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S Riaz "S Riaz" (England)
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Melissa & Doug Witch Costume
Melissa & Doug Witch Costume
Price: £17.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melissa & Doug Witch Costume, 20 Sep 2014
This review is from: Melissa & Doug Witch Costume (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely witches costume, ideal for the dressing up box or trick and treating at Halloween. Like all Melissa & Doug toys, this is very good quality. The costume comes with a purple and black dress, with lots of details and a little net overskirt, plus a high collar. There is a lovely witches hat, which is black and with a purple pattern of swirls and moons. It is very light and comfortable to wear. Lastly, every witch needs a broom of course, so there is one included, for lots of pretend play fun.

The costume can be hand washed and comes in a plastic bag with a hanger and poppers. If you prefer to keep your costumes in the wardrobe, keep the packaging and you can close the bag back up and hang the costume up and keep it clean – plus all the accessories together. This is for ages 3-6, although my smallish seven year old daughter wore it comfortably. A great costume for role play or parties and she is already looking forward to wearing it at her school’s Halloween disco!


Minute for Murder
Minute for Murder
Price: £3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minute for Murder, 19 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Minute for Murder (Kindle Edition)
Published in 1947, this is the eighth Nigel Strangeways novel; following on from ‘The Case of the Abominable Snowman,” which took place in the opening months of the Second World War. London is now a very different city than it was in previous novels in the series, with a weary and battered population . We also discover, almost as a side note, that Nigel’s wife, Georgia, who featured heavily in some previous books in the series, had been killed during the Blitz. Georgia Cavendish was supposedly based on Margaret Marshall, an older woman that Nicholas Blake (or rather Cecil Day-Lewis, as Blake was a pen name) had an affair with while he was at Oxford. Oddly, the author killed the fictional Georgia off in 1941, at the time when he began an affair with the novelist Rosamond Lehmann while married to Constance Mary King.

We find Nigel Strangeways working at the Ministry of Morale, a place also based on real life, as Day-Lewis worked at the Ministry of Information during the war. The war is nearly over – VE day has already been celebrated – and those who work at the Ministry expect their department to be disbanded in the next few months. Nicholas Blake is Head of the Editorial Unit and we find him musing him on how much he really knows about his colleagues. Director James Lake, his personal secretary, Nita Price, with whom he is having an affair, Brian Ingle who suffers unrequited love for the beautiful Nita, the often blunt Merrion Squires, pompous Edgar Billson and uncompromising Harker Fortescue.

Strangeways is already considering his life after the war and going back to returning to crime, but events mean that he is thrown into a case much quicker than he expects. A letter arrives from Charles Kennington – who was believed dead, but has returned as a hero after capturing a high ranking war criminal. He was involved with Nita before the war and is also the twin brother of Jimmy Lake’s wife. Lake invites everyone to his office to welcome his return and, during the gathering, Nita is poisoned. Now Strangeways is asked to investigate by his old friend, Superintendent Blount. Meanwhile, a Secret File has gone missing and Strangeways becomes involved in a mystery which involves murder, treason and blackmail…

If you enjoy Golden Age detective mysteries then you will like the Nigel Strangeways series. They are intelligent crime novels, with a strong psychological element. This has an interesting setting and an excellent cast of characters/suspects and also gives you an interesting glimpse of London at the end of wartime. Nigel’s colleagues have been brought together by shared experiences and so this makes the investigation harder, as he roots out the myriad of relationships and emotions behind the office façade. I am glad this series has been republished and recommend the books highly.


The Zone of Interest
The Zone of Interest
Price: £6.64

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Zone of Interest, 19 Sep 2014
This is an excellent, thought provoking novel, which attempts to look at the holocaust from the human perspective of four different characters. Firstly, there is Paul Doll, Commandant of a concentration camp; ruler of who he surveys, but oddly uncomfortable in his own marriage and battling bureaucracy in Berlin over numbers, cost and the various details of committing mass murder for the least cost and most profit. His wife, Hannah Doll, is also an important character. A woman, a wife, a mother and far more aware of what is going on around her than her husband realises. Thirdly, is Angelus `Golo' Thomsen, who falls for Hannah. Golo looks like an SS poster boy - all blonde hair and jutting jaw- plus, much to Doll's disgust, he has a degree of protection through his uncle, Martin Bormann. Lastly, there is Szmul, a Jewish prisoner, who works at the ramp where the prisoners arrive on the trains and who is a witness to all the atrocities that happen around him.

