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OEJ & SKY
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CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X7 (PC)
CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X7 (PC)
Price: £64.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Seriously fun, 29 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Feedback here comes from one who has never used any kind of graphic software before but who has a genuine interest in learning and creating in this particular field.

Used with a laptop (Intel i7 4710MQ 2.4GHz Windows 7) it downloaded very quickly and was ready to go. First thought: OK now what? In my case I wanted to find out how I could edit an image and completely transform it. This was easy enough and Corel should be complimented for their as-you-go user guide which generally holds your hand through most and probably all processes, telling you what it is, what it does and how you can do it. I do think that despite this, complete beginners like myself will struggle amid the infinity of options and while it has proved to be fun, I have barely dipped my toe in the waters of its creative abilities. Having been given a deadline to post a review (which expired yesterday) I am offering minimal critique as I really need several months to really get the hang of it. I hope to be able to update this review when I know more and can offer more useful feedback.

I think this software will suit beginners and experienced users alike. If anything I expect to like it more in the future than I do now, because I have yet to experience or even understand its full capabilities. But even at this early stage I like it, it's just a little overwhelming for the complete novice but I sense that this can be overcome by plain old practice. An unreserved thumbs-up from me, but in fairness I have yet to learn what CorelDRAW Home and Student Suite X7 can really do.


Leifheit Pegasus Maxx 81650 Clothes Airer
Leifheit Pegasus Maxx 81650 Clothes Airer
Offered by Ideabright Ltd
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is TALL !, 28 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm sure the first thing that most people will say when they take this out of its box and open it out is "Blimey - that's tall". Well, that's what I said anyway. We already have a heated indoor clothes airer but this Pegasus jobbie dwarfs it in every direction.

It's relatively strong, too, more so than others that we've had in years past and which always seem to bend somewhere. This isn't made of titanium exactly but it does give the impression that it will last longer than most.

Its 1.28 metre height enables the owner to use it for hanging things like trousers, dresses and XL/XXL garments that might otherwise not really be suitable for standard-size airers. It does inevitably take up a fair bit of space but you can't have it both ways. So to offer the capacity and space such as the Pagasus does it will need to be large.

The overall drying length is 18 metres which sounds impressive and it is just that. There are some holder clips too (for small items) which have proved useful when the dryer has been placed outside in windy conditions.

The manufacturer claims that this dryer is rust-proof and although it's too soon to verify this, I would doubt that rust will ever be a problem during its life-time. The quality of the product is clearly better than the cheaper dryers we have used in the past and this goes a long way towards justifying its price, a price which might raise an eyebrow at first but I am now of the view that it's good value as it will probably last twice as long as smaller airers of half the price.

There's even a three-year guarantee, and to quote Tommy Cooper, you can't say fairer than that, then.

In summary this is an excellent clothes dryer for use both indoors and out, it's easy to fold flat to a width of 55cm, and with an 18 metre line length it will accommodate a lot of clothing.

Can't fault it really!


Remember, Remember
Remember, Remember
by Lisa Cutts
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly plotted and fast-paced, 24 Oct 2014
This review is from: Remember, Remember (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This second book in the DC Nina Foster series is a taut and gripping police procedural crime novel. When Nina returns to work after recovering from a near-fatal injury, she's supposed to be keeping her head down. But the cold case she's working on - an infamous train crash from 1964 - is no match for the lure of the shootings, drugs deaths and robberies keeping her colleagues busy. And before long she uncovers crucial new evidence linking the historic crash to the current spate of heroin-related deaths. Once again, she's back at the centre of a complex case which brings her face-to-face with a network of criminals who will stop at nothing to protect their empire.

Brilliantly plotted and fast-paced, Remember, Remember cements Lisa Cutts' reputation as a crime author of gripping fiction straight from the front line of modern policing.


Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent (The Father of Lies Chronicles)
Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent (The Father of Lies Chronicles)
by Alan Early
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.64

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, everything else fast and exciting, 11 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this story takes a while to get into, I kept at it and ended up not regretting it. The first 30 pages or so are all about the background history of what happened before the story begins, and now having finished what turned out to be an exciting page-turning story it seems strange to recall how bored I was early on. The good news is that as soon as the ACTION began, I was hooked.

