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Recycled Rabbit (Warwickshire)

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Brecon Botanicals Gin 70cl
Brecon Botanicals Gin 70cl
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Hefty on the Juniper, 29 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well, neat it has a kick like a bunny refusing to have his claws clipped. With Fever Tree lemon tonic it is still fairly pungent on the juniper. I'll drink it, but I'm glad It was a frre sample, other half went 'urgh' as he likes a heavier tonic, and doesn't like juniper berries in cooking.
Truly it is going to be down to taste
So if you align with mine, which is tolerate Gordons (cheapest I'll stoop to),
Adore Hendricks (when affordable)
Loathe Sipsmiths
Unkeen on Plymouths, Bombay Sapphire.
Ir really is down to personal taste and I'm not going to praise it up just because of the freebie

Ryobi R18ALF-0 ONE+ 18V Folding Area Light (Body Only)
Ryobi R18ALF-0 ONE+ 18V Folding Area Light (Body Only)
Price: £74.45

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiat Lux, shed a little light with this superb rechargeable system, 26 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well do you want a versatile worklight that is bright, battery powered, bends, switches alternate bars on and off? I adore the Ryobi One system and over the years have added many bits to my collection. So I've got the Li-ion batteries in various permutations, I'm not going to wax wobbly about whether or not it makes economic sense, have you got other Ryobi tools, bleat bleat bleat.

Listen to the techno bunny girl. This is a totally amazing fantastically bright light. This would be so amazing to shove in the back of your car boot if you worried about getting a puncture on dark country lanes. Scared of making it safely to the cupboard when the power trips? Hah! Irritating dark cupboard or attic where you and the angels fear to tread?

Previous Ryobi light permutations have been fairly good. This is the bees knees, the mother squeaking hamster lode of useful lights. Yeah well I got it for free. But truly .....great interchangeable battery system.....really strong light.

Yep, I'll be gloating about this for a few weeks. My precious.

Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera
Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera
Price: £352.43

4.0 out of 5 stars Some peculiarities but rather sweet piece of tech., 26 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So I looked at the manual online on the Sony site, thought hmmm, few technical oddities. but when the camera came- well it's sort of CUTE. You've got to love something that small, despite it's decidedly weird packaging (perspex-like display cube on top of a cardboard box).

So... for those eagerly awaiting delivery... this is what you need to know before you fire it up.
1. You can only charge the Li-ion battery in the device (battery=NP-BX1). It takes a USB lead, which you are supposed to charge via a computer...for 4 hours. You can charge it slightly faster via a (buy extra) adapter block -AC UD10, but it's a bit unclear whether you can plug it into one of your various phone/ iOS adapter plugs- there is one note saying it needs over 1.5A. Sony suggests you get a spare battery. Hours of charging fun. Looks like you can't use it while charging (you have to open the door at the back of the camera to access the charge socket anyway). Depending on image quality the battery charge lasts 50-115 minutes. There seem to be some third party stand alone chargers for this battery type.

2. It takes Sony memory sticks (groan) OR micro SD cards- maximum of 64GB. If you want to use the cool 4k format you need a higher than class 10 card- preferably a SDXC UHS-1 (U3). You seem to be able to get 55-125 minutes on the card for the high quality video and up to 320 minutes for the highest quality MP4s

4. This version comes with an integral tripod mount- directly onto the camera or onto the waterproof case. The waterproof case is a bit fiddly to open and close- lots of hinges moving in unexpected directions which you worry about breaking on your first go.

5. It can communicate with a Sony remote designed for the wrist - more expense - up to 5m away. The remote doesn't work at the same water depths as the camera by a long way.
OR via NFC (NFC- sacre bleu!) on an Android phone/tablet app- which as far as I know has to be within 10cm. Windows Phone is bereft of an app, even though it can use NFC. IOS can't use NFC, just Wi-Fi. NFC technology really puzzles me (nice Bluetooth?). The app worked on an iPad mini 1. first install app. Then go to settings and log on to the camera's Wi-Fi network- remembering to use the password which is attached to a flimsy sticker on the Start-up guide. Then back to the app to use it to control the camera, but not as far as i can see to view playback.