In a way, this reminded me of another novel I read earlier this year - "The Commandant of Lubizec," by Patrick Hines. Both books look at the normalisation of horror and the sheer scale of killing that happened in the holocaust. Humanity was turned on its head, as previously normal people beat, starved and gassed other people to death. We have Doll, an ardent National Socialist, who bans the anti-Semitic newspaper, "Der Sturmer," in favour of scientific evidence to condone his actions, industrialists tiptoeing around bodies as they lay out their factories, a professor of zoology who has to dig Doll's garden, locals who complain they cannot drink the water because of the smell coming from the camp, but do not question too deeply, businessmen who argue that they do not realise what all the fuss about the Jews is for anyway, but go along with it, guards who drink and obviously feel increasingly uncomfortable with what they are doing, but still obey orders... This is murder as a business, where prisoners worth is measured in the work they can do, where finance is built upon bodies and transport schedules constantly roll in unloading their victims.

Martin Amis does an incredible job of showing us the reality of the holocaust, while wrapping the storyline around a moving love story. Much of this novel is incredibly moving - Szmul's reaction when Hannah Doll speaks to him is one of the most touching moments in the book - and yet often it is also extremely funny. I thought this a wonderful novel; Amis made the seemingly impossible -a funny book about the holocaust - possible. He shows how mass murder became normalised and how, and why, normal people became brutal and barbaric. This is an important novel and I am glad I read it. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.


Nixies Vacay Cove Playset
Nixies Vacay Cove Playset
Price: £18.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nixies Vacay Cove Playset, 19 Sep 2014
This review is from: Nixies Vacay Cove Playset (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This fun play set comes with a swimming mermaid, her little pet seal and a large, plastic bowl (a little like a goldfish bowl) which your child can decorate with stickers. The mermaid herself is quite sweet; although my daughter was a little upset you could not comb her hair – which is plastic. However, unlike many of these types of toys, this does actually swim very well. The toy takes a battery (not included) and there is a small, rubber seal, which should keep the battery dry. The bowl is quite large and I didn’t really feel my daughter could play with it on the floor (even a large towel would not catch all the water if it tipped), so it was relegated to the sink upstairs. Personally, I felt the bowl was quite limiting – the mermaid does twist and turn, but she doesn’t really do as much as she can in a larger area. However, both my daughter and niece do enjoy playing with her in the bowl and they are the target audience, plus it makes a nice ‘home’ for the mermaid.

Although I personally feel the bowl is quite limiting, in the bath the toy really does move very well. A simple button operates the propeller and moving the doll's tail up or down changes her direction. Be careful though if your child has long hair, because it could possibly get caught in the propeller. However, this toy really does work when she enters the water (not quite the sea, but the bath will have to do). My daughter loved playing with her and she enjoyed the way she moved so quickly and trying to make her do `tricks' (pointing her tail down means she does neat loops for example, keep her tail straight and she fairly whizzes around the outside of the bath). A nice toy which will appeal to little girls and which is just the right size for bath time. If you prefer to forget the bowl, you can buy a version of the mermaid on her own which is just as much fun.


KS2 Pupil Progress Booklet for English, Maths and Science - Year 3
KS2 Pupil Progress Booklet for English, Maths and Science - Year 3
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KS2 Pupil Progress Booklet for English, Maths and Science - Year 3, 18 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This little booklet is actually a very useful took for parents and tutors. It contains a list of all the learning statements children are expected to reach in Year 3 and 4, plus two columns (one sad face and one happy face), so you can mark off as the children reach the expected level. This is not, therefore, a workbook. It has a few pages, split into English, Maths and Science, plus a list of the standard they are expected to reach.

