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I bought the Vaseline Sheer Infusion 200ml body lotion from Tesco a while back. I wanted a moisturiser as my hands kept feeling dry and I wanted one that would work well and would last a while.
I found this in the clearance section, I think at £1.50. However, looking up when I got home, it was (if I remember right) about £5 I think. It is over £6 on Amazon at the time of writing this. In my opinion, that's expensive and if it hadn't been reduced I certainly wouldn't have bought it at full price.
However, it is a really great body lotion and it does last a long time. It claims to have vitamin burst which is supposed to help your skin more. It is a fairly thick lotion and it soaks in quickly which is always good.
It smells pretty nice too. It's quite a strong smell when you first put it on but it soon fades. You can still smell it for a while after putting it on, but it's not a really strong smell.
The bottle has a simple flip lid which is easy to open. The bottle stands on the lid so even when you've used most of the lotion it stills comes out fairly easily. Nothing more annoying than spending ages trying to squeeze out lotion from the bottom of a bottle!
Overall this is a quick drying body lotion that really moisturises your skin and it lasts quite a while too. It is well worth buying if you can find it on offer!
I picked up Deathsmiles ages ago when it was in the GAME administration sale and I didn’t pay much attention to what it was. It had an anime style cover and so I assumed it was some sort of anime RPG. It’s not.
The front cover is a gothic anime scene with 4 girls holding weapons. The game is actually more of an arcade (side-scrolling) shooter.
It wasn’t until part way through the game that I felt the story was partly explained and it’s not until the end that I realised it was another world. It wasn’t really fully explained.
There are two endings for each character which is good, although I wish I’d done them the other way around for the character I played as. I won’t give away the endings, but I did feel almost bad ending the game when I knew the character had been happier the first time around with the other ending.
There are various modes. They all seem to be the same! I have read that some modes are faster than others but I can’t say I could tell any difference.
Once you’ve selected a mode you can select a character. There are 4 characters, all girls age 11-17.
Once you’ve selected the character you can go to the levels where you can choose to play rank level 1, 2 or 3. Overall there are 9 levels and it took me around 45 minutes to complete them all (that’s 45 minutes total, not for each level). If you’re looking for a long game this is not it.
The game is in an arcade style. The controls are simple which is good. All characters fire the same so you don’t need to learn different controls for each person. They have also tried to vary the levels, which is good as the main idea of the game is quite repetitive.
With the deluxe version you get two other disks. One is the soundtrack and the other says desktop accessory.
Most of the audio is the shooting noise and the soundtrack in the background.
The soundtrack suits the title/evil fantasy type game that it is, but I find it annoying and don’t know why anyone would want the soundtrack on a disk.
The graphics are in anime style. They are rather average really. Certainly not as good as you’d expect looking at the game cover.
You can pick this up for around £13 new off Amazon and £5 used.
Overall I had trouble rating this game. It wasn’t what I expected it to be and it really wasn’t as fun as I’d expect that type of game to be. I’ve played other similar games that have been more fun. It was a short, average game so in the end I’ve given it 3 stars. If you really like side scrolling anime style games you may like this, but if you’re looking for an anime RPG then look elsewhere.
I’ve always been a fan of the Tony Hawks games, although Pro Skater 2 has always been the one that I always go back to. I bought Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 years ago, but never spent much time on it so I decided to pick it up again and give it a proper chance.
As with the other Tony Hawks skateboarding games there is the option of career mode, single session, free skate, two player, create skater and park editor.
If you’ve played any of the other games in the Pro Skater series you’ll already pretty much know what to expect from this game.
There are various modes to choose from.
Career mode is the main mode in which you complete goals to gain points and unlock new levels.
The main change in this game is that you can skate around freely and complete goals when you wish whereas previous games had a 2 minute limit in which to complete as many goals as you could.
The main downside to this is that you have to skate around to try and find the goals and certain goals don’t appear until you’ve completed others. Previously you had a list of all goals. You could start with the ones you found easiest and work through them in any order.
There are various goals, some of which you’ll recognise if you’ve played a Tony hawks game before. Certain ones are same on each level. For example, on each level you have to collect the letters of SKATE.
Some goals are also harder than others. To select which goal you want to do there are different coloured coin items floating around each level. You have to stop by them and select it and it will tell you the goal. You get different goals with each coin and each has a time limit.
A good feature of the game is stat points. Stat points are points you can add to improve air, rail balance etc. You gain stats by completing the goals. I like this feature as you feel like you’re improving the skater although I’m not sure the added stat points always make a great difference.
There are various levels. I can’t say I was that impressed with the levels compared to other Tony hawks games. Some are better for skating in then others.
The audio is the typical Tony Hawks music. As with other games some tracks are better than others. I personally prefer the Tony Hawks pro skater 2 soundtrack over this one.
The sound effects are fine. Nothing amazing but it is a PS1 game.
The graphics are decent for a PS1 game, but they’re not really an improvement on the previous Tony Hawks games.
You can pick up this game for a few pounds or less on both PS1 and PS2.
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 4 is a decent game but not the best out the series. If you love Tony Hawks games then this game is worth playing.
These gummy mix sweets are by Tesco and, as you'd expect, they be bought from any Tesco store. They are usually 3 bags for £1 and that includes a variety of other sweets. A single bag is 40p.
Each bag is 85g and in that you get a mix of different fruity gummy (jelly) sweets. You get different coloured/flavoured gummy bears and rings, cola bottles, eggs and hearts so there's a nice mix in there. How many of each you get varies between bags although I have found that there doesn't seem to be many eggs.
The sweets are all nice and certainly gummy. It's quite easy to find you suddenly only have half a pack left. The eggs and hearts both have white foam which is a nice change from just eating jelly sweets. The sweets are really as you'd expect from a pack of Haribo in terms of looks and taste.
