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Tangerine "tangerineman" (North Yorkshire)
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Galt Toys Purse Pals
Galt Toys Purse Pals
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars How long they will last I don't know but my daughter loves them all the same, 19 Oct 2014
This review is from: Galt Toys Purse Pals (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first, when the box was opened I was a little disappointed to see that the purses were not made of fabric. Rather they are made of printed foam. However, when my eldest daughter began sewing the first of the purses (the cat) it was obvious that it would be harder for a young child to sew fabric in comparison to the foam. The plastic needle and cord thread were soon finished with their work (although my daughter did need some assistance throughout) and once made she was really pleased. Of course as I knew would be the case, one would lead to two, two to three and we may as well just finish off the fourth whilst we are at it!

In this regard, the interest this product caused with her was such that I have to be positive about it. The problem really is that firstly, I think there should have been a couple more purses to make but the biggest issue was that they didn't stand up to a great deal of use (to be fair a younger sister got involved and was in some instances less than sympathetic to the purses) but even my elder daughter who was very gentle found out the hard way that she couldn't put too much in to the purses.

I have to say that I think these are quite cute for little girls and my daughters reaction was positive. Once you perfect the construction process(!) and appreciate you may need the odd running repair (and keep them out of the reach of younger siblings!) they do work to some extent. Nevertheless, they are more decoration than anything else in my opinion but still, my daughter loves them and in this regard they are a definite hit in our house.


Disney Frozen Ice Skating Anna Doll
Disney Frozen Ice Skating Anna Doll
Price: £28.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hit on one hand a miss on the other, 15 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like many children my daughters loved Frozen and have subsequently got Anna and Elsa dolls to play with. They have been well played with too. When the opportunity to review one of these 'skating' dolls came up I thought I'd take it up, particularly given how much Frozen is adored in this house.

Like previous Frozen dolls getting them out of the box was a little more awkward than I would prefer. Nevertheless, soon 'Anna' was 'skating' across the dining room table. She is supplied with a snowflake shaped 'stand' which once one skate is slotted into she glides across tables and the like. However, beyond this she is limited in what she can do. She cannot sit for a start unlike the other Anna doll we have. She is charming enough but again the crown she wears (like in previous incarnations) slips from the dolls head far too easily - this design flaw should never have really existed in the first place, particularly given the dolls price.

For all my economic based aspect on the toy the fact is my daughters love her. So much so that they want the Elsa one as Anna on her own means she is argued over from time to time. On this basis, as a toy sought after by a child I can imagine these skating Frozen dolls will be very popular.

So, from a child's perspective the Anna skating doll has been a hit. But from a parents perspective considering paying the best part of £30 for one of these you have to say it feels too much. Yes, the Frozen film was charming and fun to watch but the merchandise in this instance at least seem a bit of a let down. The limited movement suggests to me that the better value doll would be the non-skating Anna doll (which as I have said we have and is very nice and cheaper). She may not 'skate' but she does much more. I can't ignore my daughters reactions, they adore Anna, but they adore Frozen so will be swayed accordingly. If this was cheaper I'd have given it 4 stars, as it is and bearing in mind that my children love it, I can't be too mean so it has to be 3.


Girl Tech Password Journal 8
Girl Tech Password Journal 8
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is all going a bit 007, 15 Oct 2014
This review is from: Girl Tech Password Journal 8 (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One of my daughters has been quite excited at the adverts for this and was very pleased to find that we now had one for her to try out. I was more impressed with the build quality than I thought I would be and once the three 'AA' batteries were installed (they don't come supplied) my daughter was keen to take control.

After explaining that the password she would need to set voice recognition security would need to be short we found the recording of the password a chore - but only because it was amusing to here her try to say something without laughing. Once the giggles were set aside she set the password. We have since had fun with me trying to imitate her voice to gain access!

When the case is opened you get a message 'Welcome Back' and when closed it bids you farewell. The music and voice rendering is perfectly acceptable for a toy of this price. Inside the journal is a notepad and a ultraviolet pen which if drawn with, the light shows the writing done. This 'secret' part of the journal is what my daughter particularly enjoys. Another benefit is that she is now writing even more than ever, with an array of pens and pencils (which I admit was something she enjoyed anyway, but this has encouraged that even more) although her favourite remains the 'secret' pen. Consequently, I would say there is an educational slant/possible benefit for some children - although I am not sure I can say this was a deliberate aim of the Mattel!

All in all then this is quite a nice thing at the current price point (around £20). We would have bought one anyway I am sure but would I still? The answer is yes. I'd recommend this if only in the hope that you daughter engages in writing even more too and for the funny password setup!


