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since 18/10/2012


Jungle Formula Insect Repellent Lotion 09/04/2013

Jungle Formula Insect Repellent Lotion

Jungle Formula Insect Repellent Lotion Jungle formula insect spray can be used in pretty much any situation and protects against mosquitoes, midges and a variety of other flying, biting insects. I consider myself pretty well travelled and have lived, worked and travelled in a lot of tropical countries where mosquitos are an unavoidable pest that are ever present. Whilst I'm pretty lazy when it comes to actually using insect repellent there are some countries (particularly West Africa) where I am more cautious and make sure to use it regularly. I can tolerate a few bites and rarely find that my skin is heavily irritated, however I am more concerned about protecting myself from diseases carries by biting bugs. Whilst preparing for trips I often end up in camping and outdoor shops to buy mosquito nets and suchlike. It's in these types of shops that I tend to spot Jungle formula spray as opposed to the standard DEET type sprays found in superdrug. It's personal preference, but I prefer the smell of jungle formula to other sprays and fins it less toxic smelling to use. How does it work Despite popular belief, everyone gets bitten ocassionally. It is just that some people do not react to the bite and won't show any signs of irritation or inflammation where they are bitten. Bugs are attracted by different factors such as body heat, smell, Carbon dioxide from breathing and can even be sensitive to the soap or deodorant that you use. Insect repellant doesn't repel insects by intolerance (disliking the smell), ...

Apple iPod shuffle MB518ZO/A 2 GB Second Generation 09/04/2013

For when I'm shuffling

Apple iPod shuffle MB518ZO/A 2 GB Second Generation The Ipod shuffle that I am reviewing is the 2nd edition version which has a capacity of 2GB. I bought my ipod shuffle quite a few years ago (cheaply from ebay) with the intention of getting more into running and being able to listen to music whilst on the go. The Ipod The Ipod shuffle 2nd edition (as pictured) was the first ipod of this shape and size. The first edition shuffle was similar in shape to a USB stick without such an easy method to clip onto clothing as this one. My shuffle measures just 41.2 x 27.3 x 10.5 mm and weighs in at 15.5g. This makes it an ideal lightweight MP3 player and at the time was the smallest available. There is a standard 3.5mm headphone jack which means that you can choose your own set of headphones as opposed to being stuck with the standard apple ones. The back of the Ipod is fashioned into a clip which can be clipped onto a sleeve or part of your clothing. I did find that the standard IPod headphone mean it has to be clipped to the upper part of your torso in order for the headphones not to be pulled out when running. I switched to a different set of headphones pretty quickly due to the terrible sound quality and short cord and regularly clipped the player onto the pocket on my shorts. Control The Ipod is controlled using the ring on the front. You can skip to new tracks (forwards and back) and fast forward/rewind by holding down these buttons. The plus and minus symbols are for volume control (up and down) and the play ...

Tiger Balm White Regular 09/04/2013

I love the smell of tiger balm in the morning

Tiger Balm White Regular Depending on who you talk to, tiger balm cures just about everything. It is marketed as a balm for the relief of muscular pains, but my first memory of it is using it to treat mosquito bites growing up in Brunei in the 90's. What is it? According to wikipedis Tiger Balm was originally developed in the 1870s by an herbalist, Aw Chu Kin, in Rangoon, Burma, who on his deathbed asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par to perfect the product. It is now made on a mass scale in singapore and Honk Kong. Originally it included tiger bone, but now consists of only herbal ingredients (thankfully). Contained within the balm are methanol, camphor, Dementholised mint oil, Cajuput oil, Clove bud oil and Cassia oil contained within a paraffin and petroleum jelly base. The white and red varieties of tiger balm contain differing amounts of these ingredients and a newer Tigerbalm white HR uses eucalyptus oil instead of cajuput oil. These ingredients form a dense balm similar in consistency to a solid lip balm. The mixture is softened using the heat in your finger and usually rubbed into an affected area. The smell of tiger balm is very strong and overpowering. It's hard to describe but could be something like a very strong minty, cinnamon, medical smell. Cures Everything I've used Tigerbalm on aches and pains (a fall from my girlfriends daughters scooter whilst showing off on the skate park resulted in use this weekend and hence writing this review) and as mentioned above on ...

