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Hunter Sza

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Pampers Change Mats - 5 x Packs of 12 (60 Change Mats)
Pampers Change Mats - 5 x Packs of 12 (60 Change Mats)
Offered by Emaan Limited
Price: £25.24

3.0 out of 5 stars Handy, 25 Feb. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Clearly, these mats stick two fingers up at the natural world. Grudgingly, though, I admit that they certainly are useful to have on hand for day trips, visiting other people's homes and the like. As they are so thin, you can simply stuff a few into a bag and you're good to go. Moreover, because you probably won't use them at home (surely favouring re-usable change mats), they should last a while, making them better value for money and lessening (albeit slightly) their impact on the environment. Overall, three stars, but way too expensive (environmentally and economically) if you were using them everyday.

Pampers New Baby Size 2 (6-13 lbs/3-6 kg) Nappies - 2 x Economy Packs of 62 (124 Nappies)
Pampers New Baby Size 2 (6-13 lbs/3-6 kg) Nappies - 2 x Economy Packs of 62 (124 Nappies)
Offered by Emaan Limited
Price: £21.86

4.0 out of 5 stars They Do What You Need Them To Do, 25 Feb. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There's not much that needs to be said about these nappies as they simply tick all the right boxes: they're soft enough next to the skin, they don't leak, they are easy to use and they're pretty good value. Even if you normaly use re-usable nappies, it can still be very handy to have some disposables on hand and you probably won't find better than these.

P.S. Just in case you're wondering, the size-guide is hidden in amongst the promotional blurb, above. It is below the picture on the left-hand side.

TELL ME MORE French v10 5 levels (PC DVD)
TELL ME MORE French v10 5 levels (PC DVD)
Price: £248.77

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay For Practice, Bad For Learning, 26 Jan. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tell Me More has ten levels overall, and this product entitles you to access five of those levels. The five levels that you pick must be consecutive, though. For example, you can only choose, say, levels one through five, or three through seven. I've been learning French on and off for years (I'm conversational-ish), so I dived right in at levels six through ten, but if you chose one through five, for example, and wanted to continue on to the next levels you would have to spend out more money to access those levels.

The strength of Tell Me More is that it offers so many different ways of playing with language. There are many word games, vocab lists, opportunities to practise your accent and, my personal favourite, videos that come with an accompanying transcript so that you can read the language at the same time as hearing it spoken. Listening to these videos whilst reading the script is a great way to get a feel for the flow and structure of spoken French.

However, there is a downside. Although you will have access to something like 60 videos spread out over the five levels (each video is around a couple of minutes long), recorded videos are, of course, the same each time you play them. Considering the price of the product, and considering that the videos are probably the product's most useful feature, I feel that there simply aren't enough of them. If there had been, say, six HUNDRED videos, well, that would have been better value for money. And as for the other materials, the word games, well, similar to the videos, I can't help but wonder how long it would take for people to tire of them. After all, you want to forge ahead and SPEAK French with people, not sit around doing a crossword or playing 'fill in the blanks' on your computer. All too easily you can feel that, even with all of these word games and videos, you're not really sinking your teeth into the meat of the French language, that you're not really making any SIGNIFICANT progress. That brings me on to this point...

Their actual teaching is a joke. Their explanations (all written, I should point out) of language concepts are all explained using grammatical terminology that can easily leave you wondering what on Earth they are talking about even AFTER you've read the explanation. It's as if the explanations have come straight from a grammatical reference book; there is absolutely nothing in the way of elucidation. Being a more advanced student of French, I know for a fact that there's no way I would have known what they were talking about when I first started learning. Clearly, then, whoever decided to call the product Tell Me More had an ironical sense of humour, because they don't actually tell you anything.

In summary, there's a lot to play around with here, but most of it is, in reality, probably not that useful, because it's precisely that: playing around, as opposed to offering real insight into the workings of the French language.
The videos are worth having, but not worth the outlay, especially when compared to the Yabla website, and if you want to actually understand how the language works (which is essential if you're to make real progress) you'd be better of with good ol' fashioned books, which are, of course, a heck of a lot cheaper.

10 Minute Solution - Blast Off Body Fat [DVD] [2010]
10 Minute Solution - Blast Off Body Fat [DVD] [2010]
Offered by kathyeh
Price: £3.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun and Simple Exercise-Session, 26 Jan. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's hard not to like Suzanne Bowen, the fitness instructor on this DVD. She's very down-to-Earth and endearingly geeky in her enthusiasm for the exercises. From this, you get the reassuring impression that she's sharing with you her personal faves, the exercises that she does herself to keep in shape.

