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Reviews Written by
A. I. McCulloch "Andrea" (Co Durham, U.K.)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Duracell Rechargeable Accu HR03 750 mAh AAA Batteries - 4-Pack
Duracell Rechargeable Accu HR03 750 mAh AAA Batteries - 4-Pack
Offered by Battery Warehouse
Price: £4.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Long lasting AAA batteries, as used in cordless phones and remote control. The best for the price., 12 Feb. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Four very good quality rechargeable AAA batteries from the leading brand name.
The AAA size is used in a wide range of devices, the most common use seems to be in remote controls and in cordless phones.
These were tested on arrival and weren't charged, but charged in a few hours in my standard battery charger.
I've put them in to use in a remote control and they have been fine.
The packaging appears genuine, and is identical to that on the Duracell website.
I find that rechargeable AAA batteries quickly pay for themselves; my AA and AAA Stay Charged Duracell batteries outlast any of the cheaper non rechargeable brands on just one charge. I'm sure these will too.


L'Oréal Paris True Match Le Crayon Concealer Number 10, Ivory  5 ml
L'Oréal Paris True Match Le Crayon Concealer Number 10, Ivory 5 ml
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely product, doesn't drag delicate eye skin and easy to apply., 12 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The True Match 'Le Crayon' concealer is much better than expected. It looks as if it will be a heavy formula that drags the skin on application, but it is very creamy and easy to apply. The precision tip can apply just the right amount, as opposed to liquid concealers which take a bit of getting right.
This has proved useful for disguising the dark shadows under my eyes caused by late nights and my having naturally deep set eyes, I really do look much healthier with this in place. It removed easily using my standard method of a textured cotton wool pad and micellar water.
My only reservation was that the colour supplied for review, Ivory, was too pale for me. I don't think I'll be able to use this during the summer when my skin is more lightly tanned.

That aside, this is a lovely, easy to use and effective product and one I will enjoy using whilst I can.


Memoir
Memoir
by John McGahern
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Gives a wonderful insight into John McGahern's writing, a beautifully written book detailing a remarkable life., 11 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Memoir (Paperback)
What a powerful book this is. I first read it on release, inspired to read it by having read McGahern's masterpiece Amongst Women: Faber Modern Classics. My reading that in turn came from having watched the TV drama series in the late 90s, starring the brilliant and much missed Tony Doyle as the near - tyrannical widower Moran and Ger Lyons as his new wife.

Memoir gives you some insight as to what may have inspired the essence of Moran; McGahern's own widowed father who was a Garda sergeant. It is a wonderfully lyrical tribute to a mother's love, to the wonders of nature and to the redemption to be found in books.

McGahern's restraint in describing his father's tyranny and in being as objective as he possibly could be is remarkable. There was a gradual shift of power from his father to the author, and crucially, he escaped. He left behind him his six younger siblings but he did escape.

There were dark times ahead for McGahern, he was fired from his first teaching post and found himself labouring in London, and arguably the earlier parts of the book are the most readable.

For anyone who loves the astonishing writing of this incredibly talented and much missed author Memoir shows you what forged such a remarkable talent.


The Hurley Maker's Son
The Hurley Maker's Son
by Patrick Deeley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. Lyrical, beautifully written account of a teacher - poet growing up in a vanished rural Ireland; with much more too., 11 Feb. 2016
This review is from: The Hurley Maker's Son (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Quite simply, The Hurley Maker's Son is a wonderful read that engaged me from start to finish. I literally couldn't put it down and stayed awake well in to the early hours, such is the beauty of its prose and the engaging nature of its story.

The 'son' of the title is the author, Dublin headmaster and poet Patrick Deeley, born at Foxhall in rural county Galway in 1953. Foxhall is a townland near the wooded hills around Loughrea, the woods which gave his carpenter father the raw materials from which he made his living on the family farm.

The memoir begins with a family tragedy in the early autumn of 1978, and Patrick's sudden temporary return home from his Dublin teaching post.
From this point we look back, as Patrick describes his growing up as the hyper-imaginative, dreamy child of a strongly practical family. His father Lawrence was the lynch pin of 'Deeley Brothers, Sawmillers and Hurley Manufacturers, Carpentry and Joinery Works', Patrick's mother Mary ran the farm. Brothers Simon and Vincent had natural gifts in handling wood and machinery, preferring to be in their father's workshop or out with him rather than at school. His sisters Ena and Bridie feature less in this account, but they helped on the farm and worked at the local Hohner harmonica factory when older.

Patrick wasn't totally inept in practical skills, but his preference was for school. His rural primary school teaching was strict and by no means always fair; but helping out his 'Master' here with less able children planted the seeds of wanting to teach in Patrick.

