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since 28/08/2010


Nokia N8 10/02/2011

Nokia's new Smart Phone - N8

Nokia N8 After waiting for what seems like forever it was finally time to upgrade my mobile phone so off I went on a search for the perfect upgrade at an affordable price. I was specifically looking for a touch screen Smart Phone which offered a decent camera, mobile internet, a music player and preferably a radio and after some research I plumped for the new Nokia N8. Released in October 2010 it is fresh to the UK market and is available in a choice of 5 colours - Silver, dark grey, orange, Blue and Green. I opted for the Dark Grey and received this from Vodafone, the phone was free with a £35 a month contract over 18 months. I have had a look around though and you can purchase the phone (sim free) from Nokia for £429.00 however I note that Tesco’s Direct are currently selling the sim free Dark Grey N8 for a bargain £319.07 plus over 600 Clubcard points. Phone Specifications There are such a vast quantity of specification information for the Nokia N8 that I will never be able to cover them all and lets face it some of these specs mean nothing to the average user so instead I am going to stick to what I feel are the most important features and the bits I use most. The Battery & Software Platform The Battery supplied is a BL-4D 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery which on this Nokia phone is completely encapsulated within the case and is therefore not accessible unless you are prepared to unscrew the back cover. It promises a maximum talk time stats of:- GSM 720 ...

Progress - Take That 18/11/2010

Progress at its best

Progress - Take That I have been eagerly awaiting the new Take That Album, Progress and finally on 15th November 2010 the day had arrived.. With the return of Robbie Williams to complete the line up I must admit I had high hopes for this album and was a little nervous that it would disappoint. The CD arrived and I set about loading the songs on my phone, put in my earphones and blasted it as loud as I could. My little ears were in for quite an awakening first thing in the morning when I was greeted not with the standard Ballads of Take That’s fame and instead were met with glorious storming electro Rock (I must also admit I didn’t realise I would like this style but was to be amazed and surprised). The album has been produced by Stuart Price (also responsible for Madonna’s ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’) and is a marked departure from Take That’s previous albums, which is indicated by the title 'Progress'. As an established band with a large fan base it would be easy to sit back producing the same music album after album but Take That as a five piece decided to throw aside their usual style and head into unknown waters. This was a real risk for the boys but in my opinion a risk that has paid off. I think this really is Progress for the 5 from Manchester and releasing to critical aclaim it is likely to provide them a few more followers. The Album (A Ballad Free Zone) The album can currently be purchased in CD format for as little as £7.99 or if you don't mind not owning a ...

Integral Splash - USB flash drive - 2 GB 07/11/2010

You can Splash your Integral Flash Drive

Integral Splash - USB flash drive - 2 GB After searching the house for my Flash drive and getting nowhere my boyfriend was promptly ushered out the door and down PC World to buy a cheap replacement. He returned with one each, a blue Integral Splash Drive for him and a pink one for me both costing him £7.99. As we purchased as an emergency I’ve had a look around online and it seems this price is similar all around. The Flash Drive The drives are shock and water resistant (that’s resistant not waterproof so don’t bathe with them) thanks to their brightly coloured rubberised casing. They are available in blue, yellow, Pink, Green and black and can also be purchased in sizes from 1GB to 32GB. We bought the 2GB version. The job at hand was to transfer some music files from my PC to a laptop and the 2GB size meant that I could load around 250 songs onto the drive before filling it up. It didn’t however take many video files to get the drive to capacity but as the 4GB appears to retail for closer to £20 I can live with this inconvenience (and as most of the files I wanted to move were much smaller than video files). The drives are also USB 2.0 for hi-speed data transfer, although it did seem that the transfer speed was not particularly fast for the video files however some of these were quite large and it could just be due to my lack of patience rather than the drive being particularly slow. It claims to have a Read speed of up to 12MB per second (80x) and a write speed of up to 3MB per second (20x). If ...

