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Pallus the Phallus (UK)
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A Short Book About Drawing
A Short Book About Drawing
by Andrew Marr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.50

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Worthy Marmite!, 17 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Marr puts himself down with exaggerated modesty; he states that he doesn't think he qualifies as an 'artist'.
However, I reckon he could teach his mate Hockney a thing or two (although Hockney really should have explained to Marr how to use SEVERAL mirrors when attempting self-portraits, so one isn't looking DIRECTLY at oneself).

Like Hockney, Mr Marr has taken to using a tablet and app' to create pictures and around half of his published images are in this format. They're mostly not my bag and look more like illustrative work than creative pieces to me. Still, there is a variety of his work included so there should be something for everyone; there's even a very enjoyable oil painting of a tree with some cheeky foreground detail.

The book is physically very well made and has a nice canvas-like covering. I'd say that a few coffee-stains and thumb-prints would embellish rather than spoil its appearance. Read it down the boozer without a care!

This IS a short book and is an easy and pleasing read. It does stray a bit into 'What is art?' territory but not for any nauseating length of time. He states that drawing is perhaps as relaxing as smoking a joint in a warm bath (I wouldn't know -I haven't had a draw in years!). He then goes on to say that it requires nerve and strenuous concentration -a tad contradictory.

The writing is uncomplicated and reads as if Marr is speaking naturally, sometimes with a glint in his eye, which raised a smirk or two from this reader.

He gives very specific references to endorse his opinions, naming works and artists as well as excerpts from books. This could be very useful indeed for philistines like myself who may be tempted to delve a little deeper into the subject. The references are noted in the (wobbly) margin right next to the relevant text, rather than hidden in a bibliography at the back. Being able to smash these notes into Google as one reads is great. All 5 stars awarded.

Marr states that he doesn't consider his work saleable and wouldn't exhibit his work (except for charity, p'raps) but I'd be surprised if he hadn't submitted works to 'open' exhibitions, maybe under a pseudonym, because he IS a cheeky chipmunk.

And if he's drawn the tree he likes in Devon so frequently, why can't someone have the opportunity to buy a sketch and hang it on the back of their bathroom door?

I would!

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[My Ref: Marr the Cheeky Chipmunk and some of his works. Feb 2014]


Almo Nature Rouge Dry with Chicken 750 g
Almo Nature Rouge Dry with Chicken 750 g
Price: 7.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Crack for cats!, 16 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Infuriatingly fussy mog usually only eats pricey small trays of Sheba and the like (mixed with Iams).
Sometimes she even gets fresh prawns!

Tried this Almo stuff out.. tore off the top, poured some neat into feline's bowl and placed bowl on kitchen floor. I found the re-sealable pack a bit fiddly; it didn't seem to close properly.

Went off to make a cuppa and on my return discovered that the cheeky chancer had gobbled-up her portion and was ON THE WORKTOP WITH HER HEAD IN THE ALMO PACK!

So my only complaint is that the re-fastening pack isn't greedy cat proof.

I was very surprised indeed and can thoroughly recommend Almo to those whose cats are fussy eaters.

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[My Ref: Almo large cat food pack broken into by greedy grey. Feb '14]


TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT - (TL-PA6010KIT) 600Mbps GB Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT - (TL-PA6010KIT) 600Mbps GB Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
Offered by Kikatek
Price: 42.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Work Great. 600 megablips worth the extra? Um. Um. Ummm.., 2 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Super. Smashing. Great Powerline adapters. But are they worth the extra? ...

IF YOU'RE NEW TO THIS NETWORKING MEDIUM..
One simply inserts one of these wee cuboid devices into the mains and connects it via ethernet to one's router. The other (and further) adapter(s) can then be plugged into any other mains socket in the house, and your Smart TV etc. plugged into that via ethernet cable. It's simple and in my experience very effective. Plus, you can get some adapters which also provide WiFi output -a very effective way of extending wireless over previously impossible distances.

The main differences between powerline devices are:
Physical Size
Connection Speed
Number of network connections (Ethernet Holes) available.
Mains 'through' socket (it can have a plug hole on the front so doesn't use-up a socket).
Whether or not they have a power switch and/or powersave mode where they go into standby.

IF YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH POWERLINE..
What can I say, you can see for yourself they have no plug socket on the front and there's only one hole on the bottom. They are small but quite deep so almost cube shaped.

IN USE
I already have a TP Powerline network and the guide thus stated these only need plugging in to join the network. However, I actually had to press the little 'pairing' button on this and the master plug for them to pair. I managed to do this without TOO big a sigh.

They go fine just as they're supposed to. That is, I can stream HD fillums seamlessly all around the house, from the drive connected to my router and via Lovefillum via (8 meg)broadband. They do all this, just like my TP-Link PA411KIT AV500 500 Mbps Powerline Adapter - Twin Pack ones do.

And this is a good point -these have no conspicuous advantages over the 500-speed ones with which they are compatible. The inclusion of a Gigaabit port is just about relevant as one will hopefully achieve speeds higher than 100Mbps. 600mbps doesn't mean precicely that -it's a theoretical number.

