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Cole & Mason Wood and Glass Croft Wooden 12 Jar Herb and Spice Rack
Cole & Mason Wood and Glass Croft Wooden 12 Jar Herb and Spice Rack
Price: £64.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An ideal gift, possibly more expensive than you would want for personal use., 18 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very well made, heavy wooden rack, which would look good in any kitchen. Some reviewers have remarked that spices should be kept away from direct light, and that is a fair point, but from my own (limited) experience, it doesn't really make that much difference - most spices have a pretty long shelf-life, and you would dispose of any which had lost their flavour; those included here would not be particularly expensive to replace.

The selection of spices incluided here are the basics - the ones you are likely to use most often, and the pre-labelled jars themselves are both attractive and practical, and can be easily refilled.

Overall, this is a perfectly good spice rack with a good selection of spices. Its price may be a little prohibitive. I wouldn't spend that much myself, and I can imagine that most purchases will be for wedding gifts, rather than personal use.


Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Cam Mini Camcorder with Wi-Fi and Live View Remote Wrist Strap - White
Sony HDR-AZ1VR Action Cam Mini Camcorder with Wi-Fi and Live View Remote Wrist Strap - White
Price: £238.42

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really handy and good-looking. Battery life disappointing., 23 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely little gadget, very pleasing on the eye, although you may doubt the wisdom of having it finished in white. Some Sony models are available in black or silver finishes - I don't know if this one is, but if it is, I would recommend either of these over the white.

It performs really well. To date, I have only used it on a few test-runs around the house, and on one half-hour bike ride, and I didn't have it securely fixed to my bike (as I plan to get a new one soon). The results were much better than I expected; there was a little shakiness, but I think that would have been improved if I had attached the camera to a proper mount, rather than holding it in place with a couple of cable ties, as I did. The sound quality was also very clear and undistorted. The wrist worn Live-View Remote is a handy addition; although obviously not suitable for use on bike rides, I can see this being handy for recording activities such as family gatherings, when the camera itself can be simply set up and ignored.

Battery life is a possible issue; the literature suggests a battery life of 80 minutes on a full charge, but I found I only got around 65 minutes, not really long enough for many of the camera's potential uses.

The only other drawback is that here is no memory card included in the package on offer here. It's not expensive to buy one, but it is a little disappointing to find you can't use your new "toy" straight out of the box. Perhaps Sony could have provided a low capacity card, say 8Gb or so.

November probably wasn't the best time to get this, but I've seen enough to make me look forward to using it more fully, once (if) the better weather comes back in the springtime. The camera is apparently splashproof, and there is a hard plastic case included, which allows the camera to be placed, and to record, underwater. The wrist worn remote is also waterproof, so can also be operated in water.

Overall I'm very happy with the camera, and I will get plenty of use from it. I only hope the battery performance doesn't degrade too much, as that would really adversely affect its usefullness.


Lenovo YOGA 2 8 inch Tablet (Silver) - (Intel Atom Z3745 1.33GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB Memory, Android 4.4)
Lenovo YOGA 2 8 inch Tablet (Silver) - (Intel Atom Z3745 1.33GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB Memory, Android 4.4)
Price: £189.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly adequate tablet, despite "ugly duckling" looks, 6 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have taken my time before submitting this review, as I wanted to see if it "grew on me", with repeated use.

Although the display is exceptionally clear and bright, the refresh rate seems rather sluggish, to the extent that sometimes it's not clear whether your keystrokes have been recognised, so you end up double-clicking and retracing your steps. Because of that, I wouldn't say the tablet is particularly suitable for activities which require much input from users; for example, it is excellent for watching movies, but not so good for entering text into websites etc.

The built-in stand is a nice touch, and has a hole in it so the tablet can be hung up, possibly useful for kitchen use, for example when following recipes. However, the stand is only of use when the display is in landscape view (which, admittedly, is how it will be, most of the time).

The other obvious talking point about this tablet is the design. Rather than being a flat tablet, this design incorporates a one-inch diameter cylinder along the bottom of the tablet (when held in landscape view). This allows for greater battery capacity, and therefore longer battery life, and may therefore be a welcome addition to many users. However, it gives the tablet an "ugly duckling" look; it is the Citroen 2CV of tablets - many will simply find it ugly, but it will have its fans. One other drawback with this shape is that it will not fit neatly into most generic covers, so if you want to properly protect your tablet, you will need to go for one of the more expensive bespoke covers available from the manufacturer.

Overall, it's an odd little beast; it's no better or worse than others in its class, but the two points I raised above would lead me to choose one of the alternatives.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2014 8:08 AM GMT


The Art of McCartney (Amazon Exclusive Version) [+digital booklet]
The Art of McCartney (Amazon Exclusive Version) [+digital booklet]
Price: £9.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just about OK. Lacklustre and uninspiring, 29 Nov. 2014
One look at the track listing should be enough to convince any fan of McCartney to part with their cash and buy this.

For the most part, it's money well spent, and almost everything on the first CD gets pass marks. Nothing is really anything out of the ordinary, and one or two of the artists, in particular Billy Joel, seem to be struggling with the material.

The second disc, however, contains the highlights and the lowlights of this collection. Dr John's "Let 'Em In" and Toots Hibbert's "Come and Get It" are the obvious highlights. Unfortunately, Smokey Robinson's take on "So Bad" lives up to the song title, Dion really struggles with "Drive My Car", and Chrissie Hynde's "Let It Be" is simply abysmal with some very odd phrasing completely ruining her delivery - I can't fathom how that got past the producer. If you buy from Amazon, you'll get two extra tracks, a decent "C Moon" from Robert Smith, and a pretty pointless "Put It There" from Peter, Bjorn and John.