The bag has a cartoon image on it of a boy fishing what appears to be a massive caterpillar on the grass with a dog happily watching and a massive cola bottle on the ground. The image will appeal to children as it's bright and colourful, although for some reason the sky is a pink colour and the image really makes no sense.
At the bottom of the pack you can see all the nutritional information. 25g contains 85 calories, 11g of sugar and a trace of fat, saturates and salt. So they're not the healthiest sweets based on that. It does state that there are no artificial flavours or colours though which is good. The back of the bag also gives more information.
The packs are fairly easy to open although I tend to end up just tearing it down which causes the pack to split so you have to make sure not to lose any sweets if you do it that way.
Overall these are tasty fruit jelly shaped sweets and they're fairly cheap so if you want some sweets these are a good choice. It's a shame you don't get a few more sweets though as half the bag is empty.
I got orb triggers free with my PS3 console but I never put them on my controller as I just didn't see the point. However I recently bought the Gioteck online starter kit for PS3 which comes with RT-2 real triggers and I figured I'd give them a try as it seemed silly to have two unused sets of triggers.
The idea of these triggers is that you put them over the existing L2 and R2 buttons on your PS3 controller and it makes it easier to use them as your fingers as less likely to slip off. This is mostly helpful in shooting games that use L2/R2 for shooting as you're pressing them a lot and don't want to risk missing a kill because of your finger slipping. I don't have many shooters but I do have other games that use them buttons and I can't say I've ever had the problem of my finger slipping.
To start using these you are supposed to just be able to clip them on. I, however, had problems with this.
The diagram on the cardboard and the Gioteck website shows the triggers being pushed up and clipping on. I tried placing them on the same way as it showed. The Gioteck website says "Simple Installation. Just clip on and go!" The only explanation I could find anywhere for how to put them on was to just clip them on. I watched a video as well where a guy just clipped the triggers on in a second with no problems, but mine just refused to do the same. I gave it to someone else to look at and they had the same problem.
I tried to push the triggers on at different angles and I tried both triggers on both buttons and neither would just clip on. In the end they eventually clipped on. The bottom of the triggers had to be put at the edge of the button then just pushed for them to be clipped into place which is what I'd tried many times before they actually went on. Even after one was on the other still didn't want to go on.
I'm not sure why it is that they were so difficult to clip on but it was rather annoying.
These come in a small clear bag and they are attached to a small bit of cardboard. They certainly don't waste any packaging which is great. The cardboard tells you what they are and how to put them on.
These triggers are basically small bits of plastic in a similar shape to the L2/R2 buttons on an official PS3 controller. They stick out a bit more at the bottom, more like on an xbox 360 controller only these are chunkier. They are grey with a small lighter grey square in the middle which has the number 2 on. You get two triggers and they can go on either button as it doesn't say L or R. I'd say they are almost the same colour as the normal buttons, perhaps ever so slightly lighter but it perhaps depends on what light you look at them in. They do look like they are part of the controller though which is good.
They feel quite solid and I imagine they should last a fair while unless you throw the controller around a lot or are really rough with the buttons when gaming.
Compare to a normal controller I'd say they don't seem to press quite as easily as the normal buttons. This isn't to say they're hard to press - far from it. It's just with a controller in each hand, one with the triggers and one without, and pressing the buttons quickly it just seemed a little bit less effort to press the normal button. The triggers are quick and smooth though so it won't affect gameplay.
These are easy to just unclip but I left them on while playing Uncharted 3. That doesn't require using them buttons to shoot but you do press L2 to throw a grenade with an arc. Pressing L2 with the trigger on felt a bit odd and I think that if you're not playing a game where the L2/R2 buttons are constantly pressed that it is best to take them off (or use another controller without them on).
I played Grid 2 with these on and you need to press R2 to accelerate on that. The triggers felt fine on that. My finger didn't slip, I felt I still had grip and I could play fine. However, I didn't have any problems before I put them on either.
I got these with the Gioteck online starter kit for PS3 which usually costs around £15. You can buy the triggers by themselves for £1.25 off Amazon (not including postage) and £1.99 from GAME.
Overall I'm giving these 3 stars. They lose a star because they're certainly were not easy to just clip on. They also lose a star because I just don't really feel the need for them personally and although £2 may not seem like much they are just little pieces of plastic. They may be useful for some games or for people who prefer the xbox 360 controllers (or are used to them) and I wouldn't say they make gaming any harder but I'm not sure I'll bother to keep using them.
I think Genji was one of the first games I got for the PS3, although I don't think I played that far so I picked it up again recently and had another go at it.
Genji: Days of the blade is set 3 years after the Genji game on PS2. Although I have this on PS2 I don't think I played that much either so I went into this game not having a clue what happened previously. Genji is based on the events of feudal Japan and, as the back of the case says, Genkuro Yoshitune must draw his Genji samurai around him and begin the brutal battle to secure the survival of ancient Japan.
This game is a hack 'n' slash game and I suppose it does that well as there is a fair bit of hacking and slashing. The controls are pretty straight forward; cross is jump/action, triangle is strong attack, square is normal attack and circle is special attack.
I don't mind hack'n'slash games but they can get rather repetitive. With this game I wasn't sure I'd be playing long enough for it to possibly become repetitive.
Overall moving around wasn't too bad and it was pretty easy to fight as the controls are rather basic, but the camera angle was rarely right. This means sometimes it was harder to see where enemies were or which direction I needed to be going.
Despite having a map it wasn't always clear where to go and the camera angle really didn't help things. Even without the camera issue, I hit what appeared to be dead ends but looking at the map it only seemed to show the dead end and direction I'd come in. There were odd routes it showed where I hadn't been so it wasn't that they only appeared once I'd been that way but at the time seeing them routes didn't help.
At one point I had to jump over wooden beams and stone in a fire. I didn't realise I could jump them to start with as they were transparent due to camera angle and, if I remember right, the map showed it as a dead end as it was technically blocked.
