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Due to time constraints, I am unlikely to be able to find the time to rate members that have received 3 times as many rates as they have given, apologies.

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since 27/02/2011


Krinner V4 94410 Christmas Tree Stand 18/11/2017

Do we mind the Germans helping us at Christmas?

Krinner V4 94410 Christmas Tree Stand First impressions If you are looking to buy a Christmas tree this year then you have a number of options. We are over the whole real Christmas tree phase, and we feel an artificial tree is more practical. I think we have stuck it out longer than most people do, but I understand those that have always had real trees, and always will have real trees. If you insist on buying a real tree this Christmas than how do you plan on securing it in situ? We used to use a bucket and some bricks, though I am not sure how this was sturdy! When we discovered the Krinner Christmas Tree Stand we knew we had found a very safe way to secure what is quite obviously a very heavy item in your living room. With electricals and other expensive items around, the last thing you want is for the tree to fall! Not only could you face a big repair bill, but the little fairy will struggle to survive the fall! Matching the tree we have the Krinner Christmas Tree Stand in a dark green coloured plastic. It may not sound too appealing, but once you realise this is a German engineered product, and seen as the Germans do Christmas so well, I think I trusted them. My experience We have 5 different sizes in the Krinner Christmas Tree Stand range. I will give you a rough outline of what each one offers, and which size stand you will require for the tree you have in mind of buying. The ‘Basic Small’ stand is designed for a tree approximately 1.8 metres in height and with a stump diameter of 9cm. The stand ...

Lego Star Wars 75525 Baze Malbus 17/11/2017

Baze Malbus- Lego figure.

Lego Star Wars 75525 Baze Malbus First impressions The Star Wars and Lego partnership is something I often admire – they have come so far and had so much success down the years. Everyone loves playing with Lego, especially from a young age. The Star Wars films do appeal to youngsters, but I think that because these 2 brands also appeal to adults and crucially parents, this is where much of the success comes from. Parents buy what they think their child will like, and with 2 very successful brands coming together like this they can indulge themselves at the same time as their child. The set we have here is part of this Lego and Star Wars partnership, and we have Baze Malbus, a warrior from the ‘Rogue One’. This set is part of a range of Star Wars characters, and these figures are often collected over a period of time, with children encouraged by their parents to build a collection that could one day be worth some money. My experience This particular build has a grand total of 148 pieces to it. This doesn’t seem a lot, and to be honest it isn’t. The box is of a fair size, and you may be a little disappointed with the contents to begin with. Once you pick up the glossy coloured instruction manual and start putting the pieces together you will soon learn that this is a good quality item. The detail is certainly there, and Lego show their experience in sets like this, with figures such as this one carrying more detail than you would have imagined. Build time is still fairly short, but Baze Malbus ...

Mattel Octonauts Action Figure Rescue Kit Kwazii & the Slime Eel 16/11/2017

Octonauts Kwazii and the Slime Eel

Mattel Octonauts Action Figure Rescue Kit Kwazii & the Slime Eel First impressions It could be argued that it is very difficult to buy the right things for small children, but it is worth remembering that they have such short attention spans with toys you should not be offended if they don’t take to what you give them straight away. On a recent break away for the week we realised we didn’t have any bathtime toys for my nephew to play with. He ALWAYS has toys to play with in the bath, and we had to improvise with a couple of plastic cups and a bowl. This wasn’t so bad because they entertained him as I poured water from a height and he caught it in his cup. With a couple of days left of the trip away I hastily bought the Octonauts Action Figure Rescue Kit ‘Kwazii and the Slime Eel’. This is quite a mouthful, but the name is bigger than the set! In this set you get 7 individual play pieces. We have a treasure chest, a large blue net, a water squirting slime eel, a pale blue snail, a puffer fish, Kwazii, and finally his helmet for allowing him to go underwater. The set is compact, but as a bathtime set it was interesting to see how my nephew would react. My experience I had heard of the Octonauts brand before this purchase, but I am not at all familiar with the characters. These sets are designed to be played with on dry land, but can be used in water safely, too. Each of the creatures change colour in warm water, and this is fun as my nephew sees them transform once he holds them in his hand under the water. He noticed instantly as ...

