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since 08/10/2010


Vivid Dog Collar with LED lights 16/08/2013

A dog collar with a Vivid difference

Vivid Dog Collar with LED lights A dog collar with a difference Early mornings are for me the best part of the day to walk Moses, my collie cross, when the air is free from petrol and diesel fumes and the birds, not having to compete with the constant roar of traffic, can be heard singing their little hearts out. However, as the days grow shorter and the mornings are darker, I am aware of the fact that neither myself or Moses are particularly visible and if I let Moses off the lead in a nearby field, he cannot be seen at all when he strays more than a few yards away from me. I have purchased all manner of illuminated tags, which seem to lose their brightness as they become buried in his fur, then I discovered a dog collar that had lots of LED lights all the way round, it was battery operated and glowed through his fur beautifully. All was well until one day we were drenched in a heavy storm and from then on, it blinked now and again, I even changed the batteries in the hope they were flat, but sadly the lights never worked properly after its unscheduled bath. My timely discovery I happened to pop into my vets a few months ago and on the counter there, was a similar dog collar to the one that was drowned; one that had LED lights powered by a rechargeable battery this time. Needless to say, it did not take two seconds to decide to purchase one for Moses, having already experienced the delights of my dog being visible and safe in the dark. Dimensions Note: These are the specifications for the smallest of ...

Kidde 7DCO Carbon Monoxide 16/07/2013

When this little Kidde screams, your life is in danger.

Kidde 7DCO Carbon Monoxide Carbon Monoxide monitors have been around for years, but are one of those gadgets that I never gave very much thought too for a very long time. I knew they existed, yet my foolish supposition that the danger is so remote that it wasn’t worth bothering about is exactly the same as the thoughts of those who have tragically suffered and died through exposure to high levels of the toxic gas. Although the risks are minimal, they do exist. What is Carbon Monoxide? Carbon monoxide, (CO) is what is commonly known as the silent killer, it is a colourless, odourless gas given off by incomplete combustion of all carbon containing materials; fuels such as natural gas, paraffin, petrol, Calor gas, coal, wood and, would you believe, tobacco. When any of these materials are burnt in enclosed, poorly ventilated places, a build up of CO can occur to levels that could kill if not detected in time, because in high enough concentrations it combines readily with the oxygen-carrying component of blood cells (haemoglobin) depriving vital organs of essential, life-giving oxygen. Often, when the early symptoms of poisoning occurs, the brain, already starved of oxygen, is too confused to alert the potential victim of the danger they are in. Who are at risk? Anyone who uses wood burning stoves, are just as much at risk as those who own and use gas boilers for central heating and for heating water, gas hobs, portable gas heaters and oil and coal burning appliances. Caravanners, campers and boat ...

Samsung Galaxy S III i9300 16GB 3G 14/07/2013

The Galaxy 3 is the phone for me

Samsung Galaxy S III i9300 16GB 3G It was 40 years ago, in March 1973 that the concept of mobile phones was born, the first models were the size of house- bricks, and their bases even larger, not the sort one could carry around in their pockets. It was not until the early nineties that pocketsize versions became popular; the time lapse for improvement was 20 years. These days' new versions arrive in the shops every year. Smart phones appeared about 20 years ago, I was so impressed with my first Blackberry, that I thought there was little or no room for improvement... how wrong I was. Each time upgrades were due, I have been loyal to Blackberry, but this year I decided to change to the seemingly popular Samsung Galaxy S3 19033 model. What was in the box? Android phone USB cable to transfer files directly from phone to PC or to charge battery. Mains Battery charger cable. Ear phones plus a variety of ear bud sizes. A screen saver. 2100mAh Battery Specifications of the Galaxy S3 Android 4.1 Jelly bean ..... see below for explanation of the term Jelly bean 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED touch screen ..... explanation below. Duel camera 8 megapixel forward landscape camera with LED flash and 1.9 megapixel self portrait camera 1.4 GHz Quad core processor. 4G ready ..... explanation below. Explanations For those who, like myself , wonder whether or not they should be impressed when faced with new or unfamiliar terminology such as 'Jelly Bean' , 'AMOLED' or '4G Ready.' I Googled and found what all ...

