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Mr. Mischief (Guernsey)

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Acana Pacifica Dog Dry Mix 13.5 kg
Acana Pacifica Dog Dry Mix 13.5 kg
Offered by EasyPet Supplies
Price: £71.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of good ingredients, but not quite so rich as Orijen, 13 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had been feeding my Jack Russells Orijen Adult dog food for some time before deciding to give Acana Pacifica a go. They were fine on the Orijen, but there was always the nagging feeling that they weren't quite as good as they should have been, nor where they quite as good on it as the glowing reviews from many other dog owners would have suggested. So I switched to Acana, as much to try it as anything, and I really have seen something of an improvement. They're just as lively as they were on the Orijen and they chomp the Acana down just as quickly, but a very noticeable difference (and forgive me if you're eating your lunch here) has been in the hardness of their stool. Gone are the runny messes of the past, which if nothing else makes bagging up much easier; Acana contains 20% less of the rich animal ingredients that makes up Orijen and that may well be the main reason. I had thought that Orijen was the pinnacle of dog foods - and I still think that it's very good - but Acana simply seems to be better for my mutts.

Belkin @TV Plus - Mobile Television Anywhere
Belkin @TV Plus - Mobile Television Anywhere
Offered by BESTBUYIT
Price: £139.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to set-up and easy to use, with a few limitations, 13 Nov 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The @TV Plus is a nondescript black box with a polished smoked top, beneath which sits a single status LED, pointing upwards. There are no buttons, no other lights, and nothing to distract you if you have the box placed in a prominent location near your TV. On the back, there are two sets of component and composite jacks - one input and one output - for connecting the Belkin between your set-top box and your TV, although only one cable for each is included so you'll either have to use one connection only or find more cables to use. There's also an Ethernet port, a port for the included IR blaster, and one for the power cable. The one thing that might be a point of contention for some is that the requisite @TV Plus software isn't included in the package so you'll need to download this 80MB file from the Belkin website before you can begin setting up the service. Belkin mention this in the manual but the hyperlink is somewhat long so make sure you type it in correctly. Bizarrely, you do get a CD with some warranty information on, although what use that is, is lost on me.

Setup is about as easy as you could ask for, as long as you have an active internet connection through a router; the device does come with in-built Wi-Fi but this is unavailable for setup, so you'll either need a spare Ethernet port to get things going or to connect the @TV to Wi-Fi capable PC. Just plug the @TV into the mains socket, connect its inputs to the outputs on your set-top box and its outputs to the inputs on your TV, plug it into your router using the included cable and lastly plug the IR blaster cable into the back. You'll also need to make sure that both blasters (there are two at the end of the double y-cable) are aimed at the IR receiver on your set-top box.

Once the @TV Plus software is installed on your PC, you plug the device into the mains and go through the motions of preparing the service for use. It asks you for your post code and suggests a service provider, although you can choose from a fairly comprehensive list if it doesn't pick the right one. It was a quite painless procedure for me, fortunately, although I did get an error message when I confirmed the software's suggestion that I update the @TV's firmware before using it, so after a few attempts I just skipped this part. I also received another message at the end that told me that my iOS 3G set-up couldn't be completed - not surprising, given that I wasn't using an iOS 3G connection at the time. Once the software was up and running, it prompted me to name my device and to give it a password - this is necessary so that you can access it over the internet, via Belkin's servers. Once all that was done, up popped the very simple single-window interface giving me just four options - to watch TV, to access a downloaded version of the TV guide for your particular set-top box, to review the playlist of recorded TV, and to access the service's settings.

