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Marand (Warwickshire)
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Leitz Style A5 Soft Cover Ruled Notebook - Titan Blue
Leitz Style A5 Soft Cover Ruled Notebook - Titan Blue
Price: 22.28

3.0 out of 5 stars Too pricy for what it is, 26 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's nothing really wrong with this as a notebook. It has nice quality paper, a pocket for receipts, tickets, etc at the back with a few page marker/post-it type stickies and a couple of ribbon markers as well. The soft cover is OK, although it does seem to mark quite easily and I am not convinced as to its robustness. I carry an A5 notebook around with me all the time. My current notebook is hard-backed and, like this one, has a pocket at the back - it doesn't have the pen holder or the post-it notes but it is of decent quality I'm not sure how much difference these features would make to me. I've had it for several months and it looks pretty much like new. The Leitz notebook, on the other hand, looked a bit dog-eared, particularly at the corners, after just one session in my bag. The major difference is that the hard-back notebook cost less than 6 from a well-known high street stationers compared with almost 17 for this Leitz version. That makes even the trendy Moleskin notebooks look like a bargain, coming in at around 10-11 for the same size.

Ultimately it's not a bad notebook but it is way over-priced for what it is and doesn't offer value for money.


MoroccanOil - Oil Treatment For All Hair Types (100ml)
MoroccanOil - Oil Treatment For All Hair Types (100ml)
Offered by Classic Parfums
Price: 24.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A little goes a long way, 26 Aug 2014
I am not normally convinced that premium hair products are worth the extortionate prices asked for them compared with bog standard shampoo, etc. from the supermarket. This one though is definitely worth the money. I first started using it on a recommendation from my hairdresser because my hair was in a poor state owing to medication that I had to take on a long-term basis. I was feeling miserable generally and my skin and hair were definitely suffering. I had had the product used on me in the salon and loved the smell of it so I thought I'd treat myself. I have now been using it for a couple of years and wouldn't be without it. My hair has definitely improved and has re-gained its lustre. It is also a great protector against heat damage from smoothing irons.

Although it is undoubtedly expensive, a bottle lasts for ages because you only need to use a tiny amount - a single pump does the job, any more than that and it would be too heavy & greasy. I put it on immediately after towel-drying my hair and it keeps the frizz away even if I just leave my hair to dry naturally. I do have one friend who found it didn't really help - she has very thick coarse hair and she thought it was too heavy for her hair. I did wonder if she had used too much or perhaps it is just better for fine, fly away hair like mine which is coloured on a regular basis rather than thick grey hair.


Cairo Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the Middle East Inspired by the Street Foods of Cairo
Cairo Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the Middle East Inspired by the Street Foods of Cairo
by Suzanne Zeidy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Fresh & flavoursome, 26 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I dithered a bit as to whether or not to order this book - I have hundreds of cook books and increasingly find that many new releases are just going over ground. I am glad though that I didn't pass on this book even though I already have several middle eastern cookery books.

There are lots of recipes based on broad beans, a staple of Egyptian cuisine. There is a particularly nice dish called besara, composed of soaked dried broad beans cooked with herbs - simple, healthy, satisfying. There are also some wonderful soups - I tried the Koshary soup, a mix of lentils & chickpeas with vermicelli, tomatoes and spices. Others soups on offer include lentil; roasted garlic vegetable which includes cannellini beans; and a gorgeous looking pumpkin soup which I have bookmarked to make when pumpkin comes into season.

There is also plenty for vegetarians - apart from salads (including a cauliflower salad that makes an otherwise bland and dull vegetable into a bit of a star) & soups, there are plenty of meals based on pulses & grains, stuffed vegatables, etc.. On the meat front there are a fair few recipes involving chicken, but also beef, lamb, quail & veal. I can't see me ever cooking any of the breakfast dishes - I like my pulses but I really couldn't face a dish of broad beans or pearl barley in the morning even if I had the time to cook them.

Most recipes are straightforward and don't involve exotic ingredients. There are, though, some recipes which call for ingredients you are unlikely to find readily on the high street, for example pomegranate molasses. Whilst some of these items are available on the internet, including via Amazon, it is a bit of a pain to have to source things online as often the delivery charges are disproportionately high for small quantities.

Overall, then, a very impressive book, beautifully produced, good photos (possibly too many?).