Faber 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder 09/04/2013

Make the plunge with this diving cylinder

Faber 3 Ltr 300 Bar Cylinder A dive cylinder is probably the most important, yet overlooked pieces of diving equipment. It's purpose is to hold compressed air to allow you to breath underwater and to provide a method for supplying this air to you. About Dive Cylinders Dive cylinders are pretty standard pieces of equipment, however there are a few options and differences between makes. These are not particularly important to a newbie diver, but with experience you start to know what you like and want to get equipment that will fit with your existing set up. Dive cylinders come in standard sizes. The main sizes available are 10L, 12L and 15L. Obviously the larger the volume the larger the cylinder and the heavier it is. A smaller person can struggle using a 15L and a larger person will hardly get their head wet before running out of air using a 10L. The second choice is whether to use an aluminium or steel cylinder. Aluminium is lighter, however it is weaker and therefore the walls need to be thicker making the cylinder more bulky. As the aluminium is lighter, the cylinder weight as you work through your air will change more and makes controlling your level slightly harder throughout a dive. Aluminium also corrodes less in seawater. Lastly you can choose the valve type at the top of the cylinder for connecting to your first stage regulator (the bit you breathe through). The standard fittings are A-clamp where the regulator clamps onto the valve or DIN where the regulator uses a screw thread to ...

Otter Drysuit 09/04/2013

UK diving is freezing no longer

Otter Drysuit After a year of UK diving in a wetsuit and spending a lot of time shivering, not able to feel my fingers and running to the car to sit with the heating on full for a hour, I decided it was time to invest in a drysuit. The main choice in buying a drysuit is deciding between a neoprene or membrane type suit. Different divers prefer different things and advise varies depending on who you are talking to. A neoprene suit is generally cheaper and provides more insulation. A neoprene suit however can be restrictive for movement as it is typically a lot thicker than a membrane and it can be too hot in summer. The neoprene also compresses as you go deeper and therefore changes your bouyancy (a bit of physics there - the amount of lift of an object in water is proportional to the volume of water displaced) this can mean fiddling about with how much air is in your jacket or suit. You can get crushed or compressed neoprene suits which do not compress so mch underwater. A membrane suit is much thinner and is used wearing a thermal undersuit for insulation (basically a body shaped sleeping bag). As they are thinner they are easier to move in and more flexible. They don't compress so do not affect bouyancy at depth. Disadvantages include a lack of protection against cold if the suit floods (neoprene will act like a wetsuit), repairs are expensive and the suit itself costs more. After weighing up the pros and cons and talking with divers in my club and the local dive shop I opted for ...

Lemsip Blackcurrant Cold & Flu Sachets 09/04/2013

Lemsip - Yes, Blackcurrent - No

Lemsip Blackcurrant Cold & Flu Sachets Lemsip is my 'go to' item when I feel a cold coming on. I'm pretty prone to the sniffles whenever the weather changes, so during spring and autumn I tend to get lots. As I like to save my time off work until I'm feeling better I tend to dose up heavily on paracetemol and carry on like normal (whilst moaning about it in a typically man like fashion). Lemsip Lemsip is a brand of cold and flu remedies in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser. It was originally made as a lemon flavour that was added to hot water to make a lemon (ish) flavoured hot drink containing a decongestant and paracetemol. Nowadays it's available in a range of capsules, pills, powders and comes in varying strengths and flavours including Wild Berry,Hot Orange and Breathe Easy flavours. Lemsip Blackcurrent The pack I most recently purchased was the Lemsip Max Blackcurrent. This came in a cardboard box easily identifiable by the yellow and green packaging as Lemsip. The purple mug on the front easily shows that the pack contains the blackcurrent flavoured version. Inside the box are 10 Sachets of lemsip, each containing 1 dose (or one mug when diluted) of the magic lemsip cold curing powder. Each sachet containds 1000 mg of Paracetamol and 12.2 mg of phenylephrine hydrochloride. It also contains ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), sucrose and aspartame. Lemsip Max Cold and Flu Blackcurrent is used for the symptomatic relief of colds and flu. It ...

