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Grr "Gumbo" (England)

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Philips A1Pro/00 Philips A1 Professional DJ headphones
Philips A1Pro/00 Philips A1 Professional DJ headphones
Price: £83.25

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional clarity of sound, 28 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you are concerned that the cost of these headphones might be excessive then let me ease your worries, for this is a first rate piece of audio equipment.

I must admit that I have only used these headphones to listen to music at home and on the train and, by virtue of not being a musician or DJ, am unlikely to use them for any other purpose. This said, enjoying my music collection is something that is very important to me and I therefore like getting the best out of my audio gear. I want my headphones to feel as though they are the pint sized equal to the B&W speakers I run off my stereo at home. This is pretty much how I feel these have performed thus far.

These headphones are exceptional, the sound clarity is exquisite. The balance is spot on and it picks out buried nuances beautifully. I tested these headphones with some of favourite ‘road test’ albums with excellent results all round – they handled with ease the murky, sometimes fuzzy sound of The Cramps ‘Songs The Lord Taught us’, somehow rescuing the vocals that were buried in the mix on some songs, Joe Hisaishi’s soundtrack to ‘Spirited Away’ and Bjork’s ‘Debut’ were swept beautifully to life and Iron Maiden’s ‘Number of the Beast’ was every bit as thunderous and epic as you could wish for. It’s tackled everything else I’ve thrown at it with aplomb as well.

Now, it should be said, that I have a reasonably good stereo set-up at home so, in the tests I mention above, the headphones had something of a head start. The acid test was whether or not they would work so well running spotify off my lap top or how they would work with my battered old MP3 player. In both tests, the results have been highly impressive, offering far more clarity than the usual, mid-range, phones I would use for these things. I also had a dabble using them with the TV and seeing how they managed with Film audio – the result was, once again, very pleasing.

The sound on these headphones is immersive and intense. You can pop them on, turn on the music, close your eyes and the rest of the world melts away. Which, let’s be honest, is the best you can hope for from any headphones.

Summarising the rest of the details, the phones are very comfortable to wear and can easily be adjusted to fit the listeners head. The lead is fairly long and has the added feature of a small coiled section giving that, often all too important, extra reach. The design is simple, black and functional. They are presented in a smart enough cardboard box but no extras, such as a carry case, are included.

Overall, these are not cheap headphones but are worthy of the investment as they are very fine indeed.

Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but for how long?, 23 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The three stars I have given to this product should not be taken to mean that this toy is not enjoyable because it is. Very much so. My partner and I have had a great time scrapping away over the last couple of days, there has been much laughter and oaths for revenge made.

The three stars have been awarded because, now we’ve had a couple of nights playing with this, we’re more than ready to put it away again now. Okay, we’re not the target audience for this, but we have had our fun with it. It was entertaining for a while but now it’s gotten a little bit repetitive. I believe that kids will enjoy playing with this for longer than we did, but not much longer.

We will take this out of the cuopboard at Christmas time when we are expecting some a couple of 9/10 year olds to visit as they’ll have lots of fun with this for a few hours I'm sure, but even then, I suspect that they will be okay leaving it when they go. Then it’ll be put away until...who knows? It could be some time.

It’s a cool toy but it’s appeal is limited and it does not require any imaginative play nor does it offer an immersive experience, which I think is the secret for longevity with anything aimed at children. That’s the problem for me with this toy. As enjoyable as it is, the novelty soon wears off.

The toy is very well made, the robots good fun to customize and the motion controls, after a few tentative goes, are decent and user friendly. Those who are skilled with a Wii remote will find it a doddle to master I'm sure.

It does needs batteries, lots of them, which makes it a costly toy to run and it already has a not insignifact price tag. This really explains the star rating here. This is a good toy in many respects but I really can’t see it outliving the novelty factor most children. I can see it becoming an expensive dust collector in some play rooms.

