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Stuart T

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O'Keeffe's Working Hands 95g Jar
O'Keeffe's Working Hands 95g Jar
Offered by Caulfield Industrial
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars All you need for chapped and sore hands, 22 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The best hand reviver I've used.


Invision® iPad 2 3 & 4 Smart Case Cover - Front and Back Protection With Magnetic Auto Wake/Sleep Function - Superior Design Features - Premium Quality PU Leather With Microfiber Inner Lining - Independently Recommended by "Which?" Magazine (iPad 2 3 4 Cover Blue)
Invision® iPad 2 3 & 4 Smart Case Cover - Front and Back Protection With Magnetic Auto Wake/Sleep Function - Superior Design Features - Premium Quality PU Leather With Microfiber Inner Lining - Independently Recommended by "Which?" Magazine (iPad 2 3 4 Cover Blue)
Offered by Invision Technology (UK) Limited
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great alternative to Apple's equivalent smart case, 22 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Considerably cheaper than the Apple alternative, assuming you can still buy their cases for the iPad 2. When I enquired, my local John Lewis told me they no longer stocked covers for the iPad 2. The Invision cover is robust, well-made and fits the iPad 2 exactly as it should. Would certainly recommend the product and the vendor.


VANILLA CLOUD'S SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 MINI BLACK LEATHER FLIP CASE / COVER
VANILLA CLOUD'S SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 MINI BLACK LEATHER FLIP CASE / COVER
Offered by DN-Technology
Price: £1.90

5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like?, 22 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very good fit for the Galaxy IV mini and at this price, an absolute bargain. Great service from the vendor too.


Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914
Price: £3.66

3.0 out of 5 stars Informative, 27 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good book, well written. It provides excellent background to the causes of the First World War and the first year thereafter. I have so much respect for the foot soldiers who endured and often didn't survive appalling conditions and contempt for those politicians who sent them there. The officer class come out badly too with many letting their egos get in the way of pragmatism.

The book is probably over-long and too detailed. I found it difficult to remember who was whom. Amazon's x-ray technology would have helped tremendously in this regard.


Delonghi ESAM04.110.S Magnifica 15 Bar Bean to Cup Espresso/ Cappuccino Machine - Silver
Delonghi ESAM04.110.S Magnifica 15 Bar Bean to Cup Espresso/ Cappuccino Machine - Silver
Offered by Digitalis Direct
Price: £509.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You have to be smarter than the machine!, 27 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've used a Dualit Expressivo coffee maker for the past five years with excellent results. I decided to upgrade to a bean-to-cup machine, partly out of laziness. I liked the idea of not having to clean the machine after every use which sometimes deterred me from having another cup later on.

I spent weeks reading reviews of bean-to-cup machines almost to the point where I gave up. There are so many makes and types with many horrendously expensive for what they do. I narrowed down the field to DeLonghi as, in general, they received consistently good reviews.

I then saw the ESAM04.110.S (why such long model names?) and was impressed by the generally excellent reviews and the affordable price - in my case £200 from Delonghi via Amazon. The machine arrived within three days direct from the manufacturer, well packaged and with a reasonably helpful manual. I was disappointed with my first few coffees comparing them unfavourably with my Dualit machine. I was encouraged, however, by other reviewers early failures as well as the honesty in the Delonghi manual which said it would take several coffees before getting it right.

Different warning lights come on from time to time for no apparent reason. For example, one which indicates the coffee grounds tray is full when it isn't. Another shows when the grind is too fine. I couldn't figure this out for a while but then remembered I had reduced the amount of water per cup and I guess the machine was indicating that the coffee would be far too strong in this situation. Sure enough, when I increased the quantity of water again, the machine worked fine.

While covered by the manual, it is important to know that if the one cup/two cup indicator lights continue to flash, it is because the machine has got too hot. This, I believe, is caused when trying for a further coffee after using the cappuccino wand for the previous cup. The way round this is to turn the wand off then turn the dial to expel hot water from the system. Better still, dispense all the coffees you require before frothing the milk.

Don't be put off the machine, though, because it does deliver excellent coffee to different strengths and quantities. Just be patient and you'll soon get the better of it! I did resort to phoning Delongi's helpline once for clarification about something in the manual. The call was handled well and effectively. Judging by this if I did experience further problems then a quick phone call should resolve most issues. Do read the manual and keep it nearby in the first few months as it is a helpful reference point.

The machine is quite noisy but not excessively so. I do worry about the harsh mechanical sounds it makes when starting up and grinding. It reminds me of a car engine just before it dies. However, Delonghi have been making these things for years and the two-year warranty is reassuring.

I've given the Delonghi ESAM04.110.S four stars. It could be better. For example, the passive cup warmer is useless; just use boiling water instead. The infuser is tricky to remove and replace possibly due to machine's compact size.Also, I've had problems using pre-ground coffee which, despite following instructions in the manual about only putting the coffee in one spoon at a time and then only when the machine is on, the coffee went straight through, presumably bypassing the hopper. The result is that the insides had coffee dispersed around it and it was messy and took ages to clear it out. I haven't been brave enough to try it again (my first attempt with ground coffee was fine; it was the second that went haywire) but when I do, and if I get the same problem, I'll be on to the helpline for an explanation.

In summary, this is a good-value bean-to-cup machine which I'd recommend. Be patient with it. You won't get great coffee straight away but do persevere. However, if you expect to use pre-ground coffee frequently, based on my experience, buy something else. In fact, why have a bean-to-cup at all? It is good, though, to have the facility if you run out of beans.

