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Knit Your Own Dog: Dachshund Kit
Knit Your Own Dog: Dachshund Kit
by Sally Muir
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.71

4.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!!, 16 Jan. 2015
I'm not going to lie, this was a challenge, but a fun and satisfying challenge. I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with the finished result. I've just ordered some yarn to make another one as a gift. I found the pattern instructions amongst the clearest I've ever come across, however, this is not for beginners - the inclusion of a beginner's lesson will mislead people into thinking it is. It was the first time I'd done intarsia and fair isle and the instructions for this was less clear. However, I fudged my way through it and it looks great, so I must've done a fairly good job. Personally I found the sewing harder than the knitting. I struggled to get the pipe cleaners in and, weirdly, the thought of how doctors put cannulas in your arm popped into my head, which inspired me to use drinking straws to aid this! The instructions for mattress stitch were incredibly clear, although you have to bend the rules when it comes to stitching the belly, the sides of which have to be eased in. I found it helped to pin it in first and in one place where I was struggling to get it symmetrical, used a temporary gather stitch to reign it in. So it definitely requires some concentration and effort, but totally worth it. This is one of the best things I've ever made. As a result, I ordered Knit Your Own Zoo by the same designers.

The reason I had to knock a star off was that I *almost* ran out of the brown yarn. I literally knitted down to the last 6cm of it; it was squeaky bums time and it was nearly me who was stuffed, rather than the dog! But, anyway, I just about made it. Another review mentions using beads for eyes. This was a great suggestion, it looks so beguiling with little shiny eyes, much better than plain yarn eyes.

Any knitter with some experience will LOVE this. The yarn is good quality and you get some nice bamboo needles. The booklet does suggest you have some spare double pointed needles to hold live stitches, but this is not necessary. I used stitch holders, but a bit of waste yarn will do just as well.

I wholeheartedly recommend this kit and hats off to the designers for doing such a great job. I hate 'cute' looking knitted animals, which are usually anything but. What makes this so great is its realism. Absolutely love it.
Comment Comment | Permalink


One Day Crochet:  Afghan Projects you can Finish Quickly and Easily: (crochet, crochet patterns, corchet patterns for kids, crochet patterns for kids, corchet patterns for beginners)
One Day Crochet: Afghan Projects you can Finish Quickly and Easily: (crochet, crochet patterns, corchet patterns for kids, crochet patterns for kids, corchet patterns for beginners)
Price: £2.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NO PICTURES AT ALL!!!, 25 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
PLEASE DO *NOT* DOWNLOAD THIS POINTLESS BOOK!! There are literally no pictures AT ALL. You can't even choose what to make in the first place as there's no indication what the afghans look like! Just plain text throughout.


Portable Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker , Wireless Speaker for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung, Mobile Phones, Tablets PC, Laptops, Ultrabook & more devices(with microphone) (Pink)
Portable Rechargeable Bluetooth Speaker , Wireless Speaker for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Samsung, Mobile Phones, Tablets PC, Laptops, Ultrabook & more devices(with microphone) (Pink)
Offered by Betron Limited ( VAT Registered)
Price: £29.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed views..., 5 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hm... As I write this I'm debating whether to send the item back, taking them up on their 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

Firstly, the positives: The sound is alright for what it is via Bluetooth. Easy to connect. Handy having a built-in microphone. Finally, the FM radio sounds pretty good: clear, picks up and tunes into stations easily.

The negatives: The instructions are appalling. I was beginning to think there was NO FM radio at all, as the instructions don't actually tell you how to get to it. Anyway, for anyone who wants to know, you press and hold the play-pause/stop button to access the line-in audio mode, then press and hold the same button again until it emits a deep beep tone. To tune it, you use the left and right skip buttons.

