Sunday, 29 May 2016

SP Gadgets Tripod Grip: GoPro Version Review


I've always liked the idea of a tripod grip for the GoPro but when I bought my Hero camera I also bought 'The Handler' mount from GoPro. Don't get me wrong, this is a great little handle to take around with you that has the added bonus of floating your camera. This handle has come in very useful so far for filming, but since buying myself the GoPro Hero 4 Silver recently, I wanted to have two handles so there was one for each. Knowing I wanted to get a tripod grip, I spent a while searching around and ended up going for this SP Gadgets Tripod Grip, which is around £25. 


Features

Even though it's a fairly simple piece of kit, it still has some very handy features. 

Rubber Finish: When using this as a handle it ensures that you have a solid purchase so you don't have to worry about it slipping out of your hand. When switched to a tripod, it makes sure the feet have a secure grip on whichever surface you set it down on so you will get a stable shot.

Ball & Socket: This comes in very useful for getting the right angle for your shot. There is a simple screw top to tighten and loosen so that you can adjust it to perfect position. 

Direct GoPro Mounting: Some tripod grips are designed to be used for any camera and come with a standard tripod mount, which can be good if you interchange the camera, however if you want something specifically for the GoPro then this is perfect. It means you don't have to worry about having the tripod attachment with you too or fiddling around putting it on. 

Wrist Strap: A little addition to make sure the grip will stay secured to your wrist so there if no chance of you losing it. The strap is material and can be adjusted to fit any size, and the loop simply fits over the attachment for the camera before you screw it in so this will stay secure. 



Conclusion

From my experience using the grip it seems like a very sturdy and useful handle. It was perfect for walking around and filming, being lightweight and still a generous size to allow for a stable grip. The grip is sturdy and is great for when you need to quickly change between handheld and tripod shot without having to carry a tripod with you too. This grip doesn't float, but if you don't intend to use it around water then this wouldn't matter. For more adventurous activities using your GoPro, I would be more inclined to go for something such as The Handler mount I mentioned earlier. This SP Gadgets grip is designed as more of a city attachment for the GoPro and I think it would be the perfect attachment for going travelling as it combines two mounts into one, so you can't go far wrong with this SP Gadgets Tripod Grip.

If you liked this post you might also like my GoPro Hero Haul and GoPro Hero Review.


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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Skullcandy Uprock Headphones Review


I've had quite a few pairs of headphones over the years and I wasn't particularly looking to buy another set, but when I was in TK Maxx and spotted these for £10 down from the normal price of £30 it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. They feel well built for the price and have a simple but attractive design. I mean, I don't know how long they will stay perfectly white, however I'm still glad I chose this colour. 


I'm really impressed with the sound that these Skullcandy Uprock headphones kick out. They give out surprisingly good bass for their size, but still perform well for detailed sections. When using them to listen to music, they represent it pretty true to what it should sound like, as I've had headphones in the past that can be really good dealing with bass, but lose out to vocals and other parts. These headphones are well balanced to give you a good overall music output. I've also used these when watching vlogs and more speech based videos and they still perform well here, with speech coming out clear and crisp.


The 'memory foam ear pillows' are a welcome change as they are slightly angled so they fit much better on the ears. There is a decent amount of padding to ensure that don't push in too much, without being over the top to make them bulky. I've worn them for a prolonged period of time and they are still comfortable, something I've not had the luxury of with some other headphones in the past. The headband is adjustable so you shouldn't have to worry about them being too small. A neat little feature that many will appreciate is the flat tangle-free cable with the addition of a built in microphone and remote. This will allow you to take calls on the go and control your music with the play/pause and volume controls. 

Overall, I'm really happy with these headphones and was very impressed with how they perform. Having only paid £10 for them, they were an absolute bargain, and I think they are well worth the normal price of £30. They are much comfier than ones I've had in the past, while still looking much more expensive than they actually are as a result of their sleek design. 

If you liked this post, you might also like my Kitsound Arcade Bluetooth Headphones Review and Kitsound Boombar Bluetooth Speaker Review

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Monday, 23 May 2016

Realities Of Going On Holiday With Your Girlfriend


Packing for going on holiday seems relatively simple to me, but this seems to be a different story for Laura. When I pick out my outfits, it's a case of grabbing enough to last me while I'm away compared to needing a full choice of outfits because Laura couldn't decide what she might want to wear and wanted more options. Shoes, shoes and more shoes. How many pairs of shoes could you possibly need to take with you on holiday and not have more shoes than days you are staying there.

