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Sad news. I may have gone quiet but ciao got me some much needed extra coins. Such a shame. You ciao folk are legends.

Reviews written

since 10/11/2014


Grupotel Mar de Menorca, Minorca 06/07/2017

Brown Rain Included

Grupotel Mar de Menorca, Minorca Introduction I'll keep this brief. We went on holiday. We did stuff. We ate stuff. Drink was imbibed. Aeroplanes are witchcraft. Glasgow airport is crap. Then I wrote a trip advisor review and thought bugger it, I will ram it on Ciao too, because I can. Frankly it's a rubbish review but unlike me of old, it features facts and no waffle. And mental images of me pooping. Enjoy! Facts and words After booking the holiday in our local Barrhead Travel via Thomson, the most useless holiday company available, We visited here at the end of June 2017 and after having been booked for over a year, we were very excited about the holiday. Simply put, this hotel is ideal for people with very young children who want to do little but stay at the pool. The hotel is 15 minutes from the airport. Menorca is 2 and a half hours from Glasgow. Check In From Hell Check in started the holiday but due to a very disorganised and poorly thought out reception area, we queued in the hot Sun for over an hour to check in and as we arrived at 8.30, meant we missed the full dinner and had to settle for the dregs of lettuces, bread and some cheese. Be prepared for this check in as it really will wind you up after travelling for hours. After you have lost your temper waiting, you will be given pool towels which can exchanged throughout your stay for clean ones, a welcome pack, and meal times card. The Lay Of The Land The hotel consists of the main building featuring the reception, ...

Epson Ink Maintenance Tank - waste ink collector (C12C890501) 25/04/2017

Stick One In And Roller Blade Like A Print Boss

Epson Ink Maintenance Tank - waste ink collector (C12C890501) Introduction So, a review is it? Yes, I have found 3 minutes in which to squeeze out a review of something, and holy crap it is boring, short and details possibly the most niche and specific item imaginable. Hold on to your hats folks - we are talking waste ink maintenance tanks. Yeehaw. The Epson C12C890501 Maintenance Tank What is one of those I hear no one caring about? Well, if you own a massive Epson wide format inkjet printer - which I know you all must do as they only cost upwards of a grand, then you will need to buy expensive consumables to run it - including a maintenance tank. But what is a tank o' maintenance? Well, it is essentially a collection area for wasted ink especially for when your inkjet heads have become encrusted with cloggy ink and you need to clean them to get your printer all shiny and professional again. When you perform a head clean, the ink that the printer purges to sort the clogginess has to go somewhere as it certainly can't be left to drip off onto the floor because of a lack of paper being printed on - so instead of making arty rainbows on a studio floor, the ink goes into this Epson Maintenance Tank. Goody. So what? Indeed, who cares. But without this tank, the Epson wide format printer's would not work and would shout messages of evil at you. Made from some 'printer cream coloured plastic', it is rectangular - super. It has a grate over the top. Smashing. And under the grate are some not very state of the art Cotton pads tightly ...

Lego Technic 42037 Formula Off-Roader 15/02/2017

Life: Weeping Willow to Lego Coffin

Lego Technic 42037 Formula Off-Roader Long Winded Introduction The other day I looked in the mirror. Then I looked at my eldest child who is within sight of being eight years old and therefore should really have a job chimney sweeping or shining shoes, and I thought, "bugger, I am getting old". Grey hairs are appearing, I am becoming conscious that my hair is starting to look more like a tree in January than a weeping willow in July, and above all, I have started complaining about literally everything - idiots with large exhausts, idiots in Audis, idiots in Audis with large exhausts, politics and how much I would love to bang certain current and former nationalist leaders' heads together really really hard, and the cold. I hate the cold. It's stupid and tedious and annoying, especially when your parents announce once a month which hot country they will visit this month to get 'some sun'. Time certainly seems to change a person and of course, one's opinions about people in Audis. However, lately I have discovered that there is another way that shows you how quickly you are moving through life and how things are changing. Life seems to speed up ten fold the minute you have a bottle of Valdepenas Reserva, and some adult fun resulting in the production of a brand new gooey human money sponge and I have discovered that Lego is actually a huge clock of life and an indicator of your ageing. Right now, I have passed through the Duplo phase, the Lego Junior zone, the Lego City and Speedster years, and now, I have ...

