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Moonless (London Town)
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Ultrasport Men's Auckland Tennis Polo Shirt - White/Green, Medium
Ultrasport Men's Auckland Tennis Polo Shirt - White/Green, Medium
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the gym, 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my husband to try out as he is a regular gym user. The top was a size medium and fitted perfectly. My husband usually wears old t-shirts to the gym but he found a real difference wearing this one. For a start, it’s stretchy, so it made for a very comfortable fit. Also, it absorbed a lot of sweat and didn’t cling to him like a normal t-shirt does. It washes very well and retains its shape. The shirt is made of 95% cotton, so ignore the description on the website which cites polyester. The manufacturers have also thought to print the label information onto the inside of the shirt so you don’t get that irritating itching with label tags.

All in all, a good top for the gym or any exercise.


Philips GC8650/80 PerfectCare Aqua Silence Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 330 g Silent Steam Boost, 2.5 L, 2400 W, Black/Purple
Philips GC8650/80 PerfectCare Aqua Silence Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 330 g Silent Steam Boost, 2.5 L, 2400 W, Black/Purple
Price: £259.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smooth iron, 16 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used a similar steam generator iron before, and once I’d got the bug, there was no way I was going back to a traditional iron! I was therefore interested to review this one, as it was some years ago that I got mine, and I wanted to see how much they had developed.

I have to say, I was very impressed. As standard, the iron comes with a built-in stand above a water tank that can hold up to 2.5 litres of water. The tank does not come away from the stand. Instead, it has a spout into which you pour the water. There is also a lock to keep the iron in place when it’s not in use.

I found the iron to be incredibly quiet when steaming. It also glides smoothly, almost effortlessly, over the clothes. It makes ironing not so difficult or onerous as it can be at times, particularly when an iron is heavy, and it was very quick. I was a bit concerned about there not being a temperature gauge, and felt nervous about ironing two very different types of material without the dial or slider to change the temperature accordingly. So far, I haven’t burnt any items of clothing! The manufacturers are also confident that their ‘OptimalTEMP technology’, described as ‘one setting for the perfect combination of steam and temperature, no burns guaranteed’ will prevent this from happening.

The cable can get hot so beware of that. This also happened with my previous iron and I am not sure what can be done to prevent it. I have used the iron on eco setting and this has been fine. My only real gripe is that there isn’t a heel rest so the iron doesn’t sit upright on the ironing board. But the manufacturers say you don’t need this as the iron can sit flat on the board (because of its ‘OptimalTEMP’) and it won’t cause burning. I think I would prefer the heel rest but I guess old habits die hard.

It may seem pricey, but believe me, once you try a steam iron like this, your ironing time will be halved and it will be much more pleasurable!


Ultranatura Aluminium Korfu Series Folding Plus Armchair, Anthracite
Ultranatura Aluminium Korfu Series Folding Plus Armchair, Anthracite
Price: £52.24

4.0 out of 5 stars More colour choice would be great, 16 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My dad has a pretty severe back and other mobility problems. There are not many chairs he can sit on comfortably, particularly garden chairs. I got this in the hope it would help.

The chair when it arrived was already assembled. It simply had to be unfolded. That was a good start! I found it to be very sturdy, and it has a good back support. When my dad sat on it, he found it very comfortable and safe. He usually worries about sitting in new chairs in case they don’t give him the support he needs. However, this chair stayed in the house for a few days rather than the garden as he liked it so much!

In terms of functionality, the chair is one of the most comfortable garden chairs I have sat on. It has an adjustable back that can go down to a position in which you are almost lying down. The back is adjustable by simply moving the armrests up and forward or back. The only thing I would say is that you may need a pillow to provide that extra bit of support on the lower back when the chair is at a certain angle as there then seems to be a gap.

The fabric is soft yet strong. You know it’s not going to give way or sag. My only gripe is that the chair should be available in other, more summery colours. It looks a bit like an office chair and can look out of place in a colourful garden. Great for functionality, but aesthetically, it’s a shame it isn’t a bit more in keeping with its intended surroundings.


Rimmel London Wonder'Full Wake Me Up Mascara, Black
Rimmel London Wonder'Full Wake Me Up Mascara, Black
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, but better for a 'daytime' look, 9 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I like the packaging of this mascara. It’s bright and bold, and the shape of the bottle makes the handle easy to hold. I like the ‘twisted’ shape of the brush as well. That said, the mascara itself didn’t impress me too much. I usually use L’Oreal, and I found this one didn’t have the same effect. The finish was a bit thin; my lashes were separated to the point it looked like I didn’t have many, and there was none of the luxurious feel I get with my regular brand.