Sofia the First Magic Amulet Playset
Sofia the First Magic Amulet Playset
Price: £19.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice enough, just not enough, 2 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was and remain unaware of this particular Sofia character but I am sure given its Disney origins she is popular. This 'amulet' is a rather nice looking thing but rather large. My daughter was keen to wear it but it looked far to big on her. When opened up there is something of the polly pocket about the toy. It opens up into a sort of ballroom/throne room and a button, once pressed, lights up the higher tier and plays some classical type waltz music. And it only plays this music as I know all too well!!! The amulet comes with three characters. Sofia herself, a rabbit and a bird (it appears to be a robin but please excuse my ignorance on this).

It is a nice enough toy but given that the micro world the amulet transforms into the three figures seem quite slim pickings for a thing that is currently near enough £30. This is, in my view, the only real downside. I'd say it was a bit on the expensive side but I will say this, my daughter loves it and especially the little rabbit. Children don't consider the cost or value for money so on that point this toy hits the mark. So in conclusion then, a winner with my daughter but from a parents perspective perhaps a little expensive for what it is.


Rapesco 2200 Punch Heavy-duty 2-Hole Capacity 150x 80gsm Black Ref PF220AP1
Rapesco 2200 Punch Heavy-duty 2-Hole Capacity 150x 80gsm Black Ref PF220AP1
Price: £71.76

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy and effective, 1 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I write reports as part of my job and as a result a standard hole punch is only useful when the holes are punched in increments. Not ideal. However, with this beast I no longer concern myself. With a 150 page capacity this punch has easily made my 70 or 80 page reports neater by allowing me to punch the holes in one go. It doesn't have a spring mechanism either, it just eases through as you pull the lever.

It is well made and heavy and storing it has been a bit if a chore. I keep returning it to its box to be honest! It isn't the sort of product I need all the time but it's so useful when it is required. It is pricey but is well made. Whether it is worth the outlay will come down to how often you thing you may need one of these. If you do then I can recommend this hole punch it does a good job when required and without incident.


Leifheit # 72592 Large Lightweight Deluxe Ironing Board for Steam Generator Irons-Air Steam Premium MAXX
Leifheit # 72592 Large Lightweight Deluxe Ironing Board for Steam Generator Irons-Air Steam Premium MAXX
Price: £80.84

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very light with a well constructed frame yet a flimsy iron platform and perhaps just a touch expensive?, 29 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This was acquired (via Amazon Vine so not paid for I might add) to review and in order to replace our current ironing board, a very heavy Brabantia Titan ironing board (Brabantia Titan Oval Ironing Board, Size D,135 x 45 cm - with Iron Parking Zone) which has been superb but is very heavy. The prospect of equal quality but being lightweight appealed.

It is very lightweight, incredibly so, and feels well made (at least in terms of the frame). The actual docking area for the steam generator iron is made of plastic and although it was able to take the weight neither my wife or I were entirely confident in it. The board comes with another element, a sort of wire tidy which once the cable is in, raises it out of the way. Sadly, I felt this was ironically more in the way so don't use it.

The actual board feels well made but being light it also feels unable to bear much weight (the details that come with the board suggest it has a maximum capacity of 25kg) so you'd have to be going some to take it down. It is hard not to compare to the Brabantia which is so heavy and cumbersome yet is rock solid. Alas, it feels you can't have it all! For lightness, this Leifheit is impressive and it too is well made but at the price I am not sure it is worth the extra money. If you must have a lightweight board it does make sense, you can tell some thought has been put into its construction, but for me, I have to take one star off because of the flimsy iron holder/platform and the price which I'd say is just a bit too much. Especially in comparison to that Brabantia I mentioned which is the best part of £60 cheaper (at the time of writing) although is much, much heavier.


LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set
Price: £12.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging learning toy, 29 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an educational toy which aims to aid children in developing their speech through 'phonics'. The toy is shaped as a bus and comes with 26 letter 'blocks' (which are indeed magnetic) and once placed in the 'window' and pressed sings a brief song about the letter. Pressed again and the toy uses the letter in a sentence. The unit has an orange musical note button which when pressed plays a song (the alphabet song or wheels on the bus). There is also another button allowing you to vary the volume (you will be glad of that).

One of my daughters is at the bottom target of the age range for this toy (2 years) and isn't as interested in reading quite as much as her older sister. So, when the opportunity arose to review this product I thought it was a good opportunity to try and encourage greater interest in letters and words. She loves music so the songs (if you can call them that) have worked well. She has engaged with this and likes pressing the buttons, putting new letters into the window and singing the songs. She is learning but doesn't really know it! All in all then this is a fairly inexpensive toy which has a good educational message to deliver. Time will tell how useful and it will never replace reading in my view. However, as a parent it is useful to have various methods to deliver education and this is certainly useful in that regard.


