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josie82 (Fife, Scotland, UK)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Feel Good: How to Change Your Mood and Cope with Whatever Comes Your Way
Feel Good: How to Change Your Mood and Cope with Whatever Comes Your Way
by Shane Pascoe
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.70

2.0 out of 5 stars Only skims the surface, 17 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have clinical depression and anxiety. Because of that, I quite enjoy self-help books and find them both entertaining and useful. Having said that, I do appreciate that if they were as useful as they claim to be then perhaps I wouldn’t continue to buy them! Despite this, as always, I was ever hopeful that this book provided that ‘ah-ha’ moment

Unfortunately that moment did not come from this particular book.

As well as the usual foreword, bibliography, index etc, the book is split into 11 chapters. These are: “How Are You?”, Challenge Your Thinking, Anger, Self-Efficacy, Distress, Unhappiness, Well-being and Happiness, Self-Esteem, Leading A Balanced Lifestyle, Relaxation Techniques and Where to From Here?.

My first problem is that I didn’t really think that the chapters were in the correct order. It was sort of like they are trying to solve the problems without first finding out what the problems were or how they came to be. It was very much, to my thinking, like the plaster approach - pop a plaster over the wound and it’s sorted despite the fact that the injury will happen again and again because the irritant is still there.

The writing style was fine although at times it seemed a little too practical rather than being upbeat. I also felt that the topics were skimmed rather than being developed in any depth. There were techniques that are fairly standard and I have read about time and time again (in other books and on the internet in general). This might be fine if this is the first book you’ve ever picked up on the subject but perhaps only then. As another viewer pointed out, there were particular parts of the book that were downright depressing and made me feel a little worse than I had when I started the book. Definitely not what the authors were going for, I’m sure.

Personally, this book isn’t terrible and anything that tries to help has got to be a good thing. For me, I think it would be more beneficial for people looking for a self-help book to boost their mood to look for something more in depth. Perhaps something on CBT or focussing on a specific issue such as anger, self-esteem etc. 2 stars but only because it’s not for me.


Hozelock Wonder Weeder
Hozelock Wonder Weeder
Price: 15.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A very good and simple idea, 15 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really simple product - nothing too fancy and that’s not a bad thing. This tool reduces the waste of weed killer by targeting the liquid to the weed and not surrounding areas. It’s great for that and all the better is that you don’t need to bend down to administer it which is great for both protecting your back and if you are unable to bend down in the first place or find a watering can too heavy.

Filling is simple and you have control over the amount of liquid to be applied - just turn the knob at the base of the unit. Then is just a press of the button and liquid is ejected onto the target. Very easy application.

All in all, this is a simple idea that is of great use in the garden. A product I would highly recommend.


Starting a Home Business For Dummies
Starting a Home Business For Dummies
by Rachel Bridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: 11.55

2.0 out of 5 stars A little bit disappointing, 15 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this book in the for dummies series had some useful nuggets of information I was, on balance, disappointed with the title.

My favourite part of the book had to be the chapter entitled "balancing your business and your life”. This was a useful title and had some useful information although I would have expected it to have more detail and depth.

There are also a really effective list in each of the sections of the subjects that should be investigated in more detail before you start your business.

I suppose the downside of this book is that it’s nothing particularly new and innovative. Most of the information can be found free of charge on various websites and in much more detail.

If someone is thinking of starting their own business, I would suspect that they would know either their areas of expertise or their passion and hence the nature of their future business. The book contained many ideas of businesses that could be pursued which baffled me a little and stopped much of the information being too detailed. I know this is a Dummies book so shouldn’t be too in depth but I personally didn’t like this aspect.

I also got the impression that this book might have originally started life as a book called Starting a Small Business for Dummies which has then been edited so that it concentrates on home based businesses.

I think that, with a great number of small start-up businesses that start as home based, beginning with limited funds, the reader would have been better served if more of the book had been devoted to topics such as creating markets and using new technology for organising your business with less on aspects of copyright trademarks patents and types of business which you could start.

Perhaps this book is best suited to someone who wants to see if running their own business is for them rather than someone who has already decided to pursue their dream business idea. As it stands, I would suggest a more detailed book on the subject you’re interested in would be a better use of your money.


