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Grr "Gumbo" (England)
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QardioArm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
QardioArm Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor
Price: £73.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and compact way to keep track of your blood pressure, 27 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The box that this blood pressure monitor arrives in is well designed and compact. It serves as a great protective case for the device and the Q logo on the top handily folds up to create a handle to help you pull the box open. Inside the box there is relatively little to see. The device itself, the instruction manual and a set of quick set up instructions. That is it.

As other reviews have mentioned this device is compatible with android and iOS phones but the packaging itself only mentions iOS devices which led to a few panicked moments thinking we could not use it, which is not the case. Once I located the app on Google Play I found the app it simple and quick to install and the set up instructions easy to follow. My phone synced up to the device first time with a simple tap to the blood pressure monitor and it automatically paired up with it with minimal input from me. Once this was done the app showed a big green button and I was ready to go.

This was where I got into slight difficulties in getting the cuff placed correctly on my arm and as such getting it to inflate at all. At first I thought the batteries might be duff as everything else seemed to work ok but a change didn't seem to make much of a difference (worth mentioning that it was easy to open the battery panel and swap the batteries over and a brief glowing green light let me know I had made the change successfully). After putting the cuff on and taking it off about 10 tries I eventually had a success! The cuff inflated and all the data appeared on my phone. Hopefully as I get more used to putting the cuff on this will not be an issue for long. It would seem that because the device is so compact all the weight sits in one place and so when you tighten the strap it can move about easily and so end up in the wrong position. With a second person helping with positioning I can see it being a lot easier, but someone on their own may need a bit more time and a few attempts.

As we get older it makes sense to keep a closer eye on thing such as blood pressure so devices like this certainly have their uses. This one is quick and simple to use and easy to understand. Once you have worked through the initial teething problems you should be able to use the monitor and put it away in just a couple of minutes.


Babies Firsts 89x38x4cm Quilted Microfibre Foam Crib Mattress
Babies Firsts 89x38x4cm Quilted Microfibre Foam Crib Mattress
Price: £18.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small but perfectly formed, 20 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a small but perfectly formed mattress that fits our co-sleeper perfectly. That said it is very small so make sure that the dimensions work for your cot. It's not going to last most babies beyond 6/7 months due to this. Not a negative as it's clearly designed to be this size but worth pointing out in case you are looking for a longer lasting purchase.

The mattress is very lightweight but feels extremely supportive. The cover is removable so that it can be easily cleaned should there by any unexpected spills, spit ups etc.

Our three month old has slept extremely soundly for the last few weeks on it and it passes all the required safety standards so as long as it fits your cot then it's pretty perfect ad won't break the bank.


Skil 1734AB Energyline Rotary Hammer
Skil 1734AB Energyline Rotary Hammer
Price: £62.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for household DIY, 18 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The drill comes packaged in a suitably eco way in a brown cardboard box with no plastic at all, great for the planet, not so great if you want to lug the drill about a lot as you could really do with something to protect it. When you open it up the very first thing you notice is the bright green power cord. Serving two purposes the lurid colour makes it easy to see when you are working and thus means anyone is unlikely to cut through it and it also 'hammers' home the eco-green message once again to link in with the low energy consumption claims it makes.

The first and most important thing to mention when reviewing this drill is that it cannot take conventional drill bits, well it can but you need to use a converter which is not included in the box and so is an additional expense. The drill is designed to use SDS+ drill bits which you will need to purchase separately. It would be really nice to have included the adaptor in the kit as this would be extremely useful. Buying all the parts you need separately just puts obstacles in front of a buyer to chose something that is more of an all in one option - especially as this product is aimed at a home owner and not professionals - most non professionals want products to be as simple as possible.

The hammer drill itself feels sturdy and has a nice weight to it. It is simple to operate and intuitive to use. I found that for the small household tasks we needed it for it was more than adequate. It is a well made piece of kit that we hope will last for years to come and does everything we need.


Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Aromatherapy
Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Aromatherapy
Price: £160.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Effective and pleasant but could have had a bit more thought in the design, 30 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have been wanting to get a daylight alarm clock for a while now and have been lucky enough to get to try this one out. In fact we were both extremely excited on the day it arrived and cuoldn't wait to give to a go.

First off this is a very light clock but it is a little bigger than I had first anticipated taking up a bit more space on the bedside table than our usual alarm clock. It is very attractive looking and has simple clean lines. It comes in two distinct parts but they only seem to sit together with the lampshade part slotting into the body of the clock without clicking into position. Not too much of a problem, unless you (like us) have a curious toddler who likes to touch everything. He has discovered how easy it is to remove the lampshade and we do have trouble stopping him playing with this. Because of this we have not yet tried out the aromatherapy part of the clock as the oil and water compartments are accessed by lifting the lampshade and we don't want him getting to them. Not important to everyone but for anyone with a young family you may need to consider placing the clock out of reach of little hands.

