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The Founding: The Morland Dynasty, Book 1
The Founding: The Morland Dynasty, Book 1
by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive!, 7 Mar. 2013
I'm currently working my way through the series on audio books from Audible and enjoying them immensely. I have always liked good historical fiction and can't believe I hadn't discovered this series before. They deserve to be much better known.

The books are reasonably intelligent, historically accurate (as far as I can tell), and with a good balance of saga/human-interest and battles/events. They can be very gripping and impossible to put down. Both my husband and I are enjoying the books and it is unusual for us to find anything we both enjoy.

There is no badly written explicit sex which is a huge relief. I don't mind calling a spade a spade but I don't like pages and pages of pulsating spades. When I see trash like the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon being so hugely popular, I despair. This series is so much better.

State Of Play - Complete Series [2003] [DVD]
State Of Play - Complete Series [2003] [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Simm
Price: £3.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the US film, 27 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was dubious over buying this because I know the story so well from having seen the US film a couple of times. I didn't see the original series on TV.

It really showed up the difference between a film that simplifies the plot and crams a complex story into a couple of hours and a properly developed TV series. The characters were more complex and interesting, the plot had more twists, and despite knowing the story I found it gripping.

Well worth buying.

Netatmo Weather Station for Smartphones
Netatmo Weather Station for Smartphones
Offered by Wetterladen24
Price: £134.83

30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect. Worth the money if indoor conditions and weather are important for you., 18 Feb. 2013
Excellent, and with lots of potential for further development. Horrific cost but it has been worth it. I'm giving a long review as the decision to spend so much money was difficult.

I have a partner with breathing difficulties and we need to monitor air quality, temperature, humidity etc in several rooms, and outside and I'm fed up with all the nasty plastic boxes with hard to read displays dotted around the house. Being able to check conditions easily and accurately from an iPad has made a huge difference. We check more often and have developed a much better understanding of the weather and indoor conditions and how they affect my partner. The graphs which store all our data help with this as well. I hope they will develop the product so you can have several indoor monitors feeding to one app so you can get readings for different rooms.

I eventually bought direct from the company in France as they offered better guaranteed Christmas delivery dates (and a good price). They were a pleasure to deal with and there were no language problems. The courier service from France was very quick - two days.

It's a beautiful designed product, both the software and the actual physical gadgets look very "Apple". According to their website, it works with Android gadgets as well as Mac.

You get an infoor and outdoor unit, a usb cable, UK charger plug, 4 AA batteries, and fixings for the ouside unit. You download a free app to use with it. The indoor monitor uses a USB cable charging cable that plugs into your computer or the supplied UK compatible plug unit. The outdoor unit uses the 4 AA batteries.

It measures indoor and outdoor temperatures, indoor and outdoor humidity, atmospheric pressure, indoor sound levels, and indoor CO2. (CO2 = stuffiness, not CO1 = dangerous fumes from stoves etc).

It also provides a 7 day weather forecasts and outdoor pollution readings based on your gps location .

WEATHER FORECASTS are from the the Meteogroup , a Reuters service. Once I'd overcome my prejudice against using anybody except the Met Office, it's been fine. What is missing from the app is detailed hour by hour wind speed and direction predictions which are important for anybody with severe breathing problems so I still need to check the Met Office site.
POLLUTION info is from Citeair. I live in a very rural area and the report is always boringly good or very good. I prefer the reports from Defra [...] who give roadside, city, and rural forecasts. Looking at the Netatmo help file on the app I think I would be getting roadside and "not roadside" if I lived in an urban location - but I really would like to see more info on my general area. When you have breathing difficulties a small shift in pollution and wind direction seems to make big difference and seeing what is happening in the area helps me predict what may happen very locally.
PRESSURE The pressure is automatically adjusted for your height above sea level, again based on your gps location.

The CO2 MONITOR is particularly interesting and I think this is the first monitor to show it. If too many people are in the room it zooms up so I'll have to ban visitors! You do need to make sure the room, or the monitor has good fresh air once a week as part of the calibration process. If they'd had this in college lecture halls, and adjusted ventilation as required, I might have stayed alert long enough to listen to the lectures.

WIFI: It uses wifi to send all the data to apps on our ipods and ipads. A few reviews have mentioned problems with wifi reception. The weather station has worked perfectly for us despite the fact we live in a cottage with thick stone walls and a central wooden staircase that seems to block signals. We have put it in several positions and only had problems when the signal had to travel a long way through a stone wall, a hall, two or more breeze block walls, and a kitchen.

