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Reviews Written by
Chris (Dorset, UK)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent EMERGENCY light, 11 Jan 2014
I'd been looking at these before Christmas, so was quite pleased when I received one in my chrimbo stocking!

This headtorch is excellent if you think of it as a backup or emergency light. In terms of features, light power output etc, of course it won't win when compared to a larger, more expensive headtorch.

The thing is, it's small. Really small. And lightweight too. Combined with the fact that the battery is meant to last 10 years (if not used), it's a great little bit of kit to just have in the bottom of your bag. You'll never know it's there, until you need it.

As I mentioned above, the output isn't anything to rave about, but it is sufficient for anything you could possibly need it for. There're 5 modes:

Low power White
High power White
Flashing White
Flashing Red
Red

A feature I like is that the torch is on a ball-pivot joint. This means you can angle the light to suite your needs.

The back of the torch unit is hard and ever so slightly curved. Some people have said they find it uncomfortable, but to be honest I found it fine. The unit is so light you barely know it's there. I've worn it 2 hours straight without issue in this regards (I was trying to assemble some other xmas presents in the dark).

The spring-loaded cord is quite generous in length, and the resistance is just about right. Not too tough, but not too loose either. Long enough to probably fit over a thick wooly hat too.

The one issue I have with this torch is that if you do find yourself wearing it for prolonged periods of time, you will likely end up with some quite fetching strap(string) marks across your forehead. Again, if you're using it in an emergency setting, strap marks on your head are not going to be high up on your priority list.

Overall I love this torch. I'm sure over the coming months and years it'll find a lot of use!


The End Of The Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat
The End Of The Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat
by Charles Clover
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for marine biology students or anyone concerned about the oceans, 5 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book was recommended to me whilst studying marine biology. I read it from cover to cover over a few days. It's written in such a way as to be easy to digest, whilst getting across some strong messages about fishing and the oceans in general. Each chapter covers a different topic, all quite topical and valid for marine biology/conservation students.


A Key to the Major Groups of British Terrestrial Invertebrates (Field Studies Council Publications)
A Key to the Major Groups of British Terrestrial Invertebrates (Field Studies Council Publications)
by S.M. Tilling
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent beginners guide/key to terrestrial invertebrates, 5 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book was my first introduction into identifying the main orders and families of terrestrial invertebrates. The book is nicely laid out and with some use it's easy to get to grips with flicking through the pages to quickly confirm identifications. It is a basic book however, and a student will quickly "outgrow" it.

I can't fault it as the initial introduction however.


Davidt's Unisex Watch Box For 6 Watches "Euclide" 367833.01 Black
Davidt's Unisex Watch Box For 6 Watches "Euclide" 367833.01 Black
Price: 38.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent watch case, just need more watches now, 5 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice solid and well built box. The clasp is quite nice, and the lock is an added bonus, though to be honest it won't stop anyone from getting in to the case if they want to.Think of it more as a means of preventing accidental opening.

The leather pads inside are nice and squishy and look good, and will accomodate good sized watches.

The only criticism I have for the case is that the clasp prevents you from resting the case on its front edge, which would have been a nice bonus as I'd have liked to have placed it on a high shelf on its side so I can still see the watches.


Lumie Bodyclock STARTER 30 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Sunrise and Sunset Features
Lumie Bodyclock STARTER 30 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Sunrise and Sunset Features
Price: 53.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Present for the girlfriend, she's not sure about it., 5 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, I'm finding that this alarm clock does work. The light comes on slowly over 30 minutes, and I do find myself waking up a bit easier. It's not really having much effect on the girlfriend though, as she is most definitely not a morning person.

Now for the more critical analysis.

The design is very simplistic, and quite "plastic". The girlfriend asked for a body clock for christmas, as she'd used a Philips one when visiting a friend, and was impressed. I can pretty safely say that when she saw the Lumie, she was a bit underwhelmed.

The clock is controlled by 3 buttons. The left and right buttons are for either adjusting the time up and down, or for turning the light up or down. The middle button is used to scroll through settings and engage the alarm/light for the next day.

Setting the clock is very simple, press and hold the middle button for a few seconds and then you can go through the whole set-up progressively, first setting the alarm time (this is the time that you want to wake up by...not the time the light starts to come on. So this means setting at 8am will have the light start to come on from 7.30am). Next you set the clock time, and then can choose between having an audible beeping tone at your "wake up time", as well as having the clock either dim when its night time, or turn off completely. The clock screen light is quite bright, so we opted for the latter option.

I don't have any issues with controlling the clock. However my girlfriend has on a few occasions pressed the wrong button to turn the light off in the morning, and has gone into changing the clock time instead! Something to be aware of if you're not too "with it" first thing in the morning.

