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Muddlingthrough (Leeds, UK)

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eFuture(TM) Novelty Blue New Diamond Style Piggy Bank Money Candy Box +eFuture's nice Keyring
eFuture(TM) Novelty Blue New Diamond Style Piggy Bank Money Candy Box +eFuture's nice Keyring
Offered by eFuture.SR
Price: £2.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice money boxes, 9 Jan. 2014
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought 2 of these, 1 blue and 1 red, for our son. He likes the CBeebies programme Swashbuckled so is fascinated by jewels - we thought these would be a good way to start encouraging him to save. They are fine, though it would have been nice if they had arrived packaged in anything at all - they just arrived shoved in a (slightly too small) jiffy bag each, so one arrived with a crack. However, I don't think I can be bothered returning it, not least as it took a month to arrive (fine, as I knew it would take a while). They aren't great quality, but are perfectly OK for the money, and both the blue and the red are actually nice colours. The slots are big enough to take any UK coin - and notes as well, though he won't be getting many of those!

Twist & Lock Blocks - 12cm Long
Twist & Lock Blocks - 12cm Long
Offered by Bargains 4 Ever
Price: £1.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Oddly fascinating..., 12 May 2013
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought several fiddle toys at the same time for a child on the autistic spectrum. This is by far the most popular: it's small, light, durable and seemingly fascinating. It can be kept in a pocket, and I have one in my bag in case we need it when we're out. School are on their second one, but the first one lasted over a term, and had heavy daily use, so that's pretty good!

We use it to teach 2, 3, 4 and 6 times tables by folding it in different ways (he's a maths geek!), and it's a good toy for a little boy to have - some of the fiddle toys are very feminine, which doesn't do it for him. Pieces don't come off (well, not until the elastic is completely trashed), so it can be played with anywhere, and being wood, it feels nicer than some of the plastic toys. The colours are bright and attractive without being garish.

We've got 4 of these stashed in various places, and when it gets down to about 2 left, we buy another few! Highly recommended.

Liam Goes Poo in the Toilet: A Story About Trouble with Toilet Training (Liam Says) (Liam Books)
Liam Goes Poo in the Toilet: A Story About Trouble with Toilet Training (Liam Says) (Liam Books)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't understand why it works, but it does!, 23 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book seems expensive for the few sparse pages and simple drawings - we were really unimpressed when it arrived - but I assure you, it is worth every single penny. Our son had mastered wees on the toilet but just couldn't "get" pooing there, and it was getting really depressing and frustrating for all concerned. We tried this book on the recommendation of his paediatrician, and it was nothing short of a miracle. 3 days after starting reading it he used the loo for the 1st time, 2 weeks after starting to read it he was completely toilet-trained and has never looked back.

I don't really understand what makes this book "work" where the other ones didn't for us and him, and I'm not sure I care. I just wish we'd tried this books 1st, and not bothered with the other 9 books (yes, really) we tried before we found this one.

Brainstorm Toys Animal Torch and Projector
Brainstorm Toys Animal Torch and Projector
Offered by a1 Toys
Price: £5.15

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let down by the poor quality photos and fiddly operation, 3 Jan. 2013
= Durability:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hmmmm. The photos are poor quality and seem to have been taken in the 1970s - they have a very dated look to them and are coloured a bit oddly. They're not terribly clear either, and it's hard to get them properly focussed, as the focus moves very freely so you think it's focussed then you move the torch and it's out of focus again. It's also fiddly to hold open the right bit of the torch to insert the disk the right way up. It's taken a while to patiently show my 5-y-o how to wedge the torch against his chest to be able to open the slot and put the disk in - with little hands it's very tricky!

The torch itself is very cheap plastic and the on/off switch is hard for little fingers to manipulate.

The inclusion of a holder of some kind of the 3 disks would be welcome, as they pick up dust and dirt very easily and then are even worse to look at and very hard to clean. Doesn't need to be pricey, just anything that works.

As a cheap stocking-filler, this is fine. It has been played with quite a lot, and it's fine. But if I'd paid more than about a fiver for it I would feel ripped off. The disks will be lost within the month no matter how much I try to make sure they're put back somewhere sensible, and by then they'll be so scratched anyway it won't be worth looking for them...

George Foreman 18891 Seven Portion Entertaining Variable Temp Grill
George Foreman 18891 Seven Portion Entertaining Variable Temp Grill
Price: £39.99

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a bit plasticky, 3 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was actually a bit bigger than I expected, but that's fine - we'll be able to cook for all our neighbours as well (oops)...!

I used the grill as soon as it arrived - I cooked some bacon on it (tilted to drain off the fat, not that there was any on the lean bacon we use), then put it flat and turned my bacon into a cheese and bacon toastie! I can therefore report it works really well to cook both bacon and toasties. Not terribly easy to clean, but then I was just using a paper towel while it was still warm. Might need to invest in one of the proper cleaning things from George Formby (as we call him!).

