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Angel Jem "Angel Jem" (Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom)
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Vax S6 Home Master Steam Cleaner
Vax S6 Home Master Steam Cleaner
Price: £73.33

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Streak free windows? Clean tiles? Fresh upholstery?, 21 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No problem!
Steam cleaners are hailed as being a green and easy way to clean around the house. Electricity consumption aside (and I am not going to do the maths; somebody else can tell me the average per minute consumption of this machine) I'd have to agree that this is a chemical free way to clean.
The Vax S6 is about the size of a small vacuum cleaner. It comes with adjustable parts so that the handle can be as short or as long as you like and a variety of tools to clean windows, tight corners, tiles, upholstery and floors.
It takes about 12 minutes to fully heat up and, this is crucial, if you try to rush it it won't give you steam, only water. Once it's heated, you get clouds of very hot steam that will clean nearly anything. It cut through the grease behind my stove and comes out at a powerful enough force to dislodge some dirt that had crept between my tiles and refused to budge, You do need to be prepared to wipe down the surfaces afterwards, it doesn't clean and dry, but the cleaning element is good and, anyway, most chemical cleaners are better rinsed off as well.
I use the window attachment to get streak free glass a lot. Again, you need to be prepared to wait for the heat, otherwise you get water, but the pure steam and the plastic squeegee attachment work well together to clean most dirt away and leave my windows shining.
The carpet and floor cleaning head is ok, but just ok. You are supposed to use it covered for carpet and uncovered for hard floors, but I found that didn't work too well. I use a cloth fastened on by the two side clamps to clean floors which wipes the dirt off as the steam cleans it and I'm not convinced I'd use it on the carpet at all, since there seems to be no way of making it glide over. The rod that you create for floor cleaning is very thin and seems too bendy. It certainly discourages really hard pressing and rubbing, so I found myself using the steam and then dropping to my knees to scrub spots, which seems silly. I'd get a Vax S2 Hard Floor Master Upright Steam Stick if you have a lot of hard floors to clean.
But overall, am I happy with my S6? Yes, I am. It cleans well, it cleans lots of stuff and it is easy and compact enough to store. Now I know why friends rave about steam cleaning.


Vax Steam Mop - S2 Upright Hard Floor Master
Vax Steam Mop - S2 Upright Hard Floor Master
Price: £44.32

844 of 858 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleans hygenically and quickly, 21 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am not a great fan of mopping. It's wet. leaves water on the floor which is dangerous and has the problem of emptying dirty water out in a sink (why do I always spill a bit?) I'd heard people rave about steam cleaners and, nothing ventured nothing gained, gave it a go.
I really enjoyed using this. Filling and heating are easy, you even get a measuring gauge to tell you how much water to put in. It takes a little more than the promised 5 seconds to heat up, but not much and you do get about 20 minutes of strong steam cleaning which is usually enough for a kitchen floor. The handle is... ok, but probably the reason it scores a 4 rather than a 5. It's a little cumbersome, and you need a firm grip to keep pressing the steam button. However, the cleaning power it has after that makes up for it. I have used it on my kitchen and bathroom floors and they are looking good. It cleans most stains and even took the sticker that (ahem) some 8 year old had left as a sign of love that hadn't shifted no matter what I did. The heat is very strong and the steam barely has a chance to condense before it evaporates. Certainly, I had no puddles of water on the floor. As long as the steamer is heated up fully, it basically has no water, only steam.
There's a useful little triangle that you slip on over the microfibre cover that means you can use this on your carpets, too. I refreshed my living room carpet and it did give the fibres new life. The stains were loosened enough so that, between the steam cleaner and a drop of Vanish spot remover, they have really faded. The carpet smelt fresh, too. I'm working my way around the house now, refreshing carpets as I go.
Its small footprint (less than a foot in either direction) means that the cleaner sits very quietly in my cupboard, ready for use. I haven't quite got rid of my mop bucket, yet, but the mop is sad and lonely, and very worried about eviction...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2013 9:32 AM BST


Divergent (Divergent, Book 1)
Divergent (Divergent, Book 1)
by Veronica Roth
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars All divergent thinkers form a line...., 21 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's a real trend at the moment for more feminine science fiction/fantasy books after the massive success of Twilight and this book sits firmly on the shelf next to The Host and Delirium as an example of romance and fantasy combined. It is, like those books, a cracking read for mid-teenage girls. I read it, cried and passed it on to my 15 year old nieces who read it and cried. As an example of how good it is, they are prepared to buy their own copy!
The basic premise is that in a future world, all adults are required to chose a group to belong to based on their main brain trait, so that unbearably honest people go to join the candours, very unselfish thinkers join the abnegation division and so on. Changing which area you are in means losing all contact with your family, changing district, clothes, friends and especially how you live. The Abnegations are in charge because it made sense o put in charge the people who don't want to line their own pockets but want to work for others, and so the civilisation goes. The book is about Beatrice and her decision to go against everything and leave the Abnegations to join the Dauntless. They're the mad ones who jump off trains and see bravery as the best virtue. There's adventure, romance, political intrigue and more in what is a very readable and enticing book,and one I couldn't put down until I'd finished it. Looking forward to the next in the series (as are my nieces!)