In addition to the PC software, there's also a downloadable app for iOS and Android, which is free for tablets but not for smartphones, and through which you can control the @TV and view both live and recorded TV via either Wi-Fi or 3G. I used the iOS app on the family iPad and was pretty impressed with the results. It's slightly more cumbersome in some areas than the PC software, which gives you a handy on-screen remote control in a choice of shapes, so that it looks like the remote for your set-top box, but for simple playing and recording it is very easy to navigate through. Using either piece of software, you can control your set-top box directly through the IR blaster, sending instructions to it as if with its physical remote control. Although the settings do give you some control over the image quality, it maxes out at 720x480 if set at the highest resolution and connection speed, running not overly clearly but still smoothly through Wi-Fi. Even so, the picture is still perfectly watchable, although there is a 2-second lag between the TV/set-top box and the @TV box, so nothing happens quite in `real-time'. For some reason, the Belkin uses a Gigabit-speed connection when updating its firmware but not in everyday use, and although I didn't notice any problems from a slower connection, I think that having a constant Gigabit one would be preferable.

Both pieces of software also allow you to record live TV direct to your PC or mobile device through a very simple `one-click' record button. Video recorded this way is saved in MP4 format and is accessible through the @TV's Playlist guide or can be played back directly from the folder on your device that the recordings are saved into. Recording is really as simple as you could hope for - press the `record' button while watching TV, tell the system how long you want to record for, and then leave it to its own devices. The @TV even uses the downloaded channel guide to note the name and description of the program being recorded, although if you change the channel on your set-top box (as opposed to through the @TV's IR blaster) you won't get the correct program details. The only other limitation is that you can't use the program guide to schedule recordings, so no `Sky+' style action going on here.

After such a great start, it was at this point that I made the mistake of unplugging the @TV box to move it to a better location and straight afterwards a big annoyance started. The IR blaster started sending its commands as a `pulse' rather than a short `click', which sent multiple instructions to my Sky+ box. Telling the box to move up or down a single channel resulted in a jump of three or four, while moving through the menus was an enormously frustrating lesson in randomness. I tried rebooting the @TV, moving the blaster(s) around, and reinstalling the service, none of which worked, and this really did hamper my use and enjoyment of the system quite badly. So until I can figure out what the problem is and how to fix it, the @TV has become a plastic box sitting underneath my TV, half-usable but otherwise just sucking up electricity.

The Belkin @TV Plus is the first media-slinging system I've used, so I have no basis for comparing it against similar systems from other manufacturers. So, with that in mind, I have to say that I've been pretty impressed with its overall capabilities, both in terms of its speed and as respects its usefulness, right up until the IR blaster malfunction. The quality wasn't HD but it was perfectly good, and the addition of a free (depending on your device) iOS app was very welcome. I've marked the @TV based on the time I had good and trouble-free use of it, hopefully I can figure out what the IR problem is, and given that it worked perfectly at first I'm hoping that it will again.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2014 10:40 PM GMT

Philips LivingColors Mood Lamp Gen 3 LC Iris Black
Philips LivingColors Mood Lamp Gen 3 LC Iris Black
Price: £77.78

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Iris? I'd be worried if my eyes changed colour like this, 25 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Every now and then you see a lighting product online that has some coolness but lacks functionality, or one that lacks funkiness but embodies practicality, but rarely one that has the two together. The LivingColors Iris mood lamp from Philips may be the product that changes that for you, as it emits a light beam that you adjust to suit your preference.

The Iris is a smoked, black plastic bowl a little under 20cm in diameter, into which a series of colour LEDs has been fixed. A piece of white, frosted plastic covers the top of the bowl, while a flat indentation on the side, towards the bottom, allows it to sit with the top angled to one side. It's not a particularly awe-inspiring design but it is minimalist and will suit most living room spaces. There are no buttons or switches on the lamp, as everything is controlled from the included remote control - a round device, about the width of a coaster, which takes two AAA batteries (included.) So be careful not to lose or break the remote, as without it you're pretty much stuffed.

