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Darren Watkins (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

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Fellowes M-8C Cross Cut 8 Sheet Personal Shredder
Fellowes M-8C Cross Cut 8 Sheet Personal Shredder
Price: £49.99

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars G e t li tl sh e dd r, 17 Aug 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Yes, the shredder is so good, it has shredded the title of my review!

I have been without a shredder for a while now, and was going to resort to taking stuff to work to sneakily put through the shredder there. But then this little beauty came along.

Now, it says you can put 8 pieces of paper through at once, but they have to be quite thin sheets of paper, so I just stick to one or two pieces at a time. But it cuts through them like a hot knife through butter.

The shredder has an on/off switch at the back of it, as well as an on/off and reverse switch on the front. It also has a very nice little padlock feature. This means you can lock the machine so no shredding can be done when the front switch is positioned to off.

The shredder bin is a decent size and is plastic (not mesh like the description suggests). It also has a large viewing window. Oh, and because it has the viewing window, the easy to remove shredding head only goes on one way. Now the top of the bin does feel a bit flimsy, and unfortunately there are no handles on the side which make moving it a bit tricky.

The shredder head also has a green light which comes on when the shredding is switched to on (and plugged in of course), and it also has a red light which tells you when the shredder has got too hot and needs to cool down before you can use it again. Now the description says you can use it for 5 minutes before it needs to switch itself off to cool down. I have just shredded a bag full of letters etc and it took longer than five minutes and the shredder coped very well.

I would advise that you also get some shredder oil as you will need to keep the wheels lubricated. But the shredder does come with a one year guarantee and a three year warranty on the shredder head.

The shredder may be more expensive than some others you can get, but I feel it is well worth the money. I am very pleased with the shredder. I've got to get back to shredding more things now!

Philips Imageo 7007531PU 1.5 Watt Plastic Candle Set, White
Philips Imageo 7007531PU 1.5 Watt Plastic Candle Set, White
Offered by Strictly Lamps
Price: £11.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time or money, 4 Aug 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am very disappointed in these `candles'.

I received them, put them onto charge for at least ten hours. Took them off charge and didn't use them. Went to put them on the next day, and they just don't come on. I have had to put them back onto charge. Luckily you can use them when they are being charged.

The pots that the `candles' are in feel very cheap and is thin plastic. The `candles' themselves, look like the sort of tea lights you can get in any pound shop. They also give off a rather fake street light orange glow.

For the price and quality, you're better off not bothering. If you really need candles, buy either the real things or a better quality fake candle.

Cole & Mason Electronic Salt & Pepper Mill Giftset, 215mm Richmond Precision
Cole & Mason Electronic Salt & Pepper Mill Giftset, 215mm Richmond Precision
Price: £34.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use and adjustable - small issue with adding batteries, 2 Aug 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was looking to replace my manual salt and pepper mills. The ones I had were just not grinding properly and you would get huge rocks of salt on your plate and chunks of pepper. I had always wanted some electronic mills but was always put off by the price.

However, these little things are well worth the money - one of the down sides though, is the amount of batteries they need. Surely they could have been designed to take two AA batteries or one larger battery.

On to the mills. Filling them was quite easy, although they don't take as much as my old mill set. They also have a small S and P on them so you know which is for salt and which is for pepper. Fitting the batteries can be very tricky if you have dexterity problems, as you have to fit six AAA batteries around a tiny centre point.

Once filled, and batteries were inserted I was ready to get started. The grinding on both was perfect, small grains of salt and little chunks of pepper. Adjusting the grinding is so easy too; you simply turn the small black plastic knob on the bottom of each.

So all in all, a really great set and I look forward to using them.

Now, one thing I want to mention, which has nothing to do with the set is the packaging it came in. Amazon, I nearly had to call a removal van to get it home. The set was inside a box with lots of paper to prevent damage. This was then inside a massive box with even more paper in to stop the internal box moving around. No wonder my recycling bin is full every time I receive an order.

Philips Sonicare HX9172/10 FlexCare Platinum Rechargeable Toothbrush with UV Sanitizer
Philips Sonicare HX9172/10 FlexCare Platinum Rechargeable Toothbrush with UV Sanitizer
Price: £112.45

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, clean gnashers, 24 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This toothbrush has better features than my previous Philips Flexcare Sonic toothbrush.

The thing I really like about this toothbrush is that it has three different levels of sonic cleaning, weak, medium and strong. All of these are controlled by one button. There are also three different types of cleaning, clean, white and gum care. I prefer to use the toothbrush on strong and gum care.

The toothbrush or rather the head leaves my teeth feeling really clean (I use Colgate Interdental toothpaste). Now the toothbrush has timed `washes' of two minutes, in that time you are meant to have been able to clean all of your teeth. However, I don't feel that is long enough, so I use it twice, two minutes on the bottom set and two minutes on the top.

