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K-Roo "K-Roo" (Wye Valley)

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OxyLED CL10 Outdoor Solar Rechargeable Light Area Lantern
OxyLED CL10 Outdoor Solar Rechargeable Light Area Lantern
Offered by Thousand Shores
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly-good lamp, bright and white, practical and versatile, with some non-promoted features easily-missed, 25 Oct 2014
Initially, on opening the packing box for this torch, I felt disappointed. It looks like a plastic casing on an empty bottle with a hanger and solar panel on the top. My heart sank and my expectations were low. However I was gearing up for a camping weekend in cool weather with long dark evenings so this would put it to the test.

Well, what can I say... how wrong I was and never let first impressions count because this torch has performed splendidly.

I popped it into the window on the gloomy October morning before leaving, noticed the red charging lamp illuminate immediately then later in the evening topped it up with a charge via USB followed by a further charge via 12v while driving.

This lamp has been especially well-designed and there are some non-promoted features which are easily missed starting with its on/off/brightness switch which is luminous in dark conditions. Also, another easy-to-miss design touch is the orange top - while walking along the dark lanes late at night this made me visible to motorists not only due to its bright light but also where the orange top screws into the base, this produces a very visible orange band very visible to motorists rather like a high-vis orange stripe (see my uploaded photos). Instinct prompted me to stand the lamp on its clear base where it is slightly top heavy. However, inverting it to stand on the orange 'top' ensures it stands sturdily on my mini-table providing a versatile light to illuminate a van, tent, boat or small room and it's sufficiently powerful for comfortable reading. My guess is that the designers are keen campers or outdoorsy people who've taken the effort to actually use this lamp extensively rather than simply make it - because they seem to have thought of everything.

Throughout my trip, this little lamp (well, not so little actually at 20cm high overall, lamp section 13cm high) has provided a good level of illumination via its single LED in the lid with 2 settings - normal and bright. It's also a pleasant light to look at - not the harsh type which induces headaches and it can be hung in a tent, van, boat, shed, outbuilding - anywhere really to provide a good level of bright, white light comfortable for reading. When out walking in the dare it helped me find my way back to camp in pitch black then, once inside in my campervan it provides a gentle nightlight suitable for reading.

The 'normal' light level lasts for about 8 hours and the 'bright' for about 4 hours. Recharging is easy either by simply leaving the well-designed, sloping solar panel to face into daylight, including the dull October cloud during my tests, or it can be charged via USB from a laptop, 12v (car) socket with USB adapter or a mains/USB adapter taking about 8-10 hours according to the spec. I was using a mix of charging modes during the daytime ie mostly natural light but with 12v boosts and it didn't let me down during three evenings/nights of about 5-7 hours of use in a mix of normal and bright levels. My only (trivial) niggle is that I can't determine when the lamp is fully-charged because the charging lamp remains illuminated while plugged in and when facing into sunlight.

I feel so guilty for almost writing it off before using it. It has proven its worth as a very useful lamp for almost any indoor or outdoor use (in dry weather) and, based on both its practicality and performance, I recommend it highly. Good service from the seller too.

Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker Fresh Bread in Minutes
Russell Hobbs 18036 Breadmaker Fresh Bread in Minutes
Price: £42.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded my expectations - a very good machine for the money, 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although we already have the highly-regarded Panasonic breadmaker, I ordered this one as a smaller, less-bulky model for use 'between homes', as a spare and for use in my campervan. Yes, we like freshly-baked bread in this household!

Having had a number of breadmakers over the years, my first observation was its compact size, small footprint on our worktop, smooth shape and sturdy plastic body giving an impression of good design, good build and a quality feel to it. But, does it bake as well as the trusty Panasonic....?

I'll be the first to admit that my first loaf was a flop in every sense of the word but, in this case, the blame lies with me. I used it in our utility room/conservatory overlooking the fact this faces north and is a rather chilly room in cooler weather so I moved it into our kitchen which, although still facing north, benefits from greater air circulation, warmth from the cooker and is generally a warmer room. This made all the difference and loaves baked using white mix, granary mix plus a few home-made recipes of my own, were perfect - well mixed, well-risen and tasty. The crust control can be adjusted to suit your personal taste (and strength of teeth!) and if you like to add a few extras such as currants during the baking process, then this machine will allow you to do this by bleeping at the appropriate time in its baking program and then the lid is lifted and extras sprinkled in. There is no automatic currant/nut dispenser (unlike the Panasonic) so the user needs to be close to the machine at the right moment.

The timer can be set to have that perfect loaf baked overnight to wake the household with the delicious aroma of freshly-baked bread and can also turn its blade to baking cakes too.