The remote has a rocker button on the top to turn the lamp on and off, two to turn immediately to one of your two, definable favourite colours, and a circular `colour wheel' slider to change the colour of the beam to any one of 16,000,000 (yes, that is sixteen million) colours, as well as the colour saturation and its brightness. As you can imagine, this gives you pretty much total control of the beam the lamp emits. Or, if you prefer, you can leave it on automatic mode and have it cycle through all possible colours in a continuous loop; my one gripe here is that there's no way to alter the speed at which the lamp cycles through its colours, and I do find the pre-set speed to be a bit fast for casual, home use.

The manual you get with the Iris is a fold-out pamphlet, comprised totally of pictures and no text, and I did initially find it a little confusing. Things became clear after a small amount of pressing buttons and trying different things, but a little written explanation on the lamp's functions would have been nice - Philips UK does include this on its website so have a quick look there if you're not sure that you're getting the most out of your new baby. However, a quick guide is as follows:-

Alter beam colour: spin the slider clockwise or anticlockwise until you get the colour you desire - spinning the slider more quickly cycles through the colours more rapidly.
Alter brightness: press and hold the slider at either the 12 or 6 o'clock positions.
Alter saturation: press and hold the slider at either the 3 or 9 o'clock positions.
Automatic mode: spin the slider through 360 degrees and then hit the `on' button.
Add favourite: select the beam colour, brightness and saturation you want and then hold down one of the two `favourite' buttons for 5 seconds.

Once you've grasped how the lamp works, it's pretty much as easy to use as you could wish for. The beam it emits is bright (210 lumens, according to Philips) and quite diffuse, so it covers a wide area of wall rather than projecting a narrow spot onto it; it doesn't cover a massive area, but enough to light a fair section of your room. Although being able to change the colour and brightness of the beam to suit your mood and your décor is the lamp's main raison d'Ítre, you can always leave it on bright white mode and use it as pseudo table lamp with remotely-controllable brightness if you want. Whatever mode you choose, you will need a fairly light-coloured wall to get the best out of it; projecting the beam directly onto the ceiling is another idea, but you would need to sit the lamp in something like a plant pot to do this as otherwise it would roll over.

The Iris also includes Philips' Smartlink technology, which connects similarly-equipped lamps using a wi-fi signal and allows you to control them all using just one remote. It would have been a great party trick if the Iris was able to use this signal to sync with Philips Ambilight TVs and copy the light they emit while on standby, or to use it as an addition to the Ambilight feature when watching TV. Then again, Philips' newer TVs emit a huge range of colours all at once, which is something the Iris can't do, so what seems like a good idea in my head probably wouldn't have worked out in practice. The ability to pulse in time to music would also have been quite a funky inclusion, although perhaps a bit too much for some people.

However, rather than reviewing the Iris on what Philips didn't include, it's much better to rate it on what they did, and as a mood lamp the Iris does very well, while still retaining an element of usefulness. The LEDs should last a long time and it's bright enough to act purely as a dedicated table lamp if you so wish, although this would be wasting its talents somewhat and wouldn't be quite as practical as a dedicated table lamp.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2012 7:36 PM GMT

Anthony Deep Pore Cleansing Clay Mask 113gm
Anthony Deep Pore Cleansing Clay Mask 113gm
Offered by Beauty Cloud
Price: £21.20

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Controls oil, degunks pores and doesn't dry my skin, 22 Oct 2012
Up until a few years ago the mere thought of me using men's "beauty products" (for want of a better term) sent shivers down my spine. I thought of myself as a man's man, and no self-respecting man's man would EVER use the words "moisturiser", "exfoliator" or "toner" without wincing (or, at least, without adding the words "over my dead body" straight after.) But I eventually began to realise that my features wouldn't always look youthful and that my skin needed a bit of help to look vaguely respectable in the mornings. I've tried various things over the years, some of which I still use, but the one product I've only started using in the past year or so are face masks, made necessary because the pores on and around my nose hold dirt like sandpits and not even a good scrub can get them properly clean.

