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Smartypants "smartypants" (UK)

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Itsu Vegetarian Miso Soup 3 Pouches 75 g (Pack of 6)
Itsu Vegetarian Miso Soup 3 Pouches 75 g (Pack of 6)
Price: £9.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very tasty paste (not powder) based Miso soup, 2 Mar. 2014
I tried Miso soup years ago but made the mistake of making it with powder and the end result was tasteless and bland. This is the opposite, each portion is a clear packet of Miso paste and when added to a tea cup full of hot water instantly makes a very tasty savoury soup (unlike anything western) with a lovely umami flavour but not salty and without the nasty aftertaste of the dried onion powder or garlic powder found in most instant soups. At only 42 calories a portion I can see me having two or three of these a day. There are also lovely slithers of seaweed in the soup which swirl around the cup nicely. Highly recommended.

Kelloggs Froot Loops Regular Size 345 g, UK Version (Pack of 4)
Kelloggs Froot Loops Regular Size 345 g, UK Version (Pack of 4)

1.0 out of 5 stars A shameless imposter, 14 Dec. 2013
I have tasted both the US and UK versions and the UK version is utterly tasteless and generic, Kellogg's should be ashamed of these concrete flavoured Cheerios. The US version is colourful and tastes like Skittles, these are the colour of weak herbal infusions and taste like putty, bandage and drywall. A dreadful imposter, import the US version instead.

The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler Leading Millions into the Abyss [DVD]
The Dark Charisma of Adolf Hitler Leading Millions into the Abyss [DVD]
Dvd ~ Herbert Forthuber
Price: £10.65

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit gimmicky, not a patch on previous BBC series., 5 Dec. 2012
As a fan of the BBC's previous series 'The Nazis: A Warning from History' and 'Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution' I was looking forward to this, especially as it involved the excellent Laurence Rees. Whilst it wasn't so bad, I was disappointed because the previous standards were so high and this was just so History Channel. It seems to have been made for or by a new generation who want nothing too dry or lingering, instead we got a lacklustre script (which I'm sure wasn't the fault of Laurence Rees), gimmicky distractions, silly sound effects, overuse of 'evil' flame and lightening graphics and the bizarre appearance of words on the screen just spoken by the narrator. I think that if this had been spread over four episodes with a gripping story like narrative starting with Hitler's early years & without all the gimmicks then it would have been excellent.

Unlike the previous BBC series there were no eyewitness interviews even though the BBC archives must be stuffed full of them. I really missed these as they convey so much more than words read by a narrator, as happened a lot in this series. I particularly remember a powerful interview from 'The Nazis: A Warning from History' when a very proper looking older German lady was quizzed in German on a park bench about why she had sent letters to the Gestapo denouncing her neighbours. Her initial jocular & uncomfortable denial followed by her flippant dismissal were fascinating, especially when she had to excuse herself as it had conveniently just started to rain. Alas nothing like that in this series.

An annoyance for me was the severe overuse of 'The Pines of Rome' by the Italian composer Respighi - the same clarinet from `The Pines of the Appian Way' repeated ad nauseum; over and over and over again as if the production staff had decided it was going to be Hitler's leitmotif or something. It seemed to feature dozens of times in each episode. This is a favourite piece of music of mine which used to transport me to ancient Rome but I now associate with the Nazis and death! Previously the BBC used music sparingly and more appropriate to the subject matter, for instance in `A Warning from History' they used the sublime 'Ein Deutsches Requiem' by Brahms and Siegfried's Funeral March by Wagner. In `Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution' the Polish composer Gorecki's haunting Symphony No. 3 featured. Beautiful and intelligent selections. This music is this new series mostly irritated me.

So despite the flames shooting out at me from the screen and the fast pace this was not a programme that gripped me. It also sorely missed Samuel West's fantastic narration. I didn't hate it, but it seemed like it was done on the cheap and done tackily by a production team with little appreciation of the BBC's pedigree in this area & how these things should be done. Intelligent viewers with an interest in the subject don't need a gun-shot sound effect or lightning bolts zapping across the screen to reinforce that the narrator had just told us about some Nazi beastliness.

I guess documentaries first broadcast on BBC2 are now aimed at disinterested GCSE students who need these things to stop them looking out the classroom window. If the more upmarket BBC4 had the budget to produce these landmark series then there would still be hope, but I fear the days of documentaries like 'A Warning from History' and 'Auschwitz' are now gone. Thank goodness we can still watch the old series on DVD, they will stand the test of time.

One good thing seemed to be a lot of new archive material, especially in colour (not that B&W is a hindrance!) However, the colour still photographs and film they used were impressive, most of which I hadn't seen before.

