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Maths80

Maths80

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Hey there, Im Mark, 32,and I live in the north of Scotland. In my spare time I love going to the cinema and reading. If I can get a bit of nice weather, me and my girlfriend like to go for a little hill walking.

Reviews written

since 28/08/2012

23

Minky Trio Concertina Tubular Clothes Airer 15/11/2012

Hanging out with my clothes rack.

Minky Trio Concertina Tubular Clothes Airer We live in a flat with a shared garden, this means that the clothes line space is on a first come first served basis. It's safe to say that I am never there first, so we tend to rely on our two Minky Trio clothes dryers to get most of our washing done. We got our two from our local Asda for about £20, and currently Amazon is selling them for the same price. They are supplied fully assembled in a clear plastic wrapping, and once this is removed, the dryer is ready to use. The frame is made from tubular metal, so it's fairly sturdy. It weighs 3.4kg, and states it can hold a max of 20kg. I can't say I have ever weighed my wet washing, but no load I have ever set up on the rack has ever looked unsafe or over-heavy. The build quality is pretty good: the frame is solid, and there are plastic buffers on the bottom, so it won't scratch your floor. The tiers are held in place by rivets, and over the years ours have never come loose. It could be damaged if you were to be harsh with it - the tubular frame may be sturdy but could collapse if over-stressed, however under normal circumstances this shouldn't happen. The rack is supplied collapsed, and extends up into a three tier rack, and stands approx. 4 ½ ft. tall. The rack takes up approx. 3ft square area of floor space, so make sure you have a good bit of space to set it up in. Each tier has two 'wings' each with four rows of hanging space. This, according to Minky, this adds up to a total of 15m of drying space. I find that ...

Maximuscle Shaker 15/11/2012

Shake it baby!

Maximuscle Shaker Mmmmm, protein shakes...ok, ok, they are not that nice, although some are better than others, but I'm sure, that to most people they sound horrible. However, if you are at all into fitness, or weights, these shakes can really make a difference in helping your muscles repair, and grow. I have been going to the gym for a couple of years now, and after a while I started taking a few supplements like protein shakes to see if they made any difference. At first, I simply mixed up some milk and whey powder in a measuring jug, and whisked it up...for ages, and no matter how hard i whisked, there would still be lumps that I couldn't get rid of. Next I tried using a hand blender, which worked far better, but it was a bit of a pain having to wash it so often. At some point, I decided to buy a protein shaker, and I picked up one of these Maximuscle ones in the supermarket, simply because it was the only brand that ASDA seemed to have at the time. It cost me about £4, and was a bit of an impulse buy (it's kind of sad when your impulse buying is reduced to plastic beakers...), but you can pick them up for £3 from Amazon. The shaker consists of a 700ml beaker, with embossed measurements up the side, to help judge how much liquid you need, a lid with an odd shaped spout, with a flip-top cap, and a thin plastic mesh disc that fits inside the beaker to help mix the ingredients. All the parts feel pretty solid and sturdy, and the shaker can certainly withstand rumbling about in ...

Alessi PSJS Juicy Salif Citrus Squeezer 16/10/2012

Easy peasy lemon squeezy?

Alessi PSJS Juicy Salif Citrus Squeezer The juicy what now? I can hear some of you asking right now. Yes, thats right, it's the Juicy Salif, a lemon squeezer designed by Philippe Starck for the design company Alessi in 1990. Alessi, if you have never of them are an Italian design house who specialise in household items. They frequently work with famous designers to create some rather wacky and unique product that tend to cost a fortune. Step into any high-end design shop and you are sure to find a few shelves dedicated to them. Many moons ago I studied design at art school, and at the time Philippe Starck was a bit of a design celebrity, I even wrote an essay on him! During a study (ahem...) trip to New York in 2001, I was looking to buy a couple of rather unique souvenirs by which to remember my trip. Whilst visiting the MOMA (Museum Of Modern Art), I happened upon the Juicy Salif in its shop. Now, the Juicy Salif has nothing to do with New York, but it's such a unique shaped design, that every time I see it, it reminds me of my great time in NY. At the time I believe it cost me approx. $80, which at the time with a reasonable exchange rate worked out at about £50. This is still approx. the price they go for these days, but you can find them online for £40 or so if you are lucky. I guess before I discuss how it actually works, I have to talk about the look of this object. Is it a three legged space spider? Is it a rather disturbingly shaped sex toy? Who knows what Monsieur Starck's inspiration was? I have ...

