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The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes (British Mountains)
The Hebrides: 50 Walking and Backpacking Routes (British Mountains)
by Peter Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring., 25 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an unusual book as walking guides go because it contains a lot of inspiring colour photographs and is in a larger than normal fomat for books of this kind. There is a detailed introduction covering the history, geography, geology, wildlife and industry of the Hebrides, then a very good section on recommended walking equipment, which is much more specific than the advice I've seen in other guides eg certain types of footwear recommended and tools for removing ticks. There's information on how to get to each of the islands with links to ferry timetables and air schedules, however a bit surprisingly there's no mention of the journey times themselves (other than St Kilda) which by the author's own admission is both relatively inaccessible and expensive when compared to the other islands and thus not likely to be one of the more visited. The photography is particularly enticing, with multiple white sand beaches, sea stacks, pinnacles, needles and standing stones shown.

The walks - there are 50 of them - are for the most part challenging, many having ascents rivalling small alpine peaks (the total ascent is quoted for each journey, not the maximum height above sea level, which is actually quite a good idea as it gives you more idea of the effort that's likely to be involved). The lengths of the walks vary between circa 4 miles as the shortest and 15 miles as the longest. There are number of walks such as the more detailed exploration of Jura that cover 30-40 miles, that are estimated at 3-4 days duration ie not to be attempted at a single stroke. There are a few low level walks usually focused around the coastline eg Walk 39 the Udal peninsula, and these look a little less taxing. Mostly however I get the impression that this book is aimed at fairly experienced walkers.

Right at the end there is a glossary of terms translating from Gaelic to English which is a nice touch, and helps you understand the decsription of the landscapes in the local tongue, and a list of useful contacts such as weather reports and campsites. It would have been nice to have more info on campsites and B&Bs , however the mean feature is obviously the walks themselves. The main failing of this book is its size and weight - you'd not want to take it out with you - rather use it as a coffee table planner, then buy the appropriate OS map to take on your hike.

Sony Action Cam HDR-AS200V with Live View Remote, Wi-Fi & GPS
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS200V with Live View Remote, Wi-Fi & GPS
Offered by DB Technology srl
Price: £285.20

5.0 out of 5 stars Has Sony created a Go Pro killer?, 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS200V is their latest crack at challenging the dominance of the Go Pro in this sector of the of the video cam market. It comes with a range of attachments for securing it when you're on the move, a wrist strap mounted remote viewer from which you can control and monitor the action and a waterproof/shockproof case which you can use when the need arises.

It's a beautiful little thing. Unlike the Go Pro, which has a square shape which is wider than it is deep the Sony is a more traditionally shaped cam of 24mm wide by 46mm tall and 81mm deep, It can quite easily disappear into the palm of your hand and will comfortably fit in any pocket. With the case attached its a little bulkier but it could never be described as anything other than small.

Set up is very straightforward, charge the battery in both the cam unit and the remote viewer and it takes very little time to get going. The main controls are two buttons on the side of the unit from which you can cycle through the menus and a rear button which controls the recording and the selections of menu items. The menu allows you to control everything from the frame rate to the recording resolution and much else besides. I found it simple to link to the cam to various devices via both bluetooth and wi fi. The ability to connect to a smartphone is particularly useful as the standard remote viewer screen is tiny and lacks clarity in bright light. Being able to see what you're filming in real time on a large screen is fabulous.

You will need to buy a separate micro sd card of at least class 10 to store your recorded footage and obviously the capacity of your card will determine how long you can film for. I popped a 32gb card and the device suggested that would be good for around 4hrs 30 minutes of recording at 1080p and 30fps. Frankly the battery is more likely to run flat before getting near filling that. It also has the ability to film at high speed so you can create slow motion sequences.

I've tried it in a variety of settings. Sitting at home filming a mobile cat, in the car traversing high rough mountain roads and on the water in a motor launch. When recording there's a simple lock so you won't accidentally switch it off whilst the action is happening. The anti shake software has apparently been much improved since previous models and it has exmor tech on the sensor. The result is rock steady, crystal clear video with the 170 degree Zeiss lense capturing an amazing level of detail. Playback on large screens is a bit shocking, it's hard to believe such a tiny unit can produce such professional looking footage. You can also live stream via wifi straight to Ustream. My only quibble is that in windy conditions the sound was very dominated by the roar but I believe this can be mitigated somewhat when using the case.It records in MP4 format and file transfer, viewing and editing couldn't be simpler. It doesn't have a zoom function, which for some may be an issue but at this price point I think its incredibly good value for money.

