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Sid Nuncius (London)
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SoundSOUL Universal Clip on Bluetooth Wireless Audio Streaming Adapter/Receiver for Wired 3.5mm Headset Built In Mic
SoundSOUL Universal Clip on Bluetooth Wireless Audio Streaming Adapter/Receiver for Wired 3.5mm Headset Built In Mic
Offered by ABestShopping
Price: £57.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A good Bluetooth receiver, 30 Jan. 2015
This is a neat and very functional Bluetooth receiver with controls which will turn ordinary wired headphones into Bluetooth. It was sent to me for review and I think it is very good.

The device comes smartly packaged and you also get a pretty decent pair of in-ear phones, a micro-USB lead for charging, and a 3.5mm jack-to-jack lead, which means you can plug this into a stereo system for Bluetooth connection, too. The instructions are in rather eccentric English, but are perfectly adequate.

In use, the receiver is very good. It is small (roughly 3cm square and 1cm thick) and very light. It has an integral clip so it goes anywhere convenient on your clothing, and your headphones plug neatly into a socket at the top. Range is good - I had no trouble up to about 8 metres - and the sound via the unit is not noticeably different from the headphones directly connected to my phone. All the controls you need are on the unit and are easy to use: play/pause, volume + and -, and skip forward or back. The battery gives about 4 hours continuous use.

All in all, I think this is a very nice little unit. It does the job well and if you need to convert a pair of loved headphones to Bluetooth it will do the job for you very well.


The Peacemaker
The Peacemaker
Price: £3.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Still very well worth reading, 30 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Peacemaker (Kindle Edition)
This isn't a Forester classic, but it's still very well worth reading, I think. The Peacemaker was written in 1934 and tells of Edward Pethwick, a diffident schoolmaster whose personal timidity and unfulfilled personal life coupled with a brilliance at physics leads to potentially Earth-shaking consequences. As a plot, it doesn't add up to all that much, really, and the ending in particular has a rather damp-squib feel about it, but I still found it involving and enjoyable. It is principally a novel of character, as many of Foresters books are, and it is this and his superb skill as a storyteller which make the book worthwhile.

The Peacemaker is a period-piece in many ways; certainly the meticulous build-up (which I found fascinating) would nowadays be crammed into a few pages - probably with references to childhood abuse to explain everything - and the "action" in the second half, rather than being fast and furious with car chases and Conspiracies Which Go Right To the Top is more concerned with Pethwick's character and his responses to events, and an often unflattering portrait of the press and public in the face of a threat to established attitudes. Forester was a genius at painting the minutiae of character which shape events (it is part of what makes the Hornblower series *so* good, I think) and he does it very well here, too. He also shows how relatively small, sometimes apparently insignificant actions can have the profoundest effect on the course of major events. It's a theme in a lot of Forester's work (like the excellent Brown On Resolution, or Hornblower mounting a horse and rallying the troops outside Riga in The Commodore, for example) and it is convincingly done here, too

I have loved Forester's books for decades but have only just got round to this. I'm glad I have and I would recommend this to anyone who likes a well-written and intelligent story.


Mudder Mt-ct09 Easy-to-use Clip Design USB Rechargeable LED Bicycle Bike Cycling Light Tail Rear Light Safety, No Tool Needed
Mudder Mt-ct09 Easy-to-use Clip Design USB Rechargeable LED Bicycle Bike Cycling Light Tail Rear Light Safety, No Tool Needed
Offered by Mudder Online UK
Price: £15.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good rear cycle light, 29 Jan. 2015
This is a really good little rear cycle light. The manufacturers sent me one for review and I am very impressed.

The light comes simply packaged in plastic with a charging lead and instructions, which are a bit sketchy and in eccentric English, but largely adequate. (They don't tell you how to turn the light off, though, which you do by pressing the on/off switch for about 3 seconds.) The charging lead is a standard micro-USB lead; it is 1m long which is long enough to charge the lamp from a power bank while riding if you need to.

The lamp itself is compact (about 7cm long and 7cm wide at its widest point) and light enough to carry easily in a pocket or bag when you leave the bike. It has a good, strong grip with rubber pads to hold it firmly onto the frame and it works just like an old-fashioned bulldog clip so it's dead easy to put on and take off. (That does mean you can't really leave it on the bike unattended because it is so easy for someone else to remove it.) The light is very bright red and the design means it is visible in a 180 degree arc at the back of the bike. It has three modes: high, low and strobe, and it flashes briefly every minute to warn you when the power is low.

Time alone will tell, of course, but this has the feel of a solid and robust product which is built to last. It is well-made and properly waterproof, and I expect it to give years of good service. (I will update this review if I encounter any reliability problems, but I'm not expecting any.)

In short, this is a neat, practical and well-made light and I can recommend it warmly.


Live at the Speakeasy [VINYL]
Live at the Speakeasy [VINYL]
Price: £29.23

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good early live album, 28 Jan. 2015
This is a good live album. It is a recording of Suzanne Vega playing live in 1984, before the release of Solitude Standing, and before she had achieved anything like the sort of recognition she has today.