This mask from Anthony Logistics wasn't the first I tried, but it has been arguably the best. A red/brown, orange-scented clay cream, you apply a light coating to your face with one finger once a week (taking care not to get it on your clothes or anything else you value), then leave it on for 10 minutes while it dries, before washing it off. When you first apply it, you'll notice that it gives a very slight burning sensation, which I'm told is the active ingredients in the clay going to work and leaching out all the badness. Whether that's true or not, what I can say is that it leaves my problem combination skin completely smooth and flake-free, and the pores around my nose almost totally clear of muck - as one reviewer commented, you can almost feel it sucking the dirt out. I also find that there's no real need to moisturise afterwards as the mask doesn't dry out my skin at all, not even my forehead, which usually looks like the Sahara after any kind of washing.

I've been using the same bottle of the Anthony Logistics clay mask for the past couple of months and, by my estimation, I'm less than half-way through it, which I don't see as a bad return on my investment. I've tried a lot of different products over the years and this is one of the few that I would hate to give up, if only to ensure that my nose area stays looking clean and clear. The only bad thing I can say about the mask is that it is pretty messy and you do have to give your hands a good wash after application otherwise you'll find your clothes, towel and basin smeared in clay and smelling of orange.

Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 16GB USB Flash Drive - Black
Kingston Technology DataTraveler 101 Generation 2 16GB USB Flash Drive - Black
Price: £5.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A useful USB drive with some handy added extras, 22 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the face of it, the DT101G2 is nothing more than a plastic-looking, plastic-feeling USB flash drive, with a metal cover that swivels to cover the end of the drive but leaves the sides exposed to lint, grit and anything else you might have in your pocket. The Kingston isn't particularly sturdy, and it's the one drive I own that I wouldn't want to carry with keys or change.

Using the h2test2 speed test program gave me a write speed to the drive of 4.22 Mb/s - not terrible but a bit slower than I was expecting. The Kingston is by no means the fastest of USB drives I've ever tried but seeing as I only use it to perform the odd back-up now and then, speed isn't too much of a problem for me. Just bear it in mind if you intend using the drive for regularly moving large files.

But appearances and speed aside, where the DT101G2 begins to impress is in the software Kingston has included on it - some of which, I admit, you may find pointless, but some of which you may find of use. When you first insert the drive into a Windows 7 machine (I assume XP and Vista will be similar), you get the standard autoplay options popup, asking you what you want to do with the device. Although you can simply open it up to explore the contents, you also get the option to start Kingston's urDrive software, which allows you to do much more with it. Just note here that, for some reason, the software won't run properly if you have an SD card or similar inserted into the card slot on your PC at the same time as you start urDrive.

urDrive is a single-window interface, giving you access to programs pre-installed on the drive. These include the Maxthon 3 web browser (a surprisingly good browser that I recommend you at least try), Norton PC Checkup system performance checker, a free 2GB online back-up storage solution and a music player. urDrive also gives you access to a mass of other downloadable applications such as games, music and video utilities, and productivity applications (paid-for and free), which are all available from the urAppZone, which is itself accessible directly from the drive - very handy if you need a program on-the-fly and don't have access to your own PC.

urDrive also lets you view and manage the photos, music and videos on your drive, and as you click on each of the media buttons in urDrive it sets up dedicated folders for each. In truth most of this is pretty superfluous and probably not of much interest to the majority of people, but I can see people living out of airports or hotel rooms making use of it - after all, having your own self-personalised browser and dedicated suite of applications wherever you go could be quite a bonus. Just note that the Kingston doesn't come with any password-protection software built into it, so you should be careful not to leave it lying around in a public place - slightly disappointing given its seeming target market.

I bought the Kingston simply to back-up the photos on my PC, not realising that it came with urDrive (or, indeed, any other software) installed. Knowing that the software was on it wouldn't have affected my decision to buy it one way or the other as I only need the drive to perform the most basic of tasks, but it's nice to have it there, as long as you don't mind losing some disk space. The only downside is that I would have expected the drive to be a little more robust (physically and security-wise) when it's seemingly aimed at travellers and those on the go.

