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Ben (UK)

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Canadiana Suite
Canadiana Suite
Price: 14.70

5.0 out of 5 stars One of Oscar Peterson's finest albums., 18 July 2014
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This review is from: Canadiana Suite (Audio CD)
This is one of Oscar Peterson's best but sadly overlooked albums. He doesn't play any standards here, but wrote everything himself, and what a fine composer he was. The music ranges from the breakneck fast Hogtown Blues to the wistful melodic ballad, Land Of The Misty Giants. Oscar's piano of course is impeccable throughout, as are his rhythm section Ray Brown (bass) and Ed Thigpen (drums).

I find Canadiana Suite is superior to the overrated and languid Night Train album made a year or so earlier, and which still remains OP's most popular work for some strange reason. But for me this album is more musically involving and works better as a complete album.

If you are an OP fan or liked Night Train, buy this album now before it becomes deleted.

Bahco  P121-23 Bypass SECateurs 230MM
Bahco P121-23 Bypass SECateurs 230MM
Price: 21.17

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Secateurs, 8 April 2014
I've owned these secateurs for about 20 years. They can cope with cutting an old woody rose stem at least half an inch in diameter. As long as the blade remains sharp there should be no snagging when pruning any branches. The handles are made of steel and you can apply considerable manual pressure without fear of them breaking or bending,

These secateurs have always been reliable, strong and remain sharp for up to 12 months with frequent use. I sharpen mine annually on an ordinary knife sharpener by unscrewing the central bolt which allows you to separate the blade and its handle from the rest.Then run both sides of the blade across a knife sharpener as if you were sharpening a kitchen knife. Assembling the secateurs is very easy.

The fact that these secateurs have lasted so long and continue to prove themselves is a testament to their durability. Buy these and you should have a first class pair of secateurs which should last you a lifetime if looked after. Very good value at current prices (<20).

Sabichi Warm Check Throw (discontinued by manufacturer)
Sabichi Warm Check Throw (discontinued by manufacturer)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sabichi Warm Check Throw, 18 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a small/medium size cotton throw (170cm x 130cm) which feels quite weighty, and not particularly soft. It turns out that the black stripe in the middle which I rather liked is not part of the pattern of the throw, but just part of the packaging used to tie it which is a bit misleading from that photo. However even without the stripe the throw pattern still looks good, it is reasonably well stitched and feels solid. The throw had a strange, musty smell when unpacked, but that disappears after a few weeks.

As I use little or no heating in my flat I bought this with the intention of using it as a shawl to drape over me when the really cold weather sets in, but so far in my area we seem to be having one of the mildest winters that I can recall, so I haven't really had the chance to test out this throw yet for that purpose. It's just about big enough whilst sitting, to fold it in half to form a thick layer lengthwise to spread completely cover over my front, tucking my arms in, from shoulders down to my feet. You will notice how warm the bottom half of your body then becomes after a few minutes, particularly how much body heat is lost from your legs when they are uncovered in a cool room. Incidently this throw would be just as useful doubling up as a large picnic rug so it it can be used for different purposes.

I'm surprised that there are no instructions that came regarding washing/cleaning. But as it's made of 100% cotton, I would recommend a warm hand wash (in the bath) rather than risk this in a machine where the stitching might get loosened or damaged. Maybe even a dry clean would be more appropriate. This is not made like a tough cotton sheet. For my purposes it won't need more than an annual wash.

All in all I think this will prove useful on realy cold nights while I'm inactive or sedentary and it is reasonable value for money as cotton doesn't come that cheap compared to artificial fibres.

Prestige Create Stainless Steel Saucepan -16 cm
Prestige Create Stainless Steel Saucepan -16 cm
Price: 22.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Prestige 16cm Stainless Steel Saucepan, 11 Dec 2013
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This is a beautiful gleaming piece of cookware with a see-through glass lid and well insulated handle. It feels pretty solid too. It replaced an old aluminium Teflon saucepan which had flaked off chunks of its non-stick coating exposing potentially harmful aluminium. I didn't want another non-stick aluminium pan as there's been some controversy over the years as to whether this sort of cookware is really safe. Stainless steel pans are acknowledged to be much safer health wise. They are also known to last many years longer than aluminium ones if looked after.

