The Holidog ‘Happy Box’; free automatic renewals and poor customer care come as standard

image1Holidog have been streaming a torrent of direct marketing towards me since I registered with the site a couple of years ago just to get a feel for the service.  These emails continue sometimes daily despite me having never used the site either as a pet sitter, or for pet sitting services.  However, when they sent out an offer to try their happy box last month, I thought it was worth a go.  Unfortunately, rather than happiness, this box has ended only in disappointment, frustration, and what will consequently become the end of what could have been a beautiful relationship.

We received the happy box 5 days ago, and our big brown bubbly Labrador showed a mild degree of disinterest; she liked the snacks, but has blatantly ignored the scented rubbery toy.  I had actually responded to the offer of a ‘fox in a box’, but this was not what we received, and since I have had no communication from Holidog at all about when the box would arrive, or what to expect, it was a surprise for all of us.  I was not at all certain that this particular ‘treat’ was worth £29 a month. But I did consider purchasing a one-off box maybe every few months, around Christmas, time for instance, Easter, and Birthdays.

Bluetooth Complaining Computer Emotion Laptop Opinions Rant Review Technology Testing Toys USB Windows

Dell XPS 13 9350 Review

A noisy machine that will mutate into an expensive paperweight

One Star

I’m very sad to report that my Dell XPS 13 9350, with core-i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD has had to be returned to the manufacturer (at their insistence, I’d rather have had it fixed under the warranty I bought with it). Most of this review was written in the first few days, when the problems I saw I’d put down to other issues such as my external display lead or Windows. After the motherboard was replaced though, it lasted less than 24 hours, before Dell support insisted there was nothing they could do other than collect the machine and issue a refund. Note that I am an IT consultant with well over 20 years in the field – this is a review from a seasoned professional, who understands that computers don’t always work first time!

Apple eBay iPad iPad Mini Recycle Review Sell Technology

Plunc – Recycle your old iPad

Mrs Zoo Keeper has not used her iPad mini (1st gen, 16GB, white) for a number of months now, so she decided to start the process of offloading it. Apple products tend to hold their value well, so selling it seemed to be a good idea.

Having had not too great an experience with fleaBay recently, when selling an old Apple iPhone 5S, we considered some of the various recycling sites. After trying a few companies, and getting pretty poor prices compared to the auction sites, we came across They were offering £15 more than their closest rival, and not too far off the expected selling price on fleaBay. They had some great TrustPilot reviews, so we thought we’d give them a shot.

Dogs Idiots Opinions Rant Toys Violence

Muzzle all dogs or keep children under control?

We experienced a quite horrid incident yesterday, in Skegness on a day-trip, and it left us with quite a bitter taste in our mouths.

Whilst standing on a wide walkway, with Coco the dog sat next to me on her double lead, connected to her harness, a small child came straight up to her, put one hand under her snout and one hand at the side and started staring into her eyes. Even though Coco did not react, I pulled her lead backwards, put my hand between her and the child, and said to the child quite firmly: “No! You don’t go straight up to a dog and put your hands in its face, you could get bitten”. At this point, the “mother” came scuttling backwards, having walked on long before, having no idea where her child was or what it was doing, took the child away and started mouthing about us needing to keep control of our dog!

Amazon Complaining Email Emotion Help Legal Libel Miscellaneous Rant Review Thoughts

I’ve been libelled by Amazon… :(


I’ve been a loyal customer of Amazon for at least 11 years (the earliest email I can find is from 2004, and that was for a return), and I’ve been writing numerous and regular reviews for products sold on over the past six months or so, as you may have seen on this website.

I’ve been posting reviews for items I’ve purchased, items I’ve been given a discount code for, and items that I’ve been provided free of charge, for the purpose of review (similar to the Amazon Vine program).

Amazon Car Review Technology Testing

VicTop 3.5mm FM Transmitter Review

This review appears in its original form here, and is for this product listing.

Five Stars

Neat little design, still good if you use a case!

This item arrived in a nicely designed, solid cardboard, printed protective box. The box opened nicely to show a well laid out interior, with the transmitter protected in a plastic packet, with plastic sheets protecting the glossy front and back of the unit. Inside the box were the unit itself, a micro-USB cable, and a car cigarette lighter USB power adapter, along with a basic instruction manual.

I think it’s a nice touch that the power plug has a standard USB socket, so you can use it to either power your phone, or power the device. The device has a battery, and there is a battery level indicator in the display, so you can use it without it being constantly plugged in.

Amazon iPhone Mobile Phone Case Review Testing

Coolden iPhone 6 / iPhone 6s Kickstand Case Review

This review appears in its original form here, and is for this product listing.

Five Stars

Really nice case, with a cool kickstand feature.

Inside the Amazon box, this item was packaged in a clear-fronted, retail style resealable plastic packet. Despite the very reflective and metallic appearance, this case feels very rubberised and soft. The gaps between the “metal” weaves are clear silicone style plastic, and sort of give away the nature of the material.

The rubber is very soft and pliable, so it slips nicely onto your phone and holds really well. All the ports are there, with cutouts and button covers all in the right place, nothing is difficult to get to, even the mute button.

Amazon Humidifier Review Testing

MAOZUA Mini USB Humidifier Review

This review appears in its original form here, and is for this product listing.

Five Stars

Whisper silent yet really effective!

This item arrived in a strong, protective, brown cardboard box. Inside the box were the humidifier unit itself, a spare wick, an instruction manual, a flat USB cable, and a cup matching the humidifier unit.

The humidifier is sort of water lily shaped, and it can sit in any container with water in, such as a cup or vase, as long as the top isn’t submerged. The wick draws in water through the side of the “stalk”, and the tiny piezo pulsing unit at the top sends out the moisture in cool misty clouds.

Amazon Car Review Testing

KoolZone Car Windshield and Side Window Shades Review

This review appears in its original form here, and is for this product listing.

Five Stars

Really great Windscreen shield, interesting side shades!

This is really two separate items, the windscreen sun shield, and the side window shades. All the items came in a single, large, zip sealable plastic bag, with the side shades in their own smaller version of the bag, inside the larger one. The windscreen shield was in its own handy pouch, inside a protective plastic packet, inside the main zipping bag.

When you pull the windscreen shield out of its pouch, and let the hoops pop back into their normal shape, it’s BIG. You can see why it’s universal, because it’s both huge, and when you overlap the hoops, it can be small to fit smaller windscreens. It’s a shame there’s no basic instruction reminders on how to reset the hoops to their smaller sizes, but I’ve had similar beach mats and tents, so have the hang of just twisting them like a screw to shrink them down again.

Amazon Bulb Lamp LED Light Review Testing

BestFire Portable LED Camping Light Review

This review appears in its original form here, and is for this product listing.

Five Stars

Brilliant and versatile little camping light!

This item arrived in a glossy, retail style box, inside a strong, protective, brown cardboard box. Inside the box(es) was the unit itself, it would have been nice to see some included batteries, but for the price you can’t really argue!

The surprisingly small lamp twists in the middle, to open and show you the battery compartment, which takes 3 x AAA batteries. Put in the batteries, close up the unit, and you’re away.