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Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Thomas Railroad Rewards Potty
Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Thomas Railroad Rewards Potty
Price: £23.97

4.0 out of 5 stars My son loves it, but not always for potty training!, 17 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great way to get kids interested in potties. We're potty training our 2 year old son at the moment, and we've almost exclusively used this Thomas & Friends potty so far. It's bright and colourful, so my son instantly found it interesting. When he realised it made a noise, he was even more interested. However, he has realised two things:

1) You can close the lid and stand on it (and thereby reach new and potentially exciting/hazardous objects)
2) You can flip it upside down a press a button to make the sound

He therefore spends most of his time messing around with the potty, and sometimes it's hard to get him to focus on actually using it when all he wants to do is flip it upside down, or stand on the top and spin around chanting "wee, wee, wee!" (I don't think he intentionally uses this as a pun).

However, despite the distractions this is still a great way to get toddlers interested in potty training, and so far it's proved to be very useful.


Sony BDPS4200 Smart Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc Player - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Sony BDPS4200 Smart Full HD 3D Blu-ray Disc Player - Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Offered by Deals Breaker
Price: £69.19

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great player, would be better with wifi, 24 Mar. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Upon unpacking this player I was surprised at just how small it is, as well as how sleek it looks. It's simple to set up too, with just the few necessary ports like HDMI, LAN etc.

Setup is relatively easy, but you'll need to update the software if you plan on using any of the online features. However, it doesn't take very long, and you'll be presented with the initial setup once you've updated. Interestingly, I didn't have to go through the initial setup when I first turned the item on - it was only after the new software installation that I had to do this. Either way though, it's a pretty straightforward affair.

Once you've gone online for the first time you'll get a list of all the online video channels, like iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and a whole host of others like YouTube and even a golf channel. When this player originally shipped, the Amazon Prime Video/LoveFilm app didn't work. However, this has since been updated and now works fine. Other apps like Netflix all worked perfectly from the start (I even signed up for a free trial within the player UI, which took just a couple of minutes).

The player is so packed full of features that it's easy to forget it's primary purpose as a blu ray player. In this regard it works superbly, with relatively quick loading, and crystal clear pictures. The player does claim to have a sub-1 second start up - please note that this only applies to loading the home scree, rather than discs themselves.

The UI is very simple to use, and is basically a standard XMB interface like on PlayStation 3/Bravia TVs. Most people will probably use the DVD/blu-ray and online video functions for the bulk of their time with this other player, but there are other functions too like a music player, which may be quite useful if you don't have any dedicated audio kit in your lounge.

The player also has HDMI link, though I've not yet been able to get this to work with my Panasonic surround sound and Toshiba TV yet - it certainly didn't work out of the box, even though Regza link was enabled.

This blu-ray player is feature packed despite its small size, and surprisingly slick. However, it does require a wired LAN connection, which is fine for me as my router is right next to my TV, but if you need a wireless connection you will need to look elsewhere.

EDIT: This review was updated to reflect the Amazon Prime Video app fix.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2014 2:24 PM BST


CafeTutto (Nespresso compatible) Capsules Taster Box 25's
CafeTutto (Nespresso compatible) Capsules Taster Box 25's
Offered by Fresh Coffee Shop Ltd
Price: £7.50

5.0 out of 5 stars As Good as the Real Thing, 31 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was really impressed with this selection pack. A really good variety of different coffees with a variety of flavours and strengths. The pods are foil and nice colours just like the 'real' Nespresso pods. I will definitely be purchasing these in the future.


Cafe Pod Nespresso Compatible Ristretto (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
Cafe Pod Nespresso Compatible Ristretto (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely tasting coffee, 31 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having had a Nespresso machine for some time now, and only ever used the official Nespresso capsules, I was really intrigued to see how these 'compatible' capsules stacked up - I was pleasantly surprised! They make lovely smooth coffee, in particular some really nice espressos and they also worked as a slightly longer coffee. The capsules were plastic, and wrapped in individual plastic wrappers too, which I presume is for freshness but does add to the already high packaging waste. Overall though I was impressed by these and would definitely use them again.


