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Geoff (Wigan, UK)

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The Gladiator (Roman Legion 9)
The Gladiator (Roman Legion 9)
by Simon Scarrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.50

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Competition for Bernard Cornwell?, 18 July 2011
Simon Scarrow's historical novels are, in my opinion, a far better read than those of Mr Cornwell. They have that magical effect of making you care about the lead characters almost from the first page. Most praisworthy of Scarrow's many story-telling talents is his ability to paint so vivid a picture that you feel you are there amongst the Romans, strugglng to maintain your omnipotence in an unruly and savage world. It is escapism at its best (and safest!). This series is exceptional, and each book can either stand on its own merits, or, for series readers, you can witness how the 2 lead characters develop and grow in both their roles in the army, their relationship with each other and in their personal virtues and vices. A brilliantly researched work, but most of all for me, a hugely satisfying read.

Those In Peril (Hector Cross Novels)
Those In Peril (Hector Cross Novels)
by Wilbur Smith
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars By Smith's standards, a poor effort., 18 July 2011
I've read about 90% of Wilbur Smith's novels over the years, and have immersed myself in works of atmosphere, depth, unpredictable and exciting plots, and complex characters. This, however, was disappointing in the extreme and left me wondering whether he actually wrote it. The plot was simple, lacked depth, was stereotypical and completely predictable- all of which I believe could never be said about any of the other books he's written. If this was your first Wilbur Smith book, I would advise you to totally disregard it and focus instead on the works of genius he's produced in abundance since the 1960s.

Peppa Pig Giant Snakes & Ladders Game
Peppa Pig Giant Snakes & Ladders Game
Price: 7.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 18 July 2011
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This giant snakes and ladders game is very definitely good value for money. It consists of a foldable plastic 'board', a large foam die and giant counters. The board initially appears very creased, but soon flattens out in a warn room. The game itself is bright and colourful, and durable enough to stand up to the punishment inflicted upon it by a 4 year old. Our daughter loves it, as it's the first real board game she's been able to participate in. She quickly learned what the spots on the die meant, then we were off. Educationally, I think the benefits are more to do with playing fairly, learning that you don't always win and counting up to six. Even though the board itself goes up to around 50, children tend to look at the pictures instead and as a primary school teacher myself I think its use to learn such numbers is limited, although might offer some consolidation to those children who already have some knowledge of numbers beyond 20. In conclusion, an inexpensive toy that will give the family hours of time together.

Stephens Handcopy Carbon Paper Blue A4 (10 Sheets)
Stephens Handcopy Carbon Paper Blue A4 (10 Sheets)
Offered by AbbeyShake
Price: 0.70

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't praise it enough!, 17 July 2011
This carbon paper is A4 sized, blue in colour and contains some carbon. I think that helped in its eventual 'product name'. I have used it extensively for copying stuff, and found it to be efficient in this task. Amongst its many advantages are its relatively light weight, ideal for those with bad backs; its blue-ness which prevents accidental losses amongst regular white paper; but the most innovative and exciting of its many plus points are its dimensions. If you've ever heard the oft-quoted simile, 'as thin as a rake', then you'll no doubt gasp at the general overall 'thin-ness' of this product, making it ideal for slipping between 2 pieces of its two-dimensionally challenged brethren, rendering its presence there almost indistinguishable. When pressure is then applied to the aforementioned brethren, then 'bugger-me!', if an exact duplicate - albeit in blue- is magically transfered to the bottom piece, making a handy, yet somewhat smudgy copy.
There aren't many downsides to this product, except perhaps that one can unintentionally place the carbon paper 'arse-about-tit' betwixed the two ordinary pieces of paper. This then results in a mirrored image on the reverse of the original.
In conclusion, sod it and buy a computer, you lazy git!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2012 3:22 AM GMT

Tomy Walkabout Premier Advance Baby Monitor (Pink)
Tomy Walkabout Premier Advance Baby Monitor (Pink)

5.0 out of 5 stars Highest quality piece of kit., 15 July 2011
This baby monitor should really have another name i.e. baby, toddler, pre-school and KS 1 child monitor! We've had ours right up until our daughter was about to start school, and I don't see any reason why we shall stop using it. It basically has 2 units, 1 which stands in the child's room, and can also act as a soft blue night light, and one which you carry around with you or will clip onto a belt. I cannot imagine a time, right up until she is upper junior age, that we wouldn't want to be able to hear her when she is upstairs in bed asleep, and we are elsewhere in the house. This monitor does the job perfectly. It is robust enough to survive drops to the floor, reliable in the extreme (ours has been on permanently for the past 5 years!) and even has a 'walkie-talkie' function so you can have a 2 way conversation. I believe the range is around 300 metres, and if you get interference from the neighbours you can change channels. Although initially it seemed expensive, it has turned out to be the longest-lived and most useful of all the 'baby-tech' we purchased. Wholeheartedly recommended.

Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Bounce & Spin Zebra
Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Bounce & Spin Zebra
Offered by PD's Discounts
Price: 49.99

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Am I alone here?, 13 July 2011
Looking at the other reviews I think I might be alone in having an extremely low opinion of this toy. When it was first out, it cost considerably more than it does now - is this the manufacturer admitting it's not that good? My daughter had a Fisher Price Jumperoo, which was just superb, and this might be one reason she didn't take to this. With the Jumperoo the child can get some serious jumping action! In contrast to this, which hardly moves at all. I realise children have their own varied opinions on toys, but even before she tried it, you could see straight away that movement was severely limited. When sitting on it, you could see in her face that she was thinking, "Come on then! DO something!" Alas it would not - preferring instead to stay as rigid as a erm , rigid thing! An expensive waste of good toy space!

No Title Available

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What more could you want?, 13 July 2011
As a primary school teacher I have used and abused many many laminators over the years. Some take an absolute age to warm up to the desired temperatures. Some need a cardboard protector or the plastic fuses to the laminator. Some even have a hot / cold switch with weird symbols, so no-one knows whether it's set to warm up or cool down. This one, however, I am pleased to say is simplicity itself. Turn it on, wait for the light to show it's ready (usually 2 or 3 minutes) insert your plastic wallet and you're away. That's all I want it to do - over and over and over again. And it does this impressively quick too. In conclusion, the best one I've used in 20 years (and mine was a second-hand one from a school and cost 20!!).


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passable for the price., 11 July 2011
As a professional gardener I have a choice: buy expensive professional tools, and then spend months, even years working to pay off their cost. Or, I can buy far less expensive, domestic tools, and replace them more frequently when they break down. In this instance I opted for the latter. I rarely use a hedge trimmer compared to mowers and strimmers, so I purchased this at the low cost of around 100. That is, low cost compared to other petrol hedge trimmers of this power and blade length.
Starts on the second pull - always has done so far, after 1 whole season of use. Does the job and cuts fairly thick branches easily. Can be adjusted via the handle to make hedge cutting easier. The petrol engine does away with a cable.
Very noisy - will wake the neighbours! After half an hour it becomes exceedingly heavy to hold at shoulder level. At almost 6kg, this is no lightweight! Although thick branches are cut with no trouble, the thinner-leaved types of hedge pose a problem. It sometimes fails to cut the leaves for some curious reason, instead 'blowing' them out of the way.
In conclusion, for my purposes it does what I want it to. I would have preferred a lighter machine, but would have to have paid considerably more for the privilege.

A Short History Of Nearly Everything
A Short History Of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 11 July 2011
Quite simply, a stunning piece of writing from the travel writer everyone loves to laugh with. Difficult to say what it's about - as the the title suggests, but it has you hooked from the first page of unbelievable, yet true, facts and figures. Bryson writes in a style that has you chuckling out loud on the bus, and here he explains about the universe in layman's terms rather than that of a scientist, making it all the more accessible to the 'common' folk, and all the more fascinating because of this. It's kind of like a 'boy's own' explanation of how and why the world is like it is. A diversion away from his usual travel books, but a very welcome one that I shall enjoy again in years to come.

Music Express: Year 5: Lesson Plans, Recordings, Activities and Photocopiables (Music Express)
Music Express: Year 5: Lesson Plans, Recordings, Activities and Photocopiables (Music Express)
by Ana Sanderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 20.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the solution I'd hoped for!, 11 July 2011
As a busy non-musical primary school teacher I was hoping for a resource that would take the strain out of a subject I had come to dread i.e. the music lesson! This was not that resource. It had been recommended to me, but I now think that maybe it was because it was the only help of its kind available in the market. I tried, I really did! I even had the school's own music specialist talking me through the various lessons. But even she admitted that the lessons required specialist music knowlegde. Put it this way, if you can't read music, if you don't play an instrument, if you are unsure of the variety of music from around the world, then this book will be as clear mud to you and you will certainly be unable to teach it to a class of children. It's just possible that it was aimed at helping the existing music specialist, in which case, I am unqualified to comment!

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