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Gamestar Mechanic For Dummies (For Dummies (Computers))
Gamestar Mechanic For Dummies (For Dummies (Computers))
by Jacob Cordeiro
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and informative, 15 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The book, like most of the "for dummies" series, is relatively well written and contains numerous hints and tips to help the reader gain a better understanding of the content.

It requires the user to set-up a Gamestar Mechanic account which is a simple process, and then proceeds to guide the user through a series of instructional activities through which the user can learn the mechanics of the system and the game building environment. The information is generally easy to follow with clear and concise instructions.

I cannot vouch how well it works for people who are computer illiterate and non-internet savvy, but for someone who has a decent comprehension of how they work, but who isn't a developer, it certainly meets the requirements of instructing the user to build games with the Gamestar Mechanic service.


Crucial 288 Pin 4GB CL15 DDR4 DIMM Memory Module
Crucial 288 Pin 4GB CL15 DDR4 DIMM Memory Module
Price: £68.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice, 15 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I used this in my home system and so far, having changed nothing else with the system, I have notived a modest increase in speed when accessing files on the system. It was easy to install (the same as any other ram), but if you have never installed ram before, there are plenty of videos etc online to help. The only real downside I can find is that it has different power requirements than its predecessor, and therefore cannot be used on a lot of older servers/desktops so its always best to check compatibility before purchase/installation.


Colgate C350 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Colgate C350 ProClinical Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
Price: £22.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent but nothing more, 27 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've tried a number of different toothbrushes now and can definitely say that while Colgate one are decent, they are certainly not to of the pack.

This one comes boxed in a relatively compact box within which the charger, brush handle, brush and brush holder are situated. The packaging is east to open and mostly recyclable which is always a plus.

I have been slightly disappointed with the build quality of the Colgate branded brushes and this one has done little to improve that view. They tend to feel a bit flimsy and are quite lightweight. While that makes them easy to hold, I suspect it is because of a lower rate motor inside which also makes them less effective than done of their competitors.

In terms of performance, once again, Colgate to fall behind the lines of Philips. The brush head is small and soft which isn't necessarily a problem but that combined with the softer motor often means I spend more time brushing with the Colgate then some of the other brushes I've tried.

It isn't a bad brush for the money, but I'm not convinced it's a long term investment. Of you're happy to put down a relatively low amount for an electric toothbrush and only anticipate using it for a couple of years, this may be fine. But if you want a substantial brush that really assists with dental hygiene for the next few years, there are better, albeit more expensive, options on the market.


Bigjigs Rail Magical Train Set and Table
Bigjigs Rail Magical Train Set and Table
Offered by Bigjigs Toys
Price: £119.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant!, 14 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This train set and table come in a big, heavy box, much bigger and heavier than I was expecting, but everything inside is well packaged and there are very clear instructions, which makes a very nice change.

Construction has a couple of different phases, firstly the table shell needs to be built, which is relatively easy even for a DIY novice, thanks to the easy to fit together parts and clear instructions. Mine was even put together with the help of a 3yo who was thrilled to be able to be involved even if it only actually meant holding the wood still while parts were screwed together. The main table top simply slots onto the table frame with design on one side, and plain white on the other, which could be used as a play table when the train-set is packed away. The table size is, once again, larger than I was expecting and is just too wide to fit through a standard door without having to tilt it horizontal. It is also relatively weighty without being heavy, which should ensure younger children will not be able to lift it up and cause mischief. Once the table is set-up there are a couple of smaller sections to assemble - the tunnel and the birdge, which are also very easy to put together.

There is plent of track, along with the tunnel and bridge to cover the table, and there are plenty of decorations as well ranging from trees to houses to giant toadstools. All of which can be placed around the table/track and played with/moved around at leisure. The set contains a train with trailer, a helicopter complete with spinning very chunk and safe blade, a boat and a car for use with the level crossing built into the tracks. I track seems to be exapndable, but without having other similar train sets I can't confirm.

Perhaps most importantly, the children have been besotted with it ever since it arrived. Even when the train is in use by one, there are enough other vehicles and decorative pieces that the other one has something equally interesting and enjoyable to do. it has rapidly become a go-to toy for both, and while there appears to be a lot of pink, it is definitely a unisex toy with both young boy and girl enjoying it. I have been so surprised by the excellent quality, variation and longevity of fun that this toy has, I cannot rate it at anything other than 5 stars.


Philips LED Light Bulb (E27 Edison Screw 9.5W A60) - Warm White
Philips LED Light Bulb (E27 Edison Screw 9.5W A60) - Warm White
Price: £8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice bulb, 14 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used a couple LED bulbs recently, and this one is definitely up there with the best.

It is certainly slightly brighter than the Kosnic Energy Saving CFL quick start spiral light bulb it replaced, and more impressively, it did not have that annoying fade in tendency of regular energy saving lightbulbs. The Philips LED bulb is much brighter right from the flick of the switch, more like the standard lightbulb of old.

