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Sam Woodward (UK)
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Smartphone Troubleshooting And Repair
Smartphone Troubleshooting And Repair
Price: £15.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear..., 16 July 2014
In fairness, there's actually some very useful info in here. But the 'editor' has blatantly just copied & pasted numerous vaguely-related articles & reviews from t'internet & is charging 15 quid for it, without even spell-checking it first. Bit cheeky, that.

This can be seen just by reading the sample which comes up when you click on Amazon's picture to 'look inside'. You may spot that in "PART 1 Introduction: How Cellphone Works" the writing style suddenly switches to 'engrish'. There's the line "click here to learn about network protocols for Smartphones" which isn't a link that has clearly been left in by accident. And the paragraph headed '3GS' is clearly misappropriated from a review of an iPhone 3GS (the 'editor' clearly does not understand that while '3G' is a network protocol, '3GS' is merely the name of a phone).

Yet the first paragraph has the cheek to state that "all material in this book is copyrighted & may not be reproduced". I wonder if the websites he's cribbed said the same thing?


Sort Your Brain out: Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More
Sort Your Brain out: Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More
by Jack Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting info, poorly presented, 16 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I picked this up because I enjoy popular science books. Unfortunately it turned out to be written in the style of a 'self-help' publication, which really grated on me. When one of the authors stated 3 times on the same page that this book is intended for "everyday people", it felt like I was being talked down to. It felt like they tried too hard to keep things simple & cut out way too information because each time it started to get interesting, the subject would abruptly change & I would be left with many unanswered questions. Moreover, the 'putting it into practice' aspect felt rather weak since the advice given isn't exactly ground-breaking - get more sleep, exercise regularly, drink enough water & go out in daylight "for at least 5-15 mins every day".

It's a fast read, having the generous line-spacing typical within the self-help genre but while it piqued my interest in places, it ultimately left me unsatisfied & a lot less wiser than I would have hoped.


Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy For Dummies
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy For Dummies
by Patrizia Collard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.59

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, informative introduction, 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As someone who has struggled with depression & very low self-esteem for my entire adult life, I would thoroughly recommend Mindfulness as a means for developing emotional stability & quieting that overly-harsh inner critic. And I would thoroughly recommend this accessible introduction to the topic.

Collard outlines the various techniques which come under the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) umbrella by describing, one stage at a time, what is taught during eight-week MCBT courses. This structures her book in a way which is ideal for beginners & subtly emphasises that while there is enough information here for readers to start putting the techniques into practice, going on a course is the best way to learn.

I read this book while attending such a course myself (at the time of writing I've got one session left to go) & it was a great companion & expansion on what I was being taught. At 39 years old, I wish I had studied Mindfulness years ago, as it has been by far the most effective means I've found for conquering my inner demons. It's not that negative thoughts & emotions don't come up any more but mindfulness techniques are by far the most effective means I've found for dealing with them quickly when they come up. I hope that one day they teach it in schools.

Until that happens, this book is an excellent, practical introduction which avoids any esoteric language or ideas.


Case Logic Backpack for 15 inch Evolution Plus Laptop/Tablet
Case Logic Backpack for 15 inch Evolution Plus Laptop/Tablet
Price: £39.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Very well designed, 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Featuring clever little pockets for laptops, Tablets, mobile phones, MP3 players & documents, etc, this handy backpack has clearly been designed with the commuter in mind. Thus it has about enough space for anything you may need for an overnight stay but not enough to store clothes, etc, for longer trips away. Nor does it have the additional waist-straps, etc, required to make heavier rucksacks more easy to bear for longer. But it does have a pocket for small items at the top of the bag, where they are easily accessible. And it has a neat strap for attaching it to rolling luggage, for when you have cases as well.

The back of the bag features the most padding because this is where the compartments for laptops & Tablets are located. It's also very welcome because it makes it comfortable to wear. The sleeve which the laptop goes around is padded also. There is less padding on the front of the bag but there are numerous other pockets between your most valuable items & the outside world, which - along with any other items in the outer pockets - provide a decent amount of protection.

