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Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.)

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Dettol Complete Clean Mould and Mildew 750 ml (Pack of Three)
Dettol Complete Clean Mould and Mildew 750 ml (Pack of Three)
Price: 10.44

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably effective - but don't expect miracles!, 1 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The label claims it works on white grout. Brilliant I thought! This should brighten up the rather shabby looking tiles in my kitchen. So I sprayed it on (noticing the extremely pungent bleachy smell), waited around 3 minutes, then carefully wiped away the residue. Result? Hmmm... perhaps a bit brighter looking than before, but the black spots of ingrained mould in the grout, continued to stare at me reproachfully and were as black as ever. Looks like that was a job too far and I'll have to do some fresh grouting. Well onwards and upwards - or rather downwards in this case; I next used this product around and particularly under the sink, where it performed much better - clearing out the mould and even the mouldy smell. Only time will tell if this helps prevent mould from reappearing.

I appreciate that my expectations were too high and I will happily acknowledge that this is effective enough on mould and mildew - provided it's not too advanced or ingrained.

Smiling the Moon
Smiling the Moon
by Thomas Lawrence
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.32

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gently uplifting and inspirational fable, 1 Dec 2013
This review is from: Smiling the Moon (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The 'life as a journey' metaphor is hardly an original one and comparisons between this and Coelho's The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream are inevitable. Lawrence does, however, succeed where (in my humble opinion) Coelho didn't quite manage it, in bringing a certain freshness to the genre and 'Smiling The Moon' can certainly be appreciated on several levels. If you enjoy "there-and-back-again" tales of journeys that take you from cosy homesteads, to camp-fires in the wilderness and unknown dangerous travails where legends are made, to return home wiser and fulfilled, then this should appeal. If you wish to plumb its hidden depths for karmic wisdom, then there is plenty to explore here too.

Set on the mythical - and somewhat mystical island of Bracka (as an aside, I wonder if this was inspired by the lovely island of Brač, where I spent a wonderful holiday a couple of years ago?), the tale unfolds around the journey of Wode - a "gnoseer" (wise man/shaman/healer and all-round good egg) and a young runaway - Geeter, who becomes his apprentice and companion. Wode's walkabout is his way of exorcising his inner demons after the death in childbirth of his beloved wife. Geeter too has his own troubled back-story. Together, through various tasks and dangers, they forge a powerful friendship and discover a new purpose in life.

If your own spiritual beliefs preclude you from reading about karma, reincarnation and such, then Smiling The Moon is probably best avoided. If you are an adventurous soul, who loves a good yarn, memories of which will stay with you for a long time, then give it a go and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

Russell Hobbs 20570 Steam Mop - 1500 Watt - White
Russell Hobbs 20570 Steam Mop - 1500 Watt - White
Price: 57.47

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good but a couple of issues, 24 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a big fan of steam cleaners. Let's face it, cleaning your hard floors and carpets without the use of chemical products makes firm ecological (and economical) sense these days.

This Russell Hobbs model has some nice design features (and one or two not quite as nice, which we'll come to later) and does everything you'd expect. Add the water, plug in that conveniently long 6 metre cord, wait around 30 seconds till the light turns green and you're ready to steam. The two cloths provided have a robust draw-string, which holds them in place more securely than elasticated ones. A triangle attachment is provided too for gliding over carpet. I also like the way the foot can lock into place to stand the unit upright.

OK, onto my quibbles. First assembly; despite me being a big beefy bloke, fitting the head to the body required me to apply significant leverage before I could get the screw holes to align. And I mean significant to the extent that I was worried I would break the head unit if I pressed much harder. Perseverance and a slight twisting action got it sorted in the end. Next, adding the water involves removing the reservoir, filling it, replacing the screw top, then inverting it before replacing on the mop. I found that no matter how securely I tightened the screw top (and you're warned not to over-tighten), some water dribbles out onto your floor. No big deal, but slightly irritating, when our previous steam mop could be topped up with the reservoir in situ.

With regard to our previous steam mop, that stopped working after just over a year (funny how appliances seem to know when the guarantee's over!). Registering this unit with the manufacturer gets you an impressive three year guarantee. If it lasts that long (* oh dear - was I tempting fate? See below), I'll certainly update my review and award the full 5 stars!