There is and endearing and refreshing simplicity and almost innocence to this recording. It is Vega and her guitar only, which lends songs like Luka and Marlene On The Wall, now familiar in their high-production versions, an immediacy and sincerity which I like very much. There is a nice atmosphere over the whole album, set by Vega's rather shy-sounding introductions and even an endearing moment in Small Blue Thing where she has to clear her throat (which anyone who has ever played and sung to an audience of any kind will empathise with!) It is, in short, a good selection of songs, well performed.

The sound isn't brilliant. It's quite adequate, but there's a slightly muddy quality to it which some people may find troubling. I don't mind it too much, but it does tend to make this more of an interesting historical record than an album I listen to just for pleasure.

I'm glad to have this and to have heard it, but now that we have both the Close Up series and the excellent Live At the Barbican recording from 2012 I'm not really sure how often I will listen to this album. It's good, and an essential for Vega fans like me, but I certainly wouldn't start here and if you don't already have the superb Close Up series Close-Up Series or Live at the Barbican Solitude Standing: Live at the Barbican 2012 I would buy them first.


Live At The Speakeasy
Live At The Speakeasy
Price: £11.83

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good early live album, 28 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Live At The Speakeasy (Audio CD)
This is a good live album. It is a recording of Suzanne Vega playing live in 1984, before the release of Solitude Standing, and before she had achieved anything like the sort of recognition she has today.

There is and endearing and refreshing simplicity and almost innocence to this recording. It is Vega and her guitar only, which lends songs like Luka and Marlene On The Wall, now familiar in their high-production versions, an immediacy and sincerity which I like very much. There is a nice atmosphere over the whole album, set by Vega's rather shy-sounding introductions and even an endearing moment in Small Blue Thing where she has to clear her throat (which anyone who has ever played and sung to an audience of any kind will empathise with!) It is, in short, a good selection of songs, well performed.

The sound isn't brilliant. It's quite adequate, but there's a slightly muddy quality to it which some people may find troubling. I don't mind it too much, but it does tend to make this more of an interesting historical record than an album I listen to just for pleasure.

I'm glad to have this and to have heard it, but now that we have both the Close Up series and the excellent Live At the Barbican recording from 2012 I'm not really sure how often I will listen to this album. It's good, and an essential for Vega fans like me, but I certainly wouldn't start here and if you don't already have the superb Close Up series Close-Up Series or Live at the Barbican Solitude Standing: Live at the Barbican 2012 I would buy them first.


Solid Dyed Off-White Color Waterproof Shower Curtain With 12 Reinforced Button-Holes, 72*72 inches, with 12 Hooks
Solid Dyed Off-White Color Waterproof Shower Curtain With 12 Reinforced Button-Holes, 72*72 inches, with 12 Hooks
Offered by TYFung
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good shower curtain, 27 Jan. 2015
This is a very good quality shower curtain. The manufacturers sent me a sample for review and I am impressed.

The curtain is made of woven polyester which means it is flexible and hangs well. The size (6' x 6') is ideal for a normal bath like mine. It is plainly well-made, with good stitching on the hems and robust metal rings for the hooks. The polyester composition means that it is machine washable, which is a huge bonus for me, and it has the feel of a good robust product.

You also get 12 white rings to hang the curtain. These are a pure white while the base colour of the curtain is a creamy off-white which isn't ideal, but they hardly show and it certainly isn't a major problem.

(Do be aware that the plain curtain with the colour description "377-white" is off-white in colour. If you want a white one, order "380-pure white" like I should have done!)

In summary, this is a very good shower curtain which is easy to clean and should give good service for years. Recommended.


The Ladies of the House
The Ladies of the House
by Molly McGrann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 25 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I didn't get on with this book. It is a good idea for a story but for me it wasn't sufficiently well written or structured to work as a novel.

It is revealed early on that the chief protagonists of the book are former prostitutes now grown old, and the book is concerned with their histories, their characters and what took them along the path they ended up on. It is also about attitudes to them both in the past and the present, and how humanity or lack of it may affect people's lives. It's an original and interesting idea and I was looking forward to reading this book, but I'm afraid I was very disappointed.

The problem for me is in the quality of the writing. Molly McGrann has a slightly stilted style in places which often feels rather self-conscious. Her descriptions of characters and their inner worlds felt forced to me, without delicacy or finesse and with little real insight. This, and the rather frequent use of stale phrases like "next thing she knew," for example, meant that they began to feel like rather crude stereotypes rather than well drawn characters. As a result, I began to lose interest in their stories.

The prose is too often awkward, especially from a "literary critic, poet, novelist and former editor at the Paris Revue." Take this sentence, following a (rather predictable) rant about people who strip all the character out of old houses: "So too would this house soon have that fate." I found that a badly structured, stilted and ugly volley of monosyllables which threw me straight out of the narrative, and the same thing happened in quite a few other places. It often seemed rather amateurish to me - including the ending which was intended to be moving but which I just found absurd in its ridiculous implausibility.