Leifheit Pegasus Maxx 81650 Clothes Airer
Leifheit Pegasus Maxx 81650 Clothes Airer
Price: £52.27

4.0 out of 5 stars A Giant Amongst Airers, 23 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You can read the dimensions listed in the product page and reiterated in the product description all you like but it still doesn’t prepare you for just how huge this airer is. It’s enormous. It nearly warrants its own postcode! You definitely need a gigantic room if you are planning on using this airer indoors.

It’s a good product, really well made and very solid. The height and breadth of the airer mean that trousers, towels and bedding in particular comfortably fit onto it without pooling on the floor and drying haphazardly. The hooks for socks and undies are a neat feature and gives an extra dimension of usefulness to this beast.

The size of this means that it can easily take a significant amount of washing onboard. We are a family of four – two big people and two small ones – and it managed to hold the best part of two washing loads fairly easily. We have also discovered it makers for an excellent play tent frame – just throw a big blanket or two over it -though obviously not its planned use, it’s still a very welcome benefit from an excitable toddlers point of view!

On the flip side, its height and size mean it is quite cumbersome to move about and even when folded it is still quite a space vampire. So it’ll be a pain to move it around that often. As such we will likely on use this inside occasionally, when we have need to do a lot of washing at once - all the guests bedding over Christmas for example. In Spring and Summer, weather gods permitting, this should really come into its own out in the garden soaking up the sunshine.

It is an expensive item but it is very well made and the materials used in its construction feel robust and suitable. As such, assuming you have a ginormous laundry room or a big enough garden to house it, I can happily recommend it.

Corel PaintShop Pro X7 (PC)
Corel PaintShop Pro X7 (PC)
Price: £39.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Professional product, but could take a bit of getting used to if you are a me!, 21 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a novice to this type of product it has taken me a few goes to get the hang of using it and I am well aware there are tools and features I have either not yet used or have yet to use to their full extent however so far I am extremely impressed. The tools I have used and got the hang of are extremely effective and have allowed me to edit my pictures quickly and simply. The images produced are clear and in most cases none of the changes are at al visible - even those that you can see will require a good inspection before they are noticed....well it took my other half a while to find them anyway!

The product loads onto your PC quickly and simply and took me very little time to set up. Once loaded the product looks good and offers an easy to navigate screen with tools and menus clearly indicated and intuitive to use.

There is no manual supplied with the disc for the product so you have to go online to find it which is some ways is great - you will never lose it, but in other ways it is a bit of a pain as you cannot have it in your hand to check when you are doing things. I tend to prefer to have a hard copy of such things but it may be that those younger than me who have grown up with more technology based information will find an online version easier to use.

It is a lot of fun playing about with images to see what effects you can create - there is a huge range, from professional looking changes to more fun things such as frames etc.

Having looked at other products on the market I would say that this product seems to be good value for money considering the features it offers compared to the price. I am definitely going to keep working with this programme to see if I can understand everything and create even better images than I have so far.

Kings Bounty - Dark Side (PC DVD)
Kings Bounty - Dark Side (PC DVD)
Price: £18.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some fun, some frustration, 17 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have never played any of the Kings Bounty series before but I've enjoyed whiling away several hours over the last few nights playing this game. It has a nice retro feel, reminding me of games I used to play ten odd years ago - Final Fantasy games and suchlike. It's been quite good fun exploring this and reminiscing, especially as the game feels and looks exactly like one from a decade ago. This is not meant as a slight, the game is what it is, an RPG with endless quests and turn based battles against a myriad of foes, it does not need to be a graphic wonder and the fair price reflects this.

There is much that is good about this game. I enjoyed the chance to play the evil characters; getting surly tavern keepers to help me on my quest and then double crossing them, killing them and turning them into a zombie slave is every bit as much fun as it sounds. The overall story is good and the scripted conversations have a pleasing whimsy about them in the main. The different characters and creatures that make up the armies are good fun and it's nice to be able to pick between playing as an Orc, Vampire or Demon (I plumped for the demon). The world is impressively detailed and immersive and it's the sort of game you can easily lose yourself in for several hours as there are lots of things to do and places to explore.