Lego Ideas 21302 The Big Bang Theory 09/02/2017

Knock knock knock Lego, Knock knock knock Lego....

Lego Ideas 21302 The Big Bang Theory ...Knock, knock, knock Lego My son loves Lego. And by loves Lego, when he is eighteen, he will probably build himself a girlfriend out of Lego, because he can, and not because he will need to. His collection of Lego has been divulged on Ciao to the slightest detail, and the good news is, you lucky, lucky people will shortly have to sit through more Lego nonsense in the very near future….However, I am sick of building 'his lego projects' as he can't be bothered and just wants the end result so he can drive a Ferrari at his bin lorry and create a huge brick accident. I therefore never get to enjoy the fact that at the end I can 'play' with the Lego, so last year after it was clearly recognised by the members of the united nations of sirodar, that I might like to have my own lego project, I was bought some Lego. I was smug about this, and i decided to be a child about it and when asked by my eldest 'Can I help Daddy?' I politely told him to bugger off, as this was my project. The project in question is a depiction of a very famous scene from one of my favourite television series, The Big Bang Theory, and I was most excited about what clever things may be lurking in the box ready for me to construct! To the man cave!! I'm not insane - my mother had me tested The Review Lego Big Bang Theory Deluxe Limited Set Ah The Big Bang Theory. If you haven't seen TBBT, then you will have no idea what you are reading here - which is a problem I admit, so bear with me. The Big Bang ...

Bosch Tassimo T45 Joy 06/02/2017

White Elephants Make Good Pets

Bosch Tassimo T45 Joy Introduction A few years ago, we decided that we would have a wood burring stove installed in our house, which I reviewed in a terrible way many years ago, and I believed that it would be a great novelty for five minutes before we couldn't be arsed chopping wood, buying kindling and firelighters, storing old newspapers and cleaning up dust. However, the stove ended up being the best £1400 we ever spent and aside from the the three or four months in the summer, it is on everyday, and I really enjoy the act of axing wood to bits like a Canadian, and getting the highest heat I can in some kind of fire challenge. Our Aga stove however seems to be an exception to the rule - because when we were married, we were given some interesting gadgets and things and also some useless stuff that seemed like a good idea at the time. Things like sandwich toasters, which in theory are brilliant, because you can basically make a toastie from anything that is lingering in the fridge like dodgy cheese and an old egg with half a courgette and a gherkin - however, the sandwich toaster that we owned made about four toasties before we got bored cleaning it so it became good friends with the George Foreman grill at the back of the cupboard. So many devices are like this. Smoothie makers, juicers, that posh coffee plunger thingy, bread makers and many many more. So, aside from the odd exception like the stove most of these gadgets are a fad. However, recently, a new member of gadget land appeared ...

Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Take-N-Play Harvey 30/01/2017

Will they ever run out of names?

Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Take-N-Play Harvey Short Intro Bread and butter. We all like it…probably. Well, this review is indeed some bread and butter. It is going to be short, because if I pad it out with tales of woe and a slathering of horror, people will throw objects at me….so….. My son is obsessed with trains - in fact, he has two career paths that he has not decided over. He will either be a professional ninja, or a train driver. He really can't decide. However, right now, he is back enjoying the delights of trains - ones with names and faces, and for Christmas he requested a train he did not possess and was therefore not fully in control of Thomas world. This bloke's name is Harvey, and good old Santa Claus brought him one which made him chuffing happy. What is an 'Harvey' you ask? An Harvey is a train from Sodor. I say train - he is more of a sort of mutant. He is both train and crane - a crane-train. So in that respect he is indispensable and will never be unemployed being a multi-tasker and all. Harvey is from the Take N' Play range of Thomas stuff and as such is designed to go on that cheap looking grey plastic track. Being from take n' play land, Harvey is made from modern 21st century components like….deep breath now…Die Cast Metal (Oooooh!) and space aged plastic (Ahhhhh!). Harvey looks kind of old fashioned and retro with his nicely painted red body and gold 'go faster' stripes. With black trim, a huge name plate the size of a Sandero Stepway badge and a chubby looking face, he certainly is a ...

