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Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Alpen Light Chocolate and Orange Cereal Bars 19 g (Pack of 5)
Alpen Light Chocolate and Orange Cereal Bars 19 g (Pack of 5)

3.0 out of 5 stars Low Calorie High FIbre, 10 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Alpen Cereal bars a 70 calories each on the box and have a reputation for being considerably better than most all other cereal bars.

The Alpen Light chocolate and orange bars are an impressive 5% protein and 23% fibre each. My normal cereal bars are Eat Natural which come in at 35g; (almost double the Alpens 19g) and they do have more or less double the calories as these alpen bars. What they don't have anything like is the Fibre - if you need fibre in your diet the Alpen bars are outstanding - Eat Natural only manage 5%. What the Eat Natural bars do have is taste and texture though; the alpen bars offer little in the way of texture - and the orange flavour is far too subtle if you have a coffee - and the overall texture is underwhelming.

If you are on a strict diet there is a lot of appeal with these bars they have some flavour and texture; i just prefer the flavour and rich texture of the Eat Natural bar; and the low calorie high fibre is a rare combination.. The comparative lack of texture and flavour for a saving of only 89 calories compared to the eat natural bars isn't something I am prepared to make


Auraglow 5m 300 LED RGB 5050 Tape Strip Light Complete Kit
Auraglow 5m 300 LED RGB 5050 Tape Strip Light Complete Kit
Offered by Safield Dist. Ltd
Price: £79.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent LED Kit, 10 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have bought several LEd kits over the last 2 years as I replace old lighting in my apartment. The Auraglow kit is one of the best; it may be more or less the same components as the other kits; only Auraglow is far better presented and comes with some very useful extras others miss; like the strip joining links and some brackets you can use to screw down strips if the 3m adhesive on the back doesn't work. Though the first few CM of the strip the glue was ruined as Auraglow had pealed it back to solder in a connector into the strip; for that small section I used a glue to attach. The Rest of the strips adhesive worked well as I stuck to to some gloss paint in my kitchen; and it has remained in place despite the heat of cooking and my coffee machine.

The White from the LED's is a little cool compared to other light forms (it makes some orange / red colours look a little strange); but it is low power and very discreet. You can cut the strips up every 3 LEDs (about 10 cm) and Auraglow supply a few connectors to join strips together (so you can make cleaner corners or jump over gaps. The remote control lets you select colours from a preset list (you can't dial a colour) as well as alter the brightness of the kit. If you power off an on the strips default to powered on (if you are thinking of wiring them into a switch.)

The discreet nature of LED strips appeals to me; and the ease of installation (and removal) lets you get light into places that are a little dark with ease. Auraglow's kit is good value and the kit itself is the best I have bought so far.


Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse for Mac
Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse for Mac
Price: £59.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Too Small, 10 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Logitech T631 is a well made and good looking mouse; with a smooth white plastic on top of a cool metal base. The mouse is small - its barely bigger than a credit card and about as thick as a mobile phone. It connects to your computer by bluetooth; and if you have a desktop its worth nothing there isn't a dongle in the packaging. On the base of the mouse is a connect button and for me a feature I asked logitech to add a number of years ago - a Computer 1/2 Switch. You can program the mouse to work with multiple computers - I have 3 on my desk today and being able to cut down on the mice on my desk is a great advantage. If you use the mouse with a desktop and notebook when you are on the road it will do the same for you. For those on the road the mouse charges from a USB micro cable; so if you have pretty much any phone bar an iPhone you already have the cable in your bag; Logitech include a tiny USB micro cable if you don't. Charging from USB is very convenient; though the battery seems to last at least 8 days between charging; the battery indicator on the control panel suggested it was getting low so i charged it at that point.

Logitech chose the shape is determined by its top surface being a touch surface and so its large and flat; my previous mouse the Logitech T620 Touch Mouse - Graphite has the same touch features (albeit Windows 8 only) but is considerably larger - and considerably more comfortable to use as a mouse. The Touch functions allow you to control OSX functions like swipe on Safari or change desktops unfortunately they don't include the mouse pointer so you have to move the mouse to control the pointer and the T631 is just too small to use comfortably and that sadly detracts from everything else.

I love the charging, the ability to use with two computers and the touch functions but for general mouse pointer duty the T631 falls flat 3*.