The main criticism is similar to other Philips LED bulbs I've used and it is about the packaging. Philips have decided to package the lightbulb in a cardboard sleeve over a vacuum packaged plastic. This plastic packaging is very awkward to open, I had to resort to scissors, and it is also not easily recycled at least by my local authority. I understand Philips want to show off the bulb in the packaging, but this surely isn't the best use of packaging for customer ease, or resource consumption. I am also much more of a fan of bayonet bulbs simply because all by a couple of my light sockets use that method instead of the screw in - but that will come down to individual needs and there is a bayonet version available.

Apart from that, however, the bulb has thus far performed admirably and I certainly have no hesitation about rolling these out throughout the house.


Philips GC8651/10 PerfectCare Aqua Pressurised Steam Generator Iron, 2.5 Litre, 2400 Watt, 6.2 Bar
Philips GC8651/10 PerfectCare Aqua Pressurised Steam Generator Iron, 2.5 Litre, 2400 Watt, 6.2 Bar
Price: £251.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves clothes incredibly smooth - Great iron!, 10 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used a couple of steam generator irons previously so I was prepared for the size, but if you haven't be warned that this iron has a much bigger footprint than your standard iron. This iron is slightly bigger than my previous one, but both require the steam generator base to be placed on a table rather than the ironing board to prevent it becoming unstable. That being said, I was very pleased with the performance of this iron which is definitely the best one I've used.

The iron itself is very lightweight but still feels sturdy in the hand. As with other steam generated irons, it is attached to the base with a sturdy wire through which the steam is sent. The ironing surface is very smooth and left me with no concerns about using it on a range of fabrics. It also has a nicely tailored point which allows you to reach every nook and crevice on the item and ensures that even on more intricately designed items, the iron will still reach.

While big, and quite heavy when full, the steam generator is much quieter than some others I've used. It producers a decent quantity of steam to ensure a smooth finish, without making the items too wet. It ensures a smooth glide and I welcomed the fact that I didn't need to adjust the volume of steam for every individual item. The only real drawback is the awkwardness of trying to fill up the water tank to fill or empty. The emptying remains the biggest problem for irons without a detatchable water reservoir unless you know that you will need to iron on a regular basis, when leaving the water in the tank shouldn't be an issue as it will be used up eventually anyway.

All-in-all I can't really fault this iron too much for anything. Yes it is big, but so are all models of this type of iron, so as long as you are prepared for it, that shouldn't be an issue. Yes it generates more noise than a conventional iron, but much less noise than the other steam generating irons I've tried. And for all that extra bulk and noise, it offers the perfect ironing experience, quick, easy and crease free.


Philips B22 6 Watt LED 40W WW 230V A60 FR ND/4, Warm White
Philips B22 6 Watt LED 40W WW 230V A60 FR ND/4, Warm White

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice bulb, 22 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first proper LED bulb I've used and so far I have been impressed. This was used to replace a Kosnic Energy Saving CFL quick start spiral light bulb which had performed decently, but still had the usual build up in light performance. Thankfully the Philips LED bulb seems to be much brighter right from the flick of the switch and this one has a slightly whiter colour than the Kosnic (they both claim to be of a similar colour warmth).

The main criticism I have is the packaging. For some reason, while Philips are trying to save energy and the environment, they have also decided the package the lightbulb in a cardboard sleeve over a vacuum packaged plastic. Not only is this plastic packaging awkward to open, with me having to resort to scissors, it is also not easily recycled, at least by my local authority. I understand Philips want to show off the bulb in the packaging, but this surely isn't the best use of packaging for customer ease, or resource consumption.

Apart from that, however, the bulb has thus far performed admirably and I certainly have no hesitation about rolling these out throughout the house.


Thomas & Friends Trackmaster Avalanche Escape Set
Thomas & Friends Trackmaster Avalanche Escape Set
Price: £31.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing quality, 10 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This track set is much bigger than the other Thomas and Friends track set I have, which was unexpected and a little annoying as it means that the two cannot be joined, and the smaller thomas cannot be use on this track which has caused much confusion for the children.

It took a little time to put together as the instructions are not entirely clear with certain parts being labelled and other not, meaning you have to try and decipher which is the correct part through looking at the picture on the box and a process of elimination. The Thomas also does not include batteries, which is slightly disappointing, but it isn't too difficult to unscrew the bottom and fit appropriate batteries, so it isn't too much of a hardship.

The biggest problem with this set is the shoddy build quality. Not only is the plastic not exactly premium, but some sections of the track don't even sit evenly on a flat wooden floor. This causes the track to lift and become slightly lobsided, which in turn leads to Thomas getting frequently stuck going around corners.

Even worse than that, the avalanche escape mechanism is very weak and flimsy. It is triggers by a little notch in the bottom of Thomas connecting to a small pop-up catch in the track which moves the track on the upright arm to move to the downward sloping track. Or at least it would if it worked properly. All too frequently this small pop-up catch gets stuck below the track requiring a somewhat vigourous shake of the arms to get it to release and pop-up again. If this doesn't happen, Thomas gets to the top of the 'mountain' and promptly drives off the edge of the track.

