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Reviews Written by
Chris Hoare "Chris" (UK)

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Krups EA9010 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
Krups EA9010 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
Price: £998.17

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turns the chore of making a cappuccino into a robotic ballet, 1 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Length:: 1:49 Mins

The Krups EA9010 has replaced a Delonghi Magnifica on my kitchen counter; and before turning it on my counter was grateful that the Krups machine was slightly smaller. Besides being slightly smaller EA9010 also looks really good on the counter. My Magnifica worked beautifully but its size and functions were limitting. The Magnifica made getting a latte or cappucino relatively simple after that you were on your own; though keeping it going was a hands on process. The downside was the milk frothing system; and the temperature of the coffee was often cooler than you would like.

The EA9010 makes the choice of drink something you don't have to think about the production of. A clear easy to read touch screen replaces the plethora of buttons of my old machine with easy to read options for black and white coffees. Its clear with icons representing the drinks and begs you to press the button to deliver the coffee you desire. Once you have chosen what you want you get instructions on the screen on the preparation for your drink (The video below is making a standard Cappucino) the options include various black coffees including americano; and on the whites it has the impossible to make with my magnifiica flat white; If you can't find what you want you can do things manually too.

The difference is what happens when you press Cappucino - it asks how big your cup is; and when you have entered it the machine tells you how much milk to put into the cup (getting this right is important and I will admit to get the measurements right (when you have too much foam as most would likely think of my cup in the picture you can stop it on the touchscreen without stopping the cappuccino from coming - I have bought a measuring cylinder on the second day of having it) - no reservoir of milk to fill, empty and clean anymore. When you press go on the touchscreen; a traditional steaming nozzle descends into your cup; at first it warms the milk tilted at an angle (to make it swirl around) - then straightens and steams the milk to a long lasting foam (i like my cappuccino a bit dry - there is a picture of one from the machine below.) Whilst steaming the machine has ground the beans and when its stopped steaming it pours coffee into the cup resulting in my glorious looking coffee - the first cup i took a photo of an attached below (the thick walled glass cup came as a pair with the machine.)

My first cup was good; and the more i have used it the more i have dialed it in.

Then comes the clever bit; the machine cleans itself ! When you unpack the box there was a water softening cartridge to put into the water tank, and two packs of cleaning liquid - the robotic steaming nozzle has a little bath in the machine and the cleaning liquids end up in the reservoir of waste water. So far my cleaning tasks have been empty the wet and dry bins - no brewing units to scrub anymore.

I have had a huge grin every time I have used the Krups machine so far; the ballet of the cappuccino is still fun to watch. My Delonghi machine made good coffee when i had figured out how to work around its quirks. The Krups made good (and hot) coffee from the first cup. It comes with a thick manual; but once its on the counter turning it on steps you through the setup. The ability for anyone to walk up to it and ask for a flat white and get (a passable rather than good) one without mess or fuss means coffee has become fast and fuss free.
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Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Dry and Sensitive Body Lotion 250 ml
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Dry and Sensitive Body Lotion 250 ml
Offered by Home of Shopping
Price: £7.23

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent daily moisturizer for dry skin., 1 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Neutrogena's Sensitive Norwegian Formula is simply a great moisturiser. It is thicker than E45 lotion; but still spreads into the skin without any tacky pulling on the skin and doesn't leave any stickiness. I have eczema all over and as one of my round robin moisturizers to keep my skin from drying out this is one of my favorites - and my skin is so bad some months i moisturize most hours of the day.
Neutrogena is much much cheaper than the more specialist moisturizers like Cetraben and shares a similar ingredients list - the keys being paraffin and glycerin one makes a coating to protect and the other encourages water absorption (though there are lots of other ingredients that cause me to step away from Neutrogena when I'm having a bad outbreak.) I vastly prefer the results compared to E45; even the pump on the bottle feels more robust than E45's - immediately after use my skin feels cooler and there is a reduction in redness . I don't use it on bad outbreaks though as it does have a long ingredient list including a couple of alcohols that make an outbreak worse for me.

The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Paleo Bar 45 g (Pack of 18)
The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Paleo Bar 45 g (Pack of 18)
Price: £23.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually unappealing Date smoothie bar, 1 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This bar only has 5 ingredients; that is an achievement. Taking the Bar out of the pack you see a brown bar with flicks of coconut and macadamia nut in it (photo below.) Taking the first bite into a Primal Pantry Coconut and Macadamia nut bar; what you get is all sweetness from its main ingredient; dates, with a side of coconut . The date and coconut overwhelm the macadamia nuts in flavor (there are also cashew nuts in there but i couldn't taste them. The overall texture is how the terrine appearance suggests; mostly a sweet date mush with areas of coconut that make it through the date flavor.

