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Brian Hamilton "brianhamilton14" (Scotland, UK)
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New Balance M580v4 (D Width) Running Shoes - 10.5
New Balance M580v4 (D Width) Running Shoes - 10.5
Offered by SportsShoes Unlimited
Price: £54.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent budget runners, 23 Feb. 2015
I have never bought into the logic of spending big bucks on running shoes when perfectly decent pairs can be had for £30 or less.

I have been using NB trainers for a couple of years now for road running and bought these as I found the fit to be perfect.

The colour scheme is okay, nothing too exciting. To be honest, I am happy wearing last years colourways if it means getting trainers this cheap.

As far I am concerned performance is everything and I really have no issues with these shoes. I have used Adidas, Saucony, Nike, the whole lot and these shoes easily compare for a fraction of the price.

The padding inside the heel area of this shoe is very substantial and it really does absorb a lot of shock without robbing your feet of springiness.

These are really good shoes, do not let the low price bring out the snob out in you. For review purposes I had to go for a three mile jaunt round town and have absolutely no isses with squashed feet, blisters, rubbing, discomfort etc. These shoes really do function remarkably well.

They would be worth five stars if the colour was a little more well put together, apart form that they are bang on.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 25, 2015 4:22 PM GMT


Nespresso by KRUPS Pixie Clips Capsule Coffee Machine with Aeroccino, Black/Yellow Neon
Nespresso by KRUPS Pixie Clips Capsule Coffee Machine with Aeroccino, Black/Yellow Neon
Price: £179.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just amazing, 23 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you are a fan of quality coffee I have no doubt you will, at some point take a long, hard look at Nespresso machines. I did too and finally made the jump. Am I happy? you betcha!

I love good coffee and, although I have used pod machines in the past, found they too much of a hassle to use or the water never seemed to be hot enough to provide a good brew.

Nespresso seems to have cracked it with a very high quality, well designed and built series of machines.

So, before I delve into specifics what about the pods? Well, the OEM Nespresso pods are only available online or through a few boutique stores but ordering online is a total hassle free experience and the pods arrive witih a couple of days. I favour the Roma and Arpeggio pods, not too strong yet full of flavour.

As well as the original pods there are other options. Many companies make compatible pods and I have found very decent pods from M&S (the Italian coffee) and Carte Noir pods (strenght 9). These make very worthy substitutes to the originals.

Okay, the machine itself. This newly released device is a variant of the Pixie machine. This new design features panels that can be unclipped and swapped out. The machine I have has black panels an also a pair of yellowpanels, which to be honest, look more like a light green.

At the back of the machine is a water container that holds 0.7l, enough for a good few cups. Underneath this the power cable winds it way under the machine, very cleverly there is a deep recess that allows you to coil unused cable if you find the full length cable is too long and clutters your worktop. On top of the machine is an on/off button and two buttons for espresso and lungo. Another clever feature is that the water amount that comes through when the buttons are pressed is programmable. When first setting the machine up, set your espresso or lungo cup under the spout then press and hold the appropriate button until the correct amount of water is in the cup. Release the button and the light blinks three times. This means the water is programmed. When you make your coffee simply press the button and that same amount of water is forced through the pod. Simple but very clever, my old Dolce Gusto machine was manual which meant I had to monitor it as it was dispensing.

There is a cool little container that catches used pods (up to ten of them) and this container also has a drip tray. Under the spout is a holder for an espresso cup, if your cup is too big for this flip the holder up and set your big cup or mug directly on to the worktop.

A nice, although not essential feature of the Pixie Clip is the inclusion of a couple of LED lights behind the container for used pods. This is fronted by a kind of wavey effect plastic and the LEDs blink white when the machine is switched on to indicate it is heating up. When ready the lights stay at a steady white, when the water tank is running low the lights go red. This looks pretty cool, having the difrracted white light shining out of either side of the machine certainly looks smart.

The most important thing of course is how does the coffee fare. In a word, fantastic, the machine works at up to 19bar so force a silky smooth cream out, perfect for espressos. The coffee really is high class and comes out piping hot. I still pre-warm my cup with boiling water but this is easily the hottest running coffee pod machine I have used.

