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J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer (contractor)" (Near London, UK)
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The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
by Bronnie Ware
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.69

3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly interesting, but not outstanding, 1 Jun 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Written as an autobiography, the author of this book describes her life with particular focus on her work as a palliative carer, and the people she met during that work. The title of the book may sound morbid, but the book itself isn't, and the author has described the stories of the people she looked after in a manner that is sensitive and compassionate.

The book's subject is interesting. It may make you think about what is important in your own life. But is it likely to be full of information that you haven't already thought about? Not really. Also, the author has a tendency to new age guff in some of her descriptions. That may work for some people, but doesn't really for me.

Ok, but not great.


Colloidal Silver-MSM Shower Gel 2in1 for Hair and Body 100 ml
Colloidal Silver-MSM Shower Gel 2in1 for Hair and Body 100 ml
Offered by Living Energy Systems Ltd.
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I think this worked, but cannot prove it, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I do a lot of land-based work, whether gardening or forestry. Despite using personal protective equipment including various types of gloves, it is inevitable that I come into contact with all sorts of fungi, bacteria etc. At some point last year I developed a small rash on one hand that just wouldn't shift, no matter what over-the-counter stuff I tried. I was on the verge of going to the GP to get some serious stuff to clobber whatever was causing the rash, when I saw this Silver-MSM Shower Gel on Amazon. The Neem Oil used in it is claimed to have anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. I thought I'd give it a go. It's described as a shower gel, but I have only used it as a hand-wash. I'm not sure how many days I was using this Silver-MSM Shower Gel before the rash disappeared, but it wasn't many - maybe a week or so. Now, it's purely anecdotal - I have no evidence that the rash went because of this gel, but I suspect it did. Having had the rash for months, it would have been quite a coincidence if shortly after me starting to use this gel the rash just disappeared for an unrelated reason. It's possible, but who knows... I've continued using this gel as a hand wash ever since (alongside my old one). I've not had any recurrence of the rash since.

I'm not a big fan of the smell of this gel, but as a hand-wash I'm not too fussed.

Recommended (but admitting that I cannot prove this gel helped).


Under Armour Heatgear Sonic Fitted Men's T-Shirt
Under Armour Heatgear Sonic Fitted Men's T-Shirt
Price: £10.00 - £28.46

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly effective shirt for serious exercise, 27 May 2013
Over the years, I have tried many different types of shirt for working out at the gym etc. However, I was never completely happy with any of those shirts. Last year I tried some other Under Armour products, some of which were good and some of which are downright brilliant. As a result, when I saw this "Under Armour Heatgear Sonic Fitted Men's T-Shirt" I thought I'd give it a try. I haven't looked back (I now have three of these). This shirt works perfectly for the activities that I do - predominantly cardiovascular exercise, mostly stamina, with some short high-intensity intervals - basically stuff that generates a fair amount of perspiration. This shirt is comfortable, it's flattering (especially the black/steel colour combination), the "Signature moisture transport system" does wick moisture really well, it's not chafed at all, and a 40 degree wash seems to make it completely fresh again. The only negative that I have about it is the size of the label inside, which definitely takes the prize for the biggest label I have ever seen on an item of clothing - truly ridiculous. However, the shirt is so good in all other ways that I cannot take a star off for the label.

Highly recommended.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for delicate gardening work, not good for brambles or nettles, 27 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For a number of years, I have used Gold Leaf Tough Touch gloves for gardening activities. However, they are not much use for fine work, so I have done planting of seeds, potting up, and fine weeding with bare hands. That's fine, other than the annoying small nicks and the time it takes to get dirt out from under your nails (a nuisance if you have to dash in from gardening, have a quick shower and head off out somewhere smart). So, for convenience, I thought I'd try these Solus "Professional Weeding & Seeding Gloves".

How do they do? Well, they're comfortable. Planting seeds wearing these is no problem. Amazingly, separating delicate seedlings and potting them on is also fine. Delicate weeding is also fine. Where they are not good and this comes as no surprise given how thin they are is thorns. Don't try handling roses or mature brambles wearing just these. More of a surprise is that stinging nettles go through these as well.

