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Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones with Mic (Black)
Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones with Mic (Black)
Offered by SeventhContinent
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the look, 25 Mar. 2015
Immensely aesthetically pleasing earphones - everything has a natural look, from the linen bag to the fabric cord and wooden phones themselves. The fabric is wonderful, it doesn't tangle - well, not much. It hardly ever ties itself in knots. I wish all cords were like this.
The sound quality is good, but not great with a fairly average in-ear speaker sound. A little toppy for me when listening to music, a little lacking in depth and base, but that's to be expected and the loss of weight is no more than with other in-ear phones. I find them very good for speech (which is what I mostly listen to) with a good clear sound and balanced tone.
The only problem I've had with them is in the design of the phones themselves. there is a short protuberance from the back side (the non-speaker side) of the body of the earphones. I find this makes listening while lying down uncomfortable as the phones dig into my head unless I lie on my back. Also, I have long hair and find the hair brushing against this protuberance makes a distracting whooshing noise. It sometimes happens with clothing too - with collars and scarves and the like brushing against the protruding part of the phone and this can get occasionally annoying.
In short - the sound quality is good for in-ear phones; good for speech, a little lacking in base for music. They look very pleasing and the tangle-free cord is a boon and a blessing. The odd design of the earpieces has caused me a few minor problems.


Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Panasonic ALL1 Network Audio Connector
Offered by Phone Exchange
Price: £188.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sonos Killer?, 25 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is part of the Panasonic's attempt at a Sonos killing multi room audio system. This little unit allows your existing sound sources to be added to the Panasonic AllPlay system and has a high end 192KHz/24bit DAC to allow analogue devices to be connected to their mobile phone app controlled dual frequency wifi audio network. Once up and running and connected to other AllPlay then it is possible to stream music across the house to speakers in different rooms and even play different streams in each room.

I already own the SC-ALL8, SC-All3 speakers and now with this device I can wirelessly steam music from my smartphone, tablet, laptop or similar device as well as access tunes from music subscription services.

The system in general works very well but it must be said that the same musical experience can be achieved using cheaper but less integrated devices and services.

For those already committed to the Panasonic AllPlay eco system then this is a great buy but for those considering entering the streaming music arena be aware that there are cheaper alternatives out there.


A Year of Marvellous Ways
A Year of Marvellous Ways
by Sarah Winman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, poetic - stunningly good., 22 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story of the last year of Marvellous Ways, ninety years old and still bathing naked in the creek. Set (I'm guessing it's never stated) in the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. It's not an easy one to get into, with disparate characters introduced in stages, giving the opening chapters a jerky feel. The tale does not flow at the start and I can understand how some have found this hard to stick with and given up. It requires slow reading. It needs to be savoured. Stay with it: the story settles when the central characters come together to play their roles and a lush, eloquent, lyrical tale emerges. There's Francis Drake, returned from the war to find then lose his one true love, his heart healed by Marvellous and her gift for the rhythms of nature and life. There's Peace, whose moods can be tasted in the bread she bakes, loaves filled with names, songs and memories. Ned the fisherman is 'Cornish through and through' and woos, not with flowers, but bunches of whiting and oysters with 'the coolness, the saltiness of a prince's kiss'. And Marvellous herself, of course, a curious old woman who bathes naked and lives alone in a gypsy caravan, 'part woman, part child and neither knew what to do with the other', living in a landscape 'rich with leaf mulch and salt mud', where dawn winds blister across corrugated sands. Of 'dirt grass moor and sand, a whole history of the Peninsula laid down one on top of the other, like fossils, like prayers.' The poetry of the writing is, above all, what lifts this book and makes it sing. The description is lavish, prosaic and literary, but this never stalls the storytelling. A deeply moving tale told almost entirely in flashback, peppered with gentle twists and small surprises that became (after that admittedly very slow start) absolutely compelling. One bit of the last chapter made me sigh rather (it is a bit pat) but Marvellous' final parting more than made up for it. It is one of the most moving things I have ever read. A beautiful end to a beautiful novel.


Braun Silk Epil 9 9-961 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator & Exfoliation system with 6 Extra Attachments
Braun Silk Epil 9 9-961 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator & Exfoliation system with 6 Extra Attachments
Price: £80.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent machine (but it still hurts), 20 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've reviewed more than a few of these now and found them all to be more or less the same; the only difference being the number and quality of the attachments. Basically, they all work by tearing the hair from your body by the roots, which means they all hurt dreadfully. Whether you feel the end result is worth the level of suffering is a personal thing. I'm inclined to think not so I passed this on to my sister who seems more tolerant of these things and she said...
It works well. She had a few patchy areas that she had to go over a few times, but not so many that it was a nuisance. It does hurt, no sense in sugar-coating that. It also leaves your skin with a red and rashy look so do it the night (or morning) before you want to look your best. Don't use it on your moustache half an hour before your wedding if you don't want to look like you're coming down with scarlet fever in your album pictures.
It is lovely and lightweight, yet solidly built. It has a lovely feel in the hand. The best thing about it is, being chargeable and cordless, you can use it in the bath or the shower. There is a theory that getting warm and wet before plucking out your body hair makes the experience easier and less painful. It doesn't. It does save time and you're more likely to do these onerous grooming tasks when chilling in the tub, but less hurty? Definitely not.
There's an attachment for the pubes. I suppose this is the area that most women buy this for. My sister hasn't confided whether she used it down there so I can't comment on how effective it was. She said it's good for a moustache, not as sore as plucking and I imagine the effect on the old front bottom is much the same. The skin massager and exfoliator work like a dream. These are the best bits of the whole kit and caboodle apparently. They feel great: enlivening and invigorating. Skin feels smooth and soft and incredibly alive afterwards. Dry skin flies off like swarf off a lathe. Apparently.