On the plus side, it doesn’t clump, and it makes my eyes looks a bit brighter (wider?). However, I found I had to use loads to get a similar, thicker look to my usual brand. Happy to continue using it until it finishes, but then I’ll go back to my usual mascara.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Panache always a good buy, 25 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
You can't go wrong with Panache. Always a good fit as long as you buy the right style. This one is one of my favourites. It also arrived quickly and was a good bargain compared to buying in a shop.


The House of Hidden Mothers
The House of Hidden Mothers
by Meera Syal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail lets down the pace 3.5, 25 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Meera Syal’s latest novel is a difficult one to consider. Brilliant in parts, tedious in others, it’s a novel I’m struggling to rate. After veering between 3 and 4 stars, I would say 3.5 is fair.

‘The House of Hidden Mothers’ tells the tale of two very different women from opposite sides of the world. Shyama is a British Indian, living in east London, with a much younger white man called Toby. Mala is in her 20s, married and childless, living in a rural Indian village, and bound by tradition that is centuries old. Both of these women’s lives become entwined in a way that neither would have imagined, with devastating and happy (though a bit incredulous) consequences.

We are also introduced to a host of other characters who have their own lives and issues to deal with. Shayma’s parents, who are particularly likeable, and have been embroiled in a Delhi property dispute for decades; an actually interesting and engaging storyline that reveals much about families and loyalties. Then there is Shyama’s daughter, Tara, who has a complicated relationship with her mother. I didn’t really take to her, nor to Shyama much to be honest. But that doesn’t detract from the story overall.

Shyama and Toby want a baby, but that is not to be; at least, not in the way they had hoped. Shyama then explores the world of surrogacy, and decides that’s the route she wants to take – with a surrogate from India. Here, Syal opens up a whole world on the issues of surrogacy, its moral implications, and in turn, the bigger issue of women and their status in what is still a backward Indian society when it comes to the position of girls and women.

Syal also explores the complexities of relationships in general, the treatment of women, what it means to grow older, at the same time, what it means to be a teenager and dealing with a world evolving around you. As someone of Indian heritage, I enjoyed reading about the world I know well: the foibles of family members, the expectations, ups and downs, visiting the ‘little India’ areas of London, as well as the real India of the sub-continent.

What really lets down this novel, though, is Syal’s attempt to throw everything but the kitchen sink at it. There are reams and reams of unnecessary descriptions and asides. For example, when visiting the Little India area where Shyama owns a beauty salon, half a page is made up of just one sentence describing what the shops sell, but in a way that reads like a list, rather than something that adds to the plot. I could imagine Syal standing there and writing down exactly what she saw and then throwing it in, with no real attempt to weave any of her observations into the storyline. In this way, the story gets bogged down and blunders along. I love the idea of the main plot and some of the side stories, but the first few chapters are a struggle to get through. It’s worth persevering as the story really gets going during the second half. I’m not sure I quite believe the story could end the way it did, but it’s worth giving a go.


Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success
Tsunami Kids: Our journey from survival to success
by Paul Forkan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars One family’s tale amongst thousands of tales to be told, 31 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Once you start reading this book, it’s difficult to put down. It starts unassuming enough. We meet the Forkan family; they are pretty ordinary, a family of 8 from Croydon in south London. However, their story is anything but ordinary. The parents, Kevin and Sandra, decide they want to take their children travelling. Four out of the six children go with them. Their parents believe they will get a more informative and helpful education in the wide world, rather than the confines of the four walls of a classroom.

The first few chapters are important in building up this ethos and way of thinking; why the parents take the children out of school for years, and to the ‘wilds’ of India. Though some reviewers say there is too much written about life before the tsunami, it’s this that helps us to understand what happens to the family after the tsunami hits – their way of thinking, coping and rebuilding their lives.

It’s not a sensationalist book, but down to earth and not over dramatic. You get the impression that Rob (from whose point of view the book is written), isn’t trying to get sympathy or extra business for his flip-flops company, but instead, to finally lay out the story his family’s life, and how they were affected by the tsunami. One family’s tale amongst thousands of tales to be told.

