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since 07/03/2007


DeLonghi KG49 Coffee Grinder 24/04/2010

brill bean basher

DeLonghi KG49 Coffee Grinder Having re-ignited my desire for decent coffee I was fortunate enough to receive a De’Longhi KG49 coffee bean grinder. At 22cm x 13cm x 11cm and weighing in at 0.8kg, when empty of course, the KG49 is a small but perfectly formed coffee bean grinder that takes up minimal room, and in its matt black finish it looks sleek and stylish and is a great kitchen appliance. I have only seen the K49 in black and am unsure whether it can be bought in alternative colours. The K49 is tough, durable and feels solid. All components look like they are made out of good quality materials and during my period of ownership I have had no problems or faults with my K49. De’Longhi do provide a 12 month manufacturer’s warranty from the date of purchase for that extra piece of mind, although based on my experience of not only the K49 but other De’Longhi products I doubt this will be required. It is nice to have nonetheless though. The KG49 has the capacity to grind up to 90g of coffee beans in one go, which the manufacturers claim is enough for 12 cups. For such a small appliance I find this a staggering amount and think that it is more than enough. So whether you are the most popular person in the village, or a complete loner, the K49 is likely to grind enough coffee in one sitting to satisfy all guest, or not as the case maybe. The K49 has a decent length of cord, about a meter, which should be more than enough for most consumers. On the bottom of the K49 there are anti-slip rubber feet ...

You, Me And Dupree (DVD) 21/04/2010

Two's company and three's a crowd

You, Me And Dupree (DVD) Please note that this is a review of the film only. I do not watch the bonus features, director’s cuts/commentary or anything else apart from the main feature therefore I cannot comment on these aspects of the DVD. Written by Michael LeSieur and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo “You Me and Dupree” is a story about a long term friendship that was released back in August 2006. Synopsis Carl and Molly Peterson are two newly-weds looking forward to a long and happy life together. Having recently moved in to a new home in a nice area, both have good steady jobs and things are definitely looking sweet. However, their world is about to be shook up by Dupree, a lifelong friend of Carl. Having found out that Dupree lost his job and home, just so he could be present at the wedding, the pair start feeling guilty and let Dupree stay with them so he can sort himself out and get back on his feet. With Dupree starting to outstay his welcome and Molly wanting him gone combined with Mr Thompson (Molly’s father) applying pressure Carl is starting to feel the pinch and paranoia about his position as ‘man of the household’ sets in. Will Dupree ever go? Will the friendship and the marriage survive this tough test? Does a name really make a man? My opinion Finding this film in the comedy section of my local DVD shop, and starring Owen Wilson, I was under the impression this film was going to be quite funny and whilst I knew it wouldn’t have me in stitches throughout I ...

This Is England (DVD) 19/04/2010

Thug life

This Is England (DVD) Written and directed by Shane Meadows “This Is England” is a violent film portraying the skinhead gang culture that was released back in April 2007. Story line The year is 1983 and Shaun (“Thomas Turgoose”) has recently lost his father, which has made him in to a confused, angry and highly-charged child. School is not going well and Shaun finds himself the target of many bullies. After a particularly hard day at school Shaun meets up with the local “skins” gang consisting of Woody (“Joseph Gilgun”), Milky (“Andrew Shim”), Gadget (“Andrew Ellis”), Banjo (“George Newton”), Lenny (“Frank Harper”) and Lol (“Vicky McClure”). Woody takes pity on Shaun, and despite Shaun’s tender age, takes him under his wing and invites him to the join the gang, much to the disappointment of Cynth (“Jo Hartly”), Shaun’s widowed mother. The gang use Shaun as their lifelike Barbie doll and turn their new recruit in to a smaller and younger version of themselves and a “mini me” is born. The gang continue their binge drinking, vandalising, terrorising, robbing, smoking and drug taking way until Combo (“Stephen Graham”) descends on the gang. Unbeknown to the gang Combo and Woody go way back and Combo’s plan for Woody and the group backfires somewhat as the group disbands and loyalties divide. Whilst Woody and his aides disappear back to the streets, Combo has bigger ideas for his newly formed gang and starts to influence his opinions on them. Things don’t go smoothly as Combo’s mental state ...

