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Hi. Many thanks for all r/r/c genuinely appreciated. Will always rate back not always immediately but I do get round to it. Also on Dooyoo with name hotrock4 where my reviews may also be found. Simon.

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since 13/02/2009


Ravensburger Jake and the Never Land Pirates Puzzle (35 Piece) 18/02/2014

An All-round Good Product from Ravensburger

Ravensburger Jake and the Never Land Pirates Puzzle (35 Piece) Introduction:- With our daughter having reached the stage a while back where the chunky wooden puzzles we had invested in previously being too simple for her, I decided it was time to have a look around for some more difficult puzzles in order to continue challenging her and improving her hand eye co-ordination. After browsing online and reading some reviews the Ravensburger range of Disney puzzles seemed to tick all of the required boxes, and for this reason I ended up purchasing the Jake and the Never Land Pirates 35 piece puzzle that I am reviewing here along with a couple of others. I feel that the £3.99 I paid was more than reasonable as puzzles in our house tend to get played with a lot, and with the fact that our daughter is an avid Jake fan this would be just as good a place to start as any with some more complicated puzzles. The Puzzle:- The main thing that attracted me to this product initially was obviously the illustration of the puzzle on the box, the reason for this being that it displays the whole of the main cast of the cartoon and contained what I considered to be the right amount of detail. By this I mean that there was enough detail to keep the puzzle interesting yet not enough to make it over complicated, every piece has enough of the illustration on it to make it obvious what part of the puzzle or character it belongs to whilst at the same time not simplifying it too much. The size of the puzzle measures approximately 26 x 18cm (10.5 x 7 inches) ...

Principle Healthcare Vitality Boost Effervescent Tablets 15/02/2014

Boosting My Vitality

Principle Healthcare Vitality Boost Effervescent Tablets Introduction:- I find that working nightshifts means that I struggle sometimes to eat as well as I probably should, and this is something that I am acutely aware of which is the reason I purchase the product that I am reviewing here. Produced by Principle Healthcare these Vitality Boost effervescent vitamin tablets are a multivitamin supplement providing a range of vitamins that are vital for the maintenance of the body’s health in general, as well as helping to keep a healthy metabolism. This product costs around the £3 mark which isn’t bad considering there are 20 tablets inside which is almost 3 weeks’ worth at the recommended 1 a day. I usually purchase this product in Asda and haven’t had the need to look for them anywhere else although I presume most major supermarkets will stock them. There are plenty of other products on the market that are very similar with Berocca being the one most similar to this that most people will know of. The main reason I choose the Vitality Boost vitamins supplement is due to the fact that they are at least £1.50 cheaper than similar products with the added bonus that I do not have to swallow or chew a huge tablet or capsule. Supplied in a tall red tube with blue and white branding they are quite easy to spot amongst the vast array of supplement products on offer but is not all that well known about due to a complete lack of advertising. The lid of the tube has a desiccant in to ensure the tablets inside stay dry and do not stick ...

Carte Noire Coffee 13/02/2014

A Quality Product with a Price to Match.

Carte Noire Coffee Introduction:- Carte Noire is a coffee I rarely purchase mainly due to the fact it is one of the more expensive brands retailing at around £3.80 for 100g, so when I spot it on offer as I did earlier this week I tend to treat myself to a jar as I see £2 as a far more reasonable price for 100g of premium brand instant freeze dried coffee. Carte Noire is created from 100% Arabica beans in France, and distributed by Kraft Foods in the UK, although they do not state the source of their raw materials meaning they could be supplied anywhere from Ethiopia to Brazil. They claim that their roasting method which cools the roasted beans quickly after roasting is the key to trapping the flavours in the end freeze dried product. Carte Noire also claims their coffee to be “velvety and rich” as well as “deeply aromatic”. First Impressions:- The packaging for Carte Noire coffee definitely hints at a high end product, the mostly black wrapped jar with the Carte Noire branding in a white tag with gold highlights and writing sets it apart from the vast array of coffees contained in the more standard see through glass jars. The jar itself is unique in shape, being square with rounded corners and tapered at each end, whilst simple it once again hints towards a premium quality product. The packaging is very fitting to the brand name as Carte Noire translates into English as black card which would also suggest that this is a very strong coffee indeed. Upon removing the lid there is a gold ...

