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Julie D (Lancashire, England)
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Philip's Complete Road Atlas Britain and Ireland 2014: Hardback A4 (Philips Road Atlas)
Philip's Complete Road Atlas Britain and Ireland 2014: Hardback A4 (Philips Road Atlas)
by PHILIP'S
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good I'm told, certainly looks the business!, 20 Jan. 2015
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I see myself as rather in the vanguard of The Slow Movement and personally do not mind if I occasionally take a wrong turning and finish up somewhere more interesting instead. This could be why I'd never bothered changing my Road Atlas since 1990. I am reliably informed that many new roads have been added to the transport network in the intervening twenty five years. My partner who told me to snap this up as an up to date replacement tells me that all the new roads are included. Maps delight him. Not so me. Yet the Philip's Complete Road Atlas is satisfying to hold - with a kind of padded cover with gold tooling which means the fingernail marks of angst generated in me by having to feign study of a map are less likely to result in permanent damage - and it can be brought out and stared at when lost. The pages are rather thin but this makes for a considerably more compact volume than was the AA Road Atlas for 1990. I suspect I'll still make turnings on basis of instinct but my partner will feel happy I'm sure poring over it in Motorway Service stations. As for myself, I want no distractions in these paeans to life as we know it - there are far too many more interesting sights to pore over.


The Tony Hancock BBC Collection (8 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [1956]
The Tony Hancock BBC Collection (8 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [1956]
Dvd ~ Tony Hancock
Price: £17.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Universal and timeless, 20 Jan. 2015
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Tony Hancock was arguably the funniest man who ever lived. He very likely would still have been extremely funny even without the assistance of Galton and Simpson but these scriptwriters par excellence are perhaps the reason Hancock succeeded so well and so quickly became the nation's favourite in the 'fifties and 'sixties. Radio 4 Extra has brought a whole new audience to The Lad Himself and indeed to the scripts and both have held up exceptionally well. I've listened to numerous airings of shows from this period on 4 Extra and it's clear that most of them seem dated and rather tired. Not Hancock. Personally I find this stuff much easier to connect with than Monty Python and Spike Milligan for example. In some way it seems that so much comedy to come out of the era when Hancock flourished had its roots in World War Two one way or another and seems very male in outlook and I can't seem to find a way into it. Hancock is altogether less fixed in time, altogether so much more universal.

I would prefer to listen to the radio shows than to watch these TV versions but if you come to love Hancock, you will want to own this set which in any case is really great value. The TV output runs from the earliest shows through to Hancock's work for British TV after severing his association with Galton and Simpson who went on to write Steptoe and Son. The complete radio shows were available a few years ago as a boxed set but this was very costly and out of reach of all but the most well-heeled fan. A similar budget priced version of Hancock's wireless output is very long overdue.

Yet these TV shows are very entertaining to watch. You soon overlook the fact that they're a little creaky technology-wise. I also think it helps when listening to the radio shows, to have a clear idea of how Hancock actually looked in performance. His face is so expressive and together with his impeccable comic timing, if ever it were possible to dub someone 'the perfect comedian', it must be Hancock. The Hancock character is Everyman - or indeed Everywoman. He cuts deftly across time and we end up in small ways coming to understand ourselves better as we watch Hancock do battle with a world that seems out to get him. And who hasn't felt that particular sinking feeling? The TV shows too reveal that even post Kenneth Williams, Hattie Jacques, Sid James et al Hancock was just as funny. He was after all a comedian, not merely an actor with a capacity to be amusing.

People probably find their own ways into Hancock if they 'get him'. There are plenty of avenues to go down - biographies, 'lost scripts' and so on. But these TV shows and the radio output are the raw material and must underpin any 'reading' of the great man. Too often the tragedy of Hancock's demise tends to overshadow the body of work - unfairly so. Why should a man's efforts to comprehend the world and his own place in it - and the manner of his death - cast such a shadow as to obscure work as fine as this?

If you love to laugh, quite simply you must expose yourself to Tony Hancock.


The Early Years
The Early Years
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roxiest of Roxy compilations...., 20 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: The Early Years (Audio CD)
I'd never quite got round to replacing my early Roxy Music vinyl with CD equivalents. Yet there were certain Roxy songs from these albums which I loved. Every time I heard them I thought 'must add that CD to my collection' but there always seemed to be a new priority - which for me tends to be exploring stuff that's new to me as opposed to revisiting past favourites. So I was delighted to see The Early Years on Amazon for a great price. Were I to sit down and compile my own 'best of' from Roxy's early iconic albums, I must say the tunes here are the ones I'd go for. Some day I will buy the individual albums on CD but in the meantime, this compilation should keep me going. The tune I'd be most likely to include on a mixtape? - In Every Dream Home A Heartache - but let's be honest, every one's a gem. New to Roxy Music? I'd say this is the album to buy to make you see why for many this band will never be equalled - poetic, stylish, tacky, looking to the future yet impossibly tied to the glamour of the past, filled with contradictions and perpetually relevant to those possessing a soul. If you're young and feel passionate about music you must get your head around Roxy - a reference point for so much of what followed in its wake. Just a shame you don't get the shiny seductiveness of the album covers along with the songs....