Igenix IG3020 4 Slice Toaster 1,300 W - White
Igenix IG3020 4 Slice Toaster 1,300 W - White
Price: £19.97

3.0 out of 5 stars Maks a nice bit of toast but too small for my bread, 20 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It' a cheap toaster and it looks it: light and plastic not terribly robust - it's comparable to a Tesco basics range and this is reflected in the price. It does the job expected of it. It toasts your bread. It actually makes a nice bit of toast - evenly toasted, hot and crisp. I enjoyed it very much. It will toast a crumpet - though it struggles to accommodate a good, thick Warburton's crumpet, which are the only ones I buy. It will not take a bagel and if you're after a toasted teacake - well, you can forget that altogether.
This is the main problem I had with this machine. It is much too small. I will make a decent slice of toast, but only if you turn your slice halfway, or cut the top off. Again, the bread our household likes and tends to buy - Hovis Wholemeal, a Warburton's Toastie, the bread from our local baker and our own home-baked stuff - will not fit in it. Thick slices cut from a load won't fit at all. Taller size slices from a good supermarket loaf are too tall for it.
It has a few features you wouldn't expect in a budget toaster, like a crumb tray, defrost and re-heat settings, which are useful additions, but I'd sooner do without them and have a taller, wider toaster that will take a decent slice of bread.


The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
by Jessica Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessarily complex and very disappointing, 20 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The blurb sounded great. A crime novel with a veneer of alchemy. A whodunit with a touch of magic. An exploration of ancient manuscripts with a hint of the paranormal. What a disappointment it was. The settings, the ideas are terrific but the execution is horrible, with a mish mashy confusion of a tangled plot that never settles down long enough to become interesting. As soon as a decent plot begins to develop, we're off to another time, another place, another voice - but it's never immediately clear where (or when) we've arrived and who we're listening to. It's never evident from the voice, because the characters are equally unconvincing and underdeveloped.
I enjoy complexity. I like a novel that makes me think, but this wasn't well done enough to make the many ill-meshed convolutions worth thinking through. After a while it got so terribly irritating I would have given the thing up if I hadn't been reading this to review. I hoped that the end would make the effort worthwhile, but the end was actually the worst of it. I felt cheated. The whole experience was extremely disappointing - all the more so because when it was good it was very good, but when it was bad, it was just horribly dull. It's a complex tale that got out of hand. It reads like it needed another 6 months work to sort it out; like it needs a really good edit (though presumably, coming from such a reputable publisher, that must already have been done). It felt unfinished, yet overly-worked. All smoke and mirrors, padded with unnecessary complexity in order to hide the booming, ringing emptiness at its heart and the suspicion that under all the glitter, the tale is just not very good.


[1-Pack] X-Sense DS32 10-Year Battery Lifetime Smoke Detector Fire Alarm with Photoelectric Sensor
[1-Pack] X-Sense DS32 10-Year Battery Lifetime Smoke Detector Fire Alarm with Photoelectric Sensor
Offered by Avantek UK
Price: £29.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in every way, 7 Mar. 2015
The Avantek DS32 has a photoelectric sensor, designed specifically to detect a slow, smouldering fire - the most dangerous type of fire and hardest to sense.
It's good for the more dramatic fire too; it goes crazy for burnt toast, but seems refreshingly disinclined to shriek at everyday kitchen activities. After years of living with the hissy-fit histrionics of my old alarm, I was thrilled that the Avantek was so much less annoyed about everso-slightly over-done toast. Only once since fitting it have I had to rush into the hall to wave the breakfast tray at it (if you too, live with an absent-minded muffin scorcher, prone to pop a crumpet in, rack the toaster up to max, then wander off who knows where for half an hour, you'll know what I'm talking about). There is a button you can press to switch it off, if you have it in a sensible place. Mine is on the ceiling and I am rather short, so the button is a tricky one and I still have to use the tray for the occasional toasting accident. I can say, if you do have a fire, you will know about it. At 85 decibels, this alarm is INCREDIBLY LOUD. Unless you are profoundly deaf, it's not something you are likely to miss. I doubt you could sleep through it. My ears were still ringing ten minutes later.
It uses a standard fitting; I didn't need to use the mount provided, simply clicked it on to the one I already had in place for the old toast-phobic one.
A smoke alarm with a ten year battery is a marvellous development. The lithium-ion battery comes built in, so when it runs out, the unit is defunct but at £15 for ten years protection, this is hardly going to break the bank, and with the pace at which new tech develops the battery life will probably outlast the alarm. But just in case I do still have it and do forget, there's a bright flashing light to warn you when the battery is getting low.
Can a smoke alarm be pretty? This one really is. Small, slim and white, with a happy, smiling face (small children love it!), it is not in the least visually invasive and practically disappears on a white ceiling.
All in all, a very nice piece of kit that should keep us all safe for many years to come.