Sony ICF-C1 27/01/2017

Zero, Seven, Zero, Zero...ATTACK!

Sony ICF-C1 Introduction Once upon a time, a child was born. No not the baby Jesus, but my second contribution to planet Earth's burgeoning population. As my youngest 'non Jesus' child began growing, he demanded many things in the way of sustenance, clean buttocks and knowledge so he could slowly begin his plan to turn us all into mutant reptiles to do his bidding in an act of world domination. However, before he could start the conscription of us all into his mutant army, he would need to learn how to tell the time so he could organise battle strategies, work out what time to enact death and destruction and also to work out what time his meal of chicken pie and chunky chips would be ready by. Sadly, and very recently, my youngest had to mourn the passing of his first beloved war clock - his Gro-Clock. It's demise came with a 'fizz, fizz, fiiizzzzzz…..dead'. So after a lovely ceremony and a burial in the ash and potato peelings of 'le bin', it was time to buy a new doomsday clock. After a false start with a DAB Bush Clock Radio (£15.99 and crap) which lasted 24 hours before packing in, I told the shop to take a look at themselves for selling such tosh, and then instructed them to give me a Sony ICF-C1 Alarm Clock Radio. Having owned Sony clock radios since I was fetus, I know they are pretty much indestructible - ideal for a wannabe dictator. The Review - Sony ICF-C1 Clock Radio Cube Yes, Yes, Yes, I know. Who buys a clock radio these days, is what you are all thinking? Well, my ...

Alba LED 19 HD Ready TV/DVD 24/01/2017

Super Massive Monkey Power Included

Alba LED 19 HD Ready TV/DVD Introduction We said we would never do it. We always felt that being maybe eleven or twelve would be much more sensible. However, we realised that when we were drafting up the children's Christmas present requirements….in August, we realised that they were spoilt and appeared to have too many things. We therefore didn't have a clue what 'Santa' was going to bring them this year. So, after much debate over coffee and cakes, me and my wife decided to get our panic keys, and simultaneously opened the emergency 'what the hell do we buy box' and bought the chimps their own TVs. We knew that it went against everything we said we would do when our children crawled into existence because we were going to be good parents and the outside world, badgers, trees and worms would be their play things. However, these plans have turned into mush. Now, our clones are just normal humans obsessed with Ninjas, Trains, Lego, Kevin, Dave, Buzz Lightyear and Peppa Horse. A punishment which used to involve banishment to their rooms, is null and void for a time until I remember that removing the remote control might help with the punishment…then I remember that the TV can be operated from the unit itself without the remote. On the plus side, I can actually watch Netflix in peace. What…have…we…done??? The Review The Alba 19" LED HD Ready DVD Combi I am cheap…no wait…frugal…no wait….genius, because, when I was researching the hell out of televisions, I wanted the cheapest TV I could get, that ...

Epson Expression Premium XP-635 21/01/2017

Paper Yes, Bosoms No

Epson Expression Premium XP-635 An Introduction I work (I say work - I mean attend) at a printers so as such I am able to 'steal' printing whenever I fancy. I mean, I steal time by writing silly reviews for a few coppers, so why not printy things? So, as such I have little need for a home printer although we have always owned one for the odd occasion you need an emergency copy of your passport or the kids need something random for a school project. I have owned at least half a dozen printers over the years and while I have dabbled with Kodaks, HPs and Lexmark, I have in the most part always bought Epson printers mainly down to the print quality and reliability. In fact, I once bought an A3 Epson in the early 2000's and my local college which I attended wanted to borrow it because it was better then theirs. I told them to 'sling their hook' and not to be such a bunch of cheap local authority underfunded wallies. So, fast forward many months, less hair and more children, to today, where I now own another Epson Printer. This time its fancy and does many things using science and pixies - but instead of calling it something cool like the Epson PrintBoss, this one is called the XP-635. Catchy! The Review The Epson XP635 Inkjet Printer Well, what have we here then? Well, we have a little home desktop printer for all your 'printing needs' such as printing (obviously), scanning, photo copying and gathering inordinately high levels of dust. All useful functions…except if you have allergies of course. The ...