During the game you have to go through a place on fire. You follow the paths and you fight the enemies, which was all fine until I got to a certain room that appeared to be a dead end. I had fought all the enemies and there were no more and the room also seemed to be a dead end. Not all games make it obvious where to go next or the way out but there are some that are a challenge and there are some that are just annoying, glitchy and make you waste a lot of time endlessly going around the room you're in and the previous paths you've been down (often only to find you're still not getting anywhere) and this certainly fell into the second description.
The map was, however, useful when it came to enemies as it shows the enemies. This was great when they're behind the camera and you can't see them on screen but they're coming to attack.
As you go through the game there are pots and crates to smash but most are empty so you're just really wasting time smashing them. I know they can't have something in every crate but in some places it did seem pointless to have them and there not be anything in any of them.
Saving is important in any game. A lot of games autosave or have save points where you can save them. This game had save points which were fine, but it didn't have any check points/autosave points so if you died you had to restart from the save point which wasn't always close. It was quite frustrating to have to do multiple fights all over again.
As with most games this game has video cuts, none of which were very interesting. At one point it says about joining a comrade and then after the video scene you end up alone. You can switch between comrades but when they say let's go you rather expect them to be by your side and they're not.
The graphics are pretty decent when the camera angle is right. This was one of the early PS3 games so the graphics aren't up to the same standard as later PS3 games. One thing I did think when playing is that the weapon looks rather like massive cigar which is strange.
The voice acting is rubbish, they sound terrible, especially when pronouncing Japanese words. The music is also rather annoying and doesn't really fit with the game. It's easy enough to turn the volume down though.
Overall I think this is quite a boring game after a while and the camera angle could certainly be improved. If you really loved the first Genji game or you really like hack'n'slash games then you may not find this too bad, but personally it's not a game that held my interest.
I got this charger for Christmas a few years back. I kept finding I needed batteries and I tend to use a lot of rechargable batteries so it made sense to get a charger with 4 rechargeable batteries. I already had some Uniross batteries and they were fine so I was confident it would be a decent charger and the batteries would last.
The design of the charger is fairly simple, although it's a slightly strange shape. Sort of a rectangular shape with rounded corners and thinner at the top. On the back is the plug so you can plug the charger directly into the plug socket and not have to worry about any wires which is great.
Under the plug is a black sticker with white writing that tells you the input and output for different battery types.
It is a light grey colour which is quite boring, but as it's a battery charger colour isn't really that important. It has Uniross written across the front in red which stands out and below that it states which range it is. Above the batteries are two lights; one on the left and one on the right.
The charger feels quite solid and I'd say it's a good quality charger.
Charging the batteries couldn't be easier. You simply slot them into one of the four sections. There is a + and - symbol although they're not very clear as it's the same colour as the rest of the charger, just slightly engraved.
You need two batteries in a side for the light to come on and it to be charging them. Obviously this is annoying if you only have one battery (or three, which has happened to me before). However, most of the time I have two or four batteries so that's not really a problem.
If you have a 9V battery rather than an AA or AAA then you can charge them using the connections at the back of each section. There are two connections for these batteries. Charging these two of these batteries does mean you cannot charge any AA or AAA batteries at the same time as these connections are behind the other batteries. I haven't had to charge a 9V battery yet so haven't had any issues there. However, if you do then it might mean charging a few batteries and then charging the rest later.
Sadly there is no way of testing how much power batteries have or knowing when they are charged but this doesn't matter too much. I often use them for controllers so if the controller doesn't turn on I know the battery needs charging. I always leave them to charge for a few hours or more.
You get four silver AA 1300 mAh Uniross batteries with the charger. I already had three different types of AA Uniross batteries (and quite possibly some AAA ones too) and all work great and have lasted years despite being recharged many times. Obviously I haven't had these quite so long but so far I haven't had any problems (aside from placing them down and forgetting where they are!) so I'm sure these will last just as long.
How long they last for each charge really depends greatly on if you have fully charged them and what you use them in. I often use them in the xbox 360 controllers and Wii remotes. I'd say they last quite a bit longer in my xbox 360 controllers. With the Wii being about motion I think it takes more power so the batteries die faster. Using them in something like a remote control car they probably wouldn't last long at all whereas in a torch or TV remote they'd last a fair while.
The batteries have the usual information you'd expect from a rechargeable battery and the have a + and - on the end so you know which way to place the batteries into the charger and items.
Apparently they are rechargeable up to 1000 times which is good.
The charger is roughly 7.5 cm wide (at its widest point), 11cm in length and 3.5cm deep (not including the plug on the back)
You can currently buy this charger with the batteries from Amazon for £8.97 which seems a decent price. My parents can't remember how much they paid for this but they reckon it was around £5 which is really good.
Overall this charger is pretty basic but it can charge three different types of battery and up to four batteries at one time which is great for me. It's not a big charger and it's simple to use. Highly recommended.
The little green tin is an aloe vera lip balm by Superdrug. I first bought one of these tins years ago and have since bought more.
It's called the little green tin for a good reason. It's 20g and the balm comes in a small green tin that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and can easily be slipped into your pocket or handbag to take with you.
The lid can be twisted or pulled off. As the tin isn't very deep I sometimes find it hard to get the lid off straight away. I have long nails and I think they tend to get in the way when I try and twist it off although they can help with pulling the lid off as I can get my nails under the ridge of the lid to pull it up.
The tin I have says the little green tin on it in light green but it seems the design has changed a little as the writing appears bigger and white and with a star as the side.
It's a good solid tin. It's been thrown in my bag and I can't really see any dents although the colour has scuffed off a little in places, especially around the bottom of the tin.
The balm is basically petroleum jelly with aloe vera in it. It's quite smooth and easy to apply as you simply put some on your finger and onto your lips. In cold weather it is slightly harder to apply though I've found as it seems much more solid. At room temperature it's fine. When it's slightly warm it tends to have a greasier feel and, although far from runny, doesn't seem as solid.