It heats up quickly, and the temperature indicator and "on" and "up to temperature" lights are very clear. The temperature is adjustable from 1-4 (with the suggestion from George that you try cooking everything on 3). It doesn't have a timer, but then pretty much every kitchen I've ever seen has a kitchen timer, so that's not a problem for us at least.

There are a few recipes in the instruction book that look quite nice, but you have to register online for the guarantee/warranty to kick in, and it's an opportunity to try to avoid ticking the boxes that will fill your email inbox, mobile phone message memory and letterbox with unwanted rubbish and spam trying to sell you everything from PPI claims to holidays. I really wish companies wouldn't try to prostitute their customers to the highest bidder...

I have 3 minor complaints: it has a very short cord; it feels pretty plasticky; and storage is a problem. We bought this one because you can apparently store it upright. However, it feels very precariously balanced when it is on its hinges on the kitchen worktop, and it permanently looks like it's going to open up and crash onto the counter. We have secured it closed with a rubber band (very technical!), but I think we'll have to try to find a space for it in the cupboard, which is where it becomes a bit inconvenient that it's so big. However, none of these things are terrible, and it works well.

RoomMates Repositionable Childrens Wall Stickers Outer Space
RoomMates Repositionable Childrens Wall Stickers Outer Space
Price: £13.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice stickers, but quite small, 31 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are really nice-looking stickers, which have a "hand-drawn" feel to them. There are all the planets, in sizes varying from the sun (approx 8 inches in diameter, the largest sticker overall) to Pluto, which is only about 1.5 inches across. The colours and relative sizes aren't very astrologically-accurate, but they look nice and are mostly recognisable.

There are several rockets, a robot, an astronaut, two flying saucers with aliens in them, a lunar landing module, a couple of aliens on their own and enough asteroids (12) to make a nice little asteroid field for a rocket to fly through.

If I were to improve them, I would add a couple more astronauts and maybe some (star-shaped) stars or satellites and lose a couple of the rockets. The rockets have names on some of them, but not sure why two different ones are called Challenger and one is marked "Space Police"...

They are pretty easy to peel from the backing paper and stick securely, but we have been able to reposition a few of them. I suggest smoothing them onto the walls/ceilings with a dry cloth, which seems to make them stick more securely.

There are enough stickers on the four sheets to decorate a small bedroom if you stick them to one or two walls and the ceiling, but if your child wants to feel really surrounded by space images, you will definitely need more than one pack. We have augmented our stickers with stick-on glow in the dark stars, which look great and have the advantage of looking great at night, when the stickers aren't visible. We also added a moon-shaped light from Ikea and a gift of a Next duvet cover with a rocket on and the room does look great!

Offered by Pet Play Pads
Price: £24.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine, but occasionally a bit noisy and a shame it's mains powered, 15 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This works very well. Our older kittens loved it straight away and it definitely encourages them to drink more water, which is great. It can be noisy for 10-20 seconds every now and then when it's running, and putting it together is a bit tricky as the pieces don't seem to "click" together very well though.

One irritation is taking it apart to clean the filter. You can't unplug the power cable from the water fountain, so you have to unplug it from the wall and take the cable and plug to the sink as well, where they sit precariously on the draining board while you clean the fountain.

I would also suggest that it you have young cats/kittens, don't bother with the careful acclimatisation set out in the instructions. Just fill it, bung it on the floor and see what happens. Our cats were drinking from it within two minutes of putting it down!

It's not perfect, but it works fine and we're glad we have it. In an ideal world it'd be battery-powered so you didn't have the problems with the cable (which is also a cat toy, of course!), but we couldn't find a battery-powered one.

Andrew James New Automatic Pet Feeder / Bowl, Programmable For Upto 90 Meals / Days With Voice Recorder - As Appeared On The Gadget Show
Andrew James New Automatic Pet Feeder / Bowl, Programmable For Upto 90 Meals / Days With Voice Recorder - As Appeared On The Gadget Show
Offered by Andrew James UK LTD
Price: £99.95

113 of 117 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but good grief what a palaver to set up!, 15 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought this to feed our young cat when we go away for occasional nights. There seemed to be a lot of different automatic feeders to choose from, but this one seemed right for us (size, choice of feed times and sizes, length of time it could run for, etc).

When it arrived, it was bigger than I expected it to be, but then it can run for 90 days, so I guess that's to be expected.

Batteries are easy to install, though it's a bit fiddly to turn on the feeder with the switch underneath, especially if you have had to turn the feeder off while there's food in it.

And then you have to program it. It's hard to explain the instruction booklet. I can only assume it was originally written in Serbo-Croat, then translated via Korean to English by someone relying on a free translation program available on the internet and who doesn't speak Serbo-Croat, Korean or English.