Take That - For The Record (Amaray) (DVD) 03/11/2010

Take That Documentary 2005

Take That - For The Record (Amaray) (DVD) Before the reformation of Take That the 4 piece band and the now 5 piece band Sony BMG produced the documentary “Take That, For The Record” to mark 10 years since the band split up. It was shown on ITV on 17th November 2005 and aired to six million viewers (not bad viewing figures for a band that had been away for a decade). The DVD contains one disk which includes the documentary as well as some extended footage not shown on the TV documentary. I must admit that in November 2005 this was the film I had been waiting for, for 10 years without even realising it and I had extremely high expectations. I hoped that this could give me an insight into the band that I had been so crazy about as a teen and see how they got to where they were, what went wrong and what they were up to now. Thankfully I was not to be disapointed A Bit about the Band If you don't already know Take That consisted of Robbie Williams, Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, Jason Orange & Howard Donald. They formed in Manchester in 1990 and where managed by Nigel Martin Smith. After a few top 40 hits they finally broke the Top Ten with a cover version of could it be magic and finally gained their first number one with Prey. They went on to have 7 more number 1 singles up to 1996 (including Babe and Back for Good) and released 3 albums selling more than 25 million records in the five years 1991 - 1996. They received several Brit awards and had successfully broke the UK pop market. After losing Robbie ...

Boots Smooth SKIN IPL 02/11/2010

Boots Smooth Skin IPL actually works!

Boots Smooth SKIN IPL Always on the quest for as pain free as possible hair removal and fed up with shaving/waxing/epilating I decided to try out a laser hair removal device. I first purchased the Rio Salon 60x Scanning laser hair removal which was slow work and I cannot say I saw any results. Never one to learn my lesson I then purchased the Boots Smooth Skin IPL laser after reading some good reviews about the results. The laser is currently on sale at Boots for £274.99 which is a reduction from the full price of £324.99. This is obviously expensive however is a lot cheaper than paying for Salons to complete the treatment. The Product The laser itself is purple and white and mains run. It comes in a lovely large white presentation box and comes complete with:- Intense Pulsed light hair reduction unit Handset Activator Gel Instruction Booklet The handset is rounded and easy to hold and has a square glass panel at the bottom which is the treatment area. The size of this is around 3cm by 3cm (which is a fairly good size for a home laser treatment and is considerably bigger than the Rio I had purchased previously). It uses Light Pulse Wavelengths limited to between: 530 – 1100 nm & the handset has fan assisted cooling (so is a little noisy). There are 3 intesity settings to choose from (Pale/Med/Dark) and features a 6 second repitition rate to ensure the unit does not get too hot. How the laser works According to Boots the laser gives permanent hair reduction in ...

Boots Intensive Softening Foot Cream 01/11/2010

Give your Feet a Treat, Boots Intensive Foot Softener

Boots Intensive Softening Foot Cream Always on the quest to soften my badly cared for feet I bought the Boots Intensive Foot softener when it was on by 2 get 1 free at Boots (I am just more inclined to buy when they are incentivising me to!). It currently costs £3.49 for 75ml and you will also receive 12 Boots advantage points with your purchase. The Cream The cream is produced by Boots and as an own label product it is a cheaper alternative to branded creams. When the price is compared with premium brands its value is clear:- Compeed Dry & Cracked skin cream 75ml £4.99 Scholl cracked heel repair cream £5.99 60ml The cream claims to contain AHA, which after a little reasearch I have discovered stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acids which are usually derived from fruit based plants, in this case it is lactic acid. The theory is that the AHA's cause cell regeneration by removing the top layer of skin cells (although I suspect the concentration of acid within this cream must be fairly low hence you are required to apply regularly to start). AHA's themselves are quite drying and their purpose is to remove dead skin cells allowing your body to replace them with new healthier skin from below. After looking through the ingredients I also note that it contains Urea (which if I am not mistaken is a prominent component of Urine, yuck). A bit of research in this area has also informed me that Urea is a Hydrator which allegedly helps to increase moisture the upper layers of the skin. So I can at least ...

