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The Honest Cynic (UK)

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Belkin Twin Stripe Folio Case with Multiple Viewing Angles for iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2 and IPad Mini - Black
Belkin Twin Stripe Folio Case with Multiple Viewing Angles for iPad Mini 4, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 2 and IPad Mini - Black
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Folio fashion, 3 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's two ranges in the world of iPad covers: The official one (the best. It just is). And cheap ones. This is towards the higher end of the scale. It also holds other popular 8" tablets, as long as they're no deeper than an iPad mini (7.2mm).

Wrapping round my iPad gives it a nice sturdy bulk of velvety leather which is sealed to the felt interior - the seal is what sets Belkin's finish aside from the cheap, frayed Tesco cover I had before. Plus, the inside felt doesn't mark your screen with an imprint of the cover.

Your tablet is held in place with strong elastic loops exposing the back of your tablet. If you're particularly precious like me it's also worth getting a cheap clip-on shell to protect your exposed tablet back from the elements.

But the nicest feature is the fold down camera flap! It clips down and back up with such a satisfying snap and stays in place to take your pics.

Some covers I've had in the past attempted this and the hole around the camera would cover my photos and leave a blurry outline around them! Not a problem no more!

Want a folio bound iPad cover that also feels like a photo album? You've got it right here!

Lenspen Peeps Eyeglass Cleaner - Black
Lenspen Peeps Eyeglass Cleaner - Black
Offered by WestBase Direct - UK Registered Company. VAT receipt included
Price: £4.49

2.0 out of 5 stars Would've gone to Specsavers, 20 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The original LensPen is maybe the greatest invention any photographer could ask for - it miraculously cleans grime off your camera lens. They also last years. So to hear they've brought out a product for my glasses seems a step in the right direction for this company!

They're a cross between a cleaning cloth and tweezers, with heart shaped pads to reach every nook and cranny around the edges of your specs whether you have a thick rimmed frames or grandma style spectacles.

Now like how my LensPen miraculously cleans grime off delicate camera lenses I wish I could say the same for Peeps with my specs... They don't.

It might be because I have plastic lenses - does glass resist dirt better than plastic? - but despite also submerging my specs in hot soapy water and popping out the lenses to ensure trapped hidden dirt from the edges doesn't smear when I tested them, they can't quite get my lenses clean.

There's a fine art to holding your glasses in your hands and scrubbing them clean using the right amount of pressure with a lens cloth. And they sparkle after.

Peeps could have been the solution, but they're fiddly and I have trouble achieving smear free vision.

Sorry, but not for plastic lenses!

Humble Brush Adults Tooth Brush - Soft Bristle White - Single
Humble Brush Adults Tooth Brush - Soft Bristle White - Single
Price: £3.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eco brush doing for teeth what Toms do for shoes, 2 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have three toothbrushes: An electric one (home), a Colgate cavity cleaning bristle/rubber tongue scrubber one, and this one. Given Colgate's monopoly on toothbrushes by adding additional nodules for a "cleaner feel" this bamboo brush is priced the same as Colgate's offering - not bad for going eco and saving our planet (although pandas eat bamboo, so they'll be starving to extinction so you have nice teeth...).

About as basic in design as a wooden clothes peg, bamboo toothbrushes are incredibly light, and the bristles are soft. No special features or edges for grip, just an eco toothbrush!

MILLIONS of toothbrushes are sent to landfill each year, and it would be millions more if we followed dentist's instructions to throw them out after four months... These toothbrushes are made of bamboo, so as time passes they'll degrade, returning to the earth from which they came.

It's not too bad a trade off for being ecological over a plastic brush that won't decay for thousands of years. The company will even give a toothbrush for a needy for each toothbrush you buy - like Tom's shoes do.

As yet I'm not switching my main electric brush for bamboo. Nothing better than a dentist clean finish. But, rather than buying more plastic toothbrushes it's fairly good as my office back up.

Air Wick Candle White Vanilla Bean, 1 Unit
Air Wick Candle White Vanilla Bean, 1 Unit
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet smell of success, 10 Jan. 2016
Finding the right candle to scent your room can be quite hit and miss - many smell nice before lighting, but the scent doesn't disperse when it has a flame, making them a waste of money (unless you just enjoy the flicker effect?).