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76071 Mighty Micros Spider-Man Vs Scorpion 15/11/2017

Lego - Spiderman V's Scorpion

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76071 Mighty Micros Spider-Man Vs Scorpion First impressions It can be very difficult to keep a child entertained with just one thing for very long these days. My eldest nephew is constantly changing course, running from one activity to the next. He will not sit down and do one thing, so it would be fair to say we are all worried about spending a load of money on something he isn’t going to give the time of day to! What we have here is a set from the Lego range, and the theme is Marvel Superheroes. Everyone has a favourite Marvel Superhero, and mine would have to be Iron Man. There are a few worth consideration, and this particular set I am reviewing contains one of the most popular choices – Spiderman! The set we have here features Spiderman and his vehicle, complete with spider for attack! His opponent is Scorpion, and along with the scorpion in his hand, he has the scorpion tail, and his vehicle also has a pair of pincer-like arms! Overall the looki s very basic, and the vehicles have not had a great amount of imagination put into them, but you are buying a pair of minifigures and vehicles, little more. My experience It is clear to see that the set is small, but I am not going to let that put you off. There are just 79 pieces in this set. Whilst this is a fairly low number, this set isn’t all about size. This is a compact yet fun set to enjoy for a few moments, and it certainly isn’t going to keep a child entertained all afternoon! In the set we get 2 minifigures – Spiderman and Scorpion. These are both ...

Dell SE2416H 14/11/2017

Dell SE2416H 24 inch monitor

Dell SE2416H First impressions When you are looking to buy new electrical items you might just be drawn to what something looks like and the brand that is behind it. I think we all do this to some extent, even unknowingly. The monitor I am reviewing here was a recent purchase, but with the Dell brand attached we knew we would be in safe hands. We have owned a number of Dell items, including other monitors, laptops and desktop computers, along with various accessories. It would be fair to say that this is a brand we trust, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from sticking to brands that they have built up trust in. It is worth mentioning that this is a 24 inch monitor. To be precise, this screen measures 23.8 inches, and so it is a fairly substantial piece of kit. The box wasn’t all that heavy when it was delivered to our door, but it was larger than we had expected. We thought that buying a smaller or same sized screen would be a step backwards or like standing still, but buying a bigger monitor each time you replace your current model is not the way to go! This is a good looking computer monitor, and the instant attraction for me was the adjustability of it. You can adjust the monitor to suit your seated position. I sit higher in my chair than others in the household, so I can raise the position of the monitor by hand, nudging it gently upwards. The technology behind it is simple but very effective, and you must remember that most monitors are fixed to their stand and just have the ...

Mega Bloks Halo Wars Covenant Banshee 13/11/2017

Mega Bloks - Covenant Banshee

Mega Bloks Halo Wars Covenant Banshee First impressions I must admit that I was never a fan of the Halo games series. The Xbox series of games consoles were not something I became too involved in, but I do have experience of playing on these consoles and this game. I suppose it was the genre that let the game down for me, as I was never a fan of this type of game. Still, the graphics were breathtaking, especially when the game was first introduced. What we have here is the Mega Bloks equivalent of the Lego and Star Wars partnership. We have a range of Mega Bloks Halo inspired building sets that are collectible, but how well have Mega Bloks executed the design? Remember, anyone that has experience of the Halo computer games will be running a keen eye over the design, but we are of the opinion everything is as it should be. In fact, looking at the Covenant Banshee this is a good representation of the original design, so what could possibly go wrong? My experience The Mega Bloks set we have here consists of the Covenant Banshee and a Crimson Covenant Elite Pilot. This figure carries a plasma pistol, and the colours work well as we have this very eye-catching deep purple scheme going on. Obviously this reflects the colours from the computer game, but this is a great choice in my opinion, and everything appears to be going well. The build process is an important aspect of any building set like this. We do have glossy instructions, but I don’t think they are quite up to the standard that Lego provide us ...