Converse All Star Hi-Top Men 26/03/2013

Classic Converse

Converse All Star Hi-Top Men The converse all star is a classic design of sneaker (Don't let converse hear you call them trainers or boots!). I never really fancied a pair until I was forced to get some as an usher at a friends wedding recently. His gimmick was that he always wears a black pair and that all the ushers shoudl wear a matching pair. A good talking point in the future and a great introduction into the world of converse for me. The Sneaker The Converse all star has a thick rubber sole and material upper. This makes them extremely lightweight to wear and very flixible and therfore very comfortable in my opinion. The canvas material is not particulary waterproof and is quite thin so does not retain much heat on cold days. The sneakers are laced up through eylets in the shoe. They are very adjustable as you can choose not to lace all the way to the top and select how tight you like to have them laced. Although not my usual style I found the black sneakers to look quite good. how they looked at the wedding when matched with a suit may not be the best place to wear them, but with jeans they are a classic look. Variations The converse all star comes in a wide variety of colours ranging from lurid pink, through most standard colours to patterned floral designs. I have even seen a leather version which personally i though looked horrible, but one persons disgust is anothers delight! On the converse website you can get customised versions where you can choose a name to be embroidered on ...

Bostik Blu Tack Economy 25/03/2013

Blu Tack - A household essential

Bostik Blu Tack Economy Blu Tack is THE household name for a pressure sensitive adhesive made by Bostik. It's main purpose if for sticking things to walls in a non-premenant fashion. The Packaging Blu tack is supplied in a cardboard packet which has the name boldy printed on the front. It is instantly recognisable in the shops and many cheaper copies try to imitate the packaging. Inside the putty is a flat rectangular 'plate' enclosed between two sheets of plastic which can be peeled away to access the required amount of putty and leave the remainder sealed for later use. Being cardboard and plastic the packaging is sufficient but not over packaged as with many products. It is recycleable and easy to dispose of. The putty (Blu tack) The putty was originally invented by accident as a failed version of a sealant for weapon manufacture. It is was originally white but the blue colour was added as it was thought that children may mistake the product for sweets (It can now be bought in the white form which supposedly causes less marking to the walls. Blu tack is non-carcogenic, can be swallowed without problems, not soluble in water. If heated to its flash point (the point and which it vapourises) it does produce toxic don't try baking it. It's main selling point is that it acts as an adhesive which is non-permentant and is pressure sensitve meaning that it is made to stick by pressing it between the items requiring adhesion. Uses The main use of blu-tack is to stick posters and ...

Unibond No More Nails 25/03/2013

No more.... things falling off the wall

Unibond No More Nails No more nails is a strong relativley uick drying adhesive that stick pretty much anything to pretty much anything else. I've used it for endless DIY jobs around the house and find it far better than many other so-called super glues on the market. The Product I'll stick to reviewing the no more nails for interior use as this is the one that I use most. It's also available in exterior grade and a variety of special purpose types. No more nails is supplied in a plastic tube heavily branded with the name in bold. The plastic tube is much like a toothpast tube and can be rolled from the bottom towards the nozzle to squeeze out every drop. One issue with this is that if the glue is left open the nozzle will block with dried glue, but a nail pressed through this will usually allow you to get any remainder out. The cap is a screw cap which is better at sealing the glue from the air than a flip cap. The glue The glue is applied by squeezing a small amount on to both of the surface to be stuck and presing them together. After holding for 10 seconds the glue sticks, however will require few hours to fully cure and provide its full strength properties. The glue dries white (not clear like some other similar looking glues) which may be unsightly. I tend to use it in places where it won't be seena s I have found that after some time it will discolour to a murky yellow. The glue claims to adhere to tile, wood, metal, ceramic and concrete and most other building materials. I ...

