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S Riaz "S Riaz" (England)
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Willow Organic Beauty Classic Box, Lime & Lavender
Willow Organic Beauty Classic Box, Lime & Lavender

4.0 out of 5 stars Willow Organic Beauty Classic Box - Lime & Lavender, 26 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Willow Organic Beauty are a British brand, made in the UK and founded by Sue Stowell in 2006 in the New Forest, Hampshire. The products are certified organic by the Soil Association, so do not contain harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients and are not tested on animals. Considering we are all more aware of what we eat and put into our bodies, it makes sense that we should also try to use less harmful products on our skin too, so I was really interested to give this a try. Apparently Sue Stowell was previously an interior designer and she spotted a gap in the market for a luxury organic beauty line. In that sense, you can immediately see that this set is not packaged like most organic products, but is designed to appeal to the eye. The box the set comes in is understated – possibly a little plain - and would make a nice present.

Opening the box and removing the tissue paper you find two 240ml plastic bottles containing a Lime and Lavender Hand & Body Wash and the same fragrance for the Hand & Body Lotion. There is a scented candle in a glass candle holder and a 120g Orange, Lime and Bergamot soap. On an initial examination, my only issue was with the soap, which is wrapped in paper which was crumpled and torn, as if the soap had been re-wrapped. It is a minor detail, but if you are giving the set as a present, you would like the contents to look immaculate.

Having used the products now, I do think that they are really quite impressive. The soap is creamy and does not dry the skin and both the soap and candle smell delicious. The Lime & Lavender fragrance is fresh, not overwhelming, and the lotion really leaves your skin feeling nourished and I found I applied it less than my usual hand cream, as my hands felt less dry between use. The body wash had a nice, citrus, fresh and clean scent. Overall, I was very pleased with this set and would certainly consider using other items from the Willow Organic range. However, although I thought the packaging adequate, I felt it was slightly let down by the paper the soap was wrapped in, which had virtually come apart, and the box was elegant, but the sticker on the front was coming away and it did not quite carry the luxury theme that I felt the company was trying to convey. However, what is inside the box is more important than how it looks, and the actual products were very good indeed.


Accident: An Agatha Christie Short Story
Accident: An Agatha Christie Short Story
Price: £0.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accident: An Agatha Christie Short Story, 25 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Retired Mr Evans, a former C.I.D. Inspector, informs his friend, Captain Haydock, that he has recognised a woman in the village as a former acquitted murderer. Is Mrs Merrowdene really Mrs Anthony and does she, as Evans suspects, want to poison her husband? Captain Haydock suggests that he should leave well alone, but Evans is convinced that he needs to stop a murder from happening…

This is neither a Poirot or Marple story, but it features much that avid readers of Christie will recognise. There is the village setting, the deadly beneath the familiar and a deft plot twist that will pull the rug from beneath the reader’s feet. I really enjoy these short stories when I am commuting and perhaps find it difficult to concentrate on longer books. They are ideal introductions to Agatha Christie and her writing and are sure to entertain.


Ultrasport Kids Sled Backrest - Multicoloured
Ultrasport Kids Sled Backrest - Multicoloured
Price: £14.36

4.0 out of 5 stars Ultrasport Kids Sled Backrest, 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really useful accessory if you want to use a sledge for younger children. We have a wooden sledge, which we have used for many years and which is ideal for using in our local park when there is enough snow for sledging. However, younger children tend to fall off or unable to sit and be pulled along and so, if you have toddlers, this handy addition will mean you do not have to buy a whole new sledge but can adapt the one you have. You simply use the screws and attachments to fix the sledge back to your sledge, bending the flexible plastic strips round to form the back. It makes a firm rest for little ones to sit against and was easy to fit. Obviously, this is simply an accessory for a sledge which you have already – not the sledge itself – but should you find it useful it will save you money and takes just a few minutes to attach.


Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Tacwise 1038 Hobby 53EL Kit
Price: £35.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Tacwise 1038 Hobby Kit, 24 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a handy little power tool which is excellent for DIY jobs around the home, crafts, picture framing, garden jobs (although I feel it would be better if battery operated for use outside the home), etc. I very often find that I need to put up displays at work and so this smaller version of the TacWise Stapler, Tacker is very helpful for me. It is smaller in size than the heavy duty models, so is easier for me to manage when I am tacking things up on the display boards. I would really have preferred it to be battery operated and found that I had to use extension leads to reach, but you may well disagree. At least you do not have to charge this, just plug it in and you are ready to go.

I must agree with other reviewers in that the manual is not very clear, but it is easy enough to load. The stapler remover is a great and very useful additional tool, especially appreciated when I will be taking down old displays and replacing them. It comes with one box of nails and two boxes of staples(6mm and 10mm). There is a lovely thunk as the staple goes in and the tool is really simple and easy to use – with a good safety catch for when you are not using it. As with the other TacWise tools we have used, I will point out that the belt hook can be difficult/clumsy to you if you are left handed – as my husband is. However, that is a minor point, although worth considering if it affects you.