As other reviews have mentioned, the 'ENTER TO BLUETOOTH, WAITING FOR PAIRING' booming out at you at full volume is deeply annoying and, for me, might be the deal-breaker. Another problem is that the red light stays on when you charge it, giving no indication of when it's fully charged. The final big disappointment is the quality of audio via line-in mode. If you want to watch movies, you have to use line-in as Bluetooth has an obvious lag, making speech out of sync with lip movement. But as soon as you switch mode, there's a constant high-pitched whine. Not good. Quite distracting when watching movies. Also, you can only use the mini-usb to connect to audio, you can't use a 3.5 male to male audio lead via the earphone socket. Which means you have to use the lead required which is a mini USB, splitting at the end into a USB to charge and a 3.5 jack to connect to your device. This lead is very short.

An alright speaker, but flawed. I wouldn't recommend it. Alas, I think I was seduced by how it looks.


Inscribe Soft Pastel Set - 48 Colours
Inscribe Soft Pastel Set - 48 Colours
Price: £11.49

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Produced great results!, 2 April 2013
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It's been many years since I've drawn with pastels (hate it when it's described as 'painting', ggrrr!). I picked these up and drew a portrait of my son. Before embarking on it, I was worried that this kit didn't contain any 'flesh' colours, but surprised myself by managing to blend what was on offer here - you can even introduce yellows, lilacs and blues to skintone, you'd be surprised - to produce very realistic and pleasing results. Everyone who's seen it has been really impressed. This is not a 'toy', nor is it for applying to HAIR (wtf?? I MUST be getting old); there's a couple of misleading and unfair reviews here to say the least. It's true that they are only half length, but considering pastels break so easily I've always broken full length ones in half anyway before using them. And, to be honest, at this price I'll just buy a whole new box when I run out of a few colours. They are square so they can't roll away, are good for shading on their side and also give you a sharp edge for finer detail.

They give their more expensive counterparts a run for their money. The couple of drawings I've done with them are good enough for me to consider doing some more and selling them.

For beginners: I've noticed that Amazon is coupling these pastels with a type of 'pastel paper' that others have bought alongside them. Can I just point out that one of these pads is actually cartridge paper (or similar) in pastel *colours*, rather than paper designed for pastel use? You need sugar paper or paper specifically for the use of pastels, rather than pastel coloured paper - you'll end up with drawings exceptionally vunerable to smudging on paper that is too smooth. Don't risk it! The correct paper pad usually has a picture of pastels on: big giveaway ;)


You Had Me At Hello
You Had Me At Hello
Price: £2.20

3.0 out of 5 stars VERY, very funny... and touching in places, 20 Feb. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm going to keep this brief as there's already plenty of other reviews... plus I'm having to knock this out whilst my toddler and baby are sleeping!

Starting with the bad points: I'm not keen on the title and in all honesty haven't heard that quote as originating as anything other than from the film Jerry MacGuire. I could be wrong, of course. My main issue is that the storyline has been done several times over, although it's been done in this case in very funny style. Only a few weeks ago I read Ten Years On by Alice Peterson and yep, you guessed it: couple meet at uni, girl is in a relationship... they meet up ten years later. Very similar story, but different tone and deals with bereavement.

What I absolutely LOVED about this book is that it's very, very funny. I can't remember ever reading anything that's made me laugh out loud as much as I did reading this book. I'd read lines over and over again, savouring them. I could easily read the book again and probably will.

The three star rating may seem a bit mean, but some of my most favourite books and films I would only give three stars to as they don't blow me away with their originality or power to deeply move, they just entertain me and that's all I want sometimes.

I really recommend this book as a bit of light-hearted escapism. Well worth a read and a re-read. Looking forward to the next novel by this author!


BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Original (Sand/White, Mesh)
BabyBjörn Baby Carrier Original (Sand/White, Mesh)

7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horribly uncomfortable - please read other low starred reviews, 6 Feb. 2013
When I was pregnant with baby number two, I decided I wanted to carry the baby in a carrier for the first few months rather than having to fork out for a double/tandem buggy to accommodate my two year old, who still gets tired in the day.

I did my research, read all lots of reviews, looked at the Baby Bjorn website and considering we knew we'd have to use it in a hot country when visiting family in North Africa in August, went for Baby Bjorn Air.

Big mistake. I'm so cross and disappointed that using this thing causes AWFUL backache. It was uncomfortable enough when he was newborn, but now he's 6 months old, more than a few minutes leaves me in agony - and I'm not exaggerating.