Rosewood Combo Comb and Moult Stoppa, Small
Rosewood Combo Comb and Moult Stoppa, Small
Price: 15.95

4.0 out of 5 stars A good and practical grooming tool, 15 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a cocker spaniel puppy and wanted to get her used to grooming while she was still young. After receiving the Rosewood Comb and Moult Stoppa I realise that I also needed to get used to grooming her because on first inspection this looks like a little torture device!

The handle is a pretty purple plastic and is easy to grip with special points so that it’s comfortable to hold while using. It also pivots on the head/handle so that you can adjust it slightly to whichever area you are brushing/combing.

There are two tools that you get with this. The first is a stainless steel comb which removes knots and old hair. It’s very fine has a gentle arc to it so that it moulds to the shape of your pet’s body. The comb also has a little plastic guard to keep things safe while not in use.

The ‘scary’ end is the rake. It looks like a tray of needles with a smaller needle at the end. With that said, it’s not sharp and has the added benefit of bouncing so that you can never press to hard and hurt your pet while brushing. I didn’t find this end as good as the comb end - perhaps my dog’s hair isn’t long enough for it to be effective. The dog seemed to like it, though, and if nothing else, it gave her a nice massage when it was used.

My puppy managed to get hold of this and decided to give the handle a good old chew. I was fairly impressed that, despite her best efforts, the handle stayed intact and in one piece. There are a few marks but it can still be used. I won’t say it’s indestructible (as I don’t want to give it to her again to test my theory) but it’s a strong tool.

For the price, this is a handy little tool. Would be a nice addition to your pet’s grooming equipment although perhaps a little more useful for a long haired dog or cat. A good buy for the price.


Tefal OptiGrill
Tefal OptiGrill
Price: 139.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 15 April 2014
This review is from: Tefal OptiGrill (Kitchen & Home)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was slightly intimidated when this grill arrived because it comes in a pretty big box. How on earth was I going to find a place for it in the kitchen? After it had been used, I will happily make room for it on my kitchen units as it’s such a great bit of kit.

It’s basically a plug-and-go kind of machine. Out the box, an obligatory read through the instructions (which are easy to read and easy to understand) and you’re pretty much ready to go. Simply heat up the machine, pop on your food (I chose steaks as my first venture) and wait until the colour matches how you like your meat and you’re done and ready to eat.

I enjoy my food but admit that I’m not hard to please and things don’t need to fancy to satisfy me. That said, the steaks surpassed my expectations as they were delicious and exactly how I like them. I enjoyed the fact that this machine could take the guess work out of making steaks. Sure, you can make other food in the machine and it also works well for anything you fancy grilling on it, but steaks really are the reason this machine exists!

Another thing in favour of this machine is that you can remove the plates for easier cleaning. Perfect if you want to put off doing the dishes by soaking the plates before cleaning! Having used a George Foreman grill for a long time (and liking it very much) I have to say that this is a much more substantial grill and has a lot more benefits. The price is higher but if you are a steak lover (or perhaps just a meat lover) then I would suggest this is definitely worth paying. Having read the other reviews, perhaps this isn’t for serious foodies, but I liked it very much and would recommend it.


The Profligate Son: Or, a True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice, and Financial Ruin in Regency England
The Profligate Son: Or, a True Story of Family Conflict, Fashionable Vice, and Financial Ruin in Regency England
by Nicola Phillips
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.70

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great social history, 7 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am hugely interested in the Regency period so this book interested me from the beginning. It’s always great to get social history presented in a new book especially one which has such detail and so many vivid first hand accounts.

The Profligate Son tells the story of William Jackson. Born to a well-respected family, the book chronicles his descent as he indulges in the whims and excesses of Georgian society. As another reviewer pointed out, it’s nice to have an account of a ‘normal’ family of the Regency rather than the usual information about the Royals or aristocracy.

I enjoyed Nicola Phillips’ style of writing and the way she presented the facts without taking sides or making subtle (or obvious) implications about what her personal views were. The story was very absorbing and I found myself really getting into it. By the end I was so emotionally invested that it was quite upsetting.

