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**What a BEAST!** We were very fortunate to pick this suitcase up from my family member because it set him back a whopping £140, and that was in the sale! I've seen them in John Lewis for £200 but would imagine you could pick one up cheaper if shop around. Try Ebay maybe. I'd really begrudge paying so much for a case, but if you have the money quite happily, its definately worth consideration. If you are looking for a large, stylish and very secure case, that is going to do an excellent job of protecting your belongings - consider this case. I'm really glad we were given it and have had alot of use out of it so far. **Design** Silver and Grey in colour, the Samsonite Graphite is a large case with an 88 litre capacity. It weighs in at around 5.5kg which is quite heavy, so thats something to take into consideration when travelling abroad because with it being full, its going to have an impact on those scales and allowances! On top of the suitcase is an extendable handle that pulls out so it can be easily pulled along. Pulling the case gives a smooth ride thanks to the securely fitted wheels. I do find it pretty heavy to pull though so tend to leave it to hubby! I do pack the suitcase fully though, so it probably wouldnt be so much of a problem if I didnt have everything but the kitchen sink. The exterior of the case is very strong and it looks modern and smart. Inside the case is your main compartment with 4 seperate pockets which can accomodate items such like toiletries, phones, books, magazines, camera etc. A flexible shelf inside helps protect certain items and the picket storage and shoe dividers also come in really useful. I am easily able to pack 2 weeks worth of clothes in this suitcase and tend to use if for long stay caravan holidays. **Security** I particularly like the security on this suitcase due to the 3 pin easy to use locking system. Basically all you need to do is put in a 3 pin number so that your belongings and valuables are kept extra secure. **10 Year Guarantee** ......... definately testament to it's durability. It's built to last and the manufacturers know it! **Overall* I am very happy with our case. It's solid, sturdy and out of my many suitcases, is definately one of my favourites. The fact it was given to us makes it even more of a fave due to the massive price saving!
Black and Decker 3.6V Dust Buster A dust buster is a total must in my house as my son has been going through throwing crumbs and crisps everywhere. By the time my older two had added to the mess, I was absolutely sick of either dragging the hoover out or sweeping up. I don't know what goes on on my stairs either but they attract dust and bits like nobodies business. Again, keep getting the hoover out was becoming too much so .... Behold my Black and Decker Dust buster. I'd had 2 other Dust busters in the past but they went out of action during the years of having a family dog. He was the perfect dust buster in that he'd simply eat anything and everything. After losing our dog and our dust busters getting lost or damaged, I struggled for a long while without one. **Very Useful** Since moving into our home a year ago, I've never known a house to keep showing up so much dust. Another reason for investing in a dust buster again is the car is forever filled with crumbs thanks to my wee lil one and 2 teenagers. At the time of buying, it was a much welcomed addition to the home! If you can relate to any of the above, definitely consider a Dust buster! **Design** Lime green and white in colour, the Black and Decker Dust buster comes in a well presented box that's pictures straight away explain what it can be used for. Inside the box, alongside the dust buster is a stand that can be attached to the wall and a charger and 2 year guarantee. The handle end of the Dust buster is a generous size which makes it easy to hold and use. On top of the handle is an on/off button. The nozzle end of the dust buster has a large letter box shaped area use for sucking up the mess. The capacity of the dust buster is just 0.28 litres but with its purpose being for small jobs, it's plenty big enough to hold those crumbs. I only have to empty mine on a weekly basis. Emptying is really easy as it's just a case of twisting the 2 parts apart. Be aware that spillages can happen whilst doing this though. I tend to do mine over the sink, bin or out the garden. **Filter** Also be aware that hair and dust can build up and stick to the filter. Fortunately the filter can be washed and dried up quickly. The dust buster isn't as effective at picking up if the filter clogs up too much. **Charging** Charging the dust buster is by the mains and usually it's an overnight job. The charger lead plugs into the back of the unit and I would say that once it's charged, it lasts for about 10 minutes. That doesn't sound like a great length of time but its fine for its purpose. It's not like you're hovering the whole house with it. **Using the Dust Buster** .... Is very easy! It's not the lightest of Dust busters but for the 5 minutes its switched on for, I don't end up with wrist or arm ache. The suction is powerful enough for its uses, although I find it works best on a hard flooring, worktops and short pile carpets. I tend to get the hoover out for my long pile rugs as hairs tend to clog the machine up. Be aware of air shooting out of the back of the duster as part of its keeping cool process. This isn't good if I'm on the floor after my son has thrown rice crispies everywhere as the ones behind just blow and scatter elsewhere. The trick is to try to keep it as upright as your can but it doesn't always work. I haven't noticed this to be a problem on carpet, only my kitchen floor. **Uses** * Cleaning the car and boot * Crumbs in the highchair * Mess on the kitchen worktop * Stairs * Crumbs/Dust in nooks and crannies * Crumbs/crisps in the pushchair * Sawdust * Bits in the rugs or sofa * Toast crumb spillages Overall- A handy little buy that's a very useful tool for picking up dust, crumbs and mess. It's especially great for if you have a toddler.
