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The Honest Cynic (UK)

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Tefal Hard Anodised Frying Pan Set - Grey, 5-Piece
Tefal Hard Anodised Frying Pan Set - Grey, 5-Piece
Price: £72.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Tefal kitchen wares, 2 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Nothing says quality more than Tefal kitchen equipment and this set is no exception!

Out of the box the smooth anodised pots and pans have a delightful, solid feel to them, sturdy yet not too heavy to hold, with tightly bonded silicone handles (I find cheaper pans are sometimes badly fitting) that resist the high temperatures, adorned with the marque of Tefal quality about them.

So far they've been great - non stick = less oil = more healthy frying, and they clean and stay looking clean easily enough. I've managed to avoid burning in food onto the pan, and thankfully soups and stew residues can be scrapped off without too much effort - this is from someone who puts off washing up for as long as possible as well.

Being a Tefal I'm hoping the set will last a lifetime. Bit confused why it's called a frying pan set when you only get one frying pan though... I'd happily exchange a pot for a different sized pan!

AmazonBasics 100% Cotton Single Duvet Cover Set, Bold Checks with 1 pillowcase
AmazonBasics 100% Cotton Single Duvet Cover Set, Bold Checks with 1 pillowcase
Price: £30.10

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising quality duvet set, 26 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For an own-brand duvet AmazonBasics has got a surprisingly good product on offer. It's quality, tightly woven cotton making it thick and durable, yet soft enough to snuggle in to. Whereas I would probably avoid a supermarket cheap own-brand product like the plague (or bed bugs?), Amazon's stuff has a surprising premium feel.

When it arrives it's worth throwing in the washing machine first to remove the starchiness and packaging smell, then giving it a quick iron before wrapping around your duvet and pillow. The covers are tight fitting which makes your bed look extra puffy.

Great package, won't be losing any sleep over it.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past GN
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past GN
by Ishinomori
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.79

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A legendary link to past memories, 23 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's thrilling to see that this graphic novel, first serialised in Nintendo Power magazine (America) in 1992, has been released as a standalone. I remember downloading each scan of the original to a floppy disk from a Zelda fan site before printing 100s of pages off in black and white at school!

Luckily with this re-issue every page is brightly coloured on glossy paper faithfully reproducing A Link To The Past's cartoony style wrapped in a golden foil logo front page.

The artwork in this graphic novel is slightly more Japanese (though not manga) than the instructions manual artwork that comes with the game, but close enough to be recognisable. The storyline is loosely based on the game from Light World to Dark World to challenging Ganon and restoring peace, although skips much of the dungeon adventuring to give cell space to the massive bosses.

Even still, the adaptation is something you need to read! Although in no way tied to the series' folklore there's quite a few coincidences in there published years ahead of their time, from a Navi-like character, a Dark World moon suspiciously like Majora's Mask and a bird character called Roam, much like the Rito tribe from Windwaker...

It's a shame a comic originally made in the early 1990s doesn't have the same intense suspense, deeper character exploration as one might have had it come out recently, but it's a great throwback to a simpler time when comic book adaptations had less interference from games publishers.

If you're a collector this is for the collection, though if you're new to Zelda then get Akira Himekawa's manga adaptation from Viz media.

Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 200g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Philips GC4521/87 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 200g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Price: £49.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Start a steamy relationship with your laundry, 17 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tip: When you first use the iron fill it with water and let it heat up, steam it onto an old piece of clothing to blow out all the manufacturing dust then throw the water away. First time it heats up the filaments give off a funny smell which disappears after second use.

Notorious for being someone who just wants their laundry washed and dried at the end of the week it turns out I wasn't actually that bad at ironing, I just didn't have a very good iron so had to hide wrinkles by tucking my shirts in tightly!

Titanium-bottomed the Performer Plus performs so much better than my last iron, gliding over thicker fabrics and flattening them with a satisfying generous hiss of steam. It's handles everything from thin vests, with its dolphin-nosed tip for tight places, to much thicker denim, heating and steaming them all thoroughly and probably saving me 30% more wardrobe space when folded as a result!

Design wise it's slick, even imposing, in black, and light to carry minus a full water tank, though leave it on its heel and it does leave a footprint on soft surfaces.

Usefully this iron has a hatch at the back to catch limescale flakes and empty them out extending the life of the iron saving it from needing a lifetime of limescale detergents (which Philips recommends you do not use). It even turns itself off when left standing, saving electricity and your ironing board - though obviously only tested this feature in its upright position.

Personally, for an appliance as mundane as an iron, I love it! Should ironing be this fun? As someone with more wrinkles in their clothes than a chain smoking grandma's lips, having this iron for ironing has done what Dyson has done for vacuuming - and I happen to love vacuuming too!