I'm not sure what I'd say it smells of but it's not a horrible smell. I guess it's probably a mixture of the apple and aloe vera.
It works really well and I do think the aloe vera helps too.
I used to use this most morning on the way to college and it lasted me well. You don't need to use much and not only does it help for dry lips but cracked lips too. It helps to repair my lips and protects them from getting any worse. For a while I didn't have any moisturiser on me and my knuckles were really dry so I occasionally used to just put a little bit of this on and it helped them too. It certainly isn't better than using moisturiser but it was great to have this on me as I'm sure my skin would have cracked without it.
This is also my go to product whenever I have a cold and am constantly blowing my nose rather than just using Vaseline. I find the aloe vera in it helps soothe the skin whereas Vaseline doesn't quite have that same effect.
It does give your lips a bit of a gloss. Obviously if you use it on your nose others will probably be able to tell so it's best to use it at home when you're not going out.
I'm useless when it comes to remembering or bothering to put lip balm on which is often why I used to end up using it on my way to college rather than before setting out. So there were probably times where, although this really helped, I should have re-applied it later on in the day or the next morning because my lips had been really bad, but I didn't. However, this certainly does last well.
You can buy these from Superdrug for 99p. The Superdrug website also currently says there is an offer of buy one get one half price. For 99p you really can't go wrong.
Overall I really like the little green tin. It works well and it's pretty cheap too.
Wonka Nerds are sweets by The Willy Wonka Candy Company. I'm sure most of you have heard of Willy Wonka and Charlie and the Chocolate factory. The back of each Nerds pack has a greeting from Willy Wonka and claims to be made in The Chocolate Factory. The company is, in fact, owned by Nestle. Nerds were apparently created in 1983, although as the products are mainly sold in the US I don't think we saw them in the UK until much later.
I remember eating them as a kid, but I don't remember them being around when I was really young. As a kid I remember there being two flavours. One pack was strawberry and blue raspberry and these were the ones I always used to buy. The other I seem to remember being yellow and green, but I can't remember the flavours. Sadly the strawberry and blue raspberry is no longer around, but there is Strawberry and Grape, the product this review is about and my new favourite flavours.
The packing looks like a normal box at a glance, but if you look closer you can see the flavours are split into two, one on each side of the box and you can open each side separately using the tabs at the top of the box.
The boxes are cardboard, but getting into them isn't always as easy as it looks. There is one main tab on the top which opened fine on the first pack I opened, but was stuck down really well on two others and ended up ripping the tab and leaving some of it still stuck down. There are two sliding tabs that come out of each side which won't open while there is any card left from the top tab.
The sliding tabs can be slid back to reveal the hole where the nerds come out and you can simply pour them into your hand then slide the tab back afterwards. If the top tab is still there you can also push this back down so if the side tabs do move at all you're less likely to lose any nerds.
The packing is brightly coloured, much like the sweets themselves, and has what I think are meant to be nerd shaped creatures on the front. The creatures are the same colour as the opposite side of the pack. So for example, on the strawberry and grape pack the colours are pink and purple. The creatures on the pink side are purple and the creatures on the purple side are pink.
The packaging is clearly meant to appeal to children and it clearly has the Wonka logo on the front, reminding you who produce them.
The best way I can think to describe the size and shape of Nerds is like Millions sweets. They come in various sizes, ranging from really tiny to quite big, especially if there's a few that have stuck together. Nerds have a sort of plastic type look to them as they are solid colours and have an almost glossy finish to them.
Taste and smell:
The flavours in this box are strawberry and grape and, although nice, I don't think they really taste of them but no sweets tend to taste like eating the real thing anyway.
The strawberry ones are quite sweet to start with and you can really taste the flavour. When you bite into them you taste the really strong tangy taste of strawberry and the more you have at once (or the bigger they are) the stronger the taste is, but it only takes a few little ones to really get the full taste.
The grape ones have a more sour taste to them. Like the strawberry ones you can taste the flavour well and when you bite into them it releases the tangy taste which is much stronger.
The two flavours are great by themselves and when eaten together.
The front of the box states "tiny tangy crunchy candy", which is really the perfect description for these sweets.
Under smell on Detailed Rating I selected they smelt okay. I can't say they smell very nice but the other option is very nasty and they actually don't really smell of anything at all. Just in case anyone decides to smell them, beware that they are very small and light and if you sniff up too much you may end up with it stuck up your nose! Although I guess if they do smell faintly of anything you'll know about it if you do that. Still I wouldn't recommend it.
Ingredients and Nutrition:
Dextrose, sugar, malic acid, corn syrup, flavouring and carnauba wax.
Colours: carmine, brilliant blue, *allura red, *tartrazine and *sunset yellow.
*May have adverse effect on activity and attention in children.
There ingredients are on a sticker over the original (I guess to be written in English only rather than American and another language) so there may be a few ingredients that I haven't listed, although looking at other packs of different flavours they seem to be the main ingredients. However, things such as colours will vary between flavours.
The boxes come in 46.7g (1.65OZ). I assume nutritional information would be the same for all flavours, but I can only go by what it says on the Sour Nerds I have. They state the total carbs are 14g, 0g protein, 0g fat, sugar is 14g and the calories are 60.
As a kid I remember buying these for just 25p a pack! Now they at a much higher price. You can buy a single pack from Amazon for £1.05 with £1.49 postage. There are some American sites that sell them, but with shipping they are all roughly the same price as on Amazon.
I've not seen any sold in shops for years, but you may be lucky and find a shop that sells them or has limited stock in.
They may not be the cheapest sweets or healthiest, but they are certainly nice and worth buying as a treat every now and then. A great product, it's just a shame that they are no longer widely available in the UK.
When I bought my JVC Everio camcorder I was lucky enough to get an official case with it.