The toothbrush has a battery indicator. It also comes with two toothbrush heads (one small and one normal), a travel case, a small travel charger and the larger charger with a UV section in which you place the toothbrush head and it sanitises it.

The only issue I have found with the toothbrush is the handle grip. On my previous toothbrush, the back of the toothbrush has a rubberised backing which prevents slipping. This one only has a hashed plastic surface which means it can drop out of your hands quite easily.

All in all it is much better than my previous Flexcare brush, oh, and because it's a Philips you get that 2 year warranty.

BT Home DECT SmartPhone with Answer Machine, Touch Screen and Wi-Fi
BT Home DECT SmartPhone with Answer Machine, Touch Screen and Wi-Fi
Price: £88.15

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a smart phone, but not quite, 23 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I won't really go through the features of the phone as the description Amazon have provided goes through that.

I have to say that I am quite impressed with the quality and style of this phone. It really does look and feel like a mobile. However, BT have missed a trick by not adding Bluetooth. Now the phone does come with a micro SD card, so you probably could transfer numbers from your mobile - but you would have to remove the back of your phone, remove the battery, add in the card, transfer the numbers and then remove the card and put it back in your mobile. I had tried to add contacts to the phone manually, but they instantly vanished. I didn't realise you had to mess on and add the contact then go into the menu again to save it.

So the instruction booklet you get isn't really that good, it's basically a quick start guide. It tells you nothing about how to set the phone up and set up contacts etc.

As the telephone is WiFi you have to plug the hub into your telephone socket and electrical socket. You also need an electric socket for your telephone, but your telephone doesn't need to be anywhere near the hub. Which is good if you are stuck for sockets.

One of the problems I have found is that sometimes, the telephone doesn't fit onto the base charger properly. When it is on the base charger the phone emits a tone, so it's one to keep an ear open for. Another issue is the onscreen keyboard is a bit small, anyone with large fingers will struggle to type anything properly.

The ringtones on the telephone are very high quality, and you can set tones for loads of things. And as the telephone is WiFi you can check your e-mails, the telephone can chime to tell you when you have e-mails - you can also set how often it checks for new e-mails.

Like a smart phone, you can download apps to it. The telephone comes with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Opera Mini (a browser), TuneIn radio already installed. In my opinion it should have also had Skype pre-installed.

The answerphone allows you to set the number of rings before it kicks in, anywhere from 2 to 7 rings. It also allows you to record in high or low quality, and use it either as an answer and record, answer only, or to turn it off completely.

The telephone has HD sound and it sounds very good. I used the TuneIn radio and was very impressed with the sound quality.

It would be nice to see additional handsets only on sale, I could do with a couple more for upstairs.

** EDIT - Sorry, forgot to say that the built in camera takes really good quality photographs and video, these can then be sent to Facebook, Twitter, to your e-mail account or to the BT Cloud.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 22, 2014 5:32 PM BST

Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts
Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts
by Gizzi Erskine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too faffy, 29 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to say this book is great, very nice to read, but most of the recipes are very faffy and you probably couldn't knock it up with what you have in your cupboard. You'd have to plan when you are going to cook these and buy the ingredients especially.

So the book is split into skinny weeks (breakfasts; lunches; snacks; dinners; puddings) and weekend feasts (Friday night feasts; lazy brunches; Sunday lunch; sweet treats.

In the skinny weeks, each recipe states how many calories are in it, how long it should take to prepare and how long it should take to cook. As I have said some of the recipes are really straight forward and easy to make, and others are a bit more involved and would need a special trip to buy ingredients for (I don't have a stock of caper berries or salmon roe in my house).

I think if you are going to have a dinner party, or want to impress that special someone, then there will be something in here for you. But if you are cooking for your kids, or just yourself, it's probably not going to be worth the mess on.

The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook (Yeo Valley)
The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook (Yeo Valley)
by Sarah Mayor
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars It's not just about the yogurt!, 29 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Yes, it's not just a recipe book full of recipes for yogurt. It's a very well rounded cookery book for dairy products. It even tells you how to make your own yogurt, yogurt cheese, Ricotta, butter, cream cheese, crème freiche, and clotted cream. Although most of these do take a fair few hours to make.

The book has recipes for: breakfast (such as milk and honey jellies; crunchy apple and raspberry granola); soups (such as field mushroom soup; slow roasted tomato); salads (such as Autumn salad with pears; orange roasted beetroot salad with goats cheese); starters, snacks and light dishes (such as herby Scotch eggs; coarse game and green peppercorn terrine); main dishes (vegetarian) (such as beetroot, new potato and crème fraiche pies; cauliflower, caramelised red onion and Caerphilly cake); fish (such as deep Trout fishcakes; baked Trout with bacon); fowl (such as chicken and mushroom lasagne; honey roasted goose with spiced apple sauce and port gravy); meat (such as beef and barley cottage pie; marmalade glazed gammon); puddings (such as deep filler nutmeg and custard tarts; orange yogurt cheese cheesecake); tea time treats (such as blackberry and brown sugar fingers; farmhouse fruit cake); breads (such as stoneground soda bread; Somerset cider, honey, walnut and raisin bread); preserves and cordials (such as hedgerow cordial; sticky onion and raisin chutney).