The included aeroccinno machine really puts the tin hat on the whole affair. It is basically a milk heating jug that plugs in separately from the pixie machine. Inside is a non-stick coated interior with a little whisk that orbits the centre of the container. The whisk can be configured for cappuccino style froth or latte style (which is a little less frothy). Simply put in cold milk, press the button on the front and 90 secs later you have steaming hot frothed milk. I even use this to make the kids hot chocolate.

So, when the aeroccino and the pixie are used together you can make the perfect latte or cappucino. My method is to pre-warm my coffee cup. Put milk into the aerocinno and whisk/heat it up. When ready dump all of the milk into the cup with one brown sugar cube. Using a Roma or Arpeggio pod put my cup under the Pixie machine and dispense a shot of espresso. Stir it all together and you have utter perfection, really as good as you would find in a town centre coffee shop.

For the outlay you get a world class machine, I really believe this is the best pod machine out there. The pods are relatively inexpensive and compare to ther brands of machine. There is a three year guarantee with the machine and free loaner if your device breaks down.

Its a win-win, I absolutely love my Nespresso and wish I have committed to buying one a long time ago.

Simply outstanding.


Nespresso inissia by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Lime Yellow
Nespresso inissia by KRUPS Coffee Capsule Machine - Lime Yellow
Offered by Lakeland
Price: £89.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 22 Feb. 2015
Before I go on to fully review this brilliant little machine let me dispel two myths first. 1) Nespresso pods can only be bought online - this is not true, which I will explain in my review and 2) the coffee from pod machines isn't hot enough - also untrue, the coffee from the Inissia is piping hot. Now, if you are a coffee lover and hanker after sublime tasting coffee with a perfect crema then read on.

Okay, a litte background, I am a coffee lover, I don't OD on the stuff but everyday of my life I will take a time out and sit to enjoy one or two cups of a decent brew. I have gone through all of the gadgets and weird toys, a Dolce Gusto machine, Tassimo, cafitiere, stovetop espresso pot and finally I arrived here.

I have been eyeing these machines up for a while and it wasn't until I had a demo cup that I knew these machines are something special.

So, what do you get for your money? Well, this particular bundle is massively good value as it includes the aerocinno milk frother, which is upwards of £50 if bought on its own.

The machine itself is very cute, compact (think the size of a shoe box lying on its side) and it takes up very little worktop real estate. The build quality is really, really good and nothing seems unfinished or shoddily put together, it exudes quality. Starting at the rear of the unit there is a water reservoir which simply unclips for filiing. On top of the machine there are two buttons, one for espresso and one for lungo. However, these buttons are cleverly programmed and unleash a fairly in-depth amout of options. One I quickly found use for was the programme where you make a cup of coffee and hold in the lungo button. Once your cup is filled to the desired level, release the button. Next time you make a coffee press the lungo button and let go and it will pump through the same amount of water as last time! A very clever feature as my old Dolce Gusto machine was totally manual which meant hanging around in case the cup overflowed. This is an awesome little feature.

The big handle at the front of the machine swings up to open the pod holder. Once you have put the pod in and pumped out your coffee, you lift the handle and the used pod falls into a storage container inside the machine. Once that is full you can slide it out and empty it into you bin.

At the business end is a little tray to hold an espresso cup, if you use a larger cup you flip the tray up and set your cup on your worktop. Again, there is very clever design at play here. The drip-tray under the espresso cup tray is flipped up to place a bigger cup under the nozzle. I thought that any drips would simply spill out onto my worktop. Not so, there is another drip tray inside the machine under the empty pod container so all spills and drips end up in there. Nothing drips onto the worktop. Very clever.

So, in use what does the coffee taste like? Quite simply, amazing, there are my different blends available and most taste great. I usually use the roma pod, which is a medium strength, medium roast blend that is fantastic. I recommend pre-warming your cup with boiling water as this helps keep the coffee hotter for longer. When the coffee comes out it is piping hot, really the hottest I have seen from a pod machine. However, dropping a 40ml shot into a huge, cold cup, will mean it cools pretty quickly, thats science for you. Also, the machine is not hugely loud, a previous reviewer compared it to a small compressor, a slightly unfair comparison.