Arthur Quinn, a shy, ordinary boy from Kerry, moves to Dublin with his father, Joe Quinn, due to a work offer in the Metro Station there. When they have moved, everything is easily settled and they are introduced to the neighbours from across the road, one of whom Arthur befriends : a girl called Ashling who is the same age as him. Joining the same school as her, Arthur is introduced to a boy in their class called Will, and although Arthur dislikes him at first the three of them eventually become good friends and the threesome works well.

Joe Quinn is part of a team working underneath the ground at the metro station, drilling into the depths of a river that the Vikings had once sailed through. Arthur's class takes a school trip to the station to do some research about their school topic. This is where the action begins. Will wants to investigate the underground in detail, and sneaks down the ladder through the entrance; with great reluctance, Ash and Arthur follow him down.

It's a mistake. Curiosity gets the better of them, and in their foolishness, fate turns back on them, and they are swept (quite literally down the river) right off their feet and into some very dangerous places. All manner of twists and turns occur after this scene, things turn weird just as they think their lives can't get any stranger.

Viking gods of Asgard are written into the story, which are often parts of Arthur's nightmares, but Arthur's biggest nightmare is yet to come, with the Trickster God on the loose to DESTROY THE WORLD, Arthur is the only one believed to be capable of destroying him.

This story is eventful and enjoyable, but I can't quite give it five stars because it doesn't quite have that memorable OOMPH that could have been added. However, the storyline is excellent and so is the writing, with a balance of detailed description and realistic dialogue. Told in the third person, the book describes characters' personalities clearly and convincingly, capturing the right effect to give the book what could be called its silver lining.

I would definitely recommend this story to anyone who likes to stick their nose into a suspenseful, action-packed novel. Age suggestion: Boys and Girls of about 10 to 14.

Thank you for reading!

SKY (aged 11)


Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Veet Infini'Silk Pro IPL Hair Removal System with Precision Facial Attachment
Price: £224.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Handle with care, 9 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Veet infini'Silk Pro permanent hair *reduction* System is lighter but larger
than I had expected, and it looks a bit like a ray-gun or a barcode scanner.

The package includes the device itself, a cord with UK plug, two cartridges (one for the
face, one for the body) and an instruction manual. I highly recommend reading
the instruction manual first because this device does not work on naturally dark
skin tones and it can depend on the colour of the hair.

It is quite straightforward to set up, it doesn't rely on battery power, when
you want to use it, you only have to plug it in and then it is ready to use. The
skin must be freshly/recently shaved, clean and dry and free from any
moisturisers and it cannot be used on tanned skin or skin that has had recent sun
exposure. In the manual it has a "Skin Test" for the first treatment, it tests
the skin colour to choose which appropriate energy level is required and if no
"abnormal" discomfort was experienced, then you will have to increase the energy
level.

I have only used this device a few times as the treatments have to be spread
apart, I experienced a little more discomfort compared to other reviews, I
didn't read the full instructions properly and I had found a burn on my arm
after using it there. When the button is pressed, you will hear a "pop" sound and the
flash will occur at the same time, the skin may irritate a little but will
mainly feel warm. The flash of the device is also extremely bright and the
manual insists to keep this away from eyes. Luckily, the flash only occurs if it
is in contact with the skin, so don't worry if you accidentally press the
button. Also this device may not be used if the user has a medical condition and
cannot be used on any areas with tattoos or permanent make up. It is also
advised that you should not treat the same area more than once per session, as
it can cause some adverse effects.

Overall, based on the first few uses, it is quite simple to use, but probably is
best suited to those with lighter skin tone. I would say that it should be described
as a permanent hair reduction device rather than a permanent hair removal device.
The Veet Infini'Silk is deceptively simple to use and it is easy to forget just how
high-tech it is, and how careless or casual use could actually cause physical harm.

I will add more detail in a few months when I have a full and complete experience.