LG 42LN575V 42-inch Widescreen 1080p Full HD Smart LED TV with Built-In Wi-Fi/Freeview HD (discontinued by manufacturer)
LG 42LN575V 42-inch Widescreen 1080p Full HD Smart LED TV with Built-In Wi-Fi/Freeview HD (discontinued by manufacturer)

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic picture, questionable features, 17 Oct. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This TV is an upgrade from my old 40" Sony LCD TV, which I bought around 2009. With this LG model being an LED (technically an LED-backlit LCD) TV, I was curious to see how much better the picture would be. Despite both TVs being 1080p, I was and still am staggered by how much better the picture on this LG LED TV is compared to my old LCD TV. It really looks amazing, and is incredibly vibrant, even when all the ridiculous manufacturer settings have been turned down/off. The contrast levels are excellent, and the blacks really are almost pitch black.

In addition to a much improved picture, this TV is much thinner and lighter than my old LCD TV, and is also much more energy efficient. On hot summer days, my old LCD felt like a radiator if it was left on for any length of time, but this LG TV is completely cool at all times.

The TV also has plenty of inputs (3 HDMI and USB), and was amazingly easy to set up. Connecting 'smart' devices to a wireless network can often be a chore, but that certainly wasn't the case with this TV, and I was up and running within minutes.

From a picture/performance point of view, this TV is outstanding. However, there are a few features which I have found to be lacking.

My main initial gripe is that although the 'smart' features include a whole load of on-demand TV, only BBC iPlayer is present from the old terrestrial broadcasters - no 4oD, ITV player or Channel 5 player. To be fair to LG it seems that many smart TVs from other manufacturers are in the same boat, but I still find it disappointing. Having said that, it's still fantastic to have such easy access to the iPlayer, and there are tonnes of other channels like LoveFilm and YouTube.

I also have had problems with the recording feature. Initially I was very pleased to discover that this TV includes a TV recording function, but it's not quite good enough to replace my Humax box. For example, there is only a single tuner, so you can only record what you are watching. There also seems to be an issue with stuttering - I used a 160GB USB hard disk to record onto, but most recordings seem to have a bit of occasional stuttering. Finally, there doesn't seem to be any way of adding a buffer to the start and end of all recordings, which means if your program starts a few seconds early or ends late, you will miss all of this unanticipated footage. As a standard feature on most dedicated TV PVRs, I was sad not to find an option for this on the LG TV.

My other slight annoyance with the smart features is that all my shared network devices show up as 'inputs' on the TV and I can't find any way to remove them. The problem with this is that whenever I want to scroll through to change inputs (say, from broadcast TV to my Xbox) I have to scroll through about 8 different 'inputs' each time.

These shortcomings are really only concerned with the smart features though - as a TV I am absolutely delighted with how it performs. I just can't throw away my Humax just yet!


Sugarlump and the Unicorn
Sugarlump and the Unicorn
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.85

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book for pre-schoolers, 17 Sept. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Our son already has 'What the Ladybird Heard' so I was really excited to get my hands on this for him. I was worried it might be a bit 'girly' with all the glitter, but for pre-schoolers I think it's just perfect, as it's brightly coloured fun glitter rather than pink princessy glitter. A great story, with Julia Donaldson's fantastic rhyming style. A really great book for your child's collection.


Russell Hobbs 18980 Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender
Russell Hobbs 18980 Desire 3-in-1 Hand Blender
Price: £23.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hand blender, 22 Aug. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been really impressed with this hand blender, it is much better than my previous blender which was a supermarket own brand item.

The blending attachment is really effective and is also easy to clean (an important consideration for me as I don't own a dishwasher). The two speeds are really useful if you want a bit more control over the texture of what you're blending. The additional pots, especially the chopping pot are fantastic for chopping things like onions really quickly - perfect if you like making a curry paste from scratch. My poor food processor will be not used nearly as much now. The whisk attachment is also really useful.

This blender also has a really quality, sturdy feel to all its parts, as well as looking really stylish in black and red. Lots of blenders seem to be white which stains easily but the blender on this is made of stainless steel, so stains are not even an issue.


Cyberlink PowerDVD 13 Ultra (PC)
Cyberlink PowerDVD 13 Ultra (PC)
Price: £63.77

4.0 out of 5 stars Works Well, Lots of Pointless Extras, 8 Aug. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As blu-ray playback software, PowerDVD 13 is very good. It lets you play any blu-ray, either 3D or standard, without too much hassle. However, in an attempt to justify its existence over the years, PowerDVD has unfortunately gone down the route of adding more and more extra features, most of which are already available for free elsewhere. As most recent Windows PCs are fully capable of playing music, videos and DVDs out of the box, pretty much the only reason most people will buy this is for its blu-ray playback capabilities. As a result, it just feels massively bloated. The other issue is that much of this software isn't even as good as the free alternatives - media centre applications like XBMC and Plex blow the Cyberlink offering out of the water.