Overall I like it, though it does look and feel a bit cheap and simple.


Merrell Men's Protterra Sport GTX -
Merrell Men's Protterra Sport GTX -
Price: 77.00 - 110.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting bare profile walking shoe, 30 Dec 2013
I've been a fan of Merrells for several years, favouring them for being a comfy fit from out of the box, no break-in period required. These shoes aren't any different in that regards.

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION
===================
The shoes are meant to be a bit of an innovation in shoe construction, where the outer plastic/rubber cage is bonded to the shoe "sock", or something along those lines. In reality it doesn't really offer anything different for the "wearing experience" in my opinion.

They look good, and have gone through our latest miserable UK winter weather without my feet getting wet, thanks to the goretex inner. I think I will be wearing these for running in the coming months, rather than my five-finger barefoot running shoes, just for the added warmth and waterproofness they offer. Whilst not a true "barefoot" shoe in my opinion, they certainly are more minimal than other shoes in the Merrell line.

Design wise, I have two issues. First, the toe box area. Because of the shoe construction its nice and roomy down there (Takes a little getting used to). It pays to try on different sizes to get a good fit, including half sizes if they're available (I'm wearing 9.5 UK). This is because what I have found is that when walking, the shoe tends to bend around the base of the laces. This area is thicker due to the rubber there, so if the shoe isn't a good fit you might find that the fold digs into the top of your toes.

The second issue is the heel area. It's a little stiff, but not uncomfortable. The stiffness though is making me wonder how long the fabric will last, as there are already some bobbles around the heel...potential blisters in the making? Also, because the heel is quite low, I have found that if you're walking on sticky ground, it's quite easy for your shoe to be sucked off your feet unless you tie your laces uncomfortably tight. On the other hand, it makes it very easy to slip your shoes off at the end of the walk, convenient when they're caked in mud!

SOLE/GRIP
=========
The sole/grip on the shoe is also different to normal, almost "inverse". Normal shoes have rubbery knobs and pointy bits to dig in to the ground. These instead have hollow bits, with a sharpish diamond pattern. It almost resembles the vibram equivalent of yaktrax snow/ice grips. The idea of this grip is to give you better contact with the ground, maybe improving grip in slippery conditions. I've found that the grip is better in some conditions, worse in others. Where the grip is better is dry surfaces. Where it's worse is wet surfaces, it's quite slippery on wet tarmac, the hole areas fill with mud and sand also.

OVERALL CONCLUSION
==================
Overall, the shoes look good. They're also pretty comfy if you have a good fit, plenty of room in the toe box area. The Goretex lined versions are waterproof, though the low cut design makes it easy for water to get in around your ankles. The main drawback to the shoes is the potential to slip out of them if your shoe gets stuck, possible blistering in the future, and the unique-ish grip on the soles, which has both good and bad points.

I'm happy to wear these outdoors when I can't be bothered to put my chunky boots on, and they're also now my warmer alternative to barefoot running shoes for the wetter and colder winter months.


MERRELL Proterra Sport GTX Men's Trail Running Shoe
MERRELL Proterra Sport GTX Men's Trail Running Shoe
Price: 69.99 - 110.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting bare profile walking shoe, 30 Dec 2013
I've been a fan of Merrells for several years, favouring them for being a comfy fit from out of the box, no break-in period required. These shoes aren't any different in that regards.

DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION
===================
The shoes are meant to be a bit of an innovation in shoe construction, where the outer plastic/rubber cage is bonded to the shoe "sock", or something along those lines. In reality it doesn't really offer anything different for the "wearing experience" in my opinion.

They look good, and have gone through our latest miserable UK winter weather without my feet getting wet, thanks to the goretex inner. I think I will be wearing these for running in the coming months, rather than my five-finger barefoot running shoes, just for the added warmth and waterproofness they offer. Whilst not a true "barefoot" shoe in my opinion, they certainly are more minimal than other shoes in the Merrell line.

Design wise, I have two issues. First, the toe box area. Because of the shoe construction its nice and roomy down there (Takes a little getting used to). It pays to try on different sizes to get a good fit, including half sizes if they're available (I'm wearing 9.5 UK). This is because what I have found is that when walking, the shoe tends to bend around the base of the laces. This area is thicker due to the rubber there, so if the shoe isn't a good fit you might find that the fold digs into the top of your toes.

The second issue is the heel area. It's a little stiff, but not uncomfortable. The stiffness though is making me wonder how long the fabric will last, as there are already some bobbles around the heel...potential blisters in the making? Also, because the heel is quite low, I have found that if you're walking on sticky ground, it's quite easy for your shoe to be sucked off your feet unless you tie your laces uncomfortably tight. On the other hand, it makes it very easy to slip your shoes off at the end of the walk, convenient when they're caked in mud!