Spudz SPBK20 10x10 Micro Fibre Lens Cloth In Pouch -Black
Spudz SPBK20 10x10 Micro Fibre Lens Cloth In Pouch -Black
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lens cloth with built in storage and drying wire clip, 31 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Spudz micro fibre lens cloth is a grey card coloured lens cloth that is attached to its own neoprene storage container. The lens cloth is easy to get out and put back into the neoprene; and the micro fibre does a good job in cleaning a lens of dust and moisture. I used it recently in a jungle for a few days and it removed lots of moisture and dirt (mud generally gets a first removal with a bottle of water) from my gopro case and slr lens filters with the cloth removing whatever was left. Used on such harsh environments Its pretty easy to clean - though its best to have two for those circumstances a dirt and finishing cloth set. Using the pouch you can't protect one side from the other easily to have a single cloth be dual purpose. When its dirty flip the neoprene inside out to get all the cloth out and (its stitched into the neoprene) then keep holding onto the neoprene - its a hands on affair with water and a mild a soap as you can find as you can't machine wash it. On my unusual trip that happened once a day and the cloth was still soft on the fifth day of daily washing.

Once washed put it somewhere to air dry (not in the dryer.) The pouch has a clip to attach it to things (like a camera strap) I don't understand the point of that - i want to keep the cleaning cloth away from the dirt till I need it. I did find it very useful on the hotel bathroom drying wires after washing them though.

There are cheaper ways to get lens cleaning cloths but the micro fibre and attached pouch make this a great choice for travelling with.


Barratts Refreshers Fruity Flavour Fizzy Sweets 34.2 g (Pack of 48)
Barratts Refreshers Fruity Flavour Fizzy Sweets 34.2 g (Pack of 48)
Offered by VIRGO PARTY SHOP
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great tasting fizzy sweets, 31 Dec 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Barratts Refreshers are a great nostalgia sweet; they have a nice sort of fruit flavours and a great fizzing sensation that are popular with old and young visiting family. There are 48 individual packs that come in a single larger box; which makes the price of a single pack very good value.


Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
Price: £1,170.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Sharp; super wide angle, 31 Dec 2013
The Canon EF16-35mm F2.8 USM ii lens is chunky; distorts considerably at the widest angles and apertures and vignettes like it has an instagram filter inside it but takes some of the most amazing landscape pictures I have achieved. On my camera the zoom ring and manual focus rings are both smooth; and allow for clean focus pulling if you are shooting video. Even on my Canon 6d the (full time overridable) autofocus is pretty quick from shortest to infinity focus and the autofocus results in sharp images. The body is plastic with a metal body mount; if you add a (UV) filter - its an 82mm thread - the lens offers weather sealing (the zoom does move the lens in and out of the body of the lens so there is also a high likelihood of ingesting dust in its use so the filter should help reduce that too. Finally in the box you also get a lens hood; I found even without it I was able to take images in pretty much all circumstances without getting any flaring but its there if you need it (and the lens hood for the 24-105 fits inside it if you want to save some space)

I have dragged it around Bangkok and Singapore going in and out of air conditioning and tropical rain and the weather proofing kept it going; its super wide angle lets you take some amazing shots of the city Day and Night hand held getting everything in the frame without having to resort to stitching. With the aperture closed all the way down to F22 you get amazing sparkles on all the lights ( i have uploaded a full frame and cropped image showing the effect) ; and at F2.8 you can get images in lower light that you wouldn't be able to achieve with the 17-40mm F4 without extending the ISO / Shutter speed to difficult levels.

If you have a cropped sensor camera you should look at the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens although note it has a higher min aperture and its variable which isn't so good if you want to shoot video, its considerably cheaper - on a cropped body the 10-22 takes great shots over the same wide angles as the 16-35mm offers on the full frame. Despite the distorting issues that you should expect with a zoom-wide angle lens with a tool like Adobe Lightroom you can easily remove or reduce the distortion of the lens and are left with simply fantastic sharp images day and night.


Case Logic Action Bag for Camera - Black
Case Logic Action Bag for Camera - Black
Price: £15.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Degrees of separation, 31 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Case logic Action Bag is made for transporting cameras like the Go Pro series.

These cameras are pretty tiny; but they tend to come with a variety of connectors and clips to allow you to mount them to a variety of surfaces as you travel. Some of these parts are pretty tiny some of them not so tiny. The case logic action bag is first off pretty big so it can hold a lot of parts; what it lacks are enough dividers to make it useable. I can throw things into it; and put a few items behind mesh pockets but there aren't containers for the different extensions or mounts that I find I carry along with the camera. I have just dragged it around on a 22,000 mile journey around asia and back and it kept everything in one place; I had a gopro3, a number of sticky mounts, tripod mount, a sizeable number of extension brackets, use cable, tube mount, window suction cup and egg timer (for time-lapse) in the bag and it was plenty big enough.