You would have thought packing toiletries would at least be a easier task. Apparently buying travel mini items because they are 'cute' is a good enough reason to pay more for this tiny item that hardly has anything in it. Then there is the decisions of what makeup to take away. With Laura's 'slight' obsession with makeup, there is know way she could take it all away with her, so obviously she had to pick the essentials. How long does it actually take to choose which colour lipstick or which palette to take? Then it gets to choosing which brushes she will need out of the 2 pots full she has. 

So finally we are both all packed and head off to the airport, check in and get through security and start heading towards the lounge. The next thing I know, I've lost sight of Laura only to find her browsing through the makeup section of duty free. I think if there is a bargain to be had with makeup then Laura wouldn't be too far away. Bargain hunting skills have come in useful however, as it means I can often pick up some great deals when I'm we are out shopping. 

When getting ready for day out, girl's have to have what seems like a lifetime to get ready. Spending ages perfecting the makeup and hair only to stand and look into the wardrobe deciding which outfit to choose. And this of course has to be in combination with the correct shoes so when you add up all the clothes and shoes, the combinations can be very large. 

Whenever you go away somewhere abroad and they have different makeup brands this is very appealing to many girls out there. Of course, Sephora is the dream shop when it comes to makeup, so I already knew that when we were out and we saw one that she would want to go in. Although I have a sneaky suspicion she already knew where the stores would be. Of course it wasn't all makeup shops while when we go away and I get my fair share of technology and clothes shops for myself so I guess I can let her off for going into Sephora, even if we ended up going into 3 different stores!

Even though I may have spent a fair few hours in makeup shops, she actually wanted my opinion on what she was buying which showed she actually trusted me to pick what suited her. Although I'm not interested in makeup, I wouldn't change Laura's interests for the world as it's part of what makes her who she is. Have you had a similar experience going away with your significant other? If you liked this post you might also like Realities of Living with a Fashion & Beauty Blogger post.

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Friday, 20 May 2016

Crust Liverpool Review


I was kindly invited to go with Laura for a meal at Crust in Liverpool to try out what they have to offer. I'd heard good things about the restaurant from word of mouth so was excited to go and see what all the fuss was about. As soon as we entered we were greeted by a friendly member of staff who was very welcoming and took us to our table. We went for our meal at 6pm on a Thursday and there were already quite a few tables taken, and it soon started to fill up not long after we arrived. It had a very rustic and cultured feel, from the decor to the open plan kitchen with a stone bake oven. Crust offer four different dough bases: Original, Five Grain, Organic and Black, plus the gluten free options. 



Enjoying an ale now and again, I was intrigued to try out some of the local offerings. After having a look through the list, I opted for the Penny Lane Pale (3.9%), which was a very light and easy to drink beer. It has a subtle citrusy and fruity flavour which was perfect to have with a meal. 



I was really impressed with what the menu offered, and it took me a while to decide what to go for. In the end me and Laura decided to share a Garlic and Mozzarella Focaccia, which turned out to be a good decision as it was about the size of a medium pizza, so for a starter this is very generous. Don't think its quantity over quality though, as it was one of the nicest I have ever had. I was glad to see there was plenty of cheese so it didn't taste too doughy, with the garlic being subtle enough not to take over the flavour. 




Onto mains, and once again it was a hard decision as to what to choose, so we ended up picking two dishes to split. I ended up going for the Pollo pizza, which was mozzarella, chicken breast, grated potato, parmesan and rosemary. I went for the Five Grain base and it was a generous sized pizza with a good portion of toppings. It had an authentic taste that was a welcome change to what I have tasted at chain restaurants. Laura opted for the sausage burger, which was a homemade Italian sausage, served with a sweet potato mash, french fries and salad. You also have the dough choice for the burger bun and Laura chose the organic one, which was a nice change to a processed burger bun. The sausage was slightly spiced which gave it a nice flavour. 



Part way through my main, I decided to go for another ale, this time opting for the Toxteth IPA which was a stronger beer at 6.5%. This had more of a kick to it, with a fruity, earthy and malty flavour and was similar to some IPA's I've had before. It's not quite as easy to drink with a full meal being a bit stronger, however it would be perfect if you just wanted to grab a beer and something light to eat. 


After finishing the mains, we decided to have a browse of the dessert menu, and ended up deciding to share the Ravioli Chocolate. This was different to anything I've had before but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a sweet ravioli filled with chocolate sauce and finished with a dusting of cocoa powder and icing sugar. Overall I was really impressed with everything about Crust, the friendly staff, great food and relaxed atmosphere, and I will definitely be going back to try out some more of the menu and ales. 

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*Complementary meal in exchange for an honest review.
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

GoPro Hero Review


GoPro have been leading the market for compact shockproof and waterproof action cameras and I can definitely see why. There are now being used by anyone who wants a camera capable of recording high quality video, that can still fit in your pocket. There are becoming more and more popular as travel cameras for this reason, and that you can mount them to pretty much anything. This model only costs around £94 which is very reasonable for what it can do.

