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Captain EO "No. 7" (Cardiff, Wales, UK)

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Philips MASTER LED 5.5W GU10 Spot Light Bulb, Very Warm White, Dimmable (50W Halogen Replacement)
Philips MASTER LED 5.5W GU10 Spot Light Bulb, Very Warm White, Dimmable (50W Halogen Replacement)
Price: £16.09

4.0 out of 5 stars High quality, good looking lamp, 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Due to the fact that I work in the construction industry & in particular electrical engineering it's a widely recognized fact that when installing lamps of any variety, it's a far better idea to spend a little extra on a reputable brand as more often than not you will save money & this lamp would appear to be the perfect example.

I've sometimes chucked a super-market or DIY store branded lamp into a fitting only to find it blowing far sooner than it should & occasionally had lamps actually damaging an expensive light fitting - having installed these Philips spots in a John Lewis kitchen fitting I'm more than pleased with their performance & additionally, the design is fantastic & even though you only really see the front face they look wonderful set into the fitting.

Unless something proves me wrong in future I'd definitely opt for these lamps ... at the right price of course.


Philips Master LED GU10 Spot 4W (35W replacement) Dimmable, Warm White
Philips Master LED GU10 Spot 4W (35W replacement) Dimmable, Warm White
Price: £17.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect choice of lamp, 16 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Due to the fact that I work in the construction industry & in particular electrical engineering it's a widely recognized fact that when installing lamps of any variety, it's a far better idea to spend a little extra on a reputable brand as more often than not you will save money & this lamp would appear to be the perfect example.

I've sometimes chucked a super-market or DIY store branded lamp into a fitting only to find it blowing far sooner than it should & occasionally had lamps actually damaging an expensive light fitting - having installed these Philips spots in a John Lewis kitchen fitting I'm more than pleased with their performance & additionally, the design is fantastic & even though you only really see the front face they look wonderful set into the fitting.

Unless something proves me wrong in future I'd definitely opt for these lamps ... at the right price of course.


Red Machine: Liverpool FC in the '80s: The Players' Stories
Red Machine: Liverpool FC in the '80s: The Players' Stories
by Simon Hughes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Dalglish, Rush & Hansen ? No, Gayle, Robinson & Hodgson ..., 7 May 2014
I snap up most Liverpool FC related books & on the whole devour them quickly even when they often cover old ground so I hoped this book would prove a highly enjoyable read however for a variety of reasons it just didn't resonate with me.

I totally understand that the more recognised players from the 1980's have already told their own stories from countless autobiographies, the likes of Dalglish, Rush & Hansen even cashing in a number of times over the years by effectively releasing multiple books charting their career. With this in mind I do acknowledge why the Author chose to veer off the obvious track & interview a different group of players but for me the mix of players is simply too off-the-wall. Should the author have chosen to release a book of perhaps "Fringe" players from the Glory Days or something like the "Unsung" Heroes fair enough but this book is promoted as Liverpool in the 80's & billed as an inside look at what it was like to play for the club in one of their most glittering periods. With this firmly in mind there are so many more players who perhaps haven't featured in the media as much as the afore mentioned legends but certainly had a greater hand in Liverpool's dominance in the decade than the likes of Howard Gayle, Michael Robinson, David Hodgson & Kevin Sheedy. It is genuinely interesting to read the stories of these players but it's simply not reflective of the success that was achieved & the quirkier stories seem to heavily outweigh stories associated with what actyually happened on & off the pitch when Liverpool were scooping every trophy imaginable.

The amount of pages dedicated to Howard Gayle is nigh on ridiculous & much of the focus is very much off-the-field & political. I'm not averse to reading how the city fared in the 80's alongside the team's performance but only to some degree. Gayle played FIVE times for Liverpool yet gets 36 pages of print. Michael Robinson played 52 times & gets 32 pages but tells us all about his political bias & thoughts on the state of the modern day game in Spain. John Barnes on the other hand gets 16 pages whilst Ronnie Moran, for me the most interesting figure included here gets a mere 10 pages.

