Profile for Helpless > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Helpless
Top Reviewer Ranking: 382
Helpful Votes: 2001

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Helpless "Helpless" (UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 2
11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 2
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars NOT ACTUALLY ENDORSED BY CEM AND THE QUESTIONS ARE BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM PARENTS AND TUTORS, 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review is basically the same review that I have used for Pack 1 and is relevant on the same points

We are coming closer to that stage where Secondary school is looming for our son. Of course we want the best for him, and he is a bright child so we would like to give him the opportunity to try for the 11+ exam.

This is where it gets a little more complicated for parents. The 11+ exams are not mainstream anymore as you have to opt to take them and hope for a pass to get in the hallowed halls of the grammar school. In my day everyone took the exam but having been the son of a serviceman the five different primary schools I attended disrupted my education enough that I failed by a small margin. Such is life, and having been to University and ending up with a Law degree it probably did me little harm in the long term.

However the problem is that children are not taught or practice the format and style of the test in mainstream schools, where private schools generally do. If the first time your child sees the test is on the day they take the test they are at a sever disadvantage.

As parents we want the best for our children, hence these books. Yes they do have their place, they can help or at least make you aware of the kind of questions you can be expected to be asked. The books themselves are clear and concise in what they are. They provide examples and practice tests. It is all well presented, however they are not past papers..

There is no substitute for being taught in a classroom environment.

There is a huge industry surrounding the 11+ especially extra private lessons in coaching children to pass the test. It is a fact that if you are not coached you have less of a chance. Without coaching you are at a disadvantage even if you have a bright child as the possibly not so bright child may have been taught to pass the exam.

I'm not convinced that reliance on just these books will be enough. However if they are used as part of the whole then they may have value. Just be aware that these practice papers are supposed to be used in conjunction with the study books, though why you are not able to buy the lot in one pack surprises me.

Also be aware that it states on the internal packaging that;
'Past papers from CEM Durham University are not available'.
These are BASED on past papers from feedback on real tests from parents and tutors.
That CGP is NOT associated with CEM or the University of Durham in any way and do not include any official questions and they are not endorsed by CEM or Durham University.

Hmm, not what I am led to believe on the outer packaging.
Will I pay for coaching? Probably but only to even the playing field. Will we use these books? Possibly because maybe every little thing will help.

If you are looking for the best preparation find a good tutor.


11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 1
11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 1
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.61

3.0 out of 5 stars THESE ARE NOT PAST PAPERS BUT PAPERS PREPARED FROM FEEDBACKFROM PARENTS AND TUTORS, 25 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We are coming closer to that stage where Secondary school is looming for our son. Of course we want the best for him, and he is a bright child so we would like to give him the opportunity to try for the 11+ exam.

This is where it gets a little more complicated for parents. The 11+ exams are not mainstream anymore as you have to opt to take them and hope for a pass to get in the hallowed halls of the grammar school. In my day everyone took the exam but having been the son of a serviceman the five different primary schools I attended disrupted my education enough that I failed by a small margin. Such is life, and having been to University and ending up with a Law degree it probably did me little harm in the long term.

However the problem is that children are not taught or practice the format and style of the test in mainstream schools, where private schools generally do. If the first time your child sees the test is on the day they take the test they are at a sever disadvantage.

As parents we want the best for our children, hence these books. Yes they do have their place, they can help or at least make you aware of the kind of questions you can be expected to be asked. The books themselves are clear and concise in what they are. They provide examples and practice tests. It is all well presented, however they are not past papers..

There is no substitute for being taught in a classroom environment.

There is a huge industry surrounding the 11+ especially extra private lessons in coaching children to pass the test. It is a fact that if you are not coached you have less of a chance. Without coaching you are at a disadvantage even if you have a bright child as the possibly not so bright child may have been taught to pass the exam.

I'm not convinced that reliance on just these books will be enough. However if they are used as part of the whole then they may have value. Just be aware that these practice papers are supposed to be used in conjunction with the study books, though why you are not able to buy the lot in one pack surprises me.

Also be aware that it states on the internal packaging that;
'Past papers from CEM Durham University are not available'.
These are BASED on past papers from feedback on real tests from parents and tutors.
That CGP is NOT associated with CEM or the University of Durham in any way and do not include any official questions and they are not endorsed by CEM or Durham University.

Hmm, not what I am led to believe on the outer packaging.
Will I pay for coaching? Probably but only to even the playing field. Will we use these books? Possibly because maybe every little thing will help.

If you are looking for the best preparation find a good tutor.


