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alimason

alimason

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I am up for anything and want to go everywhere. I regularly kayak, cycle, hike and camp so i am true outdoor person

Reviews written

since 23/08/2007

50

Flymo Sabre 12/11/2012

The best tool for cutting any hedge

Flymo Sabre I bought and have now owned this product for some time and I have been most impressed. I previously owned a regular run-of-the-mill hedge trimmer and this is a significant improvement. I now no longer need the ladders to cut the hedges and these hedges are about 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The adjustable head allows for a variation in cutting angles and hence many different 'styles'can be achieved on the top of the head. This also allows one to easily cut a hedge, without having to bend, stretch or stand in awkward positions. With a long blade and lengthy handle this tool is also highly valuable for shaping small tress and shrubs into manageable sizes. Another great feature is the battery. At first it feels heavy but after a few minutes you hardly notice it and of course it saves a lot of time untangling leads and finding them in the first place. I also think it is a good safety feature as the risk of cutting through the power cable is dramatically reduced as it is so small. It comes with a neat charging station which permits the user to see when it is charging or fully charged with the aid of a small coloured LED.The stand can also be fixed to the wall to store the battery when not in use - a feature I feel is highly desireable to efficiently store tools. The trimmer does require you to have two hands on it at all times and this is implemented by the addiion of two buttons, which need to be pressed at once in order to operate it. However I did feel that these buttons ...

Kapalai Island Resort, Pulau Sipadan 12/09/2008

Best place for diving in the world!

Kapalai Island Resort, Pulau Sipadan Pure Luxury and perfect for diving is the only way i can describe this place. It's location (if a little long winded) is: about 45 minutes from the town of Semporna, which is a port in the Malaysian part on the island of Borneo. Although it seems rather distant it is however relatively easy to reach - flights from Kuala Lumpur go regularly to the nearest airport in Tawau and from there its a 1.5 hour drive to Semporna. The resort is amazing - built on stilts out at sea, it sits on a sand bar which is only exposed at low tide. chalets sleep up to three and are well fitted with beautiful bathrooms, spacious private balconies and lovely interiors. Other facilities at the resort include a satelite telephone, internet, a games room and of course the dive centre. Diving here is brilliant - only 20 minutes to the famous Sipadan and Mabul islands which are awash with marine life -including sea snakes, turtles, sharks of all species and much more. Alternativel you can visit the converted oil ring which is great for muck diving. There are 3 boat dives per day and the option to do a early morning dive or a night dive and you can even improve you skills with the few courses such as 'OW' whicha re available there. The divemasters are numerous, very helpful and great fun. Some of the best staff there though in terms of helpfulness are the boatmen - they sort all your kit an you barely have to touch it. The food is served in the nicely fitted restaurant which looks down into ...

Trans-Siberian Railway (Russia) 12/09/2008

A slight variation to the Trans- Sib

Trans-Siberian Railway (Russia) Although this review comes under the heading of 'the trans-siberian' i am writing about the 'trans-mongolian' a slightly different route and one that i think is much better. It starts the same way in Moscow, leaving every Tuesday evening shortly after 9pm and eventually ends up in Beijing. I did this trip in the spring of 2008 and experienced temperatures in Russia ranging from the high twentys to minus figures - so a word of warning - come well prepared. The train is actually of Chinese rolling stock and manned by similarly Chinese attendants which poses few problems, although most of them speak no english whatsoever. The cabins themselves are very tidy with 4 to a cabin the most popular and convenient 2nd class. I would definitely reccommend this class to anyone. Bedding is provided, beds are comfortablish and each room has a neat little box which is secure and available to secure your belongings (under the lower bunks). Each 2nd class carriage has 1 toilet and basin, which is probably the worst thing about the journey, but the best thing about the train is the samovar - a container of boiling water heated by a coal fire, which can be used for whatever you want. It is also good how the tour companies seem to group westerners in one carriage so you can easily get to know people as most speak english. A separate carriage is used a s the dining car and is somewhat dubious, with overpriced food (more than you pay in a restaurant here) which is often still cold ...

L'Oreal Men Expert Shave Gel 12/09/2008

Extremely good for sensitive skin

L'Oreal Men Expert Shave Gel Canisters of the gel are sold for £3.29 for 200grams and it lasts at least months, well for me anyway. In my opinon this makes the product extremely good value. As it states in the title the gel is also extrememly good for people with sensitive skin. Speaking from experience here, i can say that i have never once experienced a problem with regards to irritation, whereas with other brands which claim to be for sensitive skin i have suffered rashes and other problems. The smell of the gel isn't bad either, but the most important thing - the actually ability to aid shaving is very good. I find my shave is much closer/neater when i use this product too. One small disadvantage is how sticky your face is after using it. i find that i nearly always have to have a shower in order to ensure all of the gel is washed away, which of course means it is a longer process. However all in all a very good gel.

Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre 16/08/2008

Man of the Jungle

Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre Sepilok is located about 30 minutes from Sandakan, a town in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo. The easiest way to reach it is by flying to Sandakan, which has connections with Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu and the near future plans to connect it to Australia will probably be put into action. From the town the best way to get put there is by hire car or by taxi, which would cost in the region of £5.00. The cheapest way to go is by bus. Minibuses ply the route to the centre and they leave regularly from the stand in town. Unfortunately few go directly to the centre and therefore you are forced to walk the last 2.5km from the main road. Upon arrival at the centre you must pay the 30RM entrance few plus a 10RM fee for your camera (about £1 = 6.4RM). The park is open from 9-12 and 2-4 and only varies its opening times very slightly throughout the week. Inside the centre there are a few things to do but not a great deal: a few plankwalks which allow you to see the different environments of borneo and of course the feeding of the orang-utans. They feed the orang-utans at 10am and 3pm. You have to get there well in advance to get a good viewing spot as it is usually packed out with organised tour groups, espically the earlier one. Monkeys are also plentiful at the centre and you can often see them playing around the quite good cafe which offers decent and fairly well priced food. There is also a visitor centre and a film room which provides a useful ...

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) 28/07/2008

Brunei Darussalam - the abode of peace

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei Darussalam is a very interesting place to visit. Most people arrive by air and the well appointed airport is only 15 minutes from the city. Most hotels will provide a transfer, with exception of the only true budget option which is the local youth hostel. Apart from that you can expect to pay in excess of 25 pounds per night, with prices rising to hundred of pounds for the empire resort. There asre buses from the airport to the central bus stand in the city but they are infrequent, although cheap at $1 (brunei dollar). Transport in the city is fairly efficient and in fact rarely needed, as its so small. As an avid walker i found i could get anywhere by foot. However the bus system is easy to understand and easy to use. Useful buses include the 39 which goes to the museum, 01 which goes to Gadong and 37,38 and 39 which all go to Muara. Taxis are also available but rather pricey and rarely needed. Finally there is also the wonderful water taxis, which are small boat that ferry people to Kampong Ayer and around, these are also useful for going up river to the interior. Accommodation is sparce on the budget end of things in Bandar and in my opion the best option is the Jubilee hotel - relatively cheap at 26 pounds but well appointed with various facilites and in a good location. Of course if you fancy splaching out there are a plethora of places to do so, especially the Empire esort, created by the Sultans brother. Eating in ...

Jubilee Hotel, Bandar Seri Begawan 27/07/2008

Best budget hotel in Brunei

Jubilee Hotel, Bandar Seri Begawan This hotel is, in my opinion the best budget traveller hotel in brunei. During my visit to Bandar Seri Begawan i spent 4 nights there and 1 night in the local youth hostel. The adavantages of the is hotel are numerous: 1. At 70 Brunei Dollars or about 26 quid its far less expensive than other hotels in the city and i think is pretty good value for money. 2. The services provided are plentiful including: concierge, internet cafe, restaurant (which is pretty good) amongst several other cafes, a few boutiques, a mini-mart and finally a tours desk. 3. The staff are extremely helpful and welcoming - they will advise on anything and make you really feel at home. 4. Rooms are well appointed with fridge (more useful than you may think), tv, good bathrooms and beds. 5. The location on jalan kiannegh is excellent - literally a two minute walk to all the city centre attractions and the bus station, if you fancy a walk it isn't too far to the more distant attractions such as the Brunei museum either. 6. They do a fairly good complimetary breakfast which includes an option of several cooked meals, toast and unlimited drinks. 7. They offer free airport transfers I reall think this is a great hotel and thoroughly reccommend it to anyone visiting Brunei - especially tourists

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur 27/07/2008

Good, but a rather annoying ticket system

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur Visited the Petronas Towers this year and to be honest i was very disappointed. I arrived there at around 11am after using the very efficient but rather expensive train system which takes you from the airport (although going up the towers is free). Upon arrival i discovered that no tickets were available for today. In fact the clerk told me that tickets sell out very fast everyday, especially weekends and holidays when malaysians often visit. Therefore is strongly reccommend anyone planning a visit to get there as early as possible (as you can't prebook tickets either). This mean that if you're just in transit like i was then you probably won't be able to make it in time as the journey from the airport takes upwards of 50 minutes and thats if you make all train connections perfectly. However within the complex there wasa very good mall, which is good if you have some time to kill. It has a very well appointed food court too, which serves excellent and cheap malaysian style fast food. From street level the towers seem impressive but are very hard to get a good view of, especially as they are so high. From further afield it is nearly impossible to see them completely as other surrounding buildings often block the view. However a good tip is to sit on the left hand side of the train on the way to the airport and at certain point you will have excellent views of the city including the towers. ...