My gripe isn't so much the stories themselves as it's a decent read but for me it simply doesn't paint a true picture by people that truly had a big part in the club in the 1980's. If you want to read a handful of interesting interviews from players that invariably suffered mixed fortunes at Liverpool FC this is a decent purchase but don't expect too many key personnel to feature a great deal


The Heat Islands (Doc Ford Novels)
The Heat Islands (Doc Ford Novels)
by Randy Wayne White
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.70

4.0 out of 5 stars I've found a new friend in Doc Ford, 11 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having "discovered" Randy Wanye White's books on one of many vacations on Florida's Gulf Coast I decided to dip into the Doc Ford at the very beginning & soaked up Sanibel Flats. Admittedly, much of the enjoyment came from being pretty familiar with the general area in which our hero spends most of his days but as a fan of this kind of literature it simply added to a good story with an interesting central character.

With the above in mind I decided to read book No 2 in the series & whilst it isn't quite as gripping as the first novel I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I should clarify that I'm more of an Indiana Jones fan than say crime books or thrillers but White's Doc Ford character sits nicely between crime & adventure with a healthy dollop of Florida travelogue that warms a dull & dreary British evening leaving me dreaming me of sipping an ice-cold beer, munching on fried grouper whilst the waves lap up outside as the sun sets.

Randy Wayne White isn't the finest writer to come out of America but he's created a character & produces a writing style that I will happily escape to a couple of times a year.


Tales from the Towers: The Unofficial Story Behind Alton Towers, Britain's Most Popular Theme Park
Tales from the Towers: The Unofficial Story Behind Alton Towers, Britain's Most Popular Theme Park
by Nick Sim
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.18

4.0 out of 5 stars Finally a book about the Towers ... The UK's favourite Theme Park, 21 Jan 2014
It's perhaps slightly understandable but equally frustrating that an attraction as popular as Alton Towers doesn't appear to have had a widely available book which details it's rich history until now so it's refreshing to at long last be able to read all about how the UK's favourite Theme Park came to be.

It's clear from the book that the Author himself has taken it upon himself to put this book together, no doubt baffled by the fact that you can get all manner of "guidebooks" or "history" books when visiting hundreds of less-visited tourist attractions throughout Britain & as an unofficial book & taking into account the circumstances surrounding the publishing of this book, Nick Sim has excelled himself.

The book covers everything both a theme park fan & someone with a simple interest in "stately homes" could hope for. The opening of the book covers how the Towers came to be built & it's "pre-theme park" years which makes for a fascinating read however it's not too heavy on the history as I'd guess that the majority of readers would in all likelihood be fans of the park in it's more recent guises rather than history buffs but there's a perfect blend here. The book really does focus on everything, just when I thought the Author had forgot to mention something like the Mississippi Showboat or Doom & Sons, they get a mention and it's clear that the research and overall care taken with this book is nothing short of painstaking. Additional to the park itself, there's a whole host of additional chapters on "sister" theme parks that previous owners considered building, amusing or interesting anecdotes directly or indirectly linked to the park and even issues with the local neighbourhoods that influence what gets built, or as is often the case, what doesn't get built.

It should be noted that ultimately this is an "unofficial" book so in terms of various aspects of the book such as photography, layouts, etc, it's not to be compared to any authorised book however this is no fault of the Author. In my opinion Alton Towers could do far worse than approach Nick Sim to produce an "official" book as I'm convinced it would make for a fantastic read & something Theme Park fans & general day-to-day guests alike would cherish. I've awarded the book 4 out of 5 purely on the basis that it's "unofficial" & it's impossible to compare say this book with something published by Disney which I would consider when providing a star rating but in terms of any "unofficial" writing it's definitely 5 out of 5.


Philips Shaver Series 7000, Wet and Dry Shaver with Stubble Styler RQ1195/17
Philips Shaver Series 7000, Wet and Dry Shaver with Stubble Styler RQ1195/17
Price: £126.12

4.0 out of 5 stars Good product however a wet-shave remains superior, 5 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having first tried an electric shaver in my late teens I quickly discovered that nothing is as effective as a wet shave & thereby only ever shaved "properly" & until giving the Philips SensoTouch shaver a try hadn't used an electric shaver for many years. Whilst this particular shaver is undeniably a good product, unfortunately it would appear that no matter how good an electric shaver is, they will never compare with a wet shave ... at least in terms of a "full" shave. I have used the shaver in terms of trimming stubble & it works well but this will be the only time I can see myself actually using this product despite the high quality offered by this particular shaver.