The recipes look easy to prepare and cook. The book has split the index into recipe list (all put into sections listed above) and by ingredient or recipe.

The book also starts off by telling you how Yeo Valley started and how they turn the milk into the base ingredients for the recipes.

This is a modern cookbook of traditional no nonsense recipes.

Food Glorious Food: From Cakes to Curries to Cornish Pasties - Favourite Dishes from the Search for Britain's Best Recipe (Cookery)
Food Glorious Food: From Cakes to Curries to Cornish Pasties - Favourite Dishes from the Search for Britain's Best Recipe (Cookery)
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Food Glorious Food, but why a foreword by Simon Cowell?, 29 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
So my first issue, why a foreword by Simon Cowell? I know his company produced the programme, but does that give him the right to write the foreword?

The book is split into recipes from each of the regions: south west, south east, north east, north west, London and Midlands.

Yes some of the end products are repeated in some regions, such as carrot cake, but all are done to a different recipe. Now obviously, there will be recipes you will use over and over again, and there are those that you probably won't even do (like the rabbit lasagne, eurgh).

Most of the recipes need a handful of ingredients and look easy enough to prepare, others, like chicken Thai pie that has 37 ingredients, are a bit more detailed and complicated.

There are recipes in here for every taste, but virtually none for vegetarians (deserts aside). The index is a bit complicated, it not only lists the recipes, but also the types of ingredients that go into a recipe, so you have Almonds - Bakewell Tart; Bakewell Tart; raspberry jam - Bakewell Tart. Would have preferred either list of recipes or split the index to list of ingredients, then separately list of ingredients to recipe. But you do get a stack of recipes.

The 5:2 Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Fasting
The 5:2 Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Fasting
by Angela Dowden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.11

4.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand what they mean by fasting, 24 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had, of course, heard of the eat for five days fast for two, but I thought when they say fast you just didn't eat. That isn't the case. You eat normally for five days and then limit the calories you eat for two days. And those two days don't have to be consecutive, they could be any two days of the week.

The book takes you through what the `diet' is all about. And also who shouldn't try it: if you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding; you are at the bottom end of your healthy weight (if you have a BMI of 20 or less you shouldn't try it); you are an elite athlete or in training for a marathon or other big stamina event; if you're diabetic; have irritable bowel syndrome; or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder recently or in the past.

Now, on a fasting day if you are a woman you can have no more than 500 calories, and 600 if you're a man. Now that is throughout the day, the recipes in the book are split into different calorie counts. Unfortunately, the recipes are not in single servings, they either serve 4 or 6. I know you can divide it by the relevant number, but it should have been easy enough just to make single servings. You are encouraged to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables though, as these will fill you up and are lower in calories.

The book also comes with a four week eating plan for your two `on' or fasting days. Most of the recipes take no more than half an hour to cook, and like I said before are split into calories per serving, so you can control what you eat better. And there is nothing to stop you eating these on your `off' days too.

I'll need to take some measurements of my waist etc first before I start on the eating plan, but it looks easily enough to follow.

Emjoi MICRO Pedi Professional Portable Pedicure Device
Emjoi MICRO Pedi Professional Portable Pedicure Device
Price: £35.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Best thing ever for getting rid of hard skin on your feet, 22 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Have to say I was a bit sceptical about using this. I didn't think it would be a patch on the old fashioned metal cheese grater type foot files.

Well, how wrong can I be!? This is absolutely fantastic. You take the Micro Pedi out of the box, slip in 3 AAA batteries and away you go. The Micro Pedi has two speeds which are easily controlled, and also comes with two rollers. A blue one for extra coarse and a pink for coarse skin. Now as my feet were quite bad, I just left the blue roll in. Switched the Micro Pedi on, and as the instructions stated, put it on my foot for 2 - 3 seconds. I did have to do it several times, but the dry skin just drops away. I would say to you though, either do it over the bath or over a towel. The amount of dry skin that came off mine was quite bad. Obviously, won't be as bad next time as I will be able to maintain the smoothness.

And another thing is you don't have to scrub and grate at your foot, you just get the Micro Pedi, and lightly rub it against your foot.

The Micro Pedi comes with a two year guarantee and a little instruction book, which you need to read before you use the Micro Pedi.

This is well worth the money, and will be getting regular use.

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