I bought this specifically to boil or steam vegetables and make soups. But you can equally scramble or fry eggs or steak in this as well. I did find that the pan was a little slower to heat up than my old aluminium one to bring my vegetables to the boil. But once there the pan retains heat for longer, so I could turn off my electric hob for at least 5 minutes of cooking. Washing up is quick and simple. Overall a decent quality saucepan.

The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
The Hissing Of Summer Lawns
Price: 7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Jazzy Joni, 18 Jun 2013
By this stage Joni had completely abandoned her folk roots and decided that the jazz world was more to her liking. Her previous album, Court and Spark already included some jazz influenced songs which had alienated some of her folk fans. But she takes it even further here. Her voice is deeper, singing in contralto throughout. The whole album is excellent if somewhat morose at times, but there are 2 standout tracks for me. Edith And The Kingpin is a beautiful sultry and jazzy masterpiece of a song, undoubtedly one of her best. Another classic and unusual track is the closer Shadows And Light. Joni's voice is multitracked in choral harmony accompanying herself with sinister organ chords. It is slightly reminiscent of a Gregorian chant. Those who love Joni's famous 'Blue' album might find this one a lot harder to take, but as different as they are in style both are timeless musical gems.

Lifesystems Ex4 Permethrin Treatment - Size 350Ml
Lifesystems Ex4 Permethrin Treatment - Size 350Ml
Offered by LD Mountain Centre
Price: 8.50

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Garden Insecticide, 27 May 2013
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My bottle did not leak unlike for others that complained about it.

This is effective stuff. I actually bought it specifically as a garden insecticide. At one time you could buy Permethrin for many years in garden centres, but the good old EU decided to ban its use for that purpose as it's highly toxic to all insects and fish, but apparently not to mammals other than cats. You can safely eat food 48 hours after spraying. It's very useful for killing aphids that infest the leaves of roses, strawberries, beans etc. For this purpose you need to dilute it down by about 5 parts water to one, but it does the trick. But as it also kills bees and other useful pollinating insects, if you ever use it as an insecticide try not to spray it on any flowers.

Good value (under 8).

PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant 100g
Price: 5.95

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It really does stop BO IF you apply it properly, 31 Oct 2012
Having tried many different deodorants over many years hardly any of them really worked effectively, as they tended to mask BO for only part of the day emitting a stale stench later on. Pitrok crystal deodarant is odourless, so there is no BO smell to mask, so it has to work by preventing BO arising in the first place. Although it's best to apply it either just after taking a bath or shower, it can be used perfectly well if you haven't taken either that day.

Two important points to bear in mind with this product. Firstly, you need to wash your armpits thoroughly with soap and water every time. Sounds obvious but Pitrok doesn't kill the bacteria that cause BO. It simply prevents them from multiplying, so you need to remove as many of those tiny microbes from your pits as you can to start with. That's done easily in a shower. Secondly Pitrok needs to be applied while your armpits are still damp or wet, so do not dry them off with a towel. Apply by gliding the stick up and down your armpits then go across and it's job done. It's better to let your pits dry off naturally rather than use a towel afterwards or you'll probably remove what you've just applied. Use a hairdryer fan if you want to dry your pits quickly. If you haven't had a shower, just wash your armpits first over a basin then apply Pitrok.

It may all sound a bit of a chore compared to an easier and more conventional roll-on type of deodorant or spray, except this product works very effectively and lasts much longer, in my case protecting me for up to 3 days (no exaggeration), and I often perspire heavily in summer. You will still perspire away as normal but there is no stale perfume odour or musk found with coventional deodorants, and no hint of BO, as long as you applied Pitrok correctly. It's well worth the little extra effort, and the product lasts for ages. I'm well into my second year with my original purchase of Pitrok Crystal deodorant. Highly recommended.

