Thursday, December 20, 2007

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Alternate Christmas Gifts Part 2

A Blagman’s work is never done and for this reason it’s time for my last update before Christmas and my what a bumper bag of treats this update includes. Swarovski crystals, A £200 Chess Set, toiletries, games and even some carpet all come under scrutiny today. So without further ado let’s get reviewing.

Jack Daniels’ Lynchburg Chess Set
Price: £200
Where Can I Buy One:

This absolutely has to go first because a) it’s Jack Daniels and that deserves respect and b) because it’s worth so flipping much! As a traditional chess set it more than does the job with a sturdy board, and all the pieces you’d come to expect. Given that Jack Daniels doesn’t have many more iconic images that the bottle itself it’s unsurprising that these comprise the pawns, although it is a little odd to see some of the other pieces.

Naturally there’s Mr Daniels himself as the King, but then it all starts to get a little unusual. For example the Queen is comprised of a rare Belle of Lincoln decanter which although part of the JD Heritage means nothing to most of us. Similarly charcoal mellowers as rooks and a safe are hardly standard chess pieces and here lies a slight flaw. The knights look nothing like horses and can easily be confused with the rooks as towers (both are upright rectangles).

It therefore seems this is more of a set for either those who want to use it a lot (and therefore learn the pieces) or those who simply want to have it and feel proud of a set with a certain antique appeal. The pieces lack any gold, silver or fancy decorations so it’s quite a lot for your 200 notes, but are softening the burden by selling it for £100 when you buy other JD products here. Could be an antique someday and certainly will appease the hardened JD fan who is sick of getting the same old gift set every year.

Swarovski Filofax
Price: £125
Where Can I Buy One:

Ain’t it a beaut? Embossed with beautiful Swarovski crystals this Filofax is the perfect gift for a loved one who wants to look good whilst they work. It comes with all the usual diary pages, charts and measures and shows prestige throughout.

Filofax Classic
Where Can I Buy One:

Or for the same price you can snag this large leather Filofax with bigger pages, a notepad, ruler, and bigger to do lists. Still it doesn’t have crystals so we’ll pass.

Sadly, unlike the chess set, we had to send both of these Filofaxes back as we were sent the only three press samples in the UK (and didn’t want to be seen as Diamond thieves) so they won’t count towards my product or cash tally. Why feature them at all? Because they sent them in monkey wrapping paper and I’m a sucker for monkeys.

At least we got to blag some paper!

Gloves In a Bottle
Where can I buy One: Gloves in a

I remarked a week ago how rarely I receive bits and bobs from the US to review. In that article I covered a hand lotion and low and behold another hand lotion turned up on my desk less than a week later, also from the US. Just as intrigued to try this one out, I decided to set the ultimate test for chapped hands by washing my car… in Winter. Once done I retired inside and my hands were warmed by a roaring fire and suitably chapped to pieces.

For my test I lathered over some Gloves In a Bottle and my hands were right as rain around 12 minutes later. The only downside comes from the bottle itself, when trying to apply the lotion I found it hard to apply a small dose, instead a rather large blob ended up on my palms each time. This would be fine but the lotion is very thin and thus you only need a little bit to see results, apply too much and you’ll spend a while rubbing it all in. Still it did the trick and the bottle is easier to use as it becomes emptier.

Mobile Games
Every so often I get sent games to my mobile thanks to a PR team, and whilst I wish my phone could play them all half the time it conks out. So in an effort to make peace before the holidays here’s two that have arrived (and worked!) recently:

First there’s Snood Blaster, a traditional game in the mould of Bust a Move. Your goal is to shoot ‘snoods’ in to the air and pair up three so they disappear. As time goes by the Snoods advance down the screen and timelimits get tighter. Although a fun timewaster the controls are a little too sensitive and the decision to not give each snood a unique colour (there’s three types of blue snood alone) makes quick identification of the best option tough. The saving grave comes from a multitude of quick play modes such as Armageddon (your cursor moves back and forth for you and you just fire) and Bombarder where you can fire bombs that detonate after a set number of turns. It’s worth learning the colour patterns for this variety alone.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw made me laugh if nothing else. Given that the first thing you’re taught is how to kick a man in the balls you know you’re in for a typical wrestling journey. Kicks, punches, grapples, breaks and submissions are all there, although these are mostly dictated by the position of you to your rivals. It feels more like a side scrolling beat em up that a wrestling game (hit 5 to win) but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if you like seeing a man get kicked in the groin.

Magic Carpet
Where Can I Buy One:JML

When I talked about the Christmas tree we blagged I forgot to mention that under the tree we put the Magic Carpet from JML. Although intended for mucky footprints we decided to lay it under our tree as it had the right colour to hide the falling needles and it didn’t seem to go in any of our other rooms. A few weeks later and it’s doing a stand up job collecting the needles in one convenient place for us and hiding them in its green colour scheme. The pack also says you can use it as a bathroom mat so I decided to walk over it in both muddy feet and wet feet. Both times it absorbed the muck and water welL, although it doesn't fly so the name is a bit misleading. Although not nearly as misleading as:

Where can I buy one:Cargo Home

If you’re worried you’ll have trouble slicing your way through presents the iSlice is a nice solution and if you run it over paper, or card it’ll make a nice cut. However the packaging makes a big statement as to how it won’t cut your fingers and is safe for hands. And it is if you run the device in a forward direction, but run it backwards and you’ll scratch your hand all over. Not a bad product (in fact it works really well) but just be warned it isn’t as idiot (or child) proof as it may seem.

Well by jove I hope that’s everything! All that remains now is for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas and the best New Years celebration money can buy (or blag). And if you haven’t tried blagging any presents there’s still time to make up a perfume gift set or two!

See you soon for the Blag of the Year Awards 2007.

Read more on Alternate Christmas Gifts Part 2:

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