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Sue H "Sunshine Suzzy" (United Kingdom)
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Leitz Complete Rotating Desk Stand for iPad/Tablet PCs -  White
Leitz Complete Rotating Desk Stand for iPad/Tablet PCs - White
Price: 17.06

5.0 out of 5 stars A great stand for tablets, 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great little product, a simple design which works really well.

The plastic stand holds a variety of tablets, Kindle, and phones in a nearly upright position held in place by a small lip, or at a lower angle resting on a non slip platform. It’s great for use in the kitchen or office to view information or watch video.

The base is a 10cm plastic circle which rotates easily around the stand. It has some resistance though, so that after one rotation it stops. However you cant lock the base and stop the rotation altogether. I didn’t find it easy to type on the tablet key board as the tablet tended to move about when touched.

The base and the platform have a thin rubberised bevel which prevents the stand from sliding across desk, and stops the electronic devices from sliding off. The platform is fixed at an angle not as high 45deg. Placed in the more upright position the angle is closer to 90deg. The devices only rest in place, they can be fixed rigidly.

The platform is hollow so you can store small items in it, paper clips, drawing pins, earrings….

Charging is possible as long as devices are orientated so that the socket is not obstructed.

The finish is shiny white plastic with green rubberised bevels, quite a modern look. Others colours are available but not other materials/finishes currently. Some thing with a natural finish could be more appropriate in a domestic setting depending upon your style choices.


GCSE Maths Edexcel Exam Practice Workbook with Answers & Online Edition: Higher
GCSE Maths Edexcel Exam Practice Workbook with Answers & Online Edition: Higher
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A great exam practice book for GCSE maths students, 30 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great companion book to the CGP revision and practice book and the DVD maths videos. You can also access free on line extras including videos. (One user only).

The questions are organised by topic, have grade stamps to indicate the difficulty. I don’t know how well these compare to the distribution in actual papers. Most topics are 1-2 sides of paper the page on fractions for example only has level C, D and E questions there were no A or B questions. The book gives an idea if the number of marks a question is worth and an hint that for example in a three mark question showing working would be needed as well as the final answer. Part of perfecting exam technique is also timing. Helpfully the authors say you have about a minute a mark so you can set under take a few pages or a whole section in a timed manner.


NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Orange
NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Orange
Price: 89.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good machine comparison with expresso machines, 25 Aug 2014
The Krups coffee machine is a nice product if you like pod coffee. As a long time user of expresso/cappuccino machines like they have in coffee shops I was interested to see how they compare.

Good points:

The Krups machine is relatively compact, fitting under the upper kitchen cupboards. It would fit well in a garden office, workshop or caravan.

Its main casing and accessible components are made from plastic. It's simple to use once you've worked it out. It comes with multi language, comprehensive set up instructions with text and illustrations. Place water in the chamber at the back, it takes around 800ml. Adjust the cup holder a high or low position, the latter is for a tall latte glass. Pull out the pod holder, add a pod, lock in, wait for a few seconds for it to reach temp and pull the lever to hot and turn it off when you have enough coffee! It's relatively quiet, quick and easy.

For a latte or frothy coffee you put in a second milk pod and run water through that. It's possible to put cold water through and then add ice to make an iced drink.

Pods:

The Nestle pods are sealed and the samples sent with the machine had a 7 months shelf life. There are a variety of coffees/milk and teas produced, I easily found a selection in a major supermarket, a minor selection in the local `corner store' and they can also be bought in bulk via Amazon. The milk pods are dried milk so no refrigeration needed. More about pods below.

Niggles with the machine:

The power lead is bright red/orange it doesn't go well with the covering.

You can see the approximate water level through the gap where the coffee cup sits. But if you decide you need more water part way through making a cup. You have to turn off the motor, and then its tricky to get the water chamber out to refill. Other machines have a lid and you can easily top it up during coffee making without having to move the machine or water chamber.

There is no auto fill or auto off function, so leave the machine untended and run the risk of coffee every where, and the machine running dry. You need experiment with different pods and volumes of water to get the coffee you prefer and then turn it off when the right amount of water has been used.

There is no facility to steam or heat real milk. The milk pods contain dried milk powder.