Happy Beds Ortho Royale Single Mattress Orthopaedic, 3 ft
Happy Beds Ortho Royale Single Mattress Orthopaedic, 3 ft
Offered by Happy Beds
Price: 89.95

85 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Value And Quality Mattress, 17 Jan 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It took a while to search through the online pages and visit a few retail bed stores before I stumbled upon what appeared to be very good value and quality. This product is manufactured by Bedmaster, who are a decent UK brand.for mattresses and beds. This item is an orthopaedic, open coiled, sprung mattress which means it's very firm to lie on, and was just what I was looking for. There's quite a range of prices online, but in the end I bought a divan base and mattress set from Happy Beds,saving myself about 25% of the cost which other sellers were charging for this product. The money I saved went on a new headboard.

For the few who claim the Ortho Royale isn't firm, you really need a divan base to support it. It's pretty well an essential requirement for this type of mattress, and beds with a slatted type base aren't suitable. With a proper solid support base all I can say is that the mattress is every bit as firm as I desired. I find that once your body gets used to an orthopaedic mattress you won't want to go back to sleeping on soft ones again. The Ortho is certainly firm but very comfortable and relaxing and I know I'll get a better night's sleep from this type of mattress than a softer one.

I'm really pleased with this mattress and can happily recommend this product.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2014 3:23 PM GMT

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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Otex works fine but you must apply treatment correctly, 3 Dec 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The important thing to realise when you try to 'de-wax' your ear canals is that wax must be softened first before attempting to syringe. If you fail to observe this step you will not shift any of the wax by syringing on its own. The drops are for this purpose, and if you have a large build up of wax in your ears it will take at least a week or longer before syringing should take place. Your hearing of course would have become impaired before it is necessary to have your ear/s syringed. After you apply the drops which should be done twice a day, you might experience a bubbling sensation in your ear. That means the drops are starting to work on the surface of the wax, but it does not mean that the was mass has been softened properly. The first clue that you are ready to syringe is when you notice your hearing has started to improve. A good test is after 5 days of applying the drops rub your forefinger against your thumb held just outside your ear. If you hear a faint, dull sound then you are not ready to syringe. Once you start to hear the higher frequency crisp sound that normal hearing produces with this action you can start to syringe with the enclosed rubber vessel used for this purpose, using warm, not hot water. You should sit upright whilst syringing with a towel wrapped around your shoulders and a cup held just under your ear to catch most of the water which should be an ugly brown colour. If it's clear to start with the wax hasn't been softened enough.

The temptation to push a cotton bud down your ear canal to remove the wax or see if it has softened should be resisted. All that will do is compact the wax onto your eardrum and make it even more difficult to shift. The same thing applies to poking a finger down your ear canal. Even if you experience some itchiness within your ear try to avoid putting a finger inside the ear to scratch it. I can recommend this product, but remember to be a bit patient and use the the drops for at least 5 days before thinking about syringing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2013 2:05 PM BST

Let England Shake
Let England Shake
Price: 5.84

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marmite?, 9 Sep 2011
This review is from: Let England Shake (Audio CD)
If ever there was a case of a music artist polarising her fans PJ Harvey has to be the classic example.

It should be appreciated that PJ has never conformed to mainstream (not even with Stories From The City). Consequently with every release comes a new challenge for listeners. Stories was condemned at the time by many hardcore fans accusing PJ of selling out, which of course was absurd. Likewise there seems to be more than a few who loved Stories who don't like Let England Shake. As with all of her previous work her songs on LES have to be listened to a few times, after which they will either grab you or leave you cold. For example I hated Written On The Forehead the first few times I heard it. Then it suddenly clicked with me. It's now my favourite song on LES. Other greats are The Glorious Land, The Last Living Rose, England and All And Everyone. Bitter Branches remains the only song yet to connect and probably never will now.

This is the nearest PJ Harvey has come to producing a folk album. The theme to all the songs is war and its aftermath. Most of the songs are played on acoustic instruments, notably PJ's autoharp and sung by her mainly in a falsetto voice, Those who dislike folk music or concept albums are probably not going to take to LES too kindly. I genuinely like the album, perhaps more admire it, and I think it's very brave of PJ to attempt something like this at the risk of alienating a fair number of her old-school fans. But it's not my favourite PJ Harvey album. I love and miss PJ's bluesy, cracked contralto voice, so evident on Stories, Desire and To Bring You My Love albums. I know she's 'moved on' since then, but one day maybe she'll just 'move back', but I have my doubts.

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