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Ripple (uk)
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Vax Air Silence Eco Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
Vax Air Silence Eco Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner
Price: 239.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkably quiet and reasonable power - but if you have pets, you might need the turbo head on the pet version of this vac, 20 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first thing that struck me about the Vax Air Silence was the quietness of the unit. OK, so it’s not exactly silent but it is by far the quietest cylinder vacuum I’ve ever heard. Put it this way, you can happily vacuum with the radio on and still hear the music while you are vacuuming - that’s pretty impressive.

But of course, the critical thing is how it performs as a vacuum. It’s good, but perhaps not great. To be fair, I do not have the Air Silence Pet and I am basing my impressions of performance on a mix of hard and soft flooring and upholstery in a house with two black labs which is a challenge for any vacuum. The Air Silence Pet appears to come with a “turbo tool” according to the instructions rather than a non-turbo floor head and this might make all the difference. The normal unit is OK but the suction is not as strong as some other vacuums I’ve used. It’s also worth noting that the slide vent to reduce suction is quite easy to open in error due to the position next to where you naturally hold the hose.

Other observations include that there are two potential handles. One is a handle and the other is to open the unit to take out the dirt container for emptying. It’s tempting to lift the unit by this other handle - but you will probably break it. It’s annoyingly tempting though due to the position and size. Also the “three in one” device shown on the side of the box and the instructions doesn’t look quite the same as the one supplied - albeit that it does a decent job.

If I were to be really picky, I’d say that the lead could also be slightly longer - free plug sockets are a rare item in this house so a long lead is a major boost. This one is not as long as some others I’ve used.

So, would I recommend it? A qualified yes. I’d certainly score it highly for the low noise - which is a real noticeable difference. If you have pets that have a habit of shedding hair (you’d probably be OK with goldfish!) then I’d give serious consideration to the pet version which is probably more powerful - that may sound like stating the obvious but other non-pet vacuums seem to cope better with pet hair. If not, then it’s adequate at gathering dirt and the dirt container is nicely large and easy to empty. It’s probably a bit heavier than a Dyson - but it is nicely designed with a place to store the floor head on the back of the unit.

It also has a very good energy rating - which is always a good thing.


Teaching Geography 11-18: A Conceptual Approach
Teaching Geography 11-18: A Conceptual Approach
by David Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 20.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful analysis of core concepts in geography education and their development, 18 Aug 2014
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Lambert and Morgan’s theme is largely one of definition and approach. They take a number of core ideas within the school geography curriculum such as sustainability, place, space, scale etc and consider what this means in today’s world. In most cases their point is that these terms are not neutral but are laden with meaning and they urge educators to consider what this means to the teaching of the subject. What they are particularly good at is placing the emergence of these themes into historical context, noting how meaning frequently comes from political or socio-economic changes. The concepts change over time and are a response to a variety of influences.

Their ideas are certainly thought-provoking and their argument is clear and lucid. They make the point that teachers have a responsibility to have input to curriculum making. It certainly isn’t a “how to” teach book and nor is it a guide to course content. It is certainly well worth reading and is a lively approach to the state of the subject. Many of the ideas are particularly salient to the more human geographical issues - quite how much of this approach can be applied to a lesson on, say year 9 glaciation is moot. It’s a deeply thought approach to the contribution of geography in modern education though with a wide range of references and some useful further resources.

For me, it’s great strength is the way the ideas are put into historical context. Where it loses a star in rating is that sometimes the authors develop the ideas and points with few examples of what to do with them in a practical setting. Well worth reading though.


Philips GC6611/30 SpeedCare Iron Steam Generator with 120 g Steam Boost and 1.2 Litre Water Tank, 1200 ml, 2400 Watt, 4.2 Bar, Purple
Philips GC6611/30 SpeedCare Iron Steam Generator with 120 g Steam Boost and 1.2 Litre Water Tank, 1200 ml, 2400 Watt, 4.2 Bar, Purple
Price: 90.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if slightly basic, steam generating iron, 9 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The benefit of steam generator irons with more conventional steam irons is that the water is stored in a tank meaning that the iron itself is much lighter than a steam iron full of water is, and the tank is obviously much larger. This means that you don’t have to keep re-filling it while ploughing through your ironing, but also means that the iron can afford a larger dose of steam to ease the ironing. If a conventional steam iron used the same amount of steam, the iron would be enormous or you would need to re-fill it after each item.