Stagg M20 Bluegrass Mandolin in Violinburst 14/07/2013

My Stagg M20 Mandolin looks rather like a morphed violin

Stagg M20 Bluegrass Mandolin in Violinburst I have very fond memories of when I was a toddler visiting my gran, she had an old mandolin, strung with piano strings... sacrilege really, but to me it was a toy and like all kids I liked to make a noise, and what a noise it made. Never did I imagine than many years later I would be purchasing one to play for real. At some point a while back, I wistfully realised that I was one of many who had once, but no longer, enjoyed the pleasures of playing a musical instrument, and regretted allowing all those precious hours of practise and years of enjoyment, slip away. Then I got to thinking... Why not re-acquaint myself with the joys of making my own music. I was familiar with stringed instruments and knew that mandolins were strung with the same strings, G,D,A and E, as a violin, only in duplicate, so would not be too difficult to master a few simple tunes. I checked on Amazon and eBay and found a wide range of models and prices. I only wanted a cheap instrument to strum and discovered a new, unused one on eBay going for less than those on Amazon. Indecisive, as ever, I ummmd and ahhhd, should I, shouldn’t I bid? The sale was ending that day, yet I retired still not having made any decision. Then at about midnight, just as I was dropping off to sleep, I suddenly regretted not bidding, raised myself from half-slumber and logged in to find the bidding had ended but the instrument had not had any bidders. I contacted the seller to tell him that I was interested in purchasing the ...

Bye Bye Standby Energy-Saving Kit 02/11/2011

Plug into peace of mind

Bye Bye Standby Energy-Saving Kit I am all for saving energy, be it my own or that supplied by the electricity board to my TV, computer, and radio, all of which are plugged into sockets, around the house; none of which are not easy to reach, in that they are usually hidden behind heavy pieces of furniture. Nowadays, devices such as television sets, and radios remain on standby, even when switched off. I am led to believe that if the electricity supply is not switched off at the wall there is a constant leakage of valuable energy, hence, wastage of power into and through the appliance - not to mention waste of precious pennies. I checked this out, by making sure all my electrical appliances were switched off and looking at the disc on my electricity meter - sure enough the little disc was turning, albeit very, very slowly, registering energy usage. One day, almost three years ago, whilst browsing through one of our local stores, I noticed what claimed to be anenergy saving kit A package of three adaptor plugs and a thin remote control. Intrigued, and with a bit of cash to spare, decided to buy and try. I cannot remember exactly what I paid for the kit, but it was less than £20. They can still be purchased to this day for around £18 on line and in one store; I saw very recently similar kits, made by different companies, which have the exact same functions for around the same price. Amazon sell a starter kit, with one adaptor and the control for £10.80 and also packs containing just two adaptors for those ...

Backgammon 18/09/2011

Not for making bacon butties, Backgammon is for playing

Backgammon Introduction Some board games such as chess and Othello are games of strategy, whilst others, where the throw of a dice determines the number of moves along the board, such as in Ludo and Monopoly, are usually games of luck or chance. Backgammon however, is an exception to this general rule, for it employs a combination of luck and skill and is much easier to play than to describe, so bear with me. Backgammon is an ancient, Eastern game, thought to be the oldest game known to man, designed for two players and said to be suitable for all ages from five upwards, although I would start the age of suitability at about nine or ten. Evidence has been found to suggest that this game was in existence over 5,000 years ago, and no doubt with the passage of time, some rules of play have changed, for there are several variations to the game, even today. However, it is believed that the present form of play evolved in the 10th century and the rules organised and structured by Edmund Hoyle in 1763, since when, the only change was the introduction of the doubling cube, which adds to the challenge and gambling stakes, not really of great interest to the amateur or casual player. The board, stone and Dice A backgammon set comprises of a board, thirty plastic or wooden discs called stones or men, fifteen of which are light coloured, fifteen dark. Four regular die - two for each player; one doubling cube and two dice shakers. Although it is described as a board game, all the ...