Hewlett-Packard 1050A All-in-One J410g 09/02/2014

A Satisfactory Printer for the Price I Paid

Hewlett-Packard 1050A All-in-One J410g Introduction:- The Hewlett Packard 1050A J410G printer that I am reviewing here was actually an emergency purchase after our old Epson printer give up the ghost and I needed to print off a CV for a job application. It just so happened that I spotted this HP printer for sale in our local supermarket for just £30 on my way to trawl around the shops for a reasonably priced basic printer. Upon spotting this HP printer I decided that it fit the bill perfectly and as long as I could get a decent black and white page of print out of it I would be more than satisfied so decided to give it a try. Despite the fact I only needed a printer this product is an all-in-one printer meaning it also comes with the facilities to photocopy and scan. Specification:- Brand – Hewlett Packard Dimensions – 41x43x25cm Weight – 3kg Wattage – 10 Watts Functions – Print/Scan/Photocopy (Full Colour) Black and White Cartridge Cost – approx. £8 for a genuine cartridge Coloured Inks Cartridge Cost – approx. £9 for a genuine cartridge. RRP - £76.99 First Use:- This printer was supplied in a solid glossy box depicting the product inside, and despite minimal packaging inside in the way of a couple of pieces of polystyrene it was secure and made it home in one piece. Upon removal from the box it was just a case of connecting the mains cable and data cable to the printer then connecting to my laptop and plugging it in. The only issue here was the fact that it wasn’t supplied with a USB data ...

Sudo Cream 08/02/2014

Effective and Economical Antiseptic Cream.

Sudo Cream Introduction:- Sudocrem is one of those products that I have always known about due to my mum always having a tub kicking about the house when I was younger, but never had call to use it myself until our daughter was born. Sudocrem is advertised as an antiseptic healing cream and is most commonly used and perceived as a treatment for nappy rash despite the fact it has many other uses. It can also be used in the treatment of eczema, sunburn, minor wounds and acne as well as multiple other situations. At a price of around £5 for a 400g tub, my first impressions were that this was quite an expensive product to buy however it does go a long way and was a lot more economical than I first thought. With Sudocrem having been in production for nearly 80 years with the design of the packaging remaining unchanged for as long as I can remember seeing it about, means that it is easy to spot amongst similar products in its grey coloured tub with the distinctive red and white Sudocrem branding, and I’m sure is the first product many would reach for alongside the other brands of nappy creams. In Use:- Once the seal is broken and the lift lifted off of the tub, the scent of Sudocrem is mildly medicinal and no matter what happens it will always remind me of babies nappies no matter what its intended use. The cream itself is quite thick and can sometimes need a little warming up by rubbing between my fingers to make it easy to apply and not uncomfortably cold when applied to the skin. ...

Pearl 80 Bow Front Aquarium 07/02/2014

A Great Fish Tank for Beginners and Experts Alike.

Pearl 80 Bow Front Aquarium Introduction:- Having kept tropical fish for about as long as I can remember and having had to get rid of my large 4ft fish tank when we moved into our current house, I was keen to get a more suitably sized fish tank for our new property as soon as possible after moving in. After having a look at what was available I decided on the Pearl 80 bow front fish tank that I am reviewing here mainly because it would allow for extra room in the tank whilst keeping the overall length to a minimum. The size of the tank fell nicely between the 2ft and 3ft fish tank sizes being 80cm (30 inches) in length whilst given closer to the water capacity of a 3ft rectangular tank due to the bow front. Setup:- The setting up of this fish tank is very easy with just a bit of basic knowledge however if it is a first fish tank I would advise reading a book or two or thoroughly researching the subject on the internet in order to get everything right. In brief it is just a case of getting the heater, light and filter set in place then filling with water. One important point to bear in mind is never to plug anything in until after the tank is full as the heater and filter need to be immersed in water in order to work correctly and not overheat. Not only this but it is good practice to not plug anything in until after it is full as it gives the chance to check for leaks, and with safety being paramount every effort should be made to keep water and electric separate. It is all too easy to get ...