SOLE/GRIP
=========
The sole/grip on the shoe is also different to normal, almost "inverse". Normal shoes have rubbery knobs and pointy bits to dig in to the ground. These instead have hollow bits, with a sharpish diamond pattern. It almost resembles the vibram equivalent of yaktrax snow/ice grips. The idea of this grip is to give you better contact with the ground, maybe improving grip in slippery conditions. I've found that the grip is better in some conditions, worse in others. Where the grip is better is dry surfaces. Where it's worse is wet surfaces, it's quite slippery on wet tarmac, the hole areas fill with mud and sand also.

OVERALL CONCLUSION
==================
Overall, the shoes look good. They're also pretty comfy if you have a good fit, plenty of room in the toe box area. The Goretex lined versions are waterproof, though the low cut design makes it easy for water to get in around your ankles. The main drawback to the shoes is the potential to slip out of them if your shoe gets stuck, possible blistering in the future, and the unique-ish grip on the soles, which has both good and bad points.

I'm happy to wear these outdoors when I can't be bothered to put my chunky boots on, and they're also now my warmer alternative to barefoot running shoes for the wetter and colder winter months.


Urban Armor Gear (UAG) Composite Armor Shell Case for Samsung Galaxy S3 SIII I9300 - Aviator/Moss Black, with Abacus24-7 NFC Tag
Urban Armor Gear (UAG) Composite Armor Shell Case for Samsung Galaxy S3 SIII I9300 - Aviator/Moss Black, with Abacus24-7 NFC Tag

5.0 out of 5 stars Good rugged case, NFC tag is a nice bonus, 20 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed to replace my old case that had started to have bits fall off, and wanted something a bit more rugged. I chose this due to the addition of the NFC tag, as I was curious.

The case is nice and solid in design, I like how it feels in the hand. Even though it's fairly slim, it is more "square" than my old case, which does seem to make my phone look a bit bigger. The button covers are good, maybe a *little* stiff, but I'll get used to them.

I've also opted not to use the screen protector as I feel the deep edges to the case will offer enough protection for the screen. Also, whilst trying to apply the protector, I scratched it! Most other screen protectors I've used have been pretty hard to scratch!

The NFC tag is a nice addition, especially when this was package was the same price as just the case from other sellers. I've not used NFC before, I can see it's potential in the future, but currently I've just programmed it to mute my phone. I have the tag next to my bed so I can easily put the phone into silent mode when I'm sleeping, and unmute when I get up.

Overall, I really love the design of the case, would have given 4.5 stars because of the scratchable protector, but as I can't, 5 stars it is!


Sigma Cleaning Cloth for Micro Fibre Lens
Sigma Cleaning Cloth for Micro Fibre Lens
Offered by MegaDeals UK
Price: 6.89

5.0 out of 5 stars I use mine to clean both lenses and screens, 19 Dec 2013
When I started out in photography, I thought lens-pens were the best. I loved my gadgets and technology, and they worked.

However I received one of these sigma lens cloths as a secret santa, and I realised sometimes "simple" is better. I've never been without a Sigma cloth since. The time it takes to clean a fingerprint off of a lens with the cloth is much less than with a lens pen, and whereas I've found the pens dry out and need replacing after a while, the Sigma cloth seems to keep on going.

I also find it really effective for cleaning sunglasses, and getting rid of all the smudges and marks on my tablet computers screen. For the money there's no reason not to have one of these in your kit bag, especially when compared to the price of lens pens!


Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control
Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control
Price: 58.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This head has taken a lot of abuse, 19 Dec 2013
I've had this ball head for probably 2 1/2 - 3 years. It's been overseas a few times, and used in a range of conditions, without fail.

The only issue I've ever had with it has been when using it in conjunction with a macro lens, and the tripod at an odd angle. In a few instances The oval shaped locking knob would come up against the side of the quick release plate, making some manouvers difficult.

It also took about 1 week before the rubber cap covering the brass "safety" lever fell off. It doesn't effect performance and is only cosmetic though.

Other than this the operation has been fine.

TIP
=======
It might be obvious to some, but when around coastal environments it's worth washing the tripod head in freshwater and applying some lubricant after your trip. I made the mistake of not doing this, and some salt crystals appear to have formed jamming the large brass locking pin in the down position. I've tried vinegar and oil to release the catch, with no luck. This could easily have been prevented by some simple after-care or maintenance after the trip. The tripod head didn't even get wet to my knowledge, so must have simply taken a single drop or two of spray.


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