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Cartimand (Hampshire, UK.)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Mindfulness For Dummies
Mindfulness For Dummies
by Shamash Alidina
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well structured and very approachable introduction to this trendy technique, 18 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I seem to be building up quite a collection of these Dummies books, courtesy of the Vine programme. They are usually written in a semi jocular style, accompanied by whimsical illustrations/cartoons. This one, perhaps because of the more serious subject matter, keeps the quirkiness at bay (mostly) and provides a fairly solid and comprehensive introduction to Mindfulness.

The author encourages the reader to browse the index and jump to whatever section interests you, but I expect most readers will do as I did and start at the beginning. We are given a brief history of Mindfulness, with an acknowledgement of its eastern origins. Next, the author explores the similarities and (more importantly) the differences between Mindfulness and other superficially similar techniques including meditation, relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis etc. We then get onto the exercises themselves, which are explained in admirably simple and explicit terms, together with suggested plans/timescales.

Although you will get no firm promises, the potential benefits include reductions in stress levels, improved immune system, boosting your memory, higher productivity in whatever you do, better focus and generally an elevated sense of well-being. What's not to like?

I was hoping to practise the technique a while longer before reviewing the book, but the Vine rules only granted me 28 days. So far I can maybe testify to a greater sensation of calmness and only time will tell if the other benefits materialise.

Obviously, as with any self-help material, the onus is on you to put in the work and I will say that this well-written guide has piqued my interest sufficiently to persevere with the technique.


Philips InfraCare HP3643 650 W Infrared Lamp Half Body Treatment
Philips InfraCare HP3643 650 W Infrared Lamp Half Body Treatment
Price: £198.60

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good news for gammy knees and achy backs everywhere!, 13 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Just two days after placing my order, I took delivery of a surprisingly massive and heavy box. 5 minutes simple assembly later and I could admire my Philips health lamp. It is a very substantial unit from its heavily weighted base to its whopping great lamp head measuring 20" x 8" and resembles something you'd expect to find more in a hospital than in the home. The lamp swivels and the neck is telescopic and so can be adjusted for the optimum position and angle to treat any part of the body.

Reading the instructions revealed a very long and slightly worrying list of contraindications (including carpal tunnel syndrome, which ruled out my wife using this for her painful wrist). Thankfully painful knee joints and aching backs seem to be what this device is made for, so I eagerly switched on for my first treatment.

At a distance of around 15", the lamp belts out a surprising amount of heat, accompanied by a powerful rosy glow. It switches off automatically after the recommended duration of 15 minutes. The warmth really does seem to penetrate deep down into your joints and gives you that feeling reminiscent of returning from the beach on a hot Summer's day (but without the sunburn). The large size of the lamp means it is probably best suited to wide body areas such as the back or shoulder/neck. Trying to concentrate the light on my knee meant that ankle to thigh was also being bathed in infrared. I don't suppose that is a problem though.

I guess only time will tell whether this has any long-term effect on alleviating joint pain but it's definitely so far so good and obviously using light and warmth is more natural and therefore has to be preferable to swallowing pain killers or using loads of sprays and creams.

Not a cheap unit but extremely well-designed and well worth considering if you are prone to such chronic pain. Do check before purchasing whether you have any pre-conditions which would prevent you using it though.


The Well
The Well
by Catherine Chanter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow paced and meandering but original and exceptionally well written fable, 9 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Well (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A 40-something woman, in a fragile mental state, is returned to her idyllic rural home by military escort. What follows is a series of gradual revelations - some in the present, some in flashback, explaining the disturbing events that led to this point.

Throughout, the writing was quite superb - Ms Chanter certainly knows how to employ evocative and sometimes startling use of metaphor and simile.

Very difficult to define the genre of this novel. It's set in a vaguely dystopian Britain, where a catastrophic drought has plunged society into near-apocalyptic breakdown. There are certainly elements of holding a mirror up to society, murder-mystery, psychological horror, sexual tension, the malign coercion of religious cults and even elements of parable-like spirituality herein, all bound together by some very solid and memorable characterisation. Above all, there is a curiously unsettling, even dream-like atmosphere, that permeates everything and which will remain with this reader for a long time.