6. It has a quick release bracket thingy. But you attach it to your object of choice via a sticky pad, which takes up to 24 hours to thoroughly cure. Now I may just be being extremely girly here, but my little brain cells are screaming the words - DUCT TAPE.

7. To find your precious movie, connect the camera to (in my case) your PC via the USB lead. Turn the dratted device ON by pressing next (10 minutes of squeaking later) this brings up drive E- movies are in MP_ROOT>100ANV01>MAH.MP4 file (for this example). At the same time PMHOME pops up on drive F and interrupts proceedings.

In what I can see which is being recorded via the iOS app screen, you get a slightly fish-eye view of your surroundings which stays in reasonable focus. I haven't got into the down and dirty finesse bits of picking the recording quality or setting the time via the black and white LCD display. Personally I think you just charge it up, duct tape it on and press record while you enjoy your hair raising experience (I'm afraid my initial attempts were limited to running around the office).

Overall it's a fun piece of kit that seems to have a sturdy build. I'm not too sure that the extras are really worth it. Just off to acquire a more exciting life so I can document it!

Canon EOS 750D Digital SLR Camera (24.2 MP, 18 - 55 mm Lens, CMOS Sensor) 3-Inch LCD
Canon EOS 750D Digital SLR Camera (24.2 MP, 18 - 55 mm Lens, CMOS Sensor) 3-Inch LCD
Price: £689.00

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The recall notice, will I get to use it BLOG REVIEW, 21 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was quite overjoyed when offered this camera as a review item- jammy bovine I thought. Currently I have a Canon 650D (two generations back) and the way overdue increase in resolution from 18 to 24.2 megapixels, the wifi connectivity, as well as the design matching the 700D with a selection dial that goes all the way round. Wooo Hoooo. Still not fully sure how it differs from the very similar 760D, but there we go. I assume that the maximum expected shutter count is still 100,000 as recorded for the 700D.

Ah but then- sadly there's a WARNING NOTICE for the 750D and 760D on the botton of the product page. Note to suppliers...if you are going to send out a review product, for goodness sake check you don't have any early manufacturing run disasters. Certainly it's a warning to buyers of both new and the eventually second hand to double check the serial numbers.

We have discovered white spotting on an optical layer in front of the image sensor in some of our EOS 750D/760D digital SLR cameras.
Under certain shooting conditions, the white spots on the optical layer of image sensor may result in dark circular patterns on the captured image.
Potentially Affected Products

The phenomena described above does not affect all EOS 750D/760D digital SLR cameras.
In order to check if your camera has been affected, please check the serial number as below ¨C
01xxxxxxxxxx or 02xxxxxxxxxx
Please note, cameras that have a ¡ñ mark in the position shown in the figure below are not affected even if serial number as above.

This review has now become the how good is Canon customer care. So first off you need to call the Canon Repair centre number in Elstree (effectively twice to get permission to speak to the right department)- or return it direct to your supplier. As a reviewer I had to sweet talk Canon, as Amazon won't accept returns under the Vine programme. UPS label was emailed, couldn't send until the Tuesday after bank holiday, got an acknowledgement Wed morning that Canon had received it, with an expected turnaround in 10 days....whimper.

I didn't even get to try it out yet- the battery is a different type to the 650D, much smaller, so be prepared to fork out for reliable extras (genuine batteries unlikely to burst into flames) even if you are upgrading.

I might actually get to try it out- THIS IS REVIEW VERSION 2.0. I weep into my gin.

In the mean time I've ordered the 18-135mmm STM IS Canon Lens. I agonized when I initially bought the kit as a new Canon owner whether to go for the 18-55mm or the 18-135mm kit lens. Cheapness won. However because I switch to a 70-300mm frequently, the 18-135mm makes more sense to cover the interval between general landscape and close ups of wildlife or architectural bits. Quick jargon IS=image stabilization. Yes we definitely want this...more freedom to do quick hand held shots of birds in flight without dragging round a tripod to reduce the shake. STM =stepper motor. You can use the camera for video, which I'm now keen on trying. The STM is supposedly a lot quieter, otherwise you need to get an external microphone to reduce noise. However you can't video for prolonged sessions (gets hot) and you shouldn't really zoom while filming because it causes rapid movement in the shutter and ups your precious shutter count, which doesn't always show on third party retrieval programs. Both lenses are optimized for this "beginners" camera sensor with the EF-S mount.

Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Price: £18.95

1.0 out of 5 stars caffeinated mushroom warning., 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The problem with growing mushrooms on coffee grounds is that they absorb an awful lot of caffeine. This is not a terribly good thing if you react to caffeine, especially if you have heart problems. Mushroom omelet in and rapidly out of other half. I feel incredibly stupid. Everyone is growing on coffee so be very careful where you buy your mushrooms

ZAGG Folio Case with Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - Black
ZAGG Folio Case with Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad Air 2 - Black
Price: £70.77

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solution for a problem, which is better answered by other tech, 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here's a quandary. I'd never use an iPad for business. What's the point? As an entertainment machine it's brilliant (even if a 2.5 year old version is grindingly slow and I'm on the painful wait for this year's release, if ever). Microsoft Office versions are being improved for the iPad, which makes a keyboard look more tempting.
It's got quite a nice key action, it is a bit heavy. The plastic doesn't exactly look chic. But the hard bit is the fact you need to also charge it up so that it communicates with the iPad via Bluetooth. Arggh, another thing to charge. Presently my current techie philosophy is, reduce everything to the simplest combination possible and get out of the tyranny of things that need charging. Ultimately if you want a keyboard for a tablet, get a Microsoft Surface, and then you don't need to charge your keyboard or wrestle it into a rigid case. This keyboard is a compromise. I am not particularly fan girl in my tech.....brands have good and bad points, and occasionally some rather scary security holes and iffy software updates. Ultimately Apple never saw fit to integrate a keyboard and any attempts to rectify this is going to come with compromise. Otherwise seems a nice add on.

I-Rocks Mechanical Feel High-Scissor Structure Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
I-Rocks Mechanical Feel High-Scissor Structure Illuminated Gaming Keyboard
Price: £37.99

4.0 out of 5 stars heads or tails, 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We were undecided between us whether we liked this keyboard. We tend to use gaming keyboards for software development just because they get so much welly. He hates the feel of the key action. I moderately like it. It's medium quiet....not too clattery. Reasonable price for the feel of it. Verdict, very much up to personal impressions

Rexel Manilla A4 Divider Understated Pastel Colour (Pack of 30)
Rexel Manilla A4 Divider Understated Pastel Colour (Pack of 30)

4.0 out of 5 stars For those with very small neat handwriting or colour coding memory, 14 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well a pack of 30 really should provide enough dividers for a lifetime. Each subpack consists of 20 dividers. For me I think that the divisions are a bit heavy handed as you are going to need teensy writing to actually distinguish between each section. Depends on your style- I would prefer wider spaced dividers doubled up so I could distinguish them- manila quality is fine though.

Linksys USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Linksys USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter
Offered by Kikatek
Price: £33.93

5.0 out of 5 stars neat gadget, 13 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nice solid bit of kit, especially useful for all those thin bits of tech that don't come with ethernet ports. Although they also usually only come with one usb port as well, so um, make your choice. The device actually comes with covers over both connectors

De'Longhi Bean to Cup Coffee Machine - ESAM2800
De'Longhi Bean to Cup Coffee Machine - ESAM2800
Price: £344.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good DeLonghi base model, shiny replacement for ESAM2600, 7 May 2015
The hardest part was the research! After a very long gap this is my 5th pressure based machine. I was just about to buy this model when the price shot up. Which magazine claimed the coffee brewing from beans and ground was better than the higher model I'd originally been looking at. Another obscure site claimed that this was identical to the ESAM2600 in pure black, (they are both called Caffe Corso)and that most of the DeLonghi innards were identical anyway, just the outside interface and features seem to vary. Now I really like shiny silvery kitchen appliances. However a current whopping saving at a high street retailer for the discontinued model won the day. The instruction manuals appear to be identical.