Sealey Motorcycle Cover 06/02/2014

Protecting my Motorcycle.

Sealey Motorcycle Cover Introduction:- The motorcycle cover that I am reviewing here is sold by Sealey Power Tools and is something I initially bought to try and protect my motorbike from the elements as it was being stored outside when not used due to not having a garage at the house where I was living at the time. I believe that I managed to pick mine up for around the £25 mark however now they seem to be selling closer to £30, which may sound expensive but really isn’t too far off the mark where this sort of product is concerned. The Cover:- The motorcycle cover that I am reviewing here is available in three sizes, S, M + L which means there should be an adequate size for most motorcycles from the smallest moped up to large sports bikes. I own the large cover and the dimensions are 2460 x 1050 x 1270mm. My current bike is a large sports bike and this item manages to cover everything but the very bottom of the wheels which is perfectly satisfactory as it manages to protect all of the important components and parts of the bike that I would get fed up constantly cleaning or at least cleaning more regularly because it had just been sat out in the rain. On the outside this motorcycle cover really does look like a glorified tent that has stitched seams that run along it in order to make it into the right shape to fit a motorcycle. However upon closer inspection the inside is actually a soft fabric layer that covers the whole of the underneath. This allows the cover to be placed over and ...

Original Source Black Mint Mens Shower Gel 05/02/2014

Most Definitely Minty!

Original Source Black Mint Mens Shower Gel Introduction:- I’m none too fussy about which toiletries end up in my bathroom especially as far as shower gels are concerned, however I do like to keep a look out for products that I have previously used and had a good experience of. It was for this reason that I ended up purchasing this Original Source - Black Mint for men hair and shower gel when I spotted it on offer at just £1 for a 250ml bottle in a local discount store; well under half the usual retail price. I had previously tried the Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Oil shower gel from their normal range which I liked, so was hoping that this Black Mint variety would improve on this product in the only way that it could; by having a scent that lasted for a longer period of time after showering . Packaging and Ingredients:- Original Source – Black Mint is supplied in a see through container which stands upon a black clip open lid which is the first plus point about this product, this means not only does the product look attractive on the shelf with its bright green colour, but the amount remaining is always visible and the last little bit is easy to get out due to being at the right end of the container to be squeezed out. Now I’m not going to go into the full details of ingredients here but the Original Source – Black Mint variety of this shower gel claims to contain the extract of 8899 fresh mint leaves “for extreme tingle”, this being nearly 1000 more mint leaves than used in the Mint and Tea Tree variety ...

Nescafe Gold Blend Barista Style Coffee 04/02/2014

Nescafe Gold Blend - Barista Style Coffee?

Nescafe Gold Blend Barista Style Coffee Introduction:- Having tried out quite a few of the instant Barista style coffees that have hit the market over the last year or so when I spotted that Nescafe’s Gold Blend Barista style coffee was on offer at the price of just £4 for a 180g jar I couldn’t help but pick up a tin as this meant it was just as economical to purchase as any of the other coffees that happened to be on offer at the time. At its usual selling price of around £8 a tin I had always thought it far too expensive to justify purchasing when sat next to the far cheaper standard instant coffees. It was in the hope that this coffee would be a far better option than a normal instant that I had been tempted for and having always been put off by the price now seemed a perfect time to try it. First Impressions:- On first sight the tin that this coffee is supplied in certainly looks the part, with the completely black background, golden coloured graphics and Nescafe standing out in white text it definitely does look like a premium product. Upon popping off the lid and removing the foil seal the smell certainly carries on this feeling of premium quality with a bold and robust smell of what portrays to be strong coffee wafting from the top the instant it is removed. The coffee is supplied in soluble granule form and whilst not a fine powder like many of the other barista style instants on the market the granules are certainly a lot finer in consistency than an average instant coffee. With just a teaspoon of ...