LOCATION The outdoor monitor needs to be in the open air but positioned out of the sun and under a porch or the eaves. Batteries in the outside unit need to be changed occasionally so it has too be accessible. The BATTERIES have lasted well so far - about 7/8 weeks. I will be using eneloops when the supplied batteries have run out and I don't expect any problems.

SOFTWARE Beautiful - a pleasure to use. The graphs are really interesting as you can see trends over time. Pinch together and you get simple max min lines, un-pinch and you get the readings every five minutes, or anywhere between the two extremes. You can also take indoor readings on demand by tapping the top of the monitor.

One tiny but annoying point on the ipad display - you should be able to tap items on the main display to switch to a graph without having to go to the graphs menu.

I'd like to be able to set my own alerts and thresholds.

That sounds like a few criticisms but it's not. It just that the gadget and software has so many possibilities that I'm quite excited to see what happens in the future. It's so good and so well designed that I am sure it will change and develop over time.

Definitely much much better than any of the other monitors I have used.

A few months later it is still working well and the outside battery is still fine. The CO2 monitor has thrown up some really interesting results. I assumed once the pellet stove went off for the summer (humph! what summer) that air quality would be better. Confounding my expectations the air quality dropped significantly. The stove had been pulling in fresh air. Without the stove I need to ventilate far more often. Something I was not aware of.

My daughter who was staying with us downloaded the app and we sent an invite giving her access. Despite living several hundred miles away she can now deduce when we get up and go to bed, and from noise levels, if we are at home, having a party, or a noisy argument. I expect I could remove her access but I'm not that bothered but you might want to think twice before sending out invites. The data is on icloud so should be secure if you have a good password and don't send invites to other people. Public hotpots are not supported.

The 5:2 Diet Book:  Feast for 5 Days a Week and Fast for 2 to Lose Weight, Boost Your Brain and Transform Your Health
The 5:2 Diet Book: Feast for 5 Days a Week and Fast for 2 to Lose Weight, Boost Your Brain and Transform Your Health

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very little worthwhile content, 15 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I expected at least a good discussion and summary of the science behind the 5 2 diet. This was just anecdotal claptrap and a a bit of very light discussion. I got more facts from various newspaper articles on the internet.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to keep it for myself, 7 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Works efficiently, very cute. Has a lead for plugging into earphone socket. Bought for a small gift but wanted to keep it for myself

Pack Of Three 25 Litre Recycling Bins
Pack Of Three 25 Litre Recycling Bins
Offered by Funky Gadgets
Price: £19.06

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not weatherproof, 3 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite saying weatherproof in the description these bins are not at all rainproof. They also blow over in the wind.

I have had to move them into the shed in which case having the fancy lids is just a waste of time.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2013 2:03 PM BST

Puro iPad Mini Ultra Slim Folio Case Blue blue
Puro iPad Mini Ultra Slim Folio Case Blue blue
Price: £27.71

5.0 out of 5 stars No magnet or clasp but a really good cover, 2 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
UPDATE - I'm changing the rating for this cover to 5 stars. Over the last few days the front cover has relaxed and stopped bending up after folding into the stand. It now lies perfectly flat.

I've also been reading the disastrous reviews for ipad mini magnetic covers and tales of smashed ipad minis on Apple UK. Then I thought about people I know with bigger ipads who use the magnetic covers - they all have chipped and damaged ipads. The only bigger ipad I know of in perfect condition is in a thick black leather case. I've also seen how grubby the polyurethane covers get and read that people find them hard to clean. Therefore I will not be waiting for an Apple iPad case. I don't care about the lack of a magnet or that there is no clasp. This protects my ipad perfectly. I live in a house with slate floors and I'm a clumsy dolt. If I do drop my iPad mini it does stand a very good chance of surviving.

It would be better if it had a clasp to make sure the cover stays shut BUT... the first thing I did when I got this cover was lose my iPad mini. It is so small and the navy blue cover is so discreet that it is hard to spot if you are like me and mislay things all the time. I eventually found it on a stack of books in a dark corner. Being so discreet could be good if using it in public.

To make it easier to spot I started personalising the cover with bright pink glitter dot and bindis. Then it struck me that this was a really good idea anyway. I can have an "arty" cover like the ones available on etsy (but better) and it will be perfectly functional as well. Adding a clasp will be part of the process.

