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Mark R. Bannister (London, England)
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Luceco GU10 3 Watt LED Lamp 260 lm 2700 K Non Dimmable, Pack of 3, Warm White
Luceco GU10 3 Watt LED Lamp 260 lm 2700 K Non Dimmable, Pack of 3, Warm White
Price: £6.67

4.0 out of 5 stars Warm bright lamp, much cheaper to run than halogen, 3 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There seems to be something slightly wrong with the production description, because unless I was unlucky and the box had the wrong barcode label attached to it, I definitely have here a Luceco GU10 5W, 370lm, 4000K (natural white) non-dimmable LED lamp, and not as advertised. I suppose this may very well be a barcode mix-up. I shall review the item nonetheless.

We have both cool and warm white LED lamps in our house already, and at 4000K this is definitely warm white (think sunny day and not cloudy day). At 38 degrees it seems to have a slightly wider angle than some, meaning the lamps can be spaced slightly further apart (or the light will spill slightly higher up the wall). LED lamps are excellent, they seem just as good as halogen but at a fraction of the power requirement - 5W equivalent to 50W is really going to help with those quarterly energy bills. I found this Luceco lamp slightly easier to fit than my existing ones, it helps to have smooth sides and not rivets.

The only drawback with this particular product is that it is non-dimmable, which limits where in the house I could make use of it.


KS2 English: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Study Book
KS2 English: Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling Study Book
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.95

2.0 out of 5 stars Too much crammed in, poorly laid out, not good at all for study, 23 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a whirlwind tour of grammar, punctuation and spelling. It is supposed to be child-friendly, but I think it is poorly laid out, the pages are too busy, the quick questions crammed into the bottom few lines of most pages with no space for your son, daughter or student to actually write the answer is a bad design. I think if you take the KS2 syllabus, puff each item of the syllabus up with a very short explanation, one or two examples and a cartoon-style picture you've pretty much got the content of this book.

I think this book suffers too much from information cram and encourages too much leafing, flitting and skimming and not nearly enough study as the title suggests.


KS2 Maths SAT Buster - Shape, Measures and Data
KS2 Maths SAT Buster - Shape, Measures and Data
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Too wide a subject, too few questions, this book is not big enough, 23 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
43 pages of KS2 maths questions focusing on shapes, measures and data analysis, with one section devoted to each of the three topics. There is no time limit set for these questions, and no practice tests or answer sheets like there are in the sister product KS2 Mental Maths (ISBN 978-1847628152). It is designed to be self-scoring, this time with an alligator theme, from a baby alligator just hatching from an egg, through a small wobbly toddler alligator to a Shape&Datagator. However, and as I found with the Mental Maths book too, the answers are not provided anywhere in the book, making it difficult to self-score. For that you need to purchase the KS2 Maths SAT Buster Answer Book, ISBN 978-1847627865, which I think is wrong, a marketing stunt in poor taste, and one for which I cannot therefore award with 5 stars.

Section 1 in this book is for Shapes and covers 2D Shapes, 3D Shapes, Angles, Angle Calculations, Coordinates, Symmetry and Transformations. Section 2 is for Measures and covers Units, Reading Scales, Time, Perimeter and Area. Section 3 is for Data and covers Tables and Charts, Analysing Data, Chance and Likelihood and Problem Solving.

However, these section titles actually cover a lot of different concepts and, unlike with the Mental Maths book, I found that this book was trying to cover too many topics in too few pages. What this means is that if your son, daughter or student is struggling with certain concepts, they are not going to get lots of practise using this book, as it covers everything, and generally there is one question for each concept. So this book may be ok for general widespread testing, to determine which topics they need more help with, but once you've found the topics that need work, you're on your own, and once you've used the book once you probably won't be able to use it again, as it'll be easier than the Mental Maths tests to remember the answer from last time (partly due to the lack of a time limit and partly because each question is distinct and therefore easier to remember).

Frankly if you can find a bigger book with more questions covering Shapes, Measures and Data, it may be better than buying this one, as I don't think this one exercises each discrete topic well enough.


KS2 Maths SAT Buster - Mental Maths (with audio tests)
KS2 Maths SAT Buster - Mental Maths (with audio tests)
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality tests, shame about the marketing stunts, 23 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
42 pages of KS2 maths questions designed to exercise fast mental arithmetic. This book is full of different types of question grouped by type, where some questions must be answered in 5 seconds, some in 10 seconds, and some in 15 seconds. It is designed to be self-scoring, with a dinosaur theme, from a baby dinosaur just hatching from an egg, through a small wobbly toddler dinosaur to an Arithmosaurus-rex. However, as the answers are not provided anywhere in the book, which is a bit odd, it's not so easy to self-score. For that you need to purchase the KS2 Maths SAT Buster Answer Book, ISBN 978-1847627865, which I think is a bit cheeky and unnecessary, and partly defeats the point of the dinosaur theme, and for that reason alone I can't give this book 5 stars.

However the questions are well laid out and challenging, separated into 15 different sections (Number Problems, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, Mixed Calculations, Double and Halving, Rounding and Estimating, Fractions Percentages and Decimals, Units and Measures, Time, Shapes, Angles, Ratio and Proportion, Algebra) and will definitely keep my little one busy for a while.

When the manufacturer's description says "with audio tests", it doesn't mean it comes with a CD or anything like that, it means that you can go to a website to hear the questions from the practice tests being read out. I think that is a bit misleading too, and I was close to taking away another star from my review because of this (but that seemed a bit harsh on my part because the content of the book is sound). Alternatively the questions for the practice tests can be found in the middle of the book and the publishers assume that someone else can be enticed to read them out with a timer to hand, with four practice answer sheets at the back.


