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Reviews Written by
Grr "Gumbo" (England)

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Ben Sherman Men's BS131 Quartz Watch with Silver Dial Analogue Display and Stainless Steel Bracelet
Ben Sherman Men's BS131 Quartz Watch with Silver Dial Analogue Display and Stainless Steel Bracelet
Price: £9.40

4.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive but good quality watch, 22 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a handsome watch. Very simple, masculine and full of style. The Ben Sherman logo is subtle and not obtrusive. The Face is large and bright steel with only the quarter numbers shown. There is no date function or any other whistles and bells but it has a good weight and feels like a good quality item. At its current price –around the £50 mark – it’s obviously not at the higher end of the watch market but it wears well and looks good.

Generally I’m not a big fan of steel straps on watches, I prefer the softer and classical look of a leather strap. However I am pleased to say that on this watch the straps are perfect, comfortable and a real quality addition to this timepiece. The addition of a wrist measure (along with an option to send it off to be resized) is a nice touch, especially as some with thinner wrists may find this watch ill fitting.

Nicely presented in an attractive Ben Sherman box, this would certainly make a decent gift as a relatively inexpensive but attractive piece.

skinChemists Advanced Bee Venom Night Moisturiser to plump and firm skin, whilst fighting the loss of elasticity with, Cocoa Butter to deeply moisturise skin & Manuka Honey to deeply nourish skin throughout the night 50 ml
skinChemists Advanced Bee Venom Night Moisturiser to plump and firm skin, whilst fighting the loss of elasticity with, Cocoa Butter to deeply moisturise skin & Manuka Honey to deeply nourish skin throughout the night 50 ml
Price: £86.85

4.0 out of 5 stars If you can afford this, it is well worth investing in., 14 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As other reviews have noted the first thing you notice about this moisturiser is the eye watering price tag. It is clearly aimed at the top end of the market and as such you are expecting the highest quality and noticeable results.

The moisturiser arrives in a clean, well designed box, which gives it the look of a high quality product. Similarly once you remove the pump action bottle from inside you can see a lot of thought has been put into this design, it is sleek and yet chunky to hold and has a nice weight balance as well as being a good looking bottle for the bathroom cabinet. The pump action dispenser ensures that you only dispense a small amount at a time so you can judge how much you would like to use each application.

The texture of this moisturiser is slightly thinner than many I have used in the past, it is not runny but is not thick and creamy. It applies smoothly however when I applied the product the first thing I noticed is that it is not as easily absorbed into the skin as some products I have used. It doesn’t take long to rub in but it is certainly not instant. In some ways this is a positive and you end up massaging your face and stimulating the skin as you apply the product but in terms of time it does add an extra minute to your skin care routine. Once rubbed in however for me personally there is an immediate result on my skin, it looks clearer, brighter and plumper. I was really pleasantly surprised at this as usually moisturisers need a few days or longer to work with my skin to produce a result. Clearly this product is designed to have a noticeable effect and this is where it is reflected in the price tag. This result seems to build up over time and although I have only been using this for a short while I do feel it has been having a positive effect on my skin tone overall, both in how it looks and how it feels to my touch.

The smell of this product is a little odd. I found it was initially quite pleasant but as you apply the product this seems to diminish into a sort of more chemical smell but a natural tint, think very faint chemistry lab combined with dusty crushed, dried flowers. It’s not horrible but is not as nice as many products I have tried.

I do like bee venom products as they seem to sit well on my skin and certainly the other ingredients in this moisturiser - vitamins, anti-oxidants, moisturisers and lipids - are all definite positives to include in a skin product.

For me personally this is a great product for my skin and it does have an instant effect that can be noticed, although it is not especially dramatic it does make my skin look healthier and more alive. I think if you have the funds to afford a product like this on a regular basis then I would certainly recommend. I have not used many products at this price level so cannot comment if this is good value compared to similarly priced ranges but it does seem to provide positive results.

Timberland Men's TBL.94840AEU/02A Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Leather Strap
Timberland Men's TBL.94840AEU/02A Quartz Watch with Black Dial Analogue Display and Leather Strap

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Made Watch, 9 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is very little to find fault with here. This is a very handsome timepiece.

An fussy, masculine design with obvious high quality in the manufacture. The face is sizeable - those with thinner wrists may want to look elsewhere as a result - with large numerals and prominent hands. The Timberland logo and design straddle the balance of noticeable and subtle well and the extra 3 measures (Date, day and am/pm) are all well sized and placed.

Setting the watch up is simple and no more fiddly than others. The instruction booklet is plain English and uncomplicated as well.

