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Helpless "Helpless" (UK)

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Rosetta Stone Spanish Complete Course Bundle (PC)
Rosetta Stone Spanish Complete Course Bundle (PC)
Price: £169.99

Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The product was delivered today, this was no lightweight delivery, it was weighty.

It has been over 30 years since I was at school learning a language, while I am fluent in German I have always wanted to learn another language, but time constraints and confidence as I got older held me back. There was also the urge of a bit of competition, my wife speaks French, German, Italian and a little Spanish.

There is plenty in this box to unpack, it is also a bit overwhelming but actually everything has its place and everything has its order. The key is to start and the beginning and work your way through. There are the course discs, a huge dictionary, a smaller grammar book, MP3 audio discs to play on compatible equipment such as in your car and even a headset with a mic.

So far it has been straight forward to set up using my MacBook Pro. Rosetta Stone language courses have been well developed over the years so I am confident it will run smoothly, I hope so anyway. You'll only need to set up a learning account and use the activation code provided, then it is time to get started.

These are of course my first impressions, how well I get on will probably depend more on my commitment than the quality of this home learning course which is excellent.

After an hour of practice a few raised eyebrows from my wife, with my 5 year old daughter asking my son, 'what's wrong with daddies voice, he sounds strange' to which my son replied ,'I think he is speaking Italian or French or Russian, I think'.

At the risk of upsetting my wife and her recorded episodes of Coronation Street I have stopped for the evening.

First impressions, I think this will go well, everyone works as it should, though it will require commitment. I'm definitely up for that and maybe it's time to book that holiday in the sun.

Dos cervezas por favor.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2015 10:38 PM GMT

Unstoppable: Using the Power of Focus to Take Action and Achieve Your Goals
Unstoppable: Using the Power of Focus to Take Action and Achieve Your Goals
by Pete Wilkinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.50

Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like to dabble in these self help books but rarely do I find anything of significant value. The worst offenders are the publications from the other side of the Atlantic full of psycho-babble Americanisation's that fail to translate into our more reserved way of doing things in the UK.

So as soon as I open the book I'm on the lookout.

As I began to read this book, Unstoppable, I immediately got the feeling that this book was not written by some kind of American business 'evangelist', it was in plain English, not corporate 'speak' and no whoop,cheer or yeehaaing to be seen. A quick turn to the Authors bio page and it appears I was right.

While I understand the need for a catchy title to try and stand out from the crowd, the many references to 'Unstoppable' sprinkled liberally throughout the chapters grated as I have seen this used in a number of much lesser self help books. It just wasn't necessary to keep reinforcing it, the book is good enough without having to do this.

Also, the tendency of using third party quotations and referencing other books and authors to qualify what the author is saying is also unnecessary, as the book is well written enough to stand up by itself.

I liked the common sense approach of the book and I liked the straight forward and to the point prose.

The chapters in setting goals and personal organisation are well worth reading. The chapter on Relationship building I thought interesting, especially the 'value' aspect to a business. I have my own business now in its 20th year and Pete Wilkinson has hit the nail on the head when he discusses this point. It's also something I have been doing since I started in business, but to me it is a fundamental natural aspect of any business.

At times when reading the book I thought, 'I've been there, done that, yes I did make that mistake', it was the learning curve of any start up. You learn fast or you don't and the consequences of failing to learn are serious.

The book also talks about self-evaluation, learning your weaknesses and customer relationships.

My impressions are that this book is ideally suited for small business, for some it offers worthwhile tweaks, for others it may be a revelation that keeps their business afloat.

While it is not perfect, it would be a worthy addition to any small business bookshelf, refreshingly English, well written and to the point.

Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Webbox Dream Bone Chicken Medium, 79 g, Pack of 10
Price: £24.42

5.0 out of 5 stars REALLY TASTY, 30 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Length:: 0:11 Mins

Jengo the dog is comfortable in himself with his non-pedigree status of greyhound and something else, there are only four things that really matter to him.

1. Food
2. Walks
3. Fuss
4. Sleep

Food is of course the most important part of his day, even he would admit, if interviewed, it is his number one priority. As he was once a rescue dog he has now settled in and begun to enjoy the finer treats in life, especially when they are not meant for him, the butter out of the butter dish, bacon sandwiches, the rump steak, roast potatos especially with gravy and granddads favourite salami. He is fast and he is silent, like a ninja.

Webbox offers a chicken flavoured Dream Bone, not made of rawhide, but instead made of veg and chicken, so even as discerning as Jengo now is he demolished the bone in less than 5 minutes, then spent the next 5 minutes running around excitedly with the wrapper.