For example; in maths, there are several different categories: Number and Place Value, Calculations, Fractions, Measurement, Geometry and Statistics. Under Geometry, there are the following statements:

I can draw and demonstrate 2D shapes
I can recognise and describe 3D shapes
I know what a right angle is and how many right angles are in a quarter, half, three quarter and a full turn
I can identify horizontal, verical, parallel and perpendicular lines.

If you are home schooling and following the National Curriculum, this is a useful, ready made checklist. It is suitable for tutors, who may be assessing children to see what level they are at. The checklist does take them slightly beyond Year 3, which allows room if they are ahead. If you are simply a concerned parent, it allows you to see what they should be able to do at this stage and see where there are gaps. Just be aware that there are no questions in this booklet, it is simply a checklist of what they should know by the end of Year 3 in the three core subjects. There are comments sections, for you, or your tutor, to write notes in. I think it is a useful, although not essential, tool. If they are assessed by a tutor or you are working with them, it shows you clearly what they do not know and gives you a ready made record of what you need to cover. There are similar books for Year 4, 5 and 6.


Brilliant Hair Bands
Brilliant Hair Bands
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Hair Bands, 18 Sep 2014
This review is from: Brilliant Hair Bands (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This craft kit has everything your child needs to create 8 hair bands, which can be decorated with beads and flowers. The kit contains 30 fabric strips in 12 different colours, 24 fabric flowers in different sizes, 25 coloured beads and 8 elastic hair bands. There is nothing else that you need to make the bands, everything is included in the box. You simply choose your coloured fabric strips, tie them to one end of the hair band, plait them (threading through the flowers, which you attach to the beads) and then tie the other end to the band. My seven year old daughter completed this with a friend during a play date and, although the girls found it quite easy to do, they did need help tying on the fabric strips and also threading the flowers/beads. The fabric is quite thick and so it can be difficult to push them through the beads (which are shaped liked a little ring), while keeping your plaited strips together. At the end, the girls had made lots of nice hair bands for themselves (and the odd cuddly toy) and they did make something they could use. This is a nice little set to amuse children on a rainy afternoon, during a sleepover or a play date.


Sad Cypress (Poirot)
Sad Cypress (Poirot)
Price: £3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad Cypress, 17 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Published in 1940, this is one of Poirot’s most intriguing cases. Elinor Carlisle stands accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard and the first part of this book looks at her looking back at the events which led her there. It begins with Elinor receiving an anonymous letter, warning her that someone has been trying to take her place in her Aunt Laura’s affections. Her aunt is an invalid, having had a stroke, and is cared for at her house by two nurses and Dr Peter Lord. Mary Gerrard is the daughter of servants, but Elinor’s aunt has always taken an interest in the girl and paid for her education and the young girl acts almost as a companion to the older woman in return.

Elinor comes across as a slightly cold and controlled young woman, but she is passionately in love with Roddy Welman, who she has known since they were young children and who are both related to Aunt Laura. The couple plan to marry and expect that Aunt Laura will leave one or the other of them the house and money in her will. However, Elinor’s future is suddenly changed forever, when Roddy falls head over heels in love with Mary. Before long, Aunt Laura has died and her lack of a will means that Elinor inherits. However, when Mary is poisoned, Elinor’s is accused of killing her out of jealousy.

This is an unusual Poirot novel, in that there is a possible miscarriage of justice, which is something hardly ever suggested in an Agatha Christie book. The evidence all seems to point to Elinor as the murderer, but Poirot is never wrong – as he himself assures us - and he promises to get to the truth. With interesting characters, a complex plot and some great courtroom scenes, this is a wonderful mystery. It is said most murders happen because of love or money and this has greed, jealousy and repressed emotions in abundance.


Delicious. Love to Cook: 140 Irresistible Recipes to Revitalise Your Cooking
Delicious. Love to Cook: 140 Irresistible Recipes to Revitalise Your Cooking
by Valli Little
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious: Love to Cook, 17 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This large, paperback, cookbook has 140 recipes and is separated into: Eggs and dairy, Soups & starters, Seafood, Poultry, Meat, Pasta, noodles and rice, Vegetables, Salads, Desserts, Cakes and bakes, Fruit, Festive and some fun Menu Suggestions for dinner parties. Although some of the recipes are quick and easy, the majority of them assume a reasonable knowledge of how to cook and will require some planning for ingredients. There are some ‘really’ basic instructions (how to make a perfect boiled egg or proper custard, for example, but you are not walked through simple basics as in some of the Delia cookbooks which assumes you are a real beginner).