My only - minor - gripes concern the strap. The leather itself is nice enough and comfortable but for a watch of this price i'd have preferred the catch to be of a better material than plastic - tough and thickened as it may be. The secondary, adjustable loop has already stretched a little loose after a week of wear which is a bit disappointing but let me stress these are small notes and not worth taking a star from in my view.

This is not cheap timepiece but it is a well made, attractive one that would no doubt delight any gift recipient.

Philips Avent Smart Ear Thermometer
Philips Avent Smart Ear Thermometer
Price: £36.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well designed, compact and accurate with useful fever indicator, 4 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This thermometer is compact and easy to hold, to take a temperature you simply switch the device on and insert into the ear canal, press the main button and after a second or two the device will beep and show you a temperature on screen. If a fever is present the ring around the display screen will light up red – which is an extremely useful feature, I have had ear thermometers previously that were much larger and bulkier and not only did they not notify you if a fever was present they did not have any sort of chart enclosed in either the instructions or box to let you know what temperature range is normal and what is not. The fever light is particularly useful for children as you immediately know that they are unwell without having to go and look up exact temperatures.

You can also change the display to read fahrenheit instead of centigrade if you require which means it is suitable for those who work in either temperature scale. This button can also be used for a factory reset if required.

The thermometer will also switch off after 30 seconds when not in use which is another useful feature meaning batteries will not be run down.

One thing this thermometer does not have is the usual covers to change after every use. Instead you have instructions on how to clean the thermometer. I personally think this is great as I have always hated the covers and found the fiddly to use and wasteful. The fact that this can be cleaned is a great bonus.

This thermometer is also designed to be used with an app which will allow you to track the temperatures of a particular person (child/baby) over time. Although this should be a fairly simple process it can be a little more complex than anticipated and you are taken though lots of permissions. That said it synched easily with my phone and I can see how this could be a useful feature especially if activated from birth so that you can track temperature changes as your child grows. This is not a feature I will require going forward though so I will probably remove the app form my phone in the near future.

Price wise this is a fairly reasonable investment for a thermometer of this type, though you can find cheaper models. For the accuracy, efficiency, design and additional connectivity features to track a child’s temperature I think this is a worthwhile investment. A high quality product that does exactly what you need a thermometer to do in a quick, intuitive and easy way.

The Ice Lands
The Ice Lands
by Steinar Bragi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, creepy....and a little bit boring in places, 2 Nov. 2016
This review is from: The Ice Lands (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is much to recommend in this novel, the desolate landscapes of Iceland are immediately an evocative and strong setting for a spooky yarn. The tale that unfolds in this book is pleasingly haunting and executed relatively well – even if the over-riding premise is not especially original, no matter.

Three stars tells its own tale of course – possibly down to the translation but the prose is rather clunky in places and, more pertinently, the pacing of the book makes some passages a chore to wade through. Giving characters backstory helps to flesh them out of course but too much backstory deadens atmosphere, which is never a good thing in a scary story.

Not that three stars should scare any interested readers away – this is an okay book. I enjoyed it overall and, a few pacing issues aside, it did the job for an autumnal read. I’d happily try another Steinar Bragi novel in the future.

Tefal Ultimate Hand Blender, 1000 W
Tefal Ultimate Hand Blender, 1000 W
Price: £64.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, space saving piece of kitchen equipment!, 31 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We had the same hand blender for well over 8 years and although it had been a faithful servant the time had really come to upgrade – the whisk was wonky and span haphazardly, the plastic jug was scratched, misty and the measurements were rubbing off and the whole thing generally needed a deep clean – enter the Tefal Ultimate Hand Blender, 1000 W!!

This hand blender arrived in a nice sized box, cleanly designed with useful images and information on the outside. When you take the product out of the box and remove the packaging from all the parts you are left with a very attractive looking piece of kitchen equipment. The stainless steel finish gives a quality look and feel and is certainly an improvement on our old white plastic model. There are however quite a lot of parts to keep together and although you can decant them back into the cardboard box this is not ideal. It would be lovely if someone could make a decent hand blender that has a sensible storage structure once out of the box. So far I have not found one and although this is not a product breaking issue and can be solvable with a bit of thought and some strong zip lock bags or Tupperware it would be treat as a consumer not to have to think about this element.