I'm sorry to be so critical, but I really didn't think this was very good. Others have obviously enjoyed it so do read their reviews before you let me put you off, but I really can't recommend this.


Red Wine Gold Medal Bordeaux Collection 75cl (Mixed case of 6)
Red Wine Gold Medal Bordeaux Collection 75cl (Mixed case of 6)
Offered by Laithwaites Wine
Price: £65.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice clarets, 24 Jan. 2015
I have thoroughly enjoyed all three wines in this case. They are all very nice, approachable clarets with genuine character and depth of flavour. I especially like Chateau Le Coin (I have had quite a few bottles over the last year or so) which has firm but not aggressive tannins, a smooth feel and some lovely softer notes of vanilla and oak.

At eleven quid a bottle I think these represent very good value - I've certainly had more expensive wines which don't taste nearly as good. If you're looking for a selection of very decent clarets to try, I can recommend this case very warmly.


Bagatelles & Other Piano Works - Ivo Varbanov, piano
Bagatelles & Other Piano Works - Ivo Varbanov, piano
Price: £14.86

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent disc, 24 Jan. 2015
I like this disc very much. This is not a repertoire in which I can claim great expertise, but I think I know great music and fine playing when I hear it, and both are well in evidence here.

The disc contains the final piano works of Beethoven and Schumann, and six of Brahms's Chorale Preludes Op.122 - his final works - arranged for piano by Busoni. Each is a sequence of miniatures by and as a programme it works excellently, giving variety and real depth throughout.

What makes it special is the quality of Ivo Varbanov's playing. The notes by Malcolm MacDonald point out that these last works are less about some final testament to posterity by each composer than an expression of his own preoccupations, and Varbanov seems to me to take the music itself and to lay it out for us rather than to try to invest it with over-intense, possibly spurious meaning. There is plenty of intensity where necessary, but here the music seems to speak for itself with a refreshing clarity and beauty. I find it a real pleasure to listen to - and I can't say that of all recordings of late works by these composers, by any means.

The recorded sound is excellent. ICSM set out to be an audiophile label, and certainly this sounds wonderful. It was recorded in large venues with no extra reverb added, and the result is a warm, naturally rich sound which sounds wonderful through my studio-quality headphones. The notes are full and interesting, if a little over-cooked in places for my taste, and the presentation is attractive.

I may not have come across this disc if ICSM had not sent me a copy for review but I am very glad I have. It has been something of a revelation for me and I can recommend it very warmly.


Mixcder® M04 Wireless Bluetooth Headphone Over-Ear Stereo Headset Noise Canceling With Built-in Microphone for Music Streaming & Hands-free Calling, 24-Hour Playtime for iPhone 6 / 6 plus / 5S, iPad Air / Mini, iPod, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / Note 3 / S5 / S4, MP3 / MP4 and Other Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop
Mixcder® M04 Wireless Bluetooth Headphone Over-Ear Stereo Headset Noise Canceling With Built-in Microphone for Music Streaming & Hands-free Calling, 24-Hour Playtime for iPhone 6 / 6 plus / 5S, iPad Air / Mini, iPod, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 / Note 3 / S5 / S4, MP3 / MP4 and Other Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone, Tablet and Laptop
Offered by Iselector
Price: £59.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Bluetooth headphones, 23 Jan. 2015
Length:: 3:54 Mins

These headphones were sent to me for review by the manufacturer and I think they are very good on both comfort and sound.

The headphones come nicely packaged, with a standard mini-USB charging lead and a good set of instructions in pretty decent English. Connection is Bluetooth only (there's no jack socket). Pairing is simple (standard pairing, by the way - they do not have NFC) and I found the range good, with no loss of signal up to about 8 metres.

The design is good. They have a patterned earcup design which is a little flashy for my taste but not overdone. They are light and very comfortable in use, with on/off and volume + and - buttons on one earcup and pause/play and skip forward and back on the other. These also serve as the standard phone controls you would expect and all work well, as does the built-in microphone. The headphones grip tightly enough to be stable without feeling constricting and I find them comfortable for several hours use, but they probably don't grip hard enough for running, say. They provide a reasonable sound seal; the world's noise does intrude a little but not enough to be a problem for me.

Sound quality is good - especially at this price. The bass and middles are very strong and resonant which makes them excellent for rock, pop and the like. I find the treble a little weak and it lacks the crisp articulation I need for classical music, which sounds OK but a little muddy in places, especially in orchestral and large choral works. However, if this isn't a consideration for you, these will do very nicely - as examples, classic rock like the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter sounds great and the deep, rolling bass in London Grammar's Hey Now (one of my standard tests of headphones) really resonates. Volume goes far too loud for my comfort with no audible distortion, so if you want to blow your head off with a blast of a favourite track or two, these will respond very well.

In summary, these are excellent headphones for music which needs a good bass kick. I listen to a lot of classical, too, which isn't quite so good and I have docked a star because of that, but that's a personal thing. If you're looking for a set of good headphones with a deep, powerful punch, I can recommend these.


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