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Chappers "chappers" (UK)

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Lynx Adrenaline Iced Musk and Ginger Daily Fragrance 100 ml - Pack of 6
Lynx Adrenaline Iced Musk and Ginger Daily Fragrance 100 ml - Pack of 6
Price: £23.94

3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting pitch from Lynx but lacks some staying power, 30 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Not an aerosol
Interesting scent
Nicely packaged

What’s not so good:
Fragrance doesn’t last at all

I received one single sample bottle of this interesting proposition from Lynx - better known for their deodorant and anti-perspirant range of products. Packaged in a nice sophisticated dark cardboard and red outer (that is effectively just bin-fodder) this fragrance does away with Lynx’s usual aerosol approach and adopts a pump-action spray - akin to a typical aftershave or perfume bottle.

The scent of this particular fragrance is initially quite potent and with it containing ginger and musk seems quite strong. To some it may well be offensive but I quite like unconventional fragrances so I’ve been giving a good run-in.

Unfortunately, I have found that it has little-to-no staying power on me. I’m not saying I want to be able to waft around in a cloud of my own aromas, but I’d like to think that a product that pitches itself as a full-on ‘fragrance’ would still have some kind of notable scent after a few hours - yet this managed nothing. My colleagues also stated that they were unable to detect anything in the way of effects from this product.

It’s a nice try by Lynx to enter into a different market of affordable fragrances, but they need to get the scent to last longer for it to really pique my interest away from more traditional ranges of aftershaves.

Master Lock MLD08EB Small Quick Access Biometric Compact Safe
Master Lock MLD08EB Small Quick Access Biometric Compact Safe
Price: £182.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Convenient and sturdy - batteries not included, 23 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What's good:
Quick and convenient access using biometrics
Slick gas strut lid opening
Reliable and sturdy build

What's not so good:
Batteries not included
Rather expensive
Basic keypad combination

I already own a traditional shaped safe made by Yale with a digital keypad. It is strong and sturdy and does the job. This safe however is a different kettle of fish. It's dimensions are a lot smaller, being flat in profile with a top-opening lid allowing you to place only smaller items in it, such as jewellery, documents or money for example.

There are 2x unmarked keys provided which give you access to the safe, and there is a keypad combination as well, but the chief seeking point is the biometric reader, which can store two fingerprints per user for up to two users. There are two provided bolts to help you secure the safe to a surface.

I was disappointed to find that the 4x AA batteries it requires are not included which for an item costing c. £200 seems rather tight-fisted.

Once I had found some batteries and inserted them into the compartment, setting the access code is simple enough, and you can choose a combination from 4 to 6 digits, although you must bear in mind that there are only 4x buttons to create your combination.

Setting the biometrics is a simple enough affair provided you follow the instructions and takes a few sales of the relevant finger to store them.

Once all set up, the biometrics are by far and away the quickest and most convenient way to open the safe. Simply press a button to wake it up and swipe a finger to have the lid pop up on gas struts. It's very handy. The question is, what price do you put on that short-cut?

200 Family Slow Cooker Recipes: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
200 Family Slow Cooker Recipes: Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook
by Sara Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent addition to this range of simple books, 23 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Part of a great range of books
Well laid out
Clear and easy to follow recipes

What’s not so good:
Revised cover style doesn't match the older books

Having only just purchased my first slow cooker a month ago I was delighted to receive this Slow Cooker recipe book as part of a range of Hamlyn recipe books that I already possess.

This book follows the same formula as the others by covering a single topic of meals - in this case ‘Slow cookers’, and splitting the book into a few chapters, then having the left page as the recipe with a dedicated column for ingredients and the right page is a picture of the finished article. Nothing more complicated than that.

Granted there isn't much in the way of tempting introduction to zing up a recipe and lure you in, but as long as you see something you like it's a great source of recipes.

One down side is that the publishers seem to have updated the finish of these books so the typeface is different and the cover is a glossy finish instead of the previous matte. I think I preferred the old style, not to mention it would have let them all match up on the shelf.

3M SandBlaster 28080 Coarse P80 230 x 280mm Sandpaper Sheets (8 Sheets)
3M SandBlaster 28080 Coarse P80 230 x 280mm Sandpaper Sheets (8 Sheets)
Price: £8.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong and durable, 23 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Strong and durable
All the same course grade

What’s not so good:
Quite expensive compared to the budget options

I've often skimped when it comes to sandpaper, going for the cheapest option available. You then pay for that cheapness when the sandpaper itself disintegrates under heavy use. This 3M brand sandpaper is stronger than the budget variety and has so far held up to some tough sanding work without me feeling like I have to throw it away after only one session.

