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

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Huggies Soft Skin Baby Wipes - 10 Packs (56 Wipes Per Pack, 560 Wipes Total)
Huggies Soft Skin Baby Wipes - 10 Packs (56 Wipes Per Pack, 560 Wipes Total)
Price: £10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Best wipes we've ever used., 1 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These Huggies Soft Skin wipes are without doubt the best baby wipes we’ve used. They are a good size for getting baby’s bottom clean and have a lovely scent. The seal on the top of each pack is excellent – with some brands the adhesive tab begins to peel back and fails to close properly, these don’t. We’ve all been in the position of trying to pull a second sheet from a pack with one hand whilst holding little legs up and away from the mess with the other; well, each sheet pulls out easily without dragging half the pack with it.
The wipes are beautifully soft and contain just the right amount of moisture for cleaning up a little bottom and leaving a pleasant smell. Well, until the next little nappy fill, that is. I can’t fault these excellent wipes.


KAZAM Trooper 445L UK 4G SIM-Free Smart Phone - Silver
KAZAM Trooper 445L UK 4G SIM-Free Smart Phone - Silver
Price: £59.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare bargain in a world of expensive alternatives., 23 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Obviously the main selling point of this phone is the low price. At such a very reasonable cost it would be fair to expect some compromises, but there aren’t as many as you might think. To start with, it’s a 4G LTE Smartphone with an android OS and a quad-core 1.3Ghz processor. Start-up time is quick - and the auto-setup works better than most of the androids that I’ve used before. The screen is large and the touchscreen is responsive enough, even with light pressure. Apps open quickly and without processor lag. At 480x800, the resolution won’t blow anyone away, and neither will the rear-facing camera at 5MP (0.31 for the front-camera), but if these aren’t a major issue for you then it’s hard to argue with the price tag. The rear camera has an LED flash and the camera software includes face recognition, burst mode and HDR mode, which allow for a little creativity if that’s your thing. Additional perks include an SD card slot to expand the memory, and ‘gorilla glass’ which allegedly resists scratches and looks extra clear, but if you happen to crack the screen Kazam will replace it free of charge in the first 12 months of ownership! If looks are a factor for you then the 445L scores well with the brushed-alloy look on the rear case and glossy front, giving the impression of a much more expensive phone.

Pros:
• Cheap!
• Decent processor
• Expandable memory
• Free replacement screen
• LED flash, varying photo modes

Cons:
• Basic camera
• Less-than HD screen

Overall: This bargain phone with free screen replacement seems to be ideal for parents wanting their kids to keep in touch, but still have all the software features of a cutting-edge Smartphone. Alternatively, this is good for anyone who needs internet or email on-the-go. but not the high-end visual requirements of an iPhone or similar. With these points in mind, it’s a rare bargain in a world of expensive alternatives that may not confer a significant advantage.


Ice
Ice
by Ulla-Lena Lundberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where the only shop available is reached by rowing boat or sled., 22 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Ice (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved this book about a community in a Finnish archipelago, set just a few years after the Second World War. The remote Orland islands – not found on an Atlas, “too far out to sea …” consists of the Eastern and Western islanders, who don’t often see eye to eye. One of the few things that unite them, however, is church service.
The tale begins with the islanders eagerly awaiting the arrival of their newly appointed young pastor and his family, who – unlike previous clergymen – had actually wanted the post at Orland. Post-war restrictions are beginning to ease on the mainland, but on the remote islands where there is no gas or electricity supplies, relief from austerity is mostly dependent on a bumper fishing catch. Transport between the farms on the islands is by rowing boat, but when the ice has set in winter, people use kick sleds. Everyone knows from a young age never to go on the ice without ‘’something sharp, an ice pike, a knife in your belt”.

This book was a refreshing change to most of the books I’ve read recently. It’s about adversity, dependency, neighbours putting aside differences for the sake of community, tragedy - and most of all, love. I loved reading about the central family in Ice, and Lundberg’s characters are so realistic. Descriptions of the weather and terrain are vivid. This is a tale of a way of life so different from the one known to most of us, though I believe that the author was raised in similar circumstances. I was absolutely enthralled by this book and I was up till 3am finishing it.
Finally, I would like to mention the translation from Swedish to English. Sometimes the very essence of a novel is lost in the transition; this is not the case here, and Thomas Teal has to be congratulated.


