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Emile Zola reader "Gervaise" (Hants, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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LE 6W GU10 LED Bulbs, Pack of 10 Units, 510lm, 75W Halogen Bulbs Equivalent,120°Beam Angle,Warm White, Flood Light, Floodlight
LE 6W GU10 LED Bulbs, Pack of 10 Units, 510lm, 75W Halogen Bulbs Equivalent,120°Beam Angle,Warm White, Flood Light, Floodlight
Offered by Neon Mart
Price: £97.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Should make a big saving., 3 May 2015
These bulbs were sent to me free of charge in return for providing an honest and unbiased review.

The bulbs come in two packs of 5 units, are well packaged and easy to open.
I have a shed type workshop with ceiling-fitted light bars, each of which has four standard 50 watt GU10 spotlights to illuminate the workbenches. There are four of these light bar units, wired through two switches, such that 8 spots light up on each side. Although both sets are rarely switched on simultaneously, it still represents a minimum power consumption of 400 watts - possibly increased to 800 watts – and can be expensive.

The lamps have full head rotation, with no recessed housing, so it was simplicity itself to replace one side of my system (8 of the existing bulbs) with the energy-saving ones. The difference in lighting between the old and new bulbs on each side was very noticeable. The old spotlights tended to produce “pools” of light, while the halogen replacements gave a much more uniform distribution because of the 120 degree spread from each bulb. Also, because each bulb produced 510 lumens, the light was far brighter, yet easier on the eye and more pleasant to work with because they generate very little heat when shining down on the back of my neck!

As far as cost is concerned, the usual reasoning certainly applies here. Initially pretty expensive, but if the claimed 92% saving is anywhere near the mark, combined with a much longer life span, this is a no-brainer!
I am delighted with these excellent little bulbs and they are well worth a 5 star rating.


LE 9.5W Dimmable A60 E27 LED Bulbs,LED Bulb, 60 Watt Incandescent Bulb Equivalent,750lm,Warm White
LE 9.5W Dimmable A60 E27 LED Bulbs,LED Bulb, 60 Watt Incandescent Bulb Equivalent,750lm,Warm White
Offered by Neon Mart
Price: £19.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Energy saving dimmable soft white light., 29 April 2015
The bulb comes well-protected in quality packaging which is easy to open - unlike most modern packaging.
This is a standard A60 E27 LED type, with an opaque bottom section and it screwed into the lamp socket smoothly and easily. The light is specified as "warm white", with a wide spread and - at 800 lumens - is certainly brighter than the original 60 watt table light it replaced - and it's cool to the touch. Although the light was brighter, it also seemed softer, if that makes sense, and I definitely preferred it to light emitted from the old 60 watt bulb.

This bulb was placed in a lamp with a dimming capability. Often, with this type of light, the dimmer switch produces a slight "flickering" at some settings due to the reduced range of power input to the bulb. With this bulb, it was insignificant and easily rectified with a little adjustment of the rotary switch.
Like most quality energy-saving bulbs, this one is initially a little expensive. However, with a stated A+ saving in electricity of over 80%, it should be much cheaper if it lasts anything like as long as the claimed 50,000 hours.

I am very pleased with this excellent product and feel that it is well worth a five star rating.


Palram Greenhouse Shade Kit
Palram Greenhouse Shade Kit
Price: £22.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dappled not frazzled greenhouse., 28 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This superb shading net was delivered this morning and within 20 minutes it was fixed to inside windows of my greenhouse! It comes supplied with two types of smart-lock connectors, depending on your type of greenhouse. I have an 8’ x 6’ greenhouse and the shading net fits from the central roof support, down along the sides to around 6” (un-stretched) from the floor. It completely covers the length of the greenhouse, with a few inches to spare. Fitting instructions are very good with picture diagrams and close-ups, should you need them.

In the past I used sachet powder mixes for shading, but it looked a bit unsightly and wasn’t easy to remove on cloudy days. Recently, I’ve had voile curtains hanging tenuously across various windows, but have lost seedlings when the sun moves position. With this shading, it allows 70% of the light in without frying my little shoots. If I wish to let maximum light in, I can roll the shade up from the bottom and anchor it to the higher windows, because the clips are easily removed from the frame.

I am thrilled to bits with this shading knowing that the sun isn't going to scorch the seedlings and plants. I hope this review helps if, like I was, you’re unsure whether to get shading or not.