Logitech Wireless Desktop MK250 Logitech is a very reputable company that produces high quality computer peripherals. I've often bought with Logitech and have yet to be disappointed. If you are fed up with trailing annoying wires, then wireless is definitely the way. This particular model of wireless keyboard and mouse is very reasonably priced at around £25. I'd recommend this set for those not wanting to spend any more. Its not expensive as some, but its reliable and along with being easy to set up, it has some handy features. **Easy Set Up/Included in the Box** Included in the box is the manual, mouse, keyboard and a USB wireless receiver. There are 3 batteries for the keyboard and 1 for the mouse. The wireless receiver plugs into the computer via the USB once its plugged in and it picks up the keyboard and mouse straight away. There is no fuss, no drivers to install and you really are wireless within seconds. Easy! **Keyboard** Firstly, I would say to invest in some reputable batteries that are made to last. Cheap £1 batteries will last about 2-3 days max whereas Duracell and the pricey batteries will last a good 2-3 weeks, so there is quite a difference! It all depends how much you are using your keyboard of course but definitely use the better batteries because constantly changing cheap ones can get annoying. I would also recommend switching the keyboard off when not in use. The off switch is on the back. Of course, you can move the keyboard around with it being wireless but I still tend to keep mine on the pc desk. I can sit on my reclining sofa chair 2 metres away and it still works but it's a bit pointless really because then I can't see the screen easily. The fact it's wireless makes for easier cleaning of desk and there is no annoying trying to yank the keyboard closer to you factor, like what happens with wired peripherals. I have the sensor in front of my keyboard as it fits well in that position on my desk. The keyboard is quick and easy to type on with a medium light touch (no hard pressing down). Response of keyboard is good and all my keys are still working after a years use. Is has some handy keys like internet, search, mail and calculator and keys that are useful with media files like sound, play and pause. It is best to note there is no caps lock light or power light on the keyboard so if your passwords aren't logging you in, its possible the CAPS is switched on. **Mouse** The mouse is simple and basic but it works very well as long as the batteries aren't wearing out. It has a comfortable feel to hold. IT has 2 buttons and a scroll wheel and works well. No problems with mine so far. It should be noted that the mouse isn't fancy at all but it works well. Overall - for the price, this wireless due is a great buy.
**A Bright Orange Watch?!** What on earth possessed me to buy a bright orange rubber watch?! Admittedly, it wasn't the colour, but hey ho- it's kinda funky looking and it matches my brightly coloured sports gear. Not that i'm seen in sports gear a lot, but due to dieting recently, I'm on a bit of a health fad. The Breo Sports Roam watch attracted my attention whilst browsing Amazon a few months back. More than anything it was the £5 price tag that caught my eye and it also matched my thoughts on it being suitable to wear with sports clothing (especially for out jogging). I didn't want anything fancy and to be honest didn't want anything that i'd be devastated at bashing or losing. Now that I've had it a fair while, it's really grown on me and I actually would be upset if lost it. Ahhh, I know.... women! **Design** It's a 'celebs' watch! Woo hooo! *cough*.... that's definitely not the reason I bought it or reason why I'd want to wear it but yes, many a celeb seem to be wearing these watches so if you're into your celebrities, you'd fit in well with your Breo! Made of firm and strengthened rubber, this very basic watch I would say, fits the average sized wrist. It is 16cm in diameter and very light at 10 grams. In my opinion its a funky, new and modern design, suitable for all ages really, but in particularly youngsters/teenagers. With it being so basic, it would also be ok for junior aged children, although it's definitely the sort of watch that an older person can wear as well and that's probably the great thing about this watch; it wouldn't look out of place on an older adult's wrist. It's very easy to put this watch on as you simply slide it on like you would a bangle. There are 2 other sizes as well to allow for different wrist sizes but I think the largest is 18cm. It's useful to note that the watch is water resistant up to 10 metres which is fine for swimming and great if you've left it on in the bath or shower. No need to panic at least! **Health benefits?!** The watch strap is made of Tourmaline and research states that it is responsible for lots of health benefits. Apparently it is known for aiding relaxation and improving ones mood. I can't say I've noticed this much myself but I only wear it for an hour or two and during that time i'm usually jogging along or on a high from listening to my music. I would say my heightened mood is more likely to be because I know i'm burning off some calories and am loving my favourite songs, rather than because i'm wearing a watch that magically makes me feel good. **Telling the Time** The screen of the watch is very small and as seen in the picture, it's digital. It's a bit of a strange read, because the hours are presented on the top line, with the minutes presented underneath. It's certainly a different way of looking at the time and is a ' cool' feature that makes it different to other watches I have. I don't have a problem reading the time unless am running fast, which let's face it, isn't very often unless the ice cream van's doing 60 lol. The time can be set to flash or remain constant. The flashing annoys me somewhat, so I have mine on constant. At the back of the watch are 2 buttons by which you set the date and time. You need to use a sharp instrument to do this so I tend to use a needle or pen. **Overall** This is a fab little sports watch, easy to put on, water resistant, sturdy and strong. So far over the 6 months I've had it, it's kept its time well. I must mention I am pleased because I had read quite a few negative reviews about this watch before purchasing. I haven't had a problem with mine so far and its good to know that it has a year guarantee anyway. Missing from this watch is a light. I only bothered about this when was out jogging at dusk a while back and struggled to read the time. It wasn't majorly disastrous of course but it would have been a plus for the watch did it have one. For the price tag, it's a nice little watch.
