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Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom)

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Philips Sonicare HX9361/67 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush Pink
Philips Sonicare HX9361/67 DiamondClean Rechargeable Toothbrush Pink
Price: £163.96

5.0 out of 5 stars The last word in tooth cleaning, 27 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was using an entry level electric toothbrush, but with the arrival of the Philips Sonicare Pink DiamondClean I have moved straight into the space age. This is a very, very high quality product which is well thought out, easy to use, and accompanied by exactly the right accessories.

Setting it up
Out of the box, I found it easy to separate the components, flip open the quick start guide and set the toothbrush on its long initial charge. The guide recommends a 24 hour charge at first, and this gave me plenty of time to admire my new toothbrush in its slightly quirky but charming setting of the charging glass - an apparently old fashioned bathroom glass which uses conduction technology to charge the brush while it sits in the glass. It's worth mentioning that I have found this brush to be a sensible weight and height; nothing out of the ordinary for an electric toothbrush. My model is pink; a soft hue which is consistent across the packaging, the body of the brush, and the travel case. The overall look is understated elegance.

Using the toothbrush
I have never before been so excited to brush my teeth. Would this new addition to my bathroom really whiten my teeth in just a week, and how? My first attempt at using the brush was rather comical, and luckily no-one was there to see. Having casually applied toothpaste to the head, I turned on the power for the first time and my immediate surroundings were quickly covered a light coating of toothpaste distributed at high speed. This is a rookie mistake with electric toothbrushes but made all the worse given the very obvious power of the Sonicare DiamondClean. At the second attempt I kept things neat and followed the 30-second pulse prompts which ensure you spend the right amount of time on each area of your mouth without having to think about it.

I have mainly been using the `whiten' setting over the first week with the brush, but there are also `clean', `polish', `gum care' and `sensitive' settings with different total brushing times, explained in the setup guide.

I find this toothbrush comfortable to use, easy to grip, and kind to my teeth and gums.I am pleased to report that my teeth do appear to be somewhat whiter after just a week with this wonder-brush. More than one member of my household has confirmed that they have noticed my whiter teeth too. Perhaps more importantly my teeth feel wonderfully clean and the sensation after brushing is the same as having had a `scale and polish' session at the dentist.

In order to deliver these results, the Sonicare DiamondClean uses a very powerful engine, which somehow translates into a sensible, and even pleasant, brushing action, requiring very little of the user other than gently moving the brush at an angle around your teeth. You do have to get used to the slightly high-pitched tone of the brush, but it's nothing to scare pets or neighbours. In short, this brush delivers on its promise of whiter teeth.

It is worth mentioning that the Sonicare DiamondClean comes packed with a sensible collection of accessories: the charging glass mentioned above, and also an attractive travel case, which can also charge the brush when connected to a power outlet or a computer via the supplied USB cable. This is an attractive solution to charging on-the-go, and the use of USB could mean one less cable in your suitcase. The case has room for two heads as well as the body of the brush. In the past I have switched back to a manual brush for short trips away, but this case and charging solution makes it so much easier to take the electric toothbrush with me. It is such a high quality and effective product, I wouldn't want to be without it for long.

This is without question a premium product in its category which delivers on its bold claim of whiter teeth in a week. It looks the part, and makes you feel good about something you have to do twice a day. I am happy to give the Sonicare DiamondClean my highest recommendation.

Effax Leder Balsam
Effax Leder Balsam
Price: £4.17 - £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Old boots no longer so tough..., 27 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Effax Leder Balsam (Misc.)
I bought this on the advice of another review, for a pair of waterproof boots. You can also use it effectively on leather furniture, leather car interiors, handbags etc.

You need very little of the yellow balsam, it spreads quickly and thinly out of the pot on a cloth.

The smell is honey like and pleasant, the effect is instant, highly polished boots, without any elbow grease.

The Lives of Women
The Lives of Women
by Christine Dwyer Hickey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars All around the houses, 26 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Lives of Women (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is a dreamy, ennui -ish, feel to this book, almost as if everyone concerned is on medication. I had a problem working out where it was set, as New York is mentioned initially and Elaine, the central character speaks in an American way. However I think it is meant to be set in a suburb of London... Correct me if I'm wrong.

I found it a little less taut than I would like. This made it just off a five star rating. You may well disagree and say it had to be that way.

Possessions, nods to a receding way of life, memories, attitudes and mistaken impressions all ring clear and true. This is not a quick read, would be best enjoyed at a slower pace, just floating about in the vague fog that swirls around Elaine and whatever it was that she did, which changed her world forever... Small clues are whispered to you, leaving plenty of pages to imagine possible scenarios.