As for the exercises themselves, well, they'll burn off calories by getting your body moving in ways in which it doesn't normally move, conditioning your muscles, as opposed to delivering an all-out cardio-blast.
Whilst this probably won't strip off body fat as effectively as, say, skipping or running, it does have the added bonus of firming you up at the same time. Each ten-minute segment focuses on a different area of the body and collectively the whole body is worked pretty thoroughly.

This DVD is probably ideal if you simply want to shed a few pounds at home. If your goal is to lose more than that, this DVD may not contain vigorous enough exercises. Either that or you'll simply have to use it a lot, at which point the question of boredom is raised. So, the title may be a bit of a misnomer because, realistically, the exercises just aren't really agressive enough to really 'blast off body fat'. More likely, with repeated efforts, you'd see decent, steady results, as opposed to stunning ones.

My only other criticism is that the background electro-pop music is a bit naff and unable to be turned off, although to be fair it's harmless enough and you won't even notice it when you're busy exercising.

In summary, then, it's an approachable and worthwhile DVD that provides a bit of variety for anyone who's on a fitness kick. And the bonus DVD has some useful stuff on it too, so the whole package isn't bad value for money.

Good luck with your fitness goals.

Philips O'Neill SHO8802/10 The Snug  Headband Headphones
Philips O'Neill SHO8802/10 The Snug Headband Headphones

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not great, 14 Dec. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
First up, the cord has no volume control on it. If that's a deal-breaker for you, then you may as well not bother reading any further. Considering that these phones are supposed to be geared towards an active, 'out-and-about' lifestyle, I'm quite amazed that they didn't include a volume control. As for the cord itself, it's a pretty decent length (about a metre) for activity or for a laptop, but useless for anything else, such as watching TV. I also like that the cord is fabric, so it doesn't tangle (which is something I can't stand).

As for the style, it is, of course, just going to be a matter of taste. Personally, I like a splash of colour and think that it's good that the technology companies are once again venturing ever further away from offering nothing but dull blacks and greys. That said, there is another style issue...

Just above your ears, the headband of these phones hovers a good inch out from the side of your head. This I find a bit weird. It makes your head look quite a lot wider, and therefore kind of squat. Again, though, whether you like this look or not is going to be down to personal preference.

As for the quality, it does the job. The sound is functional, but nothing special, and the fit is very solid (could be good for running). The padding they use in the earpieces is just the normal foam-padding found in any other headphones, so, just like with any other phones, they become uncomfy after wearing them for a while, it's just the nature of headphones.

All in, then, I can't help but feel that these phones are nothing much more than a fashion accessory, which you'll either like or not, depending on nothing more than your own personal taste.

Thank you.

Naked Numbers  The Three Rules to Make Your Life Add Up
Naked Numbers The Three Rules to Make Your Life Add Up
by Paul Carson
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £18.37

3.0 out of 5 stars It's good, not great, 5 Dec. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Okay, first of all, yes, this product will help you to be more confident with numbers, so overall it achieves what it sets out to do, assuming that you stick with it. However, there are a few negatives to consider...

Now, if you're doing GCSE maths (or helping someone who is), then this product would probably be a fantastic study aid, but this course seems to be primarily marketed towards adults with the aim of polishing up their numeracy. The thing is, though, a normal adult going through day-to-day life would almost certainly never use the vast majority of information in the course. For example, how often would you be required to calculate the volume of a prism, or use scientific notation to talk about numbers (such as referring to the number seven million as seven times ten to the power of six)? Not often, I'm guessing.

Moreover, I don't think the delivery is all that it's cracked up to be. You see, the Michel Thomas teaching method (used on this course) was quite heavily criticized on the Michel Thomas Spanish-language course because one of the students used on the recording was terribly (and irritatingly) slow. However, subsequent Michel Thomas courses, including this maths course, seem to have reacted to this criticism by overcompensating: I found the students involved on this recording already had pretty sharp maths skills, and as a consequence the whole course moves too quickly, with not enough examples and time spent fleshing out the concepts being presented.

This means that you're probably going to have to go over the same material several times before you absorb it, and it is here that we meet another problem: no rewind function. What were they thinking? You can skip back to the beginning of a segment, which can be tedious as you may have to sit through a couple of minutes before you get back to the bit you want, or you can copy the whole course over to your desktop or MP3 player where you will be able to rewind but not watch the video at the same time (which is a problem 'cause you need to see what they're talking about).