The most interesting part comes just after the tsunami happens, how they get back to the UK, and what happens next. I say the chapters on the tsunami are interesting because we hear about the immediate aftermath, the descriptions of the scenes, the chaos, the devastation of the roads and buildings. How the children go in search of their parents. It’s strange, but even though you know the parents are dead, you still feel that sense of rooting for them and hoping they will find them, but then feel that loss when you find out they didn’t make it.

How does a family get back to the UK when disaster strikes abroad? It’s also fascinating to read about the machinations of the British consular service when Britons abroad need their assistance to get home.

The book also includes family photos which add a personal touch.

Overall, the book is well written. It is a collaboration between Rob Forkan and journalist/writer Nick Harding. I get the impression that while building up the flips-flops company, the Forkans have to overcome some tough obstacles, but Rob doesn’t dwell too much on that. You feel that it’s about the positives rather than the negatives, and how even the darkest hour can be overcome with the right help, support and state of mind.


Rapoo E6300 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad - White
Rapoo E6300 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad - White
Price: £35.83

3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better, 19 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am in two minds about this keyboard. I learnt to touch type and I do find it a bit frustrating doing the one-finger typing on my devices (and often hitting the wrong keys). However, it is something you get used to. With the keyboard, I thought it would help me to type quicker. I have slim fingers but even so, the keys are so small on this keyboard that I still keep hitting the wrong keys. I find you have to type a bit slower than if you used the keyboard on the device itself.

I can understand that the manufacturers wanted to make the keyboard compact, but a slightly bigger keyboard would have probably been of better use. This keyboard is the width of my iPad mini.

The instructions are also very sparse. A few diagrams to help you connect. There are many keys on the keyboard; I have no idea what they do, and I couldn’t find any information online either to enlighten me. I figured out that one locks the device (it has a picture of a padlock on it!), but other than that, it is not very clear. So if there is a lot more functionality in this keyboard, it is totally lost without clear instructions.

On the plus side, it is very easy to connect via Bluetooth. It looks good and is very light. I’ve carried it in my bag and it seems robust. If there is more it can do, please let us know, Rapoo, and perhaps I can get over the tiny keys!


Waiting For Doggo
Waiting For Doggo
by Mark Mills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.69

4.0 out of 5 stars A man's best friend..., 19 April 2015
This review is from: Waiting For Doggo (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Poor Dan. His girlfriend has gone and dumped him – and left him the dog, a dog he didn’t even want in the first place. Now Dan has to readjust to life without Clara but life with Doggo. As time goes by, Dan and Doggo become the best of friends, with Doggo seeming to fill the void that Clara leaves.

However, Dan finds other interests and ladies to fill the void, too, and what we have here is a fun, light-hearted novel that follows our protagonist as he finds his feet again, with Doggo at his side. There are many likeable characters in this book, and the writing is witty and fast-paced. There are some twists and turns as Dan discovers things about his life and himself.

The book is written in the present tense, and at just over 200 pages, moves fast. Recommended for an enjoyable, escapist read, and if you want something that will make you chuckle.


How to Stress Less: Simple Ways to Stop Worrying and Take Control of Your Future
How to Stress Less: Simple Ways to Stop Worrying and Take Control of Your Future
by Benjamin Bonetti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Good self-help if you can manage your own problems, 6 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Benjami Bonetti’s book seems to take a very simple, direct approach to dealing with stress. The language is straightforward, the layout is clear and the book is very easy to read. That is not to say that the subject is taken lightly. Mr Bonetti clearly knows what he is talking about; I imagine he used the same approach to write this book as he does in his sessions with clients.

He suggests that stress can be a choice; maybe you destroy it or let it destroy you. If you are stressed, then you need to try to do something about it. Part of that can be things you can control directly and immediately such as your diet and taking more exercise. Other things will take a longer time to sort out, for example issues at work or relationship problems. Either way, it appears that dealing with stress is in your hands and only you can do something about it.

There are exercises to do throughout the book – nothing difficult or time consuming, but things such as making note about how you are feeling at particular times, and what triggers those feelings. For me, the best part, surprisingly, was about diet and nutrition. There are a whole host of recipes, such as for smoothies, and explanations about what different types of foods can do for your health.

Overall, I would say this is a book for someone who can manage their own stress. It’s not for someone with severe problems and may need medical help; the book is too basic for that. But if you are looking for a guide, advice or a way out of a problem that could get worse, then this is the book for you.


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