Petzl Myo XP Head Torch 27/07/2008

One of the best all-round head torches

Petzl Myo XP Head Torch I bought this head torch for a round the world tour this year and it held up wonderfully. At first it seems a very expensive product and in many respects it is - you are lucky to get it for less than $100 or 50 quid. However within a few weeks of using it you realise its worth. Unlike previous head - torches i have owned this one came with a separate battery back, containing 3 AA batteries, which is connected to the strap and sits at the back of your head. At first i thought that this would be cumbersome and annoying but in fact, when wearing it, you don't even realise it is there. Apart from the the 2 possible negative aspects of price and the battery pack , listed above, i really cannot think of any other downsides, however the advantages are numerous as i will detial below: 1. It has a useful little LED which flashes different colours according to the amount of battery power left - a very useful addition, especially when torches easily lose light with lower power outputs. 2. It has a boost button, which isn't as impressive as most people would wish it to be but still provides a good addition. 3. It is capable of projecting a more concentrated beam (greater distance) or witht eh plastic lens over the bulb, a wider field of light albeit with less distance. This feature is probably the best aspect as friends with other models are always complaining that they don't have a torch that provides adequate lighting for spotting something out in the distnace and ...

LittleLife Lifeventure Trek Towels 26/07/2008

Super-absorbant little towel

LittleLife Lifeventure Trek Towels I purchase one of these about a year ago and it has been fairly good. There are many advantages this has over a regular beach towel, but the disadvantages are also highly apparent. But firstly the advantages: 1. It is unbelievable small compared to a regualr towel and with its size comes a huge decrease in weight too. Now although this is especially important for trekkers and backpackers it is also useful for holiday makers who want to save that bit more space in their suitcase. 2. Unlike normal holiday towels this one is super absorbant too. They are very small and you only just keep your dignity but with this tiny towel you can easily dry your whole body. 3. They are very soft too, which i suppose is connected to their absorbancy, so when you lay it down on the beach its actually nice to lay ontop of it unlike the rather rough towels from yester year. Now like all products there are of course the downsides, although they aren't that numerous with this towel. 1. It is very small which at first is an asset but when you come to dry yourself can pose a bit of an embarassment! 2. If a towel can be stylish this one is not - it contains no pictures of famous celebs printed on it but for me that isn't really a disadavntage although for some it may be a thing they feel necessary for a beach towel to truly be a 'beach towel'. 3. The case that it somes with is also rather awkwardly shaped that means its hard to get the towel back in without screwing it up ...

Lifesystems Expedition 50+ Insect Repellent (100ml) 09/04/2008

One of the best insect repellents around

Lifesystems Expedition 50+ Insect Repellent (100ml) I bought this product this year after previously owning the 100 deet repellent, which is far stronger. However i will have to say that if i had the choice against i would definitely buy the 50 instead and for the following reasons: 1. It is not as smelly as the 100 deet and therefore if you plan on walking into nice restaurants or just being with company in general you can get away from it, unlike the stronger stuff which makes you smell like a chemical plant. 2. It is far stronger than any home-brand names you get on the High Street and therefore i found that after a 3 week trip to a malaria infected area i hardly had any mosquito bites. 4. Although it is strong enough to keep all mozzies at bay with exception of the dreaded piri piri fly, it is not strong enough to really damage your clothes or make your skin feel uncomfortable. 5. At £3.99 its very well priced and in fact one bottle would last for several applications a day for at least a couple of months. All in all i really cannot find a downside to this repellent and woulld reccommend it to anyone who wants to keep the insects at bay, but if you're doing some serious jungle trekking you may want to go for the dtronger deet in addition to this

Lifesystems Expedition 100 Insect Repellent (50ml) 09/04/2008

This will melt plastic!