I guess overall it's unfair to compare the product to a wet shave as ultimately this is an entirely different practice which is why I have awarded the Philips SensoTouch 4*.


The Pack
The Pack
by Jason Starr
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amercian Werewolves in New York City, 5 April 2013
This review is from: The Pack (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fan of the horror genre in general & in particular werewolves I read Starr's novel with interest & whilst I enjoyed it, I can't say I'd go back for more to either the Author or any forthcoming sequel.

It's a rather simple yet effective plot whereby a young husband & father has his "humdrum" life turned upside down when he falls in with a group of fathers who turn out to have a darker side & soon becomes a werewolf himself. The Author's biggest achievement is the manner in which he captures how something as fantastical as becoming a werewolf would effect a regular guy & the impact on his life. I found myself truly sympathising with the lead character in this respect & Starr genuinely hits many nerves in terms of things spiralling out of control with a marriage & fatherhood. This part of the book worked very, very well.

What didn't work quite as well for me was the rather stereotypical nature of everything else. The back cover sells a contemporary NYC with Manhattan apparently receiving a lustrous varnish of black humour - I can honestly confirm that my mouth didn't even begin to form a smile let alone a laugh & whilst this is no bad thing, do not be fooled into thinking Starr's writing is anything other than simply rooted in "crime". The book is indeed set in NYC however anyone could throw in a few meetings in Battery Park & jogging trips to & from Central Park. Again, not a huge criticism but it's very much NYC by Numbers.

Overall this was a decent read but it did plod at times & as stated previously felt very much like an average American crime writer turning his hand to the horror genre with good, but not great results.


Poster Art of the Disney Parks (Disney Parks Souvenir Book)
Poster Art of the Disney Parks (Disney Parks Souvenir Book)
by Daniel Handke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.71

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A collection of the most iconic art from the Disney Parks, 1 April 2013
As a fan of Imagineering, Attraction posters & "coffee table" books in general, this particular release was always going to appeal to me & it's a truly lovely book for any fan of the Disney Parks to have in their collection. The vast majority of the book features attraction art from each of the Magic Kingdoms along with Tokyo Disney Sea & California Adventure & it was only when reading this book that I learnt & realised that posters haven't been created or certainly used to promote other parks such as EPCOT, The Studios or Animal Kingdom.

The size of the artwork on each page range from full size to much smaller images & many attractions have various incarnations of posters reflecting not only varying timescales & parks but also concepts as opposed to the finished article. My only criticism would be that whilst this is very much an "art" book & therefore includes exactly that, I would have preferred additional text to accompany the images. Aside from the introduction & a page of narrative for each "land" there's not a great deal to "learn" & whilst the authors have certainly released a handsome product I would have preferred a little more insight into the process of creating the posters that accompany these timeless attractions. It's for this reason alone that I've only awarded the book 4 out of 5 Stars ... some may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps I marked it down as for some reason (copyright perhaps) the book doesn't feature my beloved Captain EO poster !!!

Another wonderful release from Imagineering, here's to the next one ...


Champions League Dreams
Champions League Dreams
by Rafa Benitez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Match the Man ... Highly technical but just falls short of being the best, 19 Mar 2013
I should start by saying that as a lifelong Liverpool fan my views on Rafa Benitez are mixed. On one hand I will always hold him in high esteem due to the original impact he had on the club & the manner in which he helped steer us back to glory days on the European stage but equally it's impossible to forget that towards the end of his tenure I was far more accustomed to groaning than cheering. With that in mind I was still very interested to read his account of our wonderful European triumphs that unfortunately right now seem like centuries ago rather than merely years.

In typical Benitez style, even the book itself is cleverly focused on the successes achieved in the Champions League so this is certinly not a full autobiography & although it covers his entire time at Liverpool from start to finish, it's very much an account of the club's time back in Europe. It's a wise move but you'd have to be very bias not to read this book & recognise the fact that Rafa seems to have a rather blinkered view on quite how successful he was during his time in Liverpool. He's absolutely correct to state that he led the club to a European Cup victory, another final & countless other "highs" & memorable encounters & evenings but surely he must also acknowledge some of the "lows" so to speak ? Regardless of this, he's a modern day football manager & I guess it goes with the territory that often they will act more politician than coach ?