If you don’t want to do anything too difficult, but just need something for use with general jobs around the home, this would be ideal. A colleague of mine at work, who builds dolls houses, was so impressed with this that he has ordered one. So, for hobbyists and those doing small DIY jobs, it is practical and also fairly small and light, so easy enough for anyone to use.


Boomco 2-in-1 Bandolier
Boomco 2-in-1 Bandolier
Offered by a1 Toys
Price: £15.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boomco 2-in-1 Bandolier, 24 Oct 2014
This review is from: Boomco 2-in-1 Bandolier (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a BOOMco 2-in-1 bandolier, offering storage and a shield, for use with blasters in the same range. Although the smart stick darts which come with the blasters are not sticky, they will stick to targets and shields – such as the one attached to this. The child can clip this across their chest, which means they are wearing both a target and a shield. It gives children something to aim for when playing and – if you tell them to aim at the targets – should hopefully stop them hurting each other. This also comes with twelve smart stick darts, which are useful. Also, the clip on the side allows you to holster a blaster gun (just be aware that this is an accessory and does not come with an actual blaster, which you have to purchase separately) . These toys should get children being active, running around the garden and having a fun time. Although I am not crazy about toy guns, there is no doubt that boys especially seem to enjoy them and it beats having them shoot things on a computer.


Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969
Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969
by Bob Spitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barefoot in Babylon, 24 Oct 2014
First published in 1979, this fascinating book has been reissued on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a marker that defined a generation and this book tells the entire story of how it came into being, from the initial idea until the very last song. Now, if you are imagining a book filled with music anecdotes, then that is partly the case, but be aware that three quarters of this book leads up to the festival taking place and only the last third actually deals with what happened at the festival itself. That does not mean it is not interesting, far from it, but this is the full story of what happened and all the characters involved.

The story begins with John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, who were interested in financing different business propositions. They were contacted by Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang with an idea for a recording studio/community for musicians which evolved into plans for a music festival. Not just any music festival though - a massive festival. What follows is a search for land in which to carry out their plans, which is fraught with difficulties, opposition and endless insurmountable barriers. These range from technical difficulties to security and the reluctant need for the help of the Establishment. After plans to use various locations ended in disaster, Max Yasgur became an unlikely saviour. With a place in which to finally hold the festival, they needed to book bands. However, this proved more difficult than initially thought, but eventually a breakthrough came through when some large acts agreed to appear. The first, pie in the sky, plans had included The Beatles, Dylan and The Stones. Well, none of them appeared, but once some headline acts were booked, it was easier to get people interested.

What followed could have been a disaster. A lack of infrastructure, tickets not taken, grid locked traffic and pandemonium as people poured in. The authorities feared for health and safety, but eventually the festival went ahead. Joan Baez entered into the spirit of the times, by wandering to the free stage to play for those who could not get close to the main stage, but others were more concerned about what was unfolding. Ravi Shankar, ushered off the stage by bad weather, was concerned the audience would be hurt. Janis Joplin was apparently `freaked out' by the crowd and retreated to the performers pavilion with a bottle of vodka in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other and the intention of taking a lot of drugs. Meanwhile, the Grateful Dead demanded payment up front and in cash and Pete Townsend swatted Abbie Hoffman into the photographers pit after the revolutionary thought just before their set would be the good time for a speech...

This book is a delight from cover to cover, but only if you are prepared to read a lot of detail. The music was obviously essential, but, for the crowd, there were other concerns. Rain, mud, near riots, a possible medical disaster, food shortages (there is a lovely image of a group holed up in the woods that wanted to, "liberate the food") and possible electrocution was narrowly avoided. Eventually, what happened was a triumph for most, but there were certainly casualties of bad drugs and difficult conditions. This tells the whole story and I just wish there had been some photographs in the book, which would have helped me to picture all those involved. Still, a great read and one I heartily recommend.


Bomber Girls (Kindle Single)
Bomber Girls (Kindle Single)
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bomber Girls, 24 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In 1939 the Air Transport Auxiliary Service was formed – nicked rather unkindly, “Ancient and Tired Airmen,” due to the amount of pilots who had flown in WWI. Their job was to ferry aircraft from factories to airfields for use in battle, to provide important mail deliveries and news to the men stationed there and also medical and ambulance services. Within a short time of WWII starting, it became apparent that more pilots would be needed and women were recruited from 1940. At first they were often debutantes and socialites – women who had learnt to fly in the 1930’s, when it was a hobby for the wealthy, who would fly to the Continent for parties. This probably helped the glamorous label which became attached to these early recruits.

