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since 07/06/2015


Madden NFL 17 (PS4) 21/11/2017

The Madden franchise keeps going!

Madden NFL 17 (PS4) American sports games are something that I have always enjoyed playing on games consoles, right back to when I used to play the old NBA games on the Sega Megadrive. As my appreciation for American Football started to grow during University, I got into the Madden NFL games. When I decided to buy myself a PS4, it only felt right that one of the first games I should get would be Madden NFL 17. The franchise has been around for years now and the formula has not changed all that much since the first Madden game I owned (2005 version). Much like you would in the Fifa games, the aim is to call the plays, control the players on the pitch, sign new players and lead your team to glory via your own skill. Why change what ain’t broken? -----GRAPHICS----- Fantastic! Oh, I guess one word probably isn’t enough right? Although that one word really does sum up the graphics of this game, I will expand by saying that it is a vast improvement from the PS3 days. The players look like their human counterparts in the face, the movement of the players looks and feels more realistic than ever before and the technical staff on the sidelines look to have had just as much effort put into them as the players. The stadiums are impressive too! After hours of gameplay I have noticed no graphical glitches or anything like that. Everything is smooth and although the loading time can sometimes feel lengthy, you soon understand why when you see the intricacy of the graphics on this ...

Bvlgari (Bulgari) Aqva 28/09/2017

The hidden gem of aftershaves

Bvlgari (Bulgari) Aqva Bulgari is an Italian jeweller and luxury goods maker that has been around for more than 130 years and as such has a fantastic reputation. Although it is perhaps most well known for its jewellery and sunglasses, the Italian style giant has also ventured into the fragrance market and have produced one mens fragrance in particular that I am a huge fan of. Wanting to try a new fragrance in the summer of 2012, I went along to Boots on my local high street and started smelling all the different fragrances that were on offer for men. I wanted to break away from my usual Hugo Boss or Christian Dior as I felt like they were a little tired and were scents that everyone seemed to own. I went through various brands before stumbling upon one called Aqua by Bulgari, or BVLGARI as it is most often seen written. It instantly became my new favourite fragrance and I purchased it immediately. At around £45 for a 100ml bottle, this is not going to be something that breaks the bank and that is a really unusual position for such a high ranking design house to take with their fragrances. Aqua was released in 2005 and is still seen on the shelves of all the popular high street stores today. It is not as visible as the Armani or Hugo Boss scents but most good fragrance stores will stock this, even if it is a little tucked away. There are two versions of this fragrance, the Aqua and the Aqua Marine, they are differentiated by their different shade of blue, with the marine version being lighter and ...

Aurora DT 398 25/09/2017

Does the Aurora add up?

Aurora DT 398 Although my laptop and mobile phone have perfectly good calculators built into them, in my office we do have traditional calculators that we use. I have the Aurora DT 398 on my desk which is a dual power calculator. Of course I can do any calculations on my laptop but it is sometimes handy to have the physical calculator if you just need to do a quick sum or just prefer it to the windows calculator. Aurora is not a brand that I am familiar with but it appears to be a UK brand that sells low cost calculators. In an office environment such as mine, we are not doing the kind of maths that would require a scientific calculator and so this does the job well. The calculator is manufactured in China, however the build of the calculator seems to be study enough. Mine has been dropped a few times and has one or two small dents in the side but the functionality has now wavered at all despite this. The DT 398 doesn’t exactly look like anything special to be honest. It is mostly silver with black, grey and green buttons. The green buttons and the white writing on the buttons have lost their colour sharpness a bit as this calculator of mine is pretty old now. The display is slanted up to allow you to see better when lieing the calculator flat and the buttons are very large which make it easy for those with poor eye sight or large fingers shall we say. The calculator is dual powered meaning that as well as having a battery running it, it also has a small solar panel strip across the ...

Canon Copy Paper 21/09/2017

Cheap paper from a top brand

Canon Copy Paper In my office despite being kitted out, pretty much top to bottom, with Lenovo office gear, when it comes to printing, we put our trust in Canon Copy Paper. Canon is a highly respected brand when it comes to photography and printing and for the price of their paper, it is no wonder that my office use it for everyday use. Everybody loves a great brand at a low price. The paper is 80gsm, which although that doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, it actually stands for grams per square metre and so basically tells you the weight of the paper and therefore indicating thickness and potentially quality. 80gsm is basically the standard when it comes to printing. This Canon paper does feel quite substantial and does not accidently tear easily, however when you print on it, especially in dark colours, it can be a little transparent and so is not great for printing on both sides. This of course is white plain paper and does not appear to be off white or anything like that as is the professionalism of Canon, this is a pure brilliant white shade. The paper comes in a large cardboard box that contains 5 individually packaged reams of paper. Each ream contains 500 A4 sheets of paper with a box containing 2500 in total. Each ream is packaged in thick glossy paper and so it is definitely recommended that you keep it somewhere dry as there is no protection against water damage when it comes to the packaging, it literally is just cardboard and glossy paper. When printed on, text appears clear and ...

