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Bantam Dave (Bradford, UK)
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Belkin F8W499 Slim Fit+ Armband for iPhone 6 - Black
Belkin F8W499 Slim Fit+ Armband for iPhone 6 - Black
Price: £17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Practical and unobtrusive, 18 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I exercise in the gym most days, but if I didn’t have something occupy my mind I would find certain activities too boring to bother with. To counteract this I usually take my phone with me and listen to the podcasts that I have downloaded especially for the purpose. It can sometimes a bit awkward knowing where to put the phone though; it is fine in my shorts pocket whilst I am running but when I move on to an activity that requires a degree of bending, for example the rowing machine, a phone in the pocket can be a bit restricting. This iPhone holder seems to have provided a more than adequate solution to this problem though, as my phone is now safe, tucked out of the way on my upper arm.

The armband is made out of a flexible material called neoprene which as well as being easy to clean also allows it to breathe, so it never becomes sweaty. Even with the phone loaded inside the armband is still quite slim and it feels so comfortable on the arm that you soon forget that you are wearing it. I have been using my armband for two weeks now but so far I have encountered no problems with chafing or irritation, probably because the easy to adjust strap allows the wearer to attach the armband so snugly that it barely moves about whilst you are exercising. My favourite innovation though is the feature that allows you to store your excess headphone cord in the strap, thus eliminating the chance of getting tangled up or accidently pulling out the “buds” out of your ears.

Although slightly pricey, the Belkin armband is clearly a well thought out product that is both highly practical and unobtrusive.


Belfine Chocolate Finger Pup Pets Assorted Characters 15 g (Pack of 8)
Belfine Chocolate Finger Pup Pets Assorted Characters 15 g (Pack of 8)
Price: £8.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good for kids!, 12 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have a confession to make. I acquired these chocolate characters with the intention of giving them out to my daughters friends during her Christmas party, which is currently in the planning stage. Before we were prepared to do this though, my wife and I both agreed that we had best try one of the Finger Pets, just to make sure that they were of the desired standard. This turned out to be a BIG mistake! They are quite simply delicious, the chocolate being of a particularly high quality. They were, in fact, so delicious that we just had to try another and another and another. It wasn't too long before we had decided that the kids could have something else instead.

This is an excellent product, and forgive me if this sounds cruel, but perhaps a bit too good for kids of the age for which they are intended, the under tens. The chocolate is first rate, hence the extremely steep selling price, but in my experience kids of that age are not that discerning; they would honestly be just as happy if the same product was given to them, only using a much cheaper, lower quality chocolate.


Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography: Vol 2
Going Off Alarming: The Autobiography: Vol 2
by Danny Baker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Like being in a pub with a friend who knows how to tell a good story, 12 Dec 2014
In this second volume of his autobiography Danny Baker writes about the period of time when he was very much "the flavour of the week". This was when he hardly ever seemed to be off our TV screens, presenting game shows, hosting chat shows or inviting housewives to take the doorstep challenge in a series of awful adverts for a soap powder. He admits that he earned a lot of money, often more than the work deserved, but he wasn't going to turn it down - no doubt his father Spud, who is a major character in this book, would have had something to say about it if he had. Despite his success on TV though, Danny Baker has always been a radio man; talk radio is the media where he excels, his natural gift of the gab helping to make him possibly both the most inventive and entertaining broadcaster today, although this book proves that he is a more than extremely capable writer too.

I had thought that the first part of his autobiography, Going to Sea in a Sieve, would be hard to beat, but for my money he has improved on it with Going off Alarming. This is a hugely enjoyable book which reminded me, when reading it, of being sat in a cosy pub with a friend who really knows how to tell a good story. Whilst it is primarily a showbiz autobiography Baker has given equal emphasis to his life away from the public eye and it is probably these sections that I liked the most. His father Spud, for example, emerges as being a Cockney geezer that would probably have seemed too implausible if he had been a character in Eastenders, and Danny's dog Twizzle was clearly a bit of a head-case, seemingly harbouring a death wish judging from his numerous attempts to face up to the fierce junkyard dog that lived at the other side of the Baker garden fence.

Going off Alarming is a warm and funny book which whets the appetite for the third instalment of Danny Bakers autobiography, which we are told covers the period in his life when he is diagnosed as having cancer. Knowing Baker I doubt that even this will make the book any less amusing.