Silentnight Memory Foam Topper 08/10/2012

Be Impressed in bed

Silentnight Memory Foam Topper Have you ever had one of those years when everything expensive you own needs replacing? Well I seem to be going through that this year, with a multitude of essential things all breaking down, melting, leaking, etc, you get the idea… Well, one of the items I need to replace is my mattress, but to be honest, I can’t afford a decent new one at the moment (its low down on a looong list). One day a friend recommend a mattress topper, and to be honest I had never heard of this before, but it sounded like a reasonable short term solution to my lumpy mattress woes. Having no idea where to start looking I went with a quick search with the first company that sprung to mind: Silentnight. Who doesn’t love sleepy hippos with small, feathered bed partners? I quickly found their ‘Impress’ range of memory foam mattress toppers, available in all standard sizes from single up to king-size. The retail price for these are about £80, but after a bit of shopping online, the best price I could find was ASDA Direct, at £45 for the standard double size. Once I got the topper delivered, I eagerly stripped the bed (I think it’s the first time I have ever ‘eagerly’ stripped & made the bed…) and took a look inside the box. Within you will find a very tightly rolled sheet of memory foam, and a washable fabric sheet with elasticated corners. The sheet is used to cover over the foam before you put down a conventional bed-sheet. The mattress topper itself was a rather mildly disappointing looking ...

Fiskars Kitchen Devil's Rollsharp Sharpener 22/09/2012

Stay Sharp

Fiskars Kitchen Devil's Rollsharp Sharpener A few years back I bought a cheap set of Kitchen Devil knives on offer at ASDA. They were razor-sharp at first, but after a couple of months it was starting to get to the point where using a desert spoon to cut meat would have been more effective than using the knives, since they blunted pretty quickly. I guess they were cheap for a reason... I didn't want to splash out on any more knives (and I certainly didn't want to use my spoons), so we thought we would try to pick up a knife sharpener instead. Despite being rather wary of the Kitchen Devil brand at this point, we picked up this sharpener, again from ASDA for about £8. The price varies a fair bit depending on where you get it, and as usual, online prices can be a fair bit cheaper. This item is plastic, and doesn't exactly look or feel expensive. However the handle is sturdy, slightly textured, and easy to grip. I guess I would have to recommend making sure your hands were dry before handling it, in case your grip slips, but I really hope that is common sense! The actual sharpening stones, of which there are two, are ceramic, and are set a a slight angle from the line of the handle, this ensures that both sides of the inserted blade gets evenly treated. These ceramic parts are guarded by a clear plastic shield, with a slot in the middle to put the knife in. This is pretty handy, as it keeps your knife in the correct position, and makes sure it doesn't slip left or right. I have never even come close to slicing ...

Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows 21/09/2012

Use your Xbox kit with your PC

Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows I own a PC. I own an XBox 360. I am told I play too much on both. This is probably true. I actually tend to play most of my games on my PC, I guess I am a bit old-school like that. However, I love the controller for my 360, and I really wanted to use it for certain games on my computer. I just recon that it suits some games better than a mouse & keyboard. Basically, I had two options: first, I could have bought a new XBox 360 controller designed for PC use, or I could buy this little gizmo, a Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows, and use my existing controller. Given that this receiver costs approx. £18, and a new controller costs approx. £28 (and it's not wireless), it was a no-brainer. You can buy them from stores such as PC World or Curry's, but as usual they are cheaper online from the likes of Amazon. This little piece of kit is a small receiver which plugs into your cumputer via a USB connection. It's cable is approx. 2m long, which I found more than sufficient, since mines sits right next to my PC tower. It came with a mini CD with driver software on it, but I am pretty sure that I simply plugged it in and Windows installed the drivers for me. It does require at least Windows XP to operate, and personally I am using it on a Vista 64 Bit version. The receiver is pretty discreet (approx. 75x40x20mm), and doesn't stand out too much, which is perfect. It has a small green light to highlight a connection, a small button to detect any possible peripherals and ...