For a price of £8.49 (at time of review) for a pack of 8 sheets, whilst there are cheaper options out there I think this is worth the money as you can use it more effectively and you come to realise that the budget paper is actually a false economy.

Polti Forzaspira SR 25.9_Plus 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Polti Forzaspira SR 25.9_Plus 2-in-1 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Price: £199.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight, slimline, decent battery life - some design niggles though., 14 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Compact size
Moderate suction
Useful detachable handheld vacuum
Decent battery life

What’s not so good:
‘Wobbly’ construction
Floor head drags on skirting boards
Small suction vent on handheld vacuum
Quite expensive

Whilst I am no stranger to the Polti brand having been a user of their excellent range of steam cleaners for many years, this is my first encounter with a slimline cordless vacuum from any brand. I have a Vax Cordless Air Lift upright which is good and aims to be a replacement for a traditional upright vacuum although suffers from some limitations. This Polti cleaner however is aimed a different type of user to my Vax in that it is slimline and lightweight, has no hose extensions or wands, and has a detachable handheld cleaner.

Instructions and assembly are the usual Polti affair - being a little erratic in nature and resorting to a few vague descriptions and images in places. I had initially not realised that the handle actually required a screw to be inserted to prevent it from detaching - I can’t remember the last time a home appliance required screwing together? No matter, it was a minor inconvenience.

One of the supposed highlights of this particular model is a pivoting main handle that you can trigger by pressing a button a thumb-stretch from top. It allows the handle to reverse-pivot down and letting the main part of the device to lower down and help it get under certain furniture which might allow that sort of cleaning, without the need for you to bend down so much. In reality I found few opportunities to utilise this feature except for under Dining Room chairs. The overwhelming side-effect of this feature however is it renders the rigidity of the device itself rather compromised and you are always left feeling that there is a bit too much flex and wobble when maneuvering it about, which would not be the case if that feature were not there.

The foot articulates to help it steer but not as much as I was expecting. Suction levels are fairly middling but quite acceptable given the nature of beast. You do have a slider control on the handle to go from ‘off’ to low suction to a third setting which includes a powered brush bar. There is a separate thumb-operated button to toggle a high suction mode. On the high setting it’s quite adequate for my needs. Our house doesn’t get a chance to get very dirty, but for those with deep-pile carpets, shedding pets, or those that are expecting carpets to get a beating, this device probably won’t cut it. For us however, it’s not bad.

There is a light on the front of the foot section that helps illuminate any dark places ahead of it, which is quite handy.

One further thing I have discovered that irks me about this device is that the foot section appears to be surrounded by a narrow strip of rubber which in itself might not sound like a problem, but when you are vacuuming up against skirting boards, the slightest touch of the side and the vacuum snags on it stopping you in your tracks and you have to back up and re-position. It might not sound like anything significant, but I find it a regular annoyance. Other vacuums I’ve used have never behaved like that so you can just run them down the side of a skirting board with no trouble.

The handheld vacuum pops out easily enough and performs as expected, although the suction aperture is not large nor wide so this part of the device is best served to impromptu small-scale very localised clean-ups.

The battery life seems to be pretty reasonable at around the 45-50 minute mark. The charger is a simple wall-wart with a plug that inserts into the side of the device, as opposed to any kind of dock, and you only have the one battery although the manual suggests that additional batteries may be available to order.

From doing a bit or research, I believe slimline cordless vacuums tend to fall into one of two camps based on their voltage - either 16-18V low power cheaper models priced £70-£130, and more powerful premium models, with higher voltage batteries that are priced up to a ceiling of around £250-£280. Considering the price of this model of £199 (at time of review) and the higher voltage battery, it is clearly gunning for the latter category, but it is up against stiff competition where I suspect some of it’s build quality and design niggles might show it up.

ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Advanced Delicate Surface, 25.4mm x 54.8m (2080EL-24E) - 1 roll
ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Advanced Delicate Surface, 25.4mm x 54.8m (2080EL-24E) - 1 roll
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality premium making tape, 11 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
High quality tape
No obvious paint bleed

What’s not so good:
There are cheaper alternatives

A well-timed arrival as we embark on the detail painting of our stair balustrade and handrails, the nature of which means we require a reliable and assured masking tape that won't let any paint bleed under the tape - which as any diy painter will tell you is quite common with the very basic tape.

This tape has so far done the trick well, being quite strong yet easy to apply and most importantly it works as expected. At 35mm wide this isn't the widest tape on the market but there are plenty of variants available so choose the one you need.

