Brown’s Bargains


1. Talking Voice Recorder: £27.50, available from Cobolt Systems Ltd, 01493 700172

2 Versions Available:
Model A: Records up to 30 messages, each with a length up to 30 seconds.
Model B: Records up to 3 messages, each with a length up to 5 minutes.(Please specify which model when ordering).

The talking voice recorder can be carried in your pocket or in the faux leather carry pouch provided. Simply press one button to start the recording and press again to stop. The volume is adjustable using a winder located on the right-hand side of the unit. Easy selection between messages by pressing the up or down button. Each message has a pause and repeat function. Spoken instructions when using the product. This product is ideal for recording shopping lists, phone numbers and short messages. Size 65 mm 2.56” (W) x 85 mm 3.35” (L). Powered by 2 x AAA Alkaline batteries (included).

2. Talking Traditional Style Alarm Clock: £16.95, available from Cobolt Systems Ltd, 01493 700172

A beautifully designed timepiece in brushed gold coloured casing. The bells on top and two feet at the front are in chrome. Just press the face of the clock to hear the time and date. An alarm can also be set. Pressing the face also stops the alarm. Please note: the bells are purely decorative. Size (approximate) 100mm (W) x 140mm (H) x 63mm (D) Powered by 2 x AA Alkaline batteries (included)

3. BT 4000 Cordless Big Button Phone with Nuisance Blocker: £24.99, available from Amazon

The BT4000 is a sturdy and easy to use cordless phone that features big buttons. The big buttons have been thoroughly tested to ensure your 1000th press is the same as your first. The easy-to-see big buttons and backlit display makes this phone not only a practical tool for elderly customers but also is a useful aid to sight, hearing and dexterity impaired customers. It is an affordable, easy to use, attractive phone which would also be a great option for any design-conscious cordless phone buyer.

• Call Control that blocks nuisance calls
• Large Buttons make it easy to dial quickly and accurately
• 100 name and number directory with copy between handsets
• Three-line amber backlight display with contrast control
• Handsfree speaker with volume control.

Brown’s Bargains

I now feature on the RNIB Connect Radio’s Tech Talk programme every Thursday night between 9.00 and 10.00 with presenter Steven Scott, and fellow guest Sean Preece. We talk about the latest assistive technology, what is happening around the world in the tech industry affecting blind and visually impaired people, and look at mainstream items that work equally as well for us.

But it has always been a concern of mine that there are some people with sight loss who cannot, for a variety of reasons, access some of the more expensive assistive kit. If you are not in employment and live on a low income, or you are not in full-time higher education, it can be difficult to obtain funding, meaning many miss out. And so Brown’s Bargains was born! Steven gave me a challenge one week to find three items that a blind or visually impaired person could use in their everyday life, that were under £20 each.

I met Steven’s challenge, but the programme became an instant hit. Now, Brown’s Bargains is part of Tech Talk every week. I troll the Internet and local outlets trying to find products that many people can use and might find invaluable for under 20 quid. It might sound easier than it is! I have asked Steven if we can raise the bar to £30 as I think this is still a reasonable amount of money to pay for some sensible household or personal items.

I have decided, due to its popularity, to post the Brown’s Bargains items to my blog every week, providing links, phone numbers or product numbers where applicable. I hope there will be something in it for everyone, but please give me your feedback, thoughts and suggestions on other products you find helpful that others can benefit from, so long as they are under £30.

Tech Talk is not only broadcast on a Thursday night, but also repeated on Saturday at 5.00 pm, available on Freeview channel 730, or online at RNIB Connect Radio. A podcast of the show, often with extra stuff from the three of us, is available to download from Friday onwards.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy putting Tech Talk together with Steven Scott and Sean Preece. We seem to have developed a fantastic rapport, and have lots of fun as well as discussing serious technology matters.

Come and join us!

Here are the first four episodes of Brown’s Bargains. I will do my best to post them each week from now on.


1. Talking keyring alarm clock
Product code: CC41; £7.99

A handy talking clock to attach to your keys.

2. Slip Resistant antimicrobial shower mat
Product code: DH369; £16.95

An antimicrobial top quality, cushioned and comfortable slip resistant shower mat

3. Note detector audible (sterling)
Product code: DO62; £19.95

The note detector helps you to distinguish the difference between £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes. Portable and fits easily into a pocket or handbag.

All available from the RNIB Online shop, or by calling 0303 123 9999.


1. Oxo Good Grips grater with container: £12.00, available from Amazon and all Oxo Good Grips outlets.

OXO Good Grips Container Grater does a double-duty with its sharp stainless steel grating surface and integrated storage. Stamped, bi-directional grating surface is ideal for medium grating of hard cheeses, chocolate, carrots, zucchini and more. Storage container conveniently catches, measures and dispenses ingredients. Non-slip base ensures that the grater stays put when in use. Soft, comfortable, non-slip grip cushions your hand during repetitive grating motions. Dishwasher safe. Dimensions: 5.7cm x 17.8cm.

2. J Pillow: £13.95, available from Lakeland.

The best sleep you can have sitting up! We’ve tried many a travel pillow here at Lakeland and nothing compares to the award-winning J Pillow. It’s the perfect travel companion to take on planes, trains, cars and coaches – even for power-napping in your favourite armchair. Unlike other pillows, it has a chin rest to support your head so there’s far less chance of getting a stiff neck, or nodding forward and waking with a jolt. To sleep, perchance to dream indeed…

3. Singing Bird Clock: £19.99, available from many online outlets including the RSPB, where the money from every sale goes to conservation.

A beautiful clock with 12 favourite garden bird calls, one on each hour, with a sensor that detects fading light. A gorgeous clock that will grace any room in your home.


1. Easy-to-see tactile dominoes with raised dots: product code: GB85, £8.99.

These dominoes have raised black dots against white plastic. Available in double blank or double nine combinations, and come in a plastic container.

2. RNIB Navigator: GPS app costing £7.99 per month, or £52.99 for one year.

A one month free trial is offered when you open the app. Available for iOS in the App Store, this GPS app has been designed by Sendero and RNIB with visually impaired travellers in mind.

3. Tweetings for iOS and Android: approximately £2.99.

This very accessible app allows synchronisation across all devices, and is a must-have for Social Media boffins! Available in the App Store for iOS and Google Play Store for Android.


1. Reusable coloured plastic bag clips: approximately £2.00 per packet, available from Lakeland, Amazon and all good outlets.

These clips can be used to seal freezer and other plastic bags to keep food fresh. Available in various sizes, colours and quantities.

2. Recordable greeting card, approximately £5.00, available from all good stationers, RNIB and online.

Record a message inside a greeting card for up to 20 seconds. Re-record as many times as you like! The perfect thoughtful card to send to a friend or loved one.

3. BumpDots mixed colour and shape pack: DL102, £10.07, available from RNIB.

A variety of self-adhesive bump-dots in mixed colours and shapes to use around the home, perfect to identify controls, knobs and other hard-to-feel items