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Reviews Written by
Angel Jem "Angel Jem" (Liverpool, Merseyside United Kingdom)
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LEGO Pharaohs Quest 7327: Scorpion Pyramid
LEGO Pharaohs Quest 7327: Scorpion Pyramid

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lego is made to take apart? Is this true?, 17 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jimbill (aged 11) "Just tell them it's brilliant, Mum. End of"

I gave this toy to my two youngest one dark, dank Sunday lunchtime. They were just about to start the 'Mum, we have nothing to do's. Aged 11 and 9 they are in the middle of Lego's target age range of 8 to 14. I got a cup of tea, fired up the laptop and got on with some work. I expected to be called, to have to navigate pages of instructions and I could see my Sunday rest slipping away.
Not a bit of it. I had to help only once, and that was an adjudication on what colour I thought a piece was. They worked solidly for 3 hours on building the pyramid, car and assorted figures that the set includes and in teacher speak used team-work, problem solving, negotiations and mental agility to read the instructions (two books worth) and assemble the set completely in working order. I've bought Lego for 7 year olds in the past and had to build every bit. I now think that the age range of 8 to 14 is the right one for building Lego kits like this, but that most of the actual playing is still done by younger children. They played and played for a while, but after a few days their play began to branch out.
Having spent up to £70 on a Lego set I am always surprised to find that the children like taking it apart. It's like breaking a model after you've spent ages building it; why would you do it? My break through moment for that came last month when we met a Lego designer, a real Dude who gets paid for designing kits like this who looked at me as if I were mad and told me; Lego is for taking apart. He designs and builds 2 metre space ships from Lego for fun. It made me stop, think and accept. Lego is not what the kit says. Lego is for taking apart and building more. The scorpion is more of a monster now it has a Lego Knights face, the car had an extra level put on to make a roof and the bits of the pyramid gradually disappear to appear in another part of the game. But the children are still cooperating, discussing and evaluating their work. It might be (very) pricy but Lego is worth it.


Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Bath and Shower Gel 250 ml
Crabtree & Evelyn Citron Bath and Shower Gel 250 ml
Price: £14.22

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Citrus shower gel, 17 May 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Crabtree and Evelyn are a well-established brand of toiletries. They make classic fragrances and have lasted precisely because they have a classic image.
The Citrus fragrance has a fresh lemony scent but with an undernote of coriander... not enough to smell of Indian food, but just enough to add a depth.
I have been using the gel for some days now and the smell really does wake me up in the morning. The gel is thick and viscous and it foams well in the shower. It rinses off cleanly and all in all gives a pleasant showering experience. An ideal small gift for someone you like.


Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories
Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries & Other Stories
by John Taylor
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £13.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Sherlock mysteries made easy, 21 April 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love Sherlock Holmes and I loved the New and updated Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. I thought these were new stories as in modern, updated but they aren't. They are freshly written but set in the turn of the twentieth century of the original Holmes. Once I realised that, I listened again and really enjoyed them. Mr Cumberbatch has very listenable voice and the stories are well plotted. There were little points where Conan Doyle could have handled it better, but very few. I loved the bullion robbery in coach 13 best, but all 4 stories were enjoyable. At 2 hours for the set, it made for an enjoyable and quiet journey with my husband and three kids.


Red Wolf
Red Wolf
by Liza Marklund
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another scandi detective?, 21 April 2011
This review is from: Red Wolf (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Go on, how many scandinavian or nordic writers can you name? A few years ago it would have been a short list of...em..., well, one actuallY (Astrid Lindgren of Pippi Longstocking Gift Edition but after Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson the list is growing.
This book was originally published in Sweden a few years ago and now is being released in English. One wonders whether there isn't a degree of bandwagonning going on here, but that aside this is a readable and enjoyable thriller. It's not an absolute masterpiece, but it sits very happily alongside Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne Novels) and other modern thrillers as a pleasant enough way to pass a day. I didn't realise it was one of a series, so whether it mightn't have been better to start at the beginning, I don't know. I don't think it's as good as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy Book 1) or as haunting as The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery but it's not bad.


Vax S6 Home Master Steam Cleaner
Vax S6 Home Master Steam Cleaner
Offered by Luzern
Price: £104.99

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
Offered by Overstock Ltd
Price: £34.99

924 of 943 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 (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2016 11:38 PM 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


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