Kinetic Sand Box Set
Kinetic Sand Box Set
Offered by Toys-2u (UK Orders Sent Royal Mail Signed For)
Price: £39.90

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A REASONABLY CREATIVE TOY TO WHILE AWAY AN HOUR BUT I QUESTION WHETHER IT IS VALUE FOR MONEY, 23 Oct 2014
This review is from: Kinetic Sand Box Set (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well, my 5 year old daughter liked it, mainly because of the colour and the fact she could play with it indoors. We have a sandpit outside and it was howling a gale.

I can't say that I could emulate the pictures on the box but I gave it a try and failed. It did keep my daughter occupied for around an hour, my son aged 9 decided to have a go to and he was quite creative. Then they worked together, then had the usual sibling rivalry fight, things calmed down, my son went to his DS and my daughter continued playing with it.

Of course it left a bit of a mess, but that's what being creative is all about, the more mess the more creative you have been.

Once my darlings had gone to bed I had a go and it was fun, though when my wife came back from her evening of strenuous Zumba she was not particularly enamoured by my creation. No photo included I'm afraid.

I think, if I recall correctly she said something like 'optimistic aren't you'.
I'm not a Damien Hurst but I thought it was a good likeness!

All in all reasonably creative toy to while away an hour, though the adult in me questions whether it is value for money but only you can decide that. I liked it.


Cole & Mason 165 mm Dark Wood Morley Crank Pepper Mill, Brown
Cole & Mason 165 mm Dark Wood Morley Crank Pepper Mill, Brown
Price: £29.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FUNCTIONAL AND WELL ENGINEERED AESTHETICALLY PLEASING PEPPER MILL FROM COLE AND MASON, 20 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are pepper mills and there are pepper mills, and if you have one of those inferior ones you will know what I am talking about when I say so much effort is required to grind pepper that it’s just not worth bothering with.

First impressions of this pepper mill are very good. Firstly it is comfortable in the hand, pick it up and it oozes quality with the wood grain and the smooth cranking action. It looks expensive. The stainless steel trim gives it a good finish. No rattles or squeaks either. Personally I like the aesthetics, no one wants pure function, we demand style and this has it.

The other major gripes I have about pepper mills are the claims that they are robust and will stand the test of time. Then within a month the ‘plastic grinding bits’ give out and die a death, or a plastic bit falls off, jams, doesn’t feed the pepper through etc etc etc.

This one has been engineered properly, using steel in its working parts so should stand up to use by any serious pepper addict.

I think by now you can tell that I like a bit of pepper on my plate and the more the merrier.

I just love crank handle pepper mills, the faster you crank with the least bit of effort and blanket of pepper pepper covers the food on my plate. That’s the theory anyway and I have to say this Cole and Mason pepper mill does not disappoint. The crank is so much better than the twisty top style, so much more pepper in so short a space of time.

Another real plus is the fact that with a turn of a widget you can adjust the ground pepper from coarse to fine and back again.

Personally I think it is worth paying for a better pepper mill simply because replacing the cheaper ones will probably cost more, false economy I think they call it.

I know I shouldn't get excited by a pepper mill, but I have had so many given to me (at Christmas) and they have all pretty much been disappointing.

In conclusion, it is worth paying for a decent pepper mill and this one ticks all the boxes, aesthetically pleasing and engineered to do its job well.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2014 7:55 PM BST


22mm White Shower Head Holder Slider Bracket For 22mm Riser Rail
22mm White Shower Head Holder Slider Bracket For 22mm Riser Rail

5.0 out of 5 stars It fits the Mira 22mm shower rail, 19 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Actually fits a 22mm shower rail, I've attached a photograph to show the old fitting left on the shower riser rail and the new fitting. It was purchased because the old fitting did not give enough adjustment.

It also appears robust enough to last.


Strange Glory: A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Strange Glory: A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
by Charles Marsh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.58

4.0 out of 5 stars WELL RESEARCHED AND EMINENTLY READABLE, 19 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Given that my maternal Grandparents had the experience of living through the rise and fall of Hitlers Germany I find this book to be very interesting. My Grandmother was a North German Lutherian Protestant married to a Bavarian Catholic and I had spent many summer evenings listening to old war stories and life under Hitler. I could also feel how my Grandparents had been so conflicted in the these times.

If you enjoy a biography then I’d recommend this book simply because the subject, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is really well worth reading about.

I like the fact that the book not only gives a comprehensive insight into Bonhoeffer the person, but also paints a vivid picture of the times. He lived in dangerous times where it would have been far safer to say nothing and follow the crowd but that was not something he could do.

The book is well researched, detailed and comprehensive though I did stumble on occasion with some of the more complex theology. However, there are no onerous chapters and it is written well in prose that are easy to understand. There was nothing in it I found that was heavy going.

It is a book for everyone to enjoy.

He did not survive the War but I think that after reading this book you might sit back and wonder that, had he survived, he may have been even more of a man of his times in the era of rebuilding his country.

