (look it up on the Internet - there's so many things it helps with, not the least fatigue after working out).

When I lived in the UK I used to pick up Aspall's Organic Cyder Vinegar from the shops and was very happy with it. Now I've moved overseas I had to try other brands available in the shops - and wasn't too impressed. A lot have "mother" in them (a by-product of the vinegar making process - best described as "bits in your vinegar") which I don't like. Some don't have it but it forms later. Aspalls is lovely and clear (and stays that way), it tastes as good as vinegar can (I have it because it's good for me not because I like vinegar) and it's consistently reliable.

Beyond drinking it for health (a teaspoon or so in a glass of water), it's good for salad dressing too.

This particular order (which arrived intact) will probably last me a couple of years and it's reassuring to have it available to me.


Philips SensoTouch RQ1251 Gyroflex 3D Electric Shaver with Jet Clean and Charge system
Philips SensoTouch RQ1251 Gyroflex 3D Electric Shaver with Jet Clean and Charge system
Offered by Save071713
Price: £299.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Smooth shave, nicely designed and fun to clean, 16 July 2014
My wife bought this for me for an anniversary present and I'm very happy with it. As a person who has only used electric shavers, I can't comment compared to blade shavers but I've tried many different Philips shavers over the years and dabbled once with a Braun electric shaver (a gift and OK until the grill wore down and started to take my face with it).

Unlike electric toothbrushes, paying extra doesn't seem to get you "more power". I think the speed of the shaver is the same as a cheaper Philips shaver. However the heads are very flexible, which makes shaving easier (for obvious reasons). My shaving takes as long as it ever did (I'm not too hairy but I like to "go over" my face a lot to make sure I'm well shaved), but it is more enjoyable because of the flexibility. It's nice to hold too - it is designed well and it is a good looking and feeling shaver. It gives me a nice smooth shave.

The battery lasts about a week of my use, and you can either charge it in its stand, or charge it in the cleaning attachment.

A word on cleaning. For many years, I've had Philips shavers that say they can be washed under a tap, or even used wet. I've learned quickly *never* to do this as it leaves the shaver smelling like a wet dog. This shaver encourages you (with a blinking light) to clean it after each wash. The three shaving heads open out like a flower (they feel delicate but seem to be sturdy enough to open and close regularly) which totally exposes the place where all the shaved stubble goes. Simply wash that (and the pulled open heads) under a tap and leave in the stand to air dry. It's so simple, and oddly pleasant that I do this every day and enjoy it - and no, it doesn't smell like a wet dog afterwards. The fancy cleaning "machine" I use less - because I don't want to have to continually buy cleaning fluid for it. I've used it a few times though and it does clean a bit more in-depthly than my normal daily clean (it dips the shaver into the cleaning fluid while turning on and off the shaver) - you can see the cleaning fluid less clean after even if you've cleaned it the normal way beforehand. The design extends to this operation too - the shaver charges at the same time and the charge level is inverted when it's in the cleaning device - someone's put some thought into it.

The only thing I'd say is worse is the trimmer - it's tiny. Instead of being able to do crazy amounts of damage to your hairstyle if you're reckless, it is more along the lines of "I can trim a hair at a time". I know people who are hairier can get a full-on, proper trimmer attachment to go with this (the 3 shaving heads all pop off as a single unit and other things can be attached to it) but the built-in one is particularly lame and I only need to use it to keep my sideburns in check.

Overall a good product that is enjoyable to shave with...and oddly more fun to clean afterwards.


Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire
Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire
Price: £5.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read - enjoyable and fact filled, 26 April 2014
I had this book sitting in my book shelf for a few years after getting it through work. On the one hand, after reading it, I'm disappointed I waited until now to read it. However, I've recently moved to Poland and have been reading a lot of its history, so I think that made it even more enjoyable (though far from compulsory). And enjoyable it was - sometimes you gain a lot from reading a reference book but they're very dry. This was informative and exciting.

We all know roughly what happened - after years of being under communist rule, the Eastern Bloc became free in 1989. This book gave a rough history of the post-WWII period (and years following) as a basis of what came later for each of the former Bloc countries (NOT including the - now former - Soviet republics). It also defined them well and separately. As a "ignorant westerner", I kind of lumped them into one and had a very rough idea of what happened in 1989. This shows the (often extreme) differences between the countries, their leaders (or dictators in some cases), and an outline of the nature of the people and their lives in these countries.