So, for the fine jobs, these are great and they solve the dirt under the nails problem! They're not good for more serious weeding, but I find that I can pull my Gold Leaf Tough Touch gloves on over the top of these Solus gloves, so I now wear the Solus ones for most gardening tasks, and just pull the Gold Leaf gloves on over the top when required (although that does get a bit sweaty if the combination is used for too long).

Oh, I've put them through the washing machine as well (the Solus gloves, not the Gold Leaf ones). They come out a bit sticky (on the outside) - I haven't worked out yet whether that is the material, or whether it is plant sap from previous use. It hasn't been an issue so far.

Recommended for finer or more delicate gardening tasks.


Brazil
Brazil
by Michael Palin
Edition: Audio CD

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, but not up to Michael Palin's usual standard, 12 May 2013
This review is from: Brazil (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a review of the audio CD version of "Brazil". These are enjoyable stories by Michael Palin in his well-known style of travel writing. The author does the reading of this audio version, and he reads it very well. Michael Palin certainly gives a positive impression of Brazil. However, it was 4 weeks ago that I listened to the 8 CDs, and to my shame I have to admit that I recall very little detail of the trip details. It was nice, it was an enjoyable listen, it was interesting at the time, but it also seems to be quickly forgotten. I listen to a lot of audio books whilst driving, but in this case I do wonder if it might have been better to get the printed book or the related DVD rather than the audio book.


The Girl You Left Behind
The Girl You Left Behind
by Jojo Moyes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't work for me as much as "Me Before You" did, 11 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read and enjoyed "Me Before You" I had great expectations of this book by author Jojo Moyes. The trouble with great expectations is that it difficult to match them. The subject of this book is nowhere near as compelling as that of "Me before You". Is it fair to compare? Probably not, but it's hard to avoid.

In some ways this book does very well. The author's writing style makes me want to know more all the time, wanting to figure out how the whole thing will come together and making it difficult to put down. The characters are likeable and easy to identify with. As for the things that bothered me? There are parts of the story where I felt that the author remained superficial and could have fleshed out backgrounds more. Also, and more importantly, the end of the story is tied up just that little bit too conveniently and is perhaps a tad unrealistic.

Do I consider this book one of my "top" reads? No. Putting aside expectations it just did not quite work for me. But will I read books from this author again? Absolutely.

Recommended, with caveats.


The Secret of Crickley Hall (BBC Audio)
The Secret of Crickley Hall (BBC Audio)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Typical James Herbert. Ghost story that is a little uncomfortable in places, 11 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I read some James Herbert books long ago, but not for quite a while. I've never listened to one on audio CD before, so it was interesting for me to see whether his writing style changed and to find out how it works as an audio book.

"The Secret of Crickley Hall" is an unabridged reading, running for approximately 18 hours (14 CDs). I listened to it whilst driving. It started well, building up atmosphere quickly, then settled down into a fairly standard, predictable, ghost story with all the usual clichés. About half way through it goes through a brief spell where the author rotates through a number of the main characters filling in background on each in turn. It is around this point where it really became traditional James Herbert for me - where other authors leave things to the reader's/listener's imagination, James Herbert doesn't - he fills all those gaps where most authors leave things to the reader/listener, a habit that is particularly unnecessary when the subject matter is fairly uncomfortable anyway. Then as the story comes to a close, the author draws it out with a few more twists and turns, which presumably made for better TV when it was recently made into a TV mini-series (I haven't seen it yet).

The DVD of the TV mini-series has a 15 rating. Given the subject matter, that sounds reasonable. Even as a book or audio book, this is not a story for younger ghost-story fans. It's the sort of thing I would have read in my early teens.

The story is fine, the text is a bit drawn out - it could have been shorter without losing anything. Some of the saved-by-the-skin-of-the-teeth moments were a bit far-fetched, but it's all ok. The reading (by David Rintoul) is well done - no complaints there. But the overall thing is just ok, rather than great, and I think will be soon forgotten.

If you like James Herbert's writing, you will like this. Others might find his habit of filling every gap a bit annoying. Recommended, with caveats.