Regularly staring out of her childhood bedroom window, now in her fifties, is Elaine, who has, following the death of her mother, from whom she was estranged, returned home to temporarily care for her ailing, monosyllabic, detached father and his ancient Alsatian. She ponders long and hard about her casting out of Eden, a banishment to America as the result of an unspecified disgrace. We are slowly steered toward this revelation in a series of vignettes that flit from time to time within the context of her young life. Her mother and the others around her, find their expectations and behaviour were tipped off balance, jolted awry, with the arrival of the hippy artist Serena and her cool headed, self contained daughter Patty. They rented one of the houses for the summer. Young Elaine and Agatha, her blind friend, are caught up in the drowsy days of back garden sunbathing, reading, taking little mystery tours in the new couple's car, enjoying long, languid conversations, and getting together with the local boys.

Elaine has survived a serious illness at the beginning, maybe meningitis, this tips her mother into another persona and shakes up the family. Very cleverly written, it really brought me into the small estate and the tight, narrow, sometimes boring lives in such post war dormitory closes.. Fathers went early off to work; Elaine's was a barrister, and the mothers stayed at home. Everyone went rather mad in one way or another.

A book to be picked up at intervals rather than a racing through to the end job. Patience is required to continually drop anchor in a new section and recognise the landing place. What I liked most was being transported back to the 70's, with a feel of the 60's too, reliving those sometimes boring, disempowered days of living at home under the thumb of people whose suburban attitudes provided a great deal to rebel against. That atmosphere was superbly observed and closely caught. Well done Christine Dwyer Hickey. I will now look at her other works.

Best Skipping Jump Rope for Endurance Training and Fat Burning - Green - Easy Adjustable - More Intense Workout than Exercise Weights or Jogging - Add to your Speed and Agility Training Kit - Burns More Calories than Exercise Treadmills or Step Machines - Great for Crossfit Training
Best Skipping Jump Rope for Endurance Training and Fat Burning - Green - Easy Adjustable - More Intense Workout than Exercise Weights or Jogging - Add to your Speed and Agility Training Kit - Burns More Calories than Exercise Treadmills or Step Machines - Great for Crossfit Training
Offered by RDE Products
Price: £12.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Hop, skip and jump your way to fitness, 26 Jan. 2015
It's years since I had a go at skipping, but now I am well into using it as part of a keep fit routine. The 'rope' is a slim, light tube, which gradually unkinks and settles to help you skip/jump rope, really quickly. There is a fun whooshing noise as it flies through the air. You can zone out as you get going, it's almost mediative.

Do customise the rope to the perfect length for you - to be found by standing on it and measuring how long you need for your arms' length. Pop open the disc on the end of the foam handles and pull through enough of the 'rope' tubing to get it just right; locking it in place with the plastic clip fitted. If only you are going to use it then you could cut it back to the required length.

The rainbow of available colours are gorgeous, the handles match the rope; although I expect the chaps will choose black...

The comfy foam padded handles are easy to hold, the rope weighs next to nothing, which will be the case for me too if I keep at it!

I was sent this in exchange for a fair review which I am happy to give.

Bob and Flo and the Missing Bucket (Bob & Flo)
Bob and Flo and the Missing Bucket (Bob & Flo)
by Rebecca Ashdown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.45

3.0 out of 5 stars Not on our bucket list, 19 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A soft and gently undemanding book which, for me, is let down by the eminently 'green' recycled paper and faint print. I got in touch with Oxford University press to ask if my review copy was weakly printed as it is perhaps a proof but it seems the quality is the same as the book being sold.

The words are outlined and scribbled in so lightly they could have been done with a worn out ink pad and a potato cut.

It's hard to imagine what age group this tale would suit. My grandchildren all began their reading journeys with recognisable images to have the words/name spoken by i.e.'100 things that go' type book. My own children learned to love books from ladybird apple, bear, bus kind of books with colourful pictures.

So the concept of two penguins playing with a bucket is a little silly I fear. Twee, and what my mother would call 'soppy'. There's nothing bad about this book but neither is it very good, no prospect of becoming favourite or memorable.

The Night Pirates
The Night Pirates
by Peter Harris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars How could pirates be so boring?, 18 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Night Pirates (Paperback)
I don't much like this book. It is as flat as the premise on which it is based, that pirates would steal the front of a house to disguise their ship. The varying fonts are annoying to an adult reader and do little to enhance the story. There are many far better Pirate books about so this one has strong competition.

The cover looks promising, small pyjama-ed boy in a little skull and cross bone flagged boat with a ginger cat and a telescope approaching a treasure island by moonlight; which is why I ordered it for my pirate mad grandsons. Sadly it didn't spark to life. The pirates are generic without any great sign of character and the little boy Tom has one of those turnip faces with titchy eyes that are a parody of, rather than a recognisable child.

It even could give a little one proper nightmares. After all being cosy in your bed one minute and having the front peeled off your house the next isn't very reassuring! Sorry, not keen.

Timex Classic Women's Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Pink Nylon Strap T2P072PF
Timex Classic Women's Quartz Watch with White Dial Analogue Display and Pink Nylon Strap T2P072PF
Offered by WatchO
Price: £29.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ticker Ticker Timex..., 18 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Over my long life I have owned several Timex watches. They seem to me to be the most practical, reliable, attractive and easy to read watch faces. Having the press in light function is quite marvellous, it even entertains small children in the subdued light of cinemas, at bedtime and when out walking as it gets dark.