Tesco Value Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce 30/10/2010

Do you always get what you pay for? - Tesco's Value Baked Beans

Tesco Value Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce Being a bit of a baked bean snob but with the credit crunch biting I decided to attempt a switch over from my much loved (and tried and tested) Heinz baked beans and give Tesco’s Value Baked Beans a go. My fears of course being that at a cost of 29p for 420g I would receive a severely compromised Baked Bean experience. Especially when in comparison Heinz Baked Beans cost a whopping 64p for 415g. I mean we all know the saying “you get what you pay for” and with such a dramatic difference between value and premium this was bound to be the case here, right? I set out to find out! Tesco’s Venture into Own Brands Founded by Jack Cohen in 1919 Tesco’s is the UK’s largest supermarket chain and the third largest in the world based on revenues. As of Feb 2010 there were 455 Tesco superstores located in the UK with a further 1130 Tesco express stores (not bad from a store that began life as a stall to sell surplus groceries at Well Street Market, in London). Tesco’s have diversified into other commercial markets including the stocking of their own label products within their stores. The sheer size of Tesco’s as a buyer, combined with the lack of need to market and promote its own label products, will mean that they are able to produce and sell similar quality merchandise at a reduced price to other manufacturers. Theoretically with Tesco's being one of the largest food product purchasers you would think their value beans would be cheaper than other supermarkets ...

Supernatural - Series 2 Vol.1 (DVD) 23/10/2010

Supernatural Brillance - Series 2 Volume 1

Supernatural - Series 2 Vol.1 (DVD) Supernatural is an American Horror series created by Eric Kripke, which first aired in the US on 13th September 2005. It was apparently 10 years in the making as Eric gathered the information he needed to cover the genre to his satisfaction. So far 5 Series have been aired and a further 6th series is in the making. The Season 2 vlume 1 DVD contains the first 11 episodes of series 2 (episodes 11-22 can be found on Series 2 Volume 2 and also make a great purchase) A brief introduction to Supernatural The show is based around the relationship between Sam Winchester (Jared Padeleki) and his older brother Dean (Jensen Ackles). Their mother was killed when Dean was very young by a yellow eyed Demon which began their fathers crusade to kill all Demon's and other paranormal beings. Dean followed in his fathers footsteps but Sam was reluctant, went to college and tried to carve out a "normal" life for himself. After the loss of his College Girlfriend in the same manner as his mothers demise Sam was also eventually forced to join the family business. Known as Hunters Dean, Sam and their father search the States in hunt of evil beings protecting the innocent on their way. Season 2 leads straight on from the dramatic ending of Season 1 which saw the family involved in a car crash after their fellow hunter, and Friend (Bobby) who has been possessed ploughs a large lorry into the side of their much loved vehicle. Reviewing this series is a complicated affair as with ...

Burberry Brit Women Eau de Toilette 10/10/2010

Burberry Brit is a little disapointing

Burberry Brit Women Eau de Toilette I must admit to being a bit of an expensive perfume fan and if I had more expendable cash I suspect my perfume shelf would be further brimming with Designer brands, I do find you tend to get what you pay for in the frangrance market. So imagine my excitement when my fella bought me Burberry Brit for my Birthday last year. Having never tried this particular brand fragrance before I was intrigued to see what it was like and must admit to being a little disappointed (but please don’t tell my other half!) ** Burberry the Brand ** Burberry is a British fashion design label that specialise in clothing, handbags and perfume. They have a distinctive trademarked Tartan pattern theme running through their designs. Thomas Burberry founded the company in 1856 opening a store in Basingstoke, Hampshire specialising in outdoor wear. Its current headquarters are in London and Burberry now have over 70 stores worldwide as well as online stores which provide product purchase facilities in the UK, USA & the EU. The Burberry Classic Check Tartan was first used as a lining for the Burberry trench coat in 1924 but it was not until 1967 that the design was widely used within the brand. Since then the Burberry Classic Check has become the defining feature of Burberry’s lines (it is however a little unfortunate that Buberry became synonymous with Chav fashion in recent years). Burberry is now a globally recognised British Brand and has itself well established with the the ...