So what follows is what I wish someone had written in a review, and also when I first owned this type of machine.
1. You have to be prepared to keep it clean. It's going to need a routine descaling (so you need to buy descaler liquid). If you have an automatic jug feed for the milk, you're going to have to get a specific cleaner for this too. We killed our first Gaggia non automated machine because it didn't mention this in the instructions. We were in a soft water area then, it was just the heated coffee residues building up inside, making that awful burnt taste. Plus the drip tray fills up with the automatic system flushes. And coffee grounds will go moldy if you don't clean them out daily. I'm going to see if I can extend the life of an oyster mushroom kit by replanting the exhausted fungus in a mix of grounds and torn up egg boxes in a tetrapack.

2.The more expensive models have water filter cartridges. This doesn't (it may be introduced), so descaling is essential. You've got one water hardness test (quick dip in a glass of tapwater). and it came out as 3 out of four. This price of machine relies on using the indicator lights for other functions to set the hardness warning. Think car management system. More expensive models seem to tell you the same thing in text. However I had to troubleshoot the steam wand blocking today. The indicator light said it was a descaling issue,(after 4 days of use?). Jiggling the valve cleared it.
3. It's really designed for grinding beans rather than pre ground. I bought some Illy Rossa ground by mistake to put the machine through its paces. There is a separate section, you have to only add the measured amount. You have no control over the coffee amount (knob one). You can only make a single cup at a time (buttons for one or two cups).On the third go it clogged up (warning light and sulking machine). The instructions said brush out the grains from the top. Hah. Dyson says suck that! Back to working. Went out, got some beans instead, no problems with them.

4. You are going to get through an awful lot of coffee when you are learning to use the machine, because you have three knobs to adjust. Knob one, how much coffee the grinder gets through. Knob two, how much hot water goes through per cup. Knob three, how finely the beans get ground (only twiddle with the grinder when it's grinding). I like strong espressos and cappuccinos. On the factory set water amount, the espresso cup overflowed and produced dishwater. I have turned it down to the bare minimum. I've tweaked the grinder to be a little finer, and it really did make a difference. I'm still experimenting with the amount of coffee knob. Espressos are perfect, but my cappuccinos are a bit underflavoured at the moment. Not quite one setting fits all. Of course you're going to have to start again for different bean brands. Coffee beans will go off and get bitter, but happily now I have a vacuum bag sealer (mine's Andrew James) or you could use a Vacu Vin vacuum pump canister. Just don't let the beans oxidize. I tried freezing, but you get some taste deterioration.
5. Milk frothing is brilliant on this machine. You can get beantocups with integrated carafes. I had an obscure Severin machine which did this, but I hated the foam which seemed to have tinier bubbles and less taste. I prefer to put in all the foam and little flat milk on cappuccinos. Perceived wisdom is that you have to use semi-skimmed. I think this is twaddle and it's the freshness of the milk that matters. However the filtered Cravendale we're now using seems to work even 5 days after opening. Frothing takes a bit of practice (there must be some YouTube help).However I used to do it with my Nespresso capsule machine (which I finally ditched because it gave me acid reflux), after a 5 year gap, I've had no problems with this machine....maybe it's a better design. I always heat up the wand with some steam beforehand, and wipe and then flush the wand afterwards.
6. Always heat the cups first. Originally I used hot I'm preheating them in the microwave. Remember that coffee from beans or grounds should be brewed with water at 91-96 degrees centigrade...exactly the same as for a cafetiere, or you'll get bad oil flavours. It is not the same as making instant (which always gives me stomach cramps) at 100 degrees. More expensive machines have cup warmers.
7. It's a lot less noisy than my electric coffee grinder.
8. The water reservoir is on the right hand side and you pull it forward. You access the drip tray and grounds container by swinging open the front, which is hinged on the left. The door bit includes the brewing nozzles and completely foxed me for ages. The grounds are dispensed in dry circles, and it's so much nicer than the cheaper manual machines where you have to fill, tamp, extract and then heavily bang out the grounds.
Conclusion. I like the base model. I also like the fact I paid way way less for a discontinued model. I like bean to cup machines, they are far less faff, but you do have to put in some maintenance time. Even if I had oodles to spend I wouldn't buy the top models at 5x what I paid. This does the job well. I just need to see how well it lasts.

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