I find the powersave function does work but only when devices are switched off at the mains. My Soundbridge and Squeezebox players, when on standby themselves, still keep the adapters 'awake'. I would prefer an on/off switch on the actual adapter as well.

Against manufacturer's advice, I use these on mains extensions all over the house with no problem. Sometimes on daisy-chained extensions! I buy individually switched mains extensions to compensate for no switch on the devices.

Overall, these work fine. But worth the extra over the standard 500mbps ones? Probably not.

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[My Ref: I need TEE PEE for my BUNG HOOOOLE. 600mbps Adapters Jan 14]


Weetabix Oatiflakes 550 g (Pack of 5)
Weetabix Oatiflakes 550 g (Pack of 5)
Price: 10.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice high-sugar cereal. Health claims a bit naughty., 28 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This cereal isn't CAKED with sugar but IS a high-sugar cereal despite not tasting TOO sweet.

>The flakes are brown like Bran Flakes, not golden as shown on the box. I've posted a picture.

>They have a great texture.. Not crispy like corn flakes but more crunchy/crumbly. A really nice munch.

>Taste-wise, they are a bit malty like Shreddies and noticeably sweet. Overall, a nice treat.

SOME OPTIONAL WAFFLE ABOUT NUTRITION..

Despite suggestions covering the box that this is a healthy food, these are a HIGH SUGAR CEREAL. Look-up low sugar cereals and you'll find that up-to 5g total sugars per 100g is considered low sugar. Over 15g is considered high-sugar. These Oatiflakes have 14g total sugars per 100g (see the box side panel image). Certainly not low-sugar by any means. (Better than Special K though, which contains 17g sugar and is freely marketed as a weight loss food!!)

Looking in my fridge, I found that Tizer, the sugary fizzy pop, contains 5.7g of sugar per 100ml, so around 6%. In comparison, this cereal contains over twice as much! We all know how a slice of white bread contains more salt than a bag of salt & vinegar crisps; we should be similarly aware of sugar quantities in cereals.

I saw some granola in the supermarket today. It was made up of over 20% sugar. It still made health claims as it contained oats. Apparently any cereal containing oats can claim to lower cholesterol regardless of any other unhealthy ingredients.

I DO like this cereal but buyers really should be able to see through suggested health claims and decide for themselves, by checking the ingredients list and making-up their own minds, whether the product will be suitable for their diet.

Sugar and Maltodextrin (glucose syrup) are 2nd and 3rd on the ingredients list here.

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[My ref: Proper Munchy and Tasty Cereal Flakes Sporting Usual Outrageously Misleading Health Claims. Make you fart, too. Jan 14]


VonShef Compact Portable Double Hot Plate Table Top Hob in White 1500W
VonShef Compact Portable Double Hot Plate Table Top Hob in White 1500W
Offered by Designer Habitat
Price: 49.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Plates heat well but so does the whole surround! Functional., 19 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This double hob arrived in new condition and looks clean and tidy.

Both plates heat up well and the controls work as expected.

The only downside is that the whole chassis gets very hot, not just the plates.

Overall, very good value and perfectly functional.


Red Tape Tilmore Shoes Brown
Red Tape Tilmore Shoes Brown

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good. Needs close fit to avoid slipping-off. TOP VALUE!!, 19 Jan 2014
As in the picture. These arrived in new condition with original packaging intact.

I saught these out as I'd previously bought a pair in size 8 from Barratts online which I'd returned as they slipped-off. I couldn't remidy this with inner soles.

My ideal size is 7.5 to 8 but these are best for me in 7s as the snug fit ensures they stay on.

The leather on the side seems softer and more flexible than the upper which adds to comfort.

One note is that shoe protector/waterproofer spray does darken these a lot; after spraying, mine went from chestnut colour to proper dark chocolate.

Recommended. Especially at this price (bankrupt stock?).


Fat Gripz The Ultimate Arm Builder - Blue, Original
Fat Gripz The Ultimate Arm Builder - Blue, Original
Price: 34.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Woah! -Forearms like Popeye! Good if you SPECIFICALLY want to work forearms., 9 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Yes... I would say these unquestionably work your forearms more. That is, they seem to transfer some of the stress to your forearms which explains why you may have to reduce your usual lifting weight with first use; it's as if you have to give your forearms a chance to 'catch-up' with the muscles already used to heavy reps.

So, I WOULD recommend these but only if you want or expect an improvement in your forearms only.

They are made of a very dense rubber-like substance (silicone?) which does feel very solid and robust. I don't think it's fair to write them off as just a couple of rubber tubes as they do the job they are specifically made for.

I find them easy to wash with detergent.

Regarding cost, they do appear expensive but then they cost no more than a couple of these yoga blocks Reebok Yoga Block Exercise Fitness Heavy Use Gym Aid Streching Deinse Foam Brick and one could easily say about those that they are just a couple of foam blocks.