At 1000W this is quite a beast of a hand blender with most others weighing in between 450W and 800W this is quite a jump on the competition out there. The extra wattage is great when you have a tougher blending job, the extra power allows the blades to whizz through things that you might otherwise get stuck in. I imagine the addition of this extra power comes in response to the nutribullets of the world, if you have an exceptionally powerful hand blander that can whizz through nuts, fruit and other smoothie making items and essentially create the products that a nutribullet or similar can then this becomes a much more multipurpose tool. Kitchens are full of gadgets and anything that can take elements of several devices and bring them into one space saving design is on to a winner.

Upon using this blender I found it had a really nice feel and weight to it and usage was easy and simple to achieve. The build quality of this product is really excellent and it genuinely feels like a sturdy quality piece of kit when you are using it. The level of noise that this blender makes is relatively low compared to many I have used, it’s certainly not silent but I didn’t have to bellow to get anyone to hear me while I was using it. Once you have finished with your project then you dismantle the unit to clean. The parts come apart well and I found it pretty easy to clean well, certainly it is favourably comparable to our old model – as always with something like this the best thing to do is clean straight after use so nothing has a chance to dry in any crevices etc.

I have never before come across a hand blender with 25 speed options. This is quite a range which means you can really vary what you need to do. You can adapt the speed exactly for the task in hand. There are also a lot of attachments – all of which sound very useful but I suspect some may lie dormant in your cupboards for years to come – though that said if you are ever hosting an important dinner party and want to make your own mayonnaise this is the piece of kit you will need!

The recipe book supplied is a bit of a non-event really – only a small number of recipes are in English and the rest of the book is taken up with duplication of the recipes in a large number of languages – great for worldwide inclusion – less great for printing costs and consumer interest.

At £55 (at the time of writing) this is quite an investment for a hand blender but given its power and the number of functions it can carry out it is well worth the investment as you will not need to buy other larger and perhaps more clunky items as this will do their job for them. A great addition to any kitchen and a lovely Christmas present to any foodie relations who might want to save some space in their kitchens!

Gatineau Clear & Perfect Sebo Regulating Concentrate 30 ml
Gatineau Clear & Perfect Sebo Regulating Concentrate 30 ml
Price: £47.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly effective toning product, look at less pricey options first!, 31 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I opened the Amazon package for this concentrate I found a small cardboard container, simply and cleanly designed and finished to a high standard. On opening this up, the concentrate comes in a glass bottle with a pump action dispenser. This does give it a bit of a quality feel and clearly there has been quite a bit of thought into the product design itself.

When you pump out a small amount of the concentrate you find that it has a clean fresh smell. It’s not too strong and doesn’t smell overly fragranced rather it smalls more plant based and natural which is really nice. The concentrate itself is a medium consistency, thinner than moisturiser but thicker than shampoo so it doesn’t run off you hand when dispensed. Once you apply it to your face it sinks into skin easily and without leaving a sticky feeling residue. My skin does seem to look a bit brighter once this has been applied but I have found this to be the case with my normal toning products so it has not had any immediate miracle effect. When applying my moisturiser afterwards this still goes on well and easily, the concentrate doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on my skin being able to absorb this as I have come across in the past. Throughout the day I have checked my skin to see how oily it looks and I would say it seems to be more matt for a little bit longer than usual; but this effect doesn’t last all day long.

It is usual to have to try a product for a decent amount of time to see how much of a difference this actually makes but so far although it does seem to give a matt finish for slightly longer than my usual toners this is not really a huge difference. My skin does look brighter when it is first applied but again this effect doesn’t last a huge length of time. Given that my usual toning products cost around a quarter of the price of this product I cannot see, for my skin, that the investment of £47.00 at the time of writing is really worth it. I am aware that effects on skin will vary widely due to differences in individual people however my suggestion would be to go through some of the other less pricey options well before trying this one as you may find that the cheaper products do a very similar job for considerably less investment. It’s in no way a bad product but the price doesn’t really reflect the effect it has in my opinion.

Disney Princess Top Trumps Match Board Game
Disney Princess Top Trumps Match Board Game
Price: £9.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Robust family fun!, 28 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really fun game for two people to play and is great for a bit of family fun. The object of the game is to get 5 characters in a row either diagonally, vertically or horizontally. The game does take a little bit of getting used to and although the ages on the packet say it can be played from age 4, my suspicion is that at this young age the rules may not be strictly adhered to and it may just be fun popping the cubes out and putting them back again. Older children will find more to work with in the game as you do need to think about different elements and have a bit of a plan. We have played this with a 6 year old girl who loved it and really enjoyed being matched against adults.

The game itself seems well constructed and is not flimsy in any way. It feels reassuringly heavy and solid which is great because so many games get rough treatment by children it’s good to know this one should withstand quite a beating.