However, if the female pilots were considered glamorous, the reality was less so. They were unable to defend themselves against enemy attack, were forbidden to go into combat and, having delivered their planes to the airfield that needed them, often had long journeys home on crowded trains for had to sleep in temporary and uncomfortable quarters. Still, despite the danger, these women flew without radio, often in terrible conditions, to ensure the RAF squadrons had the planes they needed. In 2008 they were finally recognised for their bravery and skill and given special medals. However, the job they did was hampered at the time by good, old fashioned, sexism and scepticism that they would be able to fulfil their role.

This is a good read and an interesting introduction to these unsung heroines. Many have written their own memoirs, or had books written about them, so there are lots of titles mentioned which you may wish to explore and read further. I find the role of women in WWII a fascinating one – from Jambusters to Bomber Girls, they did everything necessary to help the war effort, often without the support of their own male colleagues. An inspiring read.


Zyliss Zick Mini Food Chopper
Zyliss Zick Mini Food Chopper
Price: £13.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zyliss Zick Mini Food Chopper, 23 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an incredibly useful kitchen gadget which you can use to chop small items, such as garlic, spices or a handful of herbs. It will not fit whole onions, but for cutting fiddly things – such as nuts when you are baking – it is perfect. If you are making pasta and want to chop a few cloves of garlic and a handful of herbs, it is quick and easy to use and even easier to clean. One of the things I like most about this is that it doesn’t need to be plugged in. It is just about the size of a large glass and it works manually – you simply put the items you want to chop into the plastic container and press down, which activates the blades. The container that you put the items into does have measures written on the side, which is useful if you are cooking to a recipe (the largest amount is a third of a cup or 75ml). You can also simply dispense with the container and chop directly onto a chopping board, but I think I found it easier to use the container as it minimised the mess. You can clean it easily, even the blades are quick and simple to wash as the case opens up to make them accessible; it is small and easy to store and very simple to use.

You do not need to use a lot of force to push down on the chopper and make it work, which means this is an ideal kitchen tool for anyone who has medical problems (such as arthritis) which make chopping finely difficult. It is also safe for children – my seven year old daughter loves cooking and I obviously don’t allow her to use sharp knives, but she can use this with supervision. In fact, this is so useful that I am considering purchasing the larger version of this model, as I am sure both will be used pretty much daily. This is a really simple kitchen tool, but the sheer simplicity of use and versatility makes it worthwhile, as it saves getting out and setting up blenders when you want to chop up a small amount of ingredients.


American Legends: The Life of Marvin Gaye
American Legends: The Life of Marvin Gaye
Price: £2.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Life of Marvin Gaye, 23 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This short ebook is one of a series about American Legends and this edition looks at the life and career of Marin Gaye. It begins with his troubled childhood and a difficult relationship with his father, which would ultimately end with his father shooting him dead the day before his 45th birthday. Apparently, Gaye’s father always doubted that Marvin was his son and beat both him and his siblings throughout their childhoods.

After a few short lived jobs and a brief stint in the military, Gaye embarked on his career in music. What is described as an ‘escape’ to Motown, reflects a relationship with the record company which would change his life (his first marriage was to Berry Gordy’s sister Anna) and both reward and yet confine him as an artist. Quite a lot of space is given to his influential album, “What’s Going On,” where Gaye fought Gordy’s decision not to release the album as his artist turned from feel good hits to social commentary. This book gives an overview of his career and turbulent life as well as his musical legacy.

Although this is, by no means, an in depth look at Gaye’s life, I did enjoy it as I knew very little about him. If you are interested in learning more, then this is a good starter point and may encourage you to perhaps read a fuller biography or just listen to his music.


A Christmas Tragedy: A Miss Marple Short Story
A Christmas Tragedy: A Miss Marple Short Story
Price: £0.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Tragedy, 23 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Published in 1930 this short story features the redoubtable Miss Jane Marple. I am not that sure what the link with Christmas is, but Miss Marple is staying at a house and this visit presumably takes place over Christmas. She is pressed by her host to tell a story and while she obviously, in best deprecating Miss Marple fashion, demurs from doing so, eventually she is convinced to share a tale with the company. Obviously, knowing Miss Marple, this is not a tale full of Christmas cheer, but results from her pondering how one person reminds her of another. While staying at a Hydro (some kind of health spa) she comments on how she felt that one of the guests is aiming to kill his wife...

What follows is a tale that is short, but full of twists and turns. Nobody plots like Christie and just when you think the answer is clear she makes you do a double take and reassess what you previously thought. Miss Marple may be genteel and unassuming, but she has a core of steel and she manages to reveal her strength in this story. If you imagine Miss Marple knitting by the fire and not perhaps as exciting to read as Poirot, then this may make you reassess your opinions.


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