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T. Stainer (UK)

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The North Face Men's Evolve II Triclimate Jacket
The North Face Men's Evolve II Triclimate Jacket
Price: £119.00 - £180.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Devolution for classic jacket?, 13 Dec 2013
I'd always been a big fan of Northface and considerd my old Triclimate jacket a classic, until the waterproof lining began to flake off the inside. My faith in Northface was restored by its warranty promise, and it replaced the jacket free-of-charge, with the newest version - the Evolve II.

Sadly the design of this new jacket seems to have taken a step back and failed to address the few failings on the older model.

Gone is the fantastically useful "Napoleon" chest pocket, perfect for stashing sunglasses, ski googles or a mobile phone away from the evil scratchiness of keys or loose change. And while they've robbed us of a pocket, they've done nothing to address to issue of the old version - the mesh lining to the pockets being perfect for catching on key rings and other spiky objects.

The inner fleece feels and looks thinner and less cosy, compared to the older model's inner jacket. The blurb on the label promises more warmth with less weight and in moderate, urban conditions it seems to retain heat, but I'm not sure I'd be confident it's going to keep me warm on a longer hill walk, unlike the original Evolve.

Unfortunately these design decisions smack of cost cutting, rather than offering customers a better jacket.

And penny-pinching seems to have gone on with other specifications - as other reviewers have said, the zips aren't great and only one small strip of velcro is lavished on the hood compartment (from memory the original Evolve had three), meaning it opens far too easily while you're wearing it.

It's also true that there is something about the interior of the fleece lining which makes it impossible to remove the jacket without the sleeves turning inside out - which while not a fatal flaw, is annoying.

Criticism aside, the jacket is well made and feels high quality. The three-in-one system works as well as any, with a series of loops and zips to keep the fleece in place. Like the Evolve I, there are no loops along the bottom of the fleece to prevent it riding up inside the waterproof shell, a failing not addressed in the Evolve II either.

Waterproofing (so far) is excellent and fingers crossed, they've solved the flaking problem I experienced in the previous model. Fingers crossed as well that Evolve III is what this jacket should have been, an improvement on the last.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2013 2:45 PM GMT

Pudding Lane Gluten Free Plus Round 500 g
Pudding Lane Gluten Free Plus Round 500 g
Price: £10.86

3.0 out of 5 stars Pudding imposter, 4 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not sure what happened to our pudding, but only hope it's a weird one off problem when someone in the packaging department had an episode while dispatching our order. Rather than beautifully wrapped as shown, ours arrived in a plastic bag, crudely contained in layers of tin foil (which looked as if it had been used once already). The Pudding Lane label was in the plastic bag loose and had one corner cut off. To add to the delight, the label showed that it was already out of date - best before Nov 2013, pudding delivered Dec 2013. So we're puddingless two days before the in-laws arrive for an early Christmas this weekend. Thanks!

UPDATE 10/12/13

After emailing the UK based importer of these puddings a very nice chap arranged for a new pudding to be delivered, which arrived today - sadly too late for our early Christmas with relatives, but accompanied by some extra gifts and a letter of apology for the mix up. New pudding appears as pictured, nicely packaged and tied (although still appears to be wrapped in foil within the fabric wrapping). Not tasted yet, but updated rating to reflect good customer service.

Ex-Pro® Samsung BP1030, BP-1030, ED-BP1030, EDBP1030 High Rated Power Plus+ 2 Year Warranty Replacement Lithium Li-on Digital Camera Battery for Samsung NX200, NX210, NX300, NX1000, NX1100, NX2000
Ex-Pro® Samsung BP1030, BP-1030, ED-BP1030, EDBP1030 High Rated Power Plus+ 2 Year Warranty Replacement Lithium Li-on Digital Camera Battery for Samsung NX200, NX210, NX300, NX1000, NX1100, NX2000
Offered by ExpressPro
Price: £8.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Low charge for a low charge, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There's always a risk with cheap third party batteries that you'll not quite get what you'd get if you paid full whack to the official manufacturer - and this battery is no different.

It works perfectly with a Samsung NX1000, but it clearly doesn't hold as much charge as the original battery - perhaps as little as half as much based on my not-very-scientific tests.

However, it's more than half as cheap as the micky-takingly expensive official Samsung batteries and will provide a good emergency power source to tuck into your camera bag and see you through the rest of the day when your primary battery gives up the ghost unexpectedly - and that's better than nothing!