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (PC) 18/09/2017

The best first person shooter

Counter Strike: Global Offensive (PC) Counter Strike: Global Offensive is one of the most popular PC games in the world and as well as boasting a highly lucrative professional scene, there is also a huge players base among casual gamers. Although the game is now five years old, the player base shows no signs of declining and the developers, Valve, are always developing new maps and releasing new skins. Of course the professional scene helps to keep the game going as thousands aspire to be the next Happy or Kjaerbye. Whenever I log into the game you can guarantee there will be around 500,000 other players in game at the same time from all over the world. The game is a first person shooter particularly aimed at the multiplayer format. -----What is it all about?----- Basically as a first person shooter, the main aspect of this game is competitive multiplayer and that is what most people play. This basically means you have a rank that tells you how good you are in comparison to everyone else, you then play a match of 5 versus 5 in a best of 30 rounds format. You are divided into two teams, the Terrorists and the Counter Terrorists. The aim of each round (which can last up to 3 minutes each) is for the terrorists to plant a bomb that explodes at one of two bomb sites, the counter terrorists must defend both bomb sites or defuse the bomb before it explodes. Alternatively you can also win a round by killing all 5 members of the opposing team. By winning matches your rank will improve and you will begin to play against ...

Ikea MALM 3 Drawer Chest 15/09/2017

Unbeatable price!

Ikea MALM 3 Drawer Chest Ikea is a Swedish furniture store that has become a staple of British culture over recent decades as people flock there in huge numbers to buy flat packed furniture that they can then spend a rainy Sunday assembling. Whilst the quality of the furniture may not be in line with somewhere like Oak Furnitureland, the price is a great draw. We purchased two of the three drawer Malm chests in Oak Veneer for just £100, we had struggled to find anything that would suit the room for anywhere near this price. Dimensions: Width: 80cm Depth: 48cm Height: 78cm -----Assembly----- The first thing to begin with is the actual assembly of the product. As far as Ikea products go, this is certainly one of the more straight forward pieces of furniture that they sell when it comes to assembly. The individual drawers take a bit of time, especially for us as we had bought two and so had to assemble six drawers individually but all in all you should be able to assemble one chest in less than two hours, even less if you are particularly savvy with DIY. The instructions are typical of Ikea with not too many words explaining what to do but a pictoral representation which is pretty easy to follow. -----Design/Style----- The look of the drawers is pretty sleek and modern. They aren’t outlandish and of course I can only comment on the Oak colour but they certainly look more expensive than they were. There are seven colours available and so you should be able to find a colour that ties in with the ...

Nike Golf Dura Feel Golf Glove 12/09/2017

A great brand at a great price

Nike Golf Dura Feel Golf Glove As a hugely popular sports brand, Nike has made significant in roads into the golf market in recent years. Many players on the tour have always been happy to wear Nike Polo shirts, Tiger Woods arguably did more for Nike in golf than anyone could have imagined by wearing the brand, but they were still lagging behind in terms of equipment. Golf brand such as Callaway, Taylor Made, Ping and Titlest have long been the choice brands when it comes to clubs, bags, balls and gloves but Nike has slowly started to enter that arena and grow their business well. As someone who plays golf as often as the weather and my time will allow but not as often as I would like, I wanted to purchase a new golf glove as I seemed to have misplaced my old one. After a trip to my local golf store, the Nike glove appeared to be surprisingly affordable and so I went with that. For me, Nike is a brand that is often overpriced when it comes to sportswear and so I was pleasantly surprised to pick up this glove for less than £10. The design of the glove, as you would expect from a company like Nike, is very smart and stylish. There are no crazy colours or designs involved, just a black and white, professional and sleek looking design that fits and looks great. The small holes that run up and down the back of the fingers are designed to help your hand breathe a bit better as anyone who plays golf will know that your hand can sweat a lot during a round of golf due to being encased in a skin tight glove. The ...

River Island (Shop) 08/09/2017

A staple of the modern British high street

River Island (Shop) For those that may be unaware, River Island is a privately owned UK high street fashion brand. There are more than 350 stores worldwide and the chances are if you live near a reasonably sized town in the UK, there will be one on that high street or on a local retail park. River Island sells womens, mens and kids clothes and markets itself as affordable but certainly not super low price like Primark for example. With a website in addition to physical stores, River Island, which has been around for decades, shows no signs of losing its market share in the fashion market. -----Style----- River Island’s adult section is predominantly aimed at young people of maybe 18-30, however I would certainly recommend that people beyond that age range do take a look as you can often be surprised as they do not exclusively cater for young people. Whilst many of the men’s t-shirts will have floral designs or large colourful print of some sort, there are also some more low key items to be found. They always stock a good selection of plain cotton t-shirts with a 2 for £12 deal that can be bought in a wide range of colours, I have a couple myself and am surprised at the high level of quality and durability. The denim jeans range from standard stonewash denims to black skinnys covered in rips so again there is something for everyone. Some items that may be of interest to those above the 18-30 bracket are their formal wear, knitwear and footwear. Starting with footwear you can buy anything from ...