Hard Case - The Autobiography of Jimmy Case
Hard Case - The Autobiography of Jimmy Case
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't he do well?, 3 Dec 2014
Now that the top English teams seem to prefer to use their cheque books to buy success there is not much chance that any player these days will enjoy the sort of football career that Jimmy Case had. At times his autobiography reads like a work of comic book fiction. Born in the Allerton district of Liverpool, he followed the Reds from childhood but whilst he was regarded as being a decent player he was thought to be too small and slight to be able to make a career of it. He drifted into non-league football after leaving school and became an apprentice electrician whilst playing part-time for South Liverpool in the Northern Premier League. After bulking out physically Liverpool took a chance on him and within two years he had made his first team debut, going on to win four Championship medals, three European Cup winners' medals and a UEFA Cup winner's medal. After eight years at Liverpool he went on to enjoy long spells at Brighton and Southampton, amongst others, before retiring at the advanced for football age of 41. His uncompromising, whole-hearted style of play meant that he was a popular player at all of his clubs, but this was particularly so at Liverpool where, as a local lad, he was regarded by the supporters as being "one of us". On reading his highly readable autobiography it is clear to see why he earned and deserved this popularity. Despite his achievements he comes across as being a very down to earth character, someone who played football more for the love of the game than the size of his pay-packet. He doesn't appear to take himself too seriously neither, bearing no resentment that he didn't gain the full England cap that his ability surely warranted even though the rest of his Liverpool team-mates were all full internationals.

Although perhaps not being one of the better football autobiographies that I have read there is still plenty to enjoy in this book, and I'm sure that loyal Koppites will love to read about the career of one of their favourite sons.


SEVERIN SEVOF ES 3564 Stainless Steel Juice Extractor, 400 Watt, Black
SEVERIN SEVOF ES 3564 Stainless Steel Juice Extractor, 400 Watt, Black
Price: £45.30

3.0 out of 5 stars An efficient gadget - but will it get used?, 1 Dec 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In one of our kitchen cupboards you will find a toasted sandwich maker, a bread maker, a food processor and a slow cooker. None of these have been used for well over a year and I would be very surprised if they were used in the next year - or even ever again. Each seemed to be a gadget that we couldn’t do without when we first bought it but after the initial rush of enthusiasm they fell into disuse after a few weeks and were consigned to the cupboard a short time later. I suspect that soon they will be joined by our Severin Juice extractor. I have no complaints about the extractor; it is a very efficient machine that fulfils its purpose, to extract juice, extremely well. It is simple to use, doesn’t make too much noise and we don’t find cleaning it particularly problematic. It is even quite pleasing on the eye. What we found though, is that for the first few weeks we were juicing almost everything that we could our hands on. The fruit juices were mostly okay, even if it did take quite a lot of fruit to produce just a small amount for us to drink, but none of us cared for the juices extracted from vegetables. Once the novelty wore off it did not take too long before we were just juicing oranges but we found that this wasn’t really cost effective as we could usually find a supermarket with a special offer on orange juice anyway, and aren’t those plastic bottles and tetrapak cartons convenient and fit nicely in the fridge?

I doubt whether the average family would use a juicer enough to justify the initial cost and the cost of the fruit & vegetables required, but those amongst us who like to lead a healthy lifestyle or are trying to lose weight would probably benefit from owning a good juicer, and the ES 3564 is definitely a good juicer.


The Reluctant Cannibals
The Reluctant Cannibals
by Ian Flitcroft
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.10

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard to digest, 28 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I really struggled with this book. It took me over two weeks to read after I had given up on it on three occasions before each time having second thoughts; unfortunately now I have finished it I wish I hadn’t bothered.

I thought the story, about a secretive dining society, was weak, overwritten and tortuously slowly paced. The members of the society are all Oxford academics but none are particularly likeable, all coming across as being pompous bores cocooned from the real world after living most of their pampered lives in the bosom of St Jerome’s University. The main storyline, about a society members dying wish that his leg should be eaten as a gastronomic experiment, is a bordering on the ridiculous, and the sub-plots, about a Flashman type school bully and the legal repercussions of the intended cannibalism, don’t really go anywhere. Even they are better than the appearances of a couple of ghosts though, which are just plain daft.

Perhaps fittingly for a book about food and its consumption The Reluctant Cannibals was not to my taste and I realise now that when I started it I had bitten off more than I could chew.


Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set
Battroborg Samurai Vs Ninja Battle Set

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, 25 Nov 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Kids love robots and they love Ninja warriors too so the chance to control a robot Ninja warrior in its battle against a robot Samurai warrior would appear to form the basis of an ideal boys toy. The recipients of this Battroborg Battle Set, two brothers aged six and eight, seemed to agree as they played with it solidly for getting on for over an hour (not including charging time) when they were chosen to act as my appointed product testers. The younger of the two seemed to particularly enjoy it and would have carried on for longer, but the older of the two by this time had lost interest; perhaps this would indicate that the optimum age for this toy would be on the lower side of the manufacturer’s suggested age range of six and above. Although the battles are fun my testers seemed to derive just as much enjoyment from the actual controlling of the robots because the “Wii” type controllers really allowed them to imagine it was they who were in battle rather than the two plastic robots.

Although expensive this is a undoubtedly good toy. As most previous reviewers have pointed out though, it requires lots of batteries as it soon exhausts the eight required. Forewarned by these reviews we chose to get around this by purchasing one of the large packs of batteries readily available at discount shops.