Sterling Master Key Padlocks 25/03/2013

Sturdy and reasonably priced security solution

Sterling Master Key Padlocks I use a 40mm master lock padlock to secure my garden shed in the back garden against intruders. Whilst there isn't really much more than a cheap lawnmower, some paint and some random bits of wood that I live in hope will come in useful sometime (proving my girlfriend wrong) I like to keep it locked in case I do decide to store more in there. The lock The master lock has a brass body with a hardened steel shackle. Hardened steel is very difficult to cut with non-industrial standard tools and is therefore extremely secure. The shackle is approximatley 6mm thick making it fairly hard to cut through (although more security comes with a thicker shackle...and an asociated price increase). Due to the materials used the lock is suitable for outdoor use and in the last year of use hasn't suffered any corrossion due to weather. The padlock opens by inserting and turning the key. Whilst open the key stays in place and is then removed when closing the padlock to lock it again. I find it simple and easy to operate the mechanism (unlike the fiddly combination locks available with complex resetting methods). The lock is classed as a security level 5 and has dual locking levers for extra pry resistance. I can't pretend that I know what this means, but I had a quick go with a paperclip and with no thievery skills I certainly can't open it. The lock is supplied with 2 keys meaning one can be kept in a really safe place and another in a safe place for when you forget where the really ...

Argos Chrome Linen Bag 19/03/2013

Hide your dirty something else

Argos Chrome Linen Bag I bought this when I was a student several years ago as a method of hiding my dirty washing without spreading it around my room too much (whilst saving it up for trips home to my parents). The product The Argos Laubndry basket consists of a metal frame and a linen basket which hangs off the frame. The Legs of the basket have rubber caps to prevent scuffing on your floor and the basket incorporates a linnen flap as a cover. Assembly Being from Argos, the washing basket does need a bit of assembly. This is extremely simple to do by using a few screws to fix the crossbeams to the legs. I do remember making a mess the first time by putting threading the linen basket onto the frame incorrectly and having to dismantle the frame and start again. Basically no matter how simple it is, it is worth having a glance at the instructions (Not very manly I know). The Basket The basket is smaller than I expected by looking at it. It measures 71cm high, 43.5cm wide and 51cm deep which holds about one decent sized wash. If you tend to build up dirty clothes like me then it will start to overflow quickly. The linnen cover is a flap of material which is placed over the top. I find that it doesn;t cover the washing particulary well and moves about a lot revealing the dirty clothes. Also the thin material shows the colours of the clothes through the sides. In my opinion the main pooint of a laundry basket is to hide the washing, hence having it visible through the basket means it ...

Tesco Value Ice Cream Scoop 19/03/2013

Scooping up value

Tesco Value Ice Cream Scoop Last year I invested in an ice cream maker and have spent the last year perfecting my recipes for ice cream and sorbets. After the effort I have been putting into making decent Ice cream I thought I should add an ice cream scoop to my arsenal of cooking implements and allow myself to present my creations more presentably than can be achieved using a standard spoon. The Ice cream Scoop The scoop is what I would call a medium size and creates medium balls of ice cream. I've seen larger and smaller around, but this is ideal for good presentation, however may be too small for making a decent cone as found at the seaside. The scoop consists of a stainless steels scoop imbedded in chunky black handle. The handle is easy to grip and comfortable to hold even when fighting against solidly frozen desserts. The handle also incorporates a hole into the handle to allow the scoop to be hung in prde of place in your kitchen (I prefer to stick mine in a draw as it's not really a scoop that is in my opinion worthy of display) My main worry buying such a cheap scoop was that it would bend easily when in use however i am pleased to say that it is much more solid than expected and the scoop doesn;t move position easily....well done tescos! The stainless steel is easy to clean and the scoop has shown no signs of wear in 6 months of ocassional use. The Price I paid just one shiny pound coin for this scoop and despite reservations have been impressed by it's functional abilities. I ...