The missing stars suggest the game is not without fault however, and this is indeed the case. It is a feature of RPG games I know, but turn based battles can rapidly become dull, especially when you are attacked by enormous squadrons or enemies every other minute. Some battles just drag on and on and on and on and on and on. It gets repetitive and boring quite quickly. There is also no retreat option so if you inadvertently walk into a large bunch of near invincible enemies - which is very easy to do given the map navigation controls meaning you can't always see what is right in front of you - you either surrender or fight a very lengthy and fruitless battle and then die. Either way, its game over and back to the `shelter' hub again to restart the mission.

Another thing that bothers me about it is the repetitive nature of the quests. Go here, do this, find a sub-plot quest that needs to be done first, try to do this, find yet another sub-plot quest that needs to be done and so on and so on. A few different quests at once is fine and what I expect of RPGs but I think I'm right in saying that I presently have 14 different quests/sub-quests to do. It's a bit of an overkill to put it mildly and it does mean that I have often felt that I'm not making any progress despite spending half an hour charging around collecting frogs, bribing guards and fixing coffee grinders(!).

Another bugbear, which i accept is a general irritation with PC gaming at the moment not just of this game, is the need to operate a Steam online account to play the game. I strongly object to this. I object to every game I have that makes me do this and I wish that game manufacturers would look at ways of bypassing this. (Maybe this is just me? Would welcome others thoughts on this.)

As I stated at the beginning of this review, I have enjoyed playing this game and will probably play it through to the end but I can only give three stars as the frustrations I have with it mean I am very unlikely to return to it once completed. I do accept that some of the things I find irritating about this game may well be exactly the sort of thing that devoted RPG fans enjoy so would recommend this happily to fans of the genre as it is a well priced game but would advise caution and extra research for the more casual gamer.

Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Price: £199.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Positive experience so far......full results to follow at a later date, 12 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Veet Infini arrives in a nice looking box. It is also a nice sturdy box that the unit fits into. I only note this as this is an expensive piece of kit and as such you need to store it safely and keep all the parts together. The box it is supplied in is perfect for this - easy to open, good size, not too big or small and all the parts have homes so you can keep track of everything.

First off when you are going to use this I cannot stress enough that you must READ THE MANUAL! This could be a fairly dangerous piece of equipment and it is essential it is used correctly. Luckily the instructions provided are clear and concise. They speak in plain English which makes them easy to understand and follow.

The two heads supplied are easy to change in and out depending on what you want to use the gun for. They require a little bit of brute strength but they do just pull on and off in a single motion. This is great as it means that you are not having to do anything fiddly if you want to change where on your body you are treating.

As with all laser hair removers you need to be sure you are able to use this piece of equipment. Sadly it will only work on certain hair and skin types. Ideally you should have paler skin and dark hair. Those who have dark skin or fair hair may struggle to get results and use on extremely dark skin could be dangerous so make sure you are of the right colouring for this. There are a number of other things you will need to check when using this hair remover so again I stress - read the manual to check it is suitable for you.

As others have noted this is a device to reduce hair permanently and not remove all hair permanently. It does not claim to remove all hair on treated areas, rather it will substantially reduce it over time and several treatments.

The Veet Infini is very simple to use. After you have ensured that you have prepped yourself properly - the areas to be treated should be clean, dry and shaved so it is important to note you cannot just plug it in and go. After you have made sure your skin is ready you simply plug in the device and place the tip of the gun on the desired area (pressing pretty hard)and press the button. There is a small noise and a flash (which you are advised not to look at) and that is it. There is a small amount of pain/discomfort when you do this though I have not found this to be too unpleasant - certainly less horrible than using my epilator - and you can adjust the settings from 1 - 5 depending on your pain threshold!! The higher you set the system the more effective the treatment but obviously a higher setting will increase the level of discomfort you experience so start off low and increase once tested. After you have treated the small area you lift the device and due to the design you should be able to see indentations/pressure marks on your skin where you have treated thanks to little bumps on the plastic of the gun tip which mark the skin, you can then move along to the next part of skin you want to treat. This is a nice idea, but the indents are not always easily visible so do take care. The surface you treat each time is very small which means if you want to do large areas such as your legs you will need to set aside quite a bit of time. I have found that treating my underarm and bikini areas fairly quick, but you will probably need to set aside most of an evening if you want to do both legs!