Shades of Grey
Shades of Grey
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars High concept and highly readable, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shades of Grey (Kindle Edition)
When sometimes you despair that there are no new ideas in fiction, a book like this comes along and refreshes your optimism. It's high-concept fantasy/sci-fi, where Fforde explores a world where the ability to see, or not see, certain colours has become the mark of status.

Fforde's clever trick is never even attempting to explain how this could come about, nor trying to write round some of the more obvious flaws in his concept - but he trusts the reader to suspend their disbelief in order to enjoy what is essentially a fairy tale.

And like the best fairy tales Shades of Grey is both funny and touching and dark and affecting in equal part. It leaves you in turn amused, amazed and unsettled.

There are clear echoes of many other writers and inspiration in Fforde's work - shades of Adams, Pratchett, Magnus Mills and even in the more ridiculous and circular logic of the society he describes, Heller.

His characters are well-rounded and believable - extra believable in fact as he has a skill of presenting heroes and villains alike as three dimensional, neither all bad, nor all good and wrestling with their own motivations and emotions.

Dialogue is fantastically snappy and at times, hilarious - you feel every word has been carefully chosen and the effect is worth the effort Fforde's put in.

The pacing is also handled well - Fforde's imagined world appears to be a warm and gentle idyll, a recreation of a never-really-existed 1950s with tea rooms and village greens, but stifled by rules and lack of individuality and the first section of the book lulls you in a similar way, painting this world without much happening - but slowly introducing an uneasy feeling that *something* isn't quite right.

The reveals are well handled, but there's the natural disappointment and lack of satisfaction in reading this, the first of a planned trilogy, that many threads are left hanging and unresolved. There's also a slight feeling of an overly rushed ending, which is shame considering the deft pacing earlier in the book.

Thoroughly enjoyable, clever and witty though and left me keen for the next instalment.

Flick Golf
Flick Golf
Price: £0.69

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hole in one, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Flick Golf (App)
Lovely, immersive graphics and well-thought out simple gameplay make this a tempting offer for golf fans and non-golf fans alike. The gameplay is simple, you get one shot on each hole and can spin and curve the ball in the air, trying to get it into the hole. Points are earned for more impressive shots - back spinning long distances across the greens, or plugging it perfectly into the hole without a bounce. The courses are beautifully rendered, each with its own individual feel and identity. The physics of the game are more or less spot on and the interface is simplicity itself. Marks are lost for frustratingly slow transitions between menus and play; a slightly odd bug where if you "fast forward" the scoring notification (which is a little overlong) at the end of each hole, you lose the points; a clunky exit route which takes longer than it should to shut down the game; the occasional bug in gameplay when sometimes the ball will clearly be in the hole, but doesn't register as a success; and limited appeal due to the relatively easy learning curve, limited holes (only three/four holes per course and less than ten courses in the game) and relatively limited bonus levels.

sugar, sugar
sugar, sugar
Price: £0.65

23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and sweet, 20 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: sugar, sugar (App)
A genius of a game which proves that developers can still come up with brilliant, original ideas which are all about gameplay, not flashy graphics. The concept couldn't be more simple, grains of sugar fall from the top of the screen and you, by drawing ramps and chutes directly onto the screen, have to direct it into cups. It takes about two seconds to learn, and the difficulty ramps up perfectly, with different coloured sugar required to be directed into different cups, special colour changing filters you need to divert the sugar grains through and eventually, getting your head round changing the direction of gravity to accomplish your goals. With levels taking a few minutes to play, the well judged learning curve and highly addictive gameplay, this may be the perfect mobile game!

The Road To Hammer Junkie
The Road To Hammer Junkie
Price: £11.81

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foot stomping, multiply layered stuff, 24 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A classic album is one you like the first time you listen to it, but return to some time later and find something you'd never noticed before lurking beneath the surface. The Chair's first album was exactly that and with their latest they prove it wasn't a fluke - on a first listen it's already grin-inducing, foot-tappingly, god-I've-got-to-get-up-and-dance stuff, but give it some time and you notice the subtleties. The counter-rhythms and melodies that not only reference the previous album, but other classic folk (and not so folky) riffs; the humour; the sense of The Chair's Orkney heritage, which permeates the sound with an ever present, but never cloying, ubiquitousness; the understated and effortlessly camaraderie of a tight group in tune musically as well as mentally. If you've not experienced The Chair, do yourself a favour and buy this (and their first album). If you've not experienced them live, do yourself a bigger favour and get yourself to their next gig - even if it involves a plane ride to Orkney!