To conclude I think in the Action Cam HDR-AS200v is a real challenger to the Go Pro range in the action cam market. It's compact, waterproof, steady, shoots incredibly high quality footage, gives real flexibility in control and viewing of images and feels like it will withstand rough handling. It's a real winner.

Santa Rita Bougainville Petite Sirah 2010
Santa Rita Bougainville Petite Sirah 2010
Price: £42.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Move over Ribena!, 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This wine has a huge bouquet - we got a massive hit of fruit immediately upon opening the bottle, reminiscent of jam making or being on a pick-your-own farm. We barely let the wine breathe before tasting, but this didn't seem to be detrimental - a lovely syrupy blackcurrent flavour coming through, which was fully rounded and mellow. Absolutely no edge. My tasting partner who is more familiar with a wide range of reds than me thought the peppery notes much less prevalent in this Chilean wine than in its other new world counterparts such as Aussie. We enjoyed this with a migraine-inducing mix of cheese and Neuhaus chocolates (presents from a relative just back from Belgium!) which it complimented well, and suffered absolutely no ill effects. A delicious wine that anyone would struggle to find fault with, but we have taken off a star as we felt the pricing was quite steep, even for this quality. At the £20-30 mark this would be a great buy.

Philips GC4520/30 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 190g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Philips GC4520/30 Azur Performer Steam Iron - 190g Steam Boost, 2600 Watt
Price: £62.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Love at first press!, 10 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm usually the last person to rave about something as mundane as small electric appliances, but it has to be said, this iron is bloody amazing. Channelling my inner bloke (I'm a 40 something woman) I unwrapped this, filled it with tap water and switched it on without reading the booklet. Setting it to 'high/autosteam' it was hot enough to use in seconds, and I flattened my way through five pairs of jeans in as many minutes. I don't know what they've done to the soleplate of this iron but it glides like silk. Lightweight and steamier than a Chinese laundry, it was quite literally the quickest and most efficient pile of ironing I've ever done. Little tweaks make this stellar - like an easier filling angle for the water reservoir than any other iron I've used. On top of this, the aesthetics are lovely - a deep jewel-like amethyst colour and an elegant pointy front like those yachts moored in Monaco.

I already had a perfectly decent Russell Hobbs iron that I was more than happy with this, but, frankly, this kicks its ass. If you need a new iron, or if you've got to buy one, say as a wedding present, and you are worried that it's not the sexiest gift, honestly, look no further. Five very well deserved stars.

TONI&GUY  Classic Wave Memoriser 100 ml
TONI&GUY Classic Wave Memoriser 100 ml
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars More Marcel Wave than Poodle Perm., 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This product sits somewhere between a cream and a gel. It feels very sticky – almost gummy – when you first squeeze it into your hands, however when you apply it to your hair something very weird happens and the stickiness vanishes immediately. It feels almost like some sort of evaporation of the sticky component has taken place.

I tried the product on towel dried hair, rubbing it into the roots and upper layers. I didn’t style my hair or apply any heat or other products - just left it to dry naturally. The result was a slight increase in body and volume and the light natural wave in my hair was emphasised a little, though it definitely didn’t give full-on curls. I suspect if you have a naturally more pronounced curl in your hair you will get a better result than me though, as my hair is pretty fine and only slightly wavy. Overnight my hair went a bit flat as you would expect from having been 'slept in' so I tried an extra application of the memoriser on dry hair when I got up. However this didn't seem to restore the body and wave I'd had the night before so I'm not sure the product fully lives up to its name.

What I most liked about the product was that it did not give a stiff or crunchy finish like, say, a mousse or a salt spray. Whilst a salt spry does give a superior wave effect, the Toni and Guy cream-gel variant felt as though it was being kinder and less drying to my hair (with the caveat that the aforementioned evaporation sensation suggests the presence of alcohol)

Final point – the smell is very nice – cologne-like – but definitely slightly more masculine than feminine or unisex.

byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
byteStor Pro 32GB USB 3.0 High Speed Flash Drive - Black
Price: £9.22

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap basic file storage option., 25 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Bytestor Pro 32GB flash drive is a very basic usb storage or file transfer option. The cheap feeling plastic is not particularly inspiring but at this price point that's to be expected. Transferring files on to it was very straightforward and, I have to say, quicker than models I've used in the past. 2GB movie files transferred in just a couple of minutes. However I did notice the metal contact points heating up significantly although I don't have the expertise to say whether or not this is a worrying feature.