As a bonus, I frequent coffee shops a bit less than I did because I'm always comparing the quality of their offerings unfavourably against my own coffee.

Update August 2014:

Having used this machine now for a few months, I'm pleased to report that my two niggles have been resolved. First, the infuser has proved straightforward to remove and replace. No repeat of the difficulty first experienced. Second, I've made several cups of coffee using pre-ground coffee without the problem mentioned in my review. I'm delighted with the DeLonghi ESAM04.110.S and happy to award the fifth star.


The Best of Our Spies
The Best of Our Spies
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read based on fact, 10 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a fast-moving and highly readable book. It always keeps the reader guessing and because it is based on fact, situations don't always end happily. I was really sorry when I finished it as it was certainly the best book I've read for some time.

The e-book contains several errors and typos. Also, when did anyone in the '40's refer to railway stations as train stations? I forgive all these because of the great story.


Philips AT890/17 AquaTouch Plus Wet and Dry Electric Shaver
Philips AT890/17 AquaTouch Plus Wet and Dry Electric Shaver
Offered by Care Beauty Shop
Price: £63.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good shaver but could be better, 2 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Electric shavers are totally personal things so any review must be read on this basis. For example, I have decided (at last) that my beard is best suited to a rotary shaver like the Aqua Touch Plus. A couple of years ago I bought through Amazon, a Panasonic non-rotary. I read all the reviews, considered the price and bought. The shaver turned out a real disappointment. Not that it was a bad shaver but it just didn't deal adequately with my beard and left my face feeling quite uncomfortable.
The Philips Aqua Touch I'm pleased to say does a better job than any electric shaver I've owned in the past while still getting no where near the closeness of a wet shave. It gives a comfortable shave (for my face) and is quiet. It holds its charge well and is easy to clean.
Negatives are: 1. No case. I've had to use a case from a previous shaver. I really can't understand why manufacturers don't always provide some form a carrying case. It would cost another pound or so but would be worth it. 2. No light that indicates the level of charge left. 3. The on/off switch is right where my thumb naturally holds the shaver. Why put it there for goodness sake?

OK, these are minor gripes but overall I'm pleased with the shaver as it suits me. This does not mean it is right for everyone.

PS: The box in which it came states that the shaver won the Which? award for best of its type. I didn't know this when I bought it but feel comforted about my buying decision and may help others with theirs.


Les Misérables: Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack
Les Misérables: Highlights From The Motion Picture Soundtrack
Price: £7.99

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See the film first, 21 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Saw the film and loved it. In fact I think it was probably the best film I have ever seen. I then had to buy the soundtrack and love this too because I can visualise each track as I heard it at the cinema. However, good though the soundtrack is, I'm not sure it would mean much to anyone who had not first seen the film. If you are not intending to see the film, it might be best to buy the music from the stage show. This is because these artists are probably, on the whole, better singers. But the emotion of the soundtrack and the fact that it seems to be a straight-lift from the film itself, makes it for me, a much more memorable experience.

Either way the music is great. I guarantee you will keep humming one or two of the songs throughout the day. They really do stick in the brain.


Logitech B110 Optical USB Mouse
Logitech B110 Optical USB Mouse
Offered by E W Link Co Ltd.
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value mouse, 18 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After years of using a desk-top computer I recently changed to a laptop. While I'd used one before I never felt totally comfortable using built-in pressure pad type pointers compared with an external mouse. I saw the Logitech B110 advertised and reviewed on Amazon and at under £5 its purchase was a no-brainer.

I just plugged it into a USB port and it worked. No software was necessary. Would that all perpipherals worked as easily! I tend to use the mouse mostly when working on spreadsheets where it's quicker and more accurate than the pressure pad.

All in all, a cheap but decent-quality device that works straight out of the box.


The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown
The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown
Price: £3.59

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Succinct and well researched, 21 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My interest in the Tudors was awakened by Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and more recently, Bring Up The Bodies. In these Thomas Cromwell, the main protagonist, is represented as a cultivated, civilised but altogether ruthless man, driven by ambition to profit from delivering Henry VIII's political, religious and marital strategies. So well researched are these books that it is sometimes difficult to remember that they are Mantel's fictional take on actual events albeit involving the real players of the time.

I wanted, therefore, to learn more of the truth behind Henry VIII's marriages and his ambitions so I turned to Claire Ridgway's book The Fall of Ann Boleyn - A Countdown for the facts. What I soon realised, and confirmed by Claire in her summary, is that much is unknown about the downfall of Ann Boleyn. That there are different theories as to what or rather, who, caused her fall from grace. Was it Cromwell carrying out the King's orders? Or Cromwell, fearful of losing his influence if Ann flourished, concocting false evidence leading to the arrest of several of Ann's so-called lovers giving the King little choice but to denounce her and bring her and her "lovers" to trial? Or was Ann simply indiscreet in her language and choice of company such to incur the wrath of the King? What I have concluded is that regardless of the theory one favours, she was innocent of the crimes she was charged with as were the others brought to trial and eventually executed.

I enjoyed Claire Ridgway's account of Ann Boleyn's fall and references she made to other historians with whom she did not always agree. I also appreciated the relatively short paragraphs and general approach which made for easy reading.

Finally, any author who actually solicits feedback via Amazon and Goodread reviews is one who, in my book, has an open mind and prepared to take criticism . In my case no criticism just thanks for a well-researched and interesting book which has enabled me to learn more of the facts surrounding the period in question while in no way reducing my admiration and appreciation of Hilary Matel's Cromwell-centred books.


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