I believe this is a neoprene case. It has a bit of stretch to it but not much. It should fit in a JVC Everio camcorder in though as this is what it was made for. The design is quite simple; it is a black case with a light grey zip. The zip goes most of the way around and there are two zip pulls which both say JVC on them. The pulls are quite thick and have a rubber feeling to them. The writing is embossed which makes the zip pulls easy to grip which is good. The front of the case says Everio in white letters which really stands out against the black.
Sadly there are no extra pockets on this case. Luckily my camcorder has a dual memory card slot so I don't need to worry about storing an extra memory card. If you do have a spare memory card or battery this might not be the best case although there is enough room to slip them down the side.
The top of the case has a round clip on it which can be useful. I tend to leave the wrist strap of my camcorder sticking out at the top (as you can zip it up from each side) and I hook it through the loop of the case so I can just slip the strap on and carry the case that way. It means the camcorder is still protected by the case and if somehow the case ever came unzipped (or I forgot to zip it properly) I wouldn't lose it.
The case is well made. The zips move smoothly and don't catch on anything which is good. It feels quite thick so that's good for protecting the camera. As the material is soft and there's no extra padding I don't think the camcorder would survive being smashed against something really hard but for general use and just placing it in your bag to take out somewhere it does a good job.
As I said before there is a clip on the case which I think is just made of plastic. It feels quite cheap. When pushing the clip down I have found that it the bar moved and wasn't lined up so to close it I had to push it back into place. This is quite disappointing but I don't tend to use the clip and just to put the strap through it's perfectly fine.
The size is roughly 13cm in length, 7cm wide and about 5cm deep.
This is currently being sold on ebay for £6.95 which isn't a bad price for an official case. I haven't seen this case elsewhere so it might be an older design but it's possible you might be able to find it elsewhere.
Overall I really like this case. The design is simple, the main case is good quality and it keeps my camcorder safe which is what I want.
I wanted to create and edit videos, but for that I needed a decent camcorder. I planned on uploading the videos online so really wanted a camcorder that would film in HD. However, I didn't want to be spending £100 or more on a camcorder as I wasn't sure how much I'd actually get chance to use it and as I was only just starting to make videos I didn't want to some expensive camcorder with features I'd never use.
So I did some research, looked for some good deals and watched some ebay listings and ended up with the JVC HD Everio HM445 camcorder in a lovely blue colour.
The camcorder is available in 4 different colours; blue, red, black and silver.
The HM445 comes in a small box. They don't waste packaging as it's all pretty tightly packed.
In the box you will find the camcorder, a battery pack which slots into the camcorder, an AC adapter and cable, AV cable, USB cable and a user guide.
The camcorder records in full HD (1080p). If you wish you can choose a lower quality including HD 720p. Although the quality won't be as good you'll get more recording time which could be useful if you're out and about and don't have a spare battery.
It has a dual memory card slot. It's quite easy to fill up a 32GB memory card when filming in full HD so having two slots is a great feature and it means you can have a spare memory card at all times and you know you won't lose it.
The screen is a 2.7" touch screen so it's big enough to see what you're recording. The touch screen also means there are less buttons on the camcorder, but having a touch screen has both good and bad points. The screen can flip to face either way so if recording yourself, for example, you can flip the screen over and you can watch the screen to make sure it's recording fine and you look alright and if recording something else you can flip it back again so you can see what you're recording.
As if that wasn't enough for the screen you can also record with the screen in rather than out. You just need to flip the screen as if recording yourself then push it in. If you need to look at the screen you can still view it on the side of the camcorder. Just be sure you have the screen facing outwards because if you do it the other way the camcorder will automatically turn off (another good feature unless you somehow close it accidentally but I haven't had that problem so far).
This camcorder was actually released at the start of 2011. Despite that it has an amazing 40x optical zoom and 200x digital zoom. Not only was this the highest I found for camcorders around the same price and released in the last few years, but it's better than some camcorders released in 2013. The JVC GZ-EX315BEK was released in 2013 and you can currently buy in Currys/PC World for £200 and that has 40x optical zoom and 200x digital zoom.
You can connect to your TV using an HDMI cable or AV cables (which are supplied). I haven't used this feature but it's nice to know I have it.
The camcorder has face recognition and it will even tell you how much the person you are recording is smiling. Don't tell the other person this though - it'll lead to creepy footage of them pulling faces, trying to smile and get it to 100%!
If they are doing this one option is to turn on the LED light that is on the front of the camcorder. They may never be able to see again but at least they'll stop smiling and that'll stop the forever changing percentage on your screen (although I'd recommend the much better option of stopping the recording until they stop). The light may be useful if filming in complete darkness and not filming people, but for most situations it's probably best not to turn the light on. It may not be the biggest light and it may not shine that far but it is a very bright white light.
You can take photos with this and you can even take them while recording. Photos are not the best quality but it is easy to take a photo even while recording.
The user guide is only thin at 27 pages but it is very helpful and really has all the information you need to be able to use the camcorder.
It covers everything including specification, getting started, recording, taking photos, playing the videos, troubleshooting and more.
The front of the guide states that it is only a basic guide though and gives a website address where you can find a more detailed version which is great for those that want more information.
I really like the design of this camcorder. It's smart, simple, user friendly, a good size and it's lightweight.
As I said at the beginning on this review it is available in 4 colours but I got it in blue which I really like. You can use it without really standing out but it's different from the usual black that a lot of camcorders seem to be. It has silver trimmings and buttons which work well with the blue.
There is a strap on one side which is adjustable and means that it's safer when you're holding the camcorder. The camcorder is just the right size to comfortably put your hand through the strap and hold the camcorder. There is also enough strap to put it around your wrist, although the bigger you make the strap for your hand the less you'll have to go around your wrist. Though I can't imagine anyone having any problems with not being able to use it with the wrist strap as well.