Scotch is a well-known and established brand so I have no trouble recommending it, however my initial instinct for a detail masking tape would be the brand ‘Frogtape’ which reveals a range of similar or slightly cheaper varieties (depending what's on offer at the time). I haven't personally used Frogtape yet but I would suggest looking at both options and seeing what offers best value at the time.

RHS How to Plant a Garden: Design tricks, ideas and planting schemes for year-round interest
RHS How to Plant a Garden: Design tricks, ideas and planting schemes for year-round interest
by Matt James
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, comprehensive and reliable - with some practical limitations, 9 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Covers a broad range of planting styles and garden types
Informs about some gardening basics
Provides inspiration
Well presented and easy to read

What’s not so good:
Not so helpful if your garden type is restricted
Difficult to interpret individual plants from some of the pages

Having prepared a blank canvas for ourselves in our south-facing rear courtyard garden, we were looking for inspiration on what plants to put in and how to structure our planting. It’s easy enough to look up plants in an encyclopaedia or online plant retailer’s website, but sometimes you need to see them in situ amongst other plants to see how things could pan out.

This book is a very good tool for providing that inspiration as well as some basics that you should get to grips with. It covers things like aspect and soil condition, plant suitability and practical uses, together with overall looks and styles. The typeface used is clear and the language is easy to read without being pretentious.

I particularly like the use of scenery images and illustrations that help provide some impression of how the bigger picture can come together with particular types of ground cover and plant species.

I suppose where I struggled a little however was in two areas: firstly, the area of garden I have at my disposal is very specific - it is a south-facing courtyard with sandy/clay/rocky ground and it gets very hot in summer (ridiculously hot as it is flanked by stone walls on 3 sides) - so in many ways, the vast majority of this book is not relevant to my needs. Some people might have different areas of garden that they can tailor to different styles of planting, but for others like me, it might be a more efficient exercise to concentrate on a book that covers just the style of garden that you know you’re going for.

The second area I struggled with was once I’d actually found the one/two areas of the book that were relevant to the styles of planting that suited my garden environment, it is not that easy to decipher what plants were what in the pictures. It makes a point of zooming in on a couple of them and pointing them out, but in other areas there is simply a long list of plant names with their latin and common names. There is no key or legend to indicate what they look like in the picture and illustration - resulting in me going back to a plant retailer website and doing a search on them. A top-down coloured drawing on the page after the photo serves a limited purpose other than to take up quite a lot of space as it comes across as simply a lot of circles representing the different plants - I think it might have been more helpful to have covered the photo and the diagram on the same page and done in smaller groups to help you visually relate one thing to another.

Those two points aside, if you consider this purely as an inspirational book that covers some of the whys and why-for’s, and you aren’t too restricted on the style or type of garden that you might be looking to create then this certainly ticks that box. If you’re wanting a book that will go into details on the particular plants that might suit your particular planting situation then this is probably not the singular tome to rely upon.

Revlon Travel Chic Manicure Set
Revlon Travel Chic Manicure Set
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor value and questionable build quality, 31 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whats good?
Basic and does the job (limited)
Useful travel pouch
Numerous attachments

What's not so good?
Cheap build quality
Bespoke charger
Attachments don't stay on securely
Too-bright LEDs
Questionable value for money

What first struck me about this portable manicure was how cheap it felt. Considering the £29.99 price tag (at time of review) I was really expecting a lot better. Made entitled of shiny hard plastic and coloured in a garish black and dark pink/red scheme, it doesn't exactly shout ‘sophisticated’.

The mains charger is a bespoke affair charging at 500MAh and using a 3.5mm plug that goes into the bottom of the unit. Should this fail then the device will become redundant. I think more manufacturers should use the more commonplace micro-USB charge point as they are in wide circulation.

Thanks next thing that struck me is the impractically bright white LED lights on the front that show you the charging status or the speed level of the motor. They really are dazzling and not fit for being on any consumer-facing device - this is a design oversight that could have been remedied with frosted light colours or just more suitable LEDs.

In operation, the device serves a simple enough purpose in that it is just a motor with filing and buffing attachments.those attachments range in shape and finish. They go on with a simple press-on motion which is simple enough, but I do find that some of the attachments have a tendency to pop off when in use depending on the angle and pressure applied.

If you are gentle and cautious with how you approach your nails then you can achieve the basics. Unless you are an expert at dealing with nails you will only do so much with this set.

You are provided with a padded pouch to store it all in which is a good thing.

I notoced a few lower priced alternatives on Amazon that look to do the same thing for half the outlay but if you like the look of this one and put some value on the Revlon brand name then this might be worth a punt but be prepared to be underwhelmed by the quality.