Marks and Spencer's Overnight Bag Purple purple purple! Definitely my colour. This bag is vibrant, stylish and with it's soft leather it could be classed just as good as any designer collection. I particularly like this bag for overnight stays. It's smart and professional looking and is great to take to work with me for those odd occasions that I may need to go to work and then straight on elsewhere for an overnight stay. It was a little expensive at full price but I bought mine in the sales so only paid £25.99 for it. Originally it was priced at £59.99 and I wouldn't have paid that for it, so I am glad of my bargain! **Design** Made of soft but sturdy top quality leather, the thick double rounded handles make the handbag easy and comfortable to hold or carry over your shoulder. The stitching on the handbag is firm and tight with no signs of looking like it may stretch or come undone. The stitching is the same colour purple as the bag and holds together the bag panels. The dimensions of the bag are 32.5cm in height, 49.5cm in width and 20cm depth. It is stated to hold up to 27 litres. The bag comes in a variety of colours but I like the purple the best. The deep red was also a nice choice and if I could have afforded it, I'd have bought that one as well. Contrasting herringbone fabric softly lines the bag inside and there is a zip compartment inside which I find useful to store loose change, keys, make up or my phone. The fabric just like the exterior of the bag is wipe clean. On the bottom of the bag there are 4 metal studs which saves the bag from getting scratched when you place it down on the floor. There is also a metal padlock and key with the bag, that is small but sturdy. **Weekend bag/What will it hold? ** This bag is actually larger than it appear in the picture. It's large enough for a weekend away, although packing the kitchen sink, it tends to suit me for an overnight stay. I am easily able to pack a change of clothes, shoes, pyjamas, hair dryer, make up bag and toiletries and some bits and bobs. **Durable and Retains Shape** I've packed and re-packed this bag lots of times and at times it's been bulging. It's very durable and retains its shape well, but its quite heavy when fully packed. It's been bashed around a few times (not on purpose) and sustained the bangs well. After months of use its still looking very new with no marks, although i do tend to worry about scratching the bag so I am particularly careful with it most of the time. The bag is very waterproof as I've been caught out in the rain a few times. Nothing inside has ever got wet so that's a plus point. Overall, I have many bags for daily wear, overnight stays, weekend trips and holidays. This bag fits well particularly for those times you are dressed smartly to smart /casual and it compliments many a different outfit. Most suited for overnight and weekend use, this bag is one of my favourites.