Comparision with expresso/cappacino machines:

So will I be throwing away my Baby Gaggia machine absolutely not! I'm have to admit that I'm fussy about coffee, and don't ever drink instant as I don't like the taste. The Nestle milk/coffee pods to my taste are like upmarket corporate coffee machines, however good the coffee is the dried milk powder spoils the taste. The end product Is not even close to coffee made with freshly ground beans and steamed fresh milk. If you just add fresh milk to a coffee pod to produce and Americano style then the end product is much better, it you like the arabica coffee. Opinion was divided in our household, those who like a strong espresso were happy with the coffee in the pods, those who prefer a mild coffee found them too strong and bitter.

The Expresso/Cappachino machine take a lot longer to warm up and is noiser, but you can use any ground or bean coffee you fancy and add steamed or cold milk. The expresso machine drips on for several minutes after use and you do have to wash the coffee holder and the drips tray. But the same is true of the Krups machine, it no less washing up. At the end of making an expresso the coffee grounds go into the compost waste bin. The pods get chucked in the sink as if placed straight in the general rubbish they leak all over the bin. I'm no expert in waste management but for every pod cup of coffee you have a pod with a foil lid to go in the general rubbish to land fill. After 20 cups of ground coffee from a bag you have one small foiled bag for land fill, which seems more environmentally friendly to me.

The expresso/cappachino takes coffee bags and any bean or ground coffee you fancy. If a coffee company goes out of business or changes their product there are plenty of others to buy. With any pod machine you are taking the risk that the company will keep producing pods for the life time of your machine.

Pods:

Nestle make a lot of different pods but many are similar Expresso 6g Arabica, Lungo 7g Arabica, Grande aroma 8g Arabica, Caffe Americano 10g Arabica, .... Then there is the milk: latte macchiato whole milk powder sugar 10% emulsifier, caramel latte macchiato whole milk powder, and sugar 42%! Emulsifier. Fancy a Chai Tea Latte that's 48% sugar and what about Cortado expresso macchiato that contains whole milk power, soluble coffee (Instant?) stabilisers dipotassium phosphate and tri sodium citrate..... So not great if your diabetic or looking to reduce your sugar consumption. Haven't seen any pods with with low caff or defaff coffee either. It's not possible to get an empty pod and fill it with a coffee of your choice. The milk pod which match a particular coffee has the same label as the coffee i.e. it does not say milk any where on the label, the difference is that the milk pods are white and coffee brown, easy to pick up the wrong one when half asleep on a dark morning. If you like the coffee great, if you don't then the machine is a waste of time. If you don't have a friend with a machine that takes these pods I don't see how you can try before you buy. Whilst the Krups machine is compact the pods are not, especially if you like the milk pods as well and want to keep in stock a variety of beverages.

Cost:

Then there is cost. A frothy coffee on the high street can be 2-4 per cup, making your own at home is much cheaper.

Dolce Gusto Grande pods from Amazon or supermarket approx. 50p per cup Ground coffee 10-30p per cup depending upon brand and amount of coffee used. Cappuccino/expresso machines can be 2-3 times more expensive than the Krups machine, but are usually made from metal with less plastic components. My first expresso machine lasted 20 years, the second one is now three years old so will work out cheaper in the long run.

So overall if you like the coffee pods, and need a fast cup then the Krups machine is highly recommended. If however you like specific coffees with fresh frothed milk and have the time then a espresso/cappuccino machine would be a better choice.


Giottos Series II MH1311-652 Ball Head with Friction Control and Quick Release (discontinued by manufacturer)
Giottos Series II MH1311-652 Ball Head with Friction Control and Quick Release (discontinued by manufacturer)

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice compact tripod head, 25 Aug 2014
I choose this to go with a Giottos tripod. I wanted a compact design to fit in the camera bag. The head is flexible allowing a good variety of positions. The ball and socket allows you to get the angle you need. The head rotates very smoothly good for use with a video camera. The base which screws into the bottom of the camera or camcorder quick releases well from the head. However it is a bit fiddly to screw it into the camera in the first place, so if you want to change body or to a camcorder quickly then a second screw plate would be advised. If your main use is for video then a head with a handle might be a better alternative as small changes in position are easier to achieve tun with this head.

Have been using it for 12 months now, over all highly recommended.


Nikon EN-EL20 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery for Nikon 1 J1
Nikon EN-EL20 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery for Nikon 1 J1
Price: 29.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Works well in Nikon J1 camera, 25 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Had this battery for several months now, it holds its charge well, it quick to charge up. Recommended.


