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A. Miles (Al Khor, Qatar)
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Bandridge Pre-Amplifier - 6.35mm Microphone/Phono To 2 RCA- Mic/Turntable Preamp
Bandridge Pre-Amplifier - 6.35mm Microphone/Phono To 2 RCA- Mic/Turntable Preamp
Offered by CableFinder
Price: £25.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish., 19 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all, this preamp weighs about an ounce, so the slightest curl of a lead pulls it out of place. I had to glue it to a shelf with double sided tape before it was usable. It's of astonishingly poor quality for any price, let alone the 45 quid value the vendor places on it, , with clicky-clacky plastic buttons and a poor finish, and lacks even basic features like an 'on' light or an earthing point, and as the casing is plastic there isn't anywhere to put an earthing lead. When I turned it on only the right channel worked. It's in the bin now.


Hippychick HC Turkish Toddler Towel (70x54cm, Red/ White)
Hippychick HC Turkish Toddler Towel (70x54cm, Red/ White)
Price: £27.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High quality, great idea for a gift., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As any man entering conservative middle age will tell you, a peculiarity of the menswear market is that the simpler a garment is, the more it costs. A plain white t-shirt costs more than one with a print on. A pair of simple trousers costs more than a pair of jeans festooned with embroidery. It costs to look simple and classy (or to attempt to and fail, in my case).

I hadn't realised until my little lad came along that this rule also applies to children's wear: my local supermarket being full of lovely colourful clothing costing next to nothing, but wanting to buy him something a little plainer for special occasions meant going up the price scale a few notches.

Using that rule of thumb then, you can tell this is presenting itself as a luxury item by the simplicity of its design, and so it proves to be - it arrives in a clear plastic box, is made of a very softtowelling, and is very well made with good quality poppers on the sides and a discreet logo.

It's expensive of course - I could buy three or four perfectly good ponchos from the supermarket for this price - but it is nice and obviously of high quality, so I think it would be very much appreciated as a gift for a new baby or toddler.


Landscapes of Communism: A History Through Buildings
Landscapes of Communism: A History Through Buildings
by Owen Hatherley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and erudite treatise on Communist architecture., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a big fan of Owen Hatherley, a cultural critic who's perhaps the natural successor to Jonathan Meades, a learned yet witty writer who can communicate complex ideas to a lay audience. In his previous book on architecture, 'A Guide To The New Ruins Of Great Britain' he made explicit the links between New Labour's political vision and the flimsy postmodernist pastiche of the architecture of those years.

Mr. Hatherley is known as a staunch defendant of the now derided modernism/brutalism favoured by post-war social democracy, so it's a natural step for him to look at the Social Realist architecture of the Eastern Bloc that and consider how socialist notions of urbanism differed from Western ideas. The point being, of course, that in a world of universal neo-liberal economics, an architecture at least purportedly communistic in nature is in danger of disappearing both as a concept and in actuality.

At nearly 700 pages, early 'Landscapes' a is a much more in-depth piece of work than his previous books , whilst still retaining their wit and verve: I'm reviewing this from a proof copy so the paper and therefore the (copious) photographs are of rather poor quality, but one assumes the final edition will be of a higher standard.

Unreservedly recommended then. He gets better with every book.


Happy Times in Noisy Village
Happy Times in Noisy Village
by Astrid Lindgren
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming tales of 1940s Sweden., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
By the author of Pippi Longstocking, a charming book about the adventures of six children living in a tiny Swedish village in the 1940s.

There are 14 loosely-interconnected tales - of going sledging, treasure hunting, etc - , each one the perfect length for a bedtime story, full of humour and adventure. Each story has been illustrated by Tony Ross.

Something of a classic, then, and ideal for 6-9 year olds moving on from picture books.


GILDA Aha Lotion
GILDA Aha Lotion
Price: £39.83

3.0 out of 5 stars Works, but an unecessary luxury., 10 May 2015
This review is from: GILDA Aha Lotion (Personal Care)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whilst I'll take any help I can get these days. It's probably best to take the claims of skincare companies with a degree of skepticism, especially when they're charging you 40 quid upwards for a small diffuser of what looks and smells like tapwater, and in packaging that doesn't really reflect that price point.

This product is intended to be used as an additional part of your skincare routine, beneath your moisturiser and serum. AHAs, acidic compounds derived from fruit, sugarcane and milk are used in medical treatments to repair dry and damaged skin, working by exfoliating dead cells and thickening and firming living skin. So that's fair enough, and it does genuinely do one of it's other claims, of giving you glowing skin.

And it hydrates your skin well. Well, it would, it being mainly water.

But many moisturisers and toners, especially those for older skin, contain AHAs, and most of them are much, much cheaper than this one. I can't really think of a reason why it's an advantage to apply them separately, and in spray form, at huge expense. The products website doesn't attempt to explain this either.