**For Fresh Juice Lovers!** Lob an apple in and away you go! Juice in an instant is what I wanted and that's what the Moulinex machine pro can do! If you love your fresh juices, and want to experiment with your own, the Moulinex is a good buy. Making your own fruit juices with this machine definitely helps aids healthy eating and provides you with lots of vitamins that you need. I must point out though; you need to use an awful lot of fruit to produce plentiful juice to drink. Is it worth it? **Expensive - Is it worth it? ** I don't agree that the price tag of £80 plus is worth it to be honest. I think that the price I paid of £30 second hand on EBay, is a much better price. I guess for those that are able to afford the constant bags of fruit to make juices daily, would get their money's worth, but I personally find that with 5 of us liking juices, it costs a lot of money to make juice on a daily basis and its far cheaper to buy readymade juices. Overall I am happy with the price that I have paid because I only get a certain amount of usage out of it. It's a nice item to have but if you aren't going to use it daily, I'd really shop around and get one for a much cheaper price. **Easy to Use** Basically it's just a case of feeding fruit (or Veg) into the tube of the machine. You can chop the fruit if you wish, but you really don't need to. I find it slightly less noisy if chop things in half first, but it's not particularly noisy anyway so I don't always bother. The idea of it anyway is that it can juice whole fruit, so why add to the time by chopping it up! The tube that you drop the fruit into is wide and sturdy and the machine itself is of a brushed steel look with a see through lid. Rubber feet on the base of the machine ensure it's safe and secure and another good thing is the feet make sure the kitchen work top is unscathed. The juicer is quite large so takes up a fair amount of space on the kitchen worth top. Be aware that it's heavy as well. I almost dropped mine when moving it recently which would probably have been disastrous, so be careful! **Capacity** The Moulinex pro boasts a 3 litre capacity which I've noted from having a nose at others, is one of the largest. 3 litres of juice is more than enough for the family, but like previously mentioned, quite a lot of fruit is used to produce that amount. It can get a bit expensive to use. **Powerful** The transformation from whole fruit to juice is very quick. The machine is very sturdy and well built and remarkably quiet considering the job it does. It's fast and very efficient and definitely has a 'Wow' factor about it. **Easy Clean** With lots of removable parts, the machine is very easy to clean. A cleaning brush is included with the juice which helps with the more difficult areas to clean. Although I don't have a working dish washer at the moment, it's also handy to know the parts are dishwasher safe. **Overall** I tend to use my juicer for apple juice for my toddler when we've run out of readymade juice. A bag of apples and we're away! I also make juices if we have visitors in the summer as your own juice makes for a real refreshing drink sat on the patio in the sun. It's all a bit of a mess to clean and it's really not as easy and as quick as opening the fridge and pouring readymade juice into a glass. We also have to buy a lot of bags of fruit which can be costly. Personally I don't think it's worth paying £80 plus for, but if you can get a bargain price or one for second hand it's a nice item to have and the juices are lovely.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Trolley Case Yay for .....The Very Hungry Caterpillar Trolley case! It's based upon a great story by Eric Carle. The story is basically a story about a caterpillar that munches its way through an array of food - cake, lollies, fruit and ice cream until he eventually goes through his transformation. We bought this from Amazon for about £15.99. **Design** Based upon the story, this is a very bright, soft bodied and fun children's suitcase, suitable for weekend travel or short trips away. If take abroad I would say this is only classed as hand luggage so its probably more suited for some toys, books etc. The size is 50cm in height, by 30 width, by 16 depth. The outer part of the case is made of green and red canvas with the front panel made of pvc which is of course easy to wipe clean. **Bright and Cheerful** The design is bright and cheerful with the hungry caterpillar on the front, surrounded by many pictures of the food he eats. The case has a pull up handle which can be locked once its pulled out. That's a handy feature for when my son is driving me do-lally with his constant pulling it out and pushing it in, although the downside is, it starts off a tantrum lol. There is also a stitched on handle on top of the case so it can be picked up quickly if needed (for crossing roads etc) **Basic** The inside of the case is very basic so nothing to write home about really. I bought it for my young sons clothes for weekends away because it was eye catching and suited the purpose at the time we needed it for. There are no pockets inside which puts it at a slight disadvantage to other cases we have but its fine for packing clothes or toys in. **My Toddlers Thoughts** As to what my son thinks of it, well he's just coming up to two and recognises the caterpillar as we have the story book. When we get it out for travels he says ' Ma Billa!' (caterpillar) and immediately he starts smiling. As with all other cases like this we have, he makes a play for messing with the handle. Yawn! But at least it keeps him entertained for a while! At 2 years old, he likes to try and pull it along which he is starting to master a little easier this past month or so. It does tend to fall on its side if filled with clothes though as its too heavy for his little arms. He knows its his suitcase though and is always excited to pack his little teddy in it for bedtime.
Swatch Marble Time Watch I received my Swatch Marble time watch as a gift last Christmas for my daughter who has now passed it onto me. 'Would you like this watch mum?' .... ' Hmmmm... Ok, whats wrong with it?' .... 'Nothing mum, but its ......' (at this point she's pulling a face, so I'm guessing by her facial expression that its just not cool enough for a 17year old girl - not my daughter, anyway!) Personally I think its far better for a 17year old girl than a 36 year old mum, but hey-ho, each to their own. We all like different things! **Design** This watch isn't exactly 'me', but I do like it's simple design and light feeling whilst wearing it. Marble soft rose in colour, the pink rubber strap covered in white little squares and random pink circles, has a silver 'Swatch' logo. I would describe this watch as suitable for every day use. The face of the watch analogue in design is shiny silver in colour. With digit format numbers ( pink in colour) and white hands for minutes and hours, the clock face although small, is easy to read. The clock uses quartz movement so a battery is needed. I have had this watch a year so far and not had to replace the battery yet. It's still been running whilst not being worn, so I would consider it very reliable. **Splash proof not Water proof** My daughter has already informed me that her friend with the same watch went swimming with it on and it no longer works, so I think its worth baring that in mind if you want it to last! I've worn mine for washing up, although have made sure its not been submerged and I'll wear it for washing. I won't wear it in the shower or bath though. My watch has had the odd splash and been fine with a quick wipe. **No adverse reaction for sensitive skin** Having sensitive skin is always a pain when it comes to watches. This watch hasn't caused a problem at all and I've had to redness or soreness whilst wearing it. The buckle is comfortable and doesn't dig into the skin either, which is something that usually bugs me about watches. **Complete with box - Makes for a Lovely Gift!** Complete with presentation box, this watch makes for a great gift. I would say its more ideal for a young teenage girl, or a young lady that likes her pink things! It's listed as a ladies watch, but I still feel its more apt for a younger teenager. It's design is a little too ' girly' for me, and if it wasn't so comfy, I'd probably not even wear it full stop. Overall - At an asking price of £50-£60, I don't think I would splash out on this watch as a gift. I believe I've seen nicer watches for that price and cheaper, however it would still make for a lovely gift for the right person!