NATURAL ROPE DOORSTOP
NATURAL ROPE DOORSTOP
Offered by Carousel Shop
Price: £7.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Because not all rope doorstops are equal..., 20 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: NATURAL ROPE DOORSTOP
We wanted a simple, non-fussy doorstop mainly to hold the front door open in the summer months. Rope doorstops such as this are to be found everywhere these days - yet we'd been searching for a couple of years for something just right. So why THIS rope doorstop? Undeniably the price is great and the colour is very natural looking. Having looked at quite a few of these things before settling on this version from Carousel Home, the colour is also a little less light than many of those currently available - much less likely to pick up dirt and look shop-soiled in record time. The doorstop is a good, functional, heavy weight too - it works! It even complements wooden flooring if you're after something fairly unobtrusive. But most satisfying of all - and this is not the case for some rope doorstops I've handled - when placed perpendicularly on the floor it actually STAYS upright and doesn't lean a little to one side which would cause minor dismay for years to come. So get it right the first time - this doorstop is the perfectionist's choice!


Danielle Satin Nickel Pedestal Mirror
Danielle Satin Nickel Pedestal Mirror

5.0 out of 5 stars Good looking, great quality, Amazon value..., 20 Jan. 2015
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I do not think the design of the Danielle Satin Nickel Pedestal Mirror could be much bettered. It is a good, heavy weight so not easy to knock over, a taller than average height, has a large mirrored surface and the base is covered in a black protective baize so it won't scratch furniture. Check the dimensions before you buy as this mirror may be rather larger than you'd imagine. Overall the appearance is that of brushed steel although the item is made of nickel. The shape is simple, not too fussy and should complement both contemporary or traditional decors and the quality is excellent for the price.

I am no scientist and was initially a little nonplussed over the magnifying mirror which is concave. I've not previously used a magnifying mirror of this type and thought at first that there may be some problem as the image was consistently upside down. I even unscrewed the mirror section from the base and attempted an alternative assembly until my partner said concave mirrors work this way and to see the magnified image right way round you need to get close to the mirror - in my case around eight inches away - before the image starts to invert! Worth adding that if the very well-packaged mirror you receive seems a little wobbly try screwing the mirror into the base as far as it will comfortably go without exerting undue pressure as the fixing may have worked loose.

I had looked at numerous versions of pedestal mirror prior to making this purchase - many of them from Danielle who appear to specialise in such items. I felt I'd earned an upgrade after years of managing to apply make-up using small hand-held mirrors. Not sure how much use I'll get from the magnifying mirror but this could be very useful for lots of purchasers. This pedestal mirror is the one I'd ultimately got my eye on after many months of searching so I was very pleased to finally get it for a great price on Amazon.


No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Average, 11 Dec. 2014
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Quality okay for the price with this large clutch bag and comes in a usefully huge range of colours - but nothing stunning. I got this bag for a bargain price in orange. However, the shade was a kind of neon orange so I returned it. Included was a chain strap to enable conversion to a shoulder bag. Could be okay if you're looking for a reasonably priced bag to go with a specific outfit but don't expect the wow factor.


Dance, Dance, Dance: The Best Of Chic
Dance, Dance, Dance: The Best Of Chic
Price: £6.88

5.0 out of 5 stars At times sublime, 11 Dec. 2014
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Well worth buying for the 12" versions it includes, this is an excellent compilation of Chic's best and most familiar output. When these discs were first released, the concept of dance - certainly in heterosexual clubs - was often much less fervoured and intense than it has now become and breaking into a sweat as a female dancer, unless having a go at Northern Soul, would mark you out as some kind of pariah. Ah, them were the days....Many will remember the 12" dance track with fondness. But how many stayed the course? Well I remember the dance floor emptying as Chic tunes soared beyond the three minute comfort zone. This is great music, at times even sublime music that defined at least one significant part of an age and music that has stood the test of time. Better still, since the recent great Nile Rodgers' revival, Chic need no longer be anyone's guilty pleasure. My favourite track is without doubt the instrumental Savoir Faire - I wish this was a 12"! But a similar effect can be gained by hitting repeat.....


Daily Mail: Big Book of Quick Crosswords 4 (The Daily Mail Puzzle Books)
Daily Mail: Big Book of Quick Crosswords 4 (The Daily Mail Puzzle Books)
by Daily Mail
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better by far than the rest of the newspaper......., 11 Dec. 2014
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I'm a big fan of Times 2 Quick Crossword books but having worked my way through them all - and some more than once - I decided I must try someone else's quick crosswords or go very hungry between new editions of Times 2 books. I didn't have very high hopes of this Daily Mail Big Book of Quick Crosswords when I ordered it but I have to say I'm loving it and shall inevitably end up buying the whole series. I find them quite a bit faster to complete than T2 crosswords - they are perhaps slightly less of a challenge. Yet the clues are nonetheless very precise and it is a joy to occasionally complete one in under five minutes without recourse to the solutions at the back akin to how John Gielgud must have felt idly inputting any old words to finish the Times cryptic every day in record time! This is truly a bumper book - 400 crosswords - which is a delightful prospect for any crossword fan as it will take a long time even working fast to get to the end of this doorstep. On balance I'm starting to like these even more than T2 - not only for the actual puzzles themselves but the pages are slightly bigger and the size and sort of typeface is clearer which is useful; T2 books do have a very small typeface. I have already asked for a further two Daily Mail Big Books for Christmas presents as I don't want to run out. Recommended.