Hoover DNCD813B 17/01/2017

What A Weird Fish Tank

Hoover DNCD813B Introduction Am I back? Meh, not really, but work appears to be suffering due to a concoction of weird events transpiring such as because Leicester won the premier league, Nicola Sturgeon decided she is Joseph Stalin, America has gone completely insane and leaving Europe has given everyone an excuse to raise prices and spend less money on things and stuff. So, here is a coughed up review. It's not brilliant, it's not interesting but I get given an opportunity to slag off the world stupidest Tumble Dryer. This was bought because one fine day in the kitchen, an explosion occurred followed by a small trouser accident. As it transpired, our Beko DRC68S Tumble Dryer has gone 'kablammo', and that now meant I would have to spend money. Sarcastic 'yay'. The Review What We Bought What 'Mastercard' bought was a Hoover DNCD813B Freestanding tumble dryer. It has also been given a fancy name so marketing people in extremely thin glasses can use as as an advertising makeweight. This 'buzzword' is AquaVision, which sounds jolly excellent because it is two words duct taped together. This 8kg tumble dryer is 'bang up to date' apparently with many 'exciting' features to allow you to dry children's bears, ninja turtle under-crackers, manly boxers and that mat that goes round the front of the toilet in a quick and efficient way. We bought a black one, mainly because white would have looked stupid in our kitchen and because black looks cooler in a black tiled room. Anyway, who really ...

Renault Scenic Xmod 1.5 DCi Dynamique Nav 10/10/2016

Pimp My Baguette

Renault Scenic Xmod 1.5 DCi Dynamique Nav Introduction In my time on Ciao, I have detailed my ownership of two cars in many waffle reports - A dreadful miserable pile of potential death, also known as a Vauxhall Barbecue…I mean Zafira, and a little beige donkey who was a Renault Scenic. I also reviewed two cars that I was going to potentially replace one of those cars with, both of which were Romanian budget cars called Dacias. However, last month, we received the sad news that our precious little donkey, was getting on a bit and that he would very soon need enough work done to him to rival a Z-list celebrities bosom. So, the very sad decision was made to move him along before we saw him collapse with one last eee-orrr, and we went off and finally, after a year of tyre kicking, bought a new car. Did I finally stop winding up our local Dacia dealer and buy a Sandero or a Duster? Nope. For some inexplicable reason, we didn't. But what we did buy will have made our local Renault Dealer even happier, because we bought a Renault…again. A Scenic…again. With a 1.5 Diesel engine…again. Yes, like Sheldon Cooper, change is frowned upon it would appear, but instead of buying a bog standard Scenic made entirely out of the fur of the beige tree, we bought a Scenic which had been beefed up a bit to give it a bit more…pimpage. Worryingly, and even more bravely, I bought it without seeing it as hopefully, because it only had 200 miles on the clock, it should be essentially brand new. It might have been awful. I might be trapped ...

Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Take-N-Play Rattling Rails 10/10/2016

Can A King Cobra Vomit A Train?

Fisher Price Thomas & Friends Take-N-Play Rattling Rails Introduction and Brain Excretion This is ‘the’ year. The year when both my children understand the concept of Christmas, try to understand how Santa works with the flying sleigh and reindeer, how he can get down the chimney, into the stove, how he opens the stove door, how pixies and elves make toys and then brand them with Wilko logos and how he manages to re-materialise inside the living room with the presents. The conversations, and yarns I have had to weave to keep this magic believable is quite astonishing. Even down to the fact that, right outside our window, the cloud that is there has cameras in it to watch my children to make sure they are not beating ten bells out of each other. Last year, I explained to my children that they must not be up when Santa comes as he will not be chuffed to see them up - luckily, my son saw an Easyjet flight going over the house at 7pm last Christmas Eve, and in the Brazil Olympics next year, my son will be taking part in the 100 metres because based on the speed he ran to his bed after seeing ‘santa’ flying over, he will win a gold medal and make Usain Bolt look like a drunk and damaged tortoise. On the build-up to Christmas, my children tend to make present lists from around February and this is both premature and hopeful to say the least - however, this list writing will be beneficial as both Christmas and Birthday ideas and despite the fact that over the year, they will change their minds umpteen times about what they want. My ...