There are no buttons on this side but there is a switch right at the front of the camcorder to manually open and close the lens cover. When you turn the camcorder on it will tell you to check the lens cover to make sure you don't start recording with it covered. On that side is also the charger port. The cover pulls out. It is attached by a very thin piece of plastic so I can imagine this snapping at some point.
On the other side the screen easily flicks out. As it is a touch screen there are no buttons on the side of the screen. On the side of the camcorder there is some useful buttons though. These are auto, user, video/image, info and power (although opening and closing the screen turns it on and off). There are also ports for the HDMI, AV and USB. Auto switches between manual and auto and info shows you the battery life and lets you know how long you have left for taking photos/recording which is helpful. On video it also shows you the space free and used for you memory card.
On top of the camcorder is a round button that says snapshot. This allows you to take still images. Above that is the volume/zoom switch. This switch sticks up a little and has a few ridges on so you can slide it either left or right to zoom in and out/turn the volume up or down and your finger is less likely to just slip off.
On the back of the camcorder is just one button on the right hand side which has a clear red dot on and this starts/stops the recording. The battery also slots into the back and can be unclipped from underneath. Underneath you will also find the holes to place it onto a tripod.
Partly underneath and partly on the side is where the memory cards go. There is a small cover that you pull down and you can then easily slot the memory cards in.
Recording is simple as you just press the record button or the record icon on screen and it starts recording.
You can record in various qualities but the top quality is full HD (1080p). I have read that due to the HM445 sensor it records at slightly less megapixels than is needed for full HD but I don't know enough about it to say whether this is the case, but what I do know is it still produces high quality videos.
The recording time is supposed to be roughly an hour on full HD. I'd say it's perhaps a bit more but it depends. If you're zooming in and out a lot or constantly stopping and starting the filming then the battery charge won't last as long. You can buy batteries which last longer and can extend the charge to 1 hour 40 minutes or 3 hours.
If you leave the camcorder for a few minutes and don't do anything it will automatically turn off to save power. This is a good idea for some things but there have been times when I have put it on the tripod and turned it on to see how things look and found I have to do something so the setup is right. I'll just have it sorted and be ready to film and the camcorder will turn off.
What I have noticed is that the videos don't tend to look the same on the screen as they do on the computer. Obviously being a small screen things look more detailed and clearer once on a bigger computer screen.
The main problem I have had has been with lighting. Lighting can look fine on the screen but on the computer screen it looks too dark. Sometimes a simple bit of editing can solve it and other times I'll end up re-filming. Now if I was filming holiday clips or family get-togethers, for example, the lighting wouldn't be so much of an issue and I'd probably be quite happy with the result. However, I am making videos to upload online and want them to look as good as possible.
I think the camcorder is better if you're recording outdoors rather than indoors, even on a fairly sunny day. I've tried using extra lighting which often looks a bit too bright on the HM445 screen but on the computer screen it looks much better. It really depends what you're using the HM445 for and how well lit you want the video to be, but if you want it to be lighter it's better to use more lights and for it to look that bit too bright on the screen.
You can have it in auto mode or manual mode. In auto mode it will automatically change the shooting mode (e.g. night mode and macro). You can change it to manual by pressing the auto button on the side of the HM445 and then you can change the settings in the menu. You can see which it is on by the icon in the top right hand corner of the screen.
The menu has various options including the light, adding animations smile shot, face recognition, auto rec and time-lapse recording.
There are about 5 different animations which include floating love hearts and flowers. It's a nice little feature and probably fun to mess around with for a few minutes but probably not the most useful feature.
If you click in the corner of the screen it comes up with useful information such as how much battery life is left and the time.
The sound seems fine. When watching videos back even when the sound recorded was quieter I could still hear it alright so it was obviously picking it up fine. It does also seem to do a decent job of blocking out background noise too. I recorded something where I could clearly hear workmen in the background but when playing the video back you could barely hear it and if I hadn't known about the sound I'm not sure I'd really have noticed it.
You can view what videos you have recorded by clicking the video gallery icon on the screen.
While on the camcorder does get a bit warmer, although if you're constantly holding it it'll probably feel warmer than if you leave it to record on a tripod. If you're really close to the camcorder you can hear a faint noise but overall it's really quiet.
Taking still images is easy as you just press the button to switch it to image mode. You can then either press the snapshot button on the top of the camcorder or press the icon on the screen to take an image. If recording you just click the snapshot button.
You can zoom in and out as you'd expect.
Each time you take a photo it will tell you how many more shots are remaining. For example, on mine it's telling me I can take 9995 more shots.
As with videos, you can use the light. At night indoors the light did make the photo look a lot clearer but I was taking close up shots. It doesn't really help when taking shots further away and it's not a good idea to have it on if taking a photo of someone as the light is so bright. It's easy to turn the light on and off though as you just press menu on the screen and click light. You can turn it on, off or set it to auto.
There are not many image options but you can switch to manual mode the same way as you would for a video. On Auto I did notice that in the right hand corner the mode was changing and at one point it has a macro symbol. It also refocused to make a photo clearer. It's certainly not the best way to take still images but auto mode does seem decent.
It also has face recognition and a self-timer and you can click the gallery icon to view the images you have taken.
Still images appear to be 2.1mp going by resolution. The Which site says it is 2mp although I have seen sites which state it is only 1.5mp (I think the JVC site says this too). So obviously the images are not very high quality and most mobile phones are now more megapixels than this. If you're using the camcorder though and just want a quick snapshot of something, especially while filming, this is still useful to have. If you want to take a lot of still images I'd recommend getting a camera instead.
The Touch Screen/Menu:
As I have long nails and cold hands I was worried the touch screen may not work too well for me but I haven't really had any problems. Sometimes I have to press icons two or three times but other than that it has been fine. It would be nice to have a couple of buttons too though for scrolling through the menu. I expected to see finger prints all over the screen but any marks seem to vanish after a couple of seconds.
