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Picard (USS Enterprise)

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Boo amiibo - Super Mario Collection (Nintendo Wii U/Nintendo 3DS)
Boo amiibo - Super Mario Collection (Nintendo Wii U/Nintendo 3DS)
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars *cackle*, 9 Oct. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This for me is one of the most anticipated Amiibos yet, and it doesn't disappoint. Well okay, if I could level one niggle at it then it is a little shorter and smaller than other characters (On display, it requires a front row position to be seen). But once you get past this, it comes to be a fun addition to your collection. His expression is fabulous and just typical Nintendo; not overly threatening, but definitely full of cheek!

The quality of the Amiibo is excellent and features no production flaws. Boo sits on a red and silver base, like the rest of this collection.

One unique feature to this Amiibo is its ability to glow in the dark. The effect isn't especially pronounced even after sitting next to a lamp, but at least the glow itself has a nice modern 'whiteness' to it, not the greenish hue that you find in old toys.

This is no-brainier in my opinion. Boo's software support is limited at the time of writing, but he makes for an excellent display item with plenty of potential in future games.

Rapesco A4 Flexi Presentation Display Book 40 Pockets, Assorted Colours - Pack of 10
Rapesco A4 Flexi Presentation Display Book 40 Pockets, Assorted Colours - Pack of 10
Price: £19.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for Presentations, 26 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Though we're moving to an increasingly digital-world, paper documents can be both incredibly useful and a real bane. If you're in the former camp, then finding a convenient way to store and present documents is a bit of task, given ring binders are often bulky and awkward, and card folios wear out easily.

These Flexi Display Books by Rapesco solve this dilemma. They are incredibly light (so they add little weight to your paperwork), made from what appear to be strong plastics and, most importantly, are incredibly compact. Part of this is down to the design of the spine, which can fold flat depending on how many documents you have in the book. Even when the book is full and the spine needs to be propped up, it's not very thick at all.

The spine also has a pocket that can hold a narrow piece of card or paper, which you would ideally use to label the book. However in my typical manly, testosterone-fuelled haste, I completely disregarded the fact that the placeholders inserted into each of the 10 spines are blank on the opposite sides (see product image), and I proudly threw them away. This sort of behaviour has almost cost me my job; several times in fact.

Each book has 40 pockets that can easily be double-sided, and you get 10 of these books per purchase, so I think it's a pretty good deal also taking into account the range of colours that can be coded to specific subjects. I should point out here that the pockets do feel very thin compared to other clear pockets that you get for ring binders, but these ones are also a touch wider than A4 so there's little chance of tearing them through inserting/removing documents.

In a nutshell, I'm thoroughly impressed with these books and believe that for many applications they're superior to ring binders and folios.

Breville VDF122 Halo+ Duraceramic Health Fryer, 1.2 kg
Breville VDF122 Halo+ Duraceramic Health Fryer, 1.2 kg
Price: £129.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Healthier and Safer, 19 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's really nothing better than proper home-cooked chips. For some, cutting them by hand is a chore than can be replaced by Mr McCains, but it's only once you taste the difference and understand the texture that you can appreciate why home chips are delightful.

Fryers like this Halo+ from Breville discard previous conventions of safety and nutrition, with a modern and slick design. These aren't the smallest devices, but you will soon forget its size once you start using it regularly. Including in the box is a handy recipe guide that offers some basic instructions and suggestions for frying your food.

Of course you don't have to just fry chips, you can essentially use your imagination (within reason...) and try different things. Chips will get the most attention however because of how common they are.

I should point out here that the taste of the said chips won't come close to those from a deep fat fryer - but then I doubt even NASA could come up with a solution to that problem. However, the main selling points of this fryer are reduced calories/fat and overall safety of using it.

If you regularly fry food and have a large family to feed, then I definitely think this is worth your consideration. Otherwise, for single users and light eaters, I doubt you'll get your money's worth.

Philips BT5200/13 Series 5000 Beard and Stubble Trimmer with 17 length Setting
Philips BT5200/13 Series 5000 Beard and Stubble Trimmer with 17 length Setting
Price: £39.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performer - almost perfect product, 9 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well, let's get one thing out the way - well groomed stubble can do wonders for your appearance. I say this now because I was brought up on the ritual of having a clean shave every other day, only to find on the occasions that I did have extra 'days off', I would somehow always end up looking like a scruffy waste of space.

"How is this happening? Surely all the hairs grow at the same rate? Why am I talking to a mirror?"

We are a naive breed. Either that, or I've lived a sheltered life.

But now that I've invested in mid-range beard trimmer, I am one step closer to being Sonny Crockett. Philips' Series 5000 is a decent product for the price - performing just as I hoped for, giving great results.

However there are some downsides that I'll get straight out the way; there is no travel pouch or protective case included (a major oversight, considering Philips include them for some other shavers/trimmers), there is no charging cradle or inductive charging' (again, these features are offered elsewhere), and the instructions are mapped out in some gibberish that is akin to cave paintings.