This unit is towards the lower price range of steam generators which means there are a few compromises. Firstly, unlike some models, you cannot “lock” the iron to the base for ease of storage and transport. This isn’t critical but does make packing the large unit away a bit of a two handed job. Secondly, unlike some top of the range irons, it doesn’t sense the material and so you do need to adjust the temperature according to the things you are ironing. This is either quite normal if you are old like me, or quaintly old school if not.

This was my first experience with a steam generator and the need to keep your finger on the “trigger” to generate steam takes a bit of getting used to. My old steam iron would produce steam automatically (provided I remembered to fill it - which is probably why it died) with a trigger for a boost. Here though, you need to keep the trigger down to produce the steam.

There is a nice touch where they have tried to give you space to store the thick lead that goes from the iron to the base when not in use - but it’s a bit cumbersome and not that easy to stuff the wire in the allotted slot. Others have complained about the positioning of the input of the wire on the iron itself. I don’t find it particularly annoying - but I guess if you have a large pile of ironing, it might chaff a bit. The rubber at the entry point is quite stiff and it could have been angled better to lie flat.

I’ve managed about 70 minutes of ironing on a full tank. That’s about a wash load full. If you have a large family, you might want to go for a bigger capacity tank, but this is pretty practical for a small family.

Overall, I was impressed without being blown away. For me, it wasn’t as much of a “wow - how did I manage before?” moment as when I went from a non-steam to a steam iron but that’s more of a comment on the technology than this particular unit. It’s not top of the range, but then neither is the price. As far as steam generators go, it looks good value for money.


CafePod Nespresso Compatible Arabica Colombia (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
CafePod Nespresso Compatible Arabica Colombia (Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value alternative to Nespresso capsules, 4 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like the Carte Noir range, these coffee pods are completely compatible with the Nespresso machines - some others seem to take more force to pierce the capsules, but not these. The top is more plasticy than the foil type used by others. It's a bit like very strong cling film. Also like the Carte Noir range, the packaging is either premium or wasteful - depending on your point of view. The boxes contain individual pods that are then in individual sealed bags. Is this necessary? Surely the pods themselves are sealed enough for freshness. This means that if you store them in anything other than their original box (say if you like to have a choice) then you find yourself unwrapping them all. Furthermore, there is no differentiation on the capsules for the different strengths (like the Nespresson colour coding for example). These are minor points and at the current selling price these offer great value for money and are a lot cheaper than either the Nespresso or Carte Noir ones. Taste is subjective but of the three makes, I prefer the Carte Noir flavour, but the Cafe Pod range is perfectly drinkable - in fact I think they taste more similar to the Nespresso originals than the Care Noir range. Five stars for value but losing one star for what I think is over-packing and lack of differentiation on the capsules. To my taste, I prefer the espresso version of the Cafe Pod range - for me, the Colombia is a bit lacking in umph - but of course if you like your coffee weaker then this the Colombia is perfect.


Cafe Pod Nespresso Compatible Intense x(Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
Cafe Pod Nespresso Compatible Intense x(Pack of 4, Total 40 Pods)
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value alternative., 4 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Like the Carte Noir range, these coffee pods are completely compatible with the Nespresso machines - some others seem to take more force to pierce the capsules, but not these. The top is more plasticy than the foil type used by others. It's a bit like very strong cling film. Also like the Carte Noir range, the packaging is either premium or wasteful - depending on your point of view. The boxes contain individual pods that are then in individual sealed bags. Is this necessary? Surely the pods themselves are sealed enough for freshness. This means that if you store them in anything other than their original box (say if you like to have a choice) then you find yourself unwrapping them all. Furthermore, there is no differentiation on the capsules for the different strengths (like the Nespresson colour coding for example). These are minor points and at the current selling price these offer great value for money and are a lot cheaper than either the Nespresso or Carte Noir ones. Taste is subjective but of the three makes, I prefer the Carte Noir flavour, but the Cafe Pod range is perfectly drinkable - in fact I think they taste more similar to the Nespresso originals than the Care Noir range. Five stars for value but losing one star for what I think is over-packing and lack of differentiation on the capsules. I've tried other Cafe Pods and the Espresso is my favorite but of course that's totally subjective.


