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A. J. Russell-pattison "Tony" (Manchester. U.K.)

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Lilly Brush - Large
Lilly Brush - Large
Price: £11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Here at the Vicarage we have a beautiful golden Labrador who goes by the name of Jimmy ..., 19 Aug. 2015
This review is from: Lilly Brush - Large (Misc.)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Here at the Vicarage we have a beautiful golden Labrador who goes by the name of Jimmy (see picture..isn't he cute?). The vicarage is decorated in browns and dark wood furniture so you can imagine that Jimmy hair shows up quite spectacularly ( our previous dog was a black Labrador called Beuno, sadly he died, but the colour scheme suited him!)

I am reliably informed that most dogs moult twice a year or continuously, Jimmy is firmly in the later category. Near daily hoovering is required to combat the waves of blond hair which he kindly produces. The Lilly Brushes claim to help pet owners "be forever Furness" was thus alluring.

Its a small hand held brush with two rows of parallel rows small brushes. You moisten it and then work it backward and forward across the fabric you are attempting to de-hair. This feels odd and you naturally want to brush one way, but it does pic up the hair. It seems to be better on short hairs rather than long ones (Jimmy has a full selection!) and while it helped remove hair it does not get it all. It's handy for a touch up in between hooverings but would not be sufficient on its own.

To clean simply rinse in warm soapy water, it cleans well and is the reusable.

Overall, a handy help in between hoovering!
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Tefal IS8360 Instant Control Garment Steamer
Tefal IS8360 Instant Control Garment Steamer
Price: £149.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I so wanted to love this machine....., 8 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
But I didn’t! I work as a housekeeper in a Rectory with multiple occupants and as such I get a lot of laundry to do plus a fair amount of church linen. I am no fan of ironing (who is) and so when I saw this alternative to the laborious ironing routine I jumped at it thinking it could be the answer to my fervent prayers!

The instructions on how to erect and dismantle the steam machine are clear and easy to follow. In its storage mode it is compact and fits fine into my cupboard under the stairs and getting it ready for action takes no time at all.

Clothes are hung over the clothes hanger shaped section at the top and the steam pad runs over them vertically. Some models have trouser clips which allow you to hang and steam trousers (and presumably skirts, pillowcases etc.). The model I received was not blessed with this addition and really you have to ask why? Without it you can only really do shirts/tops/jackets on the machine which amounts to only some of the erstwhile ironing. You can, of course, hang your trousers on a normal coat hanger and use the steamer while they are hanging on a door or something, but why when the trouser clip looks to be a very cheap addition. The manufacturers really should include this as standard in all models. The other bewildering omission from my model was the crease attachment, which allegedly allows you to put creases in your clothing when it is attached to the steam head. I don’t know about you but I like creases in the right places so why isn’t this attachment included as standard? (I did get the protective glove, the de-lint tool and the fabric brush).
Putting aside the inability to crease or do trousers, the steam head does indeed work well on tops. In order for the steamer to be used on smaller tops the detachable press and steam support (a backing which allows you to press the steam head on to cloth with something behind it) is itself quite small, as I am not that small my shirts overwhelmed the backing and so they had to be steamed half at a time.
It is excellent for freshening jackets and coats, the steam helping to eliminate odours and the brush attachment lifting the pile on fabrics. It does indeed get rid of creases in other tops but I found I still needed an iron to do collars and creases properly, which seemed to defeat the object a bit. While undoubtedly a very small niche market, it does a great job on full English surplices and on cottas, both of which are a bugger to iron conventionally.
I have tried this steamer numerous times but am veering back to my trusty iron. All is not lost, Our Church runs a food and clothes bank and I have found this machine most useful when laundering large amounts of donated clothes. The finish does not have to be great and the steam does eliminate any difficult aromas. I would conclude that for charity shops and clothes banks like our own it would be very useful, but for home use I am afraid it’s back to the iron for a crisper finish!

AmazonBasics Waterproof Car Bench Seat Cover for Pets
AmazonBasics Waterproof Car Bench Seat Cover for Pets
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Larry the Lupo and Jimmy the Labarador are both now happy!, 26 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have two male creatures which features hugely in my life, one is Larry the Lupo (car) and the other is Jimmy the Labrador ( beloved pet). They do not really get on given that Jimmy when wet after a walk manages to deposit mud and gunge on Larry which is a pain to get out. I previously dealt with this by spreading four specific towels across Larry’s two back seats and vaguely tucking them in. This did not really work, given that as soon as Jimmy landed on Larry’s back seats and turned around a lot before settling down the towels ended up in a heap and Jimmy ended up on the seat!

The Amazon Waterproof Car Bench Seat Cover for Pets therefore looked a winner. It was easy to attach, Larry the Lupo conveniently having the back seat headrests which anchor the cover in the vertical plain of the back seat (how it would fare without headrests I am not sure). I got it snug and secure in under five minutes. The material proved a little slippy when the dog actually landed but Jimmy has a poorly hip and sits strangely which may account for that.
Jimmy’s favoured walks are a car ride away and this rather moist summer has provided excellent testing grounds for this cover given that Jimmy enjoys mud and puddles so much. These ended up on the cover, which proved easy to clean with a damp cloth and did indeed spare poor Larry's poor posterior seats.
Jimmy (thankfully) never has liquid accidents in the car, which would have proved a rather greater challenge given that the cover has holes for the seat belt attachments to come through, so actually it worked like a dream and both the car and the dog are happy, as am I!

BT Elements 1 km Range IP67 Rated Cordless Phone with Answer Machine and Nuisance Call Blocker
BT Elements 1 km Range IP67 Rated Cordless Phone with Answer Machine and Nuisance Call Blocker
Offered by liGo
Price: £63.99

3.0 out of 5 stars It works with some reservations, what more can I say!, 25 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got the BT Elements 1K because it looked like it would be a helpful to our distinct needs. In that I may have misjudged it, still, let me tell you "how it was for me". I live in a vicarage and church complex. Meeting rooms, 550 seated church, three bed roomed vicarage and so on. That being the case I often get to answer the phone for someone who is very far away thus the attraction of a phone with a 1 km range. I haven't used it at that distance but it works well at the large distances involved here. I think ideally it would suite someone with a site based business , a garage or farm for example. You can hook the phone on your belt if need be.

It was easy to set up and get going. The answer phone works fine although collecting messages is a little slow compared to other phones. Call display is a little whimsical to say the least, numbers in the menu sometimes flash up with the appropriate name but other times just says "incoming call" ( you can listen in to messages being left, which helps). Not sure why but it makes call screening a bit arbitrary! A big sell for the phone is the possibility of blocking nuisance calls. Sadly we cannot use this as our number is a public one and anyone should be able to get through to the clergy team, so I can't comment on that feature.

The phone looks clunky and like an early mobile say my colleagues here but I find it reassuring solid and hard wearing so beauty defiantly in the eye of the beholder there!

It works with some reservations, what more can I say!

Simply Good News
Simply Good News
by Tom Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.39

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