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Reviews Written by
Lark (North Coast of Ireland)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Hemingway in Love: His Own Story
Hemingway in Love: His Own Story
by A.E. Hotchner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and heart felt memoir, 16 Dec. 2015
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This is a definite page turner, no scandal or anything of that kind but the recounting, over a series of meetings, by Hemingway to his friend Hotchner of the mistakes he felt he had made in love, permitting his arrogance and personal hubris to get the better of him he believed he could have it all, it all being the devotion of two ladies at once.

From this initial error Hemingway relates how his relationships with women from then on were a record of failure and unhappiness, or at least any joy the did bring was not of a lasting sort, when he does relate the final meeting with his wife, long after the initial betrayal, when she had moved on with another partner and Hemingway tells her that every woman he had ever written about was in fact her and then her departure from the scene its about one of the most heart breaking pieces of factual statement I've ever read.

It was a great read for myself who I would say had little or no knowledge what so ever of Hemingway himself and little knowledge of his literary works, I believe that it would interest someone who is a Hemingway fan even more as repeatedly the connections between his life and his works are drawn out. Sometimes by Hemingway, sometimes by his friends and social scene, which Hemingway insists is not always done so accurately but instead acrimoniously leading to a lot of falling outs and breaking down friendships.

Finally in the closing chapters a sympathetic but unflinching picture of the mentally and emotionally troubled man Hemingway had become following all this turmoil emerges. I found myself feeling very saddened by this, it all seemed to be one larger than life individual proving to be human all too human, displaying delusional paranoia, complaining of being hounded by the authorities and spied upon. Then an afterword about declassified FBI records which indicate that yes, the authorities had in fact been spying upon him and Hemingway's own suspicions may have been more than a little correct while disbelieved by everyone. This aspect of the story while not explored in that great a depth, certainly not being the focus of the story at all, made me think about how vulnerable the man was before the finish, love lost, love lorn and feeling friendless, disbelieved in his worst fears. It certainly seemed an undeserved fate, whatever mistakes he had made up to that point in his life.


On Kindness
On Kindness
by Adam Phillips
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great book, read it in three sittings. Short but rich in content., 16 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: On Kindness (Hardcover)
This is an excellent little hardback, it has an sewn in ribbon bookmark, fits in a larger coat pocket has a good enough contents, ie titles make sense upon reading the chapters, chapters themselves are of a great length, there's an economy of words and a great pace and style of writing employed by the author for the book.

I have read books by Adam Philips before and I think they can be hit and miss, particularly those which are very involved in the presentation of Lacan or French psycho-analytical thinking, which retained the libido theorising of Freud to a greater extent than any of the neo-freudians, like Horney, Fromm or Harry Stack Sullivan, who retained ideas other than libidinal theorising from his work, or Jung, Adler etc. who went in fresh directions altogether.

This book does not suffer in that way at all, it begins with a chapter on the extent to which kindness has become forbidden and shameful, despite being something which provides satisfaction to everyone involved, usually, there follows a chapter on the short history of the idea, which has some brilliant summary presentations of Rousseau's thinking on the topic, while acknowledging the criticisms of Rousseau and his failings in practicing what he preached, the next two chapters are the ones more focused upon psychoanalysis, of those I liked the second the best, the kindness instinct, which is a pretty good presentation of Freud and Winnecott, a UK attachment theorist, in their thinking about why kindness is prohibited or threatening to some.

For Freud there is the competition between affection and desire, therefore desire had to incorporate debasement, he thought this was universal, merely exemplified in pathological sadistic cases, but experienced by all, Winnecott describes the ambivalence about affection as disguised hatred in maternally deprived children, considering this not a pathological case so much as an exemplar again, like Freud did, of a developmental challenge universally experienced in which realism about parents supersedes idealisation, this incorporates hatred, which normally is superseded by kindness once more. That is a rude summary and Philips and Taylor put it much better.

The final chapter returns to the topics of the first two chapters, following but also incorporating well enough the psychoanalytic interlude, this chapter is a great synopsis of the book's point, not just description but prescription. I know that there are critics of this book who believe it is vague, unclear as to whether it is recommending individual action, charity organisation, philanthropy on the one hand or a cradle to grave tax and spend welfare regime, both are discussed, critically and I would say fairly. Myself, I think that it is an appeal to "both/and" instead of "either/or" and discusses the souring of opinion in respect of each type of organised, popular kindness as a souring of opinion on kindness per se which ought to be reversed.