Parkside Cordless Drill PABS 18 A1 31/08/2011

One drill you won't see your dentist use

Parkside Cordless Drill PABS 18 A1 Does the word ‘drill’ send shivers down your spine because of its association with dentistry? You will be relieved to know then, that this review is about a DIY power drill for drilling holes in anything but teeth. I must be the only person for miles around; lazy enough to use three separate power drills whilst building the framework for my shed. Two corded drills, one with the drill bit for drilling holes, a second, with the counter-sink, and a third, a cordless drill with a posi-drive bit in it to screw the wood together. Believe me it saved a tremendous amount of time and energy. I could have used one drill for the whole project, but changing the bits for each task was time consuming. Two of the drills mentioned above were already in my possession. Just a few days after I had started constructing the frameworks for my shed, I noticed that Lidls had an 18V cordless drill in stock, until then I had been using one drill for drilling and countersinking, cussing every time I had to change the bits, begrudging the time wasted in doing so, and the second drill as a screwdriver. So off I went to purchase for £29.99 one Parkside cordless drill. It is this drill I shall review here. The Parkside Cordless Drill details Cost: £29.99 The price included an 18Volt cordless drill and battery pack. A fast charger, which fully recharges the battery in 60 minutes. One double bit for posi-drive screws. This is held, securely clipped to the casing above the battery. A very sturdy ...

leXpress Whistling Kettle 22/08/2011

My Whistler is no oil painting

leXpress Whistling Kettle Intro I was once a Brownie, and the only thing of importance I can remember from those days is the motto of Brownies and Girl Guides, which was and probably still is, “Be prepared.” With winter fast approaching along with the season of power cuts, I feel reasonably well prepared; with plenty of candles, a lamp and two kettles, one electrically powered and the other a whistling kettle, heated on the gas stove. I am the sort who, as soon as the power goes down, will desperately need a cup of tea or coffee, whereas a few minutes before; the notion would not have entered my head for at least another hour or so. Problem: Up until several weeks ago, I had been using one of the old-fashioned types of whistling kettles with the whistle placed inside a removable cap. The trouble with this was that the cap became difficult to remove from the spout once the water had boiled, making it a potentially dangerous implement. The older the kettle got, the more difficult it was to remove the cap. Eventually I was having to place the kettle in the sink and use oven gloves to protect my hands whilst having a tug-o-war with the cap. My thoughts about the design each time are not printable. Solution: Whilst glancing in the window of one of our popular hardware stores, I noticed a fine array of whistling kettles, of varying designs and prices. The model that appealed to me visually did not appeal price-wise, however I thought to investigate further. On the shelf was yet another design that ...

Compaq Presario CQ60-150EG 10/08/2011

Presario, Presario.. where for art thou Presario ?

Compaq Presario CQ60-150EG What I know and understand about the inner workings of a laptop or computer can be written in large capitals around the milled edge of a postage stamp; but then, I do not need to know the inner workings of a car to be able to drive one, and so it is with my laptop, a Compaq CQ60 -305EA Laptop. A brief history of how I came to own my present laptop My very first laptop was a Freebie from PC World, in August 2007, when Orange offered free laptops to anyone signing up with their broadband package. Well, I could never resist a freebie. Until then I had refused to entertain the idea of inviting the World Wide Webb into my home – despite the constant nagging from my nephew. However, the lure of a free laptop was too much even for me to resist. I remember the seller saying to me that I would be better off putting a few pounds towards a faster machine than the one on offer. I replied, that I had all the patience in the world – he laughed and muttered, something to the effect that I may have now, but would soon want a faster system. He was so right, but it was not until I had scraped most of the lettering off the keyboard and thought the laptop was on its last legs, that I thought to replace it before it expired completely. Off I went to MicroBitz, our local computer shop, about 18 months ago. I told the sales man that I wanted a relatively inexpensive laptop that was faster than my old one. He showed me and demonstrated the latest Compaq CQ model, priced then at £346.96 plus VAT ...

