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S. P. Long "Simon Long" (Cambridge)
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PRO PLAN Cat Wet NutriSavour Delicate with Ocean Fish in Gravy 850g (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pouches)
PRO PLAN Cat Wet NutriSavour Delicate with Ocean Fish in Gravy 850g (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pouches)
Price: £29.96

5.0 out of 5 stars A hit with the cats, 20 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This cat food is supposed to be good for cats with "delicate" digestion and skin; I'm not too sure about how what they eat can significantly affect their skin, but I guess it makes sense to have food which is easy to digest. We have two cats, a Siamese and a British Shorthair; they usually get Purina's Gourmet Gold and are both slightly fussy eaters, so I was interested to see how they would cope with a change.

Put bluntly, I've never seen either of them eat anything with such enthusiasm - two minutes after opening the pouches, there were two clean bowls, with both of them wandering over to check the other's bowl to see if there were any leftovers going! So it certainly gets the seal of approval from the opinions that really matter.

On a practical level, this package includes 40 pouches, and the box recommends 3 pouches a day for an adult cat, so this package should last around 2 weeks. The pouches are easy to open and take up very little space in the rubbish, and the food inside doesn't smell any worse than any other cat food (if no better either...)

Time will tell if it has any beneficial advantages in terms of health, but in the short term it looks to be a hit with the cats, which is the main thing.


Hornby Gloucester City Pullman Train Set
Hornby Gloucester City Pullman Train Set
Price: £144.02

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to model railways, 16 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pretty decent starter set as a first step into model railways.

You get a very nice detailed model of the Gloucester City and its tender, and three equally well-detailed model coaches. The locomotive is DCC-ready. (DCC is the digital control system for model railways allowing different trains to run at different speeds o the same tracks - DCC-ready indicates that the loco has a socket into which a DCC module can be slotted in future; the controller provided with the set is not DCC-compatible.)

As with all Hornby starter sets, there is sufficient track included for a simple oval circuit with a single siding and one set of points. Hornby points are a bit flimsy - they don't seem to click as positively into one side or the other as I remember those on the model railways of my youth doing, but the track is fine otherwise. The fishplates are reassuringly tight, and it all slots together easily. There is also a "trackmat" supplied, which is a rather grand name for a large printed sheet of glossy paper with a suggested layout, to make all of which requires you to buy rather a lot of extra track and accessories - more a piece of marketing than anything really useful.

The supplied controller is a simple rheostat - you can turn the speed up and down and select forward or reverse, but it's all you need to get started. (If you get keen, you can buy a DCC module for the locomotive and a DCC controller to give more control options for a more sophisticated layout.)

Putting it all together took 20 minutes or so - it's reasonably obvious how you assemble it all, which is fortunate as the supplied instructions are a bit sketchy. Not really a problem, as most bits will only fit one way! One tip - this really needs a firm surface such as a table top or hardwood floor - even a low pile carpet underneath it results in regular derailments and frustration.

Once you've set it up, you can sit and watch the train going round and round - there's not a huge amount of interactivity involved, and it does get quite dull very quickly! At which point, if the bug bites, you can end up spending a lot more money on a more detailed setup, more locomotives and rolling stock, scenery etc.

This is a good starter set - it's expensive, but the quality is pretty good and it includes all you need to get going. It's every small boy's dream present for Christmas, and I suspect Dad will enjoy it too, but do be prepared to spend a lot more money fairly soon after purchase!


Hufa S Cap Holder for Lens - Red
Hufa S Cap Holder for Lens - Red
Offered by Carmarthen Cameras
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK - nothing special, 15 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a rubberised plastic clip that fits onto the strap of a camera and holds the lens cap when not in use.

Attaching it to the strap is easy enough - you don't have to unthread the strap from the camera, as there are small slits in the strap loops through which the strap can be passed in situ. This is supposed to be the "small" size of this holder, but the strap loops are still 2 or 3 times the width of the standard strap on my Lumix G6, so the result doesn't look particularly elegant.

The clip is simplicity itself; it's stiff plastic that bends to hold the lens cap. On the plus side, this means it will hold pretty much any size of cap; on the minus side, I'm not convinced by either how securely it will hold a lens cap after a few months of use, nor by how likely it is to snap off if you pull too hard. You can just about push a lens cap into the clip one-handed, but there is a knack to it as you need to hold the clip itself steady while you do it.

I'm not convinced by Hufa's claim that the average photographer loses 3-5 lens caps a year; I've owned SLRs for 25 years and have never lost one, never mind the 100 or so I am supposed to have lost by now! Also, I'm not convinced this is really any better than just putting the lens cap in your pocket, which is what I tend to do.

If you must have a gimmick to hold your lens cap, this is probably better from a usability point of view than those strings that dangle the cap off the camera itself, but really - a pocket is easier and more secure. And cheaper!