Mega Bloks First Builders Bag 11/11/2017

Mega Bloks - First Builders Set - Numbers

Mega Bloks First Builders Bag First impressions There are many different types of building blocks out there when you take a look. The most popular for very young children has to be Duplo, though what we have here is a brand by Fisher Price called Mega Bloks. Mega Bloks are just an alternative, and although we have always had a slight preference for the Duplo brand, my nephew has acquired some of the Mega Bloks bags aswell. The blocks come in a material and plastic bag, and this makes them easy to store away when he isn’t playing with them. Obviously they must all come out every time he sees them, but this handy storage sack is a great idea, and much better than boxes that are easily torn and not as flexible in accommodating the different pieces. The bright colours are the main attraction for a child, but the challenge and educational value is also seen as attractive, both to adults and their children. My nephew is 2.5 years of age, and he absolutely loves anything which involves building and using his imagination. Although he loves dinosaurs and helicopters, he does like the fun number sets. He isn’t ready to learn the alphabet just yet, but he knows his numbers, and there is an alphabet set just like this when he is ready for it! My experience This set contains 30 pieces. This does seem very low and I would have to admit it is one of the smaller Mega Bloks set. This said, we have the numbers 0-9 and many other brightly coloured ‘Bloks’. Some of them have images on, such as a face and ...

Nike Bag Men 10/11/2017

Nike Training Holdall

Nike Bag Men *I believe that the image Ciao have chosen for this product is wrong. Either that or Nike have started selling girlie handbags for men! First impressions One of the largest sports shops I am aware of is always having one big, constant sale. I am a sucker for this type of shop, but when I needed a night bag for a trip away recently I decided that it was time to replace my current holdall and buy something a little more compact. My holdall was huge, though when I say ‘was’ I do still have it! With a 55 litre capacity the Nike Brasilia Large Holdall is just the right size for all my clothes and electricals for a few nights away. In terms of the design there is very little to get excited about. I was drawn in by the price, but the large white Nike logo on the side of the bag and the otherwise completely black fabric holdall ticked all the right boxes. Things you look for in a bag like this are side pockets, the size of the main compartment and the straps that it comes with. These were all considerations I took into account. My experience In terms of the strap we have a fairly typical setup here, with 2 handles which come together in the middle and can be secured together with Velcro to create a comfortable handle for carrying. We have one large adjustable shoulder strap if you wish to put some of the strain on your shoulder and for heavier loads, but this bag was literally carried a couple of times in and out of the cottage, and I didn’t buy this bag to carry it long ...

Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs 09/11/2017

Tomy Hide and Squeak Eggs

Tomy Hide 'n' Squeak Eggs First impressions I am not sure how or why the product we have here was put into production, but I am glad it was. The Tomy brand is well-known in the toy industry, and what we have here is a fun toy that is both entertaining and educational. This is just what parents want to buy, and as it is a compact toy it is a winner, especially if you are wanting to store toys away and bring them out to give your child something a bit different. One toy we like to get out for our nephew is a box of eggs. A what?! A box of plastic eggs in a yellow plastic egg box from Tomy. The Tomy branding is clearly written on the top of the egg carton, and we have half a dozen brightly coloured egg heads in the box. You may be wondering how this is either fun or educational, but all will be revealed shortly. My experience This toy could be considered a nice Easter gift, though my nephew was bought this present for Christmas last year. My sister is not keen on letting my young nephew eat chocolate, and as an Easter gift it makes perfect sense! The toy lives up to expectations as it is basically a box of squeaky eggs! Each egg has a fun expression on it, and they are all presented in a white colour. When you press the eggs down they make a shrieking sound. This is surprising and fun at first – at least for the child! After a while this can become irritating, but my nephew loves hearing this noise and giggles as he pushes down on each egg in turn. The base of each egg has a different shape to ...