I found a lot that I agree with in both the description and prescription of this book but believe it is well written and would prove interesting to even the greatest detractors or most cynical critics of kindness per se.


Hand crafted soap Ivy & Seaweed
Hand crafted soap Ivy & Seaweed
Offered by OliveOilShed
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously good soap., 30 Nov. 2015
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This is some seriously good soap, it is scented but not strongly so before using it in water, when you use it in water the aroma it produces is fantastic and almost like some sort of aromatherapy to inhale, while the bar itself produces a fantastic, creamy lather which leaves the skin very clean and soft. It does not dry the skin in any way and I suspect it probably has moisturising properties but I did not read anything about it in the promotional wrap/box which it was supplied in. This little box opens and folds out into a sort of pseudo-soap dish which I suspect would not last (I threw it in the bin upon opening the soap myself) but is a nice presentational touch and may be useful if you are taking this with you traveling.

I am a big fan of artisan soaps and specialty soaps but I have not used any in some time which I felt like reviewing, let alone reviewing so positively, in the main I had begun to think of them as kind of minor extravagance or personal guilty pleasure, something which I spend more money that its worth upon for idiosyncratic reasons. However, on this occasion this is something which I really do feel like recommending to others and I hope others try and find as satisfactory as I did. You've got a choice when it comes to soap but try this and you'll not regret it.


L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Correcting Day Moisturiser 50ml
L'Oreal Paris Skin Perfection Correcting Day Moisturiser 50ml
Price: £8.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Correcting Day Moisturiser, 30 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a moisturiser which my mother has reviewed for me, she advised me that it is a very creamy product, which soaks right into the skin and after using it for 3 weeks her skin is much smoother looking and is soft to the touch.

Mum says the appearance of her skin especially the neck is much more youthful looking, the "crows feet" lines are less prominent too, as are the lines above the upper lip. The cream comes in a beautifully finished jar and has an additional lid under the screw cap so that the cream will not dry out. My mother said she would buy this product again and recommend it to others.


AmazonBasics 200-Thread-Count Polycotton Fitted Sheet, King - Cream
AmazonBasics 200-Thread-Count Polycotton Fitted Sheet, King - Cream
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Basics bed sheet., 30 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This sheet had been manufactured taking account of the elements of bedding which people find important. First thing I would commend is the fact that it is elasticated all the way round making it so much easier to cover the mattress evenly. I find sheets which are only elasticated on the corners do not last because you have to stretch the last corner in order to get it to fit the mattress and nine times out of ten elastic breaks. This would not happen with this sheet. Quality of the cotton is of a high standard and fits a kind size bed perfectly. One thing I have found disappointing when buying sheets is getting them big enough to cover the depth of my mattress. This sheet fits the depth no problem so for this fact along with the quality I will buy these again and recommend to others.

This is the first time I have sampled the Amazon basics range and it hasn't been disappointing, just like the Amazon studios productions its good to see that when Amazon branches out some how into a new field its usually a brand of quality.


Prince of Peace, Premium Oolong Tea, 100 Tea Bags, (2 g) Each
Prince of Peace, Premium Oolong Tea, 100 Tea Bags, (2 g) Each
Offered by Cambria Health Group
Price: £4.82

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great beverage, and a great choice of brand, 30 Nov. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the first Oolong Tea I have tried, following advice on a website about products and things to do which can improve digestion, metabolism and the health of your heart (in so far as each and all of those things are all connected in a holistic way). The site recommended a number of alternatives to soft drinks or sodas, which are proving to be the devil himself when it comes to health, either heavy in sugar or equally damaging sweetener additives which can both contribute to diabetes.

Whatever the health benefits may be I really like the taste of this tea, I much, much prefer it to plain tea or earl grey, neither of which I like at all, preferring coffee. I tried another variety of green tea which has additives, lemon or honey flavouring, and I prefer the Oolong really. It can be drank hot or cold with ice and slice of lemon or lime or sprig of mint. Its a great beverage.