Additionally, because of the flimsiness of the avalanche arm, it frequently fails to line-up correctly with the track which means that Thomas never even makes it to the top but gets stuck before reaching the peak and, once again, promptly falls off the track.

And there is a weakness on Thomas as well. On the Thomas I received, one of the cheap plastic bars that connects the front wheels to back wheels doesn't actually sit properly in the wheel and frequently falls out of the back wheel resulting in it either catching in the track, or catching in one of the various add-ons on the set.

While I understand what is going on, and can take corrective action when these problem occur, which is at least 2 in 3 circuits of the track, the children don't understand what Thomas keeps falling or gets stuck, resulting in a less than favourable response when Thomas (one of the their favourite characters) doesn't work properly. It usually means that an adult usually has to sit with them while they play with this set to correct all these failings manually and allow the children to enjoy playing with their set. The only reason this has managed to achieve more than one star is that when I, or someone else sits with them to play with this and correct all the frequent problems, the children absolutely love watching thomas go around - it's such a shame the product is let down by the very, very poor build quality.


Bright Starts Hide and Spin Monkey
Bright Starts Hide and Spin Monkey
Price: £34.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Children love it, but it's not without concern., 7 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This toy was much bigger than I was expecting and unfortunately took some constructing by an adult two screw the barrell onto the monkey and slot everything into place.

In terms of performance, it was pretty good, the 5 plastic balls are put into the head of the monkey who, after some noise and lights, drops them onto a rotating yellow circle which pushes the balls in any one of four directions (except they almost invariably end up going straight out of the shoot next to the ball drop). While the children certainly found this both fascinating and entertaining, I found the performance a little haphazard. Sometimes the balls would get stuck in the monkey's barrell tummy, requiring me to poke around to release them. Additionally the counting wasn't always accurate and it you're either left with having to press the monkey's nose to trigger it's animations and drop, or it starts the whole process before all the balls have been entered, which isn't great given the moving parts (the head drops into the barrell) that near to little fingers. And the same can be said for the tummy hole in the barrell. Trying to teach a 1-2 year old not to put their hand into a hole when they see the colourful balls isn't the easiest thing in the world, but a necessary one for this toy as the hole remains open even when the monkey is in its duck and deposit motion, which could lead to little fingers being hurt - a simple mechanical flap across the hole just before the monkey is about to move would be much more sensible, and still allow the area to be accessible to an adult as and when the balls get stuck.

I was also a little disappointed by the quality of the balls which are a very thin, lightweight plastic. While I appreciate that this makes them light enough for any child to pick them up, they skim across my wooden floors are a rate of knots which has forced me to ensure plenty of barriers are deployed to stop them getting stuck under furniture. Their lightweight build quailty also make them very easy to be squashed if accidently stood upon. While this is great for the kids as I would obviously rather the ball get hurt than the child fall over, it makes them pretty much unusable afterwards.

All of which probably makes it sound much worse than it really is. The children love it, and have near hours of fun chasing balls and putting them back into the monkey's head. I just wish it was slightly better quality and perhaps have a couple more precautions to keep little fingers well away from moving parts.


Cairo Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the Middle East Inspired by the Street Foods of Cairo
Cairo Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the Middle East Inspired by the Street Foods of Cairo
by Suzanne Zeidy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice cookbook, 2 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book was much larger than I expected but has a lovely hardback finish with matte gloss pages. It doesn't have a dust jacket, but thankfully the book is well bound so keeping it open on a page isn't that much of an issue, and there is little concern about breaking the spine and binding.

The book splits into 9 different sections for recipes - breakfast, mezza, soups, greens beans and grains, street food, family-Style meals, pickles etc, desserts, and drinks - with further division within these categories. There is a good insight into the different categories within the text explaining the importance of ingredients and the history of the dishes and food types. Thankfully, this is done concisely yet informatively, unlike a lot of other cookbooks which surround their recipes with needless text that seem to focus more on the author than the food.

As for the recipes themselves, most are clearly illustrated with well take pictures that show the end result and often have accompaning text to indicate which is which on photos that contain more than one dish. These aren't always on the same page as the recipe but are usually one or two pages before or after, and the location is clearly indicated on the recipe page. While the pictures that are in place are very useful, I would prefer all recipes to have photos with them, especially given the fact that many are totally new to me, so it is a shame this has been overlooked.

The recipes are laid out in an easy to understand manner, with instructions kept simple yet dense enough to ensure you can understand the process fully. The ingredients are, for the most part, easy to source for the average person with access to a good sized supermarket. Equally I would expect most of the required equipment to be in a decently equiped kitchen, and found no issues with not having the right utensils and cookware for the recipes.

All-in-all, I am very impressed with the volume of recipes and attention to detail that this cookbook offers. While the lack of pictures for every recipe is an annoyance, the quality of the rest of the book has been a pleasant surprise and definitely makes this one of the best cookbooks I've used.


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