If you need to add blu-ray to your PC, then PowerDVD 13 will work fine - just make sure you hide or skip installation of all the other junk that comes with it.


NETGEAR RN10400-100EUS ReadyNAS 104 4 Bay Personal Cloud Network Attached Storage (Diskless), iTunes Server, Plex Server, DLNA Media Streaming and RAID
NETGEAR RN10400-100EUS ReadyNAS 104 4 Bay Personal Cloud Network Attached Storage (Diskless), iTunes Server, Plex Server, DLNA Media Streaming and RAID
Price: £131.28

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic little box, 7 Aug. 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used many NAS drives over the years but I have never, until now, owned one myself. I was therefore looking forward to seeing how easy was to set this NAS drive, and how well I could configure it without resorting to pages and pages of manuals and online guides: I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly everything went.

First off, I'm never a fan of installing CDs or DVDs of software onto any of my computers. Call me paranoid, but after years of seeing Kodak software and BT Broadband helper applications grinding friends' and relatives' PCs to a halt, I tend to only install client software if I really need to. There is a disc supplied with the Netgear ReadyNAS, but I've never used it. Instead, I went directly to the NAS via its IP address, which is displayed on the front of the NAS once you first boot it up (though only when it has at least one HDD installed).

Upon accessing the NAS, I went through a simple wizard to set it up, which was surprisingly effortless. Literally minutes later, everything was up and running. You login via the NAS's web page, and from there you can access all the functions and tools. The latest version of the firmware is 6.0.8, which is newer than the version that it shipped with. Fortunately, you can upgrade painlessly from the admin screen.

Aside from storing all my music and photos, one of the main reasons I wanted to use this NAS was as a home media server, using Plex. To install any kind of app like this, all you need to do is login to the NAS and go to the dedicated apps section. There is a selection of free apps (Plex included), and you can buy apps from the Genie market place. You can even install a torrent client directly on the drive, so you can leave it downloading overnight without having to keep your computer on all the time.

Having got Plex up and running, I copied all my movies across onto the drive via the network (which took over a day!), and everything was sorted. Since then the drive has been on pretty much 24/7, and has operated almost flawlessly. I say almost, because I had a problem whereby I couldn't access the admin. I contacted Netgear support the issue, and they resolved the issue for me, via an online chat and 'screen control' service. It turns out the 'continuous snapshots' service had gone a bit overboard, and was rapidly filling up the drive as I had so much data on there. To be honest, I didn't even know this was running and for what I was using the NAS for it didn't really serve much purpose, so I turned it off and deleted all the snapshots.

Aside from this issue I've had absolutely no complaints, and the excellent Netgear customer service has given me confidence in case anything serious should go wrong in the future.

The only real limitation of the NAS is that it uses an ARM CPU, which is incapable of transcoding HD video (I can only watch Plex videos using 'direct play', which is fine for me as I encode all my backups with Handbrake but some may find this an issue). For 99% of other uses however, this CPU will be absolutely fine and in theory should be very energy efficient. It's very quiet (though not silent), and has a convenient carry-handle on the back in case you need to take it anywhere.


TDK Universal Bluetooth Wireless Speaker TW212
TDK Universal Bluetooth Wireless Speaker TW212
Price: £11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compact but lacking bass, 8 July 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used several bluetooth speakers over the years, but this is one of the smallest and most reasonably priced speakers I've used. As a result, there are compromises, the most obvious of which is the sound quality. Unlike many larger speakers (and some smaller ones), this speaker does sound quite tinny. Coming from an established brand like TDK, I must admit to being a bit disappointed with the lack of bass. It's not a bad sound, but I've actually heard a much fuller sound from portable speakers that are even smaller than this.

In terms of setup, it's pretty much like any bluetooth speaker, and reconnected easily when needed (on my phone this is a manual process but my computer does this without any intervention).

Overall, this is fine for radio chat shows, and music if you're not too bothered about bass, but if you're looking for something with a bit of oomph then you might need to look at something a bit higher up the ladder.


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