Overall, it's not bad, but it's also not good. Nobody stretches themselves, and it really sounds like most contributors were simply going through the motions. This should have been so much better.


SanDisk Ultra SDHC 32 GB UHS-I Class 10 Memory Card 40 MB/s (SDSDUN-032G-G46)
SanDisk Ultra SDHC 32 GB UHS-I Class 10 Memory Card 40 MB/s (SDSDUN-032G-G46)
Price: £15.73

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal, probably just what you need., 18 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As I have mentioned in other reviews of memory cards and USB pen-drives, it really is quite amazing how the capacity of these has increased, and the price decreased, over the past decade or so.

This particular card has already seen use in my Nikon One camera (I had wondered whether it would be too high-capacity, but it works fine), and to transfer files from one PC to another. In both tasks it performed just as well as one would expect - fast, accurate, and hassle-free transfer of data.

There really isn't much more to say about a memory card. I have had many, over the years, and I have to say the few problems I have had have not involved SanDisk products (although I have had several SanDisk cards), so I would recommend this without hesitation.


Mitre IC Tungsten Shinguards - Blue/Yellow - M
Mitre IC Tungsten Shinguards - Blue/Yellow - M
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Give good protection, and stay in place well., 18 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Being a little past the age of playing competitively now, these have been worn by my teenaged son in two school matches in the last week. According to him, they are very comfortable, and stay in place well (even from my own time, I can remember this being a problem).

We both particularly like the added ankle protection provided in these pads; it is amazing how often one's ankles come into contact with an opponents studs in a competitive match! During the second match, my son's left shin was the victim of a particularly vicious assault, but the guard held up well, and there was no lasting damage, to either shin or guard. After a quick wipe after the game the guards still look as good as new.

Overall, my son and I are both very impressed and would not hesitate to recommend this product.


Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Price: £31.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for certain jobs - but might not get used very often., 6 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great little powered staple gun. It feels comofrtable in the hand, and effortlessly fires staples into various materials. I have used it on two outstanding DIY projects, stapling some underfelt to floorboards, and re-atataching a cushioned back to a chair. Both jobs seem to have held well. It is also quite a verstaile piece of kit, capable of using five different sizes of staples, as well as one useful size of nails.

You may not use it particularly often, but it is certainly handy to have. The only slight disadvantage is that it is mains powered, so you may need to use an extension cable, or continually change sockets, if you are undertaking a larger project, such as installing underlay in a larger room. In cases such as that, a battery-powered unit may be preferable.


Mitre Primero 32P Ball - White/Navy/Silver - 5
Mitre Primero 32P Ball - White/Navy/Silver - 5
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfectly fine, what more can you say?, 1 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Mitre Primero 32P Ball (Sports)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a perfectly good training ball - it's not match-ball quality, but it doesn't claim to be.

It arrives deflated, as you would expect, but can be inflated in a matter of minutes using a needle adapter and a bicycle pump. The panels seem to be lightly padded, which makes it ideal for a kickabout, which was surprisingly possible today, in between the November showers in sunny Glasgow. Some heavier balls can turn a kickabout into a chore, but this one still felt light and responsive, even on the damp grass.

What more can you say about a football? It's certainly everything you would want in a training ball, or even for a light-hearted game.


Jam Touch Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Black
Jam Touch Bluetooth Wireless Speaker - Black
Offered by Superfi
Price: £23.73

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great budget portable speaker., 17 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a sort of "half-way house", but it is none the worse for it! It's not one of these tiny speakers you can slip into a pocket and use wherever you are; and it's also not a boom-box sized audiophile ipod docking beast!

What you get here is a small (about three inches in diameter, and the same height) speaker, which connects effortlessly via bluetooth to a smartphone or other bluetooth-enabled device. The sound is surpirisingly loud and clear, easily loud enough to listen to in a decent-sized room, and also easily loud enough to annoy fellow travellers on a train!

It's heavier than it looks, but could still be carried around easily in a briefcase or a rucksack, and it seems to be quite sturdily built. It charges fully via USB in around three hours, and seems to have a decent battery life (the blurb says five hours, but I've had it running for six!), and there is also a stereo minijack, so you can play music from non bluetooth-enabled devices, as long as they have a headphone socket.

Overall, I'd say this is well worth the money. It's not tacky-looking as many on the market are, and it's really simple and intuitive to use.


Proctor-Silex 60200-UK Commercial Drinks Mixer for Milkshakes and Frappes, 300 Watt, Black
Proctor-Silex 60200-UK Commercial Drinks Mixer for Milkshakes and Frappes, 300 Watt, Black
Price: £195.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over the top for home use, but quite basic really...., 22 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This item is designed for the commercial market, but is attractive enough to look good sitting on the kitchen worktop in my small flat.

Thankfully, as the instructions are very brief (almost useless, really), it is very simple to use the unit. Simply fill the metal cup (included with the mixer) with milk and other ingredients, taking care not to fill beyond the maximum capacity, and then clip the cup into the machine. It will be held in place by a bracket on the machine, and the small platform on which it sits while the mixing takes place. If powered on, the mixer will automatically start at one of its two settings, either quite loud and quite fast, or very loud and very fast. In a few seconds, the shake will be ready for drinking.

I tried a number of different combinations of fruits and other ingredients, but this unit is not really capable of dealing with any fruit firmer than a ripe banana, as the mixing spindle is obviously not designed to deal with solids.. It works best when simply mixing milk with a shop-bought milk shake concentrate, paerhaps with a little ice cream.

If I was buying a milk shake maker for home use, I wouldn't even consider this one. For its limited uses, I would have been just as well served by a basic model, easily sourced for under £30.00. However, if for some reason I wanted to make 250 milk shakes a day, then this would probably be the sensible choice, as more basic models would almost certainly overheat and blow if used so heavily.


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