I had wanted a GoPro for ages and finally ended up getting one, deciding to go for the entry level Hero model. This camera is integrated within the housing and can take up to 32GB micro SD memory cards. It has around a 2.5 hour battery life which is pretty decent for it's size. It has a more limited range of recording options, but being the entry level model it makes it easier to use. It comes with a waterproof back door to use in any dirty or wet situations plus a skeleton back door which can be used when its dry and dirt free which will give you much better audio.

Video
There are 3 different options for recording which can be used for different situations. All of the modes output high quality video, but each one has it own advantages depending on the type of filming you will be doing. To have a look at some of the videos I've taken with it, have a look at my Knowsley Safari Park and LA Photo Diary & Vlogs posts.

1080p at 30fps - I use for this normal filming when I want Full HD output and to leave footage at normal speed. It gives crisp quality and represents details very well. 

720p at 60fps - This is a perfect mode to use if you want to create slow motion footage of what you have been recording, as the higher frame rate will still give you smooth footage even when it has been slowed down.

720p Superview - This mode records in an even more immersive view to capture more of what's around you. It will give a little more distortion in the video, but is good to use when you need a wider angle view. 

 

Photo
The Hero can produce 5MP stills which come out surprisingly well. There are 3 different modes to use for taking photos which can all come in useful in a number of situations. Some still photos are shown in my Calderstones Park post.

Photo - This is the mode for taking single photos if you want to snap something quickly. The only thing to bear in mind with only taking one photo is that when you press the shutter it will cause the camera to move slightly which sometimes gives you blurry images. 

Burst - This option takes 5fps by taking 10 photos in 2 seconds when you press the shutter. I've found this very useful to use instead of the single photo mode to help eliminate blurry photos. This mode can also be used to capture fast action such as someone jumping into a pool, and you can edit the photos to stitch them all together so you can see all stages of the action in one photo. 

Time-lapse - I love using this mode to capture things such as sunsets and the movement of the clouds. You will need to set it up on a tripod as a stable base for the duration of the time-lapse. It will record at 0.5 second intervals but if you want to have the time-lapse running quicker you can speed it up in GoPro Studio when editing. To get an idea of how it looks, have a look at the video in my Sefton Park Sunsets post. You can also use the mode if you want to take photos of yourself, as you can start it running and it will take multiple photos so you can choose the best ones. The wide angle comes in useful here too as you can get a lot of background in, even only holding it at an arms length.


I've mentioned this as part of my How I Take My Blog Photos post, but I thought I'd include it here again. If you have ever seen panning time-lapses and wondered how you can do them then look no further. All you need to buy is an egg timer from IKEA for around £6 and then attach the flat adhesive mount to the top. You can then put the quick release mount on the GoPro and slide it straight in. There you have it, a very cheap and easy way to capture panning time-lapse photos. 

Mounts
GoPro Tripod Mount - This was one of the first mounts I bought as it allows you to attach the GoPro to any standard tripod. This is perfect when you want to capture time-lapse footage or have a stable base for getting the action shot. 

GoPro Chest Mount - This allows for real POV footage and is very stable. You can wear it for pretty much any activity or travel adventure you are doing. I've not had much chance to use this properly, although it came in very useful when I went to LA to film what I was doing while keeping my hands free.

GoPro Suction Cup - Another great mount that can attach to any flat surface. It's perfect for using for filming in the car as it means you will get a very stable shot while filming and you know the camera not going anywhere. You can also attach it to the outside of vehicles if you wanted to so you don't have to film through a window. 

GoPro The Handler - A very lightweight handle is perfect for filming either yourself or what you are going. The bonus with this handle is that it floats the camera too, so is perfect for use in the water. I used this nearly all the time in LA and can be easily slipped into a bag with the camera attached when you aren't using it. This mount is in the top photo of the post. 

Overall, this is a great little camera that can produce some very impressive results. Being an action camera you know it can stand up to whatever you might throw at it and it can capture footage where many other camera cannot. I can see this coming in very useful as a travel camera and will definitely be going on all my future trips with me. If you are thinking about buying a GoPro but don't want to spend loads, this entry level model is very good value for money.

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Sunday, 8 May 2016

Los Angeles Photo Diary & Vlogs

I've not long got back from a week away in LA and it was absolutely amazing. Laura was lucky enough to have won this trip and she very kindly chose to take me along. We had so much to do and so many places to see, so I've picked some of my favourite photos to include in this post. Make sure to check out our Los Angeles Vlogs at the bottom of the post!





















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