I have generously given the series three stars, it doesn't deserve them but it doesn't really deserve two either.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2016 1:00 AM GMT

Diesel Zero Plus Eau de Toilette for Men - 75 ml
Diesel Zero Plus Eau de Toilette for Men - 75 ml
Offered by Fragrance New York
Price: £24.13

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful spicy scent, great for winter-time. Full of character and quite unusual., 25 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One of my all time favourite scents, it has a lovely, unique warming smell, this is a great scent to wear during the winter and autumn. The word that comes to mind when describing this aftershave is 'spicy' - it says cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves to me (in a light, zesty & refreshing way - don't worry, you won't smell like a Christmas cake!) It also lasts a long time, most aftershaves I use seem to wear off by lunchtime but this one I can still smell until the late afternoon. Most new aftershaves seem to smell very similar but this is one that stands out from the crowd. When would be the perfect time for wearing this? Sat by the fireside on Christmas Eve wearing a big thick jumper cuddled up with a loved one. I do wear it to the office though, the smell always cheers me up when I put it on first thing in the morning.

Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 Keyboard and Mouse Set, UK Layout - Black
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 2000 Keyboard and Mouse Set, UK Layout - Black
Price: £30.39

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performs perfectly, no interference with other 2.4Ghz Devices, 11 Feb. 2012
I have been using a 5 year old wireless Logitech keyboard/mouse setup and have recently become very frustrated with interference issues. I replaced it with this Microsoft keyboard/Mouse combos and I am very pleased.

I use the keyboard and mouse about 10 feet from the usb transmitter/receiver (which is about 4cm long) with a Windows Media Center setup and the reception is excellent, I have had no transmission issues, unlike my old Logitech setup. In the same room is a 2.4ghz wifi receiver, in the next room is a 2.4ghz wifi transmitter and a separate 2.4ghz video transmitter with 2.4ghz phone nearby and no device has experienced any interference, they all work perfectly.

So I am very happy, everything works perfectly and super fast. Highly recommended!

Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level (Blu-ray) [2012] [Region Free]
Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level (Blu-ray) [2012] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Patrick Stewart
Price: £7.51

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational Blu-Ray release, ST:TNG is reborn., 3 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have been viewing Blu-Ray discs for 5 years now and rarely do I see content that startles me. This is one of them.

Although it is in the original 4:3 ratio (which is no hindrance at all) the picture quality is absolutely sensational, it will make someone familiar with the VHS and DVD releases sit up and say 'wow'. The 7.1 DTS soundtrack is a revelation. Picture quality is as good any modern motion picture and the special effects are now top-notch, however they do NOT look like CGI (which is a good thing!)

The first two series of TNG always looked somewhat blurry and muggy, very NTSC looking and disappointing. 'Encounter at Farpoint' now looks fantastic, with a beautiful filmic HD grain, vibrant colours and superb contrast, really sensational.

I find this release unbelievably good - the quality is out of this world and once the seasons are re-released Trek fans will be able to rediscover TNG anew, to watch if broadcast for the first time.

Canon Powershot S70 Digital Camera [7MP, 3.6x Optical]
Canon Powershot S70 Digital Camera [7MP, 3.6x Optical]

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb traveller's camera, 25 Jun. 2005
This is my fifth digital camera (the previous cameras being 2 Kodaks, a Canon G2 and an Olympus C-5050z) and although I have only owned it for a week I have fallen in love with this fantastic little camera.
For a couple of years I have been using an Olympus C-5050z with a large wide angle WCON-7 converter lens. Whilst this has been an okay set-up, I have found having to carry a large camera with a fiddly & heavy converter lens to be getting in the way of my travels. I love both travelling and photography but I don't love photography when it intrudes unnecessarily. Unfortunately I can't do without wide-angle photography so generally I've had to put up with a good deal of inconvenience by carrying around lots of bits and pieces in a camera bag. Previously I have not been able to buy a compact digital camera with a wide angle lens that takes decent pictures.
The Canon S70 is the answer to my prayers, it has an in-built 28mm-100mm equivalent lens and it produces sensational results. The camera itself is the most perfect travellers camera on the market, bar none. It has an excellent wide angle lens, it is compact (but not fiddly & tiny, like an IXUS), it takes Compact Flash cards, it has an intuitive interface, the pictures are very satisfying and noise-free, it has full manual override and it is extremely well built (but quite light).
If you are going on holiday and like to take landscape photography or expect to take tight shots of architecture on a city break then this is the camera for you. It is easy to get the hang of; there are no tiresome sub-menus. Although there are a number of buttons on the back of the camera, these allow you instant access to some very useful functions (i.e. manual focus) rather than have to go through tedious menus on the LCD screen.
The photographs from the camera are excellent, far better than from my much larger and more expensive Olympus C-5050z. What is immediately obvious is that the images are very noise-free. Some people have mentioned the purple fringing. In my opinion this is completely unobtrusive on this camera and I am a fanatic on this point, I usually go to the trouble of removing any purple fringing using Photoshop. There is a little purple fringing with this camera, but in fact it is more like blue fringing and therefore much less noticeable. For some reason blue fringing is infinitely less annoying to the human eye than purple fringing.
The images are very satisfying and when the vivid setting is selected the pictures really come alive and are outstanding. Being able to put this camera in a jacket pocket and shoot wide-angle photography is a revelation. This camera is a bargain and I heartily recommend it to anyone, both complete novice and experienced professional.

