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Illustratedman (County Durham, UK)

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Garland Electric Heated Windowsill Propagator - 3 Trays
Garland Electric Heated Windowsill Propagator - 3 Trays
Offered by Garden Selections
Price: £31.49

5.0 out of 5 stars It's Alive! Alive! Mwahahahaha!, 8 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this last Sunday afternoon, it arrived Monday lunchtime (thanks to Prime). I filled some modules with soil which was 12C according to the soil thermometer that I bought with it (not the one in the optional bundle though, I opted for one that was a quid more as the one they were trying to push sounded a bit rubbish in the reviews). There are no instructions as such (okay, a few tips included with the gaurantee) basically plug it in and go. 3 hours later it was reading 24C and I sowed tomatoes and a few melon seeds.

I have the propagator on my office windowsill, above a radiator that is only on for a few hours a day. The room is average 16C during the day. As far as I can tell the propagator is a steady 29-30C during the day and drops down to 24-25C at night when the blinds are down and radiator is off.

Today, exactly one week after I ordered it, the first shoots are poking through; 3 tomatoes and 2 melons :)

I was worried that this was going to be too wide for my narrow 7" windowsills but the dimensions are a bit misleading. The heater tray is tapered with a wider lip at the top, the base is more like 6" deep and so fits perfectly. I was also worried about leaving something designed to generate heat plugged in around the clock but the underside of the tray is insulated and doesn't transfer any heat to the windowsill, the inside of the tray is just comfortably warm to the touch (amazed cats have not commandeered it yet). The 3 individual propagators are standard Garland size, with good high plastic lids. The power lead could do with being a little longer but that's just me being picky, it's perfectly adequate.

I used to double bag propagators and put them in the airing cupboard but that was a bit hit + miss. Very happy with this, should've bought one years ago and now seriously thinking about getting another so I can get more stuff started :)

BenQ GW2765HT LED IPS 27 -inch W Monitor 16:9 2560 x 1440, 1000:1, 20M:1, 4 ms GTG, DVI/DP1.2/HDMI1.4/speakers - Black & Glossy Black
BenQ GW2765HT LED IPS 27 -inch W Monitor 16:9 2560 x 1440, 1000:1, 20M:1, 4 ms GTG, DVI/DP1.2/HDMI1.4/speakers - Black & Glossy Black
Price: £284.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better colour than you'd expect at this price., 3 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very happy with this monitor. I’m a professional illustrator and while I bought this for my general office/web machine rather than a graphics workstation I am satisfied that it’s handling of colour is a lot better than the price tag would suggest.
It’s a lot kinder to my eyes (the old Philips it replaced was starting to give me eyestrain and headaches). It doesn’t get too hot. On my other machines I’ve got an old Dell that puts out so much heat I never need to turn the radiators on and my Cintiq starts to cook the eyeballs after a few hours drawing.
The only negatives I can think of are; 1) it’s a dust magnet and you can’t use any kind of liquid screen cleaner (it’s not glass and smears like mad). 2) Fitting the stand was a bit awkward which led to me scratching the screen (I think I caught it with my watch strap) luckily it’s small and out of the way so I don’t notice it but that really annoyed me at the time. I’d suggest getting someone to hold the screen while you fit the stand, it’s not heavy but more than 2 hands would be an advantage.
I have to be careful with colour calibration and have a mid-range calibrator that I use to keep all my monitors within a certain tolerance. This monitor can keep up with the rest and I trust what it is showing me. I’d buy one again.

Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV
Price: £79.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get wifi to work but LAN connection is great., 28 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Amazon Fire TV (Electronics)
Just before Christmas while half asleep I clicked the wrong button and ended up with a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime. I discovered that I could stream Prime Instant video via my Kindle HD to the TV in my bedroom via an hdmi cable. However my TV was at the opposite end of the house to my router and the Wi-Fi signal was patchy. I used the free trial to watch every episode of Ripper Street and was really impressed with the HD but wasn't sure about the amount or quality of free content available justified paying £70 odd quid for a year's subscription. Also I couldn't get the BBC iPlayer app to work at all on my Kindle since they upgraded it.