I have now done two treatments of my underarm and bikini areas and have not really seen great results as yet but this is a piece of equipment that takes time to be effective. As such I shall make additions to this review once I have reached the end of a treatment cycle. So far I have been impressed by the design, ease of use, clarity of instruction and pain levels so all that remains to be seen is how effective this is overall. Hopefully if it follows the positive experiences I have had with it then it will prove to be highly effective but we will have to wait and see!

Top With Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes
Top With Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes
by Izy Hossack
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.10

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start for young cook, 10 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What were you doing when you were 18 years old? Maybe you, like me, were trying to balance the perils of A Level exams and UCAS application forms with the important stuff like finding the best student nightclubs with the cheapest deals on boozy treats and trying to look cool at all times - and failing miserably.

Not Izy Hossack. At 18 years old she has published this cookbook with the respected publishing house Hardie Grant, collecting various recipes and ideas she has created for her well followed and reportedly very popular food blog - which she has run since she was 15. To describe her as a precocious talent and early starter would be accurate and possibly a disservice. The existence of this cookbook is testament to a great love of cookery and commendable work ethic. I applaud her for this but the cookbook has to stand on its own merits.

The three stars here reflect that this is a decent cookbook indeed. Miss Hossack is a likeable, enthusiastic writer. She does sound like an excitable teenager at times but then that is as it should be. A young food writer who came across like Rick Stein (for example) would be strange! She has obsessions with Cinnamon and Pesto, urges people who hate chickpeas to try her chickpea recipes and prepare to be converted and appears to have one heck of a sweet tooth.

Sweet treats loom large here, cookies, pancakes, Tortes, Brownies, Cakes and a host of other unctuous and sugary eats feature heavily. In fact, if you are more interested in Savoury goodies, then I would suggest looking elsewhere. These recipes are decent if perhaps a little pedestrian - there is little here that I have not seen before - and look to be easy to follow throughout.

The non-sugary recipes are solid but unspectacular and will offer little to appeal to a seasoned cook. For example ,she shares my love of roasted cauliflower which is a good thing, she is right that Halloumi and pomegranate do go well, as do Squashes, Pancetta and arborio rice, but I suspect that most keen cooks would be familiar with the combinations here. This in itself is not a problem, in fact I believe that this helps identify the best audience for this book.

This book would be a great starting place for those who are just starting to cook for themselves - students heading off to uni for example are likely to find a lot of really useful recipes and tips in here. Stands to reason that the author has written a book that would be ideal for her peer group. It will be very interesting to see what she does next - I can quite imagine her follow up being very impressive indeed.

A few other notes, seafood is particularly underrepresented here, the ingredients are mostly easy to get hold of and i'd say that the majority of the recipes are wallet-friendly as well. I also thoroughly recommend her Courgette Cornbread Pancakes recipe - unusual and delicious.

The books is attractively presented and the photography and binding are of high quality.

LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
LeapFrog Roll and Go Rocking Horse
Price: £8.65

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Leapfrog success, 7 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a compact and sturdy little toy. It is solid and well built which is great as the small people it is designed for tend not to be the most gentle with their things - especially those in the mid age range like our toddler who delights in testing limits, standing on his toys and generally battering things just to see what happens.

The rocking horse has lights, movement and sound to engage children between the ages of 6 and 36 months. As the age range it is aimed at is fairly wide the toy has been designed to have different features to entertain at different levels. At 6 months old it is really the lights and sound which will entertain when operated by an adult but as you reach the older range they will be able to operate these themselves and engage the rocking motion.