As I mentioned above, you can buy pods from the nespresso website and they are reasonably priced (about 30p per cup) but I have found that M&S and Lidls also do their own brand nespresso compatible pods. I use them both and they fit fine, I really like the M&S Italian blend and the Lidl pods are all nice. As a bonus the Lidl pods cost about 16p each so there is a big saving.

Also, there is an included starter pack of 16 coffee pods so you can sample the different flavours to see what you like.

This machine really does compete with High Street coffee shops and the coffee costs a fraction of the price.

This is worth a long, hard look if you are in the market for a new machine


EcoAir ECO DD122 Desiccant Simple Dehumidifier - White
EcoAir ECO DD122 Desiccant Simple Dehumidifier - White
Price: £129.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Budget Dehumidifer, 20 Feb. 2015
After finding damp and mould lurking in the cupboards and corners of my house I started looking at dehumidifiers pretty closely.

After some research I opted for this model for a couple of reasons (which I will go into later). Despite the fairly low cost for a dehumidifer I was immediately impressed by the build quality of this thing. It feels very well put together and the colour scheme and shape of the machine is fairly inoffensive so it sits unobtrusively in any room or hallway in your house.

Now then, does this thing actually work? In a word, yes. The tech inside this machine is fairly new and pretty clever, it relies on a desiccant material which, contrary to myth and rumour, does not need replaced or swapped out after a certain amount of time. What the machine does is suck in moist air, run it through a spinning wheel containing the desiccant. This removes the moisture which is collected in a drip tray. A fan within the machine blows hot air which dries out the desiccant and also has the added bonus of functioning as a little convection heater.

This ability to not only dry out the air but also blow out warm air is a really handy feature. We often set our machine in front of our clothes airer and the warm air helps dry the clothes.

Dehumidifers are quite hard on electricity so I wouldn't want to run this 24/7 but for a couple of hours a day it is no issue and I have noticed a huge difference in the humidity levels in the house, which is helping to keep the mold and dampness away.

A cracking little machine for relatively little outlay.

Recommended.


Viriconium: "Pastel City", "Storm of Wings", "In Viriconium", "Viriconium Nights" (FANTASY MASTERWORKS)
Viriconium: "Pastel City", "Storm of Wings", "In Viriconium", "Viriconium Nights" (FANTASY MASTERWORKS)
by M. John Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry Prose of the finest sort, 20 Feb. 2015
I stumbled across the Virocinum saga as it is part of the Fantasy Masterworks series, a brilliant introduction to writers relatively unknown (I found my beloved Jack Vance through this series of books).

This volume is very impressive as it contains not only the three books in the Virconium series, 'The Pastel City', 'A Storm of Wings' and 'In Virconium' but also seven short stories connected to this fine world.

The backdrop to these stories is very intriguing, society is in a phase known as the 'Evening Cultures' which are bereft of technology and live an almost medieval life. The previous cultures, the 'Afternoon Cultures' have died out and have left behind, in the shifting sands and bogs of the world, rusting technology and strange machinery. Against this backdrop we have a dwarf called Tomb, an immortal bird Lord called Cellur and a gloomy warrior turned poet, Tegeus Cromis, who work to defend their queen against invaders.

The mixture of classic fantasy is very cleverly mixed with splashes of forgotten tech being brought to life to marvellous effect. The city of Virconium is itself a character and low life players wander the gutters knifing each other in their strange intrigues.

On top of this heady mix you have the absolute word-intoxication of Harrison's prose. The man really is a frustrated poet and the imagery and emotion he conjures are really first class. In amongst this are strange place names, many taken from contemporary Scotland. There is a 'Nigg' Gate at one of the walls of Virconium, even a Henrietta Street, which is a street name in my hometown.

The books are heavy reading but worth pushing through as Harrison's unique writing style and the direction these stories go are oiginal and will remain with you long after you have closed the book.

An absolute must-buy for the reader of fantasy.


The Gormenghast Trilogy
The Gormenghast Trilogy
by Mervyn Peake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A genre classic., 20 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a fan of quality fiction of all kinds I was very keen to read this classic. I was not disappointed.