Lenovo Laser - mouse 04/09/2017

Another Lenovo gem

Lenovo Laser - mouse Carrying on with the theme of reviewing Lenovo products that I have been using for my job for the last 18 months, the Lenovo Laser Mouse is the next on my list. ----Spec---- Connectivity: Wired/USB Buttons: 3 Movement Technology: Laser Weight: 94g Movement Resolution: 2000dpi ----Style---- The mouse is largely black in colour with the exception of the roller wheel which is red and the writing on the actual mouse which is silver. The mouse has a glossy, almost metallic looking, finish on the top surface and the sides are a matt black finish as is the underneath. The mouse is definitely aimed at the business market as oppose to the gaming market or the young people market as its design and lack of colour or additional buttons actually gives it a relatively basic look. The left and right click buttons are separated by a grove that runs half way down the centre of the mouse and then apart from a tiny bit of colour for the roller wheel, there is not actually too much else to shout about in terms of the style and design. It is slightly shaped to fit your hand nicely and it does sit quite well under your hand without having a really fancy or quirky design. ----Functionality---- Like the other Lenovo products I have been using, I can’t really fault the functionality of this mouse. The laser shows no sign of wearing out and in fact works as good now as it did when it was new. The left and right click buttons are well defined and the click feels like a proper click telling me ...

Lenovo ThinkVision L192p 19 in 27/08/2017

Lenovo makes another great piece of kit

Lenovo ThinkVision L192p 19 in The company that I work for seems to have real affection for Lenovo as all our IT kit is of that brand. Rather than just working on a laptop all the time, in the office, I can dock my laptop and run it through an monitor and the one that I have is the Lenovo Thinkvision L192p 19 inch. Lenovo is a fantastic brand that has proved itself to be highly reliable in the office environment. My company has a lot of these monitors and they are very rarely replaced because we never have any issues with them. -----The Techy Stuff----- Type: LCD Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 1024 at 76Hz Response Time: 20ms Screen Size: 19 inches Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 Brightness: 250 cd/m2 -----The Look----- As far as monitors go, the Lenovo Thinkvision L192p is actually a decent looking piece of kit. It is a flat screen monitor (of course, good luck finding a non-flat screen these days) that has a black trim all the way around the edge. The buttons to adjust the display and turn the monitor on are integrated into the monitor really nicely and have a more shiny/glossy look than the rest of the plastic. The only bit of colour on the monitor comes from the logo and the symbols above the buttons, the rest of the monitor is black. Around the screen is a narrow edge which make the monitor look sleek and modern and the base has a real sturdy look and works well with the overall look of the monitor as the round edges offer it some shape. -----The Practicality----- The monitor is very user friendly. When using ...

Parker Jotter Ball Pen 25/08/2017

A good pen for a great price

Parker Jotter Ball Pen What can you really say about a pen? They have been around almost since the dawn of time in some format and we are probably at a stage now where they are as good as they can ever be. Contrary to popular belief (or maybe just my belief), Parker Pens were actually founded in the US in the 19th century before a takeover resulted in the headquarters being moved to England in the 1980’s. Growing up I owned a couple of Parker pens throughout my school years but hadn’t owned one for years when I decided to purchase the Jotter Ball Pen for work a few months back. I paid £8.99 for mine and they can be picked up on Amazon for anywhere between £5 and £12 depending on which colour you fancy. The main thing that attracts me to this Parker Pen is the style of it. The pen definitely has a professional, almost executive type look and feel. The pen is manufactured in France these days and that is engraved in very small text on the body of the pen along with the Parker branding. The clip to attach it to paper or a pocket for example is very sturdy and is modelled on an arrow from an old fashioned bow and arrow set. The push button on top is also sturdy and after a few months of heavy usage has shown no sign of loosening at all which I am very impressed with. The body of the pen that you hold is smooth and comfortable in your hand to make long stints of writing feel like less effort. You open up the pen by unscrewing the join in the middle of the pen and the ink cartridge sits inside. These ...