Dyson DC25 ALL Floors 20/09/2012

Have a Ball with the Dyson DC25

Dyson DC25 ALL Floors We decided to go for the Dyson DC25 after our previous vacuum cleaner lost the will to suck. Since our then defunct vacuum was a cheap and rather poor model, we decided to splash out a bit and go for a Dyson. We had always heard good things about them, and at the time Curry's had a promotion on all Dyson cleaners. We decided to go for the DC25 All-floor model as we have various floor surfaces in our flat, from carpet, to lino and tiles. At the time, if I remember correctly, we got over £70 off our DC25, but it normally costs approx. £250. Our model was in stock at the depot, so we were able to take it straight home. It was well packaged, and nothing was damaged upon our first inspection. I have to admit, my first impressions of the Dyson were sceptical at best. It feels and looks very plastic. I wasn't particularly convinced that it would last very well in the long term. Regardless, we put it straight to use. I guess the most important feature of any vacuum cleaner is how well it removes dirt from surfaces. Well it's safe to say that the DC25 sucks, in the best way of-course. Apart from washing our carpets, they have never looked cleaner than when using this vacuum. It has very powerful suction, and the info about the bag-less vacuums not losing power as they fill up is true. My old vacuum had bags to empty, and it got less and less efficient as the bag filled. This Dyson sustains its excellent suction as the canister fills. The only problem is that, even in our small ...

Waterstones Book Shops 07/09/2012

Real books from a real shop!

Waterstones Book Shops Given that I recently reviewed waterstones.co.uk, I figured it was only fair to look at their actual high street stores as well, since I always try to support shops I like using. Waterstone’s isn’t really one of those 'small companies' as its owned by EMI, who also own HMV, but as I mentioned in an earlier review, I really believe you should try to support high street brands that you enjoy shopping in, otherwise our streets are going to get even more depressing! This is a review based on my experiences of the stores in Aberdeen, Scotland. It would be hypocritical of me to say this without admitting, that like most people, I shop online a fair bit. There are, however, some items I'd rather to buy in a proper shop. Since I still prefer to read the rather 'old fashioned' paperback, it seems only fitting that I still like to wander about the 'dated' Waterstone’s high street stores! On our high street, there are two Waterstone’s, located weirdly close to each other, but since one is a bit closer I tend to shop at it. This one used to be an Ottakar's (remember them?). The store is on two levels, with the ground floor mainly housing fiction & history, and on the upper floor, its collections of non-fictions, plus a Costa Coffee shop. One of the main things I like about my local Waterstone's is the friendliness of the staff. It’s refreshing to find knowledgeable, helpful staff, that actually seem to enjoy what they sell, rather than the usual collection of bored looking ...

myprotein.com 07/09/2012

MyChoice for health goods.

myprotein.com Over the last few years I have been on something of a health kick, which has seen me become a member of a local PureGym. As someone who has to research the hell out of anything I do or buy (that’s how I ended up here), I got to looking into protein supplements and similar products to see if they would help my on-going performance. I started buying some whey protein from local health store like Holland & Barrett, but the stuff they sell, mainly Maximuscle, is very expensive, even with their frequent promos. I couldn’t afford to spend a fortune on this stuff, since at the end of the day it really just an experiment in vanity (I blame watching too many superhero films with muscly guys in them!). So I went online and very quickly found MyProtein, a UK based online retailer with a huge range of well-priced health & fitness supplements. So huge a range in fact, that to the total beginner, it can soon overwhelm and confuse you. I mean, do you get Hurricane XS, with its all in one formula, or Total Protein, with extra Flax seed powder (?). To a seasoned pro (the guys who put me to shame at the gym), I sure it’s easy to know what stuff you need, but I was rather lost in a sea of creatine and whey protein. Thankfully, their site contains sub sections based on what your goals are, or what your main focus is on, i.e. weight loss, general fitness, muscle building etc. From here they suggest more specific products, which does help narrow things down a bit. After a bit more ...