I have to admit that being woken up by the radio blaring out every day is a bit jarring and that the idea of a gentle light appealed to us both. We have not been let down. As other reviews have mentioned the clock is quite complicated to set up, but we seem to have the hang of this. It has also taken a little time to get used to but the light waking us instead of noise seems to have had a very beneficial effect. We both find getting up easier and have not experienced so much fuzzy brain while trying to get ready to face the day.

We do like having the radio on in the morning so it is a shame that this does not include this as a feature. It would be lovely to wake up with the light getting brighter and then the radio turning on once the lamp has reached full brightness. As it is we are currently running two alarm clocks so that we are woken by the light and then bought round by the radio a little later.

Overall we have found the experience of waking up with this clock extremely pleasant but for the price we would really expect a few more features such as a radio and for the clock to be a bit more robust so that it feels more child safe (although I realise this is designed as an adult product, in most households it will mainly be used on a table low enough for children to easily reach so seems silly it is so easily dismantled). It could probably be a little more simple to operate. All in all it feels like a great idea that has not been realised quite as well as it could or should have.


The Raven's Head
The Raven's Head
by Karen Maitland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Cracking Read, 19 Dec. 2014
This review is from: The Raven's Head (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having adored Karen Maitland’s novel ‘The Company of Liars’ I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to this in advance of its publication and am delighted to report that this book is a startlingly good read.

The plot, involving alchemy, blackmail, mystery and the supernatural in the Dark Ages, is riveting and captivating. However, other reviewers have, at length, given intricate and detailed plot synopsises so I shall instead focus on how I found the writing style.

As with the Company of Liars, I find that Maitland’s writing is excellent at creating ambience and atmosphere, this book positively drips with mood and, at times, can be quite sinister and unsettling. It’s evocative and dramatic but also descriptive and, crucially, very engaging and easy to read.

Maitland also impresses with her characterisations, the character of Vincent, in particular, is textured and layered and his actions feel natural rather than simply designed to move the plot along.

I am really pleased to have read this book, I devoured in just a few days, which is quite quick for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. If you are already a fan of Maitland’s work then this should be considered an essential read. I would also encourage fans of CJ Sansom, Kate Mosse etc to check this book out, I suspect you will find much to enjoy within these pages.


Motorola Focus 66 Wi-Fi HD Audio and Video Home Monitoring Camera - White
Motorola Focus 66 Wi-Fi HD Audio and Video Home Monitoring Camera - White
Price: £49.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well designed, good quality piece of equipment, 17 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We got this camera in order to keep an eye on our new baby when we put her upstairs to sleep. It is ideal as it operates with movement or you can log on and have a look at the live feed at any point.

The camera itself is small and unobtrusive with a simple design. It can be moved around easily to different positions but we have found that it works well at the end of our daughters co-sleeper.

In order to operate the system you need to download an App from the App Store. We found this quick and easy to do and it does not have any cost to it. As we have never operated a camera such as this before it was a bit of a relief that this was a simple process.

The quality of the images transmitted is actually really good, certainly clear enough for our requirements. We can see our daughter kicking about in the half light of our room and also when it is really dark. The microphone is also sensitive enough but does not seem overly so and it picks up any noises that we need.

We do not have any need to access any of the old footage and so do not need to use any of the options that require extra expenditure for subscriptions etc.

Compared to other cameras on the market that we have seen this seems reasonably priced and for our needs it is really pretty good. That said I can see it does have limitations and if you required something with a more complex set up then you might want to look into other options but for a basic viewing set up this is great.


Hispa Composed by Garnacha Blanca Macabeo 2012 Wine 75 cl (Case of 3)
Hispa Composed by Garnacha Blanca Macabeo 2012 Wine 75 cl (Case of 3)
Price: £31.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent tipple, 17 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a flavourful enough wine, a dry white with a stronger emphasis on earthy, herb tastes rather than the more citric flavours of, say, a Sauvignon Blanc. It went very well with a chicken noodle dish and all of us who tried it agreed that it was a perfectly pleasant wine and very quaffable, indeed the bottle was swiftly polished off.

That said, for a price equivalent to £10/£11 per bottle, pleasant and quaffable may be less than expected however. As drinkable as this is, it does not elevate itself above other perfectly serviceable dry white wines that you can pick up for £7/£8 per bottle.