Stardew Valley (PS4) 22/08/2017

Something to rival The Sims

Stardew Valley (PS4) Every now and again a game comes along that may be simple in its idea but somehow manages to gobble up hours and hours of your time. You switch it on after work and then you look at the clock and its midnight and you wonder where the time has gone. You don't feel tired or even want to go to bed because you are hooked! These instances have become increasingly rare for me as I have got older but Stardew Valley did exactly that. The premise of Stardew Valley is pretty simple, you are an office worker who is bored with your career and you were left a letter from your late Grandparent that told you to open it when you need something new in life. That day comes and you open the letter and learn that you have inherited a farm in a place called Stardew Valley. You hop on the bus and are faced with an overgrown farm in need of attention. Your new life begins with just a small amount of money and some basic old tools. You know nobody in the town and have no experience of farming but with a little help and advice and a lot of hardwork, you can certainly make a go of it… This role playing game (RPG) allows you to raise animals, grow crops, go fishing, craft machines, explore dark caves and so much more. You can talk to the towns people and build relationships both good and bad and maybe even find yourself a husband/wife. The possibilities in this game are endless and the choices you make in the game will help the story to pan out in whatever manner you allow it to. It is because of ...

Lenovo ThinkPad X240 20AL 21/08/2017

Small Laptop, Small Price

Lenovo ThinkPad X240 20AL Lenovo has certainly established a reputation it seems of being a highly reliable brand for businesses that use laptops. The Chinese company is now a global operation and whilst it may not be a brand that you have in your home, you can guarantee that an office near you uses them. I have used the Lenovo Thinkpad X240 for the last 18 months as part of my current role and whilst it may not be as powerful as some of the other laptops I have used both personally and professionally the low price point of £255 on Amazon UK for a certified refurbished model make it well worth a look if you are after a budget notebook computer. -----Key Specifications----- CPU: Intel i5 4200U / 1.6Ghz Max Turbo Speed: 2.6 Ghz RAM: 4Gb (although can be increased to 8Gb) Cores: Dual Core Screen: 12.5” Weight: 1.42Kg USB Slots: 2 Integrated Webcam -----Style----- The laptop has a nice matte finish which is great for heavy wear as 18 months in there is still not a single scratch on the casing of the laptop despite me using it five days a week. As the laptop is small and very light, it is great for transporting around with you in a rucksack or small bag. The keys are nicely spaced out and so it doesn’t look like Lenovo have tried to cram lots of keys onto a small space. The mousepad looks very sleek although does not have the best functionality in the world. Overall the design is very simple and really aimed at the office market. -----Performance----- When I was handed the laptop at my current job I ...

Football Manager 2016 (PC) 16/08/2017

Highly addictive. You have been warned

Football Manager 2016 (PC) This game has been cited as one contributing factor in 35 divorce cases to date. No, seriously… Football Manager is still the only game that I buy every single year and it is not unusual for me to rack up 300-400 hours of play on each edition. Football Manager 2016 was absolutely no different for me as some great improvements were brought into this game to ensure that my enthusiasm and enjoyment showed no signs of waning. For those unaware of the franchise, Football Manager is a PC game that basically does what it says on the tin. You create a profile and take control of a football team and attempt to lead them to glory. This is not a game like FIFA or Pro Evolution where you play the actual match, controlling each player, in Football Manager you watch the match and the team and tactics that you have picked will unfold before your eyes. The success of your team is based on the players you buy and sell, the tactics you use, the team talks you give and what you say in the press interviews. With the fear of being fired always in the back of your mind, every single match counts. The game has developed significantly over the years and the 2016 edition is more immersive than ever. You often hear about how this game can take over people’s lives (there was even a book released focussing on that topic) and the game is only becoming more refined and addictive. It really is one of those games where you can lose hours of your day. New Features Two totally new game modes were ...

Hoover TH71BR01 Breeze 14/08/2017

A great vacuum cleaner at a low price

Hoover TH71BR01 Breeze As we have recently moved house one thing that we needed to buy was a new vacuum cleaner and so we searched the local big chain shops but struggled to find a reliable brand that had the features we were looking for with the price tag we were willing to pay. I didn’t want to spend more than about £75 on a Vacuum Cleaner because our house only has 3 carpeted rooms (living room and two of the bedrooms) with everywhere else being wood floor or tiled floors. It didn’t seem cost effective to spend £250 on a vacuum that would only ever be used in three rooms, one of which is actually quite a small room. As our search moved to the online arena, we came across the Hoover Breeze on Amazon UK on sale at just £59.99 (for which that is still the current purchase price). Hoover is a brand that I have owned before for a vacuum cleaner and although I don’t have pet hair to contend with, I never had any issues with my previous budget level Hoover vacuum. As the reviews were largely positive, I purchased the Hoover Breeze for just £59.99. The first thing I noticed was how surprisingly stylish the Hoover Breeze is. When I pulled it out of the box it only required minimal assembly and the finished article is actually an impressive looking vacuum cleaner that certainly looks more expensive than it was. My previous Hoover vacuum was a little basic looking but that was a number of years ago now and the designs certainly seem to have progressed and improved. Of course the look and design of your ...
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