IGg iPhone Camera Telescope Case 12/04/2010


IGg iPhone Camera Telescope Case Browsing for i-phone accessories I stumbled across a 6x zoom lens that was claimed to not only be used for taking pictures further away, but also turn the i-phone in to a portable and mini telescope. Personally, I think the idea behind this product is great, and prior to purchase I could foresee many, many uses. However, in reality it is little more than a gimmick that fails to deliver in almost every way which is most disappointing. At a very cheap £4.99 (from Ebay) the box contains the 6 x zoom lens, a crystal clear plastic case with a horse shoe shaped clip on the back, screen wipes and an instruction guide, 95% of which is in Chinese, but then given it is a bit of an “idiot proof” product it’s not such a big issue. Using the product is simple and involves; Inserting the i-phone in the back section of the plastic case (the front section may be used for additional protection although it is not really needed) Inserting the lens in to the horse shoe shaped clip; and Starting the i-phone camera application Whilst the see through case can be used to protect the i-phone at all times, even when the lens is not being used, I would not recommend this. Not only do you have to remove the front of the case to use the i-phone but the case is cheap and nasty and it looks like it. Whether up close, from a distance or at various angles this is one nasty case. The plastic is inferior and unshapely and simply awful. There are many other prettier and better quality cases to ...

MoneyManager (iPhone Application) 09/04/2010

Managing finances with an i-phone

MoneyManager (iPhone Application) Mobile Money Manager is another i-phone application that I have found, downloaded and used extensively. It is a service that is provided by a third party company, the Monitise Group Limited. Setting up the Mobile Money Manager service is exceptionally simple and involves entering a few details about yourself, your bank account and current debit card details. Once all the information is complete and sent to Monitise they will then seek to verify the user information with the user’s bank before issuing a pass code allowing the user mobile access to their bank account. The whole process takes about two days with inputting details taking about 10 minutes and the remaining time in waiting for Monitise to perform the security checks and issue the passcode. Once set up the service predominantly allows the user to; *View account balances *View a mini statement *Set up text services (whereby you are alerted of your weekly balance or if your *account goes over or above predetermined limits) *Top up PAYG phones In addition to the above there are also options to; *Manage your account (giving the opportunity to rename your account, update card details or remove the account) *View your recent history *Add additional accounts (but only Natwest, Lloyds TSB, Alliance & Leicester, RBS or Ulster Bank at present) This application is very user friendly and an absolute doddle to use. Even though there is no user guide, one isn’t really needed anyway, you will soon find ...

Cif Cream Lemon Fresh 07/04/2010

CIF.....JIF.....Whatever - It's still too retro

Cif Cream Lemon Fresh Wikipedia informs me that CIF actually stands for the “Canada India Foundation”, and not the brand of cleaning products consumers have rammed down their throats at every opportunity. Hmmm, there’s something not quite right here. Now then, if I typed in JIF I’m sure I would have got the answer I was looking for. That was the brand name that captured the hearts of nations. That was the brand name I grew up with and if anyone mentioned the word JIF then an image of a predominantly white bottle with a green lid would instantly appear. Well, that was the case until January 2001 when JIF was rebranded as CIF. Some say it was the result of streamlining advertising activities for the global market. Some say the name changed because many Europeans had problems pronouncing the name. Whatever the reason, it should have been left well alone. “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it”, so what was the point? And it really is a stupid name. A previous house mate of mine used to shorten the STD to “Syph” and whenever we were in the supermarket the same immature joke about CIF cleaning cream followed by an immature giggle. Thinking about it, that’s what I think the name of this re-branded JIF is - a big joke. In the Beginning.......... In 1969 CIF, I mean JIF, was released in France. According to the marketing spiel it became a household name through the skater adverts which how scouring powders, which had historically been used for cleaning purposes, could scratch and cause damage, like ...

Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pollo 06/04/2010

German + Pizza = Poor

Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza Pollo General The Ristorante Pollo Pizza is made by Dr Oetker. The packaging is attractive and shows a large picture of the pizza, which actually looks quite appetising. One thing I noticed is that when my pollo pizza came out of the oven it looked exactly like the picture on the front of the box, which really surprised me since the cooked food product seldom looks “like it should on the packaging”, but it did in this instance. The back of the box is completely covered in narrative writing, and at first glance I was expecting an information overload on the Dr Oetker brand, the company ethics, the pizza range etc. etc however on close inspection there is very little information given and simply states this pizza is “Richly topped with tomatoes, cheese and chicken breast fillet on a crispy, thin base” and then provides the extensive list of ingredients used. The reason it takes the entire back of the box to give this information is because it is repeated in 12 languages, suggesting this brand is exported all over Europe. As well as the expected chicken, cheese, salt, tomatoes, oils and fats, sugars and other ingredients this product also contains more potent things such as garlic, oregano, wine and vinegar. Although there are some powerful ingredients in this pizza they are quite difficult to identify (well I couldn’t spot them but maybe my palette isn’t as sensitive as it should be) and no one ingredient overpowers the others. The mix of ingredients is spot on and they all ...

Tesco Value Spanish Vino de Mesa 04/04/2010

Surprisingly good plonk

Tesco Value Spanish Vino de Mesa With so many different types available I find choosing white wine a difficult task especially when looking for something ‘new and different’, therefore I usually end up buying what I know I like which is a bit boring. Standing in the wine aisle of a local Tesco waiting for the other half to choose a ‘new’ bottle (although I knew for a fact we would end up selecting one of the normal brands we buy) I noticed a carton which, being amongst a sea of glass bottles, caught my eye. The carton was a Tesco value branded Vino De Mesa wine which, according to the carton is “An uncomplicated, light and refreshing white, with fruity apple flavours”. Getting bored whilst waiting for the inevitable to happen, I put a carton in the trolley and with the decision made walked away to the checkout. Packaging This wine is only available in a carton, and since there aren’t too many litre cartons of wine available spotting this product amongst the rows and rows of wine in glass bottles is not a problem, however if you still can’t find it the corporate red, blue and white of the “Tesco value” brand is stamped on the top left hand corner. It is normal for Tesco value products to be packaged in a tin, box or carton that is solely red, white and blue and it is blatantly obvious that it is a value product. The packaging of this wine, however, is different. The value branding is discreetly stamped in the corner of the carton and the rest of the carton is liveried up in an attractive green ...

iMapMyRide (iPhone Application) 02/04/2010

A GPS training application for the i-phone

iMapMyRide (iPhone Application) What is it and how does it work? This application works in conjunction with Mapmyride, a program which plots data from a GPS system on an onscreen map to provide various training statistics. Upon firing up the application you’re presented with the home screen with a number of options including profile, routes, training, FAQ and tell a friend. The profile page shows your last workout (time and distance) the total time and the total distance. It also shows your own goals (and the percentage complete) and your stats. This screen is for information purposes only and it is not possible to amend or edit this data on the i-phone. To do this you have to go the main mapmyride website via your home computer. The routes screen stores the last 10 routes recorded. From this screen it is possible to see the distance and actual route on Google Maps. There is also the chance to see the elevation profile of the routes, which are static (and quite boring) for my native Norfolk routes but in hillier areas it is quite interesting. The training screen is like the routes screen, however it shows the data (including date, type, start time, end time, duration, distance and pace) for your last 10 workouts. As with the route Using the application This application is exceptionally easy to use and involves setting the application running on the i-phone, pressing the ‘record’ icon and then pressing the ‘start’ icon. The screen will then change to show the pace, min/mile, average speed ...