Nicorette Icy White 2mg Gum 03/02/2014

Nicorette Icy White - Worked For Me

Nicorette Icy White 2mg Gum Introduction:- Having decided it was about time that I quit smoking at the beginning of December last year, I knew full well how difficult it would be to stop cold turkey so started looking into nicotine replacement products. I wasn’t keen on the new inhalators and vaporisers on the market as I feel it almost as much the habit of smoking as much as the addiction that it hard to kick. For this reason I didn’t want to be relying on something so similar to smoking in order to give up, which meant nicotine chewing gum was top of my list to try in my quest to give up. The Nicorette Icy White gum that I am reviewing here is just one of this range of this products that I have tried along with a few of the supermarket own brand alternatives. It is available in strengths of 2mg for those smoking less than 20 a day, and 4mg strengths for those smoking more. I used to smoke at least 10 hand rolled cigarettes a day meaning I opted for the weaker strength gum. This product claims to be “for the relief of cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms” and can be used whilst smoking to ease the process of giving up. Nicorette Icy White also claims to whiten teeth as well as to be the first nicotine gum to taste like gum should. Nicorette Icy White gum is widely available in 2 pack sizes, one being 25 pieces costing around £5 and the other 105 pieces for around the £14 mark although I have often seen the larger packs on offer for £10. Whilst this may seem expensive when compared to ...

Persil Small and Mighty Non Bio 02/02/2014

A Great Product, Greatly Overpriced.

Persil Small and Mighty Non Bio Introduction:- As stated in some of my previous reviews laundry detergents are one of the items on my shopping list that I generally try to stock up on when I find them on offer due to the fact that they are so expensive at their full selling prices. It is for this reason that I ended up with a couple of bottles of Persil Small and Mighty Non-Bio liquid laundry detergent having spotted in on offer for £3 for a 25 wash bottle. Persil claim that the product I’m reviewing here has an improved cleaning formula compared to their previous non-bio products, along with a stain eraser ball, both of which claim to improve the cleaning power and stain removal capabilities of this laundry detergent. The stain eraser ball doubles up as a dosing device to be placed into the washing machine once it has been filled with the required amount of detergent. The Product:- Persil Small and Mighty certainly stands out amongst the competing brands on the shelves in the supermarket due to the way it is packaged with the stain eraser come dosing ball supplied in a hole in the centre of the bottle which doubles up as a handle. This makes it look somewhat different to competing brands, and also allows the lid to be of a flip top variety with a recessed area around the pouring spout inside which makes this product a lot cleaner to dispense than a normal screw top lid and gives a nice controllable flow from the bottle even when it is full. The front of the bottle carries the normal Persil ...

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King 01/02/2014

Full Dark, No Stars.

Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King Introduction:- Having been making an effort recently to read the pile of books I have had building up for a while Stephen King’s, Full Dark, No Stars was one that I was keen to get round to after hearing several good recommendations. First published in 2010 with the paperback having been available from July 2011 this is a book I have only recently bought and have put ahead of many others in my ever growing pile due to these recommendations. Running at 450 pages in length it at first seems as though it will be quite a lengthy read, however Full Dark, No Stars is actually a collection of short stories from King making it a far easier read than it would first appear. With a cover price of £8.99 it is quite expensive but as with most of the books I purchase I found it at a heavily discounted price as part of a 2 for £6 deal which I feel is far more acceptable. With just a little searching around the internet this book can reliably picked up for £3.50 which I feel is far fairer value than the cover price. There are five short stories included within this book each of which I will review separately, four of these stories were included in the original hardback publication, and the last is a bonus story only included in the paperback copy of Full Dark no Stars. The titles are as follows 1922, Big Driver, Fair Extension, A Good Marriage and the bonus title Under the Weather. Each of these stories is an exploration into the darker side of human nature and cover some pretty gruesome ...