It also reflects of the how little even the leadership of many of these countries was aware of their financial predicaments, and how overly cautious the west was in dealing with them.

As it rolls through to the momentous events of the "Revolution", everything seems to accelerate - reflecting the situation in real life - and we see what happens as the regimes fall. It shows the hope for the future but doesn't go into any great detail of what happens next (it is about 1989 after all) which probably is good given some country's successes and some which have had more rocky roads to follow. I admit, it did prompt me to look up people in Wikipedia to see what happened to them afterwards.

A great read.


Vax C88-AM-P Air Mini Pet Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
Vax C88-AM-P Air Mini Pet Multi-Cyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
Price: £75.00

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable but not amazing portable vacuum, 7 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Executive summary: reasonable suction, great portability, too-thin hose that can stop suction when bent, easy emptying, irritating accessory management, good for pets? - probably not, worth the money (£92 in this case)? - not altogether sure, maybe.

I've just received a new Vax Air Mini Pet (C88-AM-P) and have given it a test drive. It replaces a larger Vax (of a similar type) that we had for 5 years and left in our old flat when we moved.

As many reviews of this model and its sister models relate, the build quality seems to have gone down over the years. While my previous model was a war of attrition with the accessories and the filters over time, the main unit remained solid. This one feels less solid - the hose fitting into the main unit doesn't feel nearly as solid, the hose (mentioned in a lot of different reviews - again mainly on sister models) is considerably more flimsy and does bend - cutting off suction, if you don't keep an eye on it. And the attachment that keeps some of your accessories along for the ride - yes, the attachments fall off (turn it so they sit on it rather than hold tight to it and you may have some more luck) and the attachment itself falls off too. Not a major, but in my previous model, the attachment was built into the handle (so couldn't fall off) and generally the "crevice device" didn't fall out of it. In the end, I just left the attachments nearby.

It IS a smaller unit and lighter than my previous Vax - but not dramatically so - but it makes for easy movement. Vacuuming difficult staircases and cobwebs is perfectly OK (I'm normally fit and healthy so that does have a bearing on that).

Like my previous one, emptying it when I've finished is totally easy. Pop a catch and the "dirt container" comes off, pop another catch and the bottom falls open to let the dust into your rubbish bag. Done.

The power cord and hose seem long enough and dirt container seems to have enough room to suck up plenty of dirt. It's "normal" noisy - not excessive but not quiet either.

Another thing worth noting, what comes with it (I'm not sure of the technical terms so here goes): a crevice tool, a combination floor brush (flick a switch for the carpet or flat floors - not overwhelming), a turbo tool (the small one - my other Vax came with a wide and narrow one - this is just the narrow one and it's OK), a small brush (good for dusting shelves), and a small flat "thing" which I'm not sure what it's for (checks PDF manual online - upholstery tool).

Does it work? The suction is reasonable but not overwhelming - the usual test putting the crevice tool on a curtain by accident didn't incur instant doom but it certainly has good enough suction for most basic vacuuming. It is light enough to get around most places - I like to get into corners and behind things to vacuum and it worked fine for that. If I had a pet, I think I would have wished I'd got a bigger vacuum cleaner with more power (the well-hidden ACTUAL wattage is 1400, I think my previous one was 2000+). I don't think it would be hugely fantastic for getting ingrained cat fur or dog hair from carpets.

Needless to say, I haven't dealt with cleaning the filters yet but that seems simple enough.

Summary: reasonable suction, great portability, too-thin hose that can stop suction when bent, easy emptying, irritating accessory management, good for pets? - probably not, worth the money (£92 in this case)? - not altogether sure, maybe.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 7, 2013 2:26 PM GMT


Huawei WS320 Wi-Fi Repeater Mini Wifi amplifier Range Extender - UK 3-pin Plug
Huawei WS320 Wi-Fi Repeater Mini Wifi amplifier Range Extender - UK 3-pin Plug
Offered by Data Direct
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to work fine - small too with a short set-up time, 26 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this before moving to a new house that I knew had thick walls.