I'd use this for transferring or storing files I wasn't to concerned about but the build quality would give me pause about storing anything I wanted to be assured was safe in the longer term. It just feels too flimsy.

Hard Spectacles Sunglasses Case In Assorted Colours (Purple)
Hard Spectacles Sunglasses Case In Assorted Colours (Purple)
Offered by Bid Buy Direct
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars I can see a rainbow., 25 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a well made hard case that will protect your sunglasses much better than the fabric sleeve or pouch-type cases. It has a very solid construction, with a long single hinge running along the back that suggests it shouldn't be vulnerable to breaking apart at the join. The inside has a kind of velvet or velour lining - looks a bit like suede but is rougher to the touch. I like that it comes in a wide variety of colours, as black can be a bit uninspiring, and the brighter shades are easier to spot when you are hunting around for your sunglasses and can't remember where you left them. The case is quite deep, by necessity, as sunglasses don't fold down as flat as many ordinary pairs of specs, so just be aware that this case won't easily fit into a shirt or jeans pocket, though it will be fine in a jacket pocket or handbag, No negatives that readily come to mind, but my neighbour is driving me nuts with incessant hammering and banging in a 3-week long DIY fest so nothing is getting 5 stars at the moment. Sorry :-P

Offered by Hair Products Online Ltd
Price: £8.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Green goddess., 19 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: MAVALA LACA Unas 191 (Grocery)
This is one of my all time favourite nail polish colours in a deep sea green colour (the actual shade is called 'PEACOCK'). It goes on easily and gives a great finish.

I prefer the smaller sized Mavala bottles to other brand's larger bottles for several reasons:-

1) You usually get through the polish before it starts to spoil and go thick - with larger bottles I always end up throwing half away.
2) The shorter brushes are easier to work with and you get a neater finish.
3) The price means you can treat yourself more often!

Love this brand!

Scholl Active Sports Gel Insoles for Women
Scholl Active Sports Gel Insoles for Women
Price: £11.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Redundant imho., 9 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not really sure what the point of these sports insoles is - most trainers and walking boots are all ready pretty well cushioned so I am at a loss as to why you might need to source extra padding. If it's to make a normal shoe more comfortable so you can say, take a decent walk during your lunch hour, or not get sore achey feet during a marathon shopping trip, then you'd probably be better off with a non-sports shoe variety of insoles in your normal shoes (Scholl also sell these). Whichever way you go, the same caveats will apply. You will most likely need to trim the insoles as they come in a generic format, spanning three shoe sizes. Having trimmed them, you may not have managed such a clean comfortable edge as the factory cutting machines that first produced these and you will notice this rough edge during wear (which can be really annoying, trust me!). You might find them tricky to get into your shoe at all, since they are both wide and deep - and sports shoes or trainers tend to be an even tighter and narrower fit than a standard shoe. You won't be able to wear them with an open shoe such as a fit flop as they are too thick and obvious and will spoil the look (not to mention won't work with any type of thong or toe post).

True, if you can get a decent fit these are very comfortable, with soft fabric uppers, breathing holes and a substantial plastic/gel base, but I'm just not sure it's really worth the bother. Most of all, they are pricey for something you will likely have to alter yourself, you may have to remove the existing insole to get them into your footwear, and on a sports shoe you will likely only be replicating exactly what you've just removed.

Kerastase Irisome Bain Satin 1 Complete Nutrition Shampoo
Kerastase Irisome Bain Satin 1 Complete Nutrition Shampoo
Offered by Beauté Définie LONDON
Price: £17.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Squeaky clean., 4 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Nice creamy shampoo that cleanses without stripping. Moisturising, but doesn't weigh hair down, despite being quite rich. I also love the smell which is kind of clean, soapy and neutral - absolutely not a fan of herby, fruity or medicinal shampoos, so this somewhat benign scent was a big hit with me. Lovely finish after blow drying - shiny with no frizz, but definitely not thin or flat.

Kerastase reformulated this product a few years back, and whilst I don't think it's quite as stellar as it used to be, it's still a great shampoo and I would happily recommend it to anyone.

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