Wreck-It Ralph
Wreck-It Ralph
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A rare miss for Disney. Matrix meets Toy Story and Candy CrusH, 16 May 2015
For the retro throwback and references to anyone born in the 80s and early 90s of golden era 8 and 16 bit gaming this could have been a classic. But Wreck It Ralf, based upon a destructive fictional arcade game character wanting to live a normal life with other characters when the arcade machines are out of use m is just a little to archetypal for a children's story that mixes Toy Story, the metaphor of viruses in The Matrix and a few Sega / Nintendo licenses to use Bowser, Robotnik and Street Fighters in the cast with, a main character that wants to fit in and prove himself.

Older viewers will wish it was more Scott Pilgrim. Younger viewers might get bored from the script that's too detailed and metaphorically about viruses ruining a video game world.

It doesn't fit the imaginative world of Disney "believability." Ralph feels like an Everybody Loves Raymond character wanting to fit in. Other characters feel like additions to Monsters Inc. But the magic is missing.

This is one movie in the Disney connection that doesn't necessarily need to be displayed in the Disney DVD collection.

Philips Shaver Series 9000, Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClean S9031/26
Philips Shaver Series 9000, Wet and Dry Shaver with SmartClean S9031/26
Price: £209.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A close shave, 25 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll never get used to electric razors with their food processor sounding motors and unnatural feel on the face. But that's all change for now.

I have me something that's not just capable, but premium too. Actually it’s massively expensive… But built so well the price becomes a second thought if purchasing as a gift.

Such a price tag is justified by the fantastic build, futuristic beeps and lights, and a special docking station to charge and clean the razor head (although a European to British plug converter is required unless you have a razor slot in your bathroom) which looks like the razor world’s version of the Mac Pro! It charges in an hour and gives 50 minutes of use, which somehow defies my limited knowledge of the laws of energy!

The shaver itself is incredibly lightweight for a compact build you would expect to feel heavier in your hand, and it runs so quietly you could have a shave in the middle of the night and nobody would stir. Honestly.

In usage it takes some getting used to. Your skin might not take to it at first. For someone that keeps an after-5 amount of stubble or more it’s best to trim and keep your beard short and shave with it regularly to stop it tugging. You can also snap in a trimmer for shaping and sideburns.

The outstanding thing about it for me though is the dock, which will clean the razor head with a special blue solution cartridge, maintaining the razor heads for you. Have a shave, leave it in the dock and leave it to look after itself. I thought the cartridges would be another downfall in the already expensive price, but they in fact only average around a fiver if bought in bulk!

Finally, for the ever travelling debonaire, the razor also comes with a travel case and wait - you’re able to lock the razor from switching on in your hand luggage! It’s the small things. And the Series 9000 has it.

Kurio 7-Inch Child Safe Android Tablet
Kurio 7-Inch Child Safe Android Tablet
Offered by Ballicom International
Price: £83.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Kurio for those curious about a cheap beginners app for young children, 19 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kurio Tab

As a parent can you imagine anything greater than a budget iPad alternative with time limits built in to teach the value of time organisation? The Kurio Tab is just that with up to 8 custom profiles (logins) should you have a large family, plus the master profile for the parent allowing it to also double up as an adults-only tablet after the timer settings lock out children. Once time is up, there's no choice but to return it to an adult whether for an extension or to put it away for the day.

On top of the standard tablet offerings the Tab also includes motion sensing, better described as a front camera. Specially designed games with the feature allow you to use your reflected image to swipe and gesture at on screen objects to solve problems and "pull" objects across the screen while its balanced on a handy stand.

At 7” it’s about the size of a paperback book with a rubberised case to protect it from bumps and scratches, and has 8GB of memory which you can expand up to 32GB with a Micro SDHC. Underneath the rubberised case it’s still fairly sturdy, even though it’s cheaper plastic. The screen is vivid and bright, although not as crisp as a 'retina' screen, and sound is quite low which is an advantage when you're too young to show consideration for others in public. The camera is horrifically bad, although isn't a selling point on the tablet anyway.

Technically the Kurio tab includes an Intel processor running at 1.2GHz (trust, speed) and runs on a modified Android operating system (Google account required) and 50 pre-installed “educational” apps (marketing claim, although a fair selection of curated brain teasers adults might overlook in favour of Angry Birds). It handles them well too, loading quickly and running without lag, and there’s enough already installed to enjoy before seeking to download more. Plus there’s a mini SD card slot to expand memory for more if needed.

Some of the apps however require in-app purchases to buy unlock additional features, something that's known to get children's pocket money cut the minute the invoice comes through… so DO NOT register your credit card on the Google Play store! The battery is good enough for a long train ride (is London to Birmingham sufficient testing?) if not a little slow to charge from the mains via USB.

