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Reviews Written by
A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Ambi Toys  Max Pull Along
Ambi Toys Max Pull Along
Price: 15.54

4.0 out of 5 stars Update of an old classic., 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Everyone had one of these as a child, and though this doesn't have the period charm of the wooden designs, it's an acceptable contemporary version, robust and possibly a bit more cognisant of health and safety. A star off for the too-short string which doesn't have a handle or knob for the child to grasp. Good value at this price, quite a big, chunky toy.


Galt Dr Miriam Smiley Sun Mirror
Galt Dr Miriam Smiley Sun Mirror
Price: 14.67

2.0 out of 5 stars Too small, quickly damaged., 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The little lad and I were a bit disappointed with this. He loves mirrors, but the actual reflective surface of this one is only 10cm X 15cm, a little bigger than a banknote, so when it's hanging on his cot wall it's too small to register on his attention. It is small and light enough to handle, but after an hour in his playpen the plastic mirror was covered in scratches and will obviously have a very short useful life. The padded casing is well made and colourful, with a little sqeaker, but in all honesty that's the only positive thing I can say about it.


Case Logic DSS101 Luminosity Sling for CSC/DSLR
Case Logic DSS101 Luminosity Sling for CSC/DSLR
Price: 60.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to think how this could be better, 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Case Logic's designers seem to work on the 'every possible eventuality' principle, putting themselves in the consumers place and then imagining everything they might need from a product. This sometimes leads to their stuff being almost overengineered ('What if he buys a baguette and a bottle of wine for a picnic? Best stick on a few more straps and a cooler')

In the case of this product, however, the overengineering is a geeky delight, as opening each flap and pocket opens up another Aladdin's cave of thoughtful details: It took me about 40 minutes to explore it properly and I've probably missed a few bits. :

From the top:

Padded carrying handle
Zipped compartment for sandwich and bottle of lemon squash/whisky flask and fags, depending on what sort of photographer you are.
Site straps for tripod
Sling strap with extra hidden strap to turn it into a backpack/frontpack, The strap has a little plastic hook for thingy for hanging stuff off.
Another padded carrying handle, at a 90 angle to the first.
Padded wallet for passport/ipad etc.
Side access pocket with two rubber inner pockets for SD cards and batteries.
Inner compartment with padded adjustable compartments, space for 1-2 cameras.
A lens cloth in a poly bag
A separate bottom compartment, containing a waterproof hood for the bag.
Yet another carrying strap, diametrically opposite the first.

All in an unassuming yet classy minimalist black exterior. Hard to think how they could have improved this, really.


Case Logic Griffith Park Backpack for 15 inch Laptop - Black
Case Logic Griffith Park Backpack for 15 inch Laptop - Black
Price: 49.90

3.0 out of 5 stars High spec, practical backpack., 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Plus points.

i) Its engineered to a very high specification, as you'd expect at this pricepoint, with at least a dozen pockets , cubbyholes, little loops to hang things off, etc. If you cycled to work, this would easily contain all your electronic gubbins, lunch, and gym kit.

ii) Impressive 25 year guarantee.

Minus points

i) I don't think anyone who uses a nylon backpack is overly concerned with matters of style, but even at this level of low aesthetic demand it's a bit wanting, the lime green and grey check colour scheme reminiscent of the shellsuit era.

ii) It's 60 quid! and whilst that pricepoint might accurately reflect the amount of work within, you could buy a very decent leather rucksack or messenger bag for quite a bit less.

So, overall, something I'll use when cycling, rather than for it's intended purpose. Not really stylish enough to use for taking to work.


Colour Deconstructed
Colour Deconstructed
by Tricia Guild
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misleading title, otherwise fine., 16 May 2014
This review is from: Colour Deconstructed (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ms. Guild, or perhaps her publishers, don't know what 'deconstruction' means in the context they're using it, the process demanding a little more academic rigour than the slightly twee little essays introducing each chapter here.

However, that pretention aside, this is really a collection of mood boards - collages of photographs used by designers to develop their ideas - wth the resultant interiors. Each chapter looks at a different colour pallette.