Not a bad wine by any stretch of the imagination - hence the four stars - and not grape varieties I was especially familiar with which made this very nice to try out. I can't see myself returning to it however.


Colgate C350 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Colgate C350 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Price: £30.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job, 24 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I seem to have liked this toothbrush more than some other reviewers here, though I do feel that some of the criticisms are fair, but overall I'm a fan of it. I've used it for the best part of two weeks and my teeth have never felt less than clean and I've only needed to charge it once - for a basic brush this ticks those main two boxes comfortably.

I've been a dedicated Braun Toothbrush user for the last decade and have always been very happy with them. Will this brush knock my current day to day model off its perch? No, it won't but I'm very happy to use it as my travel brush which, given I am often away with work, is an important bit of kit for me.

The reasons it makes such a good choice for a travel brush are threefold: Firstly, It's design means it is very slender and extremely light, this actually means it took some getting used to when brushing, I found that I pressed a bit harder than I would normally the first couple of times which gave me slightly sore gums but once I adjusted, no problems. Secondly; it holds it's battery for ages, seriously, it just keeps on going. Thirdly; it's timer means it'll shut off after two minutes if it gets turned on in a suitcase - no more drained toothbrushes at the hotel!

Other things I liked included the thirty second pulse that tells you to move to another part of your mouth. I'm currently teaching my son to brush his teeth but brushing with him and this has been surprisingly useful for that. I also like sonic pulsation action, its a little different to the methods used by my other brushes, I'm not convinced it does any better but I don't feel it is any worse either.

The not so good things are the fact it only comes with a single brush which seems a bit mean and no travel case. A single speed setting is disappointing and whilst the materials make for a lightweight brush, it doesn't feel as sturdily made as you may expect.

In conclusion, its a basic brush that does its job perfectly well - don't spend too much on it as a result - but if it's on offer and you need a decent brush, there are worse options out there.


Philips LED Spotlights - Twin Pack (GU10 4.5W) - White
Philips LED Spotlights - Twin Pack (GU10 4.5W) - White
Offered by EcoSaveLEDLights
Price: £10.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Bright, warm light at a fraction of the energy!, 23 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We are in the process of upgrading all our older bulbs to LED ones and these are the latest addition to our living room.

The bulbs themselves are the same size as our previous standard spotlights and have the same fittings so changing them over is a quick and simple process. The light that the bulbs provide is nice and bright but not too harsh so they are great in our living room in our spotlight lamps to provide a more gentle light during the evenings - though we do have the lamps a little distance from where we sit, if they were right next to use I think the light may be too bright for some.

These bulbs are marketed as lasting for up to 15 years which would be pretty amazing but at the moment I am obviously unable to confirm this. Hopefully they will last much longer than our previous spotlight bulbs and if they get anything close to the 15 years (or 15,000 hours) I will be a very happy bunny. As it is the fact that they use so little energy to provide the same or better light levels than my current bulbs is a great bonus and as my previous spotlight bulbs go I shall be replacing with more of these.


Scrabble Speed
Scrabble Speed

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun twist on an old favourite, 18 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Scrabble Speed (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Scrabble is a firm favourite within the family and we have played it together for years as Christmas and other family gatherings so I was very curious about trying out a new twist on the classic.

Firstly this game requires batteries to operate the tile dispenser - 2AA batteries so make sure you have some of these ready to go as they are not included (I often wonder why companies don't include them, would seem a cheap enough thing to do?)

To play each player needs to have 12 tiles. They are dispensed from the tower in lots of 4 each time you press the button so three presses for each person and you are ready to go. Once you all have your tiles you are given 60 seconds on the timer to arrange your tiles into as high a scoring word as possible. The timer alerts you every 10 seconds which adds to the pressure of the game. The idea is to play several rounds and add up the scores each time so that whoever has the highest score is the winner. It is suggested that you play 7 rounds but really you can play as many as you want until you are bored.

We have had great fun with this game, it is a simple concept but like most simple games it is very addictive and it is also great fun once you get going. Whilst it will never replace the original Scrabble it may appeal to families with a wide age range as it requires less time overall and so suits both shorter and longer concentration spans and also allows players to come and go more easily. All that said I have only given 4 stars as you can't really have more than 4 players at a time unless you use teams, which does limit the game somewhat - especially as we generally have more people at gatherings when you would like to play this game. It seems a shame that a good concept has been created with this restricitve limit on players as it would have been so simple to make it a little larger and as such open the market to a wider audience of players.

Non-the-less, a fun and enjoyable game.


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