Whilst there are wonderful descriptions of his father's workshop and the work that went on there, the local area, his neighbours and the school life mentioned are also central to the book.
It's a deeply reflective account but never so introspective that it becomes self-obsessed; the author's thoughts on his relationship with his parents are beautifully threaded through the book so that we gradually build up a full picture of these too. We flit between the near present and the past towards the end of the book, but it never becomes confusing or disjointed.

The rural Ireland that is celebrated within these pages has long gone, and was vanishing even as the author experienced it. Electricity came to his parent's farm, as did television, and neighbours ceased to call as a result.
The power that the Church held within such rural communities is clearly outlined; Patrick's encounters with organised religion are told with refreshingly original stories and phrase.

Comparisons have been drawn with Memoir which I read on publication, McGahern's book also recalls a vanished rural Ireland, but his family background was very different. The Hurley Maker's Son is in many ways an easier read, but as you can see in McGahern's book the man who wrote the brilliant Amongst Women: Faber Modern Classics, so you see in these pages the emergence of Patrick Deeley, poet.

The latter pages of the book deal with Patrick's move to Dublin for work, where he also began to make his name with poetry. We never stray far from Foxhall however. Foxhall and family are always with Patrick.

The last book to deprive me of sleep until I'd finished reading in the same way it was a preview copy of The Shepherd's Life: A Tale of the Lake District. That book became a worldwide best-seller and I genuinely hope that this does too. A magical book, recommended for all who love either Ireland, reading of rural life, social history, relationships or other people's lives.


L'Oreal Paris Infaillible Eyeliner, Shimmering Black
L'Oreal Paris Infaillible Eyeliner, Shimmering Black
Price: £4.50

4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality standard twist up kohl-style pencil, has smudger, sharpener and a bit of a sparkle., 11 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fairly standard pencil style eye-liner, suitable for creating a soft smudged line, rather than the sharply defined one of Sixties style liquid eyeliners.
It's very similar to a standard black kohl pencil, but does have a slightly sparkly effect which is quite attractive, making it suitable for evening wear. It's double ended - the opposite end to the pencil contains a smudger and a sharpener. At the time of writing this review it's significantly more costly than a standard kohl pencil.

These pencils are pretty foolproof to apply; the softer formulation of this one means that it doesn't drag the tender skin around the eyelids. Being push up makes it less likely to dry out than the pen style liners, and with a make up bag life of 24 months it will probably be around for some time.
I found that it lasted for an evening without needing to be applied again, and my standard eye make up removal method of a textured cotton wool pad with micellar water was fine.


Ohuhu 0 Degree Super Light Sleeping Bag with a Carrying Bag
Ohuhu 0 Degree Super Light Sleeping Bag with a Carrying Bag
Offered by OhuhuDirect
Price: £30.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well made mummy sleeping bag, lightweight, and compact, suitable for all but very cold weather in UK., 11 Feb. 2016
Disclaimer: I was provided with a sample bag for review, this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
This Ohuhu '0 Degree' sleeping bag is a really light (1100 gramme) and portable bag. It is ideal for sleepovers and use during spring-summer-autumn when camping outdoors, or during a mild winter, such as was experienced in the UK during most of 2015/2016.

It's a very well made sleeping bag, it comes with its own stuff sack that has various webbing straps for carrying. These straps are ideal for having a karabiner clip attached to them so that it can be clipped to a rucksack.

Information on the stuff sack suggests that zero degrees is the absolute low limit at which this bag should be used. People's tolerance to cold varies of course, but I would class this as not suitable for winter camping. The "mummy" design of the bag is great for keeping heat in however. The bag design does have some height and width limitations- anyone over 6' 3'' will find that their head is exposed, and it would be a tight fit for anyone classed as obese (depending on their height).

A big plus point of this bag is that it has a useful interior pocket for keeping devices or torches close to hand. The closure is with a very well made double zip, enabling it to be zipped/unzipped from within the bag. Stitching and the Velcro fastenings are of very good quality.

This was used by a younger family member on a sleepover and they found it very comfortable. The outer fabric is water-resistant- useful for midnight snacks and drinks or leaky tents.

To get the bag back inside its stuff sack it first has to be folded lengthways into thirds, then rolled up from the base as tightly as possible. It is a fairly tight fit but it is possible to get the bag back in if you do it in this way. The plus point is that the bag is very compact and easy to carry when folded like this.
Summary: A well made sleeping bag, very light and portable, suitable for indoor and outdoor use when temperatures are above 0.