I do like Tricia Guild's postmodern interiors, and this is a nice collection of her work and its influences. The book is beautifully produced, with heavy artboards binding together the lime-green edged paper with multicoloured threads (no spine) .

The issue then for me is the essays, which are really just very basic, simple ideas about the colour wheel familiar to any high-school student dressed up in a lot of la--di-da writing. This book would have been much better without their inclusion.


Fisher Price Gold Fish Potty
Fisher Price Gold Fish Potty
Price: 13.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My God, the clutter., 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Things they don't tell you about fatherhood #457: Babies need more stuff than you could possibly credit, and within the first year your tasefully appointed home will be knee deep in coloured plastic and up to a thousand babygros, the boy Vinnie possessing more clothes after 8 months on the planet than I've managed to acquire in 50.

So almost anything that will even slightly reduce the clutter is warmly welcomed, and when this three -in- one potty, toilet trainer and footstool came up I ordered it straight away, my bit of the bathroom now 18" square and shrinking every day.

Like all Fisher Price products, it's designed and manufactured to a very high standard and is a little more expensive than you'd expect it to be, but at least it isn't emblazoned with a Disney character or that bloody tank engine, rather you get what FP fancy to be a goldfish but is in reality a member of the flatfish family, perhaps a coprophilic plaice. It's got a lot going for it, as far as potties go. Recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2014 12:25 AM BST


Fisher-Price Rainforest Pushchair Toy Arch
Fisher-Price Rainforest Pushchair Toy Arch
Price: 14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of play value., 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As with all Fisher Price products, a lot of play content and thoughtful design going on here, with lots of different activities, colours, patterns and textures to stimulate. Well made and durable, and a fair price at Amazon's current ask.


From Here to Eternity (Penguin Modern Classics)
From Here to Eternity (Penguin Modern Classics)
by James Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very long, but worth it., 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
a novel set in a Hawaiian US army camp around the time of Pearl Harbour, centred round fatalistic protagonist Sgt. Milt Warden.

I acquired this as I'm collecting the Penguin Modern Classics list, rather than a particular interest in the author or subject matter, Thus the sheer size of this book came as a bit of a surprise - A 1000 page doorstop, and considerably longer than the sort of stuff I'm used to reading. Add to that the huge cast of characters and the massive amount of descriptive detail and you have a book that demands a sizable commitment of time and mental effort from the reader It's fair to say that by current standards, 'FTHE' is very overwritten, and a lot of readers will be put off by the sheer weight of text.

Persist though, and the reasons for it's classic status emerge, character studies of disaffected youndvfdtgg men working within the banalities of army life. I'm glad i stuck with it.


Fisher-Price Rainforest Open Top Take Along Swing
Fisher-Price Rainforest Open Top Take Along Swing
Offered by JIMBOBS
Price: 89.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot going on here., 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
One of the things I didn't really grasp as a new Dad was the little lad's low boredom threshhold. I'd thought that in between feeds and cuddles he'd be quite happy in his cot with a rag doll or an old sock.

That was of course very naive of me: In reality, the house has filled up over the months with a series of ever more elaborate gizmos designed to keep him engaged for at least long enough for me to scarf down a bacon sandwich and a mug of coffee whilst answering my emails,

Fisher Price obviously understand this issue, and whilst I don't think you could call their products competitively priced, this swing, like everything else they make has been carefully designed to generate as much entertainment value as possible, - lots of different tunes, a colourful seat and a couple of stuffed toys on the mobile , etc. so lots to keep him happy. It would have a working life of perhaps five months, per child, from about a month old until 6 months when they're getting . antsy to move about.


Tacwise Z1-140 Staple Gun. Staple Gun Tacker
Tacwise Z1-140 Staple Gun. Staple Gun Tacker
Price: 11.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with this., 31 Mar 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a teacher, I really bought this for doing wall displays: The ones that are issued by schools seem to last five minutes before the mechanism gets stuck. It's probably in reality a bit too heavy duty for stapling paper to wallboards, being more of an upholstery/garden/interior decorating gizmo, but it's obviously a lot better designed and more durable than the ones I've used in the past, so I'm very pleased with it. Good price, too.


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