The menu is simple to use and you can scroll through different options and simply tap any you want to look at. You can change the video/image settings from the menu button and you can also go to the general settings to change things like the date and time.
The video files are AVCHD which seems to be the most common video type and you should be able to edit these in most video editing programs. Windows Movie Maker may not like the file type though depending on which version you have so you may have to download a different version of it.
The photos are all JPEG files.
I was lucky to get this new for a bargain £60 with an official case and 16GB memory card. To buy this new off Amazon it is currently £129.99 and you can buy it used for around £70-90. Obviously there is then an extra cost to get a case and SD memory card but luckily these are rather cheap accessories.
If you wish to get other accessories they may be harder to find and more expensive. Spare batteries, for example, are not as cheap as I expected and I think might be third party batteries. However, I don't really feel I need a spare battery.
Overall I really like this camcorder. The HM445 records in high quality, it's easy to use, I can edit the files and upload my videos online and the camcorder itself seems to be really good quality. Recommended.
My hands often get dry and my sister had recommended Bach products saying they were natural and worked well. So I went online and I found this rescue cream.
The cream came in a rectangular yellow box which clearly states what it is. I probably have the box somewhere but I stopped using it so I can't say if it had any ingredients or anything listed on the box.
Inside the box is the tube of cream (50g). The tube matches the box as it is yellow and clearly states Bach Rescue Cream on it.
It has a white screw lid which comes open easily. Before using it you have to pierce the top with lid which is easy and only takes a moment.
On the back of the tube it has a short paragraph about what the rescue cream is and below that it has the directions. The directions for use are as you'd expect and simple to follow; apply a generous amount of cream to cover desired area. Re-apply as required.
The cream is white and it is lanolin, paraben and perfume free. I wouldn't say it's thick but it's certainly not runny. You only need a small amount as it spreads well, although obviously if your hands are really dry you may find you need a bit more. It soaks in pretty fast and it works well to moisturise your skin and repair it.
The front of the tube states it soothes with 6 flower essences. I don't know that I'd say it smells flowery but I'm not really sure how I'd describe the smell. It's not a bad smell though and it's also fairly faint. I can smell it more on my hands than I can in the tube but I don't generally notice the smell once it's on.
It's easy to just squeeze a bit out of the tube. There are odd times when you end up with a bit more than you expected but I've never squeezed it and ended up with far too much as I have with others I've used.
I bought this in February last year and I still have some left. I don't use it daily and have used other moisturisers in between as I use whichever moisturiser I happen to find closest to me at the time I need it. However, it's still lasted a good while and certainly longer than some others I've used.
On the official Bach website it costs £5.90 for 30g and £8.05 for 50g. On Amazon it is currently £7.75 for the 50g. I paid £5.33 for the 50g off Amazon last year so it seems the price has gone up. It's certainly worth looking around though.
Overall I do like this Bach Rescue Cream as it does moisturise my hands well and it soaks in fast. Even when my hands are really dry and even slightly cracked it repairs the skin fast. However, I do think it is a bit expensive even at the amount I paid. I wouldn't normally pay so much for a moisturiser. I would certainly buy it again but only if I can find it cheaper than the current price. Recommended.
Mad World is a violent Wii game. Generally Wii games are thought of as for kids but this has an 18 rating and certainly isn't for kids.
This game is well titled as you re thrown into a mad world where you join a guy named Jack in a deadly game show. Your aim is to survive.
The controls are simple. You need a nunchuk to play the game. You use the control stick to move, Z button to jump, A to attack or grab someone/something, B for the chainsaw and you swing the nunchuk to dodge and Wii remote to cut.
The game starts with a map and a challenge for you to accept.
When you first start playing you go through a tutorial stage where you are taught how to fight. However, it's not always quick to move on to next instruction so I got stuck pointlessly killing until it told me. You are taught various tactics and most are pretty simple just as grabbing a post and stabbing someone with it. I got confused at one point though when it told me to throw a guy at a rose bush. It didn't explain what I was looking for so I wasn't looking for spikes on a wall and it did take me a little while before I noticed them and found out that's what it meant.
The rose bush is a very violent way of killing someone as you slam them into a spiked wall, pull them off and slam them into it again.
There are plenty of kill moves and you can even use various objects to help you but a lot seem overly violent and rather pointless. There's no fun in killing any of the guys and the only reason for it is survival in a game show. In other games killing usually makes sense; they're attacking you or they're really bad people or whatever. In this you don't know the other people, they haven't done anything wrong and if you keep moving around they weren't really attacking either.
Despite plenty of ways to kill I found myself using the same moves over and over again as I just wanted to kill the others quickly and move on to the next part. There seemed no reason to drag it out or be more violent. It made it boring but even during the tutorial doing the other moves didn't make it more interesting and some moves were just annoying.
I played through the first part fine and it took me on to the next stage of the game show. However, after a while spent killing everyone there was nobody left to kill and nowhere to go what I could find. I had no idea what to do. After running around for a while a couple of other guys did appear but after killing them I was left alone with no idea what to do again. I believe I was supposed to kill a boss but I have no idea who as no one was around. The two guys who eventually appeared seemed like all the others, not like a boss. I killed them easily. I'm not sure if I should have done something else but I went around the entire area and there didn't appear to be anything.
At one point I died from a train while trying to find people even though I'd jumped out the way and was on the platform where it's safe so that didn't help things.
I went through loads of places and got a lot of kills and still had to start from the very beginning when my character died and had no more lives left. Having spent a good hour or more getting to that point and a lot of time being very bored trying to find people it seemed stupid that I had to go all the way back to the start. It would have been bad enough starting that stage again but taking it back further than that was more than I cared to do again.
An hour may not seem very long for playing a game but I wanted to stop playing about 10 minutes. It was clear the whole game is overly violent, there isn't much to the storyline and it is all in black and white.
There is also a multiplayer option but I haven't played that so can't comment on that part of the game.
