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Stucumber "Stucumber" (N. Wales)

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PaperPro Evo Compact One Finger 15 Sheet Capacity Power Stapler
PaperPro Evo Compact One Finger 15 Sheet Capacity Power Stapler
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fine at what it does., 25 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The stapler's main selling-point is the power assisted stapling feature. This feels somewhat similar to a staple gun's, in that the user doesn't provide continual power to complete the stapling action, rather their power is utilised to trigger a mechanism that completes it for them. This, when compared to another stapler, does feel like it requires less energy. Obviously the energy required to drive a staple through some paper and fold it is the same regardless, so either this stapler is more efficient or it is just a subjective sensation.

To be honest, the amount of stapling that I carry out, at the moment, is negligible. However, I can appreciate how the execution of a lot of stapling using this, could be rendered somewhat less mundane (though still far from an exciting activity).

The feel is slightly 'plasticky', so I can't imagine this lasting a very long time - the manufacturer gives a two year guarantee.

If I had a task coming up that required a lot of stapling but didn't think I'd really require the use of a stapler much afterwards, I'd certainly find this helpful but for something more sturdy and long-lasting I'd continue looking.

Ultrakidz Child Lollipop Soft Shell Jacket - Black, Size 5
Ultrakidz Child Lollipop Soft Shell Jacket - Black, Size 5
Price: £34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, midweight jacket., 22 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My nearly-five-year-old has taken to this jacket and due to the poor weather we've had this August, in Wales, he's had some use out of it.

It does seem to be waterproof, the manufacturer claims to a water column depth value of 8.000mm, this means the surface will withstand a coating of water to 8mm depth for a minute before any soaks through. I had to do an internet search to find that out and think that they have made a mistake, as an 800mm minimum depth is considered waterproof; I think they meant 8,000mm. Either way he has been out in the rain and come home dry.

The jacket has a fleece lining which is quite warming and became too warm over a t-shirt after a twenty minute walk in the dry, with a temperature in the mid teens (though, like me, he gets warm quickly). We'll see how the school walk goes, over a uniform of polo shirt and sweater; I've a feeling that early autumn will be too warm but later we'll get more use.

Being a shell jacket it is short and devoid of a hood, which may be a factor in deciding whether to continue using the jacket. We normally put our boy in waterproof trousers if the rain is heavy, so the shortness isn't a problem. The lack of a hood may be problematic though, if we can't find a suitable hat.

The black colour isn't particularly visible, though there is a fluorescent trim and reflective patches, these could be more dominant and I'll be getting a high visibility strap for the winter. It does look stiff but this is just the appearance of the material as it doesn't bunch and crease like other materials, but looks more like wet and dry suit material. Adjustable cuffs and hem ensure a good fit and there are ample pockets.

In summary: this is a fairly lightweight children's jacket, which seems to be suitable for moderately bad weather, though perhaps a warmer and more protective jacket would be needed for the depths of winter.

Nest Protect Smoke Plus Carbon Monoxide, Battery S2003BW
Nest Protect Smoke Plus Carbon Monoxide, Battery S2003BW
Price: £89.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple to use and reassuring., 24 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The premise behind the Nest Protect is relatively simple and promises to be of great use: a 'smart' smoke and carbon monoxide detector that connects to a home wireless network and your smartphone and communicates to you when there's a problem and reassures you when everything is alright.

Setup is incredibly simple, downloading the app on to your smartphone or tablet allows you to connect the Nest to a home network. From the app, configuration is easy and took less than five minutes; you can even tell it which room or area of the house it will be in. Physically siting the unit just requires planning position and fixing the base plate with four provided screws.

The Nest, knowing which part of the house it's in, is very useful, when an alarm is activated a human voice tells you where smoke or CO2 has been detected. Having only one detector will, of course, only tell you if smoke has been detected in that particular location but won't guide you to the source. However, Nest having thought this through, allow you to have multiple units connected to the same network, so that when a problem does arise, you are given a more accurate idea of where it is.

