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J. S. Hardman "Consultant software developer (contractor)" (Near London, UK)
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Under Armour UA Coreshort Pro Men's Leggings
Under Armour UA Coreshort Pro Men's Leggings

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not my colour, but very practical. I like them., 11 Feb 2013
There are items in the Under Armour range that work really well for me, and there are some that do not. These Under Armour 2012 Men's Core Pro Compression Leggings fall into the former category - I love them, although not quite as much as the Under Armour Coldgear Baselayer which is simply phenomenal (although with a different purpose).

These leggings may not be the greatest of colour schemes, but they are incredibly functional - providing support where it's wanted (the X design seems strange at first, but it works), just enough warmth to keep your muscles safe, and pretty good moisture properties to keep you comfortable even during a long workout.

I use mine for cardiovascular workouts, including cycling, running and sessions on the cross trainer. No chafing so far, although some careful arrangement of family jewels can be required to prevent bruising of bits - when they say Compression Leggings, they do mean Compression!

Despite the strange colour scheme, these can actually look good too. You don't have to be a serious athlete to wear them (I just like to keep fit - certainly not a serious athlete), but it's possibly best to get to the point where your stomach doesn't hang over the waistband before using them in public! Thankfully, these are so good, that having them is an incentive to get rid of any excess around the waist... I did!

The only downside I find regularly with Under Armour, is that when you find an item you like, they very quickly sell out and it's hard to get the same again. Be warned.

Under Armour 2012 Men's Core Pro Compression Leggings - recommended.


Smartwool Adult Hike Liner Crew Socks
Smartwool Adult Hike Liner Crew Socks
Price: 9.42 - 14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sock liners, but wish they were cheaper., 27 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these sock liners in preparation for a trip to Finland, where an extra layer is really necessary for winter activities. They worked perfectly there, under a thicker pair of woollen socks. However, they are useful too for activities in the UK, particularly when trying to avoid blisters, such as when wearing in new boots. Wearing two socks per foot, whether two thin socks, or one thin one inside a thicker one, is a great way of reducing the risk of blisters. These ones have the added benefit of being warm too.

Recommended as liners inside other socks. Just wish they were cheaper.


963 - EDZ Merino Liner Gloves
963 - EDZ Merino Liner Gloves
Offered by EDZ Direct
Price: 9.99

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good when used for their intended purpose, 27 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought these gloves in preparation for a trip to Finland, where an extra layer is really necessary for winter activities such as husky sledding, and after-dark activities such as viewing the Northern Lights. However, they are useful too for activities in the UK - amongst other things I do forestry and land operations, in all weather conditions. Whilst I don't wear these under my chainsaw gloves, I do use them under the gauntlet-type gloves that I use the rest of the time. That includes whilst doing maintenance in the freezing cold workshop in winter, as I can dash between the workshop and the (not quite as cold) office, just pulling off my gauntlets, but with these liners still on then being able to type at a computer keyboard.

The thing that a couple of reviewers seem to have missed, is that these are liner gloves. Whilst they can be used on their own, in cold temperatures you really want another glove over the top.

I've taken one star off because of the "one size fits all" not being ideal. I find that they are a little loose and crinkle up along the back of the hand and around the base of the palm of my hand. Personally, I'd find it useful if they were a colour that is easier to spot in the poor light conditions where these are likely to be used - it doesn't have to be high-visibility orange, but something other than black would be good. Other than that, they are very good.

Recommended.


No Title Available

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for the scenarios where I use it, 27 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I already had an older model of Petzl headtorch, but my needs have long been for something better than that old model. After a bit of research I bought this Tikka XP 2. I'm not disappointed!

This one is very light, and the headband is perfectly adequate without having a strap going over the top of your head. The illumination from this one is much brighter than my old model too, which is great. The choice of focused beam of expanded beam, together with a shuttered lens that can diffuse the light even more is great. On top of that, the ability to have the white light flashing, or to switch to a red light, is icing on the cake. The addition of a small whistle on the headband is useful too - gives an extra level of safety in more extreme conditions.

I bought this Tikka XP 2 for use in various scenarios:
(1) A trip to Finland, involving being out and about in the dark on unlit roads out of town
(2) Other future trips, probably involving camping, whether in the UK or the midst of Africa
(3) Walking on the roads and in the countryside around my village, where the roads are unlit and people often drive far too fast for the conditions. I prefer to walk the locality without the headtorch on so that I have more chance of encountering wildlife after dark, but with the option to turn it on quickly when I need it
(4) Cycling to the nearest garage
(5) Doing DIY, car maintenance and chores that require extra lighting
(6) Working in the garden after dark

For all of the scenarios in which I have used it so far, it has excelled.