------------------------------------
(Written by my 14-year-old daughter)


Spree
Spree
by Michael Morley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A whole lotta killing going on, 8 Oct 2014
This review is from: Spree (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In "SPREE", a man goes on a killing rampage in Los Angeles and he is pursued by Jake Mottram of the FBI, who heads the SKU or Spree Killer Unit. There is a distinction between a spree killer and a serial killer, you see. Mottram's love interest is FBI psychological profiler Angie Holmes who plays more than a bit part in the investigation of a serial rapist.

With nearly 180 very short chapters - most just two or three pages long - this never flows as freely as I wanted it to. There's no doubt that it's eventful and there's very little in the way of padding, but the chop-chop style isn't one that I personally found appealing. The characters are drawn well, the story's good but the way it's written (or laid out) is a constant frustration. The British author's background is in TV production and the novel Spree suffers, I believe, from a screenplay-like style that jumps quickly from one scene to another in ways that reminded me of soap-operas like Eastenders. A crime fiction novel is (or should be) different as a reading experience from a screenplay. Almost every chapter is interesting, but then it stops abruptly. Some readers might like this rat-a-tat method because it does keep a sense of 'action' going, but I personally think it could have been a better idea to have had half as many chapters of twice the length; the number of pages would be the same but it might flow better.

This criticism is exemplified in one of the spree killings, which, given that such things happen all too often in America, has the potential to really shock and disturb. But to squeeze such a horrific event into three pages undermines its impact, and gives it a near cartoon-like impression. Again, this is a good idea for a story but not executed as well as it could have been.

Despite these constant irritations I still quite enjoyed reading Spree, my lasting impression though is that it is a wasted opportunity for something much better.


Smart Weigh Precision Digital Vanity / Bathroom Scale, "Smart Step-On" Technology, Tempered Glass Platform and Large Backlight Display
Smart Weigh Precision Digital Vanity / Bathroom Scale, "Smart Step-On" Technology, Tempered Glass Platform and Large Backlight Display

5.0 out of 5 stars On a scale of 1 to 5 - I give it 5, 13 Sep 2014
This product was supplied by the manufacturer, no financial purchase was made

I like the Smart Weigh immediately. Very slim, almost all glass and altogether very contemporary in design, and not too heavy at 1.9 kg. Best used on a hard flat surface, and not a carpet.

Our previous bathroom scales have always been frustrating because they had a 100kg limit. This is no longer a problem because the Smart Weight has a capacity of 150kg or 331lbs. You might guess from this that I weigh somewhere between 100 and 150 kgs. There's the option of having the LCD display in kilograms or old-fashioned pounds or stones. Power is provided by a couple of thin lithium CR2032 batteries which are included with the scales.

It's almost impossible to comment on the precise accuracy but based on my own weight read-out, which was almost exactly what I was expecting, I am inclined to regard this product as accurate.

To protect against dust acumulation the scales can be stored in the plastic bag they are supplied with. The instruction book mentions that dust, dirt and moisture can accumulate in the weighing sensors and electronics which could cause inaccuracy or malfunction. I will be storing the scales in such a way that exposure to dust and moisture is kept to a minimum.

Personally I am very pleased with this device, it is attractive and it does exactly what I want it to do - by which I mean handle a weight of more than 100kg, which not every set of scales can do. I should add that the manufacturer warns against overloading above 150kg because it could cause permanent damage.


Set of 2 40 White Globe Ball Battery Operated LED Fairy Lights
Set of 2 40 White Globe Ball Battery Operated LED Fairy Lights
Offered by Golden Battery
Price: £25.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fairy nice, 12 Sep 2014
This product was supplied by the manufacturer and no purchase was involved.

Each cable contains 40 'globe ball' bulbs and is about 4 metres in length. So you get 80 bulbs in all, each 1.8cm in diameter and spaced 10cm apart.

Power is provided by 3 AA batteries (not included), and it might be a good idea to invest in some Duracell Rechargeable AA Batteries

The battery case features the on/off switch - there is the option of 'solid on' or a flashing mode, I would guess the lights flash on and off about 3 or 4 times a second.

The Globe Balls are nice and bright and I expect they will make for an attractive Christmas tree decoration, and they can be used for all manner of other decorative purposes too.

You get a 30 day money back Guarantee and a very reasonable 2 Years Warranty. I have found Koopower a good company to communicate with.