At the time of writing I am also trying the Fulfil peanut and caramel; these are a similar size and calorie intake - only Fulfil's full size nuts take the protein up to 36% by weight and nearly 6x the Primal Panty's paltry 3.9g. The fiber content is also usefully twice the Primal pantry bar. That said Fulfil's ingredient list is far longer than from the Primal Pantry Paleo bars.

The Primal Pantry Coconut & Macadamia Paleo Bar's did work for me; my personal preference is a crunchy bar - and i like my breakfast bar's to have more protein and fibre in them than these manage. For the last year I have mostly been eating Kind bar's as a mid morning snack; these tick my boxes - they have a variety of flavors and whilst the ingredient list is longer than primal pantry's it is still things i have at home. Where the Primal Pantry bar looks like some kind of terrine - and has a similar mush texture with flakes of macadamia and coconut in a date base. Kind bars have big whole nuts and grains visible in the bar ;they are crunchy rather than paste. Increasing the size of the macadamia nut and dialing back some of the dates would make a good combination - i am a big macadamia nut fan.
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Rescue Chewing Gum Spearmint
Rescue Chewing Gum Spearmint
Price: £4.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice mint flavor poor gum base, 6 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At its price I dont think you can look at Rescue chewing gum in Spearmint as merely chewing gum. It looks like extra gum; it has the same initial crunch as extra gum. Rescue Spearmint does have a milder spearmint than Extra gum though. Unlike Extra the Rescue Gum's sorbitol content didn't have a laxative effect; hopefully that means the xylitol helped my teeth. I regularly chew gum; for the dental benefits and as I find it helps me concentrate at work.

The packaging says Rescue Chewing gum is soothing with flower essences; i'm not sure I experienced that. The mint flavour overwhelms any botanicals in the mouth. The longevity of the flavour is good; but the in the mouth experience of the gum is poor; the gum base work hardens in a few minutes at which point it becomes a less ideal experience.

At the start I said given the price; you cant look at it as merely chewing gum. Having used the entire pack of 25 pieces I can't say I noticed any calming effects from chewing it. So that takes away the calming effects; as a chewing gum the hardening of the gum base makes for a very poor chewing gum. Overall my experience with the gum was disappointing.

Motorola MBP50 Video Baby Monitor with Large 5-inch Full Colour Curved Parent Display Unit
Motorola MBP50 Video Baby Monitor with Large 5-inch Full Colour Curved Parent Display Unit
Price: £124.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars instructions and a nice size monitor (which is let down by poor resolution ..., 1 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Considering its price i was interested to compare the MBP50 with my existing MBP853 Connect. Both offer similar features and have HD camera's but the little differences make one of them stand out above the other. The camera wasn't well packed and moves around in its box and as others have stated there was no user manual only a quick start quide. Inside the box is the camera, instructions and a nice size monitor (which is let down by poor resolution and camera angle.)

With other baby monitors i have used and tested I have found the monitors to be a weak point with poor resolution and low quality so at first glance i was glad to see a large 5" monitor but on closer inspection it has the same 480x272 resolution as the 3.5" monitor that comes with the MBP853. The monitor itself is built well and has a good battery life but i'm yet to see any benefit from the slightly curved screen. For some reason they've moved the position of some of buttons on the monitor even they both have the same 8 buttons and layout. My partner doesnt like the brightness of the blue led thats constantly on when in operation, we've resorted to covering this up.

At a similar price i expected the camera to be the same as that used for the MBP853 but its quite different. Firstly it doesnt tilt down low enough, i have the cameras side by side and the MBP50's camera cant look down enough into the cot so had to be tilted forward. The zoom is also greater so that you see less of an image, this is fine for seeing baby but barely fits the whole cot in frame and you still have the optional 2x zoom if you want a close up.

Given its price i wouldnt recommend this over the MBP853, not only does the MBP853 have a more flexible camera it has one big advantage in that you can use it over wifi with a smart device.
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AUTOPKIO Portable Mini Folding Lightbox Studio with LED Light, Photography Lighting Tent Kit, 22.6 * 23 * 24cm / 8.89 x 9.05 x 9.45 inch (S)
AUTOPKIO Portable Mini Folding Lightbox Studio with LED Light, Photography Lighting Tent Kit, 22.6 * 23 * 24cm / 8.89 x 9.05 x 9.45 inch (S)
Offered by AUTOPkio
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Small, Compact portal lightbox with bright LEDs, 21 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The autopkio lightbox is a great starter lightbox. Its super compact; but unlike larger light boxes uses a built in LED strip to remove the need for external halogen lights. Im not a professional photographer so could never justify getting proper lighting and a stage for taking photos in my flat. But for taking photos for reviews or insurance purposes the AUTOPKIO for me is a nice compromise on size and features.