HAving said that, the amount of detail contained within makes this a great read if you’re interested in social history, the Regency period or the portrayal of rakes in history. Excellent. 5 stars.


Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
by Gyles Brandreth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous quotations well presented, 7 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
and influential people through the ages. Having said that, there is nothing about this book that is simple. It is chock full of information and quotations, how to use the book and useful indexes to help you find things.

After an introduction written in Giles Brandreth’s usual style, you get a section on how to use the dictionary. There is then a list of themes as the book is divided into areas with common subject matter all being placed together. Themes include things like cricket, dance, failure, ignorance, politicians, reading, sex, transport, work and so much besides.

Each quotation is clearly written with who said it, about what (if necessary), when and where the quote came from. The quotes are also numbered in each section making it easy to find and re-read anything you particularly want to.

Also to help with that, at the back of the book is a very comprehensive index of both people and then words. Really useful.

As with anything, whether you find things funny or not is all subjective. Some quotations I found amusing, others I had heard too many times for them to make an impact, while others I was confused as to where the funny was supposed to be.

I think for anyone interested in words or language would enjoy leafing through this book. How useful it is, remains to be seen, but it is good fun and definitely a book you can get lost in.


Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation 50 Natural
Max Factor Whipped Creme Foundation 50 Natural
Price: 7.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little product, 7 Feb 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This foundation has a light, frothy consistency and is easy to apply.

It’s always difficult to make sure you’re getting the correct colour but I found this colour (50, Natural) to be perfect for my fairly pale complexion.

Not only is it easy to apply, you need very little of it which makes it great value for money. The wee pot is quite cute and sits nicely on your dressing table after use or would fit quite nicely in your handbag.

It’s easy to blend and doesn’t look too heavy on your skin. Just to top it off, it comes off easily with a face wipe or cloth.

Overall this is a great product and does the job well. The only reason I’m not giving it the full 5 stars is because I have used other products that I feel to be just as good as this one. 4 stars.


Alpen Blueberry/ Cranberry/ Yoghurt Bars 29 g (Pack of 5)
Alpen Blueberry/ Cranberry/ Yoghurt Bars 29 g (Pack of 5)
Price: 9.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Depends what you're looking for, 13 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These bars are fairly low in calories for the size that you get; they are little over 120kcals for a 29g bar. Having said that, despite the muesli and fruit, don't be fooled into thinking these are choc full of healthy ingredients because they definitely have some hidden ingredients in there.

I like the yoghurt used on these types of product but I really did think there was too much of a solid layer along the bottom. This, coupled with the muesli made for a strange texture that wasn't too appealing, if I'm honest. The yoghurt also leaves a bit of an aftertaste which you probably wouldn't get if there was less of a yoghurt base.

It tastes typical of these types of bars, not hugely fresh but would give you a boost and a sweet bite if you incorporated as a mid-morning snack or as part of your lunch. This is where it really does depend on what you're looking for whether you will ultimately like these bars or not. If you're just looking for a snack that has the taste of oats, yoghurt and dried fruits then this could be for you. The taste of cranberries and blueberries comes through and the little pieces of fruits are quite tasty. However, if you're looking for a health bar then I would look somewhere else.


Almo Nature Holistic Dog Medium with Chicken and Rice 12 Kg
Almo Nature Holistic Dog Medium with Chicken and Rice 12 Kg
Price: 40.17

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Springer loved it, 13 Jan 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As soon as this very large (12kg) bag of dog food arrived at the house, the four year old Springer Spaniel was intrigued.

She showed just as much gusto when fed for her tea. She wolfed it all down and was whining for seconds. She's not a particularly fussy eater but certainly wouldn't eat just any old thing so that definitely a plus point.

The main reason I was drawn to this food is because, firstly, the ethos of the company that one size doesn't fit all even if the dogs are the same breed, age and etc. Every dog is different. The second thing is that it is made with good quality, natural ingredients that are perfect for the dog's health and wellbeing. I would suspect that this is why it's more expensive than your average supermarket dog food.

Overall, the dog was pleased. It didn't cause her stomach to churn or give her smelly gas. I didn't notice any negatives from her eating it and her coat remained shiny. If you're looking for a natural dog food and price isn't an issue then I would definitely recommend this food.


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