There are various accessories available for using the Tikka XP 2 in other ways, including using lithium batteries to reduce the weight further, but I haven't tried those (yet).

Not cheap, but highly recommended (for people who can use headtorches without shining them in other people's eyes anyway).


Cold Feet: The Complete Second Series [DVD]
Cold Feet: The Complete Second Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Helen Baxendale
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 4.86

5.0 out of 5 stars As good as series one - excellent series that doesn't age, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
"Cold Feet the complete series two" is, as expected, a seamless continuation from series one. If you haven't seen series one, go do that now. If you have, then you know what to expect, and series two is the continuation in the lives of the six main characters. It's just as good as series one.

The following is what I said in my review of series one. I'm being a little lazy here, but as series two is of equal quality and continuing the stories of the same characters, I just copy my series one review here. Needless to say, I highly recommend both series one and series two.

The back of the case for "Cold Feet the complete series one", says "Immersing us in the lives of three 30 something couples". When I first saw Cold Feet on TV, I had just hit my 30's. Watching it now, it's safe to say I'm no longer in my 30's. Both then, and now, this is a brilliant series. It's interesting though how my perception of it has changed. When I first watched it, it was just brilliant comedy. When I watch it now, it's perceptive and clever comedy drama. I thought it might have felt dated, but it didn't - I just responded to the writing differently. Definitely one of the best bits of TV from that decade.

The script is very clever. The characters and settings are perfect. The casting is absolutely spot-on. Whether it's the 6 main characters, or the supporting cast of work colleagues, neighbours, ex-partners, station staff, passers by etc, I cannot fault the casting or the acting.

Highly recommended.


Ross Kemp - Battle for the Amazon [DVD]
Ross Kemp - Battle for the Amazon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ross Kemp
Price: 6.48

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good overview of the issues surrounding destruction of the Amazon, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In my 20s and 30s I travelled around various parts of Central and South America, including spending time in the rain forests, including around the Amazon basin. The rain forests are (were?) one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I still recall climbing up above the canopy and turning through 360 degrees and seeing rain forest from horizon to horizon in all directions. 25 years after my first visit, I still dream about going back and exploring further, but my heart dreads the thought of getting there and seeing the devastation wreaked by man on the forests in the intervening period. It was therefore with baited breath that I ordered Ross Kemp's "Battle for the Amazon".

Having watched Ross Kemp's various series about Afghanistan and the Israel/Gaza conflict, I had a pretty good idea of how he works - very balanced, trying to interview both moderate and radical elements on both sides of arguments, definitely putting himself in potential harm's way. In "Battle for the Amazon" he does the same again, but this time looking at the damage to the Amazon rain forests and the impact that damage has on the world, but also looking at the people who are doing the damage, and understanding their motivations. He talks to ranchers, native peoples, environmentalists etc, and looks at logging, mining, drugs, prostitution etc. He openly admits to not being an environmentalist, and that perhaps gives him the ability to look at things with such an open, balanced view. Like his other works, this is an interesting investigation - not hugely in depth, but giving a good overview of some of the issues. He doesn't come to any conclusion that IMHO is likely to come to fruition, but short of a pandemic wiping out a large part of the earth's human population I struggle to see an answer either.

"Battle for the Amazon" is a short, but interesting look at the issues, done in the usual Ross Kemp manner.

Recommended.


Ross Kemp: Middle East [DVD]
Ross Kemp: Middle East [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ross Kemp
Price: 6.50

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, balanced and interesting, with emotion and danger thrown in, 26 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Ross Kemp: Middle East [DVD] (DVD)
After watching all of Ross Kemp's DVDs about Afghanistan and being seriously impressed, I bought this "Ross Kemp Middle East" two-part special about Gaza and Israel.

Through the period that Ross Kemp visited Afghanistan he matured as a presenter/journalist, and the nature of his series changed, providing more in-depth coverage, but also providing balance by presenting information about different viewpoints. In this two-part special about Gaza and Israel he does the same thing - he not only shows what is happening in both locations but meets and interviews people, whether moderate or extreme, from both sides. Given the nature of the situation and some of the people involved, this takes some courage.

As well as providing balanced coverage, which we don't normally see about the Israel/Gaza issue in the west, Ross Kemp also showed aspects of life that we don't normally see, whether the impact on children in Gaza, or how the economy manages to keep going. I found the coverage of the scale of the smuggling required to keep life possible, and the workings of the economy inside Gaza particularly interesting. If it weren't for the smuggling and the gaze of the outside world, I wonder quite what would happen to the people inside Gaza with an economic blockade and incidents such as the recent use of white phosphorous against civilians. It was also refreshing to see some people on both sides saying that they want the division to end and that they want to live peacefully alongside each other.