Mojo Hair Beard Oil to Nourish and Condition Facial Hair 30 ml
Mojo Hair Beard Oil to Nourish and Condition Facial Hair 30 ml
Price: £16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Softens and nourishes beards with a pleasing and subtle fragrance, 9 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Definite softening and nourishing effects (in my case)
Pleasing yet subtle scent
Easy to apply

What’s not so good:
Quite expensive
Residue might come off on clothing until it’s dry
Everyone is different so effects may vary from person-to-person

I have previously trialled a L’Oreal facial hair softening product which was technically aimed more at rough stubble than beards, but I did have some limited success with it softening my short beard (approximately 12-15mm length currently with dark brown and grey colouring). It had a sort of liquid-gel texture and a scent not dissimilar to other hair-care products.

This Mojo Hear Beard Oil is a different kettle of fish. It is marketed directly at full-on beards as opposed to rough or long stubble and it is an out-an-out oil in a simple bottle which has a sort of lemon-juice-style top to allow you shake out one drop at a time. The screw lid on mine didn’t come off properly but that is a very minor point.

The scent is quite subtle but has a kind of almond and citrus tinge to it. Not at all unpleasant and certainly less like the hair-style-esque smell of the L’Oreal product I have used previously.

In use, you are to apply by massaging a couple of drops into clean but still wet facial hair. As per my previous review of this sort of product, I have been applying it to one side of my face as an experiment and after a week I have noticed a difference.

I would of course recommend applying a tester spot of oil on your skin and leaving it for a day to make sure you don’t react to it before applying it more thoroughly.

Price-wise at £16 for 30ml (at time of review) it does seem quite expensive, especially when compared to the L’Oreal product I was using before which can be had for around £7-8 for 50ml, but the two products seem to be aimed at different audiences and also produce different results. Where the L’Oreal is more for stubble and very short beards and produces a more subtle softening effect, this oil is designed for proper beards and seems to have a more noticeable result. Everyone’s facial hair is different so it is difficult to say whether this will be suitable in all cases, and whether my relatively short beard is long enough to take full advantage of a beard oil such as this is not clear, but I’m so far pleased with the results and my skin is also appreciating the added attention.

AmazonBasics 2-Slice Toaster, Black
AmazonBasics 2-Slice Toaster, Black
Price: £17.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic and functional, 9 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What’s good:
Does what it says on the tin
Doesn’t look too naff either
Simple controls
amazonbasics packaging

What’s not so good:
Controls lack a positive feel
amazonbasics branding on the device itself

This is a simple and not entirely un-fashionable looking 2-slice toaster that keeps things simple and does what it says on the tin.

You are greeted by the AmazonBasics cardboard packaging to reduce wastage, which is always a plus. The toaster itself is styled with a shiny plastic upper section, and matte-finish plastic lower half, with a silver plastic strip separating the two. There are three buttons along the front, including an eject/stop button (which lights up red when the toaster is in use), a defrost button, and a re-heat button. The controls on either side include the pop-up rack that would support a bagel or such-like to sit on top for warming, and on the other side is the usual slide-down control as well as a fairly standard rotary dial for browning control.

In use, I have found the toaster to be perfectly adequate in how even the toast is browned, and the amount of rise is also good meaning you don’t have to fish around trying to get hold of smaller slices. There isn’t an extra-high lift function, but considering the lift goes quite high anyway it may not be necessary with this toaster.

There is also the prerequisite crumb tray that slides out of the left hand side of the base for emptying.

It all works simply enough. I would say that the slide-down control for activating the device doesn’t have an entirely positive action so can be a little temperamental in engaging, but this is par for the course in a lot of budget toasters. The silvery plastic bits would have been nicer to have had a more solid or weighty feel, perhaps even metal - but then you’d be adding to the price. At least they aren’t chrome-plated plastic which would have actually made this toaster look cheaper in my opinion.

I’m not entirely sure about having the ‘amazonbasics’ logo emblazoned on the front of the toaster. If you’ve made a conscious decision to purchase a basic toaster then that’s one thing. Having it advertised on the front of the device for all to see is perhaps unnecessary. The ‘amazonbasics’ brand is hardly what one would consider a desirable brand but then it doesn’t claim to be. A bit more subtlety in this area would probably have been better.

Other than that, this is a decent and functional device. I received this item as a review sample for testing so and at the time of my review there was no price listed, but if I were to hazard a guess based on what I’ve seen for myself, I would estimate it’s retail price at around the £15-18 mark given the competition.

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