Go Stationery Brainbox Candy A5 Dog with Birds Notebook
Go Stationery Brainbox Candy A5 Dog with Birds Notebook
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Feel the quality and see the quirkiness!, 20 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This dog and bird notebook is part of a matching range of goods by Brainbox Candy, and other items include mugs, iPhone cases, magnetic notebooks and greetings cards. The quality of this notebook is excellent. The pages are held securely by the ring binder, which is firm - and does not rotate and swivel like cheaper versions. There are approximately 80 ruled pages of high standard paper that doesn’t bleed when a fountain pen is used. There is no elastic closer with this notebook, but as the cover is sturdy - not flimsy - I didn’t really see a need for one.

Quality is foremost when buying stationary, but I also love the artwork on this book. The eyes of the dog and birds follow you like the Mona Lisa - very cute, quirky and bound to elicit comments in the office! I looked at the company website before posting this review and they have some very original merchandise, especially Mother’s Day cards.


AmazonBasics Circular Polarizer-62mm
AmazonBasics Circular Polarizer-62mm
Price: £12.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value, a few compromises, 13 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
On the face of it, a circular polarising filter at this price seems too good to be true - so is it? Well yes and no. I tested out the 62mm version in a pretty challenging environment - the glare of Sydney in the summertime. Mounted on a Nikon 105mm micro VR lens and using a Nikon D800 body I tested the filter at the zoo to assess its effect on sharpness and fine detail, on a ferry with sun reflecting off the sea for classic polarising qualities, and in the shade to see how the exposure suffered from losing 2 stops of light.

The good:
• It works - richer colours immediately jump out of the photo, glare is cut down to a minimum and water-shots are a deep blue. In shallower water the bottom becomes visible with a twist of the outer ring. In terms of outright polarising ability this ranks up with the best filters I’ve tried.
• Sharpness of fine details e.g. the hairs on an animal does not seem to suffer at all
• Standard 2 stops of light loss was present, easily compensated for by a slightly slower shutter speed or higher ISO - and using the VR lens and an auto ISO I couldn’t appreciate any change in image sharpness even in the shade.

The bad:
• Ergonomically the outer ring is a little stiff and has some inertia when it is first turned. This can cause the whole filter to unscrew when turned vigorously anti-clockwise which is a bit of a pain if you’re in a rush to capture the shot.
• Very bright areas of the photo e.g. tips of ripples at sea where the sun reflects the most, suffered from colour fringing and a purple hue is evident at these points, even with the nano coating of my lens. This is correctible in post-processing but ultimately reflects the construction and outer coating of the filter (or lack thereof). Given the low price of this filter it’s not too surprising.
• Vignetting - there is more present that I’d usually expect. This is a minor issue and is really very easily correctible in post-processing with one click of the mouse (I used Aperture with good success)

Overall - this is a great little filter and performs the polarising aspect of its job very well. It’s not up to the same high standards as the Marumi or Hoya filters I’ve used before but at this price it’s hard to argue with, and any deficits can be dealt with afterwards. One caveat I should add is that whilst I’ve noticed some minor deficits in image quality, the Nikon D800 with its massive resolution has a reputation for showing up small defects in lenses and filters alike, while other cameras have no issues with the same hardware. I don’t have another camera body to test this out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the negative points I’ve listed are negligible or absent in the majority of DSLRs.


Go Stationery Shimmer A6 Gold Hearts Notebook - Pink
Go Stationery Shimmer A6 Gold Hearts Notebook - Pink
Price: £5.50

5.0 out of 5 stars It feels soft and flexible, but it's also quite sturdy., 9 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like the feel of this notebook. It’s sturdy, yet soft and flexible so it should survive the usual knocks and bangs if you wish to carry it around in your bag. There are approximately 95 lined pages and should you want, you could join the ten little markers at the top and bottom of each page to form columns. The paper seems to be of good quality – fountain pen ink did not bleed, though I could see a slight ghosting on the back of the page. Using a biro or a gel pen was fine.
This is a handy little notebook – I’ve entered the measurements for curtains and the number of rolls of wallpaper required for each of my rooms. I’ve also listed the books I’d like to get from the library. Yes, I really need to inform the paparazzi about my exhilarating lifestyle!


Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water for Combination and Sensitive Skin 400 ml
Garnier Skin Naturals Micellar Cleansing Water for Combination and Sensitive Skin 400 ml
Price: £3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a convert to micellar cleansing water., 5 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I recently tried micellar water for the first time – it was from the same Garnier range, but specifically for ‘combination to oily and sensitive’ skin. I was really impressed with it, and this formula – for combination and sensitive skin – is equally good.
I didn’t notice any real difference between the two, because both types left my skin feeling refreshed and clean without any adverse reaction or dryness. I usually clean my makeup off with soap and water, but I will definitely be using this in the future. For anyone whose eyes – like mine – react badly to even the most hypoallergenic cleansers, I recommend you try this.

* A little tip from a doctor I know – if you rub a piece of cotton wool between your palms, it removes the lint and fluff.


Oral-B PRO 2000 3D White Pink Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Oral-B PRO 2000 3D White Pink Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £34.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pink special edition, otherwise little difference., 3 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Presenting the latest collaboration in the Pro 2000 range from Oral-B and Braun – the Pro 2000 3D white special edition. So, what makes this different from the other Pro 2000 toothbrushes? Well, firstly, it’s pink. Secondly, it comes with a single 3D WHITE brush head that is broadly similar to the other heads Oral-B produces, but has a “dentist-inspired” rubber polishing cup in the centre. Otherwise it’s identical to the regular Pro 2000 toothbrush and has all the same features you might expect.

The brushing itself comes in 2 modes. The first is ‘daily clean’ - a 2-minute program where the brush “oscillates, rotates and pulsates” - broken up into 30-second intervals by a brief pause in action, allowing all four dental quadrants to receive equal attention. The second is ‘gum massage’ mode, which changes the intensity of the brush head movements in an attempt to delight your gums. Other features include a large LED pressure indicator that lights up - and even stops the brush head movements if you happen to get a little heavy-handed - together with an LED battery status indicator. Battery life is quoted as “up to 7 days”, but I can’t comment on the validity of this just yet.

My present toothbrush is an earlier Pro 2000 model and after using this latest version for a couple of days I’ve no complaints. My teeth feel as clean as ever. Oddly, this model seems to be available in slightly different editions with varying heads, for significantly variable prices - some costing twice as much - so I advise shopping around before clicking to buy.


Garnier Pure Micellar Cleansing Water
Garnier Pure Micellar Cleansing Water
Offered by chemistdirect
Price: £6.74

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm very impressed., 2 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was keen to try this micellar water because I’d only heard of it recently – much to my friends’ surprise. I tested it wearing my usual makeup - powdered foundation, blusher, long-lasting eyeliner and mascara. I soaked a cotton ball in the solution and gently wiped away at the make up. From the second that the water touched my face until it evaporated, my skin felt beautifully cool and refreshed. I had to re-apply a little more water and gentle pressure to remove all traces of eye makeup, but because it was waterproof, I expected this. The foundation was removed with a single wipe and left no residue or stickiness.

I have sensitive eyes, so I normally use soap and water or wipes to remove makeup - because creams make them sting. I had no adverse reaction to this product and I’m very impressed with it.

**
A little tip from a doctor I know - to remove all the little fluff and lint particles from a wad of cotton wool, rub it between your palms just before using. It works!
**


Maybelline Master Drama Chromatics Eye 1.1 g Turquoise Vibe
Maybelline Master Drama Chromatics Eye 1.1 g Turquoise Vibe
Offered by Tiger Lilley Cosmetics
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars I really like it!, 1 Jan. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really like this eyeliner pencil. It is so easy to apply because the texture is lovely and soft. The colour is a little too vibrant for my age, so I dab little dots next to my lashes and gently blend downwards (upwards for lower lids) and across, using the tip of my finger. The effect is quite stunning – softer than a liquid liner – and it lasts all day. This really is an excellent eyeliner


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