New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Revision Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond)
New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Revision Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent revision /practice for children exceeding their Year 6 targets in Maths. Challenging, well-written, readable., 10 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a valuable book for children who have Maths abilities that are above the standards set for Year 6 and are capable of working at Year 7. The book combines revision with practice problems and very useful worked examples - handy for adults supervising home learning as much as children, as they can check their own knowledge and understanding in the recommended methods used to teach children. Particularly in areas such as statistics, which many may not have dealt with themselves in school or college.

The pages of learning are in bold bright colour, with extensive use of age appropriate graphics, imaginative and engaging worked examples and touches of gentle humour to engage children.
The book covers the entire curriculum with brief reminders of what children need to know for working at the Advanced level; it does not remind them of the basics. If children find the exercises in this book too challenging, they are not necessarily failing to meet the SATS standard by any means. They are not currently able to work beyond it.
The recommended book for those children is New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Revision Book - Standard (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond)

Working through questions is the only sure way to practise the skills gained, whilst the book has plenty of practice questions, extended questioning is available in the sister volume New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Question Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond).
A word of caution. Whilst children capable of working at this level will not be stretched by using the Standard level books, children who find the Advanced level too much of a challenge will certainly be put under stress by being given tasks beyond their understanding, so caution is advised. Far better to be told "this is too easy" than to hear "I can't do this; I'm sure to fail" when this may not be the case


New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Question Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond)
New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Question Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Well thought out questions, practice tests for initial and summary assessment for children exceeding the KS 2 standards, 10 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This KS2 Maths SATs preparation Advanced level question book is exactly that - a full book of maths questions pitched towards higher achieving children in Year 6 who are exceeding the Year 6 standards and capable of meeting the standards for Year 7 and beyond.

The problems cover the entire mathematics curriculum, they are designed to challenge children, and to get them to achieve their potential. It starts with a practice test, in order to establish the level at which the child is working. Pages of questions follow, with a concluding practice test.

There is also a New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Question Book - Standard (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond) which is suitable for children working at the Year 6 standards, but not exceeding them.

As a Maths tutor, I would recommend that this question book be bought alongside New KS2 Maths Targeted SATs Revision Book - Advanced (for the 2016 SATS & Beyond) which incorporates pages of learning and explanations, in a colourful and engaging format.

For clarification, all the answers to the questions do give brief workings out and explanations as to how the correct answer is obtained, to offer a useful reminder / reassurance. (Also useful for parents/carers to check that their own explanations are correctly obtained.)

As with all the CGP books, the layout is clear and well spaced with plenty of room in the margins for notes, making this a useful potential revision resource.


L'oreal Super Liner Black Vinyl Liquid Eye Liner
L'oreal Super Liner Black Vinyl Liquid Eye Liner
Offered by Guruji Online Store
Price: £7.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for a retro look, easy to use liquid eyeliner. Brings back the Sixties and Seventies at a stroke., 10 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is eyeliner like it used to be, in the late Sixties and early Seventies, capable of drawing a dramatic shiny black liquid line across your eyelids.
I love it, not just for its current effects, but also for the memories it brought back of gaping like a teenage goldfish as I held my hand steady to put a line of shiny black eyeliner across them with the obligatory flick at the corners.
For anyone wanting a retro Sixties/Seventies make up look this eyeliner captures it better than any I've come across. I could never afford L'Oreal forty five years ago, but this has to be a similar formulation to the liquid eyeliners in use then.

The pen style brush is much easier to use than the paintbrush eyeliners of years gone by, and whilst a steady hand, table and mirror was still needed (plus goldfish expression) it was a far less painstaking experience.

It seems to stay on better than any other I've tried as well, there wasn't any cracking or flaking at the end of an evening's wear. It came off fairly easily with the textured side of a cotton wool pad and micellar water which is my default make up remover.


New GCSE English Language and Literature Revision Guide - for the Grade 9-1 Courses
New GCSE English Language and Literature Revision Guide - for the Grade 9-1 Courses
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

5.0 out of 5 stars A combined guide to both language & literature exams, contains tips, guidance, worked examples & practice papers, 9 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excellent. This is a concise, clear revision guide for both GCSE English Language and Literature , for the new (from 2015) 9-1 courses, that covers all syllabus requirements. Of necessity, it's less detailed than the separately available language and literature revision guides, but for those on limited budgets it is very valuable.

The sections of the book cover the basics of exam technique, English language and structure, writing skills for creative and non fiction, reading skills in understanding texts and crucially, sample exam papers with both worked examples and without. As with all the CGP books there is excellent use of graphics throughout to aid easy understanding.

Touches of humour throughout make for easy, enjoyable reading that engages students. Recommended.


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