waterstones.co.uk 04/09/2012

Waterstone's Delivers?

waterstones.co.uk I have always enjoyed reading, and I read on a daily basis. Now, I have to admit although I love gadgets and gizmos, I refuse to buy into eReaders. I've tried a kindle, and I just don't like it, there is just something about the humble paperback, that just seem to feel right when it comes to reading. Unfortunately, most of the world seems to disagree with me, and over the last ten years my home city has seen most of its bookshops vanish. All that is really left is two Waterstone's and a W H Smith. I really don't like shopping in W H Smiths, so I usually buy from Waterstone's. However there are times when despite two large stores, they don't have the book I want. My first instinct is to hop on to Amazon whenever it comes to buying, well, almost anything online, but since my girlfriend has a Waterstone's card, I try to use waterstones.co.uk whenever possible. = = = The website = = = The website is easy to use, assuming you are familiar with any other online shopping sites (of course you are!) The top banner contains a search tool for looking for specific books, and a pop up menu on the left allows you to jump to specific genres. Elsewhere on the home page there is a best sellers list, and various special offers, along with current trending books. there is also a fairly comprehensive range of ebooks available now, but as you can imagine, I haven't really looked that much into that area. Once you have selected a specific book, you are able to view an image of ...

Best Western Ashling Hotel, Dublin 04/09/2012

Nice Hotel in the West-end of Dublin

Best Western Ashling Hotel, Dublin My partner and I stayed in the Ashling Hotel Dublin this summer in July for 6 nights. At this time of the year it cost us ~ €95 per night for a superior double room (this was part of an upgrade special offer at the time). Hotel Details: The Ashling is a four star hotel in Dublin, situated at the west end of the city on Parkgate street. This is about a 5 min walk from Heuston Station, and the Luas tram line runs right by it, with a stop just a few minutes down the road. If you are flying into Dublin, the ‘Airlink’ bus service stops at Heuston station. Simply head north from the station stop, crossing a small bridge over the River Liffey and you are there. It has a 100 space multi-story secure car park which costs extra per night, but since we didn’t use this facility, I can’t really comment on it. Location for tourists: Although the hotel is in the west-end of the city, is not hard to get into the centre, since the trams are very frequent and reliable. It’s about a 10-15min ride into town from the nearest stop. In the surrounding area there are quite a few tourist attractions within walking distance. Not five minutes away, there is the Collins Barracks National Decorative Arts & History Museum. It’s also close to Phoenix park, and the Zoo within it. Plus, the Guinness factory & the IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art are also near-by. All are definitely worth a visit. Inside the hotel: The front foyer of the Ashling is fairly impressive. It is big and ...

Brylcreem Strong Wax 03/09/2012

Bryl-iant

Brylcreem Strong Wax Since my mid-teens (more years ago than I wish) I have been using various products in my hair to sustain my ever so cool hair style. I have pretty much tried every conceivable type of gel, wax, crème and goo going about. My problem has always been that may hair is very fine, and what happens is that gels clumps my hair together, and you see too much of my scalp, making me look bald. Plus due to my hair being so fine, the spikes tend to 'droop' with the weight of the gel before it properly dries in. Nightmare. At one point a few years ago I bought some Brylcreem Strong Wax, and I haven’t looked back. This stuff is probably the most extreme hold hair-stuff I have ever seen, plus because it’s a wax and not a gel, my hair looks more textured than with a gel. As far as packaging goes it’s pretty simple. The pic shown here is a bit dated, as the tub is now a black finish with a red top, but otherwise it’s the same dumpy little pot. The top twists of to reveal the rather unattractively coloured wax inside. It’s a kind of yellow-white stuff that is actually set quite hard. However once you scoop up a little on your fingers, and work it together, it quickly softens and you can apply it to your hair. Now I said scoop up a little, and I mean it, unless you’re going for the John Travolta Greased Lightning look. I’ve read a few reviews that say it smells horrible, now maybe I’m just used to it after all these years, but I honestly can’t say it smells of very much at all. Being a ...

