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H. Pierce (UK)

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Stanley STHT5-20211 20-inch/ 500mm Heavy Duty Saw (Pack of 5)
Stanley STHT5-20211 20-inch/ 500mm Heavy Duty Saw (Pack of 5)
Offered by ptctools
Price: £28.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Made, For Optimum Performance, 30 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This pack of saws are of very good quality, as I would expect from this particular brand. They arrive in tight packaging, with cardboard keeping the teeth at their optimum sharpness until arrival. The handles are of a nice design and very comfortable to hold securely. The length of the saws is approximately 50cm in total.

The cut which can be achieved by these saws is sharp but rough, due to the 7 hard point teeth per inch. The cut can be made across, or against, the grain with them. Over time these teeth will wear down, and that is where having multiple saws can come in handy. This is particularly true if you are using them often. Whilst it is a shame to be throwing tools away, you are unlikely to be able to get them reset, as the softer metal underneath the teeth will have been exposed.

Overall, these saws should each last very well, as they are of good quality. They also provide you with a good level of performance.

Melissa & Doug Chalk and Eraser Bundle (White)
Melissa & Doug Chalk and Eraser Bundle (White)
Offered by Murrell Trading
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Little Bundle Set, 28 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely little set, that contains a box of 12 white chalks, and a box of 12 coloured chalks. It also comes with a felt eraser, like those used in schools for black or white boards. They arrive shrink-wrapped together, rather than in a box set, but this doesn't detract from the use of them in any way.

The colours of the chalk seem brighter than some we have used, and my daughter has enjoyed using them. They are apparently break-resistant, and they are lasting well so far, but don't expect them to be indestructible. They are chalk after all!

Overall, it is a nice little set for your little artist to get to grips with.

Melissa & Doug Rock Star Costume
Melissa & Doug Rock Star Costume
Price: £14.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Addition To The Costume Box, 27 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As far as dressing up outfits go, this is something a little different. My daughters own quite a collection of costumes, from princesses to police officers, but we have never seen a rock star costume! As you can imagine then, this outfit has gone down a storm in our household!

The outfit consists of a dress with tutu skirt, some shiny leggings, a lacy glove, and a microphone. It comes in a reusable plastic bag, with poppers, which is a nice addition for storing the outfit together.

The sizing states that it is suitable for ages 3-6, but you will need to base this on individual sized children. My six year still has some room to grow before she outgrows it, but she is fairly petite for her age. Her best friend wouldn't fit this at all, but is unusually tall for the age group. You know what clothes your child is fitting in, so that should help you decide if it will work well for them.

The outfit appears to be well made, as are almost all the Melissa and Doug products that I have seen. It is definitely encourages imaginative play, but be prepared for endless rounds of singing!

Overall, I cannot find anything to criticise about the costume. It is well-made and lots of fun.

The Poppy Factory
The Poppy Factory
by Liz Trenow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.75

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 24 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Poppy Factory (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Rose cannot wait to be reunited with her husband upon his return from battle in WW1. Sadly, Alfie returns utterly traumatised by the experiences he has lived through. Alfie is no longer the happy man Rose married, and she doesn't know if he can ever be healed. If he can't come back to who he was before, can she ever learn to accept how much life has changed for them both?

Rose's great-granddaughter, Jess, has seen the horrors of war too, and she returns from Afghanistan suffering from post-traumatic stress. She cannot see that life can ever be as it was, having lived through such atrocities. Drink seems to be her only solace.

When Jess discovers the diaries that her great-grandmother wrote, she feels a connection. Life is going to be changed forever when someone has lived through war, but you have a choice whether to channel the energy destructively or into a whole new area of focus.

Overall, the story is touching, and incredibly thought-provoking; a great read!

Hotpoint Steam Blender, 600 Watt, Silver
Hotpoint Steam Blender, 600 Watt, Silver
Price: £63.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Idea And So Simple To Use, 23 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We absolutely love this steam blender, in our household. It is made from high quality materials, with a sturdy glass jug to contain the food. It weighs quite a lot, yet doesn't take up too much kitchen space due to the fact that it is quite tall and not too wide.