Ross Kemp and Sky should be praised for showing material that we don't get to see on the (supposedly impartial) terrestrial channels. This two-part special was short, but informative and interesting, with a dose of danger thrown in. Compulsive viewing.

Highly recommended.


The Bone Bed
The Bone Bed
by Patricia Cornwell
Edition: Audio CD

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and annoying, 26 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Bone Bed (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a big fan of audio books, of pretty much all genres. Occasionally, I get one that I have to force myself through, but thankfully those are usually fairly short. Unfortunately, this Patricia Cornwell audio book, "The Bone Bed", is both one that I had to force myself to finish and is quite long. Not a good combination.

Even on disc one, I found both the writing and the narration annoying. It wasn't just poor, it was actually annoying. The writing felt like it was trying to demonstrate the author's knowledge or research, rather than to be something that provides the listener with something to enjoy. This was then made worse by the author's pretentious choice of words - trying too hard to demonstrate her apparently superior knowledge of language, when all it does is to make listening unpleasant (I was about to say hard work, but that's not true - it's just unpleasant).

Whilst the writing did give an easy visualisation of the characters involved, particularly their temperaments, the narration exacerbated the irritating traits (I guess this means the narrator did a good job, or does it?). Unfortunately, if a character is written to be lacking in confidence and making up for it by being loud and obnoxious, then the narration exaggerates the effect of what has been written, every section about or being spoken by the character becomes unpleasant to listen to. Not good.

Sometimes when there is something annoying about the first disc of a multi-disc set, you find over the course of the first couple of discs that you become numbed to the pain and then cope with the rest of the set better. I didn't find that happened with this book.

So, despite Patricia Cornwell's previous successes, this particular audio book is a tedious, irritating listen. Any positive things I can find to say about it are unfortunately outweighed by the negatives. I therefore cannot recommend it. Sometimes when I find myself writing a negative review (on the whole I give more positive reviews than negative) I wonder if it is just me missing something, but given the number of other reviewers giving this 1 star, I am at least consoled by not being a lone voice on this one...


WD My Book Studio 1TB USB 3.0 External Desktop Hard Drive for Mac
WD My Book Studio 1TB USB 3.0 External Desktop Hard Drive for Mac
Offered by i.norys
Price: 81.49

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Supplied with a 2-pin plug instead of a UK 3-pin plug., 26 Jan 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Being an electrical item being targeted at the UK market (based on being available on the Amazon UK area and not being explicitly described otherwise), I would expect this My Book Studio drive to come with a UK, 3-pin plug. In fact, I believe (I'm not entirely sure) that this may be a legal requirement (see [...]). However, the item as delivered has a European, 2-pin plug. I've sent off a query regarding this as I am not happy having devices that I use regularly only having 2 pins. I may be overly cautious, but then again I do know two people who have been electrocuted in the past...

Once I have a suitable 3-pin plug, I will review this item further. In the meantime, it is gathering dust, hence the 1 star rating. Given the usual quality of Western Digital devices, I expect to increase that star rating significantly once a suitable plug is provided.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2014 2:48 PM BST


The Art of Assertiveness
The Art of Assertiveness
by Joanna Crosse
Edition: Audio CD

2.0 out of 5 stars Limited content. Must be better elsewhere., 26 Jan 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I listened to "The Art of Assertiveness" whilst driving. Actually, I listened to it end-to-end about 5 times (it is only 45 minutes long), as each time I got to the end I wondered if I had lost concentration on the CD whilst concentrating on driving, as I felt that I had heard words but not much useful content.

After the final time of listening, I came to the conclusion that actually the content was lacking. I didn't learn anything from this CD (I didn't really expect to for my own use, although did vaguely hope that there might be an occasional, surprising titbit in there), and I didn't learn anything that I could use to help colleagues who need to improve their assertiveness (which was really why I got it). I think the only thing I got out of the whole CD was a reminder to accept compliments and praise with more grace.

I wasn't expecting much, but this was even less useful than I had expected. For people who have trouble asserting themselves in different situations, some practical actions for them to try in those situations would be useful. This CD gave a few such suggestions, but very few - it could have given far more. Unfortunately, even those few suggestions given were largely far too wishy-washy.

For those who are looking for useful material to improve assertiveness, I wish you luck in your search. However, I cannot recommend this CD.


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