The fact that he died did not make him famous, it was what he did, what he said, his belief and what he stood for that made this man stand out above others.


5M Right Angle Kettle Type IEC Power Mains Lead
5M Right Angle Kettle Type IEC Power Mains Lead
Offered by InsaneBargainsUK
Price: £8.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed, 15 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's a lead and its long. Exactly what I needed and it arrived in good time.
I use it for an electrical device and the right angle on the lead is very beneficial.
It does what it says it will.
It's a lead.


Methven KOHPCPWHUK Kaha Satinjet Shower Handset with Faceplate with Chrome Finish - White
Methven KOHPCPWHUK Kaha Satinjet Shower Handset with Faceplate with Chrome Finish - White
Price: £99.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars INVIGORATING TO USE BUT MINOR FLAW THAT MAY LIMIT ITS USE WITH CERTAIN SHOWER MOUNTS AND SHOWER CUBICLES, 15 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Robust and a nice to look at shower head. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye

I have just tried it as a replacement shower head on my Mira power shower and I do have to say I like the fact that the head is much bigger and the manufacturers are right in saying it is invigorating.

It actually feels like lots of little individual droplets are cascading onto you. it doesn't quite tickle but it is really quite pleasant. There is a switch on the shower head which changes it to a more powerful central jet, though not as powerful as the Mira one it replaced.

However, if you have a smaller shower cubicle and are using one of those height adjustment bars you may find the angle of the shower head and the adjustment bars prevent you from directing the water directly from above.

In other words, when I used it I could not adjust the shower head to point downwards, so the jet could only be directed at my head and shoulders. This is down to the angle of the head itself, it is not as angled as the Mira and it is down to the fitting on the Mira shower holder not being as adjustable. To overcome this you may have to change your front riser mount to a side mount to allow better adjustment. I have attached a photograph to show the new riser bracket above the original Mira bracket.

Unfortunately and disappointedly, I will have to use the tried and tested Mira in my bathroom.

However, all was not lost, I have attached it to the shower on the bath, this is generally hand held and also used for washing hair. So far my wife has not complained and she prefers it to the cheap and nasty one that came with the rather expensive bath taps. I think she actually likes it.

In conclusion, it is rather expensive, a replacement original equipment Mira is half the price and also very good, but it does feel really good in operation. I think that the lack of angle on the shower head may limit its usefulness in smaller shower cubicles or where fixed fittings do not allow the head to be directed downwards. Otherwise I like the design and I like the way it works, just wish it could be in MY bathroom not hers.

NB I have just ordered a 22mm rail bracket for side mounting the shower head to the rail, allowing more flexibility and adjustment for less than £7. A couple of days from now and it will be mine again.


Pinzon Plush Cotton Throw in Heather Blue
Pinzon Plush Cotton Throw in Heather Blue
Price: £16.49

5.0 out of 5 stars JUST LIKE A SUPER SNUGGLY THING ON SNUGGLY TABLETS, SUPER SOFT AND WARM, 11 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Blue, super soft, warm and lightweight.

The edges are nicely finished and it is also a good size at 127x178cm. I measured it and the size is correct. If you are over 6’ tall and are using it as a wrap you might have to compromise, either your feet or your head.

It actually feels very fleecy but it is in fact made of 60% cotton and 40% acrylic so it should wash without any problems. I haven't put it throughout the machine just yet but would advise washing it on its own just in case.

This has now also been given the duties of our sofa ‘poorly blanket’. My wife of course believes our existing poorly blanket, a small itchy scratchy thing is the best thing for the job as you generally don't want to stay under it for too long.

I disagree, comfort is paramount so I can't wait for my annual bout of man-flu, usually during the half-term holidays so that everyone can minister to my needs.

All in all a very good sized snuggly blanket.


Galt Toys Felt Friends Sewing Kit
Galt Toys Felt Friends Sewing Kit
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A FUN CRAFT KIT THAT LEAVES YOU WITH A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT, 9 Oct 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a relatively easy to use craft kit to make felt animals.

While the actual 'making' side of things is reasonably straight forward I think the product is more suitable for slightly older young children, from the age of 6 onwards. Some little ones may struggle and it will be the adult supervisor that takes more of an active part in putting them together.

The instructions are clear enough and if like me you have an older and younger child you can let them help each other. Though we have a little sibling rivalry in my house I only had to intervene twice. Once to help my younger daughter and the second to prise them both apart and to rule over who had more stuffing than the other.

All in all it's more than just a toy, it helps motor skills, team work and creativity and leaves a child with a sense of achievement.

However pitching it at children aged 3 onwards is probably a little optimistic but it is entertaining and fun. They are fairly cute too.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20