First you have to set the time. You have to do it within a certain number of seconds of turning the machine on, or it defaults to 12:00 and you have to turn it off, wait a few minutes and then turn it on again. You set the time first, then choose 12 or 24 hour clock. It will make a random choice for you anyway though, so good luck with that one. In the end, we decided if we had to turn it off and on again one more time we'd live with being 12 hours out, but it eventually accepted our choice of 24 hour clock on the 7th attempt.

Then you have to decide timings of feeds. If you want to do 4 feeds a day, you can just follow the instructions, though they're very poorly written. If you want to feed once, twice or three times, you have to know at what point to ignore the instructions and press a completely different (utterly non-intuitive) button.

Then there's size of feed, calculated in quarter cups. I assume the machine must be North American, because cups are a common measure of capacity over there. However, over here they're not a helpful measure, and it was only because I inherited my (Canadian) mum's measuring scoops that I could work it out. However, you can weigh the cups of food and refer to the feeding guide on your dry cat food, which is what we did. Ordinarily, I'd suggest setting it to your best guess and then amending as necessary, but you do NOT want to be doing that.

Then you set number of days it'll run for. Don't set anything and leave it running forever is my advice. Finally, you can record a message calling your cat for their dinner, but I beg you not to, as the embarassment might just kill you. You will sound like an utter prat, and your grating voice will echo through the house three times every feed...

When it's working, it makes an alarming noice when winding up to dispense the food and threatens to vibrate across the floor. We have put ours on an indoor doormat, which has reduced the noise considerably.

What is missing is a picture of the control panel, with the relevant bit highlighted for each function, plus a flowchart which asks yes and no questions and then tells you what to press. What you have instead is page after impenetrable page of text.

I am intelligent (no false modesty), well-educated, technically-adept and astonishingly patient, and I was close to tears twice before I had this machine set up correctly, and I am DREADING the clocks going forward in March. I suspect the cat's breakfast time will just have to become an hour later because I can't bear the thought of trying to do this again.

HOWEVER, it works. It dispenses food reliably and tidily once a day at the correct time, and the cat is perfectly happy with it, though the look of pity he gives me when my voice booms out of the tiny speaker saying "Colin! Dinner!" will remain with me always...
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2015 10:41 AM GMT

Crown 12-in-1 Deluxe Traveller Kit: Blue (Nintendo Dsi XL)
Crown 12-in-1 Deluxe Traveller Kit: Blue (Nintendo Dsi XL)
Offered by Otherland
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars "How much fun?" Er..., 14 Aug. 2012
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought for my son to keep his "new" (refurbished!) DSXL a bit safer. Ideally would have bought the yellow one to match the DS, but it was more than twice as much, so blue it is...

Nice quality, good range of stuff in the kit and it'll be very useful. I really only wanted the case, screen protectors and maybe a larger stylus, so the rest is a bonus. The little rectangle of cardboard is to help you put the screens on (so it's a bit of a swizz to count it as one of the items!), but the rest of the bits work OK, though the little plastic holders for games are very hard to open, and then hard to close with the game held properly in place. They're also blue of course, which means it's a bit hard to see which game is which. The screen protectors went on OK and don't get in the way of gameplay. HOWEVER, they're a sod to get on with no bubbles, and having painstakingly put them on, I notice I've got a tiny bubble on the bottom screen - grrr! But you can really only see it if the DS is switched off, so who cares?

I note others' comments about not knowing which way up the case goes when you open it, but having only paid a fiver for the whole set, we're going to let our son decorate the case so it'll be clear (at least to him!) which way up it goes. It doesn't have to look classy - it's his! Think of it as a nice case with some free bits, and you feel much better about it...

I have stuck a small piece of Velcro to the back of the little games holders, and they therefore stick straight onto the inside of the DS case (TA DA!), which keeps them in place and stops everything else falling out as well. I'm a genius! You need to stick on the "male" side of the piece of Velcro (ie the one that has thre sharp pointy bits rather than the softer bit it sticks onto) of course.

Had to review as a game for some reason - it's hard to give high marks to a travel kit for fun!
Comment Comment | Permalink

Insects, Bugs & Creepy Crawlies Temporary Tattoos Pack of 24 - Great Party Loot Bag Fillers
Insects, Bugs & Creepy Crawlies Temporary Tattoos Pack of 24 - Great Party Loot Bag Fillers
Offered by GreatDeals4you
Price: £0.76

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap tattoos, expensive postage!, 11 Aug. 2012
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I got these for my son's party bags and they are quite nice - big, bold-coloured bugs and beetles that transfer on quite easily and look good. They don't last terribly well, but I don't think any temporary tattoo does.

Reasonable mixture of colour and designs and they're not creepy bugs - they're nice looking! Disappointed at the high postage cost, as they cost very little to actually post with virtually no packaging. However, they were cheap, so that's the pay-off: companies want their total somehow and different companies charge it in different ways...

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