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Puritane E-Cigarette Starter Kit (Nicotine Free)
Puritane E-Cigarette Starter Kit (Nicotine Free)
Price: £22.99

4.0 out of 5 stars For people who miss the action of smoking, 22 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The puritans e-cig has the same form and appearance of a regular cigarette: it doesn't look like an alien ballpoint or a sonic screwdriver. The body is made of a matte material rather than a shiny plastic, so it even looks a bit like papers. The tip lights up when you inhale, too.

Despite looking like a cigarette, it's significantly heavier, so it does feel quite different at first. In my opinion, the realistic shape makes the experience similar enough that I can ignore the weight now.

If you're quitting, I'd recommend a starter kit that includes nicotine cartridges, but in a lower dosage rather than going straight to a zero nicotine smoke. You'll still get a healthier smoke and the change won't be as dramatic. This cigarette is for people who have quit, but miss the physical activity of smoking. I started snacking as an alternative to smoking and it was probably more unhealthy. The puritane lets me have some of the ritual of smoking without the drawbacks.


Fisher-Price Jumbo Playmat
Fisher-Price Jumbo Playmat
Price: £24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know if it represents good value for new parents, 18 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my baby nephew and, while it functions as described, I don't know if it represents good value for new parents.

+ It's a soft, safe, easy to clean surface for the baby to lie on, roll around on, and eventually explore on.
+ The characters are appealing, fun, and colourful.
- Unfortunately, the 3D and textured elements are somewhat sparse.
+/- There are loops to add more toys to the mat, but I'd still expect more for the price.

A quick look on amazon for 'playmats' indicates you could either get a more fully featured playmat (such as the jungle themed Fisher-Price one) or spend a little less and get the almost identical Tiny Love Super Playmat.


P.KU.VDSL® Waterproof 13" or under 13''/12''/10''/9.7''/8'' Case Bag For Laptop A4 File Notebook Macbook Pro Air Retina iPad 2/3/4/5/Air Padded Carrying Case Clutch Case (Grey For 13" or under 13''/12''/10''/9.7''/8'')
P.KU.VDSL® Waterproof 13" or under 13''/12''/10''/9.7''/8'' Case Bag For Laptop A4 File Notebook Macbook Pro Air Retina iPad 2/3/4/5/Air Padded Carrying Case Clutch Case (Grey For 13" or under 13''/12''/10''/9.7''/8'')
Offered by VanDeSaiL
Price: £19.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and useful, 10 Nov 2014
The waterproof cotton finish on the outside of this pouch is a really pleasant change from the shiny, synthetic feeling nylon cases I've used in the past. It's reminiscent of material you'd find on a down jacket. The inside has a soft finish that should protect your gadgets from any scratches. There isn't a huge amount of padding on the pouch, but there's enough to reassure me that there'll be some insulation from minor bumps without adding too much weight or bulk.

There are loads of pockets of various sizes: there'll be plenty of room for all your chargers, cables, SD cards, USB sticks, headphones, documents, etc. The pouch is sized perfectly for A4 sheets. These storage options should make the pouch a great in-flight companion - chuck your backpack in overhead storage and have all your laptop/tablet and paraphenalia in a slim package.

Unfortunately, the pouch lacks a strap, so you'll need to put it in another bag or carry it in hand/the crook of your arm. It's an excellent option for turning any plain backpack into an organised laptop bag, though, and that's exactly what I've been using it for.

Overall this is a well-made pouch with good storage features, attractive design, and an unusual cotton finish.

//This is a review of a free product that was sent to me by the manufacturer.


Mitre Eccita V12 Ball - White/Purp/Blk/Fifa Ins - 5
Mitre Eccita V12 Ball - White/Purp/Blk/Fifa Ins - 5
Price: £18.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for a match-fit ball, 7 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mitre make proper footballs for reasonable prices. Don't bother with cheap replica Nike or Adidas balls just because their more expensive versions are used in the EPL when you can get a match certified ball like this for a similar price.

This ball provides a good balance of speed and heft, and it seems to be reliable: kick it the same way twice and it'll follow the same flight - that's not something that can be said for many of the replica balls, which frequently deform after only a few hours of use.