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[My Ref: Rubbery lifting GRIPZ Jan 14]


PaperPro StandOut Stapler - Blue
PaperPro StandOut Stapler - Blue
Price: 9.56

4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE THIS SNAPPY STAPLER., 4 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This staples very well with the action of a staple GUN. -That is, one squeezes the stapler together and only when it is fully closed does a spring drive the staple home with a >SNAP!<.

This spreads the load for the user and is easier on the hand/wrist. It is also very light and comfortably fits in one hand for mid-air stapling. In fact, it can ONLY be used off the desk as it stands on its front end as in the picture. One could always modify it to stand horizontally using Sugru Sugru Multi-Colour (Pack of 8).

The advertised 15-sheet capability is prudent as I found it fastened 20 sheets of standard 80gsm office paper perfectly well, leaving the sharp end of the fastened staples fully dug-in and out of harm's way. I had a similar but less consistent result with 25 sheets.

In fact, it stapled so tightly that I had a job getting the staples back out with a staple remover.

The stapler takes half-strips of your common or garden 26/6 staples which cost next to nothing (50p per 5000 last time I checked). Which makes PaperPro look a tad mean in including just one half strip!

The non-standard loading mechanism is OK once you understand it.

DESIGN BONUS 1:
A small window at the front shows you when you're low on ammo (not present on Amazon's image but is under the 'S' on the Standout logo shown).

DESIGN BONUS 2:
There's a little plastic pointer each side showing EXACTLY where the staples will be delivered (also not in pic').

Perhaps most impressive of all, the stapler works faultlessly when loaded with fragmented strips of staples.

So, this doesn't staple flat-style. And it can't be used by resting it on the desk and whacking it. Plus the insipid blue colour looks cheap and tacky. But apart from these small misgivings, it's a joy to use.

Interestingly, my (female) colleagues HATE this stapler. They say the snapping noise puts them on edge and sounds like it's breaking. It gives them goose (and other) bumps.

Personally, I LOVE this CRACKING little stapler! Very nearly 5 stars.

If it wasn't for my jumpy colleagues, I'd go for this sexy alternative number: PaperPro Evo Desktop One Finger 20 Sheet Capacity Power Stapler - HOT!

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[My Ref: Cracking little stapler in bland blue colour. Jan 2014]


Durex Ultra Thin Feel Condoms 12 Pack
Durex Ultra Thin Feel Condoms 12 Pack
Offered by HealthXpress
Price: 8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Add these to your arsenal, lads. And gents. Even ladies., 4 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've tried these other 'Extra Thin' condoms: Mates Skyn Non Latex Condoms x12 but I didn't really notice much benefit form them.

These Durex sheaths are noticeably thinner than, say, Featherlite but also more snug-fitting. And the teat end is not very generous.

Personally, I find this a very good combination and my pleasure is increased when using them; the close fit stops them twisting/moving about and the small nipple prolongs my 'expellation'. I will definitely be using these in future.

Others may find the close fit and insufficient reservoir frustrating or restrictive.

They don't have that strong, lingering rubbery smell which is a bonus. Not sure what they taste like, though (and whether they would change the natural taste of a woman during use). I wish they incorporated some spermicide but no condoms seem to these days.

From the female's perspective, it might be nice if these were available with some ribs or other texturing near the open end. I see that there IS a plethora of different styles in Durex's current range including selection packs but I'd like to see an assortment of ALL available styles in one pack for users to find their best preference.

[Some feedback from females would be useful. Unfortunately ~in my experience~ they are often very reluctant to use condoms at all and explaining that these are especially thin and don't smell may just fall on deaf ears. In this day and age, now that we unquestionably wear seatbelts etc. it's a shame that many people still don't acknowledge the risk of unprotected sex. I suppose it's a bit like getting sunburnt; we all know it's dangerous but some people simply don't care and even think it's funny.] -I digress.

If you think the fit would be suitable for you, I would strongly recommend you try these condoms. At this fair price, there's no excuse not to. Besides, if they don't work for you, you could always offer them to a mate saying "Here, you can have these.. they're too small for me!".

It's disappointing that Amazon only offer these to over 18s. There should be no age restriction whatsoever imo.

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[My Ref: Super thin/snug condoms. Jan 14]


L'enigme D'argan 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil
L'enigme D'argan 100% Pure Organic Argan Oil

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 100% Pure Argan Oil.. It is what it is., 3 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Hey, I remember when this stuff was popular in the 80s.
Nice to see it resurging; it's good stuff.

It makes a very good moisturiser for the skin and is especially good on frizzy or dry hair which it makes silky and more managable. The spray nozzle works well for either use.

My only suggestion would be to add some fragrance. -In this pure state it does smell quite strongly like olive oil. Seeing as this is for cosmetic use (and not cooking), I would have thought some clever perfumier could have added a subtle scent to mislead the nostrils into thinking this was a floral or vanillary oil rather than something to drizzle on your focaccia.

So, very functional as a moisturiser/hair treatment but could do with some orifractory diversion.

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[My Ref: Nice Argan Oil in Spray bottle. Whiffs of chip pans, though. Jan 2014]


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