The Royal Ballet Organiser
The Royal Ballet Organiser
by Royal Ballet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive, good quality and compact, 11 Dec. 2014
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This is a good quality, elegant and logically ordered organiser which I purchased as a gift for an elderly acquaintance. I like the design very much; the cover graphic suggests the Royal Ballet of the 1950s and is very attractive. There is an elasticated slot for a pen at the side - not supplied but easy to include your own if desired and giving as a gift. An appealing and compact organiser, I found this a bit of a strain to give away!


Dinny Hall Sterling Silver Tiny & Small Lotus Petal Pendant of 46cm
Dinny Hall Sterling Silver Tiny & Small Lotus Petal Pendant of 46cm
Price: £80.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of life and light - despite its size, 11 Dec. 2014
I have a small collection of Dinny Hall jewellery. I like it a lot. It is well made but tends to be on the expensive side. I'm forced to concede that this may in some part be down to paying for the name and an eagerness by the company to continue to be perceived as a premium brand whilst at the same time shifting a lot of product - a tricky balancing act to pull off. I'm not exactly sure it's working. The past year has witnessed some huge discounting of this brand by Amazon yet Dinny Hall remains steadfastly non-discounted in Liberty's.

Designs may not appeal to everyone but most Dinny Hall design has something about it. With the Tiny & Small Lotus Petal Pendant, it certainly is small with the largest petal being about 10mm long but whereas this might seem so unassuming as to hardly be worth bothering with in a designer lacking her pedigree, Dinny Hall transforms it into a vibrant piece despite its size. Small is beautiful. This pendant is delicate without seeming twee. What I think DH does very well is not to see the metal in isolation but rather as a kind of organic form that uses the natural interplay of light and shadow. Four convex and concave highly polished planes within the two lotus petals make for quite a complex interplay that belies the scale of the piece and the two petals sit perfectly without twisting. The quality of the silver is good, the weight heavy given the scale of the pendant and the light dances off it so it becomes a piece with presence. Size doesn't matter.

For all that, I returned it. I have the Tiny & Small Lotus bracelet in vermeil - this is not my favourite Dinny Hall design - but it's certainly not rubbish or sub-standard in any way. My reason for returning was that I managed to acquire the DH Small Toro necklace in silver recently - which I like very much and the two were around the same price when on offer via Amazon. Also, I shall be getting the DH Almaz in silver for Christmas and quite simply I didn't feel I could quite justify three necklaces in such a short space of time - so the one I least preferred was sent back!

However, this is a pretty - without being sweet or cloying - little necklace which I somewhat regret returning due to being overcome by uncharacteristically Puritan thoughts. If I get the chance to purchase again at anything like a Deals' price I think I'd hang on to it next time. Incidentally if you are considering buying any Dinny Hall necklaces or bracelets, measure neck/wrist circumference first; they tend to be rather small.

The one issue across Dinny Hall's ranges is the gift boxes. They are a dull matt gold cardboard with metallic pink DH logo on the front and a foam insert in a kind of beige flock inside with the box interior in shocking pink. They are not particularly in keeping with the jewellery and are far from what many would expect from a premium jewellery range. The Dinny Hall website now shows a picture of a presumably revamped gift box in black with gold trim which seems much more appropriate but it seems Amazon still have the dull gold/pink boxes.

But see past the box. Anyone who truly loves jewellery would I'm sure appreciate a piece of Dinny Hall. Over the past few years, a lot of players have entered the market selling silver and gold vermeil jewellery with roughly equivalent prices to Dinny Hall - and some charging rather more. It remains to be seen how many of them will last as this brand has lasted. Dinny Hall's designs are classic and timeless and what is more, there is a cohesiveness across the range of designs which makes her jewellery distinctive.

You might say with these smaller Dinny Hall pieces 'What exactly am I getting here?' when you consider the full retail price. I would offer an analogy. Take an abstract Picasso. Many people might say 'But that's so simple, I could do that'. Simplicity, stripping away the non-essential to be left with a pure object that is just right, that works not only in the moment but for every moment as long as the thing exists is not easy. How much thought, how many sketches, how many abortive attempts have gone before this kind of simplicity is arrived at?

Is this just overpriced tat? - Absolutely not. Undeniably you could find a larger lump of silver for the price in any low end high street jewellery store but if you're concerned about value in monetary terms why not just hand over a cheque? On the other hand if you want to give something beautiful..........


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