Mark Hill Smooth AND Shine WIDE Styler 10/10/2010

Easy straightening with Mark Hill

Mark Hill Smooth AND Shine WIDE Styler As my hair tends to have a bit of a kink (due to too much time pulled back) I decided I needed to purchase some hair straighteners but having long thick hair and being a little lazy I set about trying to find some bigger than usual. Whilst in Boots I saw these Mark Hill Smooth & Shine Wide Ceramic Straighteners and at £49.99 they looked like a good investment. These appear to retail online for between £70 and £145 so shopping around is definately a good idea. The Straighteners:- The heating plates are Ceramic and 2" wide making them particularly good for curly or thick hair. The Plate are bright prink and are marketed as having T-Nano Ceramic plates and a 3m cord. They have Variable heat settings from 120-220°C and an auto switch off feature. They claim to be able to not only Straighten but you can also wave and flick your hair with these (although not being particularly talented at styling I haven't tried to with these). The straighteners come with a lovely black bag that unzips to double as a heat resistant pad (the inside is also a lovely bright pink colour matching the style of the hair straightener itself). My Opinion:- Not being particularly talented at hair styling I was looking for something quick and easy to straighten the slight waves that can sneak into my hair and these are perfect for the task. The straighteners look and feel a high quality and the 3m cord gives plenty of length for manouvering whilst in use meaning ...

Orchard Toys If You See a Crocodile 27/09/2010

If you See a Crocodile .... don't forget to scream

Orchard Toys If You See a Crocodile On my quest to find a family fun board game for use with my 3 year old son I stumbled across the Orchard Toys board game range. After already purchasing "The shopping list game" and receiving as a gift " The Lunch box game" I decided to try out "If you See a Crocodile". I bought this on holiday in Devon for £19.99 but having now searched around online I have found this can currently be bought for £10.55 from Amazon and therefore I would recommend searching around to find the best price. The Game:- If you See a Crocodile is a game designed for young children marked as 36 months - 12 years. The game comes in an attractive box and procides:- 30 x double-sided colour spot cards (5 lots of 6 colours with water splashes or crocodiles on the back) 6 ’finish’ spot cards, 4 characters with stands 1 game board, 1 boat house, (which you need to assemble) 1 boat, (which you need to assemble) 1 colour spot dice How to Play:- After setting up the game board (slots together easily) and assembling the boat house & boat you need to shuffle the colour spot cards and place them in the centre of the board with the colour side up. After choosing your characted you start by placing them on the white spot on the Jetty. As with all Orchard Toys games the instructions recommend you start with the youngest player. They need to roll the dice to find out what colour the finish card will be (the "finish" spot card should then be placed in the hole by the boat house ...

Orchard Toys Shopping List Fun Learning Game 26/09/2010

The Shopping list game - great fun for young children

Orchard Toys Shopping List Fun Learning Game I have a 3 year old son that is always wanting to play so set about hunting down a game that we could play together. My journey took me to The shopping list game. I bought this on holiday in Devon for £14.99 but since having a search around online I can see you can purchase it for closer to £7 from Amazon so shopping around is recommended. The Game:- The game comprises of 4 shopping carts, 4 shopping lists (with 8 items on each shopping list) and 32 Item cards. To play the game you spread the item cards face down in front of you. Each player picks a shopping cart and a shopping list and the game commences with the youngest player turning over an item card. If the item picked is on their shopping list it goes into their cart. If not the other players get to note the card and it goes back face down. The next player then takes their turn following the same rules. The winner is the first person to fill their cart. It is possible to buy booster packs to provide new shopping lists and item cards (and should you want to play with more than 4 players this would be a good idea). This is also helpful in diversifying the game and freshening up the experience. My Opinions:- Although the game play is very simple it is perfect for my 3 year old son. I suspect within a couple of years he will have outgrown this game but at present he loves it. It teaches him the names and pictures of everyday shopping items and he loves to try to win (and of course ...