Joseph Bentley Stainless Steel Transplanting Trowel
Joseph Bentley Stainless Steel Transplanting Trowel
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars They don't come much better than this!, 27 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am thrilled to bits with this trowel! Not only does it look beautiful and has a useful leather loop for hanging on a hook, it's extremely nice to use. The handle is moulded so well that it fits very comfortably in my hand. It is solidly made yet surprisingly light and would be good for those with arthritis or anyone who has a problem holding heavy hand tools.

I know that Joseph Bentley make a regular trowel, but I prefer this one for weeding because the soil in my garden is heavy clay and surrounded by trees. The pointed tip is just perfect for slicing through the soil and digging between plants. For precision planting, the trowel has clear, graded measurements etched into the steel surface from the tip to a depth of 10 cm (4").

I've been gradually replacing all of my garden hand tools with the Joseph Bentley range and I absolutely love them. Their good looks combined with comfortable handling, excellent performance and durable construction make them the number one choice for me.


LE 9.5W Dimmable B22 LED Bulbs, Brightest 60 Watt Incandescent Bulbs Equivalent, Warm White, Bayonet Led Light Bulbs
LE 9.5W Dimmable B22 LED Bulbs, Brightest 60 Watt Incandescent Bulbs Equivalent, Warm White, Bayonet Led Light Bulbs
Offered by Neon Mart
Price: £22.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A high quality energy saver., 27 April 2015
I was given this bulb in return for an honest review - this is my candid and unbiased opinion

The packaging of the bulb was very good, set in a quality cardboard box with a transparent window and - unlike some packaging - easy to open. The product specification was clearly displayed in both text and graphic format.
The bulb is a standard A60 B22 LED type, with an opaque bottom section. The bayonet fitting slotted smoothly into place in my lamp, without any need for firm pressure, unlike previous bulbs. Why this was so, I can't explain, but it was definitely a better fit and a relief not to feel that I was risking injury with the force normally required when inserting a bulb into this lamp.
 
The bulb emits a warm white light and the difference was quite considerable when compared to the original, standard 60 watt bulb. It was a much nicer, more gentle light, and at 750 lumens without any dimming - the appearance was brighter. The upper section of the bulb remains cool to the touch and doesn't give out heat. This is especially good for close work, or for reading in bed when you are already warm and don't need a lamp cooking your face!
The lower opaque section is significantly warmer, but my old bulb was like a furnace in comparison. 
The dimmer function seems to work fine; there will nearly always be a level of “flickering” with this type of bulb, but this is dependent on the quality of the dimmer switch – not the bulb. In our case, it really was minimal and disappeared with a little adjustment of the rotary switch.
 
Overall, an excellent product and worthy of five stars. With an energy rating of A+ and an estimated lifespan of over 50,000 hours, the cost of the bulb should be recovered fairly quickly.


BT Elements 1 km Range IP67 Rated Cordless Phone with Answer Machine and Nuisance Call Blocker
BT Elements 1 km Range IP67 Rated Cordless Phone with Answer Machine and Nuisance Call Blocker
Offered by Big Box Shop
Price: £77.10

4.0 out of 5 stars A sturdy workshop phone., 26 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Setting up the phone was quick and easy once the handset had been charged for 24 hours. The base unit plugs into an electrical socket and also a nearby phone line; the charger pod can be connected to any power source within range. The phone has a good selection of features including an answer phone, name and number directory, clock, calendar and alarm – together with a VIP list and long talk time.

The compact base unit has two stubby antennae, a red glowing indicator light and a beep signal to confirm that power is connected. The handset does have a “no nonsense” appearance and is ruggedly constructed, with a belt hook, rubber alphanumeric buttons and a hands-free capability. BT states that it is dust-proof, which is a definite advantage for my husband's workshop use. They also claim that the phone is waterproof up to a depth of 1 metre for up 30 minutes, which could be of benefit to outdoor workers. The charging pod is compact and sturdy and the handset seats firmly and securely.

Generally, the phone worked well. The outside reception was marginally better than our present cordless handset, but improved markedly when the larger antenna was fitted. My husband often forgets to take his mobile down to the workshop at the end of the garden and messages left on the house answer machine go unnoticed, so this phone has been a blessing.

However, there were a few little negative points. Although we had the phone on the maximum volume setting, my husband - who has a hearing problem - found it difficult to hear conversations at times. The phone is advertised as having the facility to block nuisance calls and although I guessed that this would be a chargeable extra from BT, some people could be misled into thinking that it was a free option. Finally, although the LED display was easy to read, I personally disliked the amber colour.