Initially we tried another wifi extender which was slightly temperamental but worked - as we needed a Ethernet port temporarily too. When our (overseas - non-UK) internet provider "upgraded" us to a Livebox router - this other option failed dramatically (using auto-setup or manual setup stopped the router and extender completely) so we tried the original Huawei extender.

To avoid the auto-setup problems with the Livebox, I set it up manually - there wasn't much to it. When plugged in, Repeater shows as a wifi name. I signed into this on my Mac (no password), the Mac's wifi connect window automatically came up with the extender's setup screen (otherwise I would have got the router address from the System Preferences>Network>Wifi>Advanced>TCP/IP window - easier than it sounds - and typed that number into Safari) and it let me choose the Livebox and enter a password for that.

I then had an available wifi connection for the Livebox with a much more powerful signal that seems to support plenty of network intensive operations (live TV, Apple TV, YouTube etc).

The actual repeater is very small and the only drawback I've had is when I go with my iPhone or iPad between the repeater signal area and the actual Livebox signal area, my signal continues showing as strong but the Internet stops - turning off wifi on the iPhone/iPad and turning it on again fixes that (now a simple operation in iOS7). Other devices seem to be fine - our wifi printer just worked.


Kraft Vegemite 220 g (Pack of 12)
Kraft Vegemite 220 g (Pack of 12)
Price: £23.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Vegemite you'll be perfectly fine with this, 19 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I now live abroad (from the UK) so, while buying Vegemite where I am is possible, it's also expensive...and also being away, I was craving it more as it was a taste of home.

So, when considering this buy, price was an issue and the only other one was mention of the expiry date in an earlier review. I was worried this was some kind of old batch.

Well, it arrived safely, its expiry date is in the distant future, it tastes great and I have supplies for the next few months.

A happy customer.


15 x Strong Cardboard Boxes - 18 x 12 x 12" / 457 x 305 x 305mm - Double Wall
15 x Strong Cardboard Boxes - 18 x 12 x 12" / 457 x 305 x 305mm - Double Wall
Offered by Pack King Ltd
Price: £15.18

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good service is what happens when things go wrong, 10 Jun. 2013
We ordered these boxes because we're moving and encountered the courier company from hell (UK Mail - there's 4 hours of my life I'm not getting back), and when I told the supplier of these boxes (our supplier shows as Pack King Ltd) that the courier had lost the shipment (and how), they sent off fresh boxes to us, gave us a tracking number and kicked the courier's ...er...behind, so it was delivered the next business day (successfully this time).

The boxes are boxes but the service was just what is needed when things go wrong. Thank you!


Grain of Truth, A (Polish State Prosecutor Szacki Investigates)
Grain of Truth, A (Polish State Prosecutor Szacki Investigates)
by Zygmunt Miloszewski
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great Polish crime novel with a superb translation, 6 Sept. 2012
Attracted to all things Polish (well, almost) since marrying a Polish woman, I picked up this book and, tempted by the blurb on the back, gave it a go.

The story is of rather stern and slightly vain Prosecutor Teodor Szacki (kind of like a Chief Inspector in an English detective novel) now living in the small city of Sandomierz after leaving big-city Warsaw under a marital cloud. Who better though to investigate a brutal murder in the centre of a town more used to more minor crimes? Despite a rocky start (his, not the book's) he's soon following the trail of a serial killer with major overtones of an anti-semitic past. As well as discovering hidden truths and breaking a few stereotypes in the process he begins to fit in with the small(er) town operations as well as dipping his toes into romance.

It's an exciting book with interesting characters and an increasing tempo as they close in on the killer. History is brought up and an interesting history too. Now, having not having read the first book I'm going to have to go back and buy it. The religious aspect (is the killer a Jew, or someone stirring up hatred for Jews in a deeply Catholic country?) does make me think a bit of the Dragon Tattoo but the only other similarity is the need to turn to the next page to see what's happened. It's an easy book to read too - apart from the odd Polish name that's hard to wrap your brain around.

One other thing I noticed - the superb translation by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. On many occasions when I was reading large impressive tracts of speech from a character (usually the Prosecutor) I was impressed by not only what was said but by how it was said in English. Terms that I wouldn't normally bring up, quirky and distinctly English words which imply not only a fantastic grip of Polish but of English too - something you don't often get in translations. I'm no English expert but I know enough to recognise it when I read it.


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