A compromise; the light strip doesn't have any power adaptor supplied with it; there is a USB to micro USB cable to connect it to an existing USB power bank or usb power socket (e.g. your phone charger). The walls are a rigid plastic and hold together with magnets. It all folds up into a tight mesh bag for storage. The folded up storage of the unit meant on each use I have had to fold back to the joints in order to have the walls be straight on all sides to. The magnets that are supposed to hold it in place weren't strong enough to stop it bowing inwards.

Autopkio provide two soft foam inserts to display your products on; one white as used in the photo below and the other a nice black which will make jewelry pop out. The box is a large enough that using a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera I can get nice well lit photos of my products. The white light of the LED doesn't come over as too warm or cold; its a nice pure white. The white balance on auto on my canon did a great job with the led.

I first used it to take photos for a recent review of the Linksys Velop; and i have reattached those images below; the comparison velop to amazon echo shows the LED's lighting the scene; the second showing the connectors on the VELOP shows the nice lighting and the benefit of the white out background.

I have a much larger lightbox; but the hassle of clearing space and setting it up and dismantling the lights it never lived up to its potential in my hands. The autopkio's compact size and easy to setup with a single integrated LED to light the scene saves time. If you are taking photos for reviews or eBay listings of smaller products or want a simple lightbox to get start getting into product photography its great starter kit; for the low price I can't complain.
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Anywhere Sim with £20 Credit
Anywhere Sim with £20 Credit
Price: £20.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Anywhere sim is a great second number sim for high coverage or those living with poor signals at home, 21 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The anywhere sim is the sim uk travelers have been longing for. Leverging the network coverage of the four major networks. The technology works to; anyone who uses the national rail network knows that the signal vaporises as your journey meanders slowly around the country. Using the Anywhere sim my phone always had at least the same signal as my Vodafone; and frequently had more signal. The phone stayed on "network" without any intervention from me.

The downside to this coverage is the cost of using it; a £20 top up is only valid for 60 days; the usage charges are also much higher than single carrier pay as you go cards. For my usage profile this makes the anywhere sim an access all areas card - my normal monthly data usage would average around £125 a month at the current rate of 10p per megabyte; with calls cost 10p a minute and texts 5p.

Getting the sim going was relatively simple; i called the number on the chip to register the number. Then put the sim into my phone and the phone signal worked immediately. Setting up data required me to change the APN which a quick google helped me do. After that my phone just kept going. The network offers sms, calls, data, 2g, 3g and 4g as well as voicemail; though it doesn't support mms (though I'm not sure who uses it in the age of WhatsApp, iMessage and allo. To use the sim you will need a sim free phone.

The efficient roaming between networks defiantly gives a more reliable signal than sitting on one network alone; though i havent tried making calls as I jump cells on the train. In my mind given the high usage charges and relatively short life of the credit (just 60 days on a 20 pound topup) this feels like is a niche card; that said if you travel a lot and want customers to have a better chance of getting in touch you could redirect your calls from your main mobile as you get in the car or on the train and receive calls with more reliability.

Linksys Velop Tri-Band AC2200 Modular True Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System (Works with Amazon Alexa) - Pack of 2
Linksys Velop Tri-Band AC2200 Modular True Whole Home Wi-Fi Mesh System (Works with Amazon Alexa) - Pack of 2
Price: £249.99

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to setup, great speed and coverage; but software functionality gaps leave a sour taste., 20 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have come to the Linksys velop from the 6 antenna Spider lookup WRT1900. Both represent Linksys thoughts on how to get the widest wifi coverage; but it’s a take from two angles. Velop is a Mesh system; where you can add lots of nodes around the house. Mesh networks are a super advanced version of extender networks; where each extra node you put into your house / office talks to all the others for increased network capacity. Traditionally these were complex to setup; with Velop adding an extra node is as simple as clicking a button on the app. The biggest benefit to the end users is you have a single network around the house without having to juggle between connecting to the first floor repeater separately.