In the end the decision was made for me when I forgot to cancel Prime before the trail expired. I figured that as I was `stuck' with a year's subscription to Prime that I might as well make the most of it. I'd probably get my money back just on the `free delivery' alone. (I have no interest in the cloud storage, and the Kindle library is all vanity published rubbish as far as I can see.) This coincided with the Amazon TV £10 off deal so I decided to go for it in the hope that the Wi-Fi antenna in the dedicated box might be more powerful than the Kindle. Unfortunately if anything it is even weaker. Whereas I could just about watch an hour long show with maybe 2 or 3 pauses on the kindle, the Amazon TV box could barely find my router and when it did it couldn't log in at all.

I ended up solving this by spending even more money and buying a 'broadband extender kit' from BT (a pair of plugs that turn the mains wiring into a LAN). With one of these connected to my router at one end and my Amazon TV LAN input at the other.

With my Amazon box now connected to my router via LAN everything is hunky dory. The Amazon Prime TV content is not bad, I've got no shortage of things on my watchlist. I've noticed that the quality of HD seems to vary. Many older TV shows that claim to be HD seem to actually be SD but the bang up to date stuff is fantastic. The selection of free films available is not so good and I notice that if I wanted to rent one of the latest blockbusters then the price is roughly double what it would cost on Sky Box office. The BBC iPlayer app works perfectly as does the Youtube one. I haven't bothered with games or many other apps yet. The Curzon cinema app looks good but I am waiting for it to sort out its payment system before I give it a go (have to register a credit card with a third party rather than just use Amazon's payment system).

The actual hardware is tiny, barely bigger than the sockets needed to plug in the power, HDMI and LAN cables. There's a USB port on the back but no instructions as to what it's used for, maybe additional storage for apps or game content? Dunno.

I can't give this 5 stars because the Wi-Fi was such a let-down and I had to buy more equipment in order to use it, but when I did get it working I was really impressed. It does what I want it to do and as long as they keep bringing out new content I'll be happy.

Le Tyke Sportif - Bicycle Race 2014 Vintage Style Medium Decorative Wall Art 20 x 30 cms
Le Tyke Sportif - Bicycle Race 2014 Vintage Style Medium Decorative Wall Art 20 x 30 cms
Offered by designAsign
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Très jolie – but then I would say that, wouldn't I?, 22 Mar. 2014
I own copies of all of these metal plaques and so I reckon that qualifies me to review them. In the interests of full disclosure I should tell you that I’m the illustrator that designed them - but not the chap who prints or sells them. I do get paid a nominal fee for each one sold, so obviously it’s in my interest to tell you how fantastic they are. You are of course free to ignore my (possibly biased) opinions.

There’s something so tactile about these beautifully glossy aluminium plates. They have a quality that reminds me of old fashioned enamel advertising signs, except they’re shiny and new with perfectly smooth edges and nice rounded corners. Maybe that makes me a print nerd, I don’t know.

Because they’re aluminium (I’m saying that in my British accent if that helps) they won’t rust and are lightweight. They come with handy pre-drilled holes in each corner so you could fix them to some sort of fancy backing or just hang them from a bent nail. I was warned that if you hang them in direct sunlight the inks might be liable to fade somewhat over time. I’ve had some hanging in my studio for a couple of years and was kind of secretly hoping they might fade a bit so that they’d look even more retro. But so far they've stubbornly refused to comply and remain as glossy and box fresh as the day they were printed.

In conclusion, I love them. I wouldn’t allow them to be sold if I wasn’t happy with the quality. But then I would say that wouldn’t I?
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Burton and Swinburne In The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne Book 1)
Burton and Swinburne In The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne Book 1)
Price: £6.07

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but several early annoyances almost stopped me in my tracks., 25 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The opening chapter and introduction to the characters is clunky and not consistent with the rest of the book. It seems to be fumbling around for a bit before it finds the right rhythm, but once it gets going you give it the benefit of the doubt and are rewarded. Maybe it's a just a case of my taking a while to tune my brain to the writer's style? He hasn't made things easy for himself; with a complex plot that lurches back and forth in time while introducing a lot of characters, an alternate history and host of strange new technologies. It's a shame then that after putting so much effort into creating such a rich and complex world the author/editor allowed some jarring anomalies to crop up and snap the reader right out of the story.