Not all of us can play at the Nou Camp, so the ball has an extra durable coating. I haven't had it for long, but I imagine it'll last a decent while despite the abuse it will receive.


Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Price: £40.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Rock em sock em robots, updated, 7 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's something deeply nostalgic about the sound of ABS plastic swords clashing over the whine of tiny motors. Sure, a game like this can't compete with the complexity of computer games, but it feels engaging sort of 'real' in comparison. Even in this age of technological wonders, my nephews were enchanted by the idea that they were controlling a robot warrior wirelessly.

The sword controllers are equipped with gyroscopes, so when you swing them up and down, the robot responds with its own motion. It's a tricky - but fun - way to control the robots and a bit different from other remote controlled games where you usually only have a joystick and buttons.

The robot figures themselves are well made and come with armour attachments that seem like they're meant to fall off in combat, adding a bit of immersive detail.

A very cool toy and something a bit different from another videogame.

Note: You'll need a screwdriver to get at the battery compartments and eight AA Batteries to fill them.


Braun NTF3000 No Touch Plus Forehead Digital Thermometer
Braun NTF3000 No Touch Plus Forehead Digital Thermometer
Price: £42.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Works, 2 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This touchless thermometer looks positively Star Trek. Like something they'd use to figure out alien disease Riker picked up on shore leave.

The no-touch functionality has multiple benefits: lessens the risk of contamination (potentially); no sticking of thermometers in the patient's ear, under their tongue, or any other annoying hands-on stuff that will just annoy any ill person whether they're a child or an adult.

If you don't trust the no-touch readings, there's also the more traditional option of pressing the unit directly against the forehead. I've found that there isn't a discrepancy between the readings so I don't think there's a reason not to use the touchless option. The readings are returned quickly and are colour coded from green to red to indicate how elevated the temperature is. Not much use if you're colour blind, but at least the digital reading is clear.

This is a single-purpose gadget that accomplishes what it advertises and does it well.


SanDisk SDSSDHII-240G-G25 240GB 2.5 inch Ultra II SATA III Internal Solid State Drive
SanDisk SDSSDHII-240G-G25 240GB 2.5 inch Ultra II SATA III Internal Solid State Drive
Price: £79.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Competitor to the 840 Evo, 22 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If someone I know tells me that they're fed up with how slow their computer or laptop is, I always recommend an SSD. It's often as good as getting a new machine, particularly in 2 or 3 year old laptops with 5400rpm mechanical hard drives. Not only that, but SSD pricing is finally becoming reasonable. It's still more expensive per gb, yet the difference in speed means the extra outlay is worth it.

Looking at online benchmarks, the Sandisk Ultra II falls close to the MX100 and slightly behind the 840 Evo in speed. At the moment it's slightly cheaper than both. I've installed the Ultra in a 3yr old Thinkpad and the machine has been completely revitalised. Boot times are the most obvious improvement, though almost every action is snappier than before. Without the SSD I would probably have considered replacing the machine entirely - now it's perfectly functional and quite responsive. Making a subjective comparison between the 840 Evo and this is difficult, since the difference in hardware between the desktop and laptop is so great. Suffice to say that it will be quick enough for most needs. The only area it falls down on is peak speed versus the MX100 and 840 Evo, and you'll likely only notice that difference under extremely heavy load.

Installation was extremely easy. There are a number of tools to transfer files from your old hard drive if you aren't comfortable with installing a new OS on the SSD. I used Easeus to create an image of the old drive and then copied that image onto the SSD using a USB hard drive dock. There are converter kits available on amazon to make this process easier, too.

The health of the drive can be monitored using Sandisk's dashboard software (available at http://www.sandisk.com/ssddashboard). Unfortunately Sandisk don't have their own cloning feature like Samsung, and the drive can't be encrypted.

Those last two points, in addition to the slight performance difference compared to the 840 Evo means that I'd only consider buying this drive instead of the 840 Evo if the price difference was larger.