Cocofina 100 Percent Coconut Water 500ml (Pack of 6)
Cocofina 100 Percent Coconut Water 500ml (Pack of 6)
Price: £15.54

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not tasty, but I don't find it horrible (as some reviewers do), 6 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I remember when I first drank from a fresh coconut (rather a long time ago) whilst working in the tropics, that I was surprised that it was nothing like coconut that I ate in the UK. However, where I was at the time was very hot and I had been working hard, and the liquid from the coconut quenched my thirst. It's interesting all these years later to see coconut water bottled as a drink available in the UK. Rather than just drink it as a convenience drink, I have been using it for the purpose that it is advertised for - rehydration after (and during) exercise. I find it suits this purpose well, with me usually taking a couple of gulps between sets of exercises. Does it taste like fresh coconut? Well, not quite as I remember - rather than being like taking a machete to the top of a green coconut and drinking the content, this has quite a hint of the husk to it. I wonder if part of the "manufacturing" process catches a bit of the husk whilst trying to get every last drop of liquid, but that is conjecture. The thing is, if you are exercising hard and in need of rehydration, you will barely notice that husky flavour. If you are drinking this purely as a convenience drink when not partially dehydrated, you probably will. If you have never had coconut water before, this is not the same as coconut milk or coconut cream that you can buy in the UK.

Although a number of other reviewers have said that they dislike the taste, I am not too bothered by the taste. I am drinking it as a rehydration aid during and after exercise, and I'd rather drink this than something like dioralyte (which is a great product, but not one I would choose to use during normal exercise in the UK). My real concern with this product is its green credentials. The idea of bottling liquid and shipping it over 8000 miles just to be drunk by people at the gym seems far from ideal.

To summarise - this is coconut water, it is not milky or creamy. It tastes husky/nutty, and is definitely not going to be to everybody's taste. It does seem to work well as a rehydration drink for use during exercise, but there are more environmentally friendly ways of remaining hydrated than this. I don't find it horrible, but some people do. I don't find it tasty though. I wouldn't say to avoid it, but I also cannot bring myself to recommend it either. Three stars then...


Managing for People Who Hate Managing: Be a Success by Being Yourself
Managing for People Who Hate Managing: Be a Success by Being Yourself
by Devora Zack
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.10

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful material, presented in non-academic way, 6 May 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As management self-help books go "Managing for People Who Hate Managing" is a reasonable one, written in a populist rather than academic style. It takes principles from various tried and tested management and personality tools and applies them to the situation where people "inadvertently" become a manager. The author describes methods that help build confidence and skills, but without becoming heavy and dry. The principles described are sound, and the various tools and suggestions are easily applicable. The author uses a rather jokey tone that does wear thin after a while, but the open and self-deprecating manner of writing seems to work. The author acknowledges that while the techniques suggested can help, they are not foolproof, and that one needs to adapt to situations and people as appropriate, without using a one-size-fits-all approach.

Recommended for those not looking for academic coverage of the subject.


A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (Oxford Paperback Reference)
A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation (Oxford Paperback Reference)
by Michael Allaby
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I like it, but in days of search engines, not sure who the market is., 27 April 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A nicely presented dictionary of terms relating to environment and conservation, with useful references to reliable sources of information on the web (there is an associated web-site with all of the links in one place). Actually, it goes beyond a dictionary in places, with larger items more akin to an encyclopaedia included where diagrams and more explanation are required.

In these days of online search engines and wikipedia, I am curious as to who the main market is for this dictionary. I cannot make up my mind whether it is a niche or not. Certainly, it's the sort of thing that I like to have on my shelf (but I am "old-school" in that way), not just as a reference, but also to dip into, picking a random page and reading what I find in order to broaden my knowledge of an area that I am generally interested in. It's also the sort of reference that would have been useful when I was at school, whether doing projects at junior (or even primary) school, or studying for O or A levels at secondary school. I imagine the same would be true of students studying for GCSEs and baccalaureates now. And, when I more recently studied land operations as a mature student, working from a tiny building with only intermittent internet access in the middle of a forest, this is definitely the sort of reference that would have been handy to have on the shelf there.

So, a useful, nicely presented reference, with links to reliable sources of information on the web. Good for those who like a book in their hand or who do not have reliable internet access for using search engines etc.


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