Bo' Selecta: Series 1 [DVD] [2002]
Bo' Selecta: Series 1 [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Leigh Francis
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars When I say Bo, say Selecta! Thank you please., 27 Aug. 2003
Bo' Selecta! and its stalker host Avid Merrion is the brainchild of thirty year old Yorkshireman Leigh Francis. Leigh plays the fanatical Transylvanian (not Scandinavian) 'super-fan' Avid Merrion, who is obsessed with tracking down and pestering all celebrities, usually the Z-list big brother types (he has somehow managed to capture Craig from BB1, who he keeps locked in a cupboard). When not playing Avid, Leigh dons masks and wigs to play 're-invented' gross caricatures of the same celebrities in gaspingly hilarious sketches, often involving members of the public. His foul-mouthed Michael Jackson/Huggy Bear hybrid is too fun to watch, especially his 'Moon-Walking' down Guildford high street. As offensive (and as ginger) as Dennis Pennis but much funnier and far less nasty. Some people will find Bo' Selecta! extremely vulgar but even so it is a completely original, inventive and highly refreshing British comedy series.

Philips DVDR880 DVD Recorder
Philips DVDR880 DVD Recorder

81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, when it works., 13 April 2003
I have now been using the DVDR880 for six weeks and it has pleased and frustrated me in equal measure. The quality of the recordings is, without doubt, superb. However, it is also the most unreliable and frustrating piece of AV kit that I have ever owned (it is even flakier than my old Windows ME PC).
For me the most critical problem with this machine is that apparantly successful and 'permanent' recordings are being lost on an alarmingly regular basis. Basically, you cannot be sure that a DVD+R recording of a TV programme will 'keep' unless ALL subsequent recordings on the same disk are successful and the disc finalisation process is also successful. Chances that both these things will happen are about 90%. On a few occasions I have recorded to a DVD+R disc and then played the recording on the DVDR880 with no problems. I have then added another programme to the same DVD+R disc, but the recording has failed and corrupted the whole disc including the first 'successful' recording. The useless disc is now only good for being a coaster. Other times, I have finalised the disc and at that point an unknown error has occurred resulting in the disc being corrupted and all recordings being made inaccessible. If you are wondering why you need to finalise DVD+R discs, if you don’t then they cannot be played on standard DVD players. More rare, but still a fortnightly occurrence, failures occur when the machine is updating the picture index, which if corrupted can make some or all of the recordings on the disc unplayable.
Although these errors affect only about 10% of my recordings, this is way too high for a consumer product. To get around this I simultaneously record everything onto my TiVo as well, which I can use as a back up to record from. For people without a hard-disk based recorder to fall back on you will need to cross your fingers whilst any recording is being made to a DVD+R. Alternatively, stick to DVD+RWs which do not seem to suffer so much from these problems, but they cost two to three times as much as DVD+Rs.
Consequently I cannot recommend the DVDR880 for making important archive recordings onto DVD+Rs as it is simply too unreliable. Mine dies every few days when it is doing absolutely nothing (requiring a power-disconnect), it is fussy with non-philips discs, it often flashes coded error-messages and switches itself off when trying to record, and refuses to eject disks on a daily basis (requiring a power-disconnect). It is obvious that the firmware in this machine is software rather then hardware based - at best it can be described as flaky and slightly sluggish. At worst, Philips should never have let it near the public.
When it does work it is user-friendly and produces stunning recordings. If it were more reliable it would easily get five stars.

Yelo 800DVD Multi-region DVD player
Yelo 800DVD Multi-region DVD player

5.0 out of 5 stars Plays raw MPEG files!, 15 Feb. 2003
I have owned this player for about six months and I have been very pleased with its very versatile features. Not only is it multi-region, multistandard (converts NTSC60 to PAL50 and vice versa) and RCE 'friendly' straight out of the box, it also plays raw .MPG files. Most DVD players can handle VCD files, but VCD is of only fair quality. SVCD is better quality but you are limited to about 40 minutes on a CD-R. The ability to play raw MPEG files rather than have to convert them to VCD or SVCD allows you higher quality in less space. I regularly play downloaded SVCD quality 80 min MPEG files on this unit with no problems. However, funcionality is reduced - you can only play, pause and stop MPEG files; fast forward/rewind/review do not work. However, this is a small price to pay. If you have more than one MPEG file on your CD-R/CD-RW then the unit shows these on startup in an on-screen graphical tree structure. In a nutshell, a brilliant DVD player!

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