It’s a nice little tablet, with handy timer features to keep it under control, with nice features at a good price. But as ever, be there to watch over kids when using it. Like all tablets with childproofing there’s a way around the measures in place, including downloading in-app purchase games and not knowing you’re being charged. That means you’re handing over your credit card to a child unaware they’re purchasing stuff without your knowledge or consent! With in-app purchases being a revenue income for Kurio’s own in-house apps to keep the device cheap it’s great for younger kids, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring
Price: £2.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Hills with Superfly, without a weak pulse, 7 Feb. 2015
It's all you could dream of if you lived in Hollywood - clever teens using Google to check which LA celebrities are out of town, breaking in, helping themselves to their valuables and selling them on while living their lifestyle while your parents pay no attention. Can you imagine? Celebrities have enough disposable income that they would never notice a missing broach.

Sofia Coppola's movie is a satire based upon true events, but isn't told satirically or turning the true events on their heads like a farce, lacking an Alan Partridge characterisation where traits could have been exaggerated. Instead it's peaking from behind the wardrobe (as theft happens) action, self-centred storyline with not-too-much background on each of the characters, which isn't suprising for shallow LA teens...

Yet despite stealing cars where no one notices a Porsche from a front drive is missing, a fired pistol or even un-made bedsheets? It might be set in La-La Land, but c'mon! An unreturned car missing from your drive going unreported?? Even the Hilton's aren't THAT fickle.

The satire comes from scenes being set to a banging left coast soundtrack of trashy Kei$ha, Chris Brown and more, but for lack of interest from an over 25 audience, it's not quite enough to believe it represents anything that means anything.

It's difficult to get down with this flick. It's a flick that wants to get down with the LA influenced youth yet be satirical, but filled with more flaws than a laminate floor company! Had it been shot like Summer Heights High the satire would have been more obvious. But na. It's, like, whatever.

Puma Suede Classic +, Men's Trainers
Puma Suede Classic +, Men's Trainers
Price: £35.99 - £57.07

5.0 out of 5 stars PUMA Suede Classices colour "Bleu (Victoria Blue/Gray Violet)", 12 Oct. 2014
Note this review is for the colour "Bleu (Victoria Blue/Gray Violet)" - though all the trainers will fit the same description, except in colour.

Bleu (Victoria Blue/Gray Violet) still look the best in my opinion. The suede is bright, bold, and soft to touch, and the grip on your foot between the tongue and heel keeps them tied nicely in place so you can appreciate the soft cushioned sole when you walk (the sensation remains even after a month of reasonable use.

They're light to walk in, feel amazing with thick trainer socks and have great grip, and the one thing you have to appreciate the most is that out of my entire range of trainers, these smell the least offensive even after months of wear!

There is nothing more comfortable than this pair of Puma Suedes! After buying several of their suede range, including the similar looking Steppers (which have leather heel accents that rub against you until you get blisters) and other limited edition variants, the Suede Classics still reign supreme.

It's about a £15-20 difference between these and 'lesser' Puma suedes, but these are still the best.
Just please, for goodness sake, keep them dry to keep them in great condition - I recommend getting water repellant spray.

Philips Sonicare HX6511/44 EasyClean Sensitive Rechargeable Toothbrush
Philips Sonicare HX6511/44 EasyClean Sensitive Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £40.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soft, sensitive, and still a clean feel, 2 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Over the past few years Sonicare has become the toothbrush of choice in our family. It seems no matter what the model (there's currently about five in the range offering different degrees of 'cleanliness') you will still end up with the post-dentist appointment feel of cleanliness - at least if you're like me and you use one toothbrush for home and one (non electric) for late starts at work!

Sonicares, however, can be quite aggressive. The models with the extra-super-deep-clean vibrate so fast they shake your pea-sized amount of toothpaste right off the bristles. The result is nothing on the brush and a sink full of toothpaste cuckoo spit and irritated gums, beside the manufacturer's good intentions of good dental health.

As a lower-end entrant into the Sonicare range, however, the EasyClean Sensitive is nice! The soft bristles mean your teeth feel lickably clean without your gums feeling assaulted. Remember that these toothbrushes use ultrasonic technology which feels foreign to your dentals first time; with a little light pressure to your teeth will get them scrubbed up nicely so long as you brush within the two minute session for each quarter of your mouth (30 seconds each) to get a good frothy foam going and keep your mouth reasonably closed or your lose your toothpaste to the sink and you have to start again!

There's nothing too flattering about this model's design or features compared to the rest in its range (except the charging dock, which is cool - and battery life is sufficient enough you could take it on holiday) - no deep clean settings yet manages a quoted 31,000 brush strokes a minute, but its still a damn good clean.

A consumer reminder however: You get spare heads in the box, sure. But Sonicare charger heads aren't cheap as you buy them in packets of 3 or more (so around £20 a refill). Each brush will wear down in colour to let you know it needs replacing after around three or so months, but be savvy and buy yours and the replacement heads when they're on sale.

We're also stuck in a world where Philips assume all our bathrooms are equipped with European shaver sockets, so unless you intend on charging on a long train journey or on monthly continental trips, get a European to GB adaptor so it fits our three pin sockets!

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