So it's certainly not bulletproof but some nice layout features with great comfort & durability make it perfect for daily commuting. But I recommend plenty of deodorant or a spare shirt in hot weather (particularly if cycling) because my back got very sweaty while wearing it.


Braun Series 3 340s-4 Rechargeable Wet and Dry Foil Electric Shaver
Braun Series 3 340s-4 Rechargeable Wet and Dry Foil Electric Shaver
Price: £49.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comfortable shave. Great value, 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I opted for this shaver due to Braun's boast of "improved performance on three-day beards". I usually only shave twice a week & have thick, dark hair, so this is ideal for me. And I have to say that I'm very pleased with the results. My previous shaver was a 790cc - a much more expensive Braun model, which cumulatively shaves closer if you use it every day. So I was pleasantly surprised that the 340s impressed me as much as it did.

It ultimately gave a good, close shave, even after a weeks' worth of growth. But in order to get that close shave, I had to go over it a lot more times than I normally have to with the 790cc. The precision long-hair trimmer really comes into its own when tackling the most stubborn spots. And yet despite this, it was still a more comfortable shave which left me with the least amount of irritation I've ever had from an electric razor. This is certainly an aspect of shavers which has come on hugely over the years & I'm thoroughly grateful for it! Indeed, it was the irritation caused by both wet & electric shavers which got me into the habit of shaving so infrequently in the first place!

Surprisingly, it doesn't require Braun's Clean & Renew system to clean it - just some water & a drop of oil once a week is sufficient. Which in fairness the manual claims is also the case with the 790cc. So perhaps this is a sign that Braun are moving away from their attempt to get electric shaver users to regularly buy consumables. Either way, the 340s requires little in the way of maintenance or 'faffing about', as it were, and does a great job too. So even though shaving takes a little bit longer now, I'm very happy with this product.


PG tips Peppermint Pyramid Tea Bags 22 g (Pack of 4, Total 80 Tea Bags)
PG tips Peppermint Pyramid Tea Bags 22 g (Pack of 4, Total 80 Tea Bags)
Price: £4.76

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice peppermint tea, which brews quickly!, 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These pyramid bags certainly produced a refreshing, minty brew! Flavour-wise, peppermint tea is the same regardless of brand, so it's all about the pyramid bags. The blurb says that they infuse quicker than regular round teabags. This may be true but with normal mint tea bags I tend to leave them in there a few seconds & then just squeeze the bag against the side of the mug with a spoon, while it's still submerged. But if you're used to just leaving the bag in there, then these do seem to be quicker.

Overall, I was very impressed.


Suki Tea Earl Grey Blue Flower Fairtrade (Pack of 1, Total 15 Pyramids) (Organic)
Suki Tea Earl Grey Blue Flower Fairtrade (Pack of 1, Total 15 Pyramids) (Organic)
Price: £4.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply gorgeous!, 15 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
INGREDIENTS:
Organic, Indian black tea (97%)
Centaurea Cyanus flower petals (2%)
Natural Bergamot flavouring (1%)

Everything about this product shouts 'quality' - the packaging, the texture of the pyramid teabags, the aromatic, aniseed-eaque smell when you open it up. The taste is equally sumptuous - at least it is if you get the concentration right.

As a drinker of loose-leaf green tea I've come to appreciate that less is more. Most of us are so used to bog-standard brown tea which we have to mix with milk & sugar because we make it so strong that we strive to make more refined teas to the same strength. But what I've slowly learned is that actually making them weaker can, perhaps counter-intuitively, bring out more of the subtle flavours. This is certainly true here. Ensure it's not too weak - and certainly not too strong - and you'll be rewarded with a flavoursome Earl Grey with a surprisingly delicate flavour from the flower petals. But it's a fine balancing act & not every mug will be perfect.

I drink Earl Grey regularly but not often. If I drank it frequently, I'd be tempted to buy a cheaper brand but if it's an occasional treat, I'd thoroughly recommend this product. This was my first Suki Tea product & I'm looking forward to trying other teas in their range.