The Gormenghast trilogy is written in the best vein of fantasy (I really dislike that term) as it immediately immerses the reader in a world at once believable but yet utterly removed from our own. It is essentially a War and Peace type saga, spreading through generations and involving the expected intrigues, betrayals and internecine campaigns.

Where Peake utterly excels is his captivating style of writing, he takes pains to go into great detail and his writing is ornate, baroque even but the thrust of the story is never lost in navel-gazing or word-fluff, each carefully chosen sentence immeasurably adds to the atmosphere of the piece whilst moving the along.

This book is a triumph of fiction and it does a disservice to label it as a fantasy work as many potential readers will immediately be discouraged from peeking inside the coveres of this wonderful tome.

However, see past the label and delve inside, you will be thrilled and enthralled and totally captivated by the spellbinding imagery Peake weaves with consummate ease.

Brilliant


Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP
Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 EP
Price: £8.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another worthy addition to the discography, 19 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This sneaker release completely crept under my radar as I have been grooving out to Syro and, latterly, digesting the 155 track soundcloud dump of old school Aphex Twin tracks (which, by the way, is brilliant).

This is a very intriguing EP that features some interesting concepts. Sure, there is the ever present AFX dissonant weirdness but there are some more accessible passages in here that are slightly off-kilter yet still groovy.

RDJ is throwing out some really interesting stuff right now and his mastering is just top notch. I really, really like this EP.

For the RDJ fan this is an essential.


Asahi - Super Dry Japanese Premium Lager Beer - 24 x 330 ml - 5% ABV
Asahi - Super Dry Japanese Premium Lager Beer - 24 x 330 ml - 5% ABV
Offered by a2zdrinks
Price: £33.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refined, 19 Feb. 2015
I am not a big drinker but I am a big reviewer. I thought I should review this beer as it is a cracker. As the name says, it is super dry, so you get a very crisp, dry finish and the beer itself has a lovely hoppy taste. Not metallic or flat or too fizzy, its just perfect.

A really refreshing and enjoyable beer that goes well with a meal.

Try it, you will like it.


Carte Noire Espresso Number 9 Intense 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 4)
Carte Noire Espresso Number 9 Intense 10 Coffee Capsules 53 g (Pack of 4)
Price: £11.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent alternative to the original pods, 19 Feb. 2015
As original Nespresso pods are not available in supermarkets it is nice to have an alternative if you are running a bit low and need to top up.

These pods are made from plastic, which I have no issue with. They do seem a little less well sealed than the original pods and when opening the individual bags each pod is sealed in there is a noticeable smell of coffee and sometimes some loose granules of coffee.

When using these pods there is no noticeable difference when compared to the original pods. I normally take a long coffee and these pods give a good, rich roast that is strong in flavour and produces a good, thick crema.

This is a pretty dark roast, very bold and powerful. It is not a total headblast like some strong coffee and is a very enjoyable brew to sip at.

I am really impressed with these pods and will be buying them again.


Aeroccino 3 (Milk frother) NESPRESSO (Black) Mains operated - stand alone
Aeroccino 3 (Milk frother) NESPRESSO (Black) Mains operated - stand alone
Offered by Next Day Coffee
Price: £80.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 19 Feb. 2015
The aerocinno is a cracking device that elevates the Nespresso experience to a whole new level.

The frother sits on a round base (rather like a cordless kettle). The build quality is excellent, the frother has a black, glossy body and silver accent at the top. The lid is clear plastic and fits very snugly. Inside is a non-stick coated container with clear markings for max milk levels. The whisk has a removable spring which clips inside the lid for storage.

In use the whisk with spring attached makes very frothy milk. Without the spring the milk is lightly frothed. The milk takes about 90 secs to heat up and comes out very hot, really nice temperature that doesn't cool down your coffee.

Also, the aerocinno doesn't have to be used just for coffee, I often heat up a cupful and mix up nice hot chocolate for the kids, they love it as it is foamy and piping hot.

This is a cracking device but perhaps slightly overpriced as you can get an Inissia Nespresso machine with the aerocinno for £110.

The aerocinno also makes frothy cold milk, simply hold the on/off button for a few seconds and it glows blue.

A cracking little device that is very easy to clean, simply run under warm water and rub it clean with a cloth or a finger.


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