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (DVD) 10/10/2016

When Patience Is Rewarded

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (DVD) Introduction Another Saturday and another evening approached and as usual, the Freeview guide read like a what’s what of utter crap. Watching, yet again, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I felt that it may be time to find something I hadn’t already watched dozens of times, so to Netflix I scarpered. However, It would appear that Netflix UK is rather less populated than US Netflix, and I am running out of things that interest me. However, as I almost gave up, I noticed a Title which I vaguely remembered seeing a trailer of whilst at the cinema a couple of years back, and thought that desperate times called for desperate measures. The film is entitled ‘The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet’, and struggling to remember the trailer’s content, all I had to go on was the picture on screen featured a young boy pulling a trailer with some wide frontier style font festooning the image, and a 14 word description of the plot - we were both rather skeptical, but decided to plough on despite the potential arty nature of the film and the many French Canadian names attributed to the film. Would it be an arty waffle fest of inexplicable confusion or would it be a hidden under marketed gem that almost everyone has missed? A Film Only Review The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet Released: September 2013 Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Famous for the film Amelie) Produced by: Frederic Brillion & Gilles Legrand Written by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant Music ...

Keter Factor Shed 10/10/2016

Inspired by American Newsreaders

Keter Factor Shed Happy May everybody Inspired by American Newsreaders Introduction Modern day Earth has changed markedly since people were using clay pots and beating their respective partners in order to drag them into a cave for copulative shenanigans. Life consisted of getting up, picking up a huge wooden club and heading off to kill a Moldovan Red Crested Hyena to cook for dinner over a large fire while chanting and being scared of comets and moons. Predominantly, the traditional tools of a knuckle dragging cave dweller included the afore mentioned club, and if the Flintstones has taught us anything, hammers made from a stick and some rocks. Oddly, many knuckle draggers use similar tools these days, but instead of using them to kill their dinner, they use them to steal cars, hold up a Spar and rob little old ladies for their pension money. These tools are essentially blunt, basic and not especially suitable for intricate jobs in the area of eye surgery, dentistry or mechanics. So some clever humans, many hundreds of years ago, learned how to make organic based plastics from egg and blood, and then from the mid 1800s more egg-heads created synthetic plastics made form cellulose which could be moulded into many things like bowls, chairs, and eventually Ted Danson’s face in Three Men and a Little Lady. Plastic made everything possible, primarily because unlike wood, it did not rot and hence did not require to be painted every year when used outside. Also, plastic does not corrode, ...

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro 10/10/2016

A phone that doesn't know what it is...or does it?

Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro Six of one, half a dozen of the other When it comes to many things, I am now set in my ways. I like routine, and I like doing things the same way. I also like to stick with something that works rather than be adventurous and try something outlandish. I would love to try skydiving, but in the back of mind is a huge fluorescent sign that says 'you will be killed to death'. Yes, that all sounds really dull and boring, and yes it probably is. But it works for me now. To a lesser extent, I was like this with mobile phones. I had a nice slim Sony Ericsson phone in a lovely metallic brown colour (or mocha as they marketed it), and it had something that has long since disappeared from modern phones. These things were called buttons. There is something solid and satisfying about pressing a button - a click of something happening is a nice feeling, however as this phone was getting a bit beyond what I needed it to do, I needed a new phone but I was determined that I still wanted buttons, but I also wanted a smart phone - maybe I could make a transition slowly and find a phone that could do both before moving fully over to a smart phone that was button-less. Oh the decisions and pondering. So much to mull. Luckily, one night in bed, some pixies or they might have been fairies, were watching me and were aware of my wishes to have a phone that performed two things well. They must have been employed by Japanese electronics manufacturer, Sony, who within weeks of my wishing for a hybrid ...
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