KooPower® 10 LED Fairy Candles Lights Flameless Artificial Battery Operated Powered Candles - Wireless with Remote Control - for Christmas Xmas Tree Birthday Party Wedding Dinner Church Temple Beach Grass Hotels
KooPower® 10 LED Fairy Candles Lights Flameless Artificial Battery Operated Powered Candles - Wireless with Remote Control - for Christmas Xmas Tree Birthday Party Wedding Dinner Church Temple Beach Grass Hotels
Offered by Golden Battery
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The remote controlled wire-less Christmas tree lights, 12 Sep 2014
I accepted an offer from the manufacturer to review this product; no actual purchase was involved.

In the box I received there are 10 LED Fairy Candles, 10 clips and 10 AAA batteries - and a remote control which uses a CR2025 HL3V lithium battery, also included.

The immediately unusual (and welcome) feature of this product is that there are no wires to get tangled up - each light has its own dedicated power source. It's also a welcome feature to see that the batteries are included. Consequently it might be worth investing in some Duracell Rechargeable AAA Batteries.

We haven't bought this year's Christmas Tree yet but it's easy to test these lights on their own. One issue we quickly found is that some of the candles fit quite easily on to the matching clips but some require a fair bit of force. In the end we managed to get all 10 candles securely connected without any breakages. Once on, each candle can be rotated through an arc of about 45 degrees to facilitate the positioning so that each candle can be (hopefully!) perpendicular.

The remote control is bound to make you smile, if only for the novelty of being able to switch your Christmas tree lights on and off from your sofa. In addition to being able to switch on and off, other options enable you to raise and lower the brightness, and there are three choices once the lights are on: solid (i.e. not flashing) and 'SL' or 'FL' which basically means either a slow flash or a fast flash. There's actually not much difference between the two speeds.

In summary this a novelty but surely a very good idea. Best to use rechargeable batteries to keep the long-term costs down. Each 'candle' works out at about £1.40 which I'd say is probably fair enough; most people will want more than 10 and it would be good if there was a multiple-purchase discount.

This product has made my children look even more eagerly forward towards Christmas and they are keen to get the essential tree to put the candles on. Thumbs-up from this house.


Xqisit Mini Bluetooth Speaker - Champagne Gold
Xqisit Mini Bluetooth Speaker - Champagne Gold
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite? Nah. Pretty good though, 12 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is yet another in the seemingly endless array of small portable bluetooth speakers, designed to work with smartphones, laptops and other similar media technology. It weighs just 141 grams, in terms of dimensions its circular top and base are very slightly more (about 2mm more) than the size of a 50p coin or a typical watch-face, and it's about as long/high as half an adult male thumb. In other words: It's small.

But it packs a punch.

The instructions are hard to read and you might need a magnifying glass. It says you should charge the device for 3 hours before use (via USB to a laptop for example) but I found that it was ready for use in just over 1 hour. A full charge lasts about 4 hours, depending on volume level.

Hooked it up easily and quickly to my phone (Samsung) and placed it on a solid wooden table. No doubt about it, the sound quality from the 3 watt speaker is a step up from the phone itself, a big step in fact. Not as tinny for a start, but then again a long way short of what you'd enjoy using a pair of similarly-priced headphones because there's obviously not much in the bass department. Things can be notably improved if the Xqisit is placed in a corner or confined space so that the immediate surroundings can be used to amplify the sound. I found that the sound broke up once the device was about 4 metres away from my phone and/or if I took it out of the room, which is fair enough.

On the Xqisit you can pause the music and return to playing, you can adjust the volume and you can use it to answer an incoming phone call. You can also do a last-number redial. It has also been used with an iPad on FaceTime but the results have been mixed, with some callers saying that it was difficult to hear my voice.

One of this device's obvious benefits is to use it in a car but I have yet to do so. Its very small dimensions will appeal for such usage as it can be put almost anywhere. It also offers conference call facilities but again I have yet to try this out.

It gives the impression of being well made and the champagne finish is attractive. A carrying cord is supplied, which is handy.

Overall it's a surprisingly versatile product for such a small package, and being so portable only adds to its appeal.


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