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Reviews Written by
Richard Hammond (Oxford, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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La Fourmi 75 x 75 x 120 mm Square Pot
La Fourmi 75 x 75 x 120 mm Square Pot
Price: £2.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Spot on., 9 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good value, plain pine pots. Easy to personalise and perfectly functional.


Service Design for Business: A Practical Guide to Optimizing the Customer Experience
Service Design for Business: A Practical Guide to Optimizing the Customer Experience
by Ben Reason
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Worth having on your shelf if you are interested in the structure of customer relationships, 9 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll give my one problem with this book first and then talk about why I think it's a useful text for retailers in particular. That problem is one of definition; the authors believe that service design is a recent 21st Century idea, which is simply ridiculous. Retailers and service organisations have been acutely aware of the interactions between people, product, service, place and customers since the very earliest days. The Piggly Wiggly's US patent for self-service retail is an end-to-end service design document and that goes back to 1917.

So there's a bit of a problem of self-importance here, and the desperate desire to see service design defined as a specialist new industry; it isn't.

With that issue out of the way; the book itself is a very useful resource on how to create better customer experiences through better planning and understanding of the elements that contribute to those experiences. Where it is practical, it is useful and there's a lot of practical here. Ignore the chapter on customer centric organisations, there it veers away from practical and into the fantasy land where customers are like unicorns and companies blueprinted machine-made homologations.


(UPGRADED) OGIMA® 50ft Latex Expandable Garden Hose with Strong 8 Functions Spray Nozzle-Green
(UPGRADED) OGIMA® 50ft Latex Expandable Garden Hose with Strong 8 Functions Spray Nozzle-Green
Offered by Kingto Online
Price: £16.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best for small gardens., 21 April 2016
This would be perfect for a very small garden because it tucks away nice and small but there are drawbacks; the main one is that at full extension, as soon as you pull the trigger on the sprayer, it starts to shrink back, with surprising tug too. It means that watering anything at the long end of the garden here is a bit annoying. The tap connector, when used on a Hozelock fitting, leaks quite a lot.

The build and colour are great though and I probably would recommend it for small gardens but you'd want to be well within that 50ft limit to use it comfortably.

I would have given the hose 3 stars but the excellent spray head earns it an extra star - the action is comfortable and the different types of spray actually work: you've got a gentle one for delicate seedlings, and then all points in between up to a jet that will clear weeds. It's really good.

THIS IS AN HONEST REVIEW OF FREE PRODUCT


3M 1436 C1 Foldable Ear Muffs - Orange
3M 1436 C1 Foldable Ear Muffs - Orange
Price: £11.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective and convenient., 20 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really good, the European Standard they comply with is one that governs daily noise limits; the 3M 1436 C1 ear muffs are suitable for use on any home building project on which you plan to smash, drill and generally noise up. We're renovating our house and I'd been using ear plugs for complete noise isolation but then you find yourself doing the odd hour of loud work without bothering to put them back in. Ear muffs are so much more convenient; you can hear enough to be situationally aware too.

I also use these when doing the odd bit of drilling putting up coat hooks and the like - I'm sure it's those little jobs that often damage hearing because they're so quick you'll often do them without protection. Now that I'm developing tinnitus, I wish I'd had easy protection earlier. Lesson learnt.


H2D VI Gold Line Professional Ionic and Infrared Hair Straighteners
H2D VI Gold Line Professional Ionic and Infrared Hair Straighteners
Price: £95.70

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, hair feels nice and no static, 19 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My daughter Rosy offers this review:

She said she was very pleased with them, even better than the GHD set that she's had for a couple of years (which I remember being a similar price when we bought them for her). The larger plates are nice for her below-shoulder hair and she said that the infra-red 'must do something' because her hair feels nice and conditioned afterwards. Her favorite point was that unlike all the other straighteners she's used, these don't cause her hair to build up static.

They apparently get hot pretty quickly but also cool down quicker than her GHDs, which Rosy said was a good thing in both cases. Her only negative was that there is a little gap by the handle that she pinched her hand on when closing them together. But despite that she recommends them highly.


Fast Charge Wireless Charger, GMYLE Aluminium Qi Charging Pad for Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 edge / Note 5 / S6 edge plus - Metallic Silver / Glacier White
Fast Charge Wireless Charger, GMYLE Aluminium Qi Charging Pad for Samsung Galaxy S7 / S7 edge / Note 5 / S6 edge plus - Metallic Silver / Glacier White
Offered by Clever Gadgets
Price: £26.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Looks great and works well., 19 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Really neat and relatively small wireless charger. I liked it so much that I bought a second one; one in my bedroom and one in the office. The surface is a hard plastic but looks like glass, so that's good. The base and sides feel like brushed aluminium and there's just enough weight to keep the base from nudging around the surface; there's also a flat rubber ring around the base that helps. Overall,the design looks very much like modern Samsung phones; it's a very attractive thing and much nicer to look at than Samsung's own dumpy-looking alternatives.