Golden Bear Mr Tumble Fun Sounds Musical Car 09/11/2017

Mr Tumble Fun Sounds Car

Golden Bear Mr Tumble Fun Sounds Musical Car First impressions Mr Tumble is a firm favourite in the house when my nephews come to stay. It would be fair to say that Mr Tumble is very cunning, or at least the producers behind it are. With various clips of children with disabilities played throughout the 15 minute long episodes, and with Justin (the presenter) using sign language as well as speaking, this is an interesting educational tool for young children. Not only could they learn sign language, they will learn to understand about various disabilities, and it won’t be such a taboo subject as it appears to be in some instances in modern society. Mr Tumble is a fun and educational programme, and this needs stressing over what I have just described. Mr Tumble is sure to get up to lots of fun and funny things during each episode of the show, which ran over a 10 year period for almost 200 episodes. My experience Mr Tumble has a car, and the set we have here contains just that. Mr Tumble’s brightly coloured car cements his position (in my eyes, anyway!) as an official clown! The car has a pink dickie bow with red spots on, along with light blue bodywork, bright yellow bumpers and red wheels that stand out a mile. Mr Tumble is sure to get noticed, and the chances of him being able to use this vehicle in a ‘crash for cash’ setup are very low! Mr Tumble’s car stands at around 15cm in height, and Mr Tumble is around 10cm in height. The roof of the car lifts up easily, and the lightweight plastic construction means ...


RAC Vac - like a mans final breath.

RAC 12V HAND HELD WET AND DRY CAR VAC First impressions Convenience is a word that springs to mind when I think of cleaning my car, particularly the interior. I don’t wish to spend hours bringing the home vacuum cleaner out towards my garage, and using such a tool which requires a plug socket can create even more challenges. Extension leads follow, and before you know it you might wish you had just vacuumed the entire home instead! The RAC brand is one you may trust, but to be honest there is a huge difference between a company coming out to rescue you at the roadside, and a company that creates a vacuum cleaner for keeping your car interior nice and tidy. These divisions of the brand couldn’t be further apart if they tried, but the RAC brand is certainly a selling point. Whether you just want to whizz around the car interior whilst you wait for a passenger, or you wish to give the car a thorough clean at home, a handheld vacuum cleaner could save so much work setting up the whole process, and surely have a 12V connection will make things much simpler? My experience There are a small number of attachments for the end of this car vacuum cleaner. We can use it solo, without a tool attached if we wish, but the tools do come in handy, especially in tight spots. First up we have the crevice tool. This is an item you will have noticed on your vacuum cleaner, though this one is obviously a lot smaller and shorter. The short length does mean that suction is not compromised too much, but to be honest, holding it ...

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76073 Mighty Micros Wolverine vs. Magneto 07/11/2017

Lego Wolverine V's Magneto

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76073 Mighty Micros Wolverine vs. Magneto First impressions It would be fair to say that habits and interests have changed over the years. I weren’t around when kids used to play in the streets with their ‘Whip and Top’ and other traditional toys. These days they are seen gathering in groups on the streets, causing problems for residents and generally being a nuisance. If they are at home they are likely to be playing on a games console of some description, and it is therefore more important for parents to educate and engage their children in more civilized activities. One such brand is Lego, and this is a brand that has kept kids of all ages entertained for many years now. This particular set is part of the ‘Mighty Micros’ range, and with Wolverine and Magneto doing battle we have a battle scene ready to be enjoyed. This range is full of these more compact sized sets, making them ideal as pocket money purchases. Sets in this range can be mixed up and added together to create much larger battles between characters, but lets concentrate on what we have here in this set. My experience The set does look rather small and it would be fair to say this is the case. The box is small, so Lego are not trying to con us into thinking this is a larger set than it is, and with just 85 pieces in the set this is not going to give a child the biggest challenge of their life so far. This total number of pieces includes 2 minifigures (Wolverine and Magneto) and their vehicles and a small number of accessories. Wolverine has ...