New Look Rose Trolley Bag This eye catching pink rose holdall trolley bag from New Look was a purchase I made for our weekends away. 'Not another bag!' I could hear hubby say. Love my travelling bags though and better still, love a bargain! **Floral print... Hmmmm!* I'm not a massive fan of floral prints as they don't seem to match my choice of clothes usually but this bag was on sale for £20 down from £39, so won me over. Love a bargain! It's definitely one of the nicer floral prints I've seen and is easy to spot which is always handy. It's a bold pink rose print with green leaves set against a dark brown/black background. I do find when I use it I have to wear plain coloured clothing with it though because it can really clash against some clothes. It's one of those bags whereby you have to think about what you're wearing when you know you are taking it out with you. My daughter tells me this is a stylish and fashionable bag and yes, a par usual with my 17 year old, it gets pinched on occasions. I guess therefore it would make for a good present for a fashion conscious young lady. **Design and Purpose** Always on the hunt for bargain, like mentioned, I bought this bag for weekends away. My sister also has one and she uses it for hand luggage when going abroad so it's within the right weight and size specs for that too. The bag itself is made of a canvas material and looks like a holdall with a handle on each side so it can be carried easily. With it being a trolley bag, the wheels on one end allow it to also be pulled along. As with most holdalls though that stand upright to pull along, your belongings inside tend to all fall over the place. If you're ok with that, and pack carefully bearing that in mind, it's a very handy feature for when your arms or shoulders are tired. I'm able to pack 2 changes of clothing, shoes, make up and toiletries bag, books, pyjamas, jacket, jewellery, hair dryer and a few extras. It's plenty big enough for all of that and I'm usually adding a few baby clothes as well if there isn't enough room for his clothes elsewhere. **Compartments** The main large zipped compartment of the bag has a zipped punch on the front which would be good for important documents. I've always kept my train tickets in it when have been using the train. There are quite a few different compartments inside the bag, the main body being for packing clothes, with 4 large zip pockets for toiletries and smaller pockets again that I like to keep my glasses and contacts in. The main compartment has a base with plastic lining for support. Other positives about this bag are the wheels glide really well, the handles are comfortable to hold and considering I've had the bag several months now, it's still looking as good as new. It's very lightweight and practical apart from it not being waterproof. **Overall** I like my bag and even the print has grown on me.
Rolson Tools 68900 Folding Boot cart **Purpose** From festivals to picnics, gardening to fishing, carting workbooks around to camping. The Rolson Folding boot cart is a really useful trolley to invest in. We originally bought ours after our first camping/festival. We'd struggled with carrying our stuff from the car to the site and saw many a person with trolleys to easy the long walk. The following year we were fully equipped with carts and trolleys and it made life so much easier. We've also used the trolley when we go for picnics to carry a portable bbq and bits and bobs. **Design** Black and bright yellow in colour, the actual box is made of robust, grid effect plastic. The cart has a firm and sturdy handle that is extendable. It's made from aluminium so no worries of it breaking. The cart is pulled along on 4 small rubber wheels. We did find the terrain at the festival gave them a bit of a hammering but we did overload it a bit. We've used it several times since and they haven't fallen off or become severely damaged. The cart collapses and the handle folds flat with ease. It is easy to store when travelling and at home. The boxes dimensions are 380 by 330 by 380mm with a capacity of 25kg. Storage is easy due to the fact it collapse - this is ideal for in the back of the car or boot. We tend to store it away in the garage when not in use. It takes up next to no space, so it's not going to be an item that creates more clutter. I can't think of any disadvantages but I would advise not to overload it too often. Bumpy rough tracks may batter the wheels so be careful. Overall it's a fab buy for any of the mentioned uses. I've actually bought two of them because found them really useful.