Samsung Flip Cover for Galaxy Note 10.1 - White - EFC-1G2NWECSTD
Samsung Flip Cover for Galaxy Note 10.1 - White - EFC-1G2NWECSTD
Offered by Handyparadise UK (Tax included)
Price: 6.48

4.0 out of 5 stars Great case but does not fit the 2014 version of Galaxy 10" tablet, 25 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a nice slim case and good value. However what I did not realise is that the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition is not the same size as the previous version, the case is a precise fit so is no good for the 2014 tablet.


Goo.ey for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (Black) - Skin
Goo.ey for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (Black) - Skin
Price: 5.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing non sticky sticky stuff, 25 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
They Gooey fits well on the Samsung Note II. Its pretty good stick wise, I apply it to the mirrors in the gym to avoid standing on it when doing weights. The one I have for an iPhone has never fallen off, however the Samsung has a couple of times, perhaps as its larger so I'm just more careful where I stick it so if it falls off it doesn't get damaged.


WD My Passport Ultra 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Drive with Auto and Cloud Backup - Blue
WD My Passport Ultra 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Drive with Auto and Cloud Backup - Blue
Price: 78.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to reformat for Mac, 25 Aug 2014
I have a 1TB version of the drive pre formatted for Mac. However drives for Mac are usually more expensive per byte than ones formatted for Windows. Several customers have commented that its easy to reformat so I thought I'd give it a go.

So out of the box plug it into the PC- there are not paper instructions with the product, but user guide on the drive which the Mac accessed. The user guide does not tell you in detail what to do you have to go to the product web site to get step by step instructions. These seemed easy enough, got to last step an then a failure message. It was simple to fix, I still have the user instructions on the drive open in preview. Closed these ran it again and then it worked. The product looses a star as in doing this you loose all the extras that come with the drive, not that I used them much on the Mac formatted version, although password protection to lock the was handy even though it seemed to turn on spontaneously.

The drive comes with a USB three cable, these seem to be the standard for external drives but I don't have them for any other device. This is supposed to be a fast connection, however running Time machine back could not be described as quick using this drive. Having a coloured drive seemed a bit un necessary at first but when I got to my 4th black one, which was difficult to label, a coloured drive seemed ideal to make it easy to identify.


Vax S86-SF-T Steam Fresh Touch Steam Mop, 1 Litre, White/ Grey/ Blue
Vax S86-SF-T Steam Fresh Touch Steam Mop, 1 Litre, White/ Grey/ Blue
Price: 89.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good steam mop for large floor areas, 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Vax steam mop is a well designed product, and for me works better than a traditional sponge mop/bucket. The water/steam can be more easily controlled and evenly applied. The warm water vapour dries much quicker than when using a saturated traditional mop. The mop can be used on tiles, wood, vinyl and even carpet, however it is a mop and not an Aqua vac so cant be compared to a carpet washer, it doesn't suck up dirty water. Worth considering if you have large areas of solid floor 30m2 plus.

What do you get/set up:

The product has good assembly/in use instructions (English) with diagrams and text broken down into logical sections. The mop is made in 3 parts: the mop head, the main body and the handle. This is ideal as the mop can be stored complete, or dissembled where space is at a premium.

The mop has two water storage compartments (~ 500ml) one for plain water, and the other to add Vax detergent (2x250ml concentrate supplied). The chambers are transparent but I don't think there is any alarm or notification if the mop runs out of wter.

The mop has two heads. A white bristle head which is found under the grey head. The use of the bristle head is not very well described in the instructions, I nearly missed it! To access you simply remove the grey head. The bristles are arranged in a triangular fashion around the edge of the mop, and I found these good for scrubbing recessed grout areas between tiles.

The grey head is designed to use with Vax floor cloths. There are three supplied with the mop. I wasn't sure what the difference was between them, all are labelled as `ideal to remove dirt and grime'. One with a very long thick pile (reminds me of the 70s shag pile) described as `coral cleaning pad super absorbent and are ideal for removing stubborn stains'. I guess this could be useful to mop big spills and perhaps in the winter to remove muddy foot prints. This cloth has a draw string to tighten it around the cleaning head.

There is a micro fibre cleaning pad with a short pile, like an ecloth, and another called procleaning cloth described as 'ideal for stubborn stains'. The pile on this is maybe slightly longer or thicker than the micro fibre cleaning cloth. They both adhere to the base of the cleaner a little like Velcro. You can wash the cloths, and additional ones can be purchased from Vax. (4 microfibre cleaning pads are 10 on Vax web site) There are additional colours and this could simply be make it easy if you want to keep some cloths for the kitchen and others for the bathroom. If you want to to use them with carpet there is a plastic glide cover to go over the pad.