When a problem does happen, the response isn't merely the usual beeping. First, when either smoke or CO are detected the light turns yellow and the aforementioned voice alerts you to the location of the problem; second, when a dangerous problem is detected, the light turns red and an alarm sounds in addition to the voice. As they are on the same network and communicating, any Nest Protect in the house will give you the heads up. This sort of information and early warning, could be vitally important in a potentially very dangerous situation. Warnings can be silenced with a press of the button.

The light can also provide you with more useful information: when turning the lights out, the protect will flash green if everything is ok, this includes if there is enough battery life. The light also provides subtle illumination if detects a person walking near it in the dark.

Nest Protect also boasts another feature, which to a chronic worrier like me, is a massive boon: that is the ability to relay warnings to my smartphone. As someone who frets about the house burning down (with the cats in it) while I'm away, I find the concept of remote alarms very comforting. At least if smoke is detected whilst I'm out, I can contact the Fire Brigade from where I am and not have to rely on the chance observance by a neighbour or passer-by, any one of whom will have only noticed the signs of a fire when it has truly taken hold. The app will also give advice in what to do in an emergency, so that everyone can have the best chance of escaping. All of the information is provided in a very clear and intuitive interface, which also allows you to quickly check how each Protect is doing, though I prefer to just to make sure it is on in the morning rather than continually checking.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this application of modern technology. Considering and implementing safe procedures properly in your home is the primary defence against fire and CO, however, even if you've taken every precaution, should a problem occur, having the right information can make a huge difference, in either preventing it escalating (even if you're not there) or in making an escape.

No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars Good green credentials, not suitable for our needs however., 21 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Though I love the ecological ethos of Naty and previously used their nappies, I can't give these a great review because on two occasions they leaked.

I got these as night nappies for a four year old, who is fully toilet trained except for needing a nappy at night. They are easy to put on, though tight for their size, and helps the child feel more grown-up.

When they did leak, they were quite full but no more so than some other brands could handle. I feel, subjectively, that these would be better as a day nappy for a potty training child or as night pants for a child who doesn't wee much at night.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Doll Family
Melissa & Doug Wooden Doll Family
Price: £13.76

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little set., 21 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice little traditional family set that fits well with other similar figures, though check heights first as some manufacturers make slightly larger dolls and accessories.

The quality of manufacture is good with neat clothing and well painted faces. They are fully pose-able (except for the baby) and can be used in conjunction with many other toys.

Though I think they're great my little boy hasn't played with them much, as he is much more into drawing at the moment. I feel like his pirates need someone to capture this weekend!

Melissa & Doug Wooden Handle Stamps Deluxe
Melissa & Doug Wooden Handle Stamps Deluxe
Price: £9.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Good little set., 21 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My four-and-a-half year old boy really enjoys playing with these stamps. They are easy for him to use and the quality of the images is sharp with a varied range of designs.

The inkpad comes in six bright colours, though any one colour is quite small, so don't expect them to last a very long time. There are five colouring pencils included, these are of good enough quality and quite slim.

Overall, this is not a bad little set and my boy has had fun with it and integrates stamping into other art and craft activities, though I wouldn't say that it has become his main activity in that area.

McAfee Internet Security Dual Protection for MAC and Windows 2014 - 1 User (PC/Mac)
McAfee Internet Security Dual Protection for MAC and Windows 2014 - 1 User (PC/Mac)

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems decent., 2 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As many have noted, there is no physical product within the box, only a couple of cards with download codes. I can understand the need to have a boxed product as it needs to compete for shelf space with other AV products; that said an internet purchase could dispense with the box altogether, though without a physical product I'm not sure this would be available on Amazon.

As to the product: download and installation are very easy; at least they were on my Windows 8 machine. It only took a few minutes and everything was set up with little fuss.

An initial run found a couple of trojans that AVG had missed, though I tend to find this is always the case when swapping from one AV to another. My computer does seem a little slower for a few minutes after start up, however, in general, I've noticed little, or no, adverse slow down over AVG.