Thomas the Tank 4 piece luggage **Popular character** Ahhh, good ole Thomas - been around for years and is still a firm children's favourite. I can't quite believe once huge Thomas fan is now 13, and now all these years later, my 2 year old is following suit. With families living away, we tend to do a fair amount of travelling in Britain. Sometimes it may be for a week, sometimes just a few days, and if not going so far away, perhaps to friends, just a weekend. We therefore have acquired quite a large collection of luggage! **Great for overnight/weekend trips** I was looking for something that was more for weekend trips when buying this set. It's a recognised character and with my son having just turned 2, he easily recognises Thomas. The case doesn't boast anywhere near enough room for week trips, but for weekends or overnight, it's ideal. If we are going away for longer than a night or weekend, we still make use of the rucksack and trolley case because they are handy to hold toys in, if not clothes. **4 Piece Set** Trolley suitcase on wheels Rucksack Swim bag Wallet **Trolley Suitcase** The trolley suitcase isn't very big as already mentioned but for a young child, it's fine for a weekend trip. There are two small wheels on the bottom and a expandable handle. It's easy for my son to pull along but he's still only just managing this really. He is transfixed with pulling and pushing the handle up and down. It's pretty robust as he's done this a lot! There is a large picture of Thomas on the front which gets the response of 'Chin Chin Momas!' from our son. This means choo choo train Thomas lol **Drawstring Swim Bag** The string bag is what it is - a swim bag. It's great for us because it's waterproof and holds spare clothes, travel and armbands. **Rucksack** The rucksack is also small but we use it for nappies and cups on a trip away with the odd toy. During the week we use it as his out and about bag on the back of the pram, although I have caught hubby wearing it when he's been struggling with the pram and shopping. Not a cool look lol! **Wallet** The wallet is probably the least useful item for us simply due to my son's age but he does enjoy opening and closing the Velcro so it entertains him for a while! Overall it was a lovely buy and serves its purpose well. Even though the suitcase isn't big enough for longer than a weekend away trip, it can still be used for toys or nappies or bits and bobs on longer trips away so it still comes in useful!
Tripp Express Compact Suitcase **Capacity - Suitable for** I originally bought this for myself but it wasn't long before my daughters pinched it. We paid £35 for this suitcase a good while ago now from Debenhams. At the time of buying I was in need of a hard wearing suitcase. The raspberry tripp express has a capacity of 41 litres which is just enough to fit a weeks clothes in. If however you're in the habit of packing 2 weeks amount of clothes for a weeks stay, you may need extra baggage. I tend to use my suitcase for trips away of 5-7 days and its fine. I don't think this case is suitable for a 2 week holiday unless you take the bare minimum. **Specs** 5 Year Guarantee Height 57cm, Depth 20cm, Width 36cm Capacity 41 litres Fully lined ID Tag Trolley handle system Light weight 600 Denier polyester/EVA panel at front Weight 3.7kg Easy hold top and side handles **Design** I have to admit, I didn't choose the case because of its colour. It's a little too girly for me, although it is a nice pink raspberry colour that's actually slightly pinker than the picture but not by much. I'm not too disappointed that my teenage daughter uses it more as it's probably more suited to her style. At the time of buying it was the only colour and option and a price I could afford and then the fact it's very lightweight is what swayed me into buying it. I would say about the colour though, it's definitely easy to spot at a distance. The zip fastening case is made of strong denier polyester and it has two black wheels to enable it to be pulled along each zip has a hole through it which is good as it means a padlock can be fitted through them. The expandable handle pulls out to two different heights, its released by a button on the side of the handle and is easy to operate and comfortable to hold. There are two handles on the case made of fabric so you can carry the case instead of pulling which is quite handy for crossing roads instead of bashing the suitcase down the curb. There aren't the comfiest of handles so I tend to pull instead of carry unless at a roadside or lifting out of the car boot. The wheels are quite robust although obviously it pulling along rough terrain (no good for festivals and bumpy ground) will wear quite quickly. If kept on the roads and pavements, they roll smoothly. The front panel of the case is tougher than the rest. I was concerned about the colour of the case becoming easily dirty but it's not really been a problem after several trips away. Since my daughter has been using it though it does appear grubbier than usual and we had to sponge it clean before our last trip. On the back of the suitcase is a window slot for you to write your name and address on the pull out paper. **Be Aware of** I would note that there aren't any pockets inside the case like you would often find. It's not a major problem as I'm lucky to have various carriers for different reasons. The case ends up with the odd mark and stains on it if it gets damp, for example the rain tends to mark it. It sponges off well but to be honest, I prefer dark suitcases as it's not so much of a problem.