Simplicity Good;
Setting it up is a breeze. Before you start you need an Apple iOS or Google Android smartphone or tablet and the linksys app - and that requires you to setup a linksys account. If you don’t have a tablet / smartphone this isn't the router for you; there is no web interface. Linksys have made setup very simple; you plug in the first Velop node near your wifi modem (you need to be running on a cable, adsl or fibre modem to use Velop) using the supplied ethernet cable or the one you already have. You fire up the app and it steps you through the setup process; using the app and a color flashing LED on the device itself. In less than 10 minutes and a couple of base station reboots (and one of my modem) I had my first node running and working internet; once you have completed the initial setup the app asks if you have others - you go to the next node if you have one; power it on and 5 minutes later my ground floor had a running a meshed Velop node . The app and Velop transmitter work out if the location works - too far away and suggest you move it closer to the first station. Once the second node as configured I had wifi coverage around my house - I had this pretty much as before; but the signal strength was much stronger everywhere. The most complex thing in the setup process was choosing a wifi password.

Does The Mesh Work?
I had been using a power over ethernet to get network connectivity to my living room media devices; as I found that wifi using the WRT1900 just wasn’t good enough for reliably streaming 4k. With Velop coverage in the right place you cant stop the signal; and Netflix and Amazon Prime 4k both stream happily for hours on end without buffering.

Simplicity Bad.
Simplicity in Velop has left holes in functionality; my hope is that this is a version 1 of the app still and they have rushed to get it to market. What is missing; from what is a very high end home network device is that there aren't the advanced features you might be used to - there is no VPN, there is no dmz - there isnt a USB socket so you cant plug a printer or disk into it. Each of the nodes has two ethernet sockets; so if you have a number of ethernet devices you may need a separate switch; which diminshes the benefit of the minimalist design.

Worse some of the basics are missing; you cant change the IP address range ; the parental controls are limited to enabling and disabling a devices web access (without any time parameters) - if you want to block apps you need to know the app addresses as well as the website which makes configuring it far too complex. These aren't just power user features and given their standard routers have them I'm puzzled as to why they are missing on Velop.

Top Speed
The WRT1900 had a next to the router top speed of a gigabit. Velop is limited to 867mb/s. The speed on Velop is more consistent as you move around the network than running with a single router. If you have gigabit fibre to the home this isn't the system for you as you will lose over 10% of the bandwidth you are paying for.

Once up and running the Velop network has been reliable; I have set my network to copy huge amounts of data between devices and the speed has remained strong whilst running. Even whilst running large network copying I was still able to stream 4k to my living room tv; so the system has lots of bandwidth even between multiple devices.

Simplicity or time to market were clearly Linksys goal in shipping Velop in early 2017. As a Mesh network extending around the house and fixing coverage blackspots it’s a definite winner - and the modems are small white discrete blocks rather than the black spider I was using before - the speed is consistent around the house. Overall Velop isnt yet complete; if you don’t have children and want something easy to setup it’s a great system; if you need a vpn or want to stop your kids using Facebook at 10pm you need to look elsewhere.
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Cetaphil 236 ml Oily Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil 236 ml Oily Skin Cleanser
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy on easy off; my face felt a little too dry afterwards though, 16 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been a big fan of Cetaphil moisturizers and a Cetaphil shower lotion in the past. I have very sensitive skin and Cetaphil has quickly earned its place amongst the small stable of brands that i have found safe to work with my skin.My face however is one place that isn't dry and isn't especially sensitive. The cetaphil oily skin cleanser doesn't claim to be for sensitive skin only that it washes off cleanly (And in my experience it does.)

I used the oily skin cleanser; replacing my normal skin safe products, in conjunction with a phillips swirling skin brush which gets it in deep and does a good job of cleaning my skin. A small amount of the clear gel goes a long way even when using the electric brush. The oily skin cleanser hasn't caused any reaction after two weeks of solid use; i find that it does a great job getting the daily oil, sweat and pollution off my face. It did leave the skin on my face feeling drier than i would like; maybe my skin isn't oily enough, but i knocked a star off for that.

If you have super sensitive skin I would try a different product; there are perfumes hiding in the clear gel.

AmazonBasics Everyday Fitted Sheet, King - White
AmazonBasics Everyday Fitted Sheet, King - White
Price: £14.49

5.0 out of 5 stars The fitted sheet that stays in place., 7 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Amazon basics sheets are great day to day sheets. They wear and wash well; there is a good variety of colours - that hold in the wash. I particularly like that the fitted sheets have all around elastic and not just in the corners - this keeps the sheets attached to the bed really well.

They might not be 5000 thread count but they are plenty soft enough for me.

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