Sometimes I felt slightly frustrated by the very slow pace and, to be honest, none of the characters except for young Lucien and the sympathetic reverend Hugh were at all likeable, but the quality of writing and the edginess of this unpredictable novel saw me through to the satisfying ending.


Airfix 1:48 Scale Red Arrows 50th Display Season Gift Set
Airfix 1:48 Scale Red Arrows 50th Display Season Gift Set
Offered by Duncans Retail
Price: £29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive kit yielding very pleasing results, 31 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I thoroughly enjoyed building the Airfix 1:72 Hawk kit just a couple of months ago, but did find some of the components unmanageably tiny. No such problem here; at 1:48 scale, even the smallest components such as the joystick and wing-tip lights on the Hawk are easily set in place. The only slightly fiddly bit for me was when I found the rear pilot's seat on the Hawk was standing slightly too proud for the cockpit canopy to fit in place. My only option was to trim a couple of mm off the top of the seat with a very sharp knife. After that, it was plain sailing. In general I found the construction process slightly easier at this scale and was a bit surprised to see the difficulty level was supposedly more challenging. Both the Hawk and slightly smaller Gnat build into impressively massive models, containing the sort of detail you would not see at 1:72 (although the respective size of the pilot figures suggests that the Gnat is more like 1:56 scale). Moulding seems very good, with no appreciable 'flash' to be removed. You will need a sharp precision craft knife to remove some of the components from the sprues though and to trim away any burrs that remain. The brushes supplied (medium and fine) seem decent quality and haven't shed any bristles.

Only criticisms? Well, in addition to the small but noticeable difference in scale between the two aircraft, if you're forking out this much money on a kit, you would expect display stands to be included (as Airfix kits traditionally did), but you have to pay extra for them here. Furthermore, I am not so impressed with the acrylic paint supplied, as it does not cover as well as the old Airfix/Humbrol oil paints. Mix it well though and give a couple of coats and you can still achieve decent results.

Overall, minor niggles aside, this is an easy to moderately challenging construction kit which was great fun to build and, provided you take reasonable care, will produce extremely satisfying results. Will post a photo when I've completed the paint job!

PS. looks like Amazon have removed the [Upload a photo] feature. Shame.


Teach Yourself Visually LinkedIn (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
Teach Yourself Visually LinkedIn (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
by Lance Whitney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Well presented and full of quality information, 18 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I already had a basic LinkedIn account, but had made little use of it before now.

This beautifully presented reference book, printed on nice glossy paper, takes you through the absolute basics and then explores the more in depth areas, such as customising your profile, linking to groups, recommendations etc.

It's well equipped with a comprehensive index and should serve as a valuable reference book for quite some time.

My only criticism is that a lot of space is devoted to the very basic elementary stuff, which anyone who is remotely iT-savvy ought to know how to do it without recourse to any book. No big deal though. Unless you are already an advanced user, it's well worth investing in this attractive book if you want to make the most out of your LinkedIn account.


Clock Movement Mechanism with Black Hour Minute Red Second Hand DIY Tools Kit
Clock Movement Mechanism with Black Hour Minute Red Second Hand DIY Tools Kit
Offered by INSPIREDEAL LIMITED
Price: £2.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap as chips and it works but..., 18 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The central spindle is shorter than I expected and only really suitable for going through a very thin and completely flat surface. I wanted this to replace the mechanism on a novelty flattened beer bottle clock and it needed to be maybe 3 mm longer to protrude sufficiently. Will have to look around for a suitable alternative clock face.

Came securely packed from China 22 days after placing my order.


Zip Dry 59 ml One Bottle with Nozzle and Lid, Crystal Clear
Zip Dry 59 ml One Bottle with Nozzle and Lid, Crystal Clear
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pricey but perfect for those 1970s album covers!, 14 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Just spent a happy hour browsing through my old vinyl collection and using this Zip Dry glue to repair all those wonderfully evocative gatefold album sleeves (and yes, one of them was Tarkus (Gatefold Sleeve+insert) [Vinyl]) that had come apart at the seams many years ago.

Just apply a thin line of the glue to one surface, press together and it sticks almost instantly. Any residue can easily be rolled away after around 10 minutes, when it becomes quite hard and rubbery.