The ease with which you can use the machine is what makes this product so great. To steam vegetables you fill the machine with water and press the '+' button until the minutes are set. Then you press 'start' and the vegetables will steam away nicely until the machine beeps to let you know that they are finished. It is so easy that I didn't even feel a need to look at the manual!

Once you have steamed your vegetables you can then quickly blend them up with some seasoning and create a delicious and healthy soup. The capacity is large enough to easily make soup for four people. You could also blend them up to create batches of purees for your baby. We found that there was enough space inside the machine for us to steam vegetables to go with our dinner (for two adults and a child). They turned out very well, and should have retained their maximum nutrient levels. The steam blender can also be used as an ice crusher.

It is quite easy to clean the steam blender, which is something I very highly rate, as many kitchen appliances are fiddly to get really clean inside.

Overall, I a really chuffed with how useful this product is, and how simple it is to use.

Tefal Safe to Touch Kettle, 1.5 Litre, 3000 Watt, Black
Tefal Safe to Touch Kettle, 1.5 Litre, 3000 Watt, Black
Price: £35.71

4.0 out of 5 stars Great For Safety Around Children, 19 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really like this kettle, for many different reasons. Firstly, it is taller and thinner than my other kettle. This may sound 'sizeist' but it takes up less space on my work surface because it heads upwards, and not outwards. It also rotates on the stand, which is very useful in tight spaces.

Secondly, the keep warm function is really useful in our household. Having a newborn baby in the house means that we often go to make a cuppa, and then get sidetracked by the aforementioned sprog creating a fuss. The stay warm function means that the water is still hot enough to use when you come back to your original task.

We also really highly rate the fact that the outside of the kettle does not get hot at any point during use. This is great as I have a young child who loves to makes cakes, and it means that if her hand accidentally brushes against the kettle it cannot get injured by it.

The instructions provided with the kettle are really poor, and refer to different model types. Would it have been too much to do separate instructions for each model?

It is also irritating that the manufacturers have stuck an annoying sticker on the side of the kettle which has now left a sticky residue behind. With it being a plastic outer shell, I do not want to use anything abrasive to remove this.

The main thing that has divided opinion in our house, is the lack of external water gauge. There is an internal engraved water level measure inside the kettle. So, this is fine for anyone who flips the kettle open to fill it. It is not so fine for anyone who wishes to just put water in through the spout. It doesn't worry me, but it could be a negative feature for some buyers.

Overall, a nice kettle that does the job well and efficiently whilst being 'safe to touch'.

LeapFrog LeapPad 3 Learning Tablet (Pink)
LeapFrog LeapPad 3 Learning Tablet (Pink)
Price: £49.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Improvements Over The Leappad 2 - App Prices Still Huge, 17 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having tried the Leappad 2 for quite some time, it was interesting to get our hands on the Leappad 3 and to compare the two models. My six year old was very keen to try out some of the additional functions, and begged me to set it up as soon as it arrived in the post. In many respects the look of the Leappad 3 has not changed a great deal. The screen size is still relatively small, but this can be larger if you opt for the Leappad 3 Ultra. The stylus now has a soft end tip, which my daughter is rather pleased with, as it is squishy and less likely to cause surface scratching.

Set-up is easy, and I was able to achieve this within a few minutes of opening the packaging. It prompts you to connect to your WiFi, thus negating the need for connecting through your computer, and then guides you through the steps to downloading your free app, from a measly selection of three. It then springs upon you a 'one-time offer' of money off of new apps if you purchase them there and then. I was not best pleased with this, as my daughter saw this offer and immediately tried pester power through telling me what a great money saver it would be.

After set-up was complete, we went on to explore the new tablet. First up was the pet games included, which seemed to please my daughter well enough. Then came the first look at LeapSearch - the closed internet availability that allows your child to access to a kid-friendly variety of youtube videos. This went down a storm as it was my daughters first experience of unsupervised surfing of the internet. In reality, you can't access much more than some videos and images, mainly of animals or kiddy characters, but my daughter adores this function. One of her favourite parts of the LeapSearch is looking at the videos that show you how to draw your favourite characters, step-by-step.

Another factor with having WiFi enabled, means that you now have the option of parental locking, to control WiFi use. You choose a four digit passcode and this enables you to switch WiFi on or off, to prevent your child from purchasing apps without your permission and/or to enable peer-to-peer game play with their friends.