Having the 24 hour clock inset is also useful as sometimes I panic and forget what the big numbers actually mean; when travelling it is a help, too. The hours, minute and second hands are all clear and bright, while the white face ensures easy reading. This ladies watch is quite large, more than previous ones, and might be considered the size that men's watches used to be.

The pink and orange striped canvas strap is soft, comfortable and fun. I like to wear my watch all the time so I can quickly check the time in the night. I replaced a previous gold effect Timex watch with this one as I found that one's metal expanding strap rather pinching and occasionally painful.

So I am very pleased to have this new watch, it shows only the essentials, and being of the old school I can read an analogue face more happily, preferring to see time in ten minutes, quarter of an hour, half past, quarter to, ten to, twenty past, etc, which my grandchildren look puzzled at when I tell them the time my way.

My heading will show my age as it was for a while the slogan for Timex. There is a quiet, traditional tick to heard, I am pleased to report.

The Pirates Next Door
The Pirates Next Door
by Jonny Duddle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Granny, can you read it again?, 17 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Pirates Next Door (Paperback)
The Pirate Cruncher is endlessly requested, especially with the excitement of the 'island' turning out to be a sea monster. Now we have The Jolley-Rogers, The Pirates Next Door, in this companion edition. Again a great success, with two years + grandchildren - all ours are pirate mad.

Dull-on-Sea is taken aback by the arrival of the shockingly exotic pirates, who are laid up ashore for repairs. Matilda/Tilda however is thrilled to make friends with - a pirate boy - Jim! While the older folks in the community grumble and busily complain to each other, she couldn't be happier. All told in doggerel verse, this bouncy tale gives a little life lesson in not judging a book by its cover...

The pirates actually have hearts of gold, and on leaving, the lines go:

'That night there was a tapping at Matilda's window pane. Outside was Jim. He whispered "I've got something to explain.. Whenever we stop somewhere new, the neighbours are unkind. To show them pirates aren't so bad, we leave some things behind" Shh!'

Surprises in the form of the x marks the spot kind are discovered the next day. All laid out on a double page pull out, great fun to look through.

The friendship between Tilda and Jim endures and a return visit is perhaps on the cards. The artwork is atmospheric, easy to take in. The sharply observed turn around in the reactions of the Dull on Sea Nimbies is hilarious.

Jonny Duddle has done it again, Oo Arr! Shiver me timbers...

Scunci Pin Twirl
Scunci Pin Twirl
Price: £4.75

3.0 out of 5 stars OK, with plaited hair, for me, 17 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Scunci Pin Twirl (Personal Care)
The instructions are absolutely basic with no information as to how to do anything fancy, they just tell you to try it yourself. The pins won't stay in my clean slippery hair unless I plait it first, my hair fell out of the pins out all the time that I tried to make a bun, by gathering hair together, as is the only suggestion on the box.

You have to use the sharp ends to screw the pins in which leaves the curved ends at the top. For me they weren't completely reliable, although with a tight plait they were reasonably secure. They will be useful as an accessory to other equipment i.e. hair clips, soft bands, but on their own, for my hair which is shoulder length and reasonably thick, they don't provide enough grip.

The problem may be that the claim 'suitable for all hair types' is overly ambitious, I am sure some people will be fine with them, it was may be just me. I have had my hair professionally 'up done' and it took far more in the way of bobby pins and hairspray.

I enjoy putting my hair up as it allows me to have tidy, short hair without cutting the long hair my husband prefers.

Amber Flea and Tick Collar with Adjustable Chain for Dogs and Cats / Untreated Authentic Baltic Amber Dog Necklace / Natural Tick and Flea Control and Prevention / 100 Days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee! (25-30cm)
Amber Flea and Tick Collar with Adjustable Chain for Dogs and Cats / Untreated Authentic Baltic Amber Dog Necklace / Natural Tick and Flea Control and Prevention / 100 Days 100% Satisfaction Guarantee! (25-30cm)
Offered by Novelty Goods
Price: £23.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A new friend for your best pal, 16 Jan. 2015
The version with the leather collar looks a little more sturdy and dog like than this necklace chain, which is attached by a twined cotton thread to a chain. Both are very attractive, comfortable and smart. I think they would show particularly well on a smooth haired dog with a light coat, however our spaniels look just the thing in their amber collars.

Make sure you get the measurements quite right, there should be room to put your fingers behind the collar. Amber was already a friend to us when used to relieve teething pain in our grandchildren so I had no hesitation in accepting these collars for trial from Amber Crown.

This collar is supposed to last for a year, as long as it doesn't break or get lost. Warnings are given to remove it when the dog is 'thrashing through heavy bushes or playing rough with other pets.'

Everyone admires the collar and how wonderful that there is a natural way to keep your pet free of ticks and fleas. However even if the necklace wasn't presented for that purpose, it looks really nice on the neck of your pet.

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