As mentioned in other reviews the protagonist is Sir Richard Burton, he is often addressed as Sir Burton, when it ought to be Sir Richard or just Burton. I found this excruciatingly annoying.

Burton's stock exclamation of "Bismillah!" never failed to force a few frames of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody video followed by a couple from Wayne's World into the forefront of my brain, shattering any suspension of disbelief I may have built up to that point.

At one point the narrative refers to a minor character who inherited an estate in `The Republic of Ireland' in the 1820's when the republic didn't come into existence until 1949. The republic is not mentioned again so you have to assume that it's a mistake, which should have been corrected by the editors, rather than part of the `alternate history plot'. When William Gibson wrote The Difference Engine his alternate history was careful to let the reader know what the rules of his world were, and where it differed from actual history the reason was explained or at least alluded to.

The most unforgiveable offences though are the fact that the author relies too much on coincidence to drive the plot forward including a character overhearing the villains discuss their dastardly plot, thus allowing a huge chunk of exposition to be cut and pasted into the story. At one point the baddies helpfully explain their entire plan to a helpless character in the manner of a bad Bond pastiche.

Having said all that I did finish the book and have started reading the next in the series, so he must be doing something right.

If, like me, you are just looking to top up the amount of steampunk in your brain, to keep it at a level sufficient to sustain you, then this will do the job nicely. If you want a more immersive and `unputdownable' read in steadier hands then I'd recommend Jonathan L Howard's, Johannes Cabal series and George Mann's Newbury & Hobbes books. I went through the lot in one go.

The Julian Bower
The Julian Bower

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revived my enthusiasm for the short story format, 15 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Julian Bower (Kindle Edition)
I bought this in passing as I'd actually just been looking to see when Lucy's big book on Georgian London was due to be published on Kindle. But finding that I'd have to wait until September I thought I'd give this a go as a consolation prize to myself. (I think I just needed to buy something, anything, at that moment and a 99p Kindle purchase is a nice little hit of placebo retail therapy.)

I've had a soft spot for the short story format since Art College. They're accessible and easily digestible, a quick way for an illustration student to find a new project to fill a few plastic sleeves in the big black portfolio of meh.

After tripping over couple of small formatting and editing wrinkles in the first few pages I found the first person narrative took on a voice that I hadn't heard for a long time. It was like my internal monologue had bumped into an old friend from college. I realised it was a voice I'd not heard since I'd read Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden, probably 25 years ago. As far as I'm concerned this is a good thing.

The plot develops well, although at least one minor character felt like they were being prepped for greater things but then got left behind. When it came I assumed the ending was a false one and there would be a little more, but I was wrong. This left me immediately wanting more, which I suppose is the point. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any and I'll have to wait until September for the big Georgian history book.

In the meantime I found myself desperately searching out my broken old paperback of Peter Handke's The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, which I haven't read for years but suddenly have an appetite for, thanks to Inglis (as in Pringles).

Morphy Richards Accents 44730 4 Slice Toaster - Blue
Morphy Richards Accents 44730 4 Slice Toaster - Blue
Offered by Pricelover Deals
Price: £44.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Only buy if you like eating slightly warm bread in the dark., 12 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had this toaster for a year, during which time it worked fine, albeit a bit on the slow side. Then last week it suddenly tripped the circuit in the kitchen. I tried it in various sockets but it tripped them every time. The house was rewired about 3 years ago, our electrics and fuse boxes are all up to date. I called the warranty helpline (still 1 year left) they were excellent and sent out a replacement within a few days. We've had the replacement only a couple of days and now it too is tripping all the sockets in the kitchen, while other appliances continue to work without a problem. I have to assume that these toasters are being shipped with a duff component in them, maybe the rheostat? I see from other reviewers that I am not the only person to be experiencing this problem.

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