The entire game is in black and white and is done in the style of a comic. The only colour in the game is red when you kill someone. At times there is a stupid amount of red which is obviously meant to be all the blood but it is very unrealistic.
Watching the first video I thought it looked quite interesting being black and white and in the comic style, but when the game turned out to be the same I quickly got fed up of everything being in black and white. I really missed having colour as things just look quite boring and I found it harder to focus.
I can't say I paid much attention to the audio. The soundtrack didn't interest me so I turned the volume right down. The sound effects are alright but they get rather annoying after so long and, again, I had the volume low so I didn't really have to hear them.
I paid 98p for this and you can usually find this game for less than £5. It is currently £4.48 at Amazon. You can also get it pre-owned at CEX for £2.
This game is pretty good for exercising your arms as there are a lot of guys to kill, but other than that this a boring, pointless, colourless game that isn't even worth the 98p I paid for it.
I have a digital camera and wanted a case to keep it in as I didn't have one. I ended up buying the Red Golla Garden Digital Camera Case, which is a padded zip case.
Golla do a range of different designs but out of the ones by Golla and some other brands this one is the one that stuck out most to me.
The case is bright red which has a zip on the top. The design is on the front of the case. I'm not a fan of flowery designs normally, but this one is quite simple. There are four flowers, two are very light pink and the other two are just white outlines.
Inside there is a small pocket at the back which is the perfect size for putting a memory card or spare battery. There is a bit of Velcro to make sure whatever you put in there doesn't slide out. I wasn't expecting this as I didn't see any mention of it on the site when I bought it so it is nice to know there is a small pocket if needed.
On the back of the case is a strap/handle that you can slide your hand into if you wish to carry it that way. There is also a clip at the top of it so you can attach the bag to a belt or something. It is possible to just slide the hook off if you don't want it (you could always put it in the pocket inside the camera case if you think you may want it at some point).
There is also a draw string that comes with it so you can hang the bag around your neck which could come in very useful. The case is very light and as it's meant for small digital cameras it shouldn't be too heavy to hang around your neck.
The material is quite smooth on the outside and is made entirely of polyester. I don't think it is waterproof which is a shame but it's not an expensive case so I wouldn't expect it to be.
It is a good quality case and it is padded to keep the camera safe. The case has been well sewn together with no lose threads or anything. The zip opens and closes smoothly and doesn't catch on anything.
I'm not sure how good the quality of the clip is. To open it you just push the bar in and over time that might loosen or not open/close so well. It does feel quite thick and solid though so it should last a while.
The size is roughly 3cm deep, 7.5cm wide and 11.5cm high. It is meant for small digital cameras and mine (a Fujifilm JV250) fits in perfectly.
I didn't want to spend much on a camera case so was ideally looking for one under £2. I was happy to find a few under £1.50 but this one was the cheapest at just 75p! It was an add-on item at the time I bought it but I was planning on buying other off Amazon anyway so that was fine. I have now noticed the price has gone up to £4.42 on Amazon with free shipping if your order is over £10! This seems rather a jump and there are cheaper cases that are probably as good, although for less than £5 I suppose the price isn't too bad. I personally wouldn't buy it at its current price though just because price was one of the main factors for me.
After buying I did also find it on Tesco Direct for 75p but that appears out of stock now. However, it might be worth checking if you're planning on buying one.
Overall I really like this camera case and it should last a while. For 75p it's a bargain! Recommended.
I liked the previous kettle we had, but one day the fuse decided to blow and we lost all electricity. Twice. Seems a new fuse didn't do the trick and so it was time for a new kettle. So now we have the Cookworks Stainless Steel Jug kettle.
It was actually my parents who bought this kettle, although I don't think either of them are too keen on the design. They bought it from Argos so didn't get to see it beforehand. I don't much like the design of this kettle either. I just don't like the light grey of the handle, base and lid and the fact it's quite rounded. Most of the kettle is silver and shiny, which looks fine but the grey makes it look cheaper for some reason. I think black would look far better.
Using the kettle:
Using the kettle is very simple. You lift the lid, pour in water, close the lid, place the kettle on the base and flick the lever. It's really as you'd expect from a kettle. The only thing that does annoy me is the fact you have to push the lever up and I'm used to pushing them down. The shape of it would suggest you push it down rather than flick it up.
The lid is fairly easy to lift up. There is a small catch/button and you just push that in and lift it. You need to make sure you apply enough pressure for the lid to properly close as it's quite easy to think it has closed, but there's actually a small gap as it hasn't fully clicked into place. It's easy enough to close the lid, you just have to make sure it's completely down.
The kettle gets very hot, as I found out when I accidentally caught the side of it just before writing this review. The handle seems to stay quite cool though which is good, although the lid (even a little while after boiling some water) still feels rather hot. Obviously, as with all kettles that have boiling water in, you need to be careful when using it. Luckily it does pour the water out alright so you don't have to worry too much about boiling water dripping down the kettle.
The kettle holds a maximum of 1.7 litres. It does have a water level indicator on the side which is very easy to see. The previous kettle we had said the amount of water in cups which was far more useful to me, but this one has it in litres. It says 0.5L with MIN underneath to suggest that is the minimum amount of water you should put in. The manual however says that you should fill it between 0.8L and 1.7L.
The first thing I noticed is that the kettle is very loud. When it gets to boiling point the kettle also shakes a lot as if it can't really handle it. It does that even with just above the minimum amount of water in so it's not because the kettle is full or has too much water in.
It seems to boil fairly fast and you can tell when it's on as the water level indicator becomes blue and the red light at the bottom comes on.
It does automatically switch off when it has boiled, although you can manually switch it off before that if you wish.
You can get this kettle for £17.99 from Homebase, which is roughly what my parents paid at Argos.
So far there hasn't been any problems with the kettle. It's certainly not the greatest kettle but it boils and pours the water fine which is what you really need from a kettle.