L'Oreal Men Expert Pure and Matte Scrub 150ml
L'Oreal Men Expert Pure and Matte Scrub 150ml
Price: £3.19

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As much a face wash as a face scrub, 21 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although this stuff from L'Oreal is referred to as a scrub on many websites, it has `exfoliating wash' printed on the bottle and I think that's a much more accurate description of it. Not quite a simple gel and not what I'd describe as a full scrub, to me it's actually half of one and half of the other - a gel chemical wash with soft exfoliating grains mixed into it to give it a slightly abrasive texture. It doesn't have quite the same exfoliating ability as a lot of face scrubs I've used, but it does foam up better and you don't need a lot to wash with - in fact, less is more here as the stuff does tend to get into every nook and cranny and some rinsing is needed to make sure you get it all out.

I have skin that's particularly picky when it comes to face washes and scrubs, and it doesn't take much for it to dry out and begin to peel. There's no doubt that the Pure & Matte wash does dry it slightly, especially around the t-zone, but not to an extent that can't be fixed with a little post-wash moisturising, which is something I'd recommend you do anyway. As a wash, it's designed to keep your skin clear and it certainly does that well enough, although you do need to stick to the recommendation printed on the bottle and to use it daily to get the full benefits from it. If you do this, you'll also find that it keeps oil more or less under complete control, which is fantastic for those of us with problem skin.

Overall, a good product that some websites promote as a scrub, but which L'Oreal itself sells as a wash - in this instance I think that the manufacturer is closer to the mark. I still keep a bottle of a more abrasive scrub handy, though, for those times when my skin needs a little `extra' exfoliating.

Dyson DC44 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Dyson DC44 Animal Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Offered by Smart Electricals Direct
Price: £265.99

73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dyson's baby vacuum is growing up, 10 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bought my first `baby' Dyson back in 2009 and although it is undoubtedly an indispensable cleaning gadget, it isn't without its faults. It has only one speed, a 6-minute runtime (and this has reduced to around 4 minutes, 3 years later) and only one cleaning nozzle. It's fine for removing crumbs from work surfaces and such, but there's no way you could (or would want to) go through the entire house or to clean your car with it.

The DC44 Animal, on the other hand, is quite the little trooper. Incorporating Dyson's digital motor technology, as opposed to a traditional electric motor, it goes from 0 to 100 pretty much as soon as you press the trigger without any lag; hardly essential but it does mean that the power's available for you immediately. The digital motor also gives the DC44 two power settings - high and low - for dealing with both light and heavier dirt. A lighty-up push-button on the back of the cleaner changes between the two settings and although this variable power may seem a bit gimmicky, the reality is that both settings have their uses and I use both quite a bit. I generally use the low setting with one of the standard heads, and the high setting with the floor cleaner (more on those later.)

Probably the main issue that stopped people from dropping cash on a Dyson handheld when they were first introduced (at least, if my friends and family are to be believed) was that 6-minute runtime. Only being able to clean half a room or maybe part of the inside of your car before having to re-charge the battery for a couple of hours wasn't exactly what people were after and many weren't sure why they would want to bother with a handheld over a full-sized vacuum. Using the digital motor, Dyson have been able to up the runtime on the DC44 to a (relatively) whopping 20 minutes, and I do generally get between 15 and 20 minutes of use from mine, depending on which power setting I'm on.

The increased power and runtime is necessary not only because people asked for it, but also because the DC44 aims to bridge the gap between full-size vacuum cleaners and traditional handhelds. It comes with two plastic accessory heads - a crevice tool and the ubiquitous combination brush/debris nozzle - and two motorised brush heads for picking up pet hair and seriously dug-in dirt. These heads have spinning brush-bars inside that are powered by small motors on their sides, which take their power from the cleaner. There are two sets of brushes in the large head, one with firm hairs for pulling pet hair from carpets and the other with softer hairs for cleaning things like hard floors. The small head only has one set of firm brushes so would seem intended purely for carpets or upholstery.