BT 350 Digital Baby Monitor Lightshow
BT 350 Digital Baby Monitor Lightshow
Price: £62.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you could want in a baby monitor, 13 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a baby monitor on steroids!

The basic functionality is as a two-way baby monitor; the wireless "parent" unit has a decent range - I was able to walk all over the house with no problems - and the sound quality (advertised as "HD"...) is indeed very good. The parent unit shows a flashing light when there is noise being detected, so you can have a visual alert rather than an audible one, and the parent unit allows you to talk back to the baby's room.

However, that's just the beginning! In addition, the unit monitors the temperature in the baby's room and reports the value on the parent unit; you can also set alarms for the temperature being too hot or too cold. The supposed "lightshow" isn't going to worry Jean-Michel Jarre; it's a static pattern of moons and stars that fades in and out, but it's probably best to have something not too garish; there is also a soft nightlight which glows from the base of the unit. The baby unit can play one of 18 digital recordings of lullabies or sounds from nature, which are surprisingly high quality and actually quite soothing. The sound and light can be controlled remotely from the parent unit. Finally, the parent unit includes a feed timer and a dim torch; usefully, when the torch is on, the sound is muted so as to prevent the rather nasty howl of feedback that can otherwise result from having both units in close proximity.

It's all easy to set up and use - anyone who can work a mobile phone will have no trouble. Frankly, short of including the kitchen sink, I'm struggling to think of anything else this kit could do!


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars It's a big pillow..., 8 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is basically a double-length pillow, if perhaps slightly more well-stuffed than one you would use to sleep on - the idea is it can be used to support the length of your body. It's filled with a hypoallergenic artificial fibre that feels like down, and it comes with a zip-closing white cotton cover.

It's comfortable enough - it's fairly supportive, and a nice thing to lean against while watching the TV in bed, for example. But I'm not convinced that two ordinary pillows wouldn't be just as good, and a bit more usable; this one is a bit ungainly to move around!


Woolly Woofers
Woolly Woofers
by Debbie Bliss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do you really think dogs need jumpers? If so, this is the book for you., 30 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Woolly Woofers (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First off, I should say that I am really not convinced that dogs need knitwear - I believe most of them come with a furry outer layer already, which is probably more than enough to keep them warm! That said, assuming you are both a dog-lover and a keen knitter, and for some reason you think your dog would look good in wool, this is a selection of 20 or so knitting patterns for your furry friend.

Most of the designs are either sweaters or coats, the difference being that coats only cover the top of your dog and are held on by straps under the belly, while sweaters go all the way around. There are a few other designs such as collars and hats, as well. (Hats? For dogs? Seriously?) The patterns are all clear and easy to follow, and don't look to be too complicated to make; maybe not for absolute beginners, but you shouldn't need to be an expert knitter. The one caveat I would raise is about sizing - each pattern comes with measurements of how big it will be (and most are sized for small to medium dogs) with a vague suggestion of adding more or less rows to fit your particular pooch; this is a lot less helpful than detailed directions of how many stitches to add or remove to cater with specific sizes.

The book is well-presented and illustrated with photos and paintings, so you can see just how ridiculous your dog will look before you make each outfit...

All joking aside, if you want to make knitwear for dogs, this is a good book of patterns. But don't be too surprised if your furry friend prefers to stay indoors where he won't be seen by other dogs when you've dressed him up...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 11, 2014 2:28 PM BST


Stanley STHT5-20211 20-inch/ 500mm Heavy Duty Saw (Pack of 5)
Stanley STHT5-20211 20-inch/ 500mm Heavy Duty Saw (Pack of 5)
Price: £28.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality saws - not sure you really need five of them though..., 28 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pack of five identical wood saws. They have soft padded rubber handles for a comfortable grip, and a fairly fine pitch of 7 teeth per inch. The handle has built-in 45 degree and 90 degree angle measures.

They seem to work pretty well, producing nice clean cuts in deal with the normal amount of effort - I can't say they are particularly easier to use than the 20-year-old B&Q own-brand one I bought for a few pounds, but they are no harder either. The quality of cut is pretty much the same as well. This is what brings me to my only niggle here - who really needs five of these? OK, I don't do huge amounts of DIY, but my 20 year old saw has never been sharpened and works as well as these - unless you are in the trade, you aren't going to need five saws to last you the rest of your life! (And if you are in the trade, I can't imagine you'd be buying Stanley saws from an online retailer!)

This is a perfectly decent saw for DIY use - but you might want to only buy one of them. (Unless, of course, you are thinking of solving all your Christmas gift problems in one fell swoop, and in that case, here's a tip - your wife probably won't be delighted by a wood saw, however good!)


Hornby R1171 Flight of the Mallard 00 Gauge Electric Train Set
Hornby R1171 Flight of the Mallard 00 Gauge Electric Train Set
Price: £149.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to model railways, 22 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pretty decent starter set as a first step into model railways.