The good news is that the trimmer is well built - it is all plastic as I expected, but it is of good quality and has a nice matte finish. I like how solid it feels in your hand, none of this tacky, light-weight nonsense you get with cheaper products. The trimmer length dial has been designed so that it feels well engineered, with a cool rubber surface and mechanism that rotates from the front or the back of the trimmer. It's of no more convenience than an Up/Down button, but a guy's trimmer has to, y'know, feel 'manly'.

It is completely waterproof, so washing it isn't a problem. You can also remove the guard to give the blades a good brush, which I advise at least once a weak as all manner of rubbish gets secreted there. (I had no idea my skin was falling apart so quickly)

Despite its excellent performance, 3-stars is fair considering it misses out on the basics mentioned above. I recommend it to anyone who wants to experiment with 'shadow' effect, though there is plenty of scope to just keep longer beards in check.

Rockport Oak Room Perfed Plaintoe, Men's Shoes, Cognac, 9.5 UK (43 EU)
Rockport Oak Room Perfed Plaintoe, Men's Shoes, Cognac, 9.5 UK (43 EU)
Price: £130.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Size - Charlie Chalk, 17 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Beautiful leather, finish and plenty of comfort; which are the reasons I went with Rockport.

The downside? They fit like clown shoes. And because the size down costs more than twice as much as the one I purchased, the only sensible option was a refund.

I've learned my lesson; always try on in store first.

Sony h.ear EX750BT Bluetooth High Resolution In Ear Headphones - Pink
Sony h.ear EX750BT Bluetooth High Resolution In Ear Headphones - Pink
Price: £129.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sound in a decent package, 8 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Bluetooth in-ear headphones are surprisingly hard to come these days, especially when you're looking for a pair from a reputable brand. My guess is that, because earbuds are the choice for most people on the move, it's significantly easier and cheaper to produce wired versions.

I was therefore delighted that Sony have released this particular product; the h.ear. Yep, you h.eard me correctly! I'll grab my coat...

This isn't Sony's first attempt at Bluetooth headphones, but this product has a lot going for it. For a start, the all-important audio quality. While these buds don't quite rival some of Sony's cheaper wired options (which, for the record, are still expensive), they sound crisp and have a very tight dynamic range. The bass and highs are really tuned for electronic music, which is unsurprising given that this product would work well in a gym. A lot of this can be subjective - I personally prefer the warmer, fuller sound of my wired Sony earbuds, but it's each to their own.

The neck-strap, to coin a term, is comfortable and not distracting when looped around your neck, though I do admit to feeling a little anxious that it was creating attention when out and about. The earbud cables move around easily, and there's even an option to plug the set directly into your music device, which is good either as a backup or for personal preference. Music controls are also supplied as standard.

So far I've been getting around 7 hours of battery life on average, which is reasonable and within Sony's claims. Charging isn't a hassle at all, it's just something you end up getting used to. For the eventuality that the battery does run out, I keep the supplied 3.5mm cable in my bag.

If you look at the market generally, this earbuds are actually well placed. 'Beats' are almost the exact same price, and for those you don't get the extra cables, neck-strap, as-good battery life and, perhaps most importantly, reliability. I say the latter because they're renown for failure, but so far these Sony h.ear's appear robust. The icing is that you have a range of colours to pick from!

In short, if you're in the market for some Bluetooth earbuds then certainly pop these in your shortlist, they'll be hard to beat. Will more, better value products become available over the next couple of years? Absolutely, but it's up to manufacturers to catch up and give us what we want.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [LIMITED EDITION GOLD VINYL]
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope [LIMITED EDITION GOLD VINYL]
Price: £20.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 6 Jun. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As soon as these vinyl soundtracks were announced, I pounced on them in a heartbeat. I think it was inevitable that they would be released a separate products following the Episode 1-6 collection, which I certainly couldn't justify the price.

The product is a wonderful replica of the original Episode IV soundtrack vinyl. But I feel I should respond to some of the negativity.

"The centre hole has a tight fit" - This is true for almost all new vinyl records. In my case I've never purchased a new record that hasn't been tight, but there two solutions if it bothers you; get a Biro and press it gently against the hole either side (with very little force), or if you have a direct drive turntable like a Technic SL1200, press play, hold the record either side, and just wiggle it around a bit. No drama...

"The gold isn't uniform" - This is an effect of the dye used in the vinyl; it's not going to be consistent for every product. Having said that, although mine has few dye 'swirls', they don't effect the audio in any way or the presentation of the disc. You're supposed to just put the needle down and forget about it.

"There's some hissing and I heard a crackle" - It's a vinyl record; they all have hissing and crackle even when new. It's going to be more obvious on a record such as this where there are long instances of silence or quietness. At worst, it can also be sign that your tonearm is balanced wrong of the needle is wearing out.