The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul
The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul
by Dave Bruno
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's just this guy, you know,, 21 Mar 2011
Dave the author is a really lucky man. He lives in San Diego, works 10 minutes away from the ocean and has a happy family. But Dave had a problem. He had begun to feel that his possessions were ruling him, not him ruling his possessions. So, Dave set himself a challenge.
He decided that over the course of a year he would edit his life down to 100 things and see if he could manage at that level for another year. He blogged his intentions, started purging things from his life and got himself a book deal. We should all be so lucky.
I have read this book (on Kindle, I'm trying to purge my house, too) twice now and I like it. It's not high faluting, not preachy, not prescriptive, it's just the tale of a guy who sounds fun to hang out with but who recognises that a man is NOT defined by his possessions. Dave himself says that the 100 thing chalenge is not for everyone, that he couldn't persuade his daughters to purge their dolls without feeling like Stalin (that's a funny part) and that he wasn't after starting a movement, but the modesty of the guy is part of the charm. I appreciated Dave's psychological take on why we have stuff we don't use; is it reinvention, nostalgia for time sthat never were or aspirational? I like that he lists what he kept and is honext enough to admit to the things he shed and should never have. All in a friendly conversational style that means if I lived in San Diego I'd ask him over for a beer.
I can't do a 100 thing challenge, but I can head for a cleaner tidier house and Dave helps me there. A little voice of encouragement goes a long way. Thank you, Dave.


Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
by Rhoda Janzen
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Going home to live is hard when you're 40., 18 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Rhoda Janzen had to go home after a love affair and illness made her dependant on her parents' care for a while. Going home to live is hard enough when you have a similar life style to your parents, but when you are, like Rhoda, a lapsed Mennonite, your lifestyle is completely opposite to that of your plain living, simple talking parents. Fish out of water stories can be funny, and this book does not disappoint. I loved the honesty, the pathos and humour of Rhoda's life. The tales of cousins lined up to date her were hilarious and moments had me laughing out loud. It is like Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everythingbut with jokes. Having said that, if this genre ain't your thing, you won't enjoy it.


The Golden Acorn (The Adventures of Jack Brenin)
The Golden Acorn (The Adventures of Jack Brenin)
by Catherine Cooper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A new mythological series for children, 18 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jack Brenin is The One, only he doesn't know this. He has to make the acquaintance of a talking raven, an elf and the last of the druids to find out that he needs to save the Hamadryads. I passed this on to my 13 year old son to read. He enjoyed it but said that it was a lot like The Dark Is Rising: The Complete Sequence (The Dark Is Rising Sequence) only not as based on 'true' (by which I mean traditional) mythology. His big complaint was that parts of the story were rushed, with chapters dedicated to events like learning to fly and only a chapter or two given over to the flight back in time. He says that it is a good book for 10 to 13 year olds and a little young for him.Having said that, he has recommended it to his friends so he must have enjoyed it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2011 9:40 PM GMT


Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery (BBC Audio)
Paul Temple and the Geneva Mystery (BBC Audio)
by Francis Durbridge
Edition: Audio CD

4.0 out of 5 stars It took me back to my childhood...., 17 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My Mum once dated a man called Paul Temple, so she always had a fondness for the original series and raved about it when I was younger. I love detective stories, especially those set in a more elegant and suave time and this does not disappoint. Toby Stephens has a voice redolent with charm and imperturbability; nothing can get this man worried and the book works like a charm. I love unabridged readings where you get the full effect that the author originally intended, and Francis Durbridge is a master of his craft, although very under-rated and under read now.Pick a day when you can sit back and do nothing more strenuous than polish the brasses, make a pot of decent lapsang souchong or maybe a little pekoe and nibble elegantly at a macaroon as you enjoy this thriller. Enjoy! (I did!)


Orchards in the Oasis: Recipes, Travels & Memories
Orchards in the Oasis: Recipes, Travels & Memories
by Josceline Dimbleby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely combination of food and memoir., 17 Mar 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Food has such a strong role to play in memories that the use of particular recipes as an aide memoire to events past is as familiar as the proverbial French Madeleine. Josceline Dimbleby combines journal entries with photos with recipes to tell her story. In roughly chronological order, the story ranges from her early childhood in Damascus via her basement flat to India and the USA. There are about 70 recipes from cuisines as varied as American cheesecake to Burmese fish curry. It's actually better read as a quasi travelog than a recipe book; you may or may not make any of the recipes but the photographs give a wonderful insight into a well-travelled and very talented cook. I may never get to go to all the places she does, but I feel like I have at least experienced them vicariously which, in these days of carbon fasting, may be as far as I get.


The Lacuna
The Lacuna
by Barbara Kingsolver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really well written and enjoyable, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: The Lacuna (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to admit that I have never read The Poisonwood Bible but I had read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: Our Year of Seasonal Eating and really enjoyed it. The Lacuna was a very rewarding read. The other reviewers have covered all the aspects of plot and people, so I don't feel inclined to repeat them, but to thoroughly recommend it to anybody who enjoys good literature that makes you think. Harrison's life is packed with famous people and this puts him in the right place to examine the politics of America and Mexico in the '40's. Worth persisting with.


May 1812
May 1812
by M.M. Bennetts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.22

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and not what I expected., 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: May 1812 (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story bears very little relationship to the blurb on the back, which gives the impression that it will be primarily a spy story set in the Napoleonic wars, whereas it is actually the story of a couple who enter into an arranged marriage at a couple of days notice. People who pick it up expecting a new Sharpe will be surprised to find it bears more resemblance to Georgette Heyer. The dialogue is extreme, sometimes meaning you have to stop and figure out what things mean. It may possibly be genuine Georgian parlance, but the result is to make the reading very cumbersome for the modern reader. Not a page turner, but readable enough.


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