Bacon to the Future – A review of meat substitute foodstuffs

In advance I’d like to apologise for making that title sound very clinical but I wasn’t sure how to word it otherwise. Most of the stuff I’m going to mention is Quorn but, as other brands are involved, I thought I needed to be a pretty generic.

Anyway, due to a required change in diet (reduction in red meat, in particular) I’ve turned to meat substitute to add to meals. You see, I like my meat, so something that will replace it in my diet without me even realising is important. Sorry, but a nut cutlet isn’t going to work with me.

So what’s good and wasn’t it?

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SoundPEATS Q29 Wireless Earbuds

As soon as Apple announced their AirPods it was inevitable that other companies would produce their own equivalents. And, sure enough, SoundPEATS have done just that with their Q29 earbuds.

Just like the AirPods, these work independently of each other and come in a case which also charged them, when not in use. However, there are as many differences between the two products are there are similarities.

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Benuo Slim Genuine Leather Card Wallet

The Benuo is an attractive, real leather wallet. Unlike many which fold, this is a compact, single piece. There are 2 slots on the back for cards and two on the front, under a snap fastened strap. The front also has a coin section too. Push the two sides together and the top opens up to reveal an area for notes (albeit, very well folded).

The bronze-coloured stitching around the leather is well done but may not be to everyone’s taste. Also, on the front is a small slot, just behind the strap, to hold a single coin (I found a £1 to fit just right). What the purpose of this is, I’m not sure, although it does make fastening the strap easier.

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LOPOO Remote Control LED Light String

It’s Christmas (well, nearly)! Time to be thinking of putting up the decorations and sorting out your yuletide tree. This year I’ve been trying out a string of LED lights, courtesy of LOPOO.

Traditional lights consist of thickish cables and large bulbs, whereas this consists of incredibly thin copper wires and minute LED lights. The wire is a bit more visible than the green cable you often get, but takes up less room, is a lot more flexible and, to be honest, adds its own nice touch to the look. The lights are low-powered (just 1 amp) so the electricity is sent along the bare copper wire (okay, no, the description does say the wire is insulated but, if is, it’s undetectable) – no, you can’t feel anything when it’s touched!

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PIX-LINK WR01 WiFi Extender

The WR01, available in a high close black or white, is a single band, Wireless-N extender and AP.

Wireless extenders are incredibly useful for ensuring you get a good quality WiFi extender across your property – it basically sits away from your router, taking its WiFi signal and extending it further for you.

The AP functionality allows you to create a WiFi signal where, before, you may not have had one. An Ethernet connection in the side allows you to plug this into an existing internet connection and the device will then create a WiFi signal for you – this may be of use in a hotel, for instance, where they may only provide a wired internet connection.

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Toshiba Canvio Alu USB 3.0 Hard Drive

Toshiba’s Canvio Alu range of USB 3.0 hard drives are available in a variety of colours (red, silver, black, blue and gold) and capacities (500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 2.5TB). In my case I have the silver 1TB model. Not surprisingly, as the name suggests, these have an aluminium case and contain a 2.5″ drive.

The drive looks very nice, seemingly in 2 pieces, with a thin cutout running all the way around the outside.  A USB connector is present on the back and a short USB cable is included. A thin slit at the rear of the top contains a blue LED status light – considering this blends, otherwise, extremely well with a Mac, I find it weird that they didn’t use a white LED to match the design further.

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Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case

Adventures in Stationery: A Journey Through Your Pencil Case is a book by James Ward, looking at every-day stationary and giving you the history of them as well as answering those long-needed questions – what does shatterproof actually mean and how many pens do Argos use?

Each chapter is divided into logical sections, the first one beginning with a story from the author that kick starts the whole thing. Normally, Ward will plunge feet first about a stationary item before then pulling back to give a fuller history. For example, one chapter may be about glues and adhesive tapes. So he might start talking about Pritt Stick, how we know it, make some jokes about it before then going back to kick off the history. This too then might then jump into the history of the company too. It’s all logically layered and works very well to keep your attention – I found it very hard to not read whole chapters at a time!

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Oittm Nightstand Mode Charging Stand for Apple Watch and Smart Phone

Now, this is an interesting proposition and, although mainly billed as a charging stand for an Apple Watch, it can be used for charging any other brand of smart phone too. And with 3 USB charging ports on the front, it’s an ideal bedside accessory.

The main base of the product is aluminium and matches the looks of the Apple products well (other colours are available too!). On the front are 3 USB charging sockets, providing up to 2.4 amps each (there are 6 amps to deliver maximum across all). On the rear is a figure-8 socket, which plugs into the mains (a UK cable is provided). Take off the plastic top and there is storage inside for cables, plus another USB socket inside – this is for those who want to make use of the dock on top. Next to this extra socket is an LED, which is permanently on when the power is switched on – a useful indicator whilst hidden away from normal view.

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SoundPEATS Q21 Bluetooth Earphones

The Q21 earphones, from SoundPEATS, are another of their more premium products but, like all their others, represent excellent value for money.

So, these are Bluetooth earphones with an inline control build into a short cable that runs from one earpiece to another. This remote has a microphone (for taking calls) and 3 multi-use buttons which do everything from changing tracks to pairing the headphones. A small LED also provides a useful status indicator although voice prompts are also used to make it even easier to use. Recharged via a USB socket (also on the control) these should last you 6 hours of music playback.

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Oittm Gaming Mouse Pad

There are a number of special “gaming” mouse pads available and this one by Oittm, although not a name I’ve heard before,  is available at a similar price-point to the competition.

Mouse mats are normally small squares but the idea of a gaming version is to have it BIG – usually to also provide a grippy surface for your keyboard as well but also allow the mouse to go either side too. And, I’m happy to say, that’s the case here – it’s nearly a metre wide (90 cm to be more precise) and 40cm deep. My keyboard and mouse go on it with plenty of room to spare.

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