Konstsmide Lightsets Outdoor 3612-110 19.04 m 120 Micro LED Fairy Lights, Warm White
Konstsmide Lightsets Outdoor 3612-110 19.04 m 120 Micro LED Fairy Lights, Warm White
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality lights that can be used outdoors and indoors, 23 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These lights come packed in the typical type of box you will all have seen in the shops. Within this particular box is 120 micro LED fairy lights. The lights are small but look well made. The wiring looks a good quality too. The colour of these lights is 'warm white' and once switched on that is exactly what they offer. It is a nice tone and they do produce quite a bright light. The product claims these are outdoor lights but they could be used indoors too.

The lead is long offering plenty of scope to reach a power socket if being used outdoors. These will be used properly in birthday celebrations due in our house and will certainly make an appearance at Christmas and New Year. These lights feel really well made and I am confident they will help make rooms or outside feel special. I've not used micro LED lights before but I like these and know that they won't overheat like the bulbs of yesteryear.

There isn't an awful lot to be negative about other than the price which I think is a little expensive. Nevertheless, it is a quality product.


Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 13.0 (PC)
Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 13.0 (PC)
Price: £136.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Speech software that actually works, 22 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I remember in an old work place we were given a copy of what was pretty new-fangled speech recognition software (at least at the time). We thought it would be great but after 10 minutes it was apparent it wasn’t useable. It just didn’t work. Subsequently, I have been put off this sort of software even though I love technology – I felt once bitten, twice shy.

So, have things improved? Well, I wouldn’t have bought this myself to begin with due to my previous (if somewhat a while ago) experiences. But with an opportunity to review this software I was keen to give it another go. I like the idea of software typing as I speak rather than typing. It’s a dictation process that in my old place of work we used to have Dictaphones to speak into and a typist to type it out!

Firstly, the installation process was lengthy and at times, appeared to be hanging. I can confirm my laptop is old and decrepit now but it does meet the basic requirements. Whether a more powerful machine would find this easy is unknown but it seems reasonable to assume it would. The more ram usually makes for better processing. Anyway, be warned, it could take a while to install.

This premium pack comes with a headset. It is pretty basic and was evidently made to a budget but it does a job. If your laptop has an inbuilt microphone you can use that instead if you wish. So, in terms of performance how did the software do? In terms of simple dictation I was quite impressed. It seems evident that this software has been subject to significant development and things have clearly moved on since the late 90’s. The biggest problem with this software is that you have to say the punctuation you have to use, you really do need to think about what you are going to say and it does take some time to learn. I’d say I am getting there and I am persisting in using the software as I like using it to command the opening of applications. This isn’t just a piece of dictation software for writing letters or e-mail.

Having said all of this you really do need to get making custom commands to make it specifically to your own style of dictation – I have only just started on this but feel this will make the software more specific to me and so more useful. If you have arthritis or RSI or any other sort of complaint that makes typing awkward or just not possible this voice recognition software offers the ability to write via your voice or control your PC or laptop. In that respect this software offers a wonderful freedom of technology which I really thing is a fantastic plus to this type of software.

I will admit to still being a little unsure about this software. The technology does actually work – which did surprise me a little! I didn’t expect such accuracy so quickly. However, the installation process was pretty poor (my rubbish tech aside). However, the way this software can offer the freedom to write letters (via dictation) to people who can’t type anymore as well as use applications on their laptops etc. and I find that a really useful benefit. I am, overall swayed by the ability of this software to do what it does despite my frustrating installation experience. If you do need a voice command typing software I have to say this is worth considering. Whether it is worth the asking price is a personal choice – for me it’s a tad expensive and the headset isn’t bad but isn’t great quality either. I still however, must point out that if you aren’t able to type or find it awkward this software offers the freedom to do so again. For that, it has to be worth some serious consideration.


Greenpan Venice 24 cm Ceramic Non-Stick Open Frypan, Grey Aluminium
Greenpan Venice 24 cm Ceramic Non-Stick Open Frypan, Grey Aluminium
Price: £25.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A sturdy, well made frying pan, 22 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a couple of ceramic frying pans that have a well known brand name. My biggest grumble has been how easy it was to accidentally damage it. This Greenpan is instantly impressive. It has a heavy 'feel' and seems very well made. It has rather high sides but this size pan is perfect for scrambled eggs or pancakes (I have made both with mine already!).

It really has been non-stick, delivers really nice even cooking and is even useable on an induction hob. Obviously, these types of pans, offering no lead and no cadmium provide a really good alternative to those pieces of cookware that may have these types of products in them when made. The other ceramic pans I have which have been damaged quite easily are evidently inferior to this Greenpan. This thing seems really well made. I am delighted with this frying pan and recommend it. The even cooking and non-stick coating make it easy to clean and a real joy to cook with. Fantastic.


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