What I found though was whenever I was trying to build the right mount to get the images I was after more often than not i had to empty it to find what i was looking for which makes it an awkward bag for field use. That makes the flat divider camera packs you can find generally more user friendly. It is however exceptionally cheap and an easy way to move things around if you can live with the lack of dividers.


Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Dual Action Twin Pack (2 x 250 ml)
Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Dual Action Twin Pack (2 x 250 ml)
Price: £6.79

3.0 out of 5 stars A washer for your dishwasher or the emperors new clothes, 19 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The finish dual action dishwasher cleaner is a bit of strange one to test. You are supposed to use this once a month; so I did a run through with my finish power ball tablets; emptied my dishwasher and then immediately I ran it through my dishwasher with the cleaner.

After that first run through there was a feeling of this being the emperors new clothes - visually I couldn't see any difference.

As a single frequent traveller my dishwasher is used maybe once a fortnight and is only a year old. As part of the extensive list of benefits the stand out one for me is Finish say the dishwasher cleaner it removes limescale; I have had two dishwashers fail in the past 10 years through limescale build up.

Its not especially expensive; a couple of pounds a month and if it does make my dishwasher last longer its likely a price worth paying.


Bose ® QuietComfort ® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Bose ® QuietComfort ® 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
Price: £259.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travel Light, 19 Dec 2013
I fly regularly and have had bose noise cancelling headphones in my bag for almost a decade; they are great for listening to music in peace or just for peace and quiet when travelling (planes trains and subways.) When my original sets headphones perished after years of use I switched to QC15s which were a notable step up from the original. Both sets of over the ear headphones came in a big hard case that took up an enormous amount of space in my carry on bag. The sound from them was alright; far better than included ear buds but miles away from my Bowers & Wilkins P5s. Over those 10 years my laptop has shrunk from something you carry only when necessary to a 1kilogram sliver of aluminium and silicon; but my headphones stayed enormous.

A few of travelling contacts have recently raved about the qc20's saying the noise cancellation was as good as the qc15's but they were 1/10 the size. So on my latest trip i cashed out my Heathrow rewards (sorry amazon) and got a set at the airport. As they charge via usb my first task was to plug them into my laptop to charge them up for a 13 hour flight. The box includes a USB charging cable but not a power charger; as hotels as they upgrade seem to be rolling out USB power sockets that might not be as bad as it sounds. More importantly missing from the box; an aircraft twin audio adaptor something that refuses to die -if you intend to use them with the planes entertainment system make sure you get an adaptor before you board. The battery on the QC20 lasted all of that 13 hour flight to Singapore and the NC was on pretty much the whole time

After an hour or so of charging i slipped them into my ears; finding them very comfortable on the medium tips that were fitted in the box; there are other sizes in there too. Flipping the power switch the noise cancellation is nothing short of astonishing; once activated there is almost no outside noise - it sounds almost unnaturally quiet with a faint hiss if you aren't playing any music or video through them. When you do connect them up to a sound source the sound is tonally flat; it may be because they are still new. I am not into heavy bass in my music but it feels lacking on and off the plane; the treble and mid tones are good. On the plane the small size of the phones made sleeping with them much more achievable though still not as compact as ear plugs they work better.

These are headphones for travellers; the sound quality is a vast improvement on included ear buds; but lacks depth. The noise cancellation function though is years ahead of anyones (better even than the QC15); when its on the sounds of air conditioning and engines just goes away. Further up the cable is a microphone / volume / select button switch - this has a button that temporarily removes the noise cancelling the idea being you can use it to speak to the cabin crew; I'm a bit old fashioned and thing its polite to remove them from your ears though.

Only 4*s because the musical ability is behind the times; but 4*s because the noise cancellation is way ahead of its peers and with this new design Bose have freed up an enormous amount of space (and a bit of weight) in my carry on bag


Finish Quantum Lemon Sparkle 2 x Pack of 40 (80 Dishwasher Tablets)
Finish Quantum Lemon Sparkle 2 x Pack of 40 (80 Dishwasher Tablets)
Price: £18.67

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big tablets give a good clean, 11 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The finish Quantum tabs are surprisingly big packing in a liquid, powder and red ball. The are so large that the first time I used one the Finish Quantum tab wasn't released into the machine and it remained in the tray a little soggy but otherwise intact. I found that the tabs are tapered and are wider at one end than the other - the lip at the wider end jammed into the tray on my machine and so i have to put the narrower end in first.

Once that little niggle was resolved my cutlery comes out shiny and my plates are all clean. The tablets packaging is convenient coming in a resealable plastic bag which keeps them dry under the sync. 80 Tablets for me is more than a years worth so they represent great value.


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