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Mr. T. J. D. Purser "the_man_who_died"
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Pampers Active Fit Size 5+ (Junior+) Monthly Pack -124 Nappies
Pampers Active Fit Size 5+ (Junior+) Monthly Pack -124 Nappies
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom and reliability, 22 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My daughter is an extremely active 2 year old who spends most of her time trying to keep up and join in with yet older siblings. These nappies are perfect for her, allowing her the freedom to move whilst at the same time keeping her reliably dry. Highly recommended.


New Urban Farmer
New Urban Farmer
by Celia Brooks Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars That's Your Lot, 25 Oct. 2010
This review is from: New Urban Farmer (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Excuse the pun but there's a serious point here - anyone looking for a thorough run down of all the dos and don't of allotment gardening will not find it here. This is more of a diary mixed with some valuable insights, great photos and slightly superfluous recipes.

Celia Brooks Brown is an engaging guide for a year in the life of an allotment and as someone who read this whilst embarking on an allotment, I found it inspired and enthused me, even if it didn't always guide me. She is a little twee sometimes (who gives their allotment a nickname?) and seems to hide away the fact that the allotment she has is pretty damn huge but despite these, it's an enjoyable read. However, for anyone looking for a serious a-z to take them through the difficult process of starting and maintaining an allotment, I'd recommend anything by Joy Larkcom.


Information is Beautiful
Information is Beautiful
by David McCandless
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Beautiful, 16 April 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Plenty of the other reviews have commented on the printing errors so I won't go into these and haven't taken them into account when rating the book - all told, they're pretty minor and corrections can be obtained for free. So, to the book itself.

There seems to be an emerging trend for this type of open analysis of statistics and other information - the Guardian newspaper's datasets are put our for people to do imaginative visual things with and Michael Blastland has an excellent semi-regular column on the BBC's website. Both of these, and others, make efforts to democratize information, to present it in such a way that more people can understand, interpret and make use of it. In a world where data has become a valuable commodity this is a noble task and one which David McCandless shares and seems to have made the core objective of this book (and his website). In my view, it is one he mostly achieves. Some of these 'data visualisations' (not sure there's a better term) are elegant and simple, based on a clever idea and employ design in such a way that the information is best communicated; the Billion Pound-o-gram might be the best example of this. This shows, quite simply but powerfully, spending on different things (Iraq war, NHS, etc.) represented by differnet rectangles with the size of each rectangle corresponding to the size of the spending. There's a good reason this has been re-printed in pretty much every weekly newspaper.

The book is full of similar visualisations and taken together, they have an excellent effect. However, there is also a fair amount of filler in between and this is where the book falls down. In a number of cases, the weakest visualisations are those which are not based on numbers or data but on description and categorisation or at worst, opinion and conjecture. Examples of these are the visualisations of different theories of consciousness and an almost totally pointless musical genre map. In the former example, it would actually be easier to explain them with just words rather than including distracting and largely unilluminating pictures (heads with different shape lines coming out of them mostly). In latter example, one could say it's amusing but its incomplete by a long shot and only based on the author's opinion. We also can not 'do' anything with it and it tells us nothing new.

Overall though, the good far outweighs the bad which makes this book a valuable and fascinating read. More than that though, it adds further weight to the argument that information and data should be freed from Government's and corporations and opened up for everyone to truly understand.


Fix It Utilities 9 (PC CD)
Fix It Utilities 9 (PC CD)
Offered by gameworld121
Price: £7.62

3.0 out of 5 stars OK but inessential, 20 Feb. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm no techie expert so I write this as someone who wants a fairly simple, straightforward way of cleaning up my computer and making sure it's protected and running smoothly. On the basis of this brief, Fix It 9 is ok - virus protection, scanner, defragmenter and a few other bits are all in there and pretty easy to use but they do just seem like a bunch of bundled functions with no core central role. Some of the interfaces are different from each other which can be confusing but not too much. It has a recovery checkpoint creator which can be irritating with its frequency and how long it can take but I've not shopped around enough to know if others are any better.

Overall, this does not do anything mindblowing and I'm inclined to believe the reviewers who say you can get better stuff for free. However, this only holds water if you know where to go, who to trust and have the technical skill to know what you do and don't have to do to get them all to work together; in absence of that, Fix It is a fairly welcome substitute.


Plasticine Activity Bucket
Plasticine Activity Bucket

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff!, 6 Feb. 2010
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Plasticine Activity Bucket (Toy)
This is brilliant stuff. It is correct to say that it never dries out but more than that, it does not stain or bleed colour over anything, nor is it sticky or dirty. The colours are vivid, the plasticine malleable and highly reusable. It's excellent value, full of creative potential and hours of fun. All four of my children love it but my eldest son spend hours making Mario models (example above) and no other plasticine is up to the job. Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2012 9:25 AM GMT


Sennheiser HD 228 Closed back On ear Stereo Headphones - Black
Sennheiser HD 228 Closed back On ear Stereo Headphones - Black

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a connoisseur but..., 23 July 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
...these seem to do the job for me. I am more used to using Sennheiser's CX 300 which are noise excluding earbuds - basically headphones with earplugs around them which both keep out background noise and stop people hearing music leaking from your headphones.