The Introduction alone had me teary-eyed. Within pages it's clear to the reader quite what an impact Liverpool FC & the fans had on Rafa & his family. It was perhaps my favourite part of the book as this alone let you peek behind the expressionless facade that most had come to expect from the man regarded as lacking in emotion. Whether you enjoy the book or not, you'd find it difficult to argue that Rafa Benitez doesn't love Liverpool Football Club & always will.

The main body of the book itself is a blow-by-blow account of each season Rafa was in charge & covers the tactics employed in each key game. It's certainly fascinating to read quite how much preparation goes into each & every match but I'm sure many will agree that the approach may not necessarily achieve the desired goal. One has to have heart, character, flair & lots more to gain absolute success & in this manner Rafa's style as detailed in the book didn't surprise me a single bit. At times I found myself almost wanting to scream ... the hard work was done, just loosen the shackles a little. I liken it to the feeling Arsenal fans must constantly experience with Arsene Wenger, just go & buy a couple of hard men for when the chips are down& we'll be there.

Much of the book provides a truly insightful view into Rafa's time at Liverpool. The fact that Benitez & his team log every penalty ever taken over the last few decades to provide the goalkeeper with a corresponding area of the goal in which they expect the penalty to be struck. It's so incredibly precise it's staggering but generally stuff like this works. Similar to Rafa pointing out that despite many of his tv critics whining about a poor zonal marking system, it's only when it doesn't work that they highlight a negativity & even then, fail to remark that he would often mix it up with man marking when perhaps playing against the likes of John Terry. Stuff like this is wonderful to read when compared to many traditional football memoirs.

As the book progresses, the team selection for big games & tactics deployed does get a bit tiresome, I soak up everything about Liverpool but one only wants to hear so much about whose marking who & why. Generally though it certainly proves to be a refreshingly different style of management book. You have to balance that with the fact that much of the book does lack a little humour & heart.

Generally, if you like autobiographies & predictably, are a Liverpool fan, I'd recommend picking this up. It will remind you that despite an awkward end to his tenure, Rafa Benitez did a great deal of good for the most successful club-side in Britain & he will undoubtedly always be a Red.


Beasts of the Southern Wild [DVD] [2012]
Beasts of the Southern Wild [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Quvenzhané Wallis
Offered by Sent2u
Price: £10.00

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Critically" acclaimed cinema at it's most annoying, 18 Mar 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whilst never one to watch a movie, listen to an album or visit a place simply because of "rave reviews", in recent experience I've enjoyed some wonderful films that I wouldn't usually be attracted to but have decided to watch based on the positive impact imparted by reviews. Life of Pi, Let Me In, The Road & a host of the Studio Ghibli films all left me viscerally & emotionally moved - often confusing & sometimes difficult to watch, I've come away thinking how thankful I was to have looked "outside" the box so to speak when it comes to watching something that I may not initially be too interested in. With this in mind I decided to invest a little time & sit down to "enjoy" Beasts of the Southern Wild alas this proved to be one of those occassions whereby I found myself baffled as to why a movie appears to have gathered quite so much acclaim.

Whilst I'm sure a section of the movie-going public will disagree, on the whole this is a difficult movie to watch. Every second of this film is grimy & laden with misery & it's this that I found most frustrating. I couldn't help but feel that the team behind the movie knew that many critics would revel in this tale of depression & pity & subsequently lap it up & it looks like it worked. It's impossible to deny that in the lead role of Hushpuppy, Wallis is captivating, I struggle to remember being quite so absorbed by the perfomance of an actor of any age but unfortunately this was generally the only outstanding aspect of the movie. The story is intriguing & hard-hitting, the locale heartbreakingly oppressive & the majority of characters are played with an unusual level of pain & oddness but it simply appeared to me that the film-makers knew that movies such as this now "work" with a certain audience & this left me slghtly annoyed, frustrated & worst of all simply bored & wishing I could have two hours of my life back. The movie will undoubtedly appeal to a certain audience but other than that I think many people will come away thinking similar thoughts to myself & wondering what on earth was going on ... Oh, and don't get me started on the "beasts"


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