PS. I note the other reviewers had no difficulty with the assembly, so perhaps it was just my one that was a particularly tight fit!

**** Update ****
Well, sadly, after three weeks use, my steam mop has stopped working. Squeezing the trigger merely produces a buzzing noise, but not a wisp of steam. Time to put the guarantee to the test. Will keep you posted and one star removed from rating, pending a result.

**** Update ****
An automated message on the Russell Hobbs customer support line kept me on hold for an unacceptably long time and, after losing patience with being told how much they valued my call for the umpteenth time, I hung up and tried emailing them. Am awaiting a response.

**** Update ****

Finally got a reply telling me to return it to the retailer. As this was an Amazon Vine transaction (which I had explained in my email), this is useless advice. Off to the council tip with this dead steam mop and another star deducted from the rating. OK while it lasted, but three weeks' use from an electrical product is clearly unsatisfactory and I have not been very impressed by the Russell Hobbs service line or email response times. I cannot therefore recommend this item.

**** Update ****

Russell Hobbs have now been in touch and agreed to send me a replacement - watch this space!

Replacement is working perfectly - for now! Rating bumped up to 3 stars.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 6, 2014 2:10 PM GMT

The Kids Only Cookbook
The Kids Only Cookbook
by Sue Quinn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will fire the imagination of every budding Jamie Oliver, 23 Nov 2013
This review is from: The Kids Only Cookbook (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Got this book with my young nephew in mind. At 6, he's a year or two younger than the suggested age range, but he adores cooking - albeit mostly limited to buns and stuff so far. Hopefully, this clever and attractive book will fire his young imagination and expand his culinary repertoire!

It's logically laid out, with essential safety instructions, handy tips and a suggested utensil set at the front, followed by some 50 recipes grouped into sections such as "morning munchies", "party food", "when mates come over" and the fairly sophisticated "Posh Nosh". A comprehensive index covers all the dishes and individual ingredients. All recipes are graded from easy to difficult, so your junior chef can start with the quick and easy stuff and work their way up to the more challenging ones.

The instructions are all beautifully clear and are illustrated by plenty of full-colour photos. It's clear that the recipes have been carefully selected to look as good as they taste. The tone of the book is obviously quite fun and quirky, but never patronises the children.

Any child with an interest in cooking is sure to love this book and parents (or even uncles) will have a lot of fun encouraging their budding Jamie Olivers (or Delia Smiths).

Silverline CT18 Aviation Tin Snips 240mm
Silverline CT18 Aviation Tin Snips 240mm
Price: 5.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid and reliable snips at a bargain price, 22 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At their very low purchase price, these tin-snips have to be the bargain of the century! Nicely cushioned handles are a comfortable ergonomic fit and provide plenty of leverage. The business end cuts through thin metal as if it were cardboard. There's even a lifetime guarantee, if you register them online. My only criticisms are that the catch which locks the handles together when not in use, doesn't stay out of the way very well and can snag against the screw occasionally when you're using the snips. The blades are also slightly shorter than my previous set of snips, so that means a few more snips are required to get each job done. No big deal though. These Silverline snips have more than met my expectations at a very modest price and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

PS. they're versatile too; have just used them to trim a plastic bath panel - far easier and quicker than using a hacksaw!

The Imposter
The Imposter
Price: 0.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet tale of the unexpected, 19 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Imposter (Kindle Edition)
The Imposter is the noir-ish debut novella from this young author. Set in a sleazy post-war New York, it builds the atmosphere nicely before hitting the reader with the sucker punch of not one but two clever twists.

Comfortably read within an hour, this should appeal to anyone who enjoys a whodunnit and who likes to be surprised. Use of language is fairly economical and direct, but with the occasional clever use of simile - I particularly liked "a cherry on the top of a grey and stale cake".

Unfortunately a few typos made it to print (having read quite a few of these self-published works on my Kindle, I'm no longer surprised at seeing the occasional "widow" instead of "window") so, if the author would appreciate the services of an experienced proof reader, please get in touch!

At under a quid, this is well worth a read!

Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
Life of Pi (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
Dvd ~ Suraj Sharma
Price: 19.46

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, memorable and profound, 16 Nov 2013
Any film that finds me - a fully grown man, with a tear in his eye, has to be something special. This is quite simply a wonderful film that can be enjoyed on many levels - as a rattling good adventure, a spiritual allegory or even a philosophical study. There are many themes explored here, including the belief in many paths to God, truth and consequences, finding your path in life and the importance of given names (just loved the way the hero is given the "irrational" name, whilst the tiger has the seemingly mundane, but curiously coincidental name - just go Google it! In terms of profound and life-affirming messages, this fable rang faint echoes of The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream, but I found Life of Pi a far more satisfying experience overall.

Blu-ray HD presentation is superb, including some of the most vivid colours and startling images since The Fall [Blu-ray]. The CGI, most notably for Richard Parker, is stunning. I was discussing the film with a colleague of mine and, quite innocently, he remarked on how well the tiger had been trained! Excellent use of surround sound too.

Overall, a marvellous film that should appeal to a wide audience. Oh and it's a wonderful advert for buying a 3D TV too!

Beldray Rechargable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, 12 V, Red
Beldray Rechargable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, 12 V, Red
Offered by No1Brands4You
Price: 29.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive suction but very short lived, 11 Nov 2013
Bought for around 18 from Robert Dyas, we've now got through two of these rechargeable hand-held vacs in less than a year.

Whilst the purchase price seemed very attractive compared with better known brands, it turned out to be false economy. The Beldray certainly did impress initially with its powerful suction, but our first one refused to charge after around 4 months' use and the replacement fared little better, giving up the ghost after some 6 months.

There clearly seems to be some sort of design fault with this unit and, if you use it on a daily basis, you'll be very lucky if it survives to its first anniversary.

Think I'll have to go for a corded, mains-powered mini-vac next time.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 21, 2014 3:34 PM GMT

BT Wi-Fi Home Hotspot 500 Add-on, Powerline Adapter
BT Wi-Fi Home Hotspot 500 Add-on, Powerline Adapter
Offered by Chelsea Telecom-1st For Phones,No1 for Electronics&Gadgets
Price: 63.10

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Works as expected but expensive and functionally nothing special, 2 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For your not inconsiderable money, you get a fairly chunky unit (approx 5" x 3"), an ethernet cable and a nice simple instruction pamphlet. It paired effortlessly with my existing network extenders (TP-Link) within a couple of minutes and did exactly what I wanted it to - turn a TV out in my conservatory into a smart TV. I'm currently playing some BBC iPlayer content (nice Pink Floyd documentary) and throughput speed seems pretty good as there's no buffering. Controls are minimal - on/off switch, link button and LED status lights, which is everything you need.

So why just the three stars? Well because for 10 less than this I got a twin-pack of TP-Link extenders with plug socket throughputs. The BT Hotspot 500 hogs a socket all to itself. On the plus side it does have two ethernet out sockets.

To summarise, this does the job, but there are cheaper alternatives out there with greater functionality.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 12, 2013 2:24 PM GMT

Bait (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
Bait (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray)
Dvd ~ Richard Brancatisano
Offered by 666 Media
Price: 7.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining twist on the old aquatic gorefest theme, 28 Oct 2013
**** Slight spoilers ****

I didn't have particularly high hopes for this low-budget addition to the Jaws' legacy. A few minutes in though, after the spectacular tsunami sequence, I had to admit that this was turning into a pretty entertaining and gripping movie.

The twist here is that our group of survivors, each with their interesting back-story and accompanying personal baggage, are trapped in a partially flooded underground shopping mall and car park. The tension builds as the water level rises, but there's more than just water between the aisles and we are treated to some genuine make-you-jump moments and a fair bit of gore along the way.

The 3D is more subtle than spectacular, with a reasonable sense of depth throughout and just a handful of projection effects. CGI is quite good for the sharks, but rather crude for the unconvincing pasted-on helicopters and the aftermath of the tsunami. No matter though. This film works best as a claustrophobic horror and, if you don't expect Oscar material, you should be pleasantly surprised. A making-of documentary (worth one viewing) and trailer complete the Blu-ray package. Not bad at all.

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