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Reviews Written by
J. Rae-smith "milknosugar" (Brighton, UK)

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SETO Japanese Chef Knives: Damascus Forged Steel from World Famous Seki, Japan
SETO Japanese Chef Knives: Damascus Forged Steel from World Famous Seki, Japan

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best knife I have ever owned, 27 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The best knife I have ever owned, and for a very reasonable price (around £30). Absolutely outstanding,beautiful to look at, feels great in the hand, and capable of a real razor sharp edge. If it's your first knife of this calibre, like me you'll have to improve your knife sharpening and honing skills to get the best out of it. Recommended without reservation.

French Provincial Cooking
French Provincial Cooking
by Elizabeth David
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very poorly produced edition of essential classic, 20 May 2011
Like another reviewer, I am so disappointed in Penguin's sloppy treatment of this classic. Yes every kitchen should have a copy, and if I had to cook from one book for the rest of my life, it would be this one, but not this edition. The reprint has been done from (rather dirty) scans of an earlier edition, and the effect is like reading from a rather grubby photocopy, and is both wearying, and dispiriting. Sadly the Grub Street hardback edition uses the same material, however good clean second hand hardback copies can still be easily found at reasonable prices, and would be a much better long term investment.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2014 12:01 AM BST

The War Poems
The War Poems
by Siegfried Sassoon
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth about war, 8 April 2011
This review is from: The War Poems (Paperback)
It maybe that there are better WW1 poets, but Sassoon is for me the most modern, the one who speaks most clearly to us. His poems are more direct, less "poetic" than those of his contemporaries, and his blistering anger controlled by a caustic wit cuts right through the manners of his age to the human truth of war. He was a man full of contradictions a war hero who became a pacifist, a deeply religious man, and a homosexual, a literary man who was also a keen sportsman, and some of the internal conflicts these caused are reflected in the poetry here, but in short for me he makes the reality of WW1 more vivid than any other poet. Terrific stuff.

Canon PIXMA MP560 Wi-Fi Ready Premium All-In-One Photo Printer
Canon PIXMA MP560 Wi-Fi Ready Premium All-In-One Photo Printer

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great piece of kit, let down by its software, 13 July 2010
The big picture: This is a very good printer indeed at an incredibly cheap price, even allowing for the business model where the price of the printer is subsidised by large mark ups on the consumables. I don't like to speculate about the wages of the Thais that make this.

BUT but but, if like me you have a Mac running Snow Leopard, OS X 10.6, and wish to connect it to your wireless network, you will have to do battle with the atrocious installation software and misleading manuals, which are as cheap and nasty as the printer is sleek and stylish. The first thing you'll see, the Setup utility is very ugly looking, like a port of a Windows 95 era PC programme, and does not really even have beta level functionality. The worst culprit however is the IJ Network utility. Despite what their manual tells you, it cannot see the printer unless it is connected with a USB cable, and it then tells you you have a week unstable wireless connection even when the printer is standing right next to the router. Lastly there is the registration process which first asks for your permission to use data from your computer for vaguely defined ends, but then will not let you complete the registration if you refuse.

I've got it working now, but it took all afternoon, so despite the quality of the hardware, and incredible value for money, I can only give it 3 stars.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 18, 2010 7:52 PM BST

Plantronics .Audio 995 Wireless USB
Plantronics .Audio 995 Wireless USB

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for the price, but..., 29 Mar. 2010
The good. Decent sound quality for the money, reasonably comfortable for the amount of time you will wear them. They are not as big and ugly as most other wireless headphones

The bad They have a very limited range; they start cutting out on me around 14 feet from the computer. The charge does not last very long, and you cannot use them while they are recharging. There is no headphone volume control, the buttons on the headset only give you an unnecessary extra way to access your computer's volume controls.

At this price point there are always going to be compromises. If you can live with these,then these are a pretty decent pair of 'phones, good for watching dvds, or skype, providing you don't stray very far from your computer.