You get a very nice detailed model of the Mallard and its tender, and three (identical and slightly less well-detailed) model coaches. The locomotive is DCC-ready. (DCC is the digital control system for model railways allowing different trains to run at different speeds o the same tracks - DCC-ready indicates that the loco has a socket into which a DCC module can be slotted in future; the controller provided with the set is not DCC-compatible.)

There is sufficient track included for a simple oval circuit with a single siding and one set of points - the points are a bit flimsy and don't seem to stay switched to one side or the other as I remember those on the model railways of my youth doing, but the track is fine otherwise. The fishplates are reassuringly tight, and it all slots together easily. There is also a "trackmat" supplied, which is a rather grand name for a large printed sheet of glossy paper with a suggested layout, to make all of which requires you to buy rather a lot of extra track and accessories - more a piece of marketing than anything really useful.

The supplied controller is a simple rheostat - you can turn the speed up and down and select forward or reverse, but it's all you need to get started.

Putting it all together took 20 minutes or so - it's reasonably obvious how you assemble it all, which is fortunate as the supplied instructions are a bit sketchy. Not really a problem, as most bits will only fit one way! One tip - this really needs a firm surface such as a table top or hardwood floor - even a low pile carpet underneath it results in regular derailments and frustration.

Once you've set it up, you can sit and watch the train going round and round - there's not a huge amount of interactivity involved, and it does get quite dull very quickly! At which point, if the bug bites, you can end up spending a lot more money on a more detailed setup, more locomotives and rolling stock, scenery etc.

This is a good starter set - it's expensive, but the quality is pretty good and it includes all you need to get going. It's every small boy's dream present for Christmas, and I suspect Dad will enjoy it too, but do be prepared to spend a lot more money fairly soon after purchase!


Cheetah Mounts APMEB Black Universal Projector Ceiling Mount, with Swiveling, Rotating and Tilting Ball Joint; It Includes One 4,5 meters (15 ft) "Twisted Veins" HDMI Cable and Three Axis Magnetic Bubble level
Cheetah Mounts APMEB Black Universal Projector Ceiling Mount, with Swiveling, Rotating and Tilting Ball Joint; It Includes One 4,5 meters (15 ft) "Twisted Veins" HDMI Cable and Three Axis Magnetic Bubble level

5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need..., 16 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to ceiling mount an Acer X113 projector in my home cinema.

To describe the kit as comprehensive is to undersell it! In addition to the mount itself, which has two sets of mounting arms (long and short) and which can be configured for either 3 or 4 mounting holes on the projector, the kit includes the ceiling mounting plate and two optional extension tubes. You can mount the projector direct to the ceiling plate, or use the tubes to bring it down by up to half a metre or so. The ceiling plate has numerous holes and slots for mounting, and rawlplugs and screws are included to fix it to a concrete ceiling - note that these shouldn't be used with a plasterboard ceiling; you should attach to a joist instead.

The mount is very easy to install and adjust - it's pretty much rock solid. The only criticism I'd have is that there is a bit of play where the ball joint is connected to the mount itself, and this can't be tightened up, as it's a slightly loose riveted connection. This just makes it slightly fiddly to get the projector aligned properly, but once it it is in place, the weight of the projector will hold the joint in one place.

I have to mention the "extras" in the set - in addition to the mounting hardware itself, the kit includes a 5m HDMI cable, an LED torch, a spirit level and some velcro cable ties.

For the price, this is an excellent mount, and is everything you need to attach pretty much any projector to the ceiling.


Kipling Unisex-Adult Halia A4 Shoulder Bag K1062484H Tango Red
Kipling Unisex-Adult Halia A4 Shoulder Bag K1062484H Tango Red
Price: £38.80

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Practical shoulder bag - not sure it's unisex, though!, 9 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First off, the description of this bag as "unisex" is very wrong - make no mistake, this is a woman's handbag / briefcase, not something a man would be seen carrying.

That said, it's a very practical one. The exterior feels like a tough nylon, which looks to be pretty waterproof. The lining is a similar fabric with a slightly less soft feel, with a pattern of polka dots and the occasional monkey motif.

There are lots of pockets. The main central compartment is flanked on each side by a zipped compartment the same size, one of which contains organiser pockets and a lanyard for keys. There's an additional slightly shallower zipped pocket on the front, and another zipped pocket on the inside of the main compartment - no excuse for not being organised, and it'll hold a lot. The zipped inner pockets will comfortably hold a small laptop, for example - this is probably more of a business briefcase than a handbag, size-wise.

There's a detachable shoulder strap, which feels a bit of an afterthought - I think the idea is that you use the handles most of the time. But other than that, quality seems good - this feels as if it is built to last, and it is big enough to carry everything you might need for the office. If you need a more stylish alternative to a laptop bag, this looks like a good option.


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