A feature which I especially like is the ability to produce a perfect small loaf. Some machines are geared to families requiring larger loaves. In my case, I like to bake small loaves and this machine, unlike the Panasonic which is biased towards medium-large-larger loaves, can produce smaller sizes using just half a pack of standard bread mix.

The only disappointment was that no measuring jug was provided. These have been included with every other breadmaker I've used to date and I was caught unawares this time. As I opened this while away from home, it meant I couldn't use it immediately - so be warned and ensure you have a means of measuring water to be added if you're using a prepacked mix, or ingredients if using your own recipe.

Although the Panasonic machine still has the edge in terms of performance, providing this machine isn't used in a cold room (which the Panasonic would take in its stride) then it is a very good and worthy second best to the leading machine and it exceeded my expectations. It's also smaller, more compact, is nicely finished, produces cakes too and is only about a third of the price hence a very worthy investment particularly for couples or singles requiring smaller daily bread.

Braun PRT2000EU Age Precision Stick Digital Thermometer
Braun PRT2000EU Age Precision Stick Digital Thermometer
Price: £14.13

5.0 out of 5 stars The best I've ever used - easy to use, easy to read and wholly reliable, 24 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The purpose of using a body thermometer is simply to learn whether you have a high temperature or not - and this shows just that. Whereas other thermometers give a temperature reading leaving the user to then consult google, a medical book or phone a friend this illuminates in a bight pink shade as warning in addition to displaying a clear temperature reading. What's more, it can be set for young babies up to 3 months, young children up to 3 years old and children/adults who all have different body temperature ranges and reach fever point at a different stage.

Very easy to use under-arm, under the tongue or rectally, the thermometer bleeps once the temperature is recorded ensuring it isn't removed and read too soon. If the temperature is normal, then the backlight is green, yellow for slightly elevated and bright pink pink for high temperature. It couldn't be easier or clearer and is backed by a clear user guide.

The best I've ever used.

Whitening Toothpaste. Black. Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White Black Toothpaste 2-pack with Activated Charcoal.
Whitening Toothpaste. Black. Beverly Hills Formula Perfect White Black Toothpaste 2-pack with Activated Charcoal.
Price: £8.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For smooth-feeling teeth without the tingling (aka burning irritation) traditional toothpastes have produced, 20 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
With the current trend towards tooth whitening far beyond natural-white, it seems psychologically wrong to use black toothpaste although I've previously used red, blue, green, striped and spotted toothpastes without a second thought.

Initially I thought of this 'Perfect White - black toothpaste' as something of a gimmick but I've heard of activated charcoal being used for tooth whitening amongst other clinical uses, so couldn't resist trying this toothpaste.

I don't have stained teeth so can't comment on any stain removal properties but the differences I did notice between this and other toothpastes are:

1. How smooth my teeth feel - this was an eye-opener. Quite apart from looking clean and shiny (yes, they really do shine!), my teeth feel smooth and polished, a feeling I don't get from any other toothpaste.

2. No gum irritation - I'd always assumed the tingly feeling on my gums resulted from the stimulation of brushing them but now I know different. It's not 'tingling fresh' as I'd always thought but a burning irritation of soft tissue caused by my previous toothpastes!

Mid-way through my trial of 'Perfect White - black toothpaste', I reverted back to my old brands out of curiosity and after the first brush the usual tingling (aka burning irritation) returned. I wonder how many other people also think this tingling/burning is a good sign of a toothpaste working...?

I'm now convinced by the properties of activated charcoal for tooth-brushing. I'm thankful that it's been formulated into a smooth gel toothpaste preparation rather than being faced with traditional messy fine black powder and with the added benefit of fluoride. It seems to have the edge over all other toothpastes I've ever used and I can't see myself buying any of my old brands again.

Satechi USB Portable Humidifier v.3 (Mini)
Satechi USB Portable Humidifier v.3 (Mini)
Offered by SATECHI
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple idea which works - perfect with Olbas Oil for colds!, 20 Oct 2014
I ordered this mini humidifier for my husband who suffers from chronic sinusitis, but ended up first using it myself first!

A few days following delivery, I caught the local cold virus which also coincided with moving house - not the ideal combination but perfect conditions for putting this mini humidifier to the test especially while living in my mini-campervan.

The humidifier is designed for use ideally in small areas so is perfect for use in my little Romahome or any similar van, boat or kept close to a bed for use at home. It's powered via USB so that's ideal for a van/boat as it can run from the leisure battery powered via the standard 12v socket and 12v USB plug. At home it would need to run via a standard mains-USB plug.

The humidifier works by inserting one of the two supplied filters into the bottle top arrangement where it slides and clicks into place and then the filter section stands in a 300ml mineral water bottle to which aromatherapy or other oils can be added. I used Olbas Oil to try to clear my thick head and blocked nasal passages. I then left it running silently overnight with a window open slightly for ventilation and to avoid condensation.