Fast charging works on my Samsung Note 5. Placement is relatively generous so long as you have the charger broadly in the middle of the back of the phone.

Why a star knocked off? The LED. I hate LEDs in the bedroom when I'm trying to sleep but I accept the reasons why this sort of charger would have one. It's only small but puts out a beam of light. I covered it with a square of insulating tape but had to lip the tape half a cm over onto the top plate to cover leakage. That leakage, even with the tape on, continues along the top sides of the charger, which is annoying. It's much less obvious though so I can live with it.

For looks and fast charging though, this is highly recommended.


Cutting Board, Nuvita 3-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set -Premium Chopping Board Block -Large Medium Small Size Set - Anti-microbial and made of eco-friendly bamboo
Cutting Board, Nuvita 3-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set -Premium Chopping Board Block -Large Medium Small Size Set - Anti-microbial and made of eco-friendly bamboo
Offered by ADM Direct
Price: £19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good set though on the small side, 19 April 2016
These are good bamboo cutting boards in useful sizes. We've been using them for a month now and they appear very resistant to stains and heat. The range of sizes mean we've mostly used them for heat mats on the table and they work really well for that job. The construction is laminated; so there are two layers of bamboo sandwiched together, I think this should reduce or even prevent any warping: certainly, we've had them standing in water in the sink, had heat on and so on and there's not even a hint of warping.

The largest board is a bit bigger than A4 but is probably still on the small side, I like a nice big cutting surface so I can prepare more than one vegetable at a time but that's not really possible here. But this is still a versatile set. My only small negative is that some of the edges are burred but it's not a big deal.

HONEST REVIEW OF FREE PRODUCT.
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LAMAZE Freddie the Firefly Rattle
LAMAZE Freddie the Firefly Rattle
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved by our little ones., 19 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These Lamaze toys are universally excellent. Our babies have loved them all. No idea what goes through their tiny lunatic minds but I'm guessing the colours, bobbly shapes and changes in texture are things they like.

We've had at least a dozen Lamaze toys over two kids so far and all the toys have been superbly made. I trust them not to fall apart basically.


Thule Subterra Daypack Bag for Laptop - Dark Shadow
Thule Subterra Daypack Bag for Laptop - Dark Shadow
Price: £89.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally made but marred by two big design flaws., 11 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is nearly a perfect commuter and overnight bag... nearly. More on why in a moment; overall: this is an exceptionally well-made bag: zips, seams, fabrics, padding; they're all of a very high quality. The shape distributes weight very comfortably on your back and I've found it especially good to sling on when riding a few miles to go and work. The laptop compartment is great; one of the other reviews suggests you can't get a laptop in and out without undoing the main flap but I've not found that at all: there's a big long water-resistant zip up one outer edge that reveals a lined and padded compartment perfect for my Microsoft Surface Pro3. The lining is especially good; it feels like a synthetic felt and ensures zero risk of scratching your lovely tech.

I've used it as carry-on luggage for a bunch of overnighters and, again, it's perfect there; the number of externally accessible compartments helps there: get to your seat, sling passport and boarding pass in the back pouch and grab headphones and book from their safe hiding place revealed by another chunky side zip.

So why 'nearly'? The bag has two big problems and one minor irritation. That minor irritation is that the chest straps can't be removed or tucked away if not in use. The two big problems though are significant: the first is that the carry handle at the top, for those times where you don't want it on your shoulder, if just a simple strip of strong fabric with no comfort adornments. It makes the bag really uncomfortable to carry for any longer than a few moments. The other big problem is the main compartment clips on the top lid: these are sort of integrated with the lip of the lid and they make clipping the bag closed a bit of a struggle because you can't grip the female part of the clip. It's an infuriating design.

So for me, my search for the perfect commuting and overnight business bag goes on.


Philips FC9724/69 Expert Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, Pet and Anti-Allergen
Philips FC9724/69 Expert Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner, Pet and Anti-Allergen
Price: £219.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good family vacuum cleaner., 11 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a terrific cleaner on both hard floors and carpet. Seems really powerful but it's quiet at the same time. The size is good; it's light enough to handhold going up the stairs and it's small enough to tuck away easily in the cupboard.

It looks amazing, which is possibly not a big deal in a domestic appliance but it does. Build quality is first-class, everything is solid and well engineered. In use the unit floats around the house nicely and the brush head is very good, picking up cat hairs with one or two passes.

The only negative is that the base isn't terribly stable, the metal part of the hose is very heavy and when docked, can often tip the whole thing over. That's about it though; otherwise this gets a strong recommendation for use in a normal family home.


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