Under the water chamber is a filter containing beads to keep the device from scaling up. The instructions suggest to replace every 6-8 months or when discoloured. Triple replacement packs are available from Amazon/Vax at 14-5.

The cleaner weighs 3.4kg probably closer to 4kg when the chamber is full. The cord is a good length 8m, its worth checking how close you have plug sockets near bathroom to ensure it will reach, although the safety instructions recommend an extension lead (13amp). There are movable lugs to wrap it round and recess in the centre into which the plug can be put when not in use, I really nice design touch. The cord is bright turquoise matching the trim on the machine its very easy to see and reduces the tripping hazard or unplugging the wrong device.

The product has 4 settings wood, carpet, vinyl and tile. Not sure how the product performs differently for these settings apart from if you choose carpet or wood the water is drawn from the water chamber and if you choose tile or vinyl its drawn from the detergent chamber. When you turn the product on it defaults to wood setting so if you want to use detergent you have to remember to reset it each time you turn it on.

How does it perform?

The instructions advise to vacuum the surface first.

When you first turn it on, it takes a few seconds for the active light to turn from red to blue. You press a trigger on the handle to get it to puff steam from the bottom. This did take a while to get going and to dampen the cloth. Second time I used it I ran the cloth under the tap and wrung it out so it was thoroughly wetted. It then worked much faster. There's a button to turn on a small jet of steam which is pumped out the front of the mop rather than through the base. The head rotates on a ball joint so it goes quite well into corners. It was fine to clean around the loo in the bathroom but in our small cloakroom it was too wide to get down one side to clean.

Solid floors-Water alone was good enough to get small marks such as coffee and wine spills off the floor. More stubborn stains needed going over a couple of time and detergent was needed for more greasy marks such as pet food.

Carpet-the mop did clean some small stains with repeated rubbing. Having done a whole room I can't say the carpet looked cleaner, although I think the same when I use a high powered carpet vacuum cleaner, its only the collected dirty water that indicates the muck which has been removed!

But I didn't find the Vax detergent great, it is supposed to smell of lemons but I could not detect any aroma. It says the warrantee is invalidated if you don't use their products, but I think this only applies to cleaner you put in the device and not directly on the floor? Using my normal floor cleaning liquid directly on the floor I got much better results.

I cant recommend the Vax cleaning products. The front of the detergent bottle says `chemical free safe to use around home and children' (no you're not supposed to point the device at the kids and steam clean them!) Everything is chemical including water so this is a daft thing to put on the bottle. Inspection of the ingredients states that the cleaner has anionic surfactant and perfume and then three isothiazolinones. These compounds are found in many products shampoos, and household cleaning products they do keep liquid products from deterioration due to bugs. However a small but significant proportion of the population are very allergic to them and get very bad eczema (painful, itchy peeling skin condition). So if you have chosen solid floors on health grounds for family members then an irritant cleaner would not be advised.

The steam mop is also promoted `The incredible cleaning power of steam eliminates 99.9% of harmful germs and bacteria' citing data in a report. I'd like to see the report a it seems highly unlikely that using the steam mop you will kill 99% of germs on the floor. A proper sterilizer uses steam but it works like a pressure cooker, to be sure there are no bugs high temp and pressure is needed for 10-20 mins. You're not going to get steam on the floor for more than a few seconds if that, especially by the time its passed through the cloth. (Otherwise when you go to the dentist you might expect to see them cleaning their equipment in the steam from the kettle at tea break!)

I often put bleach over the floor which will also disinfect the mop head but with the Vax I need to remember to remove it from the device wash and dry it as a damp mop head will breed germs like tea towels do. The stream means that the floor dries quickly reducing the likelihood of slipping on it, needing to exclude family and pets.

Vax supply a lot of accessories, and spares e.g water chamber great for prolonging the life of your product. The Vax contact details are on the back of the mop, handy when you can't find the instructions.

If you only have large areas of hard floor to clean and want them dry quickly then a steam cleaner is worth consideration, for smaller areas a traditional mop or cloth is probably more economical.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 10:46 AM BST


Hoya 52mm UV(C) Digital HMC Screw-in Filter
Hoya 52mm UV(C) Digital HMC Screw-in Filter
Price: 8.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Good filter to protect a 52mm lens, 22 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Use this a lens protector to save having to fiddle with the lens cap on a Nikon lens. Is rarely cover with the lens cap and has withstood being carted about for several months in the camera kit bag without scratches. Have had many Hoya filters they have all been great. High recommended.


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