Galaxy on Fire 2 (iPad) 03/09/2012

Save the galaxy with your phone

Galaxy on Fire 2 (iPad) Galaxy on Fire 2 is a multi-format sci-fi shooter initially released for the iPhone, then Android, and now there are HD versions for iPad, Mac and PC. Technically the item mentioned here is the iPad version, which I haven’t played...but I have played it on a 7" Tablet, and extensively on the iPhone, and since it’s the same game, I recon my review here is (hopefully) justified. = = = So what is it ? = = = As you might have gathered from the game title, Galaxy on Fire 2 is a sci-fi themed game. You spend most of it rocketing about the galaxy in various lethal models of space ship. You do not need to be familiar with the original Galaxy on Fire, as this doesn’t really link much with it, apart from the returning hero Keith T. Maxwell, who’s back-story is pretty much inconsequential to this game. You see, poor Mr Maxwell has been accidentally sent through space and time thanks to a faulty hyperdrive on his ship. Awakening from stasis, he is 35 years and a few million miles away from home. Despite his attempts to get back, he ends up getting involved is the desperate struggle of the galaxies inhabitants to avoid the attacks of a mysterious alien race. This is where you step in. The game is basically a RPG space flight shooter, with pretty much all of the action taking place in outer space. You do land on various space stations, but you don’t actually get to walk about them, instead interacting with a menu interface once docked. = = = So, how does it play? = = = ...

Cut the Rope (iPhone) 31/08/2012

Omm nom nom!

Cut the Rope (iPhone) I have an iPhone 3Gs, which being an older model nowadays, sometimes throws up the problem of being a bit too dated for some newer game apps. So when I find a great game I am always chuffed, especially when it’s a 59p one! One such game I got a few months ago was Cute the Rope by Zeptolab. It was designed initially for smartphones (iOS first then later Android) , but is now available for tablets, the Nintendo DSi, and also a browser based version for the PC. There is also a sequel titled Cut the Rope: Experiments now available. However, I will be looking at the original version for the iPhone. = = = What is it? = = = Cut the rope is essentially a physics-based puzzle game. The story goes that you are left a small cardboard box on your doorstep, and this contains On Nom, a rather cute little monster, with an insatiable appetite for candy. The game is split up into various 'boxes', which to date are: Cardboard Box, Fabric Box, Foil Box, Magic Box, Valentine Box, Toy Box, Gift Box, Cosmic Box, Tool Box, Buzz box, DJ Box, and the most recent one Spooky Box. Many of these boxes have been released as updates. The boxes contains 25 levels, each of which earn you points, and between a zero, and three star rating on completion. Each level involves you having to feed little Om Nom with a piece of candy, tied to a piece (or pieces) of string. You have to interact with the screen with one or two fingers depending on the challenge, and guide the swinging piece of candy ...

Logitech Gaming Mouse G400 - mouse 29/08/2012

Getting to grips with a Logitech G400

Logitech Gaming Mouse G400 - mouse I bought this mouse when my old Razer Deathadder's (a great mouse) button 2 stopped working. I had used Razer for a while but a few people seemed to recommend the logitech, so I thought I would try it out. I do a fair amount of gaming, although I would never call myself 'hardcore', so I wanted a decent mouse, but not one packed full of 25 thumb buttons and the size of a Fiat 500. On these grounds the Logitech is what I was after. I guess that the comfort and hold of a mouse is a fairly personal opinion, so this review is based on my personal opinions. First of all, this is a corded mouse, which may put some people off, but for me, there is nothing more annoying than your mouse running out of juice whilst you are using it. It is a medium sized mouse, and should fit most hands. I hate small mice, as they hurt my unsupported hand, and I find large mice ungainly. The palm of my hand fits comfortably on the back of the mouse. The sides are rubberised black plastic, which give a good grip, and the top and buttons are a matt grey/black, so it will probably fit in with most black colour scheme pc's these days. Otherwise the design is decidedly low-key next to Razers bling and pulsing blue lights, but to be honest I kind of prefer that. My girlfriend always thought my Razer was a bit too OTT geekish and 'bling-y'. As far as comfort goes, there is a rather annoying ridge on the right hand side grip, which your fingers rest on. This felt a bit weird when I first got it, but I got ...
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