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Reviews Written by
John E. Davidson (Purley)

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Kensington "SmartFit" Mouse Pad
Kensington "SmartFit" Mouse Pad
Price: £19.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Some nice features but…, 6 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are some neat design ideas here: I like the adjustable height of the wrist rest. It is adjusted with colour coded inserts; with a colour coded hand size guide to help you determine how many inserts to use. Based on my experience - I prefer using one less insert than the size guide recommends.

The mat itself is fine although there has been some shredding during initial use. More problematic is how the mat attaches to the wrist rest; it constantly comes apart.

Overall a little disappointing.


Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray SPF 20 200ml
Garnier Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray SPF 20 200ml
Price: £6.38

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Spray (but some concerns), 2 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In lots of ways this is a nice product….

The bottle has some nice features. The design is intended to make it fit comfortably in the hand; it works. The transparent strips down the side allow you to see how much has been used/is left - another very useful feature.

The product has a fairly strong chemical smell; I wasn’t bothered by this but I can imagine other may be. As advertised it spreads easily and does not leave marks.

The 3 Star UVA rating is notable and will concern many (and notably is not mentioned on the product page). The 20 SPF is lower than I would usually select. Overall - lots to like - however, I would prefer both a higher SPF and better UVA rating.

I wavered between 3 & 4 stars - in the end chose the lower rating because of concerns about UVA rating & protection.


Ambition: Why It's Good to Want More and How to Get It
Ambition: Why It's Good to Want More and How to Get It
by Rachel Bridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Well written self-help book, 25 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It must admit I approached this book with some trepidation; the one word title suggested it might be a little too rah-rah-rah for me.

I was very pleasantly surprised - it is a sane, well written, thoughtful self-help book. Packed with sensible, practical (as in actually implementable) advice and illustrated with interesting examples and case studies.

Much (much) better than the normal self-help book.


RockJam 54-Key Portable Digital Piano Keyboard with Music Stand and Interactive LCD Screen
RockJam 54-Key Portable Digital Piano Keyboard with Music Stand and Interactive LCD Screen
Price: £42.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected hit, 23 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A slightly unexpected hit with my 11 year old son. Unexpected, primarily because every previous attempt to get him to play has failed. We have had (allegedly) nicer and certainly much more expensive keyboards that have simply gathered dust.

This is a fairly cheap, basic keyboard. It is small enough (~85 cm long) & light enough to play on the lap (I know this is not the ideal position but it does seem to mean that he plays more). I think the size is a major factor in take up although it can also be viewed as a negative.

It makes a pretty good sound and has some nice features: the 100 different sound effects and 100 different rhythms are fun; the LCD display is nice and useful.

It isn’t perfect - most annoyingly although there is a speaker socket that can be used for headphones but it does NOT silence the keyboard (when headphones are plugged in you hear the music in the headphone AND from the piano). The weight of the keys is not the same as a piano; this is a serious negative if you the overall objective is to learn to play the piano (as is the size).

The iPad application - Piano Maestro - seems OK. They are very keen on in app purchases and I’m not certain how much use it would have been without the 30 free songs.

Note that stand means a stand to hold (sheet) music not a stand for the keyboard itself.

Overall - very nice and fantastic value - the only genuine negative is the lack of a proper headphone socket.


NIVEA Gift Pack, The Weekender 7 Piece Gift Pack
NIVEA Gift Pack, The Weekender 7 Piece Gift Pack
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice pack, 19 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An impressive gift pack.

All contained in a really very nice travel bag. The bag is an attractive purple, pleasingly rigid and rectangular. For a while the zip on the bottom mystified us until we realised it allows you to fold the bag down flat when not in use; a nice feature.

The contents of the bag are all decent size (not very small sample size as I’d feared they might be). The products are well described on the (current) web-page although the description is one rather dense paragraph rather than bullet points and not that easy to read. So, in summary the pack contains:
Shower Cream (250ml)
Moisturising Cream (75ml)
Day & Night Creams (50ml)
Lip Balm
Cleansing Wipes
Deodorant (Roll-on).
Shower Puff

All high quality Nivea products. Impressed.


KS3 Maths Textbook 2
KS3 Maths Textbook 2
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not terrible but…., 16 May 2016
This review is from: KS3 Maths Textbook 2 (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not great either.

Generally I’m a big fan of CGP - I own a number of revision guides and I have generally been very impressed - but in comparison to most other CGP offerings I found this book rather uninspiring. It is clearly and by some distance the least impressive CGP book I have.

It is much less colourful and eye catching than usual. I guess it is methodical and thorough but it is also dull. It is a large book - nearly 300 pages and provides copious questions although the lack of answers is more than a little frustrating.

This is book 2 of a series of books. This approach can be confusing - for example the first topic I looked for, rational & irrational numbers, is not in this book (I assume it is in Book 3).


Choice
Choice
by Richard Harper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Subject, 16 May 2016
This review is from: Choice (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Choice is a fascinating subject and this book has some interesting ideas and insights.

The book has a serious, academic tone. The authors clearly know their subject well but they hide it beneath densely packed, rather uninspiring prose; it is very heavy going. It lacks the lightness of touch that characterises popular work in the area; if this is intended for the general reader then I’m afraid it is not successful.

I found some interesting things in the book (hence 3 rather than 2 stars) but most of the time it was very hard going; I don't think I would recommend it to anyone who did not already have a strong interest in the subject and possessed a very high tolerance for academics’ prose.


Mitre Delta Slip Pro Football Shin Pads
Mitre Delta Slip Pro Football Shin Pads
Offered by BigOnSport
Price: £9.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice shin pads, 11 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are very nice little shin-pads; with little being an important word. They are much less bulky than any and all other shin-pads we’ve owned.

I am currently encouraging my (sports mad/football crazy) 11-year old to wear shin pads whenever he plays football (oddly, they are mandatory in some of the places he plays and optional in others). These shin-pads are small and very lightweight; the size and weight make it much easier to persuade him to put them in his bag.

The design is interesting - clearly intended to offer great protection with their angular structure/face. It is difficult to fully assess how well this design achieves it’s goal; but initial impressions are positive.

The pads are held in place with compression style sleeves - we have a medium size pads; the pads are the right size but the sleeves have come up slightly too big.

Overall very happy with the shin-pads.


Mathematics for KS3: 10-Minute Tests - Book 3 (including Answers)
Mathematics for KS3: 10-Minute Tests - Book 3 (including Answers)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Another strong offering from CGP., 10 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Another strong offering from CGP. These 10 minute tests are great; they really are 10 minute tests. This is book 3 which is designed to test some of the more challenging material and consequently the questions are sometimes quite difficult. Thankfully answers are included at the back of the book.

I tested the book on a year 7 student; he did pretty well although there were a few question he simply didn’t know where to start with (e.g. he didn’t know what rational numbers were). It would probably have been better to start with book 1 or 2.

Recommended.


The Plea
The Plea
by Steve Cavanagh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Glorious Trash, 3 May 2016
This review is from: The Plea (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the second Eddie Flynn book I’ve read and it pretty much hit expectations.

My review of The Defence described it as Glorious Trash (meant entirely non pejoratively) and endorsed another review that described it as “cliched, ludicrous but terrific fun”. The same descriptions could be applied to The Plea.

This is great fun. I devoured it very quickly and enjoyed every minute of it. There are quibbles: at times it feels more like a screenplay than a novel, the characters and plot are cliche ridden with a requirement for an almost complete suspension of disbelief but at the end of the day none of this matters. It is an entertaining, enjoyable read.


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