These are on-ear headphones which would probably instantly rule them out for most teenagers - I think that iPod adverts have pretty much seen to it that anything black or non-earbud are out.

However, these are probably a better bet for people who don't care about that sort of thing and want a good sound quality for a reasonable price. These headphone, to my ears, certainly seem to represent that. As Sennheiser claim, they have great bass and give a full and rich sound, much better than the CX 300s. they are also solidly built and comfortable to wear.

I do think they are less effective at both keeping sound out and holding it in which might be a consideration if you are going to be using them on a bus or train but it certainly isn't an issue big enough to detract from their overall quality and value for money. Recommended.


Andrew Collinge Straightener & Hair Dryer 14611 Gift Set With Gift Bag
Andrew Collinge Straightener & Hair Dryer 14611 Gift Set With Gift Bag

3.0 out of 5 stars Nice package but a bit pricey, 23 July 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This isn't a bad set and would make a nice present for a young teenager but it isn't a stylist standard set and is a bit over priced for what it is.

The highdryer is probably the more basic of the two with only a couple of basic settings and no acessories.

The straighteners are better - quick to heat, do a good and lasting job but are possibly a little on the small side. My wife is more than happy to use these to prepare for a special event or night out.

However, as I say, this is a nice set and the two products complement each other well, they just seem a little too basic to justify the cost.


Krups Expert GVX231 Burr Coffee Grinder
Krups Expert GVX231 Burr Coffee Grinder
Offered by Lakeland
Price: £39.99

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Grinder, 15 Jun. 2009
When I found out I was going to be given this grinder as a present I checked the reviews here and to be honest, they made me a bit nervous. Turns out, I needent have been - this is a great little grinder.

I'm not going to accuse any other reviewers of being elitist but as far as I'm concerned, this grinder does everything I'd hoped for from a burr grinder. It is efficient, fairly compact, easy to use, not too expensive and gives a good even grind. I only use it for an espresso machine which it does well so I can't account for rougher grinds.

There are a few small niggles people should be aware of - sometimes the beans don't feed through but a quick shake solves that, and the fine ground coffee does have a habit of sticking to the side of the container because of static, but that is no big deal to me. Neither of these outweigh the good value for money that this represents in my opinion.

Some reviewers have commented that the safety mechanisms are a bit over-zealous but I've not had any experience of that.

All in all, this should be enough for an everyday coffee lover who wants to upgrade from buying ground coffee to having it fresh every day in the home - if you want something more than that though, you will have to pay for it.


Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed
Zal and Zara and the Great Race of Azamed
by Kit Downes
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, 12 Oct. 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In many ways, there is very little wrong with this book - it pretty much does what it says on the tin as a straightforward, entertaining children's story. The writing is lively and the world created is sketched in nice detail and feels real.

The main area the book lets itself down is in the plot. Simply, it is too straightforward. One part features a puzzle that has remained unsolved which the two main characters crack in half a page with the help of their dog - it feels totally unconvincing and utterly unreal. Overall, the plot seems like a mish-mash of bits from other more famous stories and novels, from Arabian Nights to Harry Potter to The Name of the Rose.

Another area of difficulty is the point of view and the story never quite seems to decide who you are supposed to regard as the enemy and who you are supposed to have sympathy for, and I can't believe that Kit Downes intended to introduce a huge element of moral vagueness into the simplicity of the plot. On top of this is the slightly odd element of the two main characters being betrothed to each other (12-year olds falling in love - really?).

Kit Downes was 18 when he wrote this and it shows, both in the enthusiasm of the writing but also in the naive flaws. However, this would be a good book for a nine year old who doesn't want anything too challenging and just wants something entertaining.


Mister Pip
Mister Pip
by Lloyd Jones
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but flawed, 7 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Mister Pip (Hardcover)
This is a pretty enjoyable novel with some bits that are deeply touching but I am inclined to agree with Mister Hobgoblin - the book could have ended a good 20 pages earlierand been far more satisfactory. As it is, the book peters out a little, diminishing the emotional impact Lloyd Jones builds well throughout the course of the book and shifting what I felt was the focus of the book from how storytelling weaves in and out of our lives (especially in the context of Mr Watts' and Matilda's Mum's conflict) to merely being a story about a slightly eccentric man (Mr Watts).

I would also say that the sense of time is not conveyed well - 219 pages does not to me seem enough to cover at least 15 years of a person's life, especially when there are flashbacks a-plenty. Also, there is a bit towards the end about dreams that felt jarring and out of place and completely against the rest of the tone of the story - it reminded me horribly of 'Everything is Illuminated'.

However, the story is enjoyable, I am probably going to go and re-read Great Expectations following it and the main characters - Matilda, her Mum and Mr Watts - are nicely put together. Recommend it for a read but it's no classic.


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