Bobj Rugged Case for Samsung Galaxy 7-inch Tab2 and Galaxy "Tab Plus" Wi-Fi and 3G/4G Models (Not for Tab3) - BobjGear protective cover - Batfish Blue
Bobj Rugged Case for Samsung Galaxy 7-inch Tab2 and Galaxy "Tab Plus" Wi-Fi and 3G/4G Models (Not for Tab3) - BobjGear protective cover - Batfish Blue
Offered by BobjGear EU
Price: £13.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chunky and funky, 10 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent product at a very reasonable price. Works as advertised, it's a very thick and chunky silicone cover for a Samsung Tab 7 which surrounds the back and sides, while not protecting the screen. It's not waterproof and the holes cut into it for the speakers, power buttons and other ports also ensure it's not splashproof either.

The cover is well designed and gets that balance right between being relatively easy to slip onto the tablet, without being loose enough to worry you it's going to slip out again during use.

It's a big and robust cover, which makes it ideal for a tab used by a family and young children, rather than sleek professionals. The cover adds bulk to the tablet, making it less easy to tuck into the sort of bags and pockets a naked tab would easily slide into. And while the soft and grippy silicone makes for an ideal protective cover and protects from short drops, it does also mean the cover picks up more fluff and dust from inside bags and floors.

The size and design of the cover also gives real confidence when grabbing the tablet and allows users a much firmer hold than just the slippery, coverless tab.

Design wise, it looks good and the bright colours turn a fairly boring bit of computer kit into something fun for the kids (and the big kids).

Branching Out Wooden Guitar with Stars
Branching Out Wooden Guitar with Stars
Offered by Household Innovations Ltd
Price: £14.50

1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality - definitely a toy, not a musical instrument, 10 April 2013
= Durability:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
If you're just looking for something a child can tunelessly strum for fun, this is fine. However, the tuning keys, even when tightened, don't hold well enough to allow you to even roughly tune it. As previous reviewers have said, the frets are incorrect and make it next to impossible to play, when being played the tuning keys move (regardless of how tightened they are), the size of the guitar means to get any sort of recognisable guitar tuning the bottom string needs to be so loose to be almost unplayable, while the top so tight it will snap if your child tries tightening it any further. I've not checked properly, but at a quick glance it appears ours has exactly the same gauge used for the bottom three strings, making tuning even more difficult.

Noisemaking, it works. Actually giving some basics in music making, look elsewhere.

100 meters Remote control & Switch Cable fits Nikon D1,D2,D3,D300,D200,D700,Fuji S3 S5 Pro as MC-30 100m
100 meters Remote control & Switch Cable fits Nikon D1,D2,D3,D300,D200,D700,Fuji S3 S5 Pro as MC-30 100m

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly high quality for the price, 2 Nov 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is now the second remote control of this sort I've bought - although not the same manufacturer.

I'd still be using the first if I hadn't lost the main receiver part. It was good quality, hard wearing and more or less bomb proof.

This remote is identical in every way, other than a different name printed on it. Considering the price, you wouldn't expect it to be so robustly made, but it is. Also for the price you wouldn't expect batteries to be provided, but they are.

The remote works simply and well. The receiver unit (slightly smaller than a matchbox) plugs into the ten-pin on your camera body (in my case a Nikon D300)via a shortish (10cm or so) cable and has a hot shoe mount if you want to attach it to the top of the camera. It also has a metal tripod socket built in - although not sure what you'd use this for!

You can fire the shutter from a button on the receiver - half pressing focusses, as the camera shutter does. Full press will take a photo.

The smaller transmitter is again solidly built, and easily pocketable at about the same size as a plastic cigarette lighter. On the transmitter you have a small, metal telescopic aerial to increase the range up to the claimed 100m (although with the aerial fully retracted the remote seems to work perfectly across a room).

The shutter button on the transmitter will work in several ways, depending on how you set a sliding switch on the unit. On the first setting the button operates like a shutter button, half pressing to focus and fully depressing to take the shot. In addition, if your camera is set up to do so the button can activate a continuous shooting mode (press once to start firing shots, press again to stop shooting) or a bulb mode (press and hold for several seconds to begin exposure, press again to end). Slide the switch to the second setting and the remote operates like a timer, opening the shutter after a delay (only a few seconds, and probably too short to be useful...would have been nice to be able to adjust the timer setting).

To be honest, I'd be happy paying twice the price for this product - and it's infinitely better value than the official Nikon remote system, which has less features and costs more than £100. Just hope I don't lose it this time!

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