Tefal Ingenio Induction Sautepan, 24 cm - Black
Tefal Ingenio Induction Sautepan, 24 cm - Black
Price: 24.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 Aug 2014
I got this pan as part of a set and find it so useful. It is difficult to find deep, wide frying/sauté pans these days. The pan is a good weight, the detachable handle is secure in use, and the non-stick is just excellent. The pan can go in the dishwasher - I was a little wary initially but the set have been through the dishwasher enough times now to indicate that they won't be damaged. I have used it on both gas and induction hobs and it cooks well on both. You can also buy a stainless steel steamer insert with lid - its not something I've tried as I already have a steamer. The pans are really easy to stack & store owing to the removable handles so they are a boon in a small kitchen and very practical on the hob too.


Uni Pin Drawing Pens,  Pack of 5 Assorted Tip Sizes, Black Ink
Uni Pin Drawing Pens, Pack of 5 Assorted Tip Sizes, Black Ink
Price: 5.75

3.0 out of 5 stars OK, 26 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I tried these as an alternative to my Rotring rapidograph technical drawing pens - I know that the Rotring's have a sterling reputation but I just don't get on with them terribly well. These Unipins aren't bad although the ink takes much longer to dry than the Rotrings so you have to be careful moving ruling edges, set squares, etc.. Unfortunately some the pens didn't last long before the ink ran out so, despite the initial cost of the Rotring pens, they would probably prove to be more economical. Also, the pens aren't quite as precise. I am now trying out the Staedtler fine liners which, so far, I prefer to these Unipin pens although their longevity remains to be seen.


PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
PaperPro 2 Hole Punch - Black/Silver
Price: 7.84

4.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's a hole punch so not too much to get excited about however compared with the cheap plastic ones I already have it is much better at the job. Being metal, it doesn't flex as you push down so you get cleanly punched pages even when you are punching multiple sheets. The container that retains punched paper is quite deep too and doesn't need to be emptied as much. There is a large button/clip to release the paper and then part of the plastic base flips down. This is quite useful as it is easier to ensure the paper ends up in the bin rather than having tiny bits of paper dumped over the floor when you empty it. The paper guide locks firmly into place and the sizes are clearly marked in white against a black background (sizes A4, B5, A5, B6 and A6). There's a push button to lock the bar down so it can be stored in a shallow desk or cabinet draw.

The difference in quality & performance of this punch compared to the cheap plastic versions is worth the small price premium.


Garmin nuvi 2598LMT-D 5" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Free Lifetime Map Updates and Free Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts
Garmin nuvi 2598LMT-D 5" Sat Nav with UK and Full Europe Maps, Free Lifetime Map Updates and Free Lifetime Digital Traffic Alerts
Price: 160.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the upgrade, 23 Aug 2014
It seems Amazon are lumping together reviews of several different Garmin models - this review relates to the Nuvi 2598LMT-D EU.

We decided to buy a new sat nav largely because it was going to cost a fair bit to update the maps which made this model, with its lifetime updates and useful features which weren't available when we bought our last sat nav (also a Garmin) five or six years back, an attractive proposition. We also wanted to have all the European maps on the device and not have to fiddle around adding and removing maps because of capacity issues. We didn't buy it from Amazon because it was cheaper at a well-known car accessory supplier.

Set up was quite simple although downloading map updates took an age but this is more to do with our appallingly slow broadband connection than with Garmin. We tested it out on a few UK journeys that we are very familiar with to ensure it was working satisfactorily before we headed off to Europe on holiday. I have to say it is much better than our old satnav (which was a highly recommended one at the time of purchase). Routing was quick and delivered the appropriate route. We were delighted to find that if you divert from the route there was a much quicker re-calculation than the old machine, and without the 're-calculating, recalculating' chant that used to drive us mad. We also noticed how much better directions were - useful stuff like 'turn left at the traffic lights'. There is also a distinct improvement in instructions compared to our old model which seemed to notify turns far too early sometimes leading us astray and invoking the 're-calculating, re-calculating' chant. The lane direction split screen is also very useful - it doesn't appear for every junction (and frankly isn't needed most of the time) but it made life a lot easier going into Paris. The screen is very clear and immediately reacts to changes such as entering tunnels when it switches to a style more suited for night-viewing. It was also useful to know on the motorway where the next fuel services or roadworks were coming up so we could plan ahead.

The only problem we had was with the directions to a supermarket in Beaune chosen from the menu - we got there but to the delivery bay and had to re-trace our journey round the block to the customer entrance. On another occasion the map was out of date but in fairness the road had only just opened so I imagine that the next update will take care of that.

The one really irritating factor on this one was the English speaking woman (the default on our machine). To put it mildly she struggled with pronunciation in French. Initially this was very amusing (an Avenue Neuchatel was pronounced 'avu neighchaaartel' - it took several attempts for us to work out what she was saying and it only became clear when I noticed the road name on a wall!). After a while the joke wore thin and we chose to have instructions read out in French - I can confidently give directions in French now having listened to this for three weeks!