Lindt Lindor Egg 01/04/2010

Stylish, smooth, sensual but can get sickly

Lindt Lindor Egg For those of you interested in Lindt (as a company), the history, the ethics, the products etc. I suggest you visit the website, which is easily located via Google, as this review is going to be solely about the Lindt Lindor egg, and more specifically, the one covered in red, white and gold foil as pictured in the Ciao catalogue. Compared to other similar chocolate egg type products, I refer to Cadbury’s Cream Eggs and the like, the predominantly metallic red foil wrapper with subtle white and gold graphics is understated and quite plain which is stylish sophisticated and adds a touch of class which complements the Lindt brand perfectly. Personally, I prefer this understated look especially over the (in my opinion) garishly in your face colours of the Cream egg, which are not only dated but also look very gimmicky and quite tacky, although I appreciate this has become the “corporate colour scheme” and branding that consumers associate with Cream eggs, so it is going to be difficult to change it without a huge marketing effort which could potentially fail, like other re-branding efforts like the Marathon/Snickers to name but one. With a net weight of 28g and a price tag of £0.59 the Lindor egg is not only smaller but more expensive than many of its rivals, but this is generally the case with premium products and the consumer pays more but get less, although this is to be expected. After all you wouldn’t go to one of Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants, pay a lot of money ...

Fulcrum Racing 7 Wheelset 29/03/2010

That's how I Roll

Fulcrum Racing 7 Wheelset The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels are made by Campagnolo and are the entry level racer wheels making them an affordable upgrade to standard stock wheels. These wheels have an aluminium rim, aerodynamic profile and machined braking surfaces, complete with that all important wear indicator (to let you know when you have wore the wheels down and they need replacing – and for those of you non-cyclists out there I can assure you it is possible to actually wear out wheels in a few months of hard use). The front wheel has 20 2 mm spokes and the rear has 24 spokes. These spokes not only improve the aerodynamics of the wheels but they also help to make it strong and durable enough for heavy riders and uneven roads full of potholes. Despite being made by Campagnolo they are compatible with all drive train systems, including Shimano (including 8, 9 and 10 speed models) and SRAM (the two main rivals of Campagnolo), which means all cyclists can use them. With the front wheel weighing in at 855g and the rear wheel at 1,075g the Racing 7s are not the lightest wheel set around but they are lighter than standard stock wheels and you will definitely notice the difference, which should mean improved hill climbing, sprinting and acceleration. Campagnolo describe the Racing 7s as “high quality wheels at an affordable price” and I am inclined to agree with this claim. The first thing I noticed about these wheels are they are absolutely bomb proof. I have been using these as training wheels ...

Colgate Triple Cool Stripe 25/03/2010

One for the pearly whites

Colgate Triple Cool Stripe Unless I am after something special or in particular, such as being ideal for sensitive teeth or having effective whitening properties etc. toothpaste is simply toothpaste. It is nothing more than a fast moving consumer product with many different brands, all of which are pretty much similar, I will favour either the cheapest, the one with multiple savings or the first one that comes to hand in a busy supermarket. I find there is nothing worse than reaching around the un-kept, dirty and BO stinking people who like to be in the way in my local supermarket. I’ll be honest here and state there are only three reasons why I bought this particular tooth paste from this particular company, and these include; 1) I will review almost anything and I have never reviewed toothpaste before, although I have to admit that I have never really been inspired to or been so passionate about a particular type of tooth paste that I felt the need to. 2) I like a challenge and reviewing a bog standard product that, at first glance appears no different from many other types of tooth paste available, is quite a challenge. 3) It is ‘product of the week’, a writing competition that I enjoy entering (when I have actually had some experience of the product that is),although there is one prolific writer who is not only very talented but has such a captivating style that most of us other members end up fighting for second and third place. However, one day my fellow member and you know who you ...