Overall, a functional and useful phone with a good reception range and robust construction


Earth Rated Lavender Scented Dog Waste Bags for Pantries and Outdoor Waste Stations
Earth Rated Lavender Scented Dog Waste Bags for Pantries and Outdoor Waste Stations
Offered by The Morris Family
Price: £28.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll be buying these scented bags in future., 26 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This value pack of 300 lavender scented bags comes in a sturdy, recycled cardboard dispenser that sits nicely and solidly on a surface. There is a Perspex window at the front of the box to give an indication of when the roll is being depleted. The lavender scent is evident once the box is opened, but it’s not overpowering and I quite liked it. It was also nice to get a whiff of something pleasant for a change when picking up the dog poo.

The bags tear away easily from the dispenser and take up next to no room in a pocket. The opening is wide enough for broad hands and the material is strong. I have quite long nails and deliberately tried to poke a hole through the top of the bag. Although it eventually ripped, it took a fair amount of force before this happened, so I’m confident there won’t be any nasty accidents! I can vouch for it being able to withstand the rough surface of a forest floor. These bags do not have ties, but there was enough room to tie a knot on a medium-sized dog’s ‘leavings’.

There are a number of good quality, biodegradable poo bags on the market and - to be honest - I don’t think there’s much to choose between them. However, I’m ultra-queasy when it comes to dog poo and I found the lavender scent of these bags helped detract from the awful smell. I will be buying these bags in future.


Fives and Twenty-Fives
Fives and Twenty-Fives
by Michael Pitre
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I highly recommend this book., 24 April 2015
This review is from: Fives and Twenty-Fives (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The past and present experiences of the three central characters in this book, members of a road repair unit in war-torn Al Anbar Province, Iraq, is told in alternating chapters. Lieutenant Donovan is the leader of the platoon, Lester Pleasant is the medic and Kateb, (code name ‘Dodge’) is their young Iraqi interpreter. In the forward to his book, the author, Michael Pitre, explains his reasons for writing it and pays tribute to “what the average Iraqi family endured on a daily basis”.

In many ways this is a harrowing tale of lives – civilian and military - lived on a knife-edge. It also provides an insight of how dangerous and disruptive every day life was for both civilians and the military. There are some very humorous incidents in the book. New Porta-Johns are being installed in camp and the men are warned that any further graffiti will result in a 24-hour watch being posted. The miscreant is described as a “regular Leonardo da Vinci of *****”

Pitre has an excellent descriptive style of writing; I could almost feel the weight of the heavy flak jacket on the female Sergeant Gomez and smell the asphalt pouring into the cleared bomb crater. His style is such that you really can imagine yourself in the scenes described. The sections of the book dealing with the post-war lives of the three protagonists are very poignant; people who can never return to the way they were. Pitre himself says, “But we weren’t prepared for the years that followed, when we came home to find that the war had made us strangers”.

This book is not a sensationalist gung-ho tale of war. It’s a very moving account of the devastation and lasting damage inflicted on innocent Iraqi civilians and the young USA military. I highly recommend this book.


BecoThings Eco-Friendly Poo Bag Refills
BecoThings Eco-Friendly Poo Bag Refills
Price: £2.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Eco-Friendly but you'll need to tie a knot in it!, 23 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This Beco refill pack comes as four rolls of 15 tear-off bags in a sturdy, recycled biodegradable cardboard holder. The bags are also biodegradable, which I like. They don’t tear easily – always a personal dread of mine when collecting the dog’s ‘leavings’ – and the opening is large enough for the widest of hands. The bags are bigger and feel a little stronger than the brands we’ve used before and if you don’t have the carry dispenser, a whole roll of 15 takes hardly any room in a jacket pocket.

One thing to note is that these bags do not have ties. This is not a problem for owners of a small or medium-sized dog because there is enough room to knot the top of the bag. However, if you have a large dog and your fingers are not so nimble, I’m not sure how you would tie it. That aside, we like these bags and would use again.


L'Oreal Professionnel Series Expert Shine Blonde Shampoo
L'Oreal Professionnel Series Expert Shine Blonde Shampoo
Offered by PROMVIT
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put the sparkle back into that lovely blonde/grey/silver hair., 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for my mother, who has lovely silver grey hair, but at times - perhaps because it is quite course - it can look quite dull. My hairdresser explained how the purple/blue colour of this product counteracts the yellowing of blonde/grey/silver hair and she demonstrated on a colour chart how it worked. I don't know about opposite colours, etc., but I do know that after using this for just one application, Mum's silver was shining brightly again and the yellowish tinge was gone.
Tip: My hairdresser said it was best to shampoo with 50% of this and 50% of your regular shampoo just in case your hair is very porous. It can be a little startling when you see the vivid blue colour, but it rinses out and you won't be left with even a hint of a 'blue tint'.


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