So here's the email I sent their customer services along with their reply. I'm stuck with this thing with no offer of a refund and no mention of what back specialists think of it.

Message:

Despite reading some really good reviews on this product, I find it incredibly uncomfortable to wear. It was uncomfortable when my baby was newborn, now it's absolutely unbearable that he's 6 months old. I'm so disappointed that as such an expensive item it's virtually unusable. It causes horrible back and shoulder pain after literally a few minutes' use. I find it frustrating that as someone who doesn't have money to spare and who chose this item for my mother to buy us as a gift, I cannot afford to replace it with something of a better design.

I think the main problem is that it needs a horizontal band to anchor it to the waist - as it is, the shoulders and back carry all the weight. The baby ends up leaning more and more forward and drops as you wear the carrier, even if you tighten the straps. Also, now my baby is bigger and faces outward, he doesn't feel secure if I lean forward, the bits that clip above the arms sit just at the edges of his shoulders, so I have to bend at the knee go lower myself to do anything. Under normal circumstances this may be fine, but with the weight at the top of your body pulling you forward, it puts immense pressure on the knees and I find I have to grab something to steady myself.

This is a really bad design and I would like to return it to you for a refund in all honesty. I think I purchased it from Amazon, I would have to double check on that, but please let me know what you can do to rectify this. I've found that the negative reviews on Amazon all seem to state the back pain issue. I haven't left a review on there myself yet, I would prefer to hear something back from you first.

Regards

Reply:

Thank you for contacting BabyBjörn AB!

We do appreciate that you contact us directly and regret hearing that you are not satisfied.

For more than 50 years BabyBjörn has experience with baby products for children from 0 until 3 years of age. Over the years we always have had and still have a very close cooperation with pediatricians when we develop our products.

Amongst our best known products we have different models of carriers especially developed for different kind of use. You choose the Original carrier. Our first model that has been developed an improved since the introduction in the 1970's. This carrier has been designed for a new born to promote the bonding/closeness between the young child and the parent. It can easily be used without any major adjustments.

The baby carrier Original is strong enough to hold a child up to 11 kg. It is very dependent from the individual if one can carry a child until a certain weight and has to be considered when choosing one of the models BabyBjörn can offer. Even the way of use has to be taken into account. We have models with a back support and/or waist belt, which gives more comfort for the one carrying during longer walks.

The advice we can give you using the Original is to carry your child facing you. In this way the weight will not be falling from your body which makes it easier to carry. Make sure the cross on your back is sitting low between your shoulder blades.

Have a nice day.

Best regards,

BabyBjörn AB

Madelene Tradefelt

Customer/Consumer Contact

Personally I don't think this is good enough. It doesn't say anywhere in the product description that the model depends on the weight of the baby and how much an invididual can carry! The whole point of a baby carrier is to carry a baby! Plus I simply cannot afford to buy a Baby Bjorn Original as suggested and don't see why I should.

I'm really angry to say the least.

I would urge previous reviewers to come back after their baby is 5+ months old and review this product again.

I will be contacting them again and will leave messages in 'comments' for this review.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 1, 2014 8:24 PM BST


Kegel8 Ultra Plus - Pelvic Floor Exerciser & Toner
Kegel8 Ultra Plus - Pelvic Floor Exerciser & Toner

125 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seems to be working for prolapse, 29 Nov. 2012
To follow is a very frank, open and graphic review. If you are squeamish, look away now... If, like me, you have been searching like mad and reading up on prolapse and feeling filled with dismay, I think you'll want to know the details.

Despite getting the VBAC I so desperately wanted with my second baby, not a SINGLE person warned me about potential pelvic organ prolapse that vaginal birth can cause (there are other causes, too). I thought that the kegel exercises were to prevent urinary incontinence later on, which I didn't think was such a biggie so didn't really bother much, thinking I could just do them at a later date if I needed to. It's OUTRAGEOUS that this relatively common occurrence isn't told to pregnant women as it really is a horrible thing to deal with.