Durable Sherpa Soho Desk 05/08/2011

This Durable Sherpa made room on my desk for my elbows

Durable Sherpa Soho Desk Until recently, I was absolutely hopeless at keeping my desk tidy for any significant length of time. Occasional attacks of 'lazy-itis.' and eagerness to hurriedly complete tasks were the main contributing factors. Papers, pens, spellchecker, rulers, notes and goodness knows what else, cluttered my desk, leaving just enough room for my computer, mouse, mug of coffee and pair of elbows, but none to place an open book or file without swiping half my paperwork onto the floor. In the desk drawer was a folder containing my passwords, email addresses and loads of other computer related information to which I often needed to refer whilst at my desk. Now - the problem was, that when I removed files from the folder and forgot to replace them, they tended to either migrate towards the floor or hide under other papers. I have been known to shred one in error when it got mixed up in a pile earmarked for the bin. Oh woe was me, but no more, I am reformed - ever since I discovered the Sherpa Soho desk unit. I discovered it initially, when about to throw out a sheet of paper from a recently purchased Durable folder. On the reverse side, until then completely unnoticed, were pictures of other Durable office products; the one that caught my eye looked like a space saving book-stand. There was no information about it, but intrigued, I checked on the website to find out more about the item, its price, use and distributors. The Durable Sherpa Soho Desk Unit What initially appeared to me to ...

Dirt Devil DD150 29/07/2011

My little devil is an angel in disguise

Dirt Devil DD150 Was it that long ago when linoleum, with a few rugs scattered around, was the fashionable covering for the average household floor? When vacuum cleaners were a luxury few could afford, or even need. In my early childhood days, the only carpet in our house was on the stairs. In those days, rugs were taken outside, shook and beaten and the linoleum swept and waxed. The stairs however, were the most difficult to clean without causing a mighty dust storm as they were swept with a stiff hand-brush; any dirt that was not airborne was caught in our throats and a dustpan. The rest settled onto the furniture - another chore! Apart from drying dishes, brushing down the stairs was one of my pet hates when it came to helping mum with the housework, my sister and I took it in turns to complete this task, and I can still hear the arguments now. "Muuuuum...It's not fair....I did it yesterday, it's her turn..." "No she DIDN'T, I did, cough, cough....and anyway I dried the dishes when it was her turn..." Now if the little Dirt Devil vacuum had be in existence then, the argument might have been so different. "It's my turn to do the stairs today.." "No it's not. It's MY turn, you did them yesterday..." Even when vacuum cleaners became common household appliances, I still wrestled with the task of cleaning the stairs. Hoisting heavy vacuum cleaners up each step, stretching hoses to almost breaking point, but I never felt that the stairs were as clean as when swept with a stiff ...

Stanley TR 250 Sharpshooter Plus Heavy Duty Staple/Brad Nail Gun 22/07/2011

This gun is legal and licensed to staple

Stanley TR 250 Sharpshooter Plus Heavy Duty Staple/Brad Nail Gun Introduction Anyone who has read my review on the chop saw will know I am building a shed from scratch. Another handy tool needed was a staple gun and staples to tack damp- proof sheeting to the outside of each frame, before nailing on the feather board. And, because I intend to insulate the inside and cover with thin hardboard, it would be quicker fastening this to the frame with staples rather than nails or screws – and less expensive. I was on a mission to get the best price for all my materials, getting quotes from three companies, the first and nearest of the three, failed to get the first order of timber because their quotes were highest. However, undaunted knowing that, with this particular firm, if I ummm and aaahd enough, prices would drop; I had dealt with them before, their policy seemed to be -Think of a number, treble it, add their age and divide by two to reach a price. I believe they get commission on all they sell. Their stock are not priced, but labelled with a bar code, and their blurb states “There is room for negotiation,” so negotiate I do. Since I do have an old stapler, but no staples, I was not considering purchasing another, but buying staples was proving more difficult than I had ever anticipated. I knew the size that would fit, but when asking in two separate stores for staples, there was an instant sucking in of air through pursed lips as they asked, what model stapler, as if they had already made up their minds that I knew nothing about ...