Overnight it undoubtedly helped my breathing and one bottle lasted for 3 consecutive nights before being topped up with mineral water from another bottle. I'd spent previous nights completely bunged up and restlessly waking every 20-30 minutes to blow my nose and/or have a coughing fit. There were still a few but only every few hours so it certainly made a very noticeable difference. Right now I'm typing this with one running at my desk to try and ease my ongoing congestion.

This is the perfect product for travel particularly by anyone with a campervan or boat and 12v power supply but is also small and light enough to carry via backpacking and use in a hostel isn't going to upset any neighbours in a communal dormitory because it has such a small range.

It's very economical to run, using only 2w power, is supplied with a second filter (replacements are available) and mineral water is cheap and readily available at all supermarkets. I bought one 300ml bottle simply to obtain the bottle and then topped it up as needed from a larger, more economical 1-litre bottle. Alternatively it can be used with purified water. For anyone with a cold, I recommend using one filter with Olbas Oil and saving the second to use with just plain water or a different oil fragrance. (The humidifier cap will fit other sized bottles eg 500ml but these are too tall and the filter will only reach to about 2/3 from the bottom of the bottle.)

It's a good product which performs well and has definitely helped my cold symptoms. Highly recommended for anyone bunged up with a cold!

TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
TTfone Mercury 2 Big Button Basic Senior Unlocked Sim Free Mobile Phone with Dock - Black
Offered by TTsims
Price: £22.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good clear, easy to use phone with many additional features - not just for 'seniors', 20 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered this phone primarily for my 83 year old father but, having examined it, I've discovered it has more features than anticipated and I'm tempted to keep it myself as a spare.

A smartphone it is not but a lightweight, easy-to-use basic phone is most certainly is, and it's unlocked to work on any UK network (apart from 'Three').

It's designed with a curved back making it easy to hold with large easy to read numbers on the rubberised keypad and, as a key is pressed, the number is spoken aloud by a female voice. It's easy to use, easy to hear (high-volume for callers and ringtones), easy to see (big keys) and even easy to charge via the charging dock avoiding the need for it to be plugged in to cables. The user will need a USB charging source though (eg via a computer/laptop) or a USB-adapter plug for charging from the mains for non-computer users.

Phone performance is good and once the user learns to press the up arrow key to access menus then these are logical and easy to use with user prompts throughout and supported by a very clear printed user manual. In practice, I suspect most users will simply stick to making and/or receiving calls and sending the occasional text message, the latter being tedious without predictive text. Incase of an emergency, the SOS button on the rear can be set to dial a predefined number(s) and/or send text message(s).

To my surprise, the phone has rather more features than I anticipated including an alarm clock, calculator and a very handy single-LED torch. I really hadn't expected to find an FM radio on a phone of this nature (nor for it to have such clear reception) nor any facility for storing/reading files - yet MP3 music files can be played and photos browsed via the albeit small 1.8" display. Storage is limited to 2GB via micro SD card (not included) but without a camera/video recorder, this should be more than adequate. Bluetooth was another complete surprise and these features could potentially open the phone to a whole new younger market such as disabled teens or those with dexterity problems who may struggle with a smartphone or touchscreen but would still enjoy exchanging files with their friends and listening to music etc hence this phone isn't just for 'seniors' as per its description.

In summary, this isn't a trendy phone with its big numbers and voice accompaniment when pressing the keys but it is very practical, very easy to use and ideal for an elderly relative, a slightly deaf or poor-sighted user, a younger disabled user or anyone wanting a basic phone to reliably make and receive calls.

KooPower 100 LEDs 10M String Fairy Lights White for Christmas Tree Party Wedding Events (8 Operation Modes)
KooPower 100 LEDs 10M String Fairy Lights White for Christmas Tree Party Wedding Events (8 Operation Modes)
Offered by Golden Battery
Price: £20.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly versatile and well-made bright, white 'fairy' lights, 19 Oct 2014
So far, I've been using mostly Koopower's outdoor lights both indoors and out and been delighted with both their quality and performance so when I saw a set of mains-operated lights now available, I couldn't resist temptation!

This pack includes a 12-metre string of 100 LED lights plus a 2m mains cable and mains plug for indoor use, although they are IP44-rated which means they could withstand a damp atmosphere or light spray, but not heavy rain.

As usual, the lamps feel well-made and well-assembled on a sturdy twisted cable which can be looped around hooks, tree branches or other fixtures within the home - even the branches of a large house-plant.

They produce a surprising amount of clean, clear, bright white light and could illuminate a feature of a room, a window, add sparkle to a Christmas tree or be used for special occasions or parties. I've even considered using them as a light source in my bunnies; house (and have a set of the battery-powered equivalents in our field shelter!).