I believe that the combination of being induced by hormone drip and a very poorly sized and placed cannula meant that my contractions came far too rapidly and strongly - it was all over in 1 and 3/4 hours. I firmly believe that the fast labour and pushing (8 mins worth) did the damage. When I came home I wanted to see the state of things 'down there' so I checked in a mirror and it wasn't as scary as I thought... until... A couple of days later, where there should normally be a 'hole' was a quite large, smooth bulge at the opening of my lady parts. A few mins of Googling with images confirmed in my mind that what I was seeing - and feeling - was a cystocele. I had all the symptoms; heavy dragging feeling, not being able to empty my bladder properly and most repulsively of all: I was 'gaping open' all the time. Nice to wander around with cold air wafting into your otter's pocket! (Sorry!!)

If you Google the words 'bladder prolapse fobbed off', you'll read a multitude of stories from women with a similar theme. I was checked by 2 midwives early on and since then 2 GPs and a nurse, who have the evasive answering skills that a politician would envy. I KNEW what it was and although they didn't confirm it, they didn't deny it it either. They all said the same thing: do kegel exercises.

Before this happened I couldn't even hold a kegel for more than a split second, not only that but doing them makes me CRINGE without knowing why.

So you've waited long enough for me to now get to the point. I got this Kegel8 when my boy was only 5 weeks old. I wanted to get cracking on getting things sorted out. It's taken me using it every day for probably more than 12 weeks and I'm finally getting results - almost like not a lot happened for weeks then over a few days it suddenly felt loads better. It comes with several 'programs' and you have to ring the Kegel8 care line to ask them how and when to use it. I was told to use it every day for the first 12 weeks, using program 2 most days, which is a 20min exercise for prolapse and program 9 twice a week, which is a full pelvic floor workout at 45mins. Although they recommend using it in the morning, due to having to get up early to feed a baby at varying times, then look after a toddler in the mornings, I've more or less only used it last thing at night when I won't be disturbed. I decided to do two days program 2 followed by 1 day pelvic floor workout on rota all the time, it's easy for me to remember.

You have a choice here of 2 probes: the 'tampon' shaped one (stupid name, really, because I'd have a heart attack if I saw a tampon that size, it's more of a cylinder) and the 'comfort' probe. I decided to start off on the cylinder one as I was so 'gappy' and also because it's much easier to align the electrodes hip to hip as per instructed due to the cable coming out of it at an angle. I'm now using the 'comfort' one, which is easier to move around with, sit and walk with wearing tight jeans - not that I've done that much.

I was worried it might feel a bit weirdly sexual at first, like a vibrator, but thankfully it doesn't. It literally makes your muscles contract and I find some parts of the pelvic floor workout program actually relaxing! There is NO WAY ON THIS EARTH I'd be able to get the strength of contraction I can with this gizmo by doing it manually.

Anyway, I've been checking my progress with a mirror every couple of weeks or so and can confirm that it's lifted up! I'm not how I used to be prior le bebe, but what used to look like a bulge now looks like ***TMI alert*** a horizontal slit within a vertical opening. So I've probably got a wee touch of rectocele as well, though this is something which hasn't bothered me at all. Having said that, this machine can accommodate a second probe for the anus which can be ordered and a phonecall to the company will help you create a custom botty-hole program, hurrah! Oh the joys of womanhood......!!!

They recommend you use lubricant with this to enhance conductivity, though after my little boy -ahem- got his hands on the little sachet it came with on my bed-side table and squeezed it all out, I haven't bothered for ages and still achieved results.

To wind up a very long review - thanks for sticking with me! - the real test came a couple of days ago in the form of ***TMI mark2*** very hard poo/constipation! After a couple of mornings of straining I can confirm that my downstairs region has fared very well indeed. I'm still intact, woo-hoo!!

My only criticism of this product is the instructions. The unit itself has a bit of a 'teenage-geek A-Level physics project' look about it and the instructions reflect this. The fact that you have to ring them to ask how to use it is a bit of a nuisance, although you'll invariably speak to someone lovely on the phone. This might be because it's deemed a medical instrument and guidance is needed; I don't know. Other than that, it's got a pink front which makes it more aesthetically pleasing.