My Life in Football
My Life in Football
by Trevor Brooking
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 19 Nov 2014
This review is from: My Life in Football (Hardcover)
Trevor Brooking was a classy footballer who enjoyed a successful career with West Ham and the England national team. Although he never had any desire to become a manager two short stints as caretaker manager at West Ham showed that he would probably have been a success at that too. On retiring as a player he became a one of the BBC's leading football pundits, a job he finally had to relinquish when he was offered a post in sports administration. He went on to become an extremely powerful figure in these roles too, ultimately earning himself a knighthood. I was therefore expecting his book, My Life on Football, to be an outstanding read that reflected a long and varied career; unfortunately it has turned out to be a rather pedestrian effort, which I found to be very disappointing.

The problem is that, strictly speaking, this book can hardly be classified as an autobiography because in it Brooking has written relatively little about himself. Instead, he has chosen to devote the majority of the book describing the fortunes of West Ham United and the England national team during the years that he played for them. Whilst this is all very interesting I could not help but feel short-changed because I was expecting, and would have much preferred, to have read more about Brooking's own personal experiences rather than the details of matches he played. It is probably against his nature to be reveal dressing-room secrets or be overly critical of others but that is the reason why I read football autobiographies and because this book does not offer this sort of insight it makes this book less than compulsive reading.


Bobby Moore: The Man in Full
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full
by Matt Dickinson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden boy, 8 Nov 2014
It is probably fair to say that most people under the age of thirty will know very little about Bobby Moore, even though he was, and still is, one of footballs finest ever defenders. After another disastrous World Cup campaign from which no England player came away with much credit it is perhaps as good a time as any to publish an autobiography of the man who captained England to our greatest triumph, the 1966 World Cup. I was very pleased to find that The Man in Full is an excellent book, doing full justice to the memory of Bobby Moore, who remains one of the most majestic footballers the world has ever seen.

This isn’t a book that purely extols the virtues of Bobby Moore though. It also reveals that he was a complex person that even his friends would admit to not knowing that well. He seemed to be a man of contradictions too. Although Moore always appeared to be man of great dignity and discipline he had a rebellious side, regularly sneaking out of hotels whilst on West Ham or England duty to pay a visit to the nearest pub or club. This was a habit that was to lead to fallings out with both Sir Alf Ramsey and Ron Greenwood, the latter of which he had a strained relationship, particularly after Moore refused to sign a new contract in 1966. This book reveals that had Moore not finally agreed upon a contract extension it would have meant that he would ineligible to play in that year’s World Cup. Both on and off the field Moore was fastidious with his appearance, a characteristic probably picked up from his mother, who we learn used to iron the laces of his football boots when he was making his way in the game, and would eventually lead to him famously wiping his hands before collecting the World Cup from the Queen. When he passed away in 1993 there was an outcry that Moore had been allowed to drift out of football following his retirement and subsequent failures which showed him to be not cut out to be a football manager or coach. Many said that he should have been “found” a role to play, for example become an ambassador for English football, but this book casts doubt in my mind that whether Moore would have liked such a position, preferring instead the opportunities to have a pint and a joke with his mates rather than hobnobbing with the hoi polloi whilst on official business.

Even allowing for this after reading this book I found it hard not hard to draw comparisons between Moore and David Beckham, both East Londoners and both often described as being the “golden boys” of English football. The big difference between the two is that Beckham played in an era when footballers were revered even after they were past their best rather than Moore’s era when footballers were allowed to be passed into history once they had retired.


Alice and the Fly
Alice and the Fly
by James Rice
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A potential cult classic, 8 Nov 2014
This review is from: Alice and the Fly (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think that this book will be it - the book that everybody will be talking about in 2015. It was clear to me from the very first few pages that Alice and the Fly was an exceptional book, and it gave me the kind of buzz that you don't come across very often; I well remember getting a similar buzz when I read Iain Banks's seminal Wasp Factory some years ago. In many ways Alice and the Fly reminds me of that brilliant book and I suspect that it will be held in the same high regard in years to come.

The story is about Greg, a young, deeply troubled boy. Greg is different from other boys his age. He has a phobia about spiders, causing him to have fits whenever he sees them. Unfortunately he sometimes sees them even when there are none to be seen. Such is the intensity of this phobia that he scratches his skin until it bleeds in the attempt to stop them crawling on his body. This and the fact that he talks with a lisp makes him the object of suspicion, which manifests itself into ridicule, particularly at school. Because of this he has no friends, so he is lonely and unloved because even his parents seem to care little about him. Whilst riding the bus he regularly sees a young girl, Alice. Alice has long red hair and always wears sunglasses, but it is her beauty that draws her to Greg's attention. Unfortunately with Greg's fragile state of mind it doesn't take long before what started as infatuation turns to obsession.

This is a brilliantly structured book in which author James Rice slowly but skilfully builds up the sense of foreboding and unease. The reader is never in any doubt that something bad is going to happen but although we know that Greg is going to be behind it when it happens we cannot help but root for him, because whilst he may be strange, nearly everybody else in the book seems stranger, certainly much less likeable.

Read this book soon, before everybody else does.


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