The rocking horse has a number of stock phrases and songs which our toddler seems to love but they can grate on the nerves of grown ups sometimes. Luckily you do have the option of adjusting the volume levels and the songs are not as frustrating when played again and again as many of the toys out there.

Overall I would say this is a great little toy, it is not overly original in design or execution but what it does it does very well and you don't have to worry about your child breaking it as it is so well constructed. Another interesting and educational toy from Leapfrog which is priced very reasonably, especially when compared to other options out there.

Octonauts Gup-O and Dashi
Octonauts Gup-O and Dashi
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Amphibious fun for everyone!, 27 Sep 2014
This review is from: Octonauts Gup-O and Dashi (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When this arrived the first thing we noticed about this toy is that it is a bit larger than we expected. We had been expecting something probably about 3/4 of the size this actually is. Admittedly this is going to be a personal thing but it set us off on a positive note.

When we opened this our two year old got very excited and luckily the toy is nice and easy to release from the packaging so we didn't have an impatient small person waiting long. Our son loves Octonauts and anything to do with the sea so knew the character and that it was designed as a killer whale. When we got it out of the packet he was able to put the pieces together easily and with mummy and daddy playing we had lots of fun games whizzing it round the living room. The moving tail is a nice feature which helped to hold his interest. It was fairly late on in the day and as bath time loomed one of the major positives of this toy became apparent, we were able to continue the same games in the bath! Amphibious toys are a huge favourite in this house as our toddler hates stopping play to go in the bath so this sort of toy are great. The ability to stick the Gup-O on the bath wall, though simple, is great as it meant that Dashi was taken out on many adventures, coming back to base regularly to make sure everything was ok.

One gripe I do have is the price of the Gup-O - although a well designed and sturdy toy it seems a few pounds more expensive than it really should be. Perhaps the result of being a branded toy from a popular TV show it seems a shame to push the price up so that it feels you are not getting value for money. If this had been slightly more competitively priced I would have gone for a 5 star review, but feel I really can't justify one.

Disney Frozen Ice Skating Elsa Doll
Disney Frozen Ice Skating Elsa Doll
Offered by Productos Licenciados
Price: £25.95

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice toy, shocking price, 15 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Frozen is less a film, more a phenomenon and virtually every child I know seems to be at least mildly addicted/obsessed with it. As such, I was unsurprised when my niece’s reaction to being presented with this doll was much as I suspect mine would be if all six of my lottery numbers came up. Sheer, unrestrained excitement and glee. From that point of view, this doll can only be considered a complete and total success.

The doll is as well made as you may expect it to be. Similar materials, quality and strength that you would expect from the Barbie, Monster High ranges for example. The character detail is solid; the doll does look like the Elsa character, not always a given with these sorts of things it must be said, and the clothing is suitably twinkly and she has a little sparkly tiara as well.

The ice skating action is....alright. My niece, who is just about to hit 7, found it easy to put the doll onto the base and push her along to get the doll to do the skating movements (Figure dancing?). She enjoyed this and thought it was great; I thought it a little underwhelming to be honest and noticed that the doll was soon being used more as a normal doll than as an ice skater. Regardless, the toy was a big hit and will give many hours of pleasure I'm sure.

So, the target audience for this doll could not be more impressed and thrilled with it. However, I cannot give it the full five stars because of one simple reason. The price is shocking. I have struggled to believe the prices I have seen for some toys recently, particularly those with a franchise tie-in. I have grudgingly accepted that is par for the course but this doll is being sold for £30 at the moment! This is an extraordinary price for this item; I would think between £5 and £10 less would be fairer. The word Frozen has attracted a hefty premium indeed. I have no doubt that many parents will be picking one of these up for their children at Christmas and am certain the recipients will no doubt be delighted with them – it’s a decent toy after all – but the price tag leaves an unpleasantly cynical taste.

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