Right, my work here is done!! I would say go for it!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 3, 2014 7:07 PM GMT


66Fit Cervical Pillow - White, 44 X 59 X 12 cm
66Fit Cervical Pillow - White, 44 X 59 X 12 cm

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more stiff neck!, 8 Oct. 2011
For years I've been waking up every single morning with a stiff neck. Sometimes it was so bad, I couldn't even turn my head. The tension and bad positioning would also make me grind my teeth in my sleep. I've tried about 3 different neck pillows and none of them were any good. I read about this one on a health forum. It is such a simple design - no special shape, no memory foam, but it is without doubt the best and most comfortable pillow I have ever used.

It is just the right level of firmness and your head sinks into it really nicely when you lay down. Laying on your back, your head is held low and when you turn on your side it is raised to accommodate the shoulders.

Since using this pillow, the stiff neck has gone - it's such a relief. I wake up feeling really comfortable every day.

The fact that it fits into a standard pillow case is also a bonus. Really pleased with it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 26, 2012 11:15 PM BST


Secret Lives
Secret Lives

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courageous, multi-faceted and wonderfully human, 12 Feb. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Secret Lives (Kindle Edition)
There's a little introduction to this edition stating that the book is no longer in print, but thanks to the invention of downloadable books it's once more available. This shows how cut-throat and competitive the world of publishing is, because this is a beautifully written and highly accomplished story which deserves to be available to a wider audience.

It's written in a format which I always enjoy: a current third person narrative interspersed with a sub-plot written in the first person. All of the main characters keep their secrets and the gradual and sometimes painful revelations are what keep turning the pages. I'd guessed pretty early on a couple of these secrets, but I started to care so much about the characters that I wanted to find out how things would pan out for them. Of course, for one of them, the enigmatic and elusive Kate Swift, we know right from the start that she has died young and follow her daughter's attempts to understand her life and discover what happened. But we want so much for the past to be healed and an optimistic future for all involved.

Along the way, whilst carrying her own demons, Eden Riley meets and falls in love with a man who also has demons of his own. Ultimately, we learn that we are all victims of victims in some way.

The author very bravely - and fairly graphically - touches on the subject of child abuse. It's enough to make you feel deeply uncomfortable, but doesn't go too far.

It's all about a web of human relationships, each person carrying their own burden and intrinsically linking together. The only minor criticism I have is that as fully rounded and empathetic as Kate's character is, I find her unconvincing in the capacity of a successful children's book author. That is only a little niggle and doesn't detract from the story.

The ending ties things together very nicely, is happy and poignant in equal measures and I'm sure will stay with me for a long time.


Bounce About Plus
Bounce About Plus
Offered by World Wide Shopping Mall Ltd
Price: £34.95

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would be 4 stars if instructions were better., 6 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Bounce About Plus (Baby Product)
My 5 month old loves this, especially as he's so keen on trying to stand up at the moment. However, I echo what other reviewers have said; that there is the possiblity that your baby will hit his/her head on the door frame (mine hasn't because I watch him like a hawk). So I tend to stick very close by when he's in it, which isn't too much of a problem as it's quality fun time together, but would be a problem if I had to run off to open the front door. If you go over the instructions, is does say at the end not to leave the baby unattended, but this is not highlighted enough.

Another issue is getting the baby in and out. I've found a knack, which I think should be included as a tip in the booklet: sit on a (dining-type) chair and slip the baby in gently and slowly whilst he/she sits/stands/is supported on your lap - so much easier and safer. Move the harness around your baby, rather than the other way round. Make sure you're sitting in front of the bouncer so that the plastic bar hangs at a distance behind baby's head, so he/she won't hit it on entry and exit.

The other thing which I think is very important is to think about your baby's centre of gravity. When I first put mine in, his body was tending to lean forward. Pulling up the front by fiddling with the shoulder straps corrected this issue and minimises the danger of him banging his head. These simple tips really should be mentioned in the instructions, because I can imagine many people giving up without working out how to do it, which is a shame because it is otherwise a good product for the price.


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