So, the course isn't really three hours at all. You'll have to go through it repeatedly, without the rewind function, which will add up to a large chunk of your life. And all of this to learn material that, for the most part, you'll probably never actually use. Hmmm.

Now, with all of that said, I'd like to wrap up with a big positive: even if you don't use most of what you learn, and even if it does take several (possibly frustrating) viewings, it will nonetheless improve your confidence with numbers. And some of the course is genuinely useful. For example, I now know how to times three digit numbers with other three digit numbers, such as 467 times 963. That's something that I didn't know how to do before, and something that I really can imagine using in the future. What's more, it's nice to have the material spoken to you as opposed to having to trawl through a book for the same information, even if he's not the most enthusiastic teacher.

So, although I've been critical, and although I would have liked the delivery of the course to have been a bit more lively and expansive, ultimately I can still finish by giving it this high praise: if they brought out a follow-up advanced course, I'd buy it.

I hope this has helped you to make your decision. Thank you.

Braun Oral-B EB20-4 Precision Clean Replacement Rechargeable Toothbrush Heads (Pack of 4) (Packaging May Vary)
Braun Oral-B EB20-4 Precision Clean Replacement Rechargeable Toothbrush Heads (Pack of 4) (Packaging May Vary)
Price: £9.80

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff..., 21 Nov. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't know about yours, but my Oral-B electric toothbrush has an automatic timer that lets you know when two minutes of brushing have transpired, and after this time I must admit that these brush heads really do make your teeth feel really nice and clean, as if fresh from the dentist's. They definitely outperform normal non-electric toothbrushes.

I prefer these brush heads to the other varieties available because these ones don't have those little yellow flippers embedded amongst the bristles. Personally, I don't like those little yellow flippers, they feel a bit abrasive. Moreover, they seem unnecessary and gimmicky since the bristles do a perfectly good job by themselves.

There are only two reasons why I haven't given this product five stars. One is that I feel they're a bit overpriced for what they are, and, two, I find it difficult to generate that level of enthusiasm for brush heads.

All in, they competently and straightforwardly do the job that they are supposed to do. Good stuff, but a bit expensive.

Philips Imageo Tealights Six-Set
Philips Imageo Tealights Six-Set
Offered by zisaline
Price: £77.45

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A full review for those who want it..., 27 Oct. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The following is an overview of the pros and cons. I'll get the (minor) negatives out of the way first...

1. The light given off by the Philips lights is considerably more orange when compared to the natural white light of a candle. This orange light is dimmer and darker than white light, so it doesn't perfectly replicate the cool, romantic lighting of real candles. When dotted around the room, they seem more like isolated points of glowing orange light, and don't come together to give the collective 'light-bath' ambiance given off by numerous real candles. You probably wouldn't want to have dinner in this light as you would hardly be able to see what you're eating!

2. The flicker is a touch unnatural. I was expecting that they would give off a mostly even light, only flickering every minute or two, but when I first turned one on I was suprised to discover that they actually flicker, albeit very lightly, pretty much constantly (every few seconds, for a few seconds). However, I hadn't yet put it into its little frosted-glass vase. Once in the vase, the flickering effect was softened, and once I had fired up the rest of the lights and positioned them around the room, I found that I no longer noticed the individual flickering of any one light. So, all in, this probably won't be a problem for you.

3. To turn the lights on and off, you simply lean your wrist to the side whilst holding them, tilting them, say, 90 degrees. Every now and then, though, I found that I had to keep turning them all the way round to a near upside-down position before the light went on/off, which is a touch awkward, or that I had to tilt them two or three times before the light would co-operate. So, this tilting mechanism isn't perfect, but, again, it's a pretty minor point.

4. For those who are concerned about the environment, Philips seem to have used more cardboard than was really necessary in the packaging of this product.

And now for the positives...

1. The safety factor is fantastic. It's so nice not to have to worry about leaving them unattended. And you can put them absolutely anywhere you like. I even put some of them right on my bed with me when I was relaxing, without having to worry about spilling hot wax or setting the sheets on fire. And if you've got kids (or pets), the advantages are obvious.

2. Although the orange light may not perfectly mirror that of real candles, it is still really pleasant. It's a very warm glow. In fact, it's probably better to think of them as little orange 'glow lamps', as opposed to a substitute for candles proper. When I put them on my windowsill after the sun had gone down, they reminded me of the flame orange of an open fireplace, which was enhanced by their gentle flickering: genuinely quite lovely.