Charlie's Country [DVD]
Charlie's Country [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Gulpilil
Price: £17.71

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly realistic, I'm as bored as Charlie, 1 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Charlie's Country [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
David Gulpilil's performance of Charlie, an Aboriginal man struggling to come to terms with modern Australian rural life, although believable is not much more than that. It is too slow, lacking colour and interest. He and Rolf de Heer (director) have made a laborious film that wants to send you to sleep. Perhaps they wanted the viewer to appreciate how boring Charlie's life now is. Well, I got the message in the first ten minutes and really wanted to switch off after that. I don't remember when I did eventually fall asleep, but my wife tells me I didn't miss much and I'm inclined to believe her!


Bouncy Blue from the Learning Groove
Bouncy Blue from the Learning Groove
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My eldest son first fell in love with music from the Learning Groove when he was ..., 26 Oct. 2014
My eldest son first fell in love with music from the Learning Groove when he was 3, having discovered Eric Litwin's rather cool YouTube channel and their ska version of The Wheels on the Bus (on Groovy Green). I decided to give an album a try, and the first one we bought was Bouncy Blue. We have never regretted it. What's great about Eric Litwin and Michael Levine is the different styles of music that they make accessible to a young audience - and they make the music really fun, their energy is so infectious. Also, each album features a different lead instrument, which is a great educational tool. For the past year we've danced to many of their tracks whenever we need the kids to run off some energy (they particularly love the train songs and racing around the house pretending to be trains), we've listened to their albums on many a long car journey, and we've had one of the slow songs from a Learning Groove album every bedtime. We have all of their albums now - there's a nice selection to choose from for all moods - but Bouncy Blue, the first one we purchased, continues to be our favourite of all. We love the Learning Groove and really hope they release more albums! However, if there is only one thing I'd change, it's the length of the tracks. These albums tend to have a lot of very short songs, and I'd rather there were fewer in number but a bit longer.

From Bouncy Blue, we particularly like Strong Mama (Blues), Mi Cuerpo Hace Musica (Hispanic Folk), On This Train (Singer-Songwriter), Funga Alafia (Swahili), I Like (Barbershop Quartet), Baby Blue (Lullaby) and The Restaurant skit always makes us giggle.


No Title Available

2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, but a bad design, 26 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this to keep my 2 year old busy when my 4 year old is practising his real violin. (I know it says age 3+, but I'm not quite sure why, no parts are particularly small). It certainly looks nice, but the main drawback with the design is that it is string tension that causes the violin to play music to you. The strings are metal wires that are wound around screws at one end and which disappear into the belly of the instrument at the other. I can understand the idea - pressing the strings on the fingerboard should play music - but in practice this really doesn't work well. First, my son managed to unwind one of the strings so that it was loose, and winding it back was hard as they actually aren't proper screws, they're more like pegs rammed into a tight plastic hole. Then, it turns out, that if you wind them slightly too tightly (and this is quite sensitive), the music plays constantly. It's not a particularly nice violin tone that it plays either, a rather electronic and grating sound. It began to annoy very soon after purchase, so I took the batteries out. Now it sits on top of the piano and doesn't really interest my son at all. He would much rather play with the real violin ... which at his age I can't trust him to do (he'll break it). So this toy hasn't really helped solve the problem I wanted it to solve. The only reason it gets two stars and not one is because it looks the part.


Leitz WOW 1005 180 Degree A4 80mm Lever Arch File - Metallic Blue
Leitz WOW 1005 180 Degree A4 80mm Lever Arch File - Metallic Blue
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric blue coolest level arch file money can buy!, 26 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Well this is probably the best that a lever arch file can get. It's surprising that there was an innovation yet to be had in the lever arch, but Leitz have certainly delivered one with their lever that can swing 180 degrees (yes, keep pushing it all the way over) giving you the chance to file papers to the left as well as to the right. The prongs do also align very nicely, and it certainly seems to live up to its claim to be able to hold 600 pages of A4 paper. I wouldn't say I'm totally sold on the colour, there's nothing new about this shade of blue (reminds me of ring binders I had in my school days), but they are available in a range of other colours.


Octonauts Gup S Arctic Explorer
Octonauts Gup S Arctic Explorer
Price: £26.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The cool blue vehicle that my 5 year old loves!, 26 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My 5 year old son fell in love with this toy from the moment that it arrived in its super-big box. The Gup S is bigger than you'd think looking at the photos, and it's almost a thing of beauty the way that it lights up blue. The music and voice recordings are of excellent quality and really help my son submerse himself in Octonauts play. However, suggesting that this toy can separate into two different vehicles is quite a stretch of the imagination, as neither end looks complete when detached. The two small diggers that came with the set are an interesting - if ignored - bonus. They do so little that they haven't been played with at all. However, all in all, my son loves playing with it so his vote should count more than my niggles, which is why I'm giving this toy four stars.


Durex Extra Safe Condoms - Pack of 24
Durex Extra Safe Condoms - Pack of 24
Offered by Activecare Online
Price: £9.19

4.0 out of 5 stars 24 more opportunities for numbness, 11 Sept. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you have to use them, it's a good product. You can't go far wrong with Durex, and the Extra Safe brand does give you the extra peace of mind. Is it comfortable? Well about as comfortable as wrapping a tight bit of rubber around 'it' can get, I suppose. Don't kid yourself, a condom will never feel as fluffy as a feather unless you've anaesthetised 'it' first, and I'm sure that wouldn't help the performance and certainly wouldn't help you enjoy it. It does annoy me slightly that condom manufacturers ignore this fact and use words like "comfort" in their marketing. It's a necessary precaution, it's not a particularly comfortable one, but at least it's good quality discomfort.


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