The fact that the game packs away nicely into a case you can carry around is great. We have a lot of games in their battered old cardboard boxes held together with bits of tape and the fact that the packaging from this game can be recycled and does not need keeping is great. This also means that you end up with a smaller item to store and that it will be more robust than a cardboard box so it’s less likely to fall apart and risk losing the pieces. As there is a small handle it also makes it portable so you can take it away with you if you are off on holiday etc.

At £19 it is a reasonable investment but I would not say is overpriced considering other games on the market.

ACE Breathalyzer one black, TU-Vienna-measurement accuracy: 98.60%, UK-Version
ACE Breathalyzer one black, TU-Vienna-measurement accuracy: 98.60%, UK-Version
Price: £81.68

2.0 out of 5 stars Not brilliantly designed and poor value for money, 20 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The major problem that I have with this breathalyser is that it has been calibrated against the US blood alcohol limit which is 0.05% where as in England it is 0.08% and limits vary across the UK. Now although this does mean that a safe result on this will mean that you are safe to drive in England it clearly is not tailored to the UK market (despite saying it is on the Amazon page) and shows a distinct lack of thought about where this will be sold. For a device that costs so much I am sure there must be a way to ensure that the device you purchase is tailored to your country of choice.

My second problem with the device is that is comes with a pretty paltry 3 mouthpieces and as you are meant to use them only once this means you do not exactly get value for money from the outset. Almost as soon as you buy the product you will need to look at making an additional purchase in order to ensure you can keep using it – though I am sure if you thoroughly cleaned the ones that come with the unit they could have more than one use. If the breathalyser was available at a lower cost the cost of additional mouthpieces would be more palatable but at the time of writing it is £70.28 to buy the main unit and £12.00 for 25 additional mouthpieces which is a pretty high investment.

Another problem I have found with this product is that the instructions are badly put together. They are not well translated and need carefully scrutiny to ensure you understand what they are asking you to do.

When you turn the device on to use you need to wait for it to finish a countdown which is displayed on the screen, when this reaches zero you need to blow into the mouthpiece steadily until the until you hear a click (which was not easily identifiable) at this point the device will display a reading on screen showing your blood alcohol % and a light in either red or green to indicate that you have successfully completed the test. The big issues here is that a green light does not indicate you are safe to drive simply that you have completed the test ok and a red light does not indicate a failed test simply that it has not completed correctly. This means you have to completely rely on interpreting the figures on screen for your result and ensure you do not get the wrong impression that a green light means a good test. Although this should be a fairly simple task it would be far preferable to have a clearer way of interpreting results.

Overall I found that although this arrives well packaged and with nice looking features, it has been designed fairly poorly and does not display results in the most intuitive way. There is also a serious lack of thought given to the country where it is to be sold. I had high hopes for this but have been left pretty let down.

Command HOM-18Q-ES Key Rail Quartz with 1 Rail/4 Strips
Command HOM-18Q-ES Key Rail Quartz with 1 Rail/4 Strips
Price: £8.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to install, neutral looking and does exactly what you need it to do!, 7 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First off this key rail looks really good, yes it is made of plastic with no metal on the hooks or the rail, but it is clean, bright and neutral which is really what you want from a key rail - there to do a job but not obtrusive or garish.

Secondly this rail is really easy to install - no screws, rawl plus or drills in sight. you simply take three of the six adhesive pads supplied and adhere them to the clear plastic rack on the back of the rail. Once in place you chose your area of wall and ensure that this is completely clean and free of any dust - surgical spirirt does this really well. Once your wall has been cleared you remove the second set of covers from the pads on the back of the rail and place it into position on the wall. At this point it can be a little tricky - you need to lift the front rail and slide it out of the plastic backing that is now stuck to the wall - take your time, you don't want to pull the sticky bits off the wall. At this point you need to press the adhesive pads firmly to the wall to ensure they have struck firmly and leave this in place for about an hour in order to achieve the best adhesion possible. After this you can slide the plate and hooks back into position and voila, one key rack!

This has been a great addition to our house and it supports weight well - although we are only using it for two sets of keys I have tested it out with slightly heavier items and it seem to have no problem with them at all. I wouldn't want to go too crazy though!

To remove the rack you should slide the hooks and plate off the base and then pull the tabs on the advehice strips down so they come off the wall - we have used this technique with other Command products and it is very simple and has left no damage at all - we have not tried this with the key hanger as we want it where it is but as it is the same system I have previously used I can't see it causing problems.

All in all this has provided the solution we needed without us having to get the drill out and it looks great!

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