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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 ...

Mortal Kombat XL (PS4) 08/08/2017

Everything you need in a fighting game

Mortal Kombat XL (PS4) I am a big gamer and although fighting games are not always something I go crazy for, the Mortal Kombat series is one that has continued to grip me throughout my life. When Mortal Kombat XL was released in 2016, I knew I had to buy it and I also knew that I would not be disappointed. I have logged plenty of hours on this game over the past 12 months or so and will continue to log more as one of the toughest fighting games on sale continues to provide a challenge for me. This XL version is actually a further developed release of Mortal Kombat X which came out in 2015. XL includes more downloadable content such as extra characters and costumes as well as improved gameplay. -----What is it all about?----- For those who are unaware of Mortal Kombat, it is basically a gaming franchise that has been around for 25 years now and continues to be a market leader in the fighting video games genre. Since 2011 the rights have been owned by Warner Bro’s and the franchise has just kept improving with every release. Whereas the other big fighting game, ‘Street Fighter’, has cartoon style graphics and is light on the blood and gore, Mortal Kombat has tapped into the life like graphics market and have always been very heavy on the blood, gore and brutality. It is because of this that Mortal Kombat XL, like many of its predecessors, is rated 18. This is not a game for children and it never has been. There was even two films released back in 1995 and 1997 from the franchise, proving what a ...

Bones - Series 1-5 - Complete (DVD) 06/08/2017

Bones do talk!

Bones - Series 1-5 - Complete (DVD) Bones is an American crime drama that follows forensic anthropologist, Dr Temperance Brennan (played by Emily Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (played by David Boreanaz). Although the programme first aired in 2005, I was only introduced to it recently and have already burned through this first five series DVD box set that contains 106 episodes. The programme is based on the writing of Kathy Reichs who is actually a forensic anthropologist herself. The programme focuses on the partnership of Brennan and Booth as they solve all kinds of murders where all that is left of the victim are their bones. The title of the programme is also the nickname of Dr Brennan that is given to her by Booth because of her expertise in working with bones and extracting every last shred of evidence possible from them. Dr Brennan is the main character of the series and is supported at her laboratory by her team of experts who have knowledge of bugs and soil, facial reconstruction and any skin or organs that may have been recovered. The character of Dr Brennan often provides comedic value and her relationship with Booth is often intriguing due to her being an atheist who has rather primitive social skills and relies only on facts and evidence rather than judgement and gut feel. The pair often leave the viewer wondering if they will ever enter into a relationship as despite their clear differences, there is a deep connection. Special Agent Booth has a partnership with Dr Brennan due to ...

The Inbetweeners Movie (DVD) 03/08/2017

A laugh a minute

The Inbetweeners Movie (DVD) Where do you actually start with The Inbetweeners? The actors of the four main characters, Simon, Will, Neil and Jay have all become instantly recognisable to the British public following the major success of the E4 series and then the films. The film was a follow on from the hugely popular coming of age series and was released in 2011 with a budget of just £3.5 million. For those unfamiliar with the series, it follows the lives of four young adult males who are obsessed with girls and generally fail miserably with their attempts to win them over, often in comedic fashion. They are not the cool kids at school but certainly see themselves as above the social outcasts. With bad language and the constantly poking fun at eachother, they are pitched as the typical British teenage boys. Will is a middle-class teen with high standards in women and life in general, Jay is the exaggerator (or liar as some may say), Neil is dim but loveable and has a heart of gold and Simon is arguably the most ‘normal’ although that seems to disappear when he is around Carli, or any other girl for that matter. Main Cast: Simon Bird as Will James Buckey as Jay Blake Harrison as Neil Joe Thomas as Simon Theo James as James Emily Head as Carli Laura Haddock as Alison Tamla Kari as Lucy The film takes place in the holiday resort of Malia in Crete. The four main characters decide to go on holiday to Malia following their A-Level exams in an attempt to get away from home and try their luck with the ...

Rocket League (PS4) 02/08/2017

High octane fun for all ages!

Rocket League (PS4) If you are looking for a new game for your PS4 and perhaps you are even on a tight budget, then I would urge you to check out Rocket League. The game is basically Fast and Furious meets Fifa and is guaranteed to provide you with hours of fun. The beauty of this game is that anyone can pick up a joypad and play it straight from the off to get enjoyment but mastering the game takes a lot of practice. Currently retailing at just £15 with Tesco Direct, I really can’t recommend this game enough. The concept of the game is actually quite simple and yet pretty genius. Like a football match there are two teams with a goal at either end of the pitch. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or 4v4 either online with friends or against the computer. Now you may be thinking that this just sounds like small sided football but that is where the differences then start. The ball is huge and rather than controlling people and kicking the ball, you are driving cars and you crash into the ball in order to move it around the pitch. When I say the ball is huge, that is of course in comparison to the cars. Think matchbox toy cars trying to move a tennis ball by crashing into it and you get the picture. The cars can pick up speed boosts around the pitch which you can activate whenever you like to allow you to generate more speed and therefore move the ball faster. The cars, in a weird twist, can also jump and with that boost, fly through the air for a short time, which is handy when trying to stop the ball ...
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