GoPro Camera battery (AHDBT-002) 06/03/2013

Expensive for a battery

GoPro Camera battery (AHDBT-002) The GoPro lithium-ion rechargeable battery is a battery for use in GoPro cameras. I bought a second one as a spare as one battery seemed to last for around an hour when scuba diving (roughly one dive) and it's not really an option to recharge between dives on most diveboats. The Battery For the techies, the battery is lithium-ion, 3.7V, 1100mAh. GoPro claim that this will last for approximatley 2.5 hours of video recording. I've found this fairly accurate when using the camera generally, but cold conditions sem to reduce this to around an hour of contimuous filming when snowboarding. The battery is sized to fit tightly into the GoPro camera. It is actually quite hard to remove and requires a bit of levering with a coin. Issues My main issue with the battery is (as mentioned above) that it rapidly looses charge when it gets cold. I've found underwater in the UK it lasts a lot less than stated, and have found that after a morning snowboarding, the spare battery kept loose in my bag is flat. ONe trick is to keep it wrapped up in the bag, which does seem to work. I can;t really say that this is a major design flaw as I guess that this problem will occur with most batteries. Manufacture The battery is well made and very solid, making it suitabe for use with the GoPro which is aimed at sports use. Price The battery sells for around £20 in the shops, but can be found on amzon for around £12. This in my opinion is overpricd when a similar rated battery can be found ...

IKEA Expedit 06/03/2013

Storage solution for all

IKEA Expedit After moving into my own house last year after renting around London for the last 10, I found myself in a 3 bed house and not much more than clothes, a stereo and a cactus. Being deperatley in need of some furniture and on a tight budget after blowing far too much money on the essential massive TV, a trip to IKEA was inevitable. After wandering around and selecting a range of wardrobes, bookshelves and a range of fairly useless gadgets I spotted the Expedit bookcases at a reasonable value and decided they would make perfect additions to my house. They come in a range of sizes so I selected the largest for the living room as a storage solution and a mid sized one for the kitchen where all my cooking apparatus is now stored. Options The Expedit bookcase comes in a rane of colours and sizes. You can choose from Red, White, Grey, Black or wood effect. I have a white one in the kitchen and a black one in the living room. Looking at the IKEA website reveals a wide range of sizes build up from different numbers of cubes or shelves. These range from squares of 4x4cubes, 5x5cubes, 2x2 cubes, to recatangles 2x3 and 2x4 cubes. I went for the large and medium with the following dimensions: Large - 5 x 5 cubes - Width: 185 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 185 cm Medium - 4 x 4 ciubes - Width: 149 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 149 cm In addition to choosing the size and colour, you can select from a range of draws, baskets and doors each designed to fit into one of the square shelves of the ...

Ikea Billy Bookshelf 06/03/2013

A Bookcase Called Billy

Ikea Billy Bookshelf When moving into my house last year I realised that to store all my CDs and DVDs in something a little more permenant than the 'pile' system I had used in my previous rental flats. Owning close around 500 of each I didn't fancy using about 20 racks all over the place, so on a furnishing trip to IKEA I choose two of the billy bookcases to fit the purpose. Luckily they fit perfecly into the two alcoves in my living room and provide storage for a large number of CDs, DVDs, photo albulms and even a playstation (with my added work of drilling a hole in the back for the wires. Options The billy bookcase is part of an IKEA range and comes in several sizes and colours. I chose black which fits my living room well, however you can choose from a range of white, wood effect, black, blue, brown, yellow and even a funky patterned design. I won't list all the sizes here, but you can choose from a range of widths and heights from 2 shelves tall to 6 shelves high. I chose the largest size which measures Width: 80 cm, Depth: 39 cm, Height: 202 cm and fits perfectly in the space available in my living room. You can also buy extra shelves and corner fittings if yuo want to adapt the bookcase. I stuck with the original 6 shelves, although could easily add another one for another row of CDs. =The Build As with a lot of IKEA furniture, it comes flat pack and requires assembly. It's provided in 2 packages which might be astruggle to get in car (luckily I had a van available for the ...
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