The "described as leather like but more like very stiff tough canvas" fabric used for the cover is an ideal base to start being creative on so I couldn't be more happy with my case. I am now 100% happy that the days of research were worthwhile and I have bought the perfect case. It's very light (91g) and slim, and protects my ipad extremely well, plus I can get creative with it.

ORIGINAL REVIEW with 3 stars

The description of this case is not very good but I bought because looking at the pictures, the corners are well protected, and it looked sleek and lightweight with good access to all the ports and buttons.
Delivered, it is just as I thought. Very simple and offering good corner protection and good access.

It is well made and has a soft flock lining. The material used for the case itself is more like a good quality textured fabric with a plastic finish. It does not strike me as at all "leather like" but it is pleasing. The ipad mini slides in the pocket and is then secured with a folded envelope flap. This seems perfectly secure and is a very simple elegant solution.

It weighs only 91g, so it is very lightweight

I cannot find any evidence of magnetic grip as mentioned in the description. I think this is a translation blooper and they mean it is held securely.

There is no magnetic wake up/sleep button as with many cases which is a bit disappointing but from what I have read in other reviews they often don't work and cannot be relied on.

The 2 position stand seems to operate fine although only time will tell if this is good enough to survive a bit of rough and tumble.

Once the cover has been folded into the stand position it does not lie perfectly flat against the front of the ipod anymore. There is no catch to secure the front and I will have to use an elastic loop or some sort of clip to make sure it stays shut in my bag.

This is only a temporary cover until Apple bring out a proper case and at the moment I am not convinced it is worth keeping as it was quite expensive. On the plus side it is a very attractive and lightweight case that does hold the ipad mini safely.

Paperchase Christmas elves 3m roll wrapping paper
Paperchase Christmas elves 3m roll wrapping paper

5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than supermarket wrapping, 11 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good quality paper that folds and creases well. Nice designs as well. 2nd year I have bought their paper and I am really pleased with it.

No Title Available

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive but good, 6 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I dithered for ages over buying this as it is expensive for domestic use but it does seem a nice solid bit of kit, accurate, and very responsive.

I've just ruined the Christmas cake because of my rubbish Zanussi oven but with any luck this will make sure it will never happen again.

I hate overcooked dry turkey but always worry I may undercook it. I buy a good bronze bird and use the hot and fast cooking method so it is always moist and delicious but I do worry about poisoning everybody. This will help make my Xmas far less stressful.

It will also be useful for home made pasties, and a lot more aesthetic, and safer, than sticking my finger in the middle of a reheated home made cottage pie. I also have a thing about overcooked fish so I can see it getting used a lot.

Overall, I'm still reeling at the cost but I think it will prove to be worthwhile. I have a feeling it is one of those things that all the family will notice this year and ask for as a prezzy next year.

UPDATE - 3 months later.
Works perfectly and gets used a lot. I wish I'd had one years ago.

I note Rick Stein mentions it is an essential bit of kitchen equipment in his new India book, certainly helps with cooking fish, checking oil temperaures etc Couldn't be without it now.

Red 25 Litre Plastic Waste Bin High Quality with Flap Lid
Red 25 Litre Plastic Waste Bin High Quality with Flap Lid
Offered by dreamlandvalue
Price: £8.50

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Are my recycling problems solved?, 1 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good quality bin for the money. The top can be a bit awkward to remove but I expect there is a knack.

Ordered one before buying another 3 for sorting the recycling. It's got be better than the horrible thick, awkward and clumsy bags provided by Cornwall County Council's new contractor, Cory Environmental. Size is about right for plastic bottles and cans on a two week collection cycle. and the next batch will be ok for glass and paper. Probably too small for cardboard (all those Amazon boxes).

Yet to find out if the recycling collectors will empty it for me (if I leave the lid off or loose) or if they are going to object and make me tip it out into the disgusting bags. But even if I do have to decant the contents, it has to be a better solution than straight into the hated bags.

It's being kept outside and I'll update this review with how well it performs as an outside bin after giving it a fair trial.

The promised update - sadly the bin is not at all weather proof. Pity I bought a set of 3 before I discovered this. The rain gets in and soaks the contents and when you lift the lid it tips any standing water on the lid straight into the bin. They also blow over in strong winds.

I've had to move them into the shed, which was the very thing I was trying to avoid. And since they are now undercover it seems pointless to have the lids on them at all. I'd have done much better to buy one of the stacking box systems.

The recycling collectors have been happy to empty them. They hate the clumsy bags as well and told me it takes them twice as long to empty the bags as it did on the previous system of coloured sacks.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 29, 2014 12:55 PM GMT

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