This box is also a very big box and has lots of individually wrapped tea bags with string and paper tag, you can use these to suspend the tea bag in a kettle by wetting the tag and pressing it against the kettle exterior or just use it for dunking and the string is long enough to wrap around the tea bag to ring out the last of the tea. Recommended.


Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation, Light Porcelain
Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation, Light Porcelain
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rimmel Match Perfection, 30 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My sister tried this out and said it is the perfect match for her skin colour as she has difficulty in getting a make-up light enough for her complexion.

She said it last a long time on the skin without needing constant refreshing or touching up, it has a creamy texture and is easy to apply and does not go an orange tone like some bran's can. My sister says it is one that she will buy for quality and shade and the fact it is excellent value for money.


Billy + Margot White Fish and Potato Biscuits (Treats) 100g, Pack of 4
Billy + Margot White Fish and Potato Biscuits (Treats) 100g, Pack of 4
Price: £15.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Can not recommend this product, dog refuses to eat it., 21 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a mature Corgi dog as a pet and he enjoys chew sticks, some varieties of dog snacks but he totally turned his nose up at these, he didnt like them whole or broken up and mixed with his food either.

When I first produced them he sniffed at them and pushed one around the floor with his nose, he stepped on it and with another he broke it up with his teeth but only spread it on the floor and did not actually eat it.

I could not characterise my dog as particularly picky and fussy about what food he eats or about snacks and treats so the fact that he shows no interest in these what so ever means I would not rush to recommend this to any dog owner.

Perhaps it would be different if your dog actually liked them because they are packaged fine in an airtight plastic bag inside the cardboard box and are not difficult to open or require any sort of special storage to ensure shelf life.


Vidal Sassoon Easy Wrap Wand
Vidal Sassoon Easy Wrap Wand
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for those with long hair, 16 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Instructions are simple and straightforward, my sister used the tongs and found their performance good.

They head up very quickly to a high temperature and produce waves within seconds. They are very suitable for longer hair and because they produce curls very quickly very they do not damage the hair. Vidal Sassoon have taken account of health and safety issues and have included a very useful glove to prevent burning your hand when wrapping your hair around the wand as well as including warnings associated with children under the age of 8 using them.

A light indicator on the on/off switch is beneficial in that you are not likely to go off without switching them off. I would recommend this product to those with long hair.


BISSELL 1538A Powerglide Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
BISSELL 1538A Powerglide Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Price: £165.37

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This vacuum cleaner has been well designed., 11 Nov. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This vacuum cleaner has been well designed.

It is compact in size and is easily stored in a small space. In the interest of health and safety replacing an electric lead with a rechargeable battery is an ingenious idea eliminating the risk of trip hazards. It not only prevents this tripping over the lead but also you can move the vacuum over all rooms without having to look for the nearest wall socket. It is also light enough to lift, when the main funnel is detached and nozzle attachment is used instead, and use to vacuum out a car or clean curtains, dust from above book cases or around picture frames or mantel pieces about fireplaces etc.

One problem I found was that the charge does not last long and recharges may be required to finish a complete clean, such as four rooms and hall. Overall performance is good adn the vacuum is suitable for both hard floors and carpet or upholstery. The buttons for start/stop and adjustment are suitably positioned to make operating the vacuum a simple process. I also like the fact that it has an array of additional tools but one simple but very useful accessory. I especially liked the fact that the main body of the vacuum can be removed and used to vacuum awkward areas that are not easily cleaned using a regular vacuum. As stated I used the portable canister vacuum to clear the interior of my car and I would give full marks for performance. It out performed the Black and Decker car interior vacuum cleaner which runs from the car's power outlet easily and is much more easier to use than the cord vacuums such as the dyson upright or compact vacuum. The only note of caution I would say is that when using the vacuum in this way, if you are holding on to the handle of the dust collection canister and using it to carry the vacuum you need to take especial care that the button detaching it from the vacuum isnt pressed as it will release.

I would recommend this vacuum to my friends, especially older friends or family as they would no doubt appreciate how compact and light it is coupled with the simplicity of operation (it is pretty intuitive, although the instructions are very clear, easy to read without much time invested in doing so and easy to understand) and the rechargeable battery and no leads. It would be a great vacuum for anyone who cleans really often too, like between charges of the battery. I dont know of a more compact, slim line vacuum and I like it a lot for aesthetic reasons and the small amount of storage space it takes up alone.


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