I have had this cookbook for a few weeks now and have made quite a few of the recipes and I have to say that there are some delicious meal ideas in here. From Lamb and Haloumi sausage rolls and three milks cake (both a real hit with my kids), to the delicious Indian Spiced Prawns with fresh Coconut and some truly tasty soups and desserts. I loved the idea of a Christmas morning cereal and the Chocolate Silks Tart with Chocolate Glace Oranges, which I certainly want to try this holiday. Overall, this is an attractive and well laid out book and I thought the Menu Suggestions (ranging from Sunday Roast with a twist, Midweek Entertaining and Arabian Night) a really good idea. So often you are not sure which recipes will truly go together as a meal without trying them all out, so I thought that a fabulous idea when you suddenly find you have guests coming and are looking for inspiration.


Tacwise 1187 16ga/ 45 Finish Nailer Nail Gun
Tacwise 1187 16ga/ 45 Finish Nailer Nail Gun
Price: £118.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tacwise Nail Gun, 16 Sep 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a mains operated Nail Gun, which comes housed in a sturdy, plastic case. The Nail Gun has a very simple loading mechanism and a quick release and reload catch. Once loaded, there is a safety trigger, so the gun will not fire nails until the tacking mouth is pressed firmly against the surface you are working on. There is a removable rubber nose protector, to prevent the tool marking the surface you are working on, which is useful if the surface is soft or could be marked. It is easy to remove if you prefer to work without it.

The instructions are fairly clear, but I found it odd that they suggest you do not use an extension cable, as the lead is not very long. The tool is remarkably quiet to use. I took it to my office where there were a few repairs to do, and it didn’t seem to disturb anyone in nearby rooms. It is quite heavy and has a strong recoil – I personally found it a little difficult to use – my husband however said it was ideal for the various jobs to be done. However, as he is left-handed, the belt hook was in an awkward position when he was using it (and not ideal if you want to hang the tool on a belt either) and you could not remove it, or change it to the other side of the tool. A minor issue, but something to bear in mind if you are also left handed.


Sudden Death
Sudden Death
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sudden Death, 16 Sep 2014
This review is from: Sudden Death (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed the first Erasmus Jones novel, “Silent Pool,” so I was delighted that there was a second book featuring the damaged lead character. Erasmus is still in Liverpool, running a law firm with his partner Pete. Work is slow and so, although Erasmus does not share Pete’s love of football, he agrees to look into why Everton’s star striker, Wayne Jennings, is suddenly not on form. The future of the club rests on his talent and the money he can make them, so apart from the taunting from the terraces, those who run the club are worried.

At the same time, Erasmus Jones’s old girlfriend, Karen, turns up. Fourteen years ago she broke his heart and now she needs his help. Her daughter, Rebecca, has been self harming and is conducting an online relationship with an unknown man known only as ‘Ethan’. Erasmus wonders whether it is a good idea to get involved with her again, but he is unable to say no.

This is a fast moving, violent and interesting storyline, with lots of plot twists and turns. Erasmus is drinking too much, but he is in good company with Wayne Jennings and his team mates, who spend much of their time in ‘The Blood House’; a bar where footballers relax, surrounded by hopeful, desperate girls. Not everyone is delighted to see Erasmus’s influence on Wayne and there are a whole host of shady characters surrounding the young striker, each with their own agenda.

As Erasmus tries to unravel the problems of the present, he is forced to look back at the past. What happened at The Blood House and is it the reason Jennings can no longer score goals? Why is Rebecca driven to make relationships online and hide from real life? This is a very interesting look at some uncomfortable aspects of life; including the internet, fame, exploitation, revenge and bullying. I did worry that I would find this book difficult to get into, due to the subject matter of football, but thankfully most of the action takes place off the pitch. I thought this was even better than the first in the series and look forward to reading future books featuring Erasmus Jones. Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.


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