If you're looking to change from your usual barrel shaped contact lense case, perhaps because you're finding the barrel tips over easily whilst travelling, or it leaks if you've not put the top on properly, or you're wasting too much solution, then consider the flat screw lense case! I've had both sorts of lense cases and although the barrel shaped cases have their plus factors, I much prefer the flat screw top lense cases because all of the above problems with the barrel, don't exist. **Easy to identify Left and Right lenses** As seen in the picture, there are two separate compartments to store each individual lense. One compartment has an R for right, and L for left. At least easy identification is achievable, especially if you have differing prescriptions for each lense. **Less Solution Wastage** The compartments are shallow which means when you pop your lense in, you only need a small amount of solution to cover the lenses. In comparison the the barrel shaped case, wastage isn't a problem here because it's only a little bit to throw away, clean and change. **Great for Travelling** Inside each compartment are small narrow grooves which helps to prevent your lenses sticking to the inside of the case. This is perfect for travelling because it means if the case gets tipped, there shouldn't be any damage. I've never experienced a problem and use these cases for travelling alot. The case is easily transported with it not being very big and fits snugly into a handbag pocket or make up bag. I've noticed that even when travelling and it getting tipped, the lenses are always still submerged in solution, unlike the barrel case if it tips. The lids to the compartments just screw on and off and i've never had a problem with leakage which is another great feature. A slight disadvantage is that if you don't clean the compartments regularly you can end up with bits of dust or make up floating around in there. The answer to this is regularly clean out the solution and make sure your lenses are free from grime, hairs and mascara etc before placing them into the solution!
**Who is the VTech Sing Along Microphone suitable for?** My son, now almost 2 received the Vtech Sing Along Microphone for Christmas. Its age range is from 12 months but my son was 18 months when first had a play. At first he wasn't overly impressed. He seemed to like watching me or his big brother pressing the buttons and pretending to sing into it and the flashing light caught his eye, but it was a bit big and clumpy for such small hands and it has quite a weight to it too. Usually it would end up on the floor! **Heavy** Now that our lil dood is almost 2, he takes far more interest in it and on average he'll probably pick it up out of his toy boy on and off during the day and at most play with it for about 10 minutes in his high chair. He likes it a lot more now that he is able to switch it on and off himself. I would say therefore that it's more suited for those approaching 2 as they are more able to handle it and work it. My son does still drop it though whilst happily plodding along so the weight is still a bit of a problem. People say it's great for taking out but I'm not so sure. When we've given it to our son out and about, he still ends up throwing it away and if it were to hit somebody, its quite dangerous! Most of the time it's ended up on the pavement or bus floor, but I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of it clonking me on the head! **Noisy** Another thing I would say when considering this toy is the noise factor. It's a sing along mic, so has plenty of tunes and noises that go on and on and onnnnnnn. If you're the sort that is easily annoyed by children's singing toys, this probably isn't the best next buy lol. My son is really musical and loves to sing songs. He's been singing since he was 18 months which really surprised us, so this toy has really encouraged him to keep on singing and dancing! He loves swaying from side to side and ' la la laarrrring along' so if your child is a musical genius like ours lol they will no doubt get some pleasure out of this toy. **Design** The shaft is orange and this holds 4 buttons and the Mic/Off/Music settings. The base of the Mic is where the sound originates from and the circular head of the mic is yellow, with a rotating red selector. Upon the 4 buttons are a 123 symbol/drums and piano symbol/dog with an ice cream and a dog/cat symbol. The rotating red selector has pictures all around it in blue, red, pink, green, white and orange. The pictures are of animals. At the top of the yellow headed mic is an indent which is the part to speak into. **Music** ** Sing Along!** On selecting the musical note option, songs start to play. Right now ' Old McDonald is playing' and it asks baby to take the microphone and sing along. It then repeats to sing along and clap your hands, moving your body to the beat. At the time of doing this, the red 123 button flashes. It then repeats this once more before saying ' ByeBye' (if there has been no response from baby) **Rock and Roll!** On pressing the button again, the 123 button flashes bright red again and plays a tune after saying ' Listen to me sing!'. The sound is of a piano, drum and (not sure!). It's quite a relaxing soothing tune. Whilst the song is playing, if you press the drum/piano button it says ' ROCK AND ROLL!!!' and a jazzy song starts to play. **Classical!