McAfee will also protect you from visiting unsecure or suspicious sites (unless you really want to) and has parental controls; this last feature I haven't used as my four-year-old isn't allowed to access the internet on their own.

Having cross-platform AV seems like a good idea, users with both Windows and Mac devices can find one solution for both of their devices.

Arrow T50X TacMate Heavy Duty Stapler
Arrow T50X TacMate Heavy Duty Stapler
Price: £26.38

5.0 out of 5 stars Great little stapler., 1 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Arrow T50X TacMate is a decent, compact staple gun, with a wide range of applications.

The first thing I noticed about this stapler was the relatively compact form; having been used to some pretty bulky versions, it's nice to have something which is light and comfortable to use in one hand. This makes it convenient to use in jobs where you need to keep the other hand free - such as canvas stretching.

It doesn't lack power though and drove staples easily into the various types of wood I tried - an old pallet, a pine bedframe, a garden sleeper and the shed door. The stapler can take a variety of staple sizes, from 6 to 12mm and has an easy-fill mechanism.

Overall, this is a great little stapler and won't take up a lot of room in the toolbox.

Revellutions 1:18 Scale RC Blue Mantis Buggy
Revellutions 1:18 Scale RC Blue Mantis Buggy
Price: £39.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I've had a lot of fun playing with this!, 25 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's much to like about the Blue Mantis; it's nippy, handles well, doesn't mind the wet and doesn't require frequent and expensive battery changes. On the negative side: it scratches easily, feels a little delicate and isn't suitable for smaller homes.

Once you've pried the thing from it's packaging (try to remain calm) you will need to let the battery pack charge for an hour and find four AAs for the remote, after which you can begin to play. The charger is of the two pin type and is supplied with a UK adapter, this felt a little flimsy and left the charging light hidden from view.

Get it out onto a good, large, flat area and the kids (old and young) will have a lot of fun. It's capable of a fair old lick and will turn sharply, though it can be easy to flip if you hit quite small rocks etc. It's not all high-speeds though as there is a good range of speeds achievable with variable pressure to the accelerator trigger, meaning that low speed control challenges are possible.

A switch on the back allows you to select different gears for indoor or outdoor play; we don't have very large rooms and found that the buggy became wedged under sofas and the like to be much fun. The under side of the chassis has a trim control, should the buggy not drive perfectly straight. We found it didn't like grass and due to its low ground clearance didn't like uneven ground.

The bumper, on the front, does feel a little flimsy, and though I don't intend to deliberately crash it, I still wince every time it does. It hasn't broken yet though.

We've been out in the wet in it and it hasn't stopped working, though it hasn't had a thorough soaking.

Overall: great fun for a 39 year old and his four year old.

Marble Racer Galt
Marble Racer Galt
Price: £14.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, sturdy marble run. A big hit., 27 April 2014
This review is from: Marble Racer Galt (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to admit to being dubious as to the 'racing' aspect of this particular marble run before it arrived. I mean, how could you possibly have a race on something that doesn't permit overtaking? The answer to this is that the dish shaped parts are subtly different from those in other marble runs; they are flatter, which causes the marbles to run in a less predictable path, crossing over the surface more, rather than following a tight spiral to the centre. Eventually one of the marbles will drop through first, though it is impossible to know which one when they first enter. Of course, the order at which the marbles pass through the very last of the three dishes determines the order in which they finish the race.

The two other unique 'racing' features are the starter gate and finishing podium. In the former up to four marbles are placed and upon turning the marbles drop out in a random order, in the latter the marbles are held in the order in which they finish the race.

The plastic material is strong and when assembled with care forms a sturdy structure. It is fully compatible with other Galt Marble Runs, which allows for some fairly elaborate runs to be made. My four-year-old loves marble run and will spend a good chunk of the day building a huge run (all of this can be said of my thirty-three-year-old other half).

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