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76072 Mighty Micros Iron Man Vs Thanos 06/11/2017

Lego Marvel Iron Man V's Thanos

Lego Marvel Super Heroes 76072 Mighty Micros Iron Man Vs Thanos First impressions Kids these days do prefer to sit at home playing with their games consoles and communicating via social media, but the more practical games are both a challenge and a form of entertainment, and are still enjoyed by youngsters today. Once a child reaches their teenage years they are likely to have largely grown out of this sort of thing, but the Lego Super Heroes range with Marvel aims to prolong the interests of children to these sets. This particular set pits Iron Man against Thanos, with each of the Super Heroes sets having a different combination of Marvel Super Heroes in it designed to save the day. This is one of the smaller sets in the Lego range, but it will still give a child many hours of enjoyment. The set is designed to be added to with other Super Heroes sets, culminating in a large gathering of some of the most superior Marvel characters. This set contains 2 minifigures and 2 vehicles, allowing you to just about get away with calling it a set. The box doesn’t disappoint you, as it is already quite small, so you are not tricked into thinking this will be a larger set than it actually is. My experience This set does look small, and once you have built the individual minifigures and vehicles this will become even more apparent. There is a grand total of 94 pieces in the set, and with few accessories the majority of these pieces are in the vehicles. Iron Man has a Micro Car featuring dual rocket thrusters, and he carries a trusty wrench ...

Lego Technic 42048 Race Kart 05/11/2017

Lego Technic Go-Kart

Lego Technic 42048 Race Kart First impressions You will probably have heard of the Duplo range from Lego for very small children. You are also likely to be aware of the main Lego range, with its wide appeal in terms of the subjects covered and the ages that this range is designed for. Moving on to a more ‘technical’ range we have Technic, also by the Lego brand. This is a more technical range and is designed to challenge a child more, but also gives you more freedom to be creative and to build things that look more lifelike. Gone are the building blocks, replaced with lots of very individual pieces. The set we have here allows you to build 2 very similar models. We have a race kart and a track car. A complete rebuild may be required to move from one build to the next, but they look similar because they use the same parts, with the same colour scheme and size. My experience I have always felt that the Technic sets are completely different than the standard Lego sets you see with the building blocks. There are still plenty of similarities when it comes to what you get in the box though, with a glossy and colourful instruction manual and a step by step guide to building each model on offer. With these 2 in 1 sets you are obviously actively encouraged to dismantle one build to create another, and this increases the likelihood of a child wishing to deconstruct and then construct, as opposed to sitting with one model and only ever building it fully once. This set contains a total of 345 pieces, and ...

Panasonic NT-DP1BXC 04/11/2017

Panasonic Toaster

Panasonic NT-DP1BXC First impressions If you are looking to buy a new toaster or even a toaster and kettle set then you should seriously consider some of the ultra stylish designs on the market at the moment. I must admit that the Panasonic NT-DP1BXC is a very stylish and futuristic model indeed, but it is also a model harder to find as it isn’t widely available these days. This model was released a few years ago now, which came as a surprise to us as we bought this model last year for the new kitchen. Panasonic is a brand I associate with camera equipment and electronics such as TV’s and audio systems. I was a little surprised to see this creation in their range, but it was in the running for the mantle of our latest toaster, along with some more established names such as Russell Hobbs and Breville. As you may expect with a Panasonic product, features are plentiful. We may not receive a remote control with this gadget, but we get everything else! My experience I could see the features list on the side of the box, but I couldn’t really compare this to anything. One statistic I wasn’t so sure about was the wattage, and at 850 watts this is certainly not the most powerful of toasters we have owned or come across in the past. This 2 slot toaster is extremely good looking, but other than performing well as a kitchen ornament it needs to be able to perform on a morning. The solid black finish and stainless steel body work well together, and we have an ‘engage’ button that looks the part ...
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