Room on the Broom (DVD) 29/01/2014

Room on the Broom DVD

Room on the Broom (DVD) Introduction:- First released in a written format in 2002 Room on the Broom has since been translated into over 20 languages and won numerous book awards so it is hardly surprising an animated version has also been released. It is the DVD based on the original story published by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler that I am reviewing here. I actually first became aware of Room on the Broom and this duo’s wide selection of children’s books after seeing the animated story on TV. I had been meaning to get the DVD for some time but it wasn’t until the later part of last year that I actually got round to purchasing it, setting me back £7 which I thought was a more than reasonable price for a DVD that I knew full well would be watched again and again. Rating – U Run Time – 26 mins Cast (Voices) – Simon Pegg – Narrator Gillian Anderson – Witch Rob Brydon – Cat Timothy Spall – Dragon Martin Clunes – Dog Sally Hawkins – Bird David Walliams – Frog Room on the Broom:- For those that aren’t familiar with the story Room on the Broom follows the story of a witch and her cat as they fly through the sky, happening to loose certain items along the way. Each time something is dropped an animal finds it for the witch and each animal decides that it would be a good idea to hitch a lift with the witch on her broomstick much to the dismay of the cat. Unbeknown to the witch and her companions her overcrowded broom is being pursued by a dragon. The dragon ...

Mamas & Papas Group 1-2-3 Mercury Car Seat 26/01/2014

An Excellent Car Seat from Mamas and Papas

Mamas & Papas Group 1-2-3 Mercury Car Seat Introduction:- With our old car seat being over 2 ½ years old and getting to the point that it was starting to look a little worse for wear due to being used nearly every day during this time, as well as our daughter quickly getting to the point she would soon be outgrowing it, I decided that it was time to bite the bullet and start the search for a replacement. Not wanting to purchase on-line due to the fact that this was a product that I would rather see in the flesh and let our daughter actually sit in and test out before we purchased it so began the trawling round town visiting the usual purveyors of such goods. I soon found that a car seat that provided value for money along with both quality and safety was going to be something that actually wasn’t as easy to find as I first thought. With many of the car seats on the market being hugely overpriced, there was also the other end of the market that whilst perfectly safe provided very little in the way of comfort for our daughter when longer journeys were being taken into consideration. Eventually I ended up in Argos asking them to let me view the Mamas and Papas “Mercury” stage 1/2/3 car seat. Once realising that this seat offered just as much, and more comfort in some cases as many of the more expensive car seats I had looked at previously, along with the added bonus it had many of the features as well it was this one that I eventually decided on. The look of this car seat was another thing that attracted me to it ...

The Silver Eagle - Ben Kane 24/01/2014

Forgotten Legion - The Silver Eagle.

The Silver Eagle - Ben Kane Introduction:- Written by Ben Kane and first released in 2009 The Silver Eagle is the second of three books in The Forgotten Legion series of books that follow Brennus, Tarquinius, and Romulus from where the first book in the series left off. The trio have previously been captured by the Parthian army and forced to serve and fight in order to protect the outermost borders of the Parthian territory far from Rome, and long forgotten by the greater powers that reside there. Brennus and Romulus are both escaped gladiators from a Roman gladiator school and Tarquinius a soothsayer or fortune teller able to envision the future by divinations from the gods by way of sacrificing animals. It was these visions that lead to Tarquinius being involved with the two gladiators when they were captured by the Parthian army. The Forgotten Legion also follows Romulus’ sister Fabiola who was sold into prostitution at the same time Romulus was sold to the gladiator school. It wasn’t long however before she had be-friended high powered nobleman Brutus who soon falls under her charm and purchases her freedom. The first book in The Forgotten Legion ends with the capture of the fore mentioned trio and Faboila’s freedom being purchased and this is where the second book in the series carries on from. The Plot- The Forgotten Legion as the name suggests and previously mentioned are a legion of Roman troops being forced to fight for the Parthian army but chose to do so under the Roman battle ...
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