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El Loro (London, England)

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Vauxhall
Vauxhall
by Gabriel Gbadamosi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Should be on the GCSE syllabus., 22 May 2015
This review is from: Vauxhall (Paperback)
I came across this novel by accident, in the middle of a London writing display at my local library. As someone who grew up in the same area only a few years later, I thought I'd see what it was like.

Wow.

The author manages to capture the naivete and terror of childhood in simple snapshots of growing up in a Vauxhall that had disappeared by the mid-eighties, a Vauxhall of corrugated iron, dumped cars, empty houses and random violence, a Vauxhall a milion miles away from the wealth just beyond the railway bridge and the river.

At times, it reminded me of Joyce's Dubliners, world changing epiphanies on the kitchen table in unadorned language.

Now that the government has stripped the Literature GCSE of writers like Steinbeck, the publishers should lobby like demons to get this on the syllabus.


Philips GC3810/20 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 150 g Steam Boost, 300 ml, 2400 Watt, Blue
Philips GC3810/20 Azur Performer Steam Iron with 150 g Steam Boost, 300 ml, 2400 Watt, Blue
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the price., 21 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fairly bog standard iron. No separate steam compartment, no telepathic heat settings, just an honest-to-goodness iron.

It's attractive and fairly responsive - like all irons it takes a little time to heat up and cool down as you move between fabrics.

It's also quite light without compromising the quality of the ironing. Combined with the ergonomic handle, this is a pleasure to use.


Philips Satinelle Epilator HP6422/02 with Opti-start Cap with Massage Element
Philips Satinelle Epilator HP6422/02 with Opti-start Cap with Massage Element
Price: £39.04

4.0 out of 5 stars A not bad epilator with a nice vibe., 16 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We're getting quite good at reviewing epilators but there is a downside. There's a difference between using an epilator regularly and coming in from the start. Seeing as I'm not quite ready to start epilating, waxing or otherwise causing myself pain through my manly follicles, it falls to the wife to compare to an already impressive range of kit from Amazon.

It's not outstanding, but it is pretty easy to use. The effect is much the same as any mid- to entry-level epilator but the massager makes it a little more fun to use. Does it help with painless or less painful epilation? Hard to say but it does feel nice.

Easy to use, easy to clean and a handy carrying pouch if you're going away (for more than four weeks? lucky devil).

All in all, a good starter or entry level epilator. It's not going to make your legs sing but it does do the jobv pretty well for the price.


Crayola-Colour Alive Enchanted Forest
Crayola-Colour Alive Enchanted Forest
Offered by Fun Collectables
Price: £7.62

4.0 out of 5 stars It's like the one Dorling Kindersley had a few years back ..., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is basically a thin colouring book on the enchanted forest theme with an app that brings the pictures out of the page.

The app itself is nothing new. It's like the one Dorling Kindersley had a few years back for computers, adapted for mobile phones. The problem with the DK titles was that they were essentially flash but unwieldly pop-up books.

Having it on a mobile is much handier and allows you take photos of your creations but is, fundamentally, a variation on a Victorian technology.

Given the price and the number of pages, I was tempted to give this three stars but it has gone down well. Will it be of lasting interest? I doubt it.


Crayola-Colour Alive Colour Alive Barbie
Crayola-Colour Alive Colour Alive Barbie
Offered by Fun Collectables
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Went down well but not great value., 12 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is basically a thin colouring book with an app that brings the pictures out of the page.

The app itself is nothing new. It's like the one Dorling Kindersley had a few years back for computers, adapted for mobile phones. The problem with the DK titles was that they were essentially flash but unwieldly pop-up books.

Having it on a mobile is much handier but, again, it's a flash version of something that's been around since the nineteenth century.

Given the price and the number of pages, I was tempted to give this three stars but it did keep a little princess engaged for an hour or so. Will she pick it up again? Don't know.


Oxford Reading Tree: Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper: My Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Kit
Oxford Reading Tree: Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper: My Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Kit
by Annemarie Young
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.55

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great pack with a dreadful marketing, 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nice little pack which is just right for a journey or short study sessions.

It consists of pack of cards, a smallish sticker chart and three workbooks, all with the classic, distinctive (no, I'm not so lazy as to write iconic) Biff and Chip theme.