The Leappad 3 has front and back cameras, same as the Leapad 2, but for some reason they appealed more to my daughter now that she is six. Since it arrived she has taken a large variety of photos, and even played around with the dreaded 'selfie'. The pictures are of decent enough quality, and should satisfy any child within the recommended age group of 3-9.

The Leappad 3 is rechargeable, first seen in the Leappad 2 Power version, which is ideal. What I particularly liked with the Leappad 3 is that the charge seems to hold for longer, and that there is a battery indicator to let your child know when it is running low - a feature long overdue!

This version is backwards compatible, and this means that you can download your previous app purchases through your existing login details. It also accepts the cartridges previously used.

Overall, I feel compelled to write that on the merits of the Leap Pad 3 Learning Tablet, my six year old daughter would score it a full five out of five. I, however, as the bill paying parent, have deducted a point because it is just such a costly operation getting games onto the tablet! Unlike an open tablet, where designers all compete to get you to download their apps, you are still held to the mercy of LeapFrog. As such, the prices of apps are a lot more than I am usually likely to fork out, particularly as my six year old has a voracious appetite for new and interesting games! Having said that, there really are a lot of plus points to this latest version of the the LeapPad.

LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit
LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit
Offered by Toys On Your Screen
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Toy Medical Kit, 16 Sept. 2014
This review is from: LeapFrog Mobile Med Kit (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The mobile medical kit, from Leapfrog, is yet another bright and sturdy toy to add to your little one's collection. It states that it is suitable from the age of two, but I cannot see any real reason for that in terms of safety. I think that younger children could very well enjoy playing with it, or a group of children with mixed ages. Most young children like to play with medical role play, so the parts contained in this set are a lot of fun for all.

The sounds and songs are a lot of fun although, can get a bit wearing for an adult after a while! The kit encourages your child to understand and link the different equipment to areas of the body and illnesses. There is an otoscope to check the ears, and a thermometer to check the temperature which can be set to a high or low temperature according to the role play required. There is also a squeaky syringe, for vaccinating, and a stethoscope is also included.

The ambulance talks about key things such as check ups and vaccinations, and it sings 'head, shoulders, knees, and toes'. This encourages young children to think about the names of different body parts as well.

Overall, it is a fun little toy and it could be useful for talking children through minor medical appointments and keeping them calm.

LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
Price: £11.47

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Interactive Toy For Your Little Ones, 15 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This cute little rocking horse is yet another example of how well Leapfrog make children's toys. It is an appropriate size for the age group, and it is lovely and sturdy. I imagine it would take quite a bashing from a rough toddler and still survive to rock on again.

The rocking horse speaks various phrases as a response to what your little one has done. If you press the saddle, or rock the horse, it will speak to baby. If baby is learning to move his or herself, then the action of pushing the horse along the floor will activate a flashing lights and singing. It really is a delightful little toy, and captures the attention of your little ones very well.

The age recommendations state 6-36 months, which I think is fairly accurate.

Overall, it is a lovely little toy and I would highly recommend it.

Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Melissa & Doug Reusable Sticker Pad Bundle
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Encourages Imagination - House And Animal Bundle, 13 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an excellent sticker bundle set. It contains two sticker activity pads, each of which contains at least 150 vinyl stickers. One sticker pad contains animals and their habitats, and the other one contains play house stickers. The stickers are reusable, because they use the clingy effect of vinyl rather than an actual glue. This is fantastic, because it means that if your little one decides to stick one to your patio door (or somewhere else they weren't meant to be) they are unlikely to adhere to the surface, or if they do they do not leave a sticky residue.

Each sticker activity pad contains far more stickers than your little one will need, but this is great for if you want to reuse them for imaginative story telling. You can place different stickers on the background each time and work with your child to create a story for them.

The stickers can be ripped, but nowhere near as easily as standard paper stickers can be. The activity pads are larger than I had envisaged, which made them seem extra special to my daughter and her friends. They happily played with these for over an hour together, and they will be used again I am sure.

Overall, I would highly recommend these sticker activity books, particularly as they are great for encouraging the imagination. There are different sets available, so it is easy to choose according to your own child's interests.

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