The Ultimate Guide to CELTA: How four trainees completed the course and lived to tell the tale.
The Ultimate Guide to CELTA: How four trainees completed the course and lived to tell the tale.
Price: 6.17

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Relatively entertaining but probably not the best use of your time or money pre-CELTA, 25 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book scores OK on entertainment factor and does give you some idea of how the CELTA course progresses, but the information is very basic and common sense. If you are not confident at all, then it might be of some use - but if you lack that much confidence to start with, CELTA is going to be a tough climb. If you are doing an intensive course, then you really don't have time to follow this book as you progress. I don't want to be totally down on this book, not least as it has clearly helped others. However, there are far better books for you to spend your money on pre-CELTA - Scrivener's Learning Teaching makes the whole thing make a lot more sense and is a really helpful pre-course read (and you can reference it in assignments); Swan's Practical English Usage is a brilliant reference book and is also pretty vital. This book does give some feel for what it is like, but "ultimate"? No - there are more useful books to spend your money on in my view. The information in this book is OK and well meaning, but hardly essential and certainly not ultimate.


English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English
English Grammar in Use with Answers and CD-ROM: A Self-Study Reference and Practice Book for Intermediate Learners of English
by Raymond Murphy
Edition: Paperback
Price: 14.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for self-study for intermediate grammar learners, 22 July 2014
This is an excellent home study grammar book. It provides nice, clear explanations and examples of key grammar points and provides useful practice exercises that test understanding. Aimed at Intermediate level, the coverage is generally interesting enough to keep even older users interested. Answers are supplied for self-correction. The CD includes additional material. A great text book for EFL students in particular.


Grammar for English Language Teachers
Grammar for English Language Teachers
by Martin Parrott
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed but dry and can be heavy going to find what you want, 22 July 2014
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Technically it's hard to fault - it has good information and is detailed. However, in terms of practical use, I seldom use it because it is too dry and sometimes too detailed. The main alternative is Swan - and of the two, I much prefer the Swan book. Both are reference books and both cover pretty much the same ground. I prefer the layout of Swan (it's laid out alphabetically which can be problematic but not for long). Parrott might be more academic and detailed but for me, it's just not as practical.


Practical English Usage (3rd Edition)
Practical English Usage (3rd Edition)
by Michael Swan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 27.66

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swan 1 - Parrott 0, 22 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Designed alphabetically, this is, for me, the best English grammar reference book around. It's sufficiently detailed without being too dry to read. His explanations are generally clear and helpful. The main alternative, Parrott (apparently you have to share your name with a bird to publish English grammar books for some reason!) is much more heavy going. So while Parrott sits gathering dust on the shelf, Swan is almost constantly in use. A great reference book and an essential aid for TEFL teachers.

Just one thing to remember - it is a reference book so don't expect exercises - it's not that sort of book.


Joseph Joseph 6-Piece Nest Storage
Joseph Joseph 6-Piece Nest Storage
Price: 35.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully designed and sturdy tubs in a good range of sizes., 13 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is one of those products that seems to have been designed by someone who uses the product (that sounds obvious but is rare). The tubs pack nicely together to safe storage space but what I really love is that the lids also stack and are colour coded with the tubs for even easier use. I have had other tubs that stack to varying degrees but I find that the lids have a habit of seeming to go off exploring the back of the cupboard meaning I end up having to take everything out just to find a lid. Not so with these. They solve that problem.

The tubs are of a very high quality - microwave and dishwasher safe - and just a really well designed, quality product. Recommended.


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