Unfortunately I do not have the skills of the greatest film producers but I hope that my amateurish effort proves the point that these Dream Bones are really tasty.

The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920
The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920
by Eugene Rogan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An interesting and well written book.

This is not a WW1 book on Gallipoli or the Dardanelles, although there is a chapter dedicated to this, instead it is more, a reasonably detailed overview of the Ottoman Empire from the start of its decline in the late 1800's to the 1920. Though the book does encompass WW1 and the conflict areas where Ottoman soldiers were active participants, it also explains the more political aspects of the Empire and its decline.

Controversially it also recounts what many have described as the genocide Armenians, their relocation, deportation and ethnic cleansing by the Turk leadership. This is of course a taboo subject in Turkey and will not win the author many friends there. It is however refreshing that a writer is brave enough to take this up without grace or favour. You'll not find this book on the shelves in Istanbul.

The siege of Kut, Mesopotamia and the Arab Uprising are also featured in this book.

Rather than being an onerous academic tome, this book is a well written, well researched and balanced. It is eminently readable. If you enjoy military history and have enjoyed books written by Max Hastings you'll not be disappointed here, especially as it has a slightly different outlook on a subject that is less written about.

I certainly enjoyed the read.

The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business
The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business
by David Meerman Scott
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having recently reviewed a self help book promoting personal success full of corporate psycho-babble that left me in despair I thought I’d tackle this book.

‘The New Rules of Sales and Service’ is of a slightly different genre and to be honest I was expecting another one of those Americanised whoop, shout yeah and cheer yippee corporate handbooks that wouldn’t find relevance with our more reserved British culture.

However, I still like to keep an open mind and give a book a chance, in this case I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Although it is obviously an American publication it translates extremely well to the UK market.
It is also readable and pleasingly, and refreshingly, free of corporate jargon.

The book lays out a common sense approach to customer service, from the initial contact, sale and customer aftercare in the business environment of the times we now find ourselves in.

My own business is now in its 20th year and over time I have had to learn how to adapt to changes, especially with the internet, social media, review sites and at the same time continue to build customer relationships and give the best service I can provide.

This book lays out what a business should be doing now, rather than acting as if we still live in an internet free world of the 1980’s. For instance, we live in an information age so dealing with a customer complaint quickly and efficiently is much more important now than it might have been 20 years ago simply because the internet can have a dramatic, detrimental and instantaneous effect on a business.

Also, with regard to sales, people are much more informed on the products they are looking for simply because they can do their own research, find reviews, customer feedback and read blogs simply because of the internet. Have you ever been in a shop and found the sales person knows less than you do? I have.

Most businesses have already evolved and adapted and continue to be successful. Some think they have adapted to this new order of things but actually they have not.

This common sense approach points to where you and your business might benefit and hints at ways to adapt, though some might think its like teaching your granny to suck eggs, it is still an engaging book.

I read the book and thought I pretty much do what he is writing about anyway, I do this as part of the way I run my business because that is the way I have evolved and it feels right. I like to think I really have got it right and that my customers are happy with my service. The book seems to reinforce what I already do.

LED Lenser LED8407R M7R Multi-Function Rechargeable Torch Black Hard Case
LED Lenser LED8407R M7R Multi-Function Rechargeable Torch Black Hard Case
Offered by FoodSaver
Price: £68.99

5.0 out of 5 stars PROBABLY THE BEST LED TORCH I OWN, 26 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is truly an excellent product. It comes in a plastic carry case complete with USB charging cable, rechargeable battery, wrist strap, plug socket adapter and wall holder.

The quality of construction is good, black anodised aluminium, and with the battery installed it has a nice weight but is not heavy. The LED is very good, clear white and bright, the adjustable lens excellent allowing the light to be well defined in either full beam or flood. Whatever you do, don't look directly into the beam, you'll be left blinded.

Charging the device is simplicity in itself. I have two other LED rechargeable compact torches of different makes that require the battery to be removed before recharging. This one however has a magnetic charging contact the sticks to the back end of the torch. The magnetic charger glows blue and the torch has a red band which glows red until fully charged. No removing the batteries, no fiddly sockets, just a magnet.

I think I am correct in saying that if the battery is running down it gives off warning flashes, I wasn't sure at first when it did it to me but this warning is excellent because LED torches don't dim when running low, they just go out without warning.

By a half press of the on off button you can change the light mode from, high power to a lower setting, strobe effect if you want to go cross eyed and SOS in morse code if you are stuck up a mountain. The light can be seen from miles away.