Zip Dry isn't particularly cheap but, if you need to glue card, then I cannot think of any glue more effective than this.


Skew [DVD]
Skew [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rob Scattergood
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If looks could kill..., 11 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Skew [DVD] (DVD)
**** Warning Spoilers ****

Skew is a low budget but competent and pretty compelling twist on the old found footage theme. Simon, Rich, and Eva set out on a road trip. There's clearly some tension between them from the start (which is explained later on) and things become gradually more nightmarish as the tale progresses, all filmed by the increasingly paranoid Simon.

Some of the people he films seem to have their faces macabrely distorted. This portends that they are not long for this world. Simon makes the link between his camcorder and the proliferation of deaths, but is it the camera, is it Simon, or a combination of the two? During a long monologue, Simon lets slip that his parents would not allow any cameras or photographs in the house, so that hints very strongly that there is some sort of inherited family curse at play here. Things become increasingly creepy, with a couple of genuine make-you-jump moments, but a couple of scenes (at the police station and the enigmatic character running through the field at an impossible speed) left me rather baffled.

The ending, in flashback, was kind of fitting and made sense of a scene partway through, which had previously left me scratching my head.

Be aware though that the plot is a fairly complex one and the director never spoon-feeds you, so you need to pay close attention to get your head around what's going on. Overall, this is a competent and stylish supernatural horror film that keeps you guessing until the end. Well worth a look.


Rendez-vous with Art
Rendez-vous with Art
by Philippe de Montebello
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Context is everything, 8 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Rendez-vous with Art (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having visited Madrid and enjoying a wonderful day at The Prado just a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't wait to read about Philippe de Montebello and Martin Gayford's musings about its treasures. I certainly wasn't disappointed; in particular, their thoughts on the dramatically macabre works of Breugel and Bosch provided some fascinating insights.

The format of this book is perhaps a little strange and unlike any other art book I have read. The text for each section takes the form of some introductory notes followed by a series of short dialogues between de Montebello and Gayford, in which they explore the merits of the selected works of art. Sometimes, their musings are unapologetically intellectually aloof, but become very down to Earth at times, when mentioning the explicit sexuality of a painting, or comparing a classic depiction of Eve to a barmaid. A recurring theme is how important context is and that impact of a piece of art may be dramatically changed by removing it from its original location. Thus, if an item was meant to reside in a chapel or such like, its relative value when relocated to an art gallery may be diminished. A valid point indeed but somewhat ironic, given the positions of these gentlemen!

Overall, this is a fascinating and quite compelling read, which will certainly pique your interest to visit some of the wonderful collections mentioned here.

Only criticisms are that the colour reproductions are very small; I would have preferred a 2-page spread on glossy paper for the larger works, such as The Garden of Earthly Delights etc. The main font is also unusually small and may prove problematical if you eyesight isn't what it once was! Indeed, this book would probably have benefited from being published in a larger size.

No big deal though. Rendez-vous With Art is an absolute treat for those who enjoy classical art.


Zyliss Acid Etched Rotary Fine and Coarse Drum Grater
Zyliss Acid Etched Rotary Fine and Coarse Drum Grater
Price: £21.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice design features but..., 29 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
this does strike me as a somewhat over-engineered solution.

I already owned a basic pyramid grater, offering three different levels of granularity. It did a fine job, as long as you treated it with respect. This Zyliss device offers you two different grinding levels with either right or left-handed operation. You slot in one of the drums to the side of your choice, put a chunk of hard cheese into the top of the device and grind away. Results are good. Just not convinced it's any better than using a conventional grater. It's also a bit fiddly to clean and mind your fingers, because the flanges on the drums really are razor sharp! The hinge, clip and winding handle mechanism on the drums are all plastic and don't feel particularly robust. Only time will tell how long they last.

To summarise, this is an efficient and quite fun to use grater. If you already own even a basic grater though, I'm not convinced this will add much to your grating experience.

**** UPDATE **** Be aware that the Zyliss works best with really hard cheese. I just tried it with some semi-hard Edam, which seemed to gum up the works a bit with rather unsatisfactory results. On the plus side, I managed to turn a hard crust of bread into breadcrumbs fairly easily with this grater.


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