3. They're easy to use. Despite the aforementioned minor gripe with activating them, they're still really user-friendly. Placing them in the charger and taking them out again couldn't be simpler, and you don't have to do a full ten-hour charge if you don't want. I placed them in the charger for just a few minutes and found that that was enough to power them for an hour or two.

4. They last ages. According to the blurb, you can fully charge them up to a thousand times, and each charge will provide about twelve hours of light. By my reckoning then, you could use them for two hours a day, six days a week (or, if you prefer, four hours a day, three days per week), and they would last you for twenty years. In this day and age, I think that's genuinely quite impressive.

5. You can use them outdoors. They don't seem to be completely waterproof because the blurb says that you shouldn't submerge them in water, but it also says that it's okay to clean them with a damp cloth. So, it would seem that a bit of water (meaning light rain) does them no harm.

6. They're nicely presented, meaning that they would probably make for an original and well-received gift for someone.

All in, they're probably not going to replace your real candles completely: I'm sure that there will still be times when you'll want the authentic light and smell of wax candles (especially that irreplaceable smell of a candle freshly put out). That said, these are, in my opinion, well worth having too. Their ease of use, safety features and glowing, warming light mean that you'll almost certainly get your money's worth.

All the best.

Business Accountz Enterprise (PC/Mac/Linux)
Business Accountz Enterprise (PC/Mac/Linux)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Business Accountz Enterprise, 22 Oct. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I think that the great strength of this product is its simplicity. Essentially, everything accounts-related is brought into one place, and that one place is super-easy to navigate. They really seem to have gone out of their way to make everything as user-friendly as possible.

Even though Business Accountz (I must admit) has so many tools that I find that I don't really use most of them, everything is organized in such a way that this doesn't confuse the user's experience. This is also helped by the product's flexibility, meaning that you can customize the set up at any time so as to organize everthing in the way that you want.

If you go to their website [...] and click on the 'Business Accountz' tab, you can find a good little video regarding what this software is all about, and whether it's right for you. The customer support offered on their website also seems to be above average, with forums, web seminars and the like. I haven't actually used this support, though, so it's just a superficial observation.

The only real problem I have with this software is the price. This problem is compounded by the fact that I have seen its price fluctuate pretty wildly. Essentially, it's impossible to know whether they have got the pricing right, because I don't know what others' needs and wants are, or what their budget is. Considering the software will probably get a heck of a lot of use over, say, a decade or more, it might be fair to say that its price is reasonable. On the other hand, for smaller start-up businesses, the price may well be prohibitively expensive. Moreover, at the end of the day, it's just a piece of software and I personally don't believe that it can ever really be worth hundreds of pounds. This, however, is just the reality of modern pricing-trends, I suppose.

All in, a quality and user-friendly piece of accounting software that may or may not be ridiculously expensive, depending on your point of view.

How to be Happier: Teach Yourself
How to be Happier: Teach Yourself
by Paul Jenner
Edition: Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover..., 17 Sept. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must admit, I was slightly sucked in by the cheerful image on the front cover. And as the cover also boasts that the book's content is based on 'the latest wellbeing research', I thought it looked promising. The reality, however, is this...
As someone who has actively studied personal development for over ten years, I won't be staining my personal-development collection with this book. It's awful, and is going in the bin, where it belongs (and as a book lover, I have never done that before).
The book's approach to happiness is so single-minded that it seems a little deranged, which is certainly not in keeping with the fact that modern psychology (and personal life-experience) dictates that the constant pursuit of happiness itself can indeed make us UNHAPPY. The author actually suggests that we should eradicate (his word) ten particular negative emotions, the blocking of which could be SERIOUSLY dangerous. For example, we are told that we should (yes, should) eradicate, amongst other things, anger and guilt. Seeking to eradicate anger is totally unrealistic and unbalanced: we get angry for a reason. Learning to recognise and control anger, perhaps by finding more constructive ways to channel it, would be far healthier. And guilt (as long as it's not over-active) can provide a perfectly natural moral-centre. Imagine living in a society where people saught pleasure and ignored guilty feelings to the point of eradication: anarchy, anyone? Anyway, the point is, telling people to banish these emotions is unbelievably bad advice, and much of the other 'advice' throughout the book is no better: shallow, sweeping, inconsistent and, at times, even insensitive...
He tells us that, according to economic (yes, economic!) research, we should all aim to do the wild thang four times a week or more, and encourages us to do so. This doesn't take into account on any level the fact that everyone has their own, deeply personal, approach to sexual activity and intimate human relationships. I mean, seriously, would you take sexual advice from an economist? It's just nonsense, and, in my humble opinion, you should avoid this book as you would a plague.

All the best,


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