The smaller head attaches directly to the DC44 for use in enclosed spaces like car interiors, while the other attaches to the cleaner via a non-extending aluminium wand and it's this head that you'll want to use on your home floors. It lays almost completely flat for cleaning under sideboards or coffee tables, and being quite low anyway does help a lot in this regard. The larger head also incorporates what seems to be a `split' form of Dyson's ball technology, with one half of the ball on each side, and this does make a very real difference when manoeuvring around rooms - just bear in mind here that the brushes can't be turned off, although that's hardly a hardship.

The DC44 also comes with a large wall-mounting bracket for securing it while not in use, and not only the cleaner but all the attachments fix to this bracket for storage as well. It's a nice thing for Dyson to have included but the DC44 does look quite big and awkward sticking out from the wall, especially with the wand and motorised head attached. Still, it makes some sense when you see how more awkward the DC44 looks when sitting on the ground or propped up in a corner, and it's much more tidy storing it head-down on the wall in its cradle.

Having seen how effective at collecting pet hair the non-motorised turbine head on my parents' Dyson is, I had hoped that the ones with the DC44 would be at least as affective and, for the most part, I wasn't disappointed. It's true that the lesser power of a battery-powered handheld reduces the sucking ability when compared to a big, mains-powered vacuum, but I was still surprised at how much muck (and my dogs' hairs in particular) the DC44 picked up. That said, even the larger head isn't quite as wide as you'd want if you intended cleaning a larger lounge or bedroom as it just takes too long to do, but at least the 20-minute runtime lets you do it if you want to, without worrying about the battery going dead. I managed to clean my lounge/diner, hall and carpeted stairs before stopping - not because the battery ran down but because I got bored. The realisation that cleaning so much space with a handheld wasn't such a good idea hit me after about 12 minutes and it was at this point that I did the rest of the house with my `proper' vacuum.

You also have to factor in the weight of the machine with the wand and motorised head attached - it's not particularly heavy but you'll be holding most of this weight up by your wrist as you clean and that does begin to tell after a while. You also have to keep the trigger squeezed as you clean as it doesn't incorporate a trigger lock, and this does get surprisingly tiring after 5 to 10 minutes.

I really like the DC44 Animal. It solves many of the problems its predecessor suffered from and comes with a hat-full of handy attachments for cleaning just about everything from carpets to down the back of your sofa. Then again, it's a bit hard to see just what gap it's trying to fill - if you want something just for cleaning surfaces then the motorised heads are pretty superfluous, but if you want something for cleaning pet hair from floors or from your car then you'd almost certainly be better off with a full-size Dyson Animal. It's undoubtedly easier to whip out your handheld (oo-er misses) than your full-size cleaner if you want to do a smallish area, but I seriously doubt you'd want to go through the entire house with a DC44.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2012 7:39 PM GMT

King Of Shaves Mens Antibacterial Face Balm 100ml
King Of Shaves Mens Antibacterial Face Balm 100ml

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Calms and smooths well, but not so good as an anti-bac, 25 Sep 2012
I began using face balms some years ago after a combination of blunt blades and a bad technique began leaving me with awful razor burn. King of Shaves antibacterial face balm was the first product I used, and despite trying many since, it certainly remains one of the better. Although more a liquid than a cream, it isn't as runny as some balms I've used and so is much easier to apply to the face, particularly in the morning when men often aren't at their best.

It supposedly works in three ways - antibacterial agents reduce spots and blemishes, cooling agents calm razor burn and reduce stubble, and moisturising additives keep skin smooth and supple. I can testify to the effectiveness of the last two as a splash (or splat?) of the stuff post-shave leaves my face feeling cool, calmed and smoother than before the balm was applied. I wouldn't say that it excels as a moisturiser, and dedicated products do work better, but as a single product solution it's hard to beat, especially if you're in a rush. On the other hand I'm very doubtful as to how much merit the antibacterial claim has, as my skin gets just as many blemishes whether I use the balm or not.