Torches are a fundamental part of the equipment I need for work, so having three at hand during the day is important. This particular torch is probably the brightest and easiest to charge of the three.

However, there are three minor points it could be improved on.

Firstly, the on/off button at the rest of the torch doubles up as the magnetic charger. It is recessed so not always easy to press in fully if you have big thumbs to switch in the torch. You do get used to it but expect the occasional misfire.

Secondly the lock ring setting the focus of the beam can be a bit hit or miss as it doesn't have a definite click as it locks and can require a bit of effort to turn.

Thirdly, while using it at full whack the battery doesn't quite live up to advertised expectations. Maybe it's the cold weather?

In conclusion, while it is not perfect, it is not a compromise either and hand on heart this is the best LED torch I own.

Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eye Shadow, Addictive 4.8 g
Revlon ColorStay 16 Hour Eye Shadow, Addictive 4.8 g
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUBTLE COLOURS, WELL PRICED AND GOOD VALUE, 26 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I left it to my wife to test drive this product. She likes the colours especially as they are subtle, it is easy to apply, small enough to put in her copius handbag, along with the another 101 items stashed in the various folds and pockets, so it won't add too much weight and it didn't cause her eyes to puff up like a reaction to a bee sting or cat fur. She likes the product. On top of that she thought the product was well priced and good value. I'll agree to that.

Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Price: £13.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD PRODUCT, 24 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When the washing powder that promises all kinds of stain removal fails, Vanish Gold Oxi Action steps in and saves the day. If this product doesn't get the stain out then probably because nothing else will. It did a really good job on removing the tomato sauce stains from my daughters t-shirt.

Using a scoop in with the normal washing does brighten things up but it works extra well in direct application or soaking the clothes.

Good product

SSKinz Jacquard WProof Beanie - Blue/Green, L/XL
SSKinz Jacquard WProof Beanie - Blue/Green, L/XL
Offered by Leisure Lakes Bikes

Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this for my 9 year old son who wanted his own Sealskinz Beanie, and the fact that I wanted mine back.
These Sealskinz beanies are good products, well made and long lasting though the sizing can be a little on the small size. I bought an L/XL for my son and it fits him and covers his ears perfectly. My black Sealskinz Beanie, on the other hand, in XXL makes me look like a burglar, I wish they'd make one size bigger. Still having a warm dry head is better than being freezing and wet and I have stopped wearing it when walking down dark alleyways.

In all seriousness though, this is a great product, I wish I had this particular design rather than my black one, but I draw the line at walking the dog in matching hats. Pricy though, but you do get what you pay for.

Powerhouse: Turbo Boost Your Effectiveness and Start Making a Serious Impact
Powerhouse: Turbo Boost Your Effectiveness and Start Making a Serious Impact
by Mike Clayton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AIMED AT THE CORPORATE ENVIRONMENT, 24 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not particularly keen on any of these self-help books that seem to be saturating the market at the moment especially those that promote personal success. Most of these authors churn them out for every conceivable subject.

Most are written for the US market and do not transfer easily to the UK market. Many years ago I even had the misfortune to have to sit through a two hour motivational speech, courtesy of the company I worked for, with yelling and whooping and cheering going on around me while having to wear a baseball cap and t-shirt with `team gladiator' printed on them. It was purgatory.

It made no difference to the company sales figures. I still believe baseball caps lower IQ. The food fight afterwards said everything there was to say about the event.

So every now and again when curiosity takes hold I'll have a read of one, for perspective if you know what I mean. To be honest most of these books have something, however small that you can pick out and use.

`Paralysis by analysis' and `Bubble thinking takes a lot of effort' are two phrases of the book that spring to mind. Also `Frenzied attack-on your Tiddlers', `high quality bubble mode thinking cannot keep up' and the need to `protect your frontal lobes from over stimulation' is also worth a mention. This is supplemented by plenty of references to this being a Powerhouse product.

Ok, so this is probably the psycho-babble language that we should expect to hear in the corporate world and it leads me to despair, it really does.

However, if you get over the use of this language you may find some quite common sense solutions if you struggle with time, work situations and interpersonal skills. There are glimmers of every day situations and common sense ways to encounter them and survive. The illustrations are a bit hit and miss, some clear and some, well I just didn't get it.

In conclusion, I find that this book is no better or worse than the market it is aimed at. I didn't have any eureka moments and no whoop of yeah. Maybe I have too much common sense or a lack of imagination or that I have been out of the corporate environment for a few eons but I think the price needs to come down to justify the 185 pages of advice. I have read better and I have definitely read worse so its a three from me.

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