There are 8 varied lighting patterns which can be changed at the touch of a button (eg always on, flashing, chase, fades, waves or they can run through a sequence). All of the LEDs worked - not a single dud LED, unlike the old Christmas tree fairy lights of my childhood where just one dead bulb would affect the entire string and have to be found via a slow and frustrating process of elimination but this doesn't apply to LEDs.

I can't find anything to fault, criticise or indeed deduct even half a star for from their 5 star rating and anything below these worthy five stars would be unfair. They're reliable lights, well made, perform exactly as promised and should last for years.

Offered by Golden Battery
Price: £11.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gently glowing, unusual-design ball lights, 19 Oct 2014
I have several packs of Koopower LED lights and, without exception, all have been well-made, felt robust and performed exactly as hoped.

These lamps with their 'ball' design are a different shape and more unusual design to those I've ordered to date and they haven't disappointed.

Each of the two 4-metre strings of lights includes 40 warm-white bulbs which produce a pleasant creamy glow rather than the harsher, bright white light of some LEDs. They're pleasant to look at and very suitable for indoor decorative use eg to decorate a Christmas tree or, probably better still, to accentuate a feature within a room - around a large mirror, for example, a doorway, fireplace, over a teenager's bed or large unusual plant. There are two settings ie either always on flashing mode.

The lights feel well-made and with their twisted strands it's easy to look them around hooks on a wall, branches on a decorative tree etc to keep them secure in use. And, with two strands of 4-metres, they represent excellent value for money. Running costs are low - LED are noted for being highly economical and these run on readily-available AA batteries and, if using rechargeables as I do, then they cost almost nothing and should last for years.

I'm very pleased with them and would recommend them to other users or potential users of decorative LED lights

Bluetooth Keyboard, GMYLE® Bluetooth 3.0 Ultra-Slim 10 Inch Wireless LED Backlit Keyboard for iOS Android Windows PC Tablet Smartphone w/ Built in Lithium Battery
Bluetooth Keyboard, GMYLE® Bluetooth 3.0 Ultra-Slim 10 Inch Wireless LED Backlit Keyboard for iOS Android Windows PC Tablet Smartphone w/ Built in Lithium Battery
Offered by Clever Gadgets
Price: £23.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more tedious typing on fiddly keyboards, 18 Oct 2014
This is one of the best and most useful gadgets I've ordered.

I spend a lot of time travelling and need to keep in touch via my phone with tiny keyboard and tablet. Their touchscreens are good but even my slim fingers often miss the correct key and unnoticed predictive text errors mean it's far too easy to send a message I don't mean to... Here's the solution - this high quality, very slimline bluetooth keyboard which pairs with any bluetooth-3 enabled phone, tablet etc (I'm using a Samsung Trend Plus phone and Galaxy 3 tablet). It takes a few hours to charge via USB and then it's ready to go. Once paired, using the phone/tablet touchscreen, browse to the point at which text is to be entered then wave a confident farewell to the tiny keypad and instead use the bluetooth keypad. The keys are a good size, illuminate in blue when in use (handy for typing in the dark as I often do), have a smooth but positive feel to them and the keypad isn't far off the size of the keyboard on my 19" laptop.

For anyone who often types words you don't mean to, hits the wrong letters on a fiddly phone/tablet keypad or simply finds tiny keypads and touchscreens slow and/or frustrating, this is the solution and I'm sure you won't look back.

A definite 5 stars for its simplicity, practicality and sheer usability. Excellent!

Okra Portable 2.1 Bluetooth Stereo Receiver for All 3.5mm Audio-in Speaker for Car Music, Headphones, Home Stereo - (Retail Packaging)
Okra Portable 2.1 Bluetooth Stereo Receiver for All 3.5mm Audio-in Speaker for Car Music, Headphones, Home Stereo - (Retail Packaging)
Offered by Crazy Deals Shop
Price: £24.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adds bluetooth versatility and convenience to a non-bluetooth device., 13 Oct 2014
Several of my older devices including a netbook, laptop, headphones and speakers long pre-date the advent of bluetooth but still function perfectly so it seems wasteful to replace them simply to add bluetooth - so this is where this little gadget makes its mark.

Simply charge the unit via micro USB (cable included) and when fully-charged it becomes a bluetooth receiver which can receive a bluetooth signal and play transmitted music (no other file types) in virtually any gadget with a 3.5mm input socket.

Pairing is instant and music from my phone, tablet, mp3 player etc is seamlessly played on the recipient device via this OKRA device. What's more, I can play music on my mp3 player upstairs at home and it will be received downstairs or even outdoors in the garage, garden or outbuildings. The sound quality is good and it works for 10+ hours before needing a further 4-hour charge. Excellent!

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