QuickBooks Online Plus, 12-Month Subscription (Mac/PC)
QuickBooks Online Plus, 12-Month Subscription (Mac/PC)
Price: £59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for sole traders and small businesses, 16 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Time is money. The last thing most sole traders and small business owners want to be doing is faffing around with disorganised paperwork and accounting when they could actually be getting on with work or actually relaxing. I've found Quickbooks Online to be easy to use, well supported in terms of online help and documentation, and extremely handy with its cloud and mobile functionality. It has a huge amount of functionality that should cover most small business types - if you have employees there's support for timesheet input, payroll, VAT compliance, and plenty of other features that I don't expect to use, but are nice to have.

Overall this is a well designed piece of software to keep your business in order. There's also a 60 day money back guarantee if you don't get on with it.


Philips A5PRO/00 DJ Headphones (3500mW RMS, Sensitivity: 105dB, Cable up to 4.7m, Gold-Plated) Including Replaceable Ear Cushions and Innovative Folding Mechanism Black
Philips A5PRO/00 DJ Headphones (3500mW RMS, Sensitivity: 105dB, Cable up to 4.7m, Gold-Plated) Including Replaceable Ear Cushions and Innovative Folding Mechanism Black
Price: £206.19

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bombproof, 10 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
+:
The build quality of these headphones is exceptional. The aluminium imparts a feeling of quality and robustness that most headphones don't have while still being fairly light. Picking them up and feeling the cool metal doesn't really get old. Little details like the embroidered Philips logo, hashed R and L on each earpiece, and the stitching on the headband add to the impression that these aren't run of the mill headphones. I generally prefer less ostentatious decoration on my electronics, but I think it works here.

+:
The earpieces and cable are replaceable, which could extend the life of these headphones massively, particularly if you use them for gigging. These components are always the ones that end up breaking first, so it's reassuring to know that I won't have to bin the whole set if my cats decide to tear the padding apart.

+:
The sound is strong, clear, and neutral enough for mixing (in my opinion). There are probably headphone monitors that have a flatter response - these seem to emphasise bass ever so slightly, yet I've found that to be the case with most closed cup/noise isolating headphones. My Sennheiser HD280s are considered to be reference headphones and they sound similar to these, but with less clarity. Noise cancellation for the listener is good, although there is some sound leakage at high volume. Not a problem at a club, of course, but something to be aware of in a quiet office or studio.

+:
You don't need an expensive amp to drive these. The 16ohm rating means that you'll be able to listen on your tablet, smartphone, 90s Walkman, whatever, and get a strong sound. Of course, you'll get a better experience if you plug it into an M-Audio interface or something, but it's good enough in my view.

+:
They come with a nice protective bag for transport and fold up nicely.

+:
The included curly cable snaps onto either earpiece and seems to be well made.

-/+:
I find grip a bit too tight and fatiguing. Then again, it makes absolute sense for closed cup DJ headphones to have a strong grip on one's head. Maybe the A5Pros need to break in a bit to achieve a balance of security and comfort. The pads themselves are nice and soft, but the headband is a bit too rigid.


Lumie Zest Combination Light Therapy - Portable SAD Lamp and Wake-up Light to Improve Energy and Mood
Lumie Zest Combination Light Therapy - Portable SAD Lamp and Wake-up Light to Improve Energy and Mood
Price: £139.28

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Portable...if you have somewhere to plug it in, 1 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used multiple SAD lamps and wake up lights, but never a combination of the two. The wake up lights I owned previously weren't quite as bright as this, and the dedicated SAD lamps lacked the alarm functionality. So it's nice to have a device that combines both.

The benefits of SAD lamps won't necessarily be felt by everyone, but it's definitely improved my winters up here in the North East of Scotland. It's tough waking up in darkness and walking back from work in darkness.

Good:
=====
Small and portable. The lamp won't take up much space on your bedside table or your luggage if you decide to travel with it.
Bright - if you're able to place it close enough, it should seem just about as bright as its larger siblings.

Mediocre:
=========
A battery for true portability would be excellent. I expect it would drain power very quickly, given its brightness, but the lamp isn't truly portable if it still needs to be plugged in at the wall.

Bad:
====
I dislike the kickstand. It separates from the body of the lamp and could be lost easily. It also isn't adjustable at al


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