Mighty Bright Book Light 11/07/2011

It's mighty bright, mighty small and mighty useful

Mighty Bright Book Light The Mighty Bright XtraFlex booklight, is a natty little LED light designed initially to clip onto a book, so it may be read in the dark. However, I did not purchase this for my nighttime reading, but for my dawn and dusk computing sessions. Let me explain why, before you write me off as a penny-pincher who works in the dark, or a spendthrift who buys gadgets just because they look good. My poor old laptop is in excellent health, but unfortunately, the keypad is becoming very worn. Fourteen of the letters are almost illegible because of the constant chafing of my fingernails across the keys. Now, of course, I keep the nails short, alas though, a little too late for my laptop; and because I am a two-finger and thumb 'typist,' I do rely on being able to read the lettering to type. I did try re-marking the keys with white uni-paint, with some success I might add, but my nails thwarted my efforts and scraped off the newly painted lettering within days of the ink drying. The only solution to this problem, I decided, was to connect a separate keyboard to my laptop. So off to the shops I went and bought me a keyboard and connected it - no problem. No problem, that is, until I realised the new keyboard letters were smaller and not the brilliant white of the laptop. It was a dull grey lettering on black keys and as such difficult to see in dimly lit conditions; yet conditions that wouldn't normally warrant the use of a desk lamp.. This is why I came to buy a light, which ...

Duzzit Handy Hanger 06/07/2011

Duzzit or Duzzn't it?

Duzzit Handy Hanger My house never seems to have enough hooks placed exactly where I want them; any I have had in the past that were not fixed permanently by screws, soon parted company with the walls or doors. In the kitchen, for instance, I like to hang my Jay-cloths and any other dishwashing implement, up to dry. There is nothing more irritating than soggy kitchen paraphernalia adorning the worktops. I bought a couple of those hooks with 'suction-cup' action, rather like the Sat Nav car window fixtures. Each costing around 20p - that should have spoken volumes about their potential efficiency, but obviously I was not listening. For the first day or two, they remained stuck to the kitchen tiles above my sink and draining board, just the right position for the wet cloth to drip harmlessly into the sink. On day three - CLUNK, one fell noisily, straight onto the drainer before rolling and dropping into the sink with another clunk. Moses, until then was fast asleep, but leaped off the sofa to investigate, before I could even mutter, "What was that?" The remaining hook followed suit a few days later, with the same response from Moses. I had the same problem with lack of hangers for bathing gear, such as flannels, sponges and those soft, nylon scrubbers. Things dry out much more quickly if they can be hung on a hook. Another problem, I had in the kitchen was a shortage of hooks on which to hang small kitchen tools, you know the sort, whisks, spatulas, fish slices and the like, all of ...

Sunncamp Platinum Washing Line 04/07/2011

Hi-De-Hi Campers

Sunncamp Platinum Washing Line Introduction Although my camping days are over now, I found myself absolutely delighted to find this handy little washing line for sale in one of our local stores. “Why?” I hear you ask. Well, I am building a large shed to replace a couple of old dilapidated ones, but unfortunately, one pole of my old washing line was in the way and so had to be demolished along with the sheds. This, of course left me with nothing on which to hang my washing until the new shed was built and I could find an alternative solution to the problem. There were plenty of rotary lines to be had, but I needed all the space available to work in, so the only solution for me, seemed to be an inexpensive line, which could easily be folded and stored away until needed, after each use. The Sunncamp Platinum folded washing Line Sunflair Ltd, is a Chelmsford based company who specialise in quality camping equipment which go under the name of Sunncamp. The Platinum washing line is one of three designs for campers and for anyone interested, their website is They claim to be “Big enough to be competitive and small enough to care.” The Washing line comes with a strong nylon carry bag, with wide, comfy to carry, handle. When folded it measures 124cm x10cm x 10cm. (4’1” x 4” x 4”) When erected it measures approximately 132cm x 96cm x 96cm (4’5” x 3’3” x3’3”) The gun-metal coloured frame, made from a light weight metal material, steel or aluminium perhaps, weighs 3.25kg which is a little over ...
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