Midas ice cream maker - non electric - stainless steel
Midas ice cream maker - non electric - stainless steel

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Endearingly eccentric, but pretty useless, 23 Aug. 2009
When I received my Midas the first thing I noticed was the box stated its capacity correctly as 1 litre, not 1.5 as stated on the description here at Amazon. I don't know who is responsible but that is a serious error. Unwrapping it I found that the stainless steel tub was covered with some unattractive dried on spilt material, (perhaps some of the chemical freezing mixture?). I imagine this was sloppy handling by the manufacturer, not leakage, but time will tell. It cleaned up fine and it is quite a handsome thing, in a chunky slightly rustic Indian fashion, for that is where it is made. I say rustic because it is not made to the very highest standards, there are some slight imperfections in its manufacture, though nothing that should affect its performance, and I don't mind that. It gives it a hand made quality. The ice cream recipe leaflet is not very tempting.

So don't expect to be impressed out of the box, but does it work? Well yes ish, it does freeze a litre of ice cream in about 20 minutes. A second batch of about 1/2 a litre took twice that amount of time and was still a bit sloppy. The main problem is that it takes up a lot of space in the freezer, and needs to be in there for at least 24 hours before you use it. And the quality? well again OK, but not significantly better than the ice cream I normally make, using the Italian meringue method, which is simply plonked in a box and left in the freezer for 24 hours.

Though I could return this, I am keeping it, but only because it is a bit mad, it could be a Wallace and Grommit invention. It may also be useful as an ice bucket. As an ice cream maker it's a bit pointless.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 4, 2010 6:32 AM BST

The Amulet Of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Sequence)
The Amulet Of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Sequence)
by Jonathan Stroud
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An adventure story for boys, 18 Mar. 2008
I have just been reading this to my 10 year old son, and we were both completely gripped. We were given the book as a present, so were unaware of the "next Harry Potter" hype surrounding it. It is a poor comparison as the only resemblance to J. K. Rowling is superficial. This is much more straightforward adventure story for boys, though one that is well written, with well drawn, engaging characters, so it is not without literary merit. The most attractive of the two protagonists is an extremely funny, but quite brutally cynical and amoral character, always ready to deploy gratuitous cartoon violence on his next helpless victim. So not for the oversensitive, or anyone likely to react badly to the very boyish attitude on display here, but a cracking and highly entertaining ride for everyone else.

Highly recommended, and we can't wait to read the next two books in the trilogy.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 18, 2008 7:52 PM GMT

Twentieth Century [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Twentieth Century [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top quality screwball comedy, 29 April 2007
This is one of the very best films of its type, a marvellous comedy graced by a typically brilliant and unselfish performance by Carole Lombard (notice how she always manages to bring out the best in her co-stars), and featuring a script by one of the most brilliant screenwriters of comedy to have worked in Hollywood, Ben Hecht, now sadly rather forgotten except as the co-author of "The Front Page". If you enjoy his verbal invention and unique American style of high comedy, a sort of Oscar Wilde meets Damon Runyan, check out "Nothing Sacred" which again features the wonderful Carole Lombard. Absolute gems. These films deserve to be much more widely appreciated.

The Band
The Band
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: £6.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subtle masterpiece, 24 Dec. 2005
This review is from: The Band (Audio CD)
I bought this on it's release in 1969, and it's the only old album I own that I have never stopped playing regularly and still sounds fresh as paint every time. It gives itself up to you gradually, and it may take several plays before you realise exactly how brilliant it is. There is nothing flashy or showy here, this is rock as chamber music. What gives it its enduring appeal to me is the way, like chamber music, every single musical element combines with the others, reacting to them, and creating such a satisfying whole. If you get their music, and many (including my wife and children!) do not, you will never tire of this. Simply beautiful music.

Ellington '55
Ellington '55
Offered by playanywhere
Price: £15.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great record, 18 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Ellington '55 (Audio CD)
This is not only one of my favourite Ellington records, or one of my favourite Jazz records, it is one of my personal desert island disks. It appeals to people who don't even like Jazz that much. It is just so wonderful to hear a big band playing with such power, and yet so nimbly, as though they were one person. It is also very infectious, if you don't start dancing to this you are dead. Play it very loud, and prepare to be blown away.

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