So, you know. Like the vast majority of top-end skincare products, it does the same job as stuff costing the a fifth of the price. But of course, that's never put off beauty consumers before.


The Last Banquet
The Last Banquet
by Jonathan Grimwood
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing more for me, thanks. I'm stuffed., 5 May 2015
This review is from: The Last Banquet (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A historical novel about the decadence and dissolution of the 18th century French aristocracy which led to the revolution, 'The Last Banquet' covers the period through the prism of Jean-Marie D'Amout, an orphaned aristocrat who rises to the royal court. D'Amout is an omnivorous sensualist, wanting to taste everything in life literally as well as figuratively, and the book is filled with descriptions of exotic meals, recipes and recounts of sexual escapades. It's this sensualist aspect that has led to some comparing it to Patrick Susskind's 'Perfume', which seems to me a rather strained comparison. Whilst Susskind's parfumier's obsessions marked him out as an iconoclast, D'Amout's are merely extreme versions of the general tastes of the age. The Last Banquet is really a novel about history rather than an individuals story, and this is where it eventually becomes unstuck, towards the end, shovelling in meetings with Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin to bring in the Enlightenment and the French Aristocracies links with nascent American politics. The author's trying to fit in an entire social, cultural and political history of half a century of French life together with a personal history of the protagonist, an it's too much of a too rich a dish. . One starts to feel overfed. I'd say It's a noble failure of a book, ultimately unsuccessful because the author's put too much into it.


The Sudden Arrival of Violence (The Glasgow Trilogy)
The Sudden Arrival of Violence (The Glasgow Trilogy)
by Malcolm Mackay
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch Scotch Neo-noir., 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For someone living a presumably quite peaceful life on Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides, Malcolm Mackay is very good at writing convincingly about the Glasgow underworld. Like a lot of 'Tartan Noir' his spare, present-tense style is clearly influenced by the existential resignation of 40's hardboiled writers like Jim Thompson and James M. Cain, but Mackay adds a complex, multiple-character plotting unusual in the genre. In this final volume in the 'Glasgow' trilogy, Calum Maclean, a gunman looking to get out, is caught between rival gangleaders in an amoral landscape where trust and friendship are impossible, and a life of crime is a sort of mundane trudge occasionally interspersed with violence. It's very good, and strongly recommended.


Shovel Ready (Spademan 1)
Shovel Ready (Spademan 1)
by Adam Sternbergh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars More than the sum of it's parts, 5 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In which laconic hitman Spademan gets in a little too deep in a dystopian future New York. Whilst 'Shovel Ready is really little more than an assembly of fairly commonplace ideas - the idea of hard-boiled 1940s crime fiction types represented in SF dating at least back to 'Blade Runner' , the future New York of polarised rich and poor and virtual reality addiction familiar to anyone who's ever read a cyberpunk novel, and the neo-Chandleresque minimalist writing style being almost a default setting in contemporary crime fiction, it's nevertheless, an undeniably highly readable and accomplished piece of , erm, Dystopian SF Hard-Boiled Techno-Noir. It's unsurprising that it's being turned into a film. Recommended.


The Eco Friendly Medium Beco Ball, Blue
The Eco Friendly Medium Beco Ball, Blue
Price: £4.29

3.0 out of 5 stars Good eco-credentials, but pricey for a pet toy., 30 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This dog toy has been very thoughtfully designed - it's made of rice husks which will break down naturally, it's vanilla scented (very subtly) it has a hole in so it can carry food inside and will apparently whistle when thrown (though I couldn't manage to do this) and is slightly non-spherical so it will bounce and roll in interesting ways. All of this is of great interest to design-conscious humans, of course, but possibly less so to dogs. My yorkie, Mollie, for instance has shown complete devotion for over a decade to a woolly monkey from a charity shop and a rubber cheeseburger, neither of which are going to win any design awards. And whilst she did enjoy this toy, it was no more or less so than the various latex representations of household objects and pork industry by-products I get for her down the pound shop every couple of months once she's chewed through the last ones.

So really, if you're buying this, your buying it for it's ecological credentials, and paying really quite a hefty amount over the odds for something that's going to end up chewed to bits and soaked in slobber very quickly. I'm not sure, for myself, that that represents the best use of my environmentally friendly fiver.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 21, 2015 9:09 AM BST


BecoThings Eco-Friendly Poo Bag Refills
BecoThings Eco-Friendly Poo Bag Refills
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Eco without the markup., 30 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's good to see an ecologically-responsible product that doesn't expect you to pay a hefty surcharge for the privilege of being concerned about the environment. These large, strong biodegradable bags are everything you need at a competitively price. They are supposed to be used with a little dispenser that fits onto your dog's lead, but a roll can be happily carried in a pocket.


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