Braun IRT4520 ThermoScan Infrared Thermometer 12/09/2010

Braun Thermometer brings peace of mind!

Braun IRT4520 ThermoScan Infrared Thermometer After trying to use an under arm thermometer on my little man several times during illnesses I soon came to the conclusion that these were just not accurate enough, took too long to read the temperature and because of this it was difficult to keep a young child still enough. Working for a nursery chain I knew that the Braun Ear Thermometer was our favoured brand so I did not hesistate in purchasing one myself, even though it cost me £40 at the time (i believe you can now buy this if you shop around for between £30-£40). ** About Braun ** Braun was a german company established in 1921 by a mechanical engineer called Max Braun. The company is currently a subsidiary of Procter & Gamble and manufacturers a variety of small electronic products including Shaving and Grooming items, Beauty & Oral Care (known under the brand name Oral B), Heath products (such as Blood pressure monitors and thermometers), small kitchen appliances and irons. ** The Thermometer ** The digital ear thermometer takes your core body temperature by measuring within your ear. Ear Piece protection covers are supplied to protect the working parts and to ensure good hygiene when in use. It is crafted in Blue and white plastic feels very well made . The digital screen and the on button are on the underneath of the thermometer and the button to start the scan is on the top with an exact temp light panel. It can provide the temperature results in °C and °F and the part that goes ...

Crayola Washable Finger-paints 11/09/2010

Crayola's Truly Washable Finger Paints

Crayola Washable Finger-paints I bought these paints as I have a rather messy 3 year old boy that loves to get his hands dirty (and his clothes, furniture, hair etc etc etc) so was desperate for a paint that was actually washable. Having bought several "washable paints" before I did not hold out much hope that these would live up to their name but was to be pleasantly surprised. ** Crayola ** The company was founded in 1885 although originally under the name Binney & Smith. In 1903 the company produced their first box of 8 crayons under the name Crayola According to their website The Crayola name was created by Edwin Binney's wife and comes from "craie," French for chalk, and "ola," from "oleaginous Crayola is now a producer or Art supplies for Children and there is now a vast choice of Crayola products to chose from. Its items are all marked as non-toxic Having purchased many different Crayola items I have never been disapointed by the quality although the price sometimes let them down. **The Paint** The paints are produced by Crayola and come in a pack of three 147ml tubes. The only colours available are Red, Yellow & Blue although this is not really restrictive for the younger artists as in my experience they tend to pick a colour and stick with it for their creation. These are nicely packaged and would make a great gift although at around £4-£5 for a 3 pack they are not the cheapest. They are marked as for 2 years plus. **In Use** The paints ...

Breville VTT206 30/08/2010

King of the Toasters, Breville VTT206

Breville VTT206 Imagine my distress when one morning I head to the kitchen to prepare toast for my two very hungry boys, place in 4 slices of bread and suddenly *poof* smoke rises from the toaster and yet there is no sign of the bread being cooked at all. A sudden realisation washes over me... the toaster has broken. So I head off to the internet to find myself another (you just can't beat internet shopping for ease). A 4 slice toaster is a minimum requirement in my household and after a little searching I set my heart upom the Breville VTT206. About Breville Breville was founded in Australia in 1932 and is the creater of the first sandwich toaster, how did we ever live without toasted sandwiches? They specialise in making small kitchen appliances and produce the Antony Worrall Thompson kitchen range. The Breville VTT206 4 slice toaster The VTT206 comes in polished stainless steel and is slightly slanted giving it a classy and modern look. Able to toast 4 slices at one time with 4 variable width slots, meaning buns & bagels are equally catered for. There are controls for each pair of slots therefore if you only wish to toast 2 items you do not need to have all 4 slots heating. The toaster has a time control dial for each pair of slots so that you can turn the toaster up or down depending on whats being toasted, how fresh your bread is and how brown you want them to come out. 3 buttons are available for each pair of slots giving a Cancel option (pop up early) the ...
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