Alpen Porridge Raspberry and Apple 40 g (Pack of 4)
Alpen Porridge Raspberry and Apple 40 g (Pack of 4)
Price: £9.65

4.0 out of 5 stars My preferred brand of instant porridge, 22 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Alpen's range are far nicer than the other brands of sachet porridge I've tried - and I've tried most them. Overall I prefer their maple & pecan sachets, finding the dried apple in this one made it a little on the chewy side. plus it was slightly too sweet. Nevertheless, I would still buy this over Alpen's less flavoursome competitors.

Overall I still prefer Alpen's single-serving porridge tubs to the sachets. The tubs have less flavour but produce thicker porridge than the sachets - and larger portions of it. At first I found that one sachet wasn't enough but my greedy old belly's gotten used to them now. So if you like thick porridge, check out Alpen's tubs, if you like it with more flavour & don't mind it being thinner, then the sachets it is. Either way, I'd choose Alpen over the other brands every time.


Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
Night School: Wake up to the power of sleep
by Richard Wiseman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting overview on the science of sleep, 17 April 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like all of Wiseman's books, Night School is an accessible & fun read, as well as very interesting. There's some practical advice, which as ever is backed up by some fascinating scientific studies. Ultimately, however, it boils down to 'most people don't get enough sleep', which won't surprise many readers. A worthwhile read but not as insightful as his other books.


Peacock [DVD] [2010]
Peacock [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Price: £4.00

3.0 out of 5 stars "I just want things to go back the way they were!", 16 April 2014
This review is from: Peacock [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I guess it was only a matter of time before Susan Sarandon & Ellen Page ended up in the same movie, since both are similarly drawn to character-driven movies a little way down the beaten track from the Hollywood mainstream. Films which often contain interesting ideas but not quite enough of that 'je ne sais quoi' to ever be hits - films like Peacock, in other words. Nevertheless they can both act their socks off & never give a duff performance. And the same can apparently be said for leading man (& woman) Cillian Murphy. So it's certainly worth a rent.

Peacock has obvious parallels with Psycho. Like Norman Bates before him, John Skillpa (Cillian Murphy) has been so traumatised by the death of his overbearing mother that he alternates between being his male self at work & his female alter-ego at home. Subconsciously aware of what is really going on & concerned that he may inflict the sort of harm upon others as his mother forced upon him, he retreats from the outside world. Thus he struggles to cope when events beyond his control lead to intense public scrutiny.

It's an interesting enough film & nicely acted. Nevertheless, a significant suspension of disbelief is required, as it's hard to believe that not one single person who spoke to both 'John' & his femal alter-ego 'Emma' within an hour of each other happened to notice that they looked remarkably alike, or that 'Emma's' voice was merely as feminine as Dustin Hoffman's in Tootsie. Why everyone assumed that 'Emma' was the wife of 'John' & not his sister when they looked so similar is beyond me - sure, Clark Kent gets away with it without even lipstick or a wig but then Superman films aren't intended to be as sympathetic as this one. Moreover, everyone in the small town of Peacock is they are totally fine with a work colleague they have known for years suddenly having a wife who he has never mentioned before, who none of them went to school with & can't have come from outside the area since 'John' barely leaves his house, never mind the town itself. But that's Hollywood for you.

I was interested throughout but not hooked; and despite the fine acting was never fully drawn in. The sound was frustrating - the characters' voices were so quiet that I had to pump the volume right up & was subject to an overwhelming crescendo whenever the sparse mood music kicked in. No doubt my neighbours were, too. Still, some nice ideas were touched upon (gender identity issues, our innate inability to cope with change, dealing with mental health issues when we're just about sane enough to realise we're crazy but not quite sane enough to seek help in the right way) but most weren't pursued very far.

Worth a punt if you like sedate independents like White Palace (Sarandon) & Hard Candy (Page) which are nicely acted but rather OTT in places. But still a renter, not a buyer, which I predict will shortly appear on Netflix (the modern-day equivalent of the Blockbuster 99p bin, bless it).


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