Lifesystems Expedition 100 Insect Repellent (50ml) I took this repellent with me when i went to Venezuela a couple of years ago now and some aspects really impressed whilt others were slighlty worrying. With regards to the good aspects, well it killed pretty much everything and meant that over a month long period in the tropics i had very few mosquito bites. It was also very easy to use as it only required a quick spray on the exposed areas unlike coils and incense burners which require some fiddling. It also stayed on the skin for a remarkable amount of time considering how much i sweated in the heat. In fact i only had to re-apply twice possibly thrice a day. At 50ml there is plenty for a month long trip and i actually had a quater of a bottle left when i came back so i would reccommend purchasing this amount as oppose to carrying a larger bottle and spending more money on something you may never use. Howver there of of course the negative aspects although there are not many. The most important one i feel is the strength of this deet repellent. At the end of the day you should expect something strong if you want protection in the jungle, but i warn you this stuff will melt plastic and that is not an exageration! Its also rather smelly and if you are planning to be in nice hotels or restaurants at any time during your trip then i would not use this as you will smell like a chemical lab for most of your trip. Overall in my experience i believe this repellent is particualrly useful for people going into the ...

Ibis Budapest Vaci ut, Budapest 09/04/2008

A nice budget hotel

Ibis Budapest Vaci ut, Budapest I stayed in this hotel of February of this year and it wasn't all that bad. I wouldn't have choosen it if i was looking for anything remotely like a bit of luxury as it is very far from it. But if you are having a city break and just want somewhere to crash it is perfect. The rooms are very simple and most have a balcony, although it isn't really somewhere you would want to sip a G and T and admire the view. as the hotel is surrounded by Soviet-Style concrete blocks. However it does provide some fresh air to the somewhat small rooms. Although they may be small thought the rooms are very clean and in good condition. The bathroom is well equipped and the additon of thermostat controlled heating is very welcomed in the Hungarian winter. The hotel overall is adequate but nothing to make a song and dance about. There's quite a poor gift shop and the receptions staff don't speak very good english, but it's good enough to be able to check in. Breakfast was from 7-1o and til 11 at weekends, which was good if you needed a lie in. However it wasn't a brilliant breakfast by western standards, but not bad really. The location of the hotel was very good, a short walk into an area with some good bars, clubs and restaurants and a underground station is located right in front of it, very useful for getting round the city. Price is also an adavtage with this hotel - at £40 a night for a twin room its very reasonable. Overall i would reccommed this hotel to anyone who simply ...

SanDisk Cruzer Micro - USB flash drive - 1 GB 09/04/2008

Very good for day-to-day use

SanDisk Cruzer Micro - USB flash drive - 1 GB I bought this usb storage device about 8 months ago and now i always carry it whereever i go. It was very easy to start using and as soon as i plug it into any comuter it is instantly recognised. Then as soon as you select it under 'My computer' you are able to view the file you have stored on it. After the initial set-up it has continued to perform and is very reliable. I don't think that it has ever not been recognised by a computer and it never crashes. In terms of the all important issue - capacity, its great. At 1 gig it can store in excess of 250 songs and almost double the amount of photos. However i use my stick primarily for documents which i need to have with me at all times and for that it is perfect. I would definitely reccommend one of these and i would estimate that the price must have come down to well under £15 by now

LaCie Mobile Hard Drive Design by F.A. Porsche 300803 60 GB 09/04/2008

A very reliable storage device

LaCie Mobile Hard Drive Design by F.A. Porsche 300803 60 GB I have had this hard-drive for a far while now and i must say that i have been very happy with it. It isn't anything special and there aren't really any advantages over other portable hard-drives. However it's main asset is it's reliabilty. This relaiblity is what makes me reccommend this hard-drive to potential buyers. For me it is better to have a storage device that will work everytime you connect it to the computer rather than something flashy which looks stylish - not to say that the lacie is hideous. In terms of performance the lacie ticks all the boxes again. It is quickly found by the computer as soo as its connected and then its very easy to find in the 'My Computer' folder. Conncetion is done by either/both wires which are both USB compatible, on older computers i found i had to connect both wires but on my relatively new one it only requires the one. Capacity is probaly the maim issued when deciding which hard-drive to buy and this one has plenty - to be precise 60 gig which equates to 15,000 songs or 25,000 photos (approximately). Price also comes into the equatiob when purchasing anything really and again the lacie comes out fairly well as i think it sost me about £60 and compared to other models thats about middle market pricing. I would say that overall the lacie is a very good drive. It is probably slightly large to carry round for day-to-day use but if you want something to back-up photos on or any documents in fact it is ideal ...
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