** If you press it again it says ' CLASSICAL' before playing a classical tune. If you press the 123 button and then the dog/cat button, not only does it play a tune, but the sounds of a dog and cat appear. If you press the button in the shape of a dog eating an ice cream, it is the sound of a child laughing. **Pressing the 123 button and turning the RED selector** Yet more tunes follow each and every turn of the dial. There are 12 options to select and it will say the name of the animal ' Pig' , then it will make the sound ' Oink', and then it will play a musical tune. Some of them are recognisable such like ' Baa baa black sheep', others are more soothing bedtime kind of songs. It's actually really very clever and does alot. It has many songs stored (I think 12 animal songs and 15 melodies) and does different things all the time when different buttons are pressed, be it individually or at the same time. I think that's why parents get a bit annoyed by it because if you go crazy pressing all the buttons, it's a whole lot of music and tunes and talking. Personally it doesn't bother me but the animal sounds that sing along with the music if you've pressed the animal button isn't the greatest of sounds and spoils the song really. This microphone is a tad confusing at times as it plays so many random tunes and not always in the order that you're expecting. In a way, that makes it more exciting. **Singing** Ok, this part of the toy isn't fantastic. It's not the best of microphones to speak or sing into. It's quite distorted and buzzes and crackles. Still, my son hasn't got the hand of actually saying anything into it yet so I don't have to listen to it, and its not loud anyway even when you do speak into it. **Learning** At almost 2 years old my son is easily able to identify with some of the animals he knows. Others he's not too sure of yet, but he says ' pig' when hears oink and when he hears the horse sound he says horsie. I have to admit the sounds of the animals aren't as good as they could be. Infact, they could be a whole heap better. As i'm listening to them now, it's hard to make out what they are if you close your eyes so it just comes across as an annoying high pitched sound. A few of them are ok though, but I think about 5 of them sound like birds and there is only one bird lol My son likes to name the colours on the microphone so its good for colour recognition. He also says ' on and off' when switching it on and off and says ' all gone' when its off. He also repeats ' bye bye' when the mic says bye bye. He recognises some of the songs, but not many and he interacts with it well (until throws it away) Most of all he likes dancing along to the music and watching the big red flashing button in a darkened room. ' Lighhhhttttttttttt' ' Lighhhhhhhhhht', is his response! I think overall, for about £10 from what I've seen, this toy is worth a buy if your child enjoys music. Just be careful with it like i've mentioned due to the weight and fact child likes to throw it!
When I recently received my set of 3 monthly contact lenses, not only had my solution changed (which I was aware was happening), but the container to store my lenses was different. I'd had this container when I first started out with lenses, but after a few years it changed to a different one. I'm not quite sure why this time I've been sent the old style again, but hey-ho, it's good for a review! **Design** Barrel style in design, the transparent container has a screw on and off lid. Inside the container is a little white cage which opens either side (erm, a bit like how a venus fly trap opens). One side is labelled R for right, and one side L for left. Obviously the idea is that your contacts are stored within the same container, but in their own separate compartment. The plastic container holds about 10ml of solution. It's height is only 4.5cm and it's 2.5cm in diameter. It's weight is about 10g before adding solution. The design is very plain and simple to look at, but its practical and strong and as long as the top screws on properly you shouldn't have any leaks. **Easy to use** Unscrew the lid, and pull out the attached white cage. This white cage can be pulled off away from the lid, although I find that a bit annoying because its then just floating in the solution once submerged and filled. I tend therefore to make sure its always clipped into the lid so that when you take the lid off, the cage comes out with it. If its floating around in the solution on its own, it's messy trying to fish it out. Also with large fingers, its a fiddly job and not what you want to be doing in a rush. Once the lid is unscrewed, you literally just pop your contacts into each relevant cage section, pop the sides of the cage closed, add your solution to the bottle and submerge the lid with attached cage into the solution. Obviously tighten the lid up and voila! I would say here, to make sure the cage is fully submerged, otherwise, you may find out that one of your contact lenses is dry. **Wastage of solution** In comparison to a flat contact lense container in the shape of a titchy pair of glasses (separate compartments to fill for each contact lense), this barrel style container holds more solution, thus meaning more wastage of solution. I find the solution isn't best left past 2 days so you're forever throwing away a fair amount of solution. The other containers for lenses that i've had only require a cm or so of solution. If you aren't careful as to how you store your little barrel, it can often end up knocked over which is quite annoying because the lenses end up not submerged again. I've also put the barrel into my handbag incase I want to take my contacts out, and I have found it to be leaking. This is because I haven't screwed the lid on properly, but it's something to be aware of. Although it's ideal for travelling and carrying around due to its size, its not convenient that when it falls on its side, one half of the lenses isn't submerged. I tend to use my other cases for travelling now as no matter how those cases are moved around, turned upside down etc, the solution still covers the lenses. This barrel style though is perfect and fine for being stored upright safely in a cupboard or on your side. **Overall** This barrel container is fab for keeping your lenses in, especially as the right and left containers mean you don't get each eye muddled up. As long as it remains upright it will keep your lenses moist and clean, however, make sure you clean out the solution regularly. It isn't any good for travel as has a tendency to fall on its sides and its possible the screw on lid won't be screwed on properly if you aren't careful or in a rush.