The menthol has a lovely cooling sensation that's perfect to wake you up in the morning and if that doesn't work then the sharp menthol odour will, though for some it might be a little overpowering. It should also be noted that the balm tends to open up not only the pores but also any cuts made while shaving, so (like me) you may find that your blood-free face doesn't always stay that way. It's for this reason that I tend to use the balm only after I electric shave only, as having to stop cuts bleeding is hardly ideal before work.

No Title Available

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully unique and classy ink, 25 Sep 2012
This is, quite simply, a lovely colour that Herbin say replicates the red used in old sealing wax and I have to agree, it does indeed have that look about it. Not at all watery, it has a strangely beautiful trait in that the angle of the nib and the thickness of the ink laid down completely define the colour - some parts of your writing will look bright red, while others will be an earthy brown. A finer nib (medium or less) seems to accentuate the bright tones, while a thicker nib makes the brown more pronounced. The best I can liken it to, is mixing two pots of paint together but not mixing them properly, so some brushstrokes apply one colour and some apply another. It sounds bizarre but the two colours work well together, and make an ink that I appreciate the more I use it.

If the ink itself wasn't enough to convince you to buy some, then the bottle it comes in surely has to be a deal-winner. A square glass bottle with a gold rubber seal emblazoned on the front and a wax laquer screw-on cap, it surely must be one of the better mass-produced bottles out there. It's true that you shouldn't buy any ink on the strength of the bottle alone, but in this instance it's the perfect container for such an ink and sets the whole package off beautifully.

The only negative thing I can say about this Herbin is that it does have a tendency to dry into every nook and cranny of the pen's nib, requiring more than a gentle flushing with water to get rid of it. Whether or not that means it will eventually stain the nib or the pen itself, only time will tell, but that isn't a problem that has been highlighted on any of the FP forums I've seen.

The Herbin Anniversary ink perhaps isn't the kind of ink you'll find too many uses for, but it's both unique and very traditional. To me, it harks back to a time when letters were written and notes taken by candlelight, and important documents were shut with a wax seal, and whilst I'm certainly not wishing to have the Dark Ages back, I certainly don't mind having a little piece of them sitting on my desk.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2014 10:53 AM GMT

Pyrex Glass Measuring Jug, 0.5L
Pyrex Glass Measuring Jug, 0.5L
Offered by kitchen essentials
Price: £6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars One or two nods to modern design but otherwise typical Pyrex, 20 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Pyrex jugs may not be one of the most glamorous kitchen accoutrements but they are definitely one of the most useful. My parents have owned an old Pyrex measuring jug for something like the past 25 years (or more!) and, aside from being quite a lot more scratched than it used to be, it still works perfectly well.

This new jug seems made along more or less the same lines as the old one - they have a similar size, a similar thickness and a similar heft, only the new one has a straight handle that's fixed only at the top rather than the curved, double-fixed handle of old. In most other respects the old and new jugs appear pretty much identical, except that this time around the measurement scales are printed in a fetching red type, as opposed to blue. There are actually two scales, giving measurements in two sets of increments - up to a pint on the right-hand scale and up to 500ml on the left. Both scales are printed on opposing sides of the jug so they can be seen irrespective of which way the jug is facing.

The jug's pouring spout has come under fire from some reviewers as being less like a pouring spout and more like a torrential flooding spout, and while you do have to be a bit careful when pouring, I think the same has always been true with Pyrex jugs like this. I don't know if there's a particular reason for keeping them like this, but if they could be made with a less shallow spout, I think this would help matters quite a lot.

Most families have owned a Pyrex jug at one time or another and this one continues the tradition very well. I'm not sure that I prefer the single-fixed design of the handle as the double-fixed ones of old, but that's just my preference and in all other respects this jug is at least as good as the old ones. Just be a bit careful when pouring from it!

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