Crank Brothers Speed Lever Tyre Lever 24/03/2010

Crank it up

Crank Brothers Speed Lever Tyre Lever The Crank Brothers Speed Lever is a tyre removal and installation tool that is ideal for all cyclists. Whether you ride a mountain bike with big chunky tyres (although most of these can be removed and re-fitted by hand and without the need for tyre levers), a touring bike, a BMX, a hybrid or a fully fledged racer the speed lever will assist with the removal of all tyre types. Cycle tyre removal can be a tricky process, especially when dealing with exceptionally tight racing tyres with full wire beading, and usually requires the need for two (and usually a three) separate tyre levers. The speed lever is totally unique in both design and use, and all tyres can be removed with just the speed lever. Using the tool is simple and the tyre removal process simply involves; i) Hooking the plastic hook under the tyre bead ii) Extending the telescopic arm and clamping to the skewer iii) Turning the wheel so you are looking at it face on; and iv) Applying pressure and pulling the tool towards you using the skewer as a pivot point As well as removing the tyre the speed lever will help get the tyre back on once the inner tube has been patched or replaced. Installing the tyre involves; v) Putting a bit of air in the inner tube to give it a bit of shape vi) Inserting the inner tube in to the tyre vii) Putting the tyre back on the rim, by hand and then the tool As most of you are probably aware as the tyre goes on it gets tighter and tighter and you will get to the ...

Stanza (iPhone Application) 21/03/2010

i-phone Ebook Reader via Stanza

Stanza (iPhone Application) What's this Stanza all about then? The Lexcycle Stanza i-phone ebook reader application is, as its name suggests, a i-phone application that turns your i-phone in to an ebook reader that is capable of dealing with ebooks in all the ‘usual’ formats (such as PDFs) enabling you to carry your whole book library (in addition to your film/movie and music libraries) around with you at all times. Sounds good, but where do I get the ebooks from? Using the Stanza application ebooks can be directly downloaded to the i-phone from an ebook website of choice or, alternatively from one of the various ‘Book stores’ (accessed through links that are included in the application). The links included In the application are for All Romance Ebooks, Smashwords, Feedbooks, Random House Free Library, Try Harlequin, Project Gutewnberg, Books From Munseys and many more. Some of the books are free but most you have to pay for prior to downloading, which is to be expected. I must admit that I have not downloaded a pay for book directly on to the i-phone although I have downloaded a free ebook. The process is exceptionally easy and fool proof and it is simply a case of following the onscreen instructions however the download time is very, very slow (even using a wi-fi connection) so it is not something that I would recommend unless you are desperate to get a particular book and downloading to the i-phone is the only way you can do this. If there is an ebook library set up on the home ...

Seskimo Crabble iPhone Stand 18/03/2010

The Crappy Crabble

Seskimo Crabble iPhone Stand Seskimo originally developed the Crabble to support the i-pod touch and allow hands free viewing of music videos and films. Based around the i-pod touch, the Crabble is suitable for the i-phone and it is i-phone owners that the Crabble is aimed at in the first instance. In a nutshell the Crabble is a plastic coated piece of cardboard, with no slip bands, that when constructed, I say constructed but simply mean “folded”, serves as a holder for the i-phone/i-pod touch. Seskimo claims the Crabble is suitable for other devices (MP3 players, multi media players, PSPs etc) although these products need to be “largely symmetrical devices less than 16mm thick and 65mm wide. To work in portrait format (the Crabble enables both landscape and portrait formats) the device needs to be greater than 50mm wide”, therefore it may be used with several mobile phones, PDAs and other such devices. The Crabble is available from many internet retailers, all of which sell it for around £6.00, which compared to other i-phone holders is cheap. The Crabble is available in many designs enabling you to really personalise your i-phone accessory. My experience of the Crabble I was looking for something small, sturdy and functional. I didn’t need the charging/syncing dock so my requirements we minimal however the selection of products was limited. Spending time on the internet the same product kept coming up again and again, which was the Crabble. The pictures, all with the Crabble holding an ...
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