"The quality of the images, text and finish isn't on par with the original release" - I agree with these, and recognise that the cover is matte rather than shiny. However, the text on the insert is more than legible, the images are fine to look at and the outer sleeve is likely matte in order to create a distinction between this 2016 release and the original.

Generally speaking, I think this is an excellent release. The sound quality blows my 2000-and-something CD out the water it's that good, and it's nice that they included the original cut of 'The Final Battle', which features a different composition up to around half way through, but then continues into the final version of 'The Battle of Yavin' as featured in the movie.

Now I've got to wait for Episodes 5 and 6 to be released... Hmmph!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 8, 2016 10:32 AM BST

QardioBase Wireless Smart Scale
QardioBase Wireless Smart Scale
Offered by Parkem Retail
Price: £115.00

2.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended, 1 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You would think that making a set of scales in 2016 would be a breeze, even if it were a 'smart' product capable of syncing data with your smartphone. Sadly, this isn't the case for QardioBase.

I'm flummoxed as to how the design was approved; it's just so unstable. Square-shaped scales are that way because they are supported by four corners, so the weight is distributed evenly. This product on the other hand is a potential hazard, and doesn't have the same level of accuracy as my previous scales.

The set-up was confusing as you're told to activate both wi-fi and Bluetooth, though it's only the latter that is required. What I will say however is that the app is very decent, and certainly a step up from what Withings offer.

Without going into too much detail, there are better designed and better value scales out there.

Score Draw Men's England 1990 Shirt
Score Draw Men's England 1990 Shirt
Price: £9.13 - £48.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You've got to hold and give, but do it at the right time"... (your turn!), 14 May 2016
Though I only faintly remember Italia '90, the era of unusually baggy-but-short kits continued well into the end of the decade where I had to get the latest shirt for each birthday. The styles are no coincidence or fad - I think a lot of people will fondly recall that these kits were far more comfortable to play in, especially the shorts, as they allowed for less restricted movement.

But as soon as I saw this shirt I just had to get it. Less the half the price of the latest 'stadium' kit (which, in my opinion, is a poor effort from Nike), and arguably more than twice as classy. You know the era as soon as you it; I think it's aged wonderfully well considering.

The material is 100% polyester so don't like a cigarette near one. However it's great that Score Draw have paid such close attention to detail. The feel and texture of this shirt is exactly the same as those from the time period, making me feel like a kid again, having a kick-about in my own replicas! The patterns, stitching and cut are all spot on. Now all I need is the body to go with it...

That is of course the only problem. While the chest and abs have a nice contoured fit, the sleeves are very baggy and long - thus doing no favours if your arms are the equivalent to strings with knots half way down. But that is the charm of the design, and I think you definitely need the shorts to complete the look.

In short (See what I did there??), this will be a staple shirt in my wardrobe this summer. What better way to celebrate with our national team than by reflecting on the closest we've actually gone on to winning an international/european cup since '66?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2016 8:38 AM BST

Pulsin' Unflavoured Whey Concentrate Protein Powder 1kg | 82% Protein | Natural | Vegetarian
Pulsin' Unflavoured Whey Concentrate Protein Powder 1kg | 82% Protein | Natural | Vegetarian
Offered by Blue Herbs
Price: £20.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Sourced well and mixes well, 11 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whilst I'm no aficionado for protein powders, I can accept their place as a supplement alongside a balanced diet. For those of us who enjoy (well, sometimes) exercising around a typical work day, a good powder can make all your efforts worthwhile.

This is of course the biggest subject that one must come to terms. Before switching to bodyweight workouts at home, I used to go to a gym either before or after work, and whilst there I would watch men and women 'dunk' spoonfuls of cryptic-looking powders into a bottle, which then had to be consumed either during the workout or precisely after it - whenever that actually is - so that their muscles could lap up concoction.

But your body can only use so much protein to repair muscle fibres; some tests indicate as much as 25g on average. In addition, the same studies have proven that peak protein synthesis occurs around 2 hours AFTER the workout. So as you can see, marketing plays a huge trend in pushing the 'more' and 'quicker' fear factor.

There are two things that I like about Pulsin's Whey Concentrate; they tell you where it's sourced from, and they make no bones about how little powder you actually need.

The powder itself mixes similarly to others, meaning it will indefinitely 'clump' unless you blend it. And that is of course part of the joy of a protein powder - if you going to consume it, why not add it to something nutritious? I've add mine to smoothies and milkshakes without a hitch.

Without some flavouring, the powder has a typical chalky taste and texture that leaves a lot to be desired, but will only encourage you to find ways to mix it.

As far as usage goes on a workout day, I'll add some to my cereal in the morning where it blends in nicely, and then just blend it in with my smoothie for the evening. Providing I have some lean meat during mealtimes, especially the fishy kind (salmon is my best friend), I feel comfortable I'm getting enough protein.

Above all, I will just reiterate the importance of a balanced diet. These products are a convenience, but if you allow them to neglect your choice of meals, you'll end up looking like blubber.

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