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The Honest Cynic (UK)

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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: £201.56

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 Tab
Kurio Tab
Price: £79.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Kurio for those curious about a cheap beginners app for young children, 19 April 2015
This review is from: Kurio Tab (Toy)
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 - £57.59

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: £39.95

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!

Silentnight Comfortable Foam Rolled Mattress, Single
Silentnight Comfortable Foam Rolled Mattress, Single
Price: £96.65

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is this a good purchase or not, 1 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Is this a good purchase or not? Still can't work it out. After ages (weeks) debating on a long-term purchase like a mattress with an insufferable bad back I finally plucked up the courage to get this mattress when on sale at a lower price. My last mattress has fabric designs that probably date back to the 80s, so a new mattress is something to approach with caution, and my option was a new mattress vs a mattress topper.

The advantages are as follows: It comes vacuum packed and rolled up - great for slugging up stairs; it has a great factory fresh smell (preferential for some, but I loved it) for about a fortnight after opening it; the difference from a sprung mattress is definitely noticeable as you sink into the foam, though your days of bouncing on the bed are long gone.

The disadvantages are these: The product photo is quite misleading to make it look flattering - it is in fact quite a thin mattress - an inch or two less deep than a sprung mattress, and maybe a few inches off height and width too. The extra slack makes it a nightmare to dress as your sheets hang loose and saggy, so you had better have some elasticated sheets to keep them in place or you wake up with them strangling your legs in the morning!

The memory foam also needs some top-to-toe rotation every few weeks: The anti roll feature moulds the mattress to your body position so you don't roll out of bed, but it's worth a rotation the same way you flip your pillow to feel the cool side. If have a regular sitting place on the mattress like me you'll end up sleeping uneven.

Here's a tip: If you have childproof mattress covers put these on under your bedsheets. Though WAY past the age of bedwetting, it's been a hot summer. The mattress has a habit of absorbing sweat through your sheets after a hot summer's night giving it the appearance that it's soiled when you change the sheets. Though I sometimes spill badly balanced cups of tea on my bed, they're definitely not body-length! You'll be surprised at the Turin Shroud outcome!!

Yes, super soft with decent rotation, but perhaps chose a mattress that wasn't vacuum packed and has a deeper depth!

No Title Available

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The number one eco brand in number twos!, 1 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Naty by Nature Babycare nappies are said to be the number one selling 'green' nappy on the market. Whilst this doesn't mean they are 100% biodegradable, they are about as 'green' as you can hope to be if you are using disposables, which is no bad thing given the number that are thrown in to land fill on a daily basis (7.5 million a day in the UK apparently, so some 'green' when disposing of 'brown' is better for Mother Earth!)

You can feel and see the difference with these nappies - they are unbleached and don't contain plastics and chemicals. They don't leave nasty rashes and don't leak. They are much more absorbent than supermarket 'eco' brands, and are as absorbent as leading non-eco brands.

These nappies are a more expensive than non-eco nappies which will put some people off, but if you are clever, wait for the offers offers and buy in bulk you're able to make purchases more affordable and ultimately you are helping the planet. Not a bad idea to save pounds when your little one is spending a relentless amount of pennies!

Carte Noire Espresso No 7 Aromatique 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 8)
Carte Noire Espresso No 7 Aromatique 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 8)

4.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Nesp!, 15 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have only ever used Nespresso’s own brand of capsules. I wasn’t aware that any other brands were available. The Carte Noire capsules are a lot cheaper (almost half the price) which was the main reason I bought them, Nespresso’s own are great for flavour so I was keen to see how they stacked up against each other.

Mechanically they worked as smoothly as Nespresso’s for me, contrary to some other reviews on here. For the difference in price there’s not too much compromise in terms of taste however I would always opt for Nespresso given the choice. This is a good full bodied coffee and at around 25p a capsule I can’t complain. When the purse strings are tight I will be ordering these but Nespresso still has my heart.

Fisher-Price Rainforest Open Top Take Along Swing
Fisher-Price Rainforest Open Top Take Along Swing
Offered by Surplus Trade Supplies
Price: £99.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet swing, 25 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Who would have thought a mechanical swing could take so much effort out of... swinging? Small things are the stuff of miracles!

Fisher Price has made the cutest baby swing as a foldaway prop for pre-walking entertainment. Brightly coloured, soft, adjustable to cater for very young to around a year or 11kg (whichever comes first), the swing adapts both with seat straps to keep them safely strapped in, to swing motion, which adjusts dependent slightly on weight.

The swing takes a little while to set up, ironically, for a foldaway - why can't it come pre-folded? - though the instruction manual is detailed, and once constructed, nice and easy to stow away for future storage.

The swing takes a light push to start it off, though once it's going it takes the effort out of having to do it again, and the slightly irritating rainforest sounds can be adjusted using the volume switch. At first reaching the swinging animals is difficult with short stubby arms, though you're free to add your own props on some elastacated string if you want to make everything in arm's length.

Ironically also, having a rainforest comes at the expense of nature and your pocket, as the swing requires 4 “C” (LR14) alkaline batteries - the big ones. Arguably it's better if you can stuff in rechargeable batteries and save the Amazon, though at the expense of short circuiting the mechanics! Also required is a Philips screwdriver for construction - make sure yours is handy.

That said it's fun, engaging and amusing for baby, so gets a good star rating and a gurgle of pleasure.

Fisher-Price Rainforest 2-in-1 Cot Mobile
Fisher-Price Rainforest 2-in-1 Cot Mobile
Price: £43.73

3.0 out of 5 stars Jungle all the way!, 11 Jun. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great product. Very easy to assemble and my son likes it. It’s nice to be able to use it both on the floor and on his crib. The different toys, sounds and functions can keep him entertained and content.

Echoing what others have said it is very well made and maintains the quality one would expect from Fisher-Price products. Ultimately it’s a mobile that can also be used freestanding so it’s not life changing but a nice addition to the nursery/changing area.

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