From our point of view, aside from a couple of minor niggles, we think the upgrade to the new model was worth it, providing lots of useful features, a better screen and faster directions as well as lifetime map & travel updates.


Paper Mate Inkjoy 100 Capped Ball Pen Medium Assorted Fun Colours - Bag of 10
Paper Mate Inkjoy 100 Capped Ball Pen Medium Assorted Fun Colours - Bag of 10
Price: 1.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap & cheerful, 23 Aug 2014
Nice cheap set of coloured pens for the office. I have seen a few reviews which mention that the pens leak but I have had no problems. The ink flow is quite smooth on most of the pens with the occasional blotch with others (notably the orange & green pens - no idea why this should be so). I find the pens comfortable to hold. I'm only using them for occasional markings on drawings so, even if they don't last long with regular use, they should be more than adequate for me.


Cut the Carbs: 100 Recipes to Help You Ditch White Carbs and Feel Great
Cut the Carbs: 100 Recipes to Help You Ditch White Carbs and Feel Great
by Tori Haschka
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

2.0 out of 5 stars Just didn't inspire me, 23 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As others have pointed out, this is a reduced carb rather than no carb recipe book, avoiding bread, pasta, rice & potatoes. The book is essentially advocating a low-GI diet. I love to cook and have literally hundreds of cook books but this one just didn't inspire me. I was somewhat mystified as to why there are so many five star reviews but then I looked at the reviewers' history and I suspect most of those reviews have been posted by parties connected to either the author or the publisher.

To start with, there were too many dishes for which I already have recipes e.g. cauliflower & broccoli gratin, dal, white bean purée, ribollita. After that, there just wasn't much that grabbed my attention. There are a lot of pulses used in the book which for some people may be something different but pulses have been an essential component of my vegetarian diet for years so there weren't any great revelations there. I'm not really a pudding person so it says something, I think, that the most appealing recipes for me were the desserts - Clementine tarta di Santiago, passionfruit & raspberry nougat parfait, Salzburger nockerl, peppermint chocolate mousse.

For the most part the ingredients are easy to find although there is the odd exception e.g. pomegranate molasses & rice malt syrup which I would have to source from an online supplier - only cost effective if buying in bulk which I don't want to do. Preparation is pretty straightforward too. There is a selection of breakfasts but these either involved more prep time than I would be ready to spend in the morning or were not the sort of thing I would want to eat at breakfast time - eggs yes, but not with asparagus, omelette maybe but not one involving feta, lentils & pistachios, nor Mexican baked eggs served with guacamole. The recipes in this section seemed more useful as light lunches than breakfast.

I have to say I hated the narrative parts introducing each section and each recipe - particularly the asinine references to 'The Hungry One' aka the author's husband. I was annoyed too that the font in the introduction to each chapter was much larger than that used for the recipes, and that the irritating comment about the recipes was in bold whilst the tiny font used for the ingredients & method, i.e. the important bits, is light and more difficult to read.

If you want a low GI cookbook there are better ones out there - take a look at Rachel Anne Hill, Lorna Rhodes, Rose Elliott for vegetarians albeit she still includes some 'white' carbs, and Antony Worrall Thompson has published several on this theme. I'm afraid this book is destined to languish at the back of the bookshelves.


Canon Pixma MG 3150 Colour Multifunctional Printer
Canon Pixma MG 3150 Colour Multifunctional Printer
Offered by TheInkPeople
Price: 64.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good at this price point, 20 Aug 2014
I bought this printer from a well-known high street catalogue retailer for 40. I wasn't expecting much at that price but I have been very pleasantly surprised. It was a doddle to set up and is pretty economical with the ink too (unlike the Epson printer it was replacing which had a serious drink problem and would not work with non-Epson cartridges.) I had seen a review either in the press or in Which? Magazine which mentioned the comparative frugality of ink consumption by this model for those who aren't printing on a regular basis which is what persuaded me to buy - that and the gorgeous red colour!

It doesn't have the smallest footprint but sits comfortably on a deep bookcase with the paper tray overhanging just a fraction. Print quality is very good. I was particularly surprised at the quality of the photo prints - given the price point I didn't think the output would be that great but it is just as good as some more expensive printers I have had. It isn't the quickest when it comes to printing photos but I am not using it for high volumes of printing so it is fine for my purposes. Black & white text is perfectly acceptable too. It will accept A4, A4 photo & 10x15 photo paper.


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