Conversations with Spirits
Conversations with Spirits

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp, 1 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A hugely enjoyable romp through the world of the post-Victorian obsession with spiritualism. The plot centres on a well-plotted stunt intended to prove the veracity of J.P. Bessant, a reclusive medium championed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The plot is entertaining enough, revolving around Sir Arthur's well-known naiveté and desperation to believe every trick and trickster who falls in his path. But the main joy of this delightful little novel lies with its hero and protagonist, the deliciously flawed, rude, obnoxious, alcoholic, chain-smoking, louche and idle Trelawney Hart, a well-known materialist and sceptic, hired by Sir Arthur to report on Bessant's spectacle in hope of proving that it could not be done by natural means. Hart has a dysfunctional relationship with the world and most of it's population - everyone but the local tramp Billy, who becomes Trelawney's sidekick for the duration of the tale and, hopefully - as it seems by the end - in further books to come.


Alice and the Fly
Alice and the Fly
by James Rice
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, cruel, compelling, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Alice and the Fly (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Teenage Greg has schizophrenia. He's a psychological mess, but those around him, those entrusted with his care, aren't much better; Greg's philandering father; his image-fixated, obsessive-compulsive mother;his teacher and amateur psychologist Miss Hayes, who means well but has troubles of her own - no one seems to be keeping any kind of watchful eye on this vulnerable boy as he wades through a world that is always confusing and mostly cruel.
This is a darkly disturbing journey through the mind of a lonely, disconnected boy with a mental illness and an all-consuming fear of spiders. A tale told in diary extracts and a police report, so you know from the start it's not going to end in candy floss and rainbows. I thought I knew who Greg's victim had to be but I was wrong, there's a cruel and startling twist.
Compelling, depressing, with the compulsive fascination of a train wreck, Alice and the Fly has none of the sweetness or softness of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. There is a dog in this tale too, a dog Greg loves, so you know that's not going to end well, because it never does, does it?


Vidal Sassoon Salonist Permanent Hair Colour - 4/0 Dark Neutral Brown
Vidal Sassoon Salonist Permanent Hair Colour - 4/0 Dark Neutral Brown
Offered by Health in The Post
Price: £6.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great results but quite tricky to use, 1 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You open the box and are met with an impressive array of brushes, mixing trays, tubes, gloves and bottles. All very exciting and much nicer quality than the bargain basement stuff I usually use to colour my hair.
The selling point of this dye (which, while far from cripplingly expensive by most standards, costs four times more times more than the B&M jollop I usually use) is that it dyes roots separately to the rest of the hair, avoiding any noticeable colour-change. In effect, it attempts to replicate an expensive salon job.
I deliberately let my roots grow out a bit first to really put it to the test, and am happy to report it has done a very nice job indeed. Though this colour (dark neutral brown 4) is slightly lighter and of a warmer shade than I usually use, there's no detectible difference in colour between my natural roots and previously-dyed hair, even in strong light. The colour is fantastic, bright and vibrant and the condition is marvellous. I'm thrilled with the results.
I was less thrilled by how easy it was to use. It is decidedly faffy; much more so than my regular, shake it up and slap it on stuff. I usually budget around 40 minutes to do my roots, this took exactly twice as long - not a huge span of time, admittedly but the fiddleyness made it feel like a lot longer. My problem was in getting the stuff on the roots evenly. You mix the product in the usual way - a colour added to an activator - then brush it on to roots with the flat brush provided. There's a lot of parting and brushing. I found it tiring on the arms and unless you can literally surround yourself with mirrors, it's incredibly hard to see what you're doing. I ended up doing it mostly by feel (which us what they suggest in the instructions) rather than sight and even that was tricky. I felt like Esma Cannon trying to zip up her dress in Carry on Cruising.
You then go about your business for 20 minutes, then come back for more, mixing the serum with remaining colour cream in the wee bowl provided, smoothing it through all of your hair in the usual fashion, waiting another ten minutes then rinsing and shampooing. Then you apply the conditioner. This was far and away my favourite bit of the process. The conditioner is gorgeous and deliciously scented - in fact, the whole kit and caboodle smells good, no nasty chemistry lab pongs to be found here at all. I'm glad there's a big tube of the conditioner because it's almost worth the cost of the kit alone. I love the way it's conditioned my hair. I don't think it's ever been so soft, shiny and all-over wonderful.
In short, the results are very good indeed. Are they salon good? Not quite, but almost, and much cheaper, of course. I am impressed. I'd definitely consider shelling out for this product again but I do think there's a case for reverting to half-forgotten teenage habits, being a girly girl and getting a friend round to help, because it's dreadfully tricky to do it well on your own.


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