The pack of cards can be used for sentence and word level work as well as some basic card games. They reminded me of the Spears Silly Rhymes set. The box is not really built to store the cards but a couple of elastic bands and a light shove stowed them away nicely.

The sticker chart is nice but superfluous.

The books are wonderfully challenging. They cover a range of skills and topics at a range of levels which, once again, disprove the dull mantra about falling literacy standards.

So far, five stars...but I have a big problem with it.

The pack says for ages 6-7. Any parent, any teacher, anyone with even a basic grasp of standard distributions will tell you what a meaningless, possibly counterproductive, nonsense that is. Even Michael Gove's education department knows that not all children develop at the same rate. There are elements of this pack that would suit a bright four year old or a much older child who has "fallen behind". The idea that ability and age are anything more than broadly correlated is archaic, to say the least.

Someone at the OUP should tell their marketing department to stick to what they know and leave the technical stuff to the experts.


Philips Multi-Groom Ultra Precise Beard Styler Series 1000
Philips Multi-Groom Ultra Precise Beard Styler Series 1000
Price: £17.45

5.0 out of 5 stars More George Michael than Moses., 2 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a long time beardie, I thought I'd give this a test drive.

It's narrow head means trimming the full beard takes a lot longer than a normal styler.

However, it's worth it's weight in hummus for the detail work around the mouth and, on important days, the edges at the neck and cheek.

Personally, I'm going to use it alongside the heavier duty job I've got.

So, if you're into the Biblical patriarch thing, this isn't really for you. If you've got well groomed beard, or your beard is under manners from the missus, this is great value.


Philips GC7619/20 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - OptimalTemp No Fabric Burns Technology, 200 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Philips GC7619/20 PerfectCare Pure Steam Generator Iron - OptimalTemp No Fabric Burns Technology, 200 g Pressurised Steam Boost
Price: £99.00

5.0 out of 5 stars It's like a magic wallpaper steamer., 2 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first time I've used anything other than a bog standard steam iron and I'm impressed.

The first thing that struck me is it's resemblance to a wal­lpaper steamer. It's not a snide comment; I'm more comfortable in the garage than the utility room so that's my frame of reference and the basic principle is the same: the water is heated in a reservoir and comes up to the handpiece.

The second thing was the speed. It heated up in no time flat and, thanks to the magic thermowibble thing, there's no settings to check and wait for. That's not a snide comment either; I'm just stumped to work out how it works without taking it apart and asking Dr Google.

It's pretty light and very easy to use, particularly as you don't get that "uh-oh the iron is too hot" snaggy feeling when moving between fabrics.

There's a slight parallel to a four by four SUV. There's the people who need a rugged four wheel drive and the people who can't drive and need it to feel good about themselves. Similarly, there's people who need an iron this advanced and there's people who just want a super-duper iron.

Having said that, you don't look like a knob driving this iron.


WWE Superstriker John Cena
WWE Superstriker John Cena
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A hit!, 23 April 2015
This review is from: WWE Superstriker John Cena (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a great toy for tweenie boys.

We've come a long way since the days of The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Rey Misterio and the Undertaker. So have the toys.

Back then, the toys were pretty basic. A few points of articulation, some props like ladders and chairs for smashing about, that kind of thing.

This is great for two reasons. First, it's one of the al­l time great good guys, John "You Can't See Me" Cena.

Second, it's got the kind of punching action that makes me wish I was a kid myself. Squeeze once, you get a jab. Squeeze again, you get a swing. Smashing.

The only thing that could make this better is that four fingered wave thing but, hey, our young'un doesn't care. He's seen the Wrestlemania / Scooby Doo crossover and now he's Mystery Inc's minder.


Fisher-Price Rainforest Take Along Swing and Seat
Fisher-Price Rainforest Take Along Swing and Seat
Price: £62.24

5.0 out of 5 stars A hit with Sis and Nephew alike, 18 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a hit with the bright youngest nephew.

It's a great improvement on our youngest's old baby gym because it's got added swingability, adding a new dimension to the experience. A Very Good Thing. Stimuli are good, no matter what echo chamber internet "experts" say.

It's a hit with the grown ups too. It's pretty light, folds conveniently, is easily wiped down (Sis hasn't tried the machine wash bit" and has five point harness instead of the old three point.

Quibbles? The motorised swing is a tad lazy; it reminds me of those cartoons where a Heath Robinson contraption rocks the cradle while dad sleeps. That's it.

I


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