These, however, fill up the room with their incredible smell - vanilla bean is sweet, balmy and soothing without being over powering, and it's welcoming, but doesn't distract.

They last around 10 hours by my guess, but I usually stock up in pairs because I hate it when they run out!

Prices for this "flavour" often vary. My advice is don't pay more than £2 a candle and stock up!

Toshiba Q300 Pro Internal SSD 256 GB (2.5" (6.4 cm), SATA III)
Toshiba Q300 Pro Internal SSD 256 GB (2.5" (6.4 cm), SATA III)
Price: £97.13

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Speedy solution, professional hardware for consumers, 27 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If there's one thing that is SO worth a SSD hard drive is that they're lighting fast and shorten loading times on your computer noticeably. They also save a lot of power and give off less heat, which is great for battery life and not burning your lap (if using portably). Toshiba has some killer hard drives for consumers, so if you're thinking of upgrading your hard drive to the rocket speeds of solid state, now isn't a bad time!

This SSD is tiny at 2.5" so you can slot it in to your laptop with an SATA connection, but if you're running a desktop tower things can be a little different... You'll need a spare tray to hold the hard drive, as well as an SATA signal cable and SATA power cable to connect it to your motherboard. For reasons beyond my knowledge, motherboard doesn't have these spare (damn custom setup!) so it's being run off a caddy with USB3 connection for storage and transport of large media files and NOT as my main hard drive - until I stop being selfish it won't be my main hard drive for a while.

Before installing please keep this in mind, as you might have to make additional purchases before you're up and running:

FOR DESKTOP - see if you have a spare...
* SATA signal cable
* SATA power cable,
* a spare tray to place the hard drive
* spare space, obviously. For those with minimalist designed boxes for their PC, you might not have space to expand.

FOR LAPTOP - you will most likely have to buy:
* USB-SATA "Y" conversion cable - at USB3 speed if you have USB3 ports. Example: [B00M3UMUS0]

Luckily these parts are 10-a-penny from any PC hardware shop, but it's still frustrating wanting to use something from out of the box and not being able to.

Despite the speed though 256GB may be a little small for a main hard drive when the standard (non SSD) hard drive space is 500GB. If you can spare it, upgrade to a larger capacity and futureproof yourself!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2016 11:35 AM BST

Breville Strata 4 Slice Toaster - Grey
Breville Strata 4 Slice Toaster - Grey
Price: £54.00

4.0 out of 5 stars I'll toast to this!, 19 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Who would have thought a toaster could become a lifestyle signifier? Seems so! With a sleek, modern design and diamanté heat adjusting knobs this is all the talk of the breakfast table!

When your kitchen is too busy to handle a toaster with just two slots, and you're also tight on space, this toaster is the solution for both situations!

Essentially all toasters work the same on the inside no matter how the outside looks, but besides the design flourishes it also has a handy lift and 'peak' lever function to allow you to check on how the bread is browning without cancelling the heat cycle, and a crumb tray so you can 1) feed the birds after several uses and 2) not have to shake it while damaging it in the process.

For slice thickness you can get a crumpet in comfortably without cramming it in, although it's standard depth (toasting pitta? Put them under the oven instead).

Product photos would have you believe you're paying for polished metal, but the outer casing is actually polished mirrored plastic, making you feel you should have a little more premium mineral for your money.

That said the finish is nice, stylish but not intrusive with its matte grey sides, and the activation/heat setting lights have a confident white glow when the toaster is toasting. The same goes for the diamanté knobs - they're sophisticated, not tacky - and that's a fine line to tread with style.

This toaster makes a confident contender for your kitchen top. Though pricey, it's a great gift idea for a just married couple with kids on the way or as a house warming present!

Vidal Sassoon Hydra Gloss Frizz Control Straightener
Vidal Sassoon Hydra Gloss Frizz Control Straightener
Price: £17.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap and cheerful, but badly placed buttons, 6 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very much cheap and cheerful straighteners, not too bad value for money, but with some glaring design flaws.

Claiming 30 second heat up time - or about a minute for full 230 degrees - boast standard width plates of most straighteners (25mm), ionic de-frizz technology (they buzz when you turn this on - I still can't work out if this feature works or not - when combined with de-frizz mist before straightening anyway) and a 1.8 meter cord.

And the Vidal Sassoon name! Although they're plastic handles, they have a rubberised finish for a smooth, velvet touch and a basic, if not eligible LCD screen so you know when they've reached your desired temperature.

The problem is the placing of the buttons - you'll find yourself adjusting your grip in order to NOT accidentally press them, which most often is the button that automatically jumps from whatever low setting you're on to the hottest - not good for people with fine hair.

Another thing that falls short of being totally effective is the twist-to-lock key so the tongs don't stay open like a scorching crocodile's mouth. It seems like a useful safety feature, but always ends up coming undone and even take a while to secure in place. It's frustrating and feels like an idea they didn't bother to quality check.

You get what you pay for - but I'm not sold on the idea of finding these being used in an actual VS salon

TONI & GUY Definition Slim Straightener Hair Definer
TONI & GUY Definition Slim Straightener Hair Definer
Price: £30.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Thin, defined, but not quite as premium as the packaging makes out, 30 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
TONI&GUY Hair Definition Straightener/Slim Definer

For what it’s worth the standard width straightener (25mm) is too much to catch any hair for a guy - you either only get the tips or end up singeing the scalp in the process!

That makes these ideal (15mm!) for any man that wants to define their shorter more stubborn strands of hair regular straighteners can’t catch. Right?

Maybe. These are low down on the wider scale of premium straighteners. To confine all the elements into the smaller handle space the heat settings are located on a dial within the tongs, and confusingly use a number scale, not a temperature gauge, to choose hotness.

Modern hair straighteners might spoil us with LCD screens, but there’s not a lot to tell you these are switched on or that they’ve reached your desired temperature other than waiting a minute.

It feels like you’re not quite getting your money’s worth in that sense. However, they’re still great at straightening short hair and being able to define styles before adding in hair product, literally taking out a lot of the pain of being able to control shorter styles.

TONI & GUY TGST2998 Wide Plate Salon Professional Hair Straightener - X-Large
TONI & GUY TGST2998 Wide Plate Salon Professional Hair Straightener - X-Large
Price: £33.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fat and flat, 5 Oct. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tony and Guy have gone all glitz and glam on these straighteners!

Claiming to be used at London fashion shows on the box - I wouldn't know, I've never been - all I have to say about these straighteners is their plates cover a lot more hair than the average width irons and heat up quick.

I mean they heat up real QUICK! 0-100 in less than 10 seconds!

With a premium, well built feel these straighteners feel professional and sturdy, with a flashing backlit LED to indicate when the filaments have reached the desired temperature (so quick!), or just look flashy when on standby.

They grip the hair for a full width straighten, but with plates suspended enough that they don't tug or rip hair out from the follicles when pulling through.

The only down side to these is that although the unit is solid the buttons feel cheap and plastic (which is what they're made of), taking away from the quality feel overall.

The 60 minute safety shut off can also be reduced to 30 minutes as well, a setting not mentioned in the instructions leaflet. Imagining my house burnt down 25 minutes before any of these safety shut off, I'll never understand the need for such a feature anyway!

Great straighteners, just a hair's width of being amazing.

The Legend of Zelda Playing Cards (Japan Import) (japan import)
The Legend of Zelda Playing Cards (Japan Import) (japan import)
Offered by Sukiyaki JP
Price: £8.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Commemorative addition to the collection - don't pay too much for them, 27 Sept. 2015
It's apparent that there are sellers on Amazon attempting to push up the list price on these playing cards - don't take a gamble and end up out of pocket - they are commemorative, but not limited edition collectables. Forbidden Planet sells them at a reasonable price in the UK in fact.

These are great licensed cards from Nintendo to celebrate 25 years of Zelda, imported from Japan and bearing Japanese stickers and instructions, even packed in a plastic jewel case to display (so no ripped card packets!).

Each house features a different style of artwork and items from Zelda on the NES, Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time and Skyward Swords, plus Hylian design flourishes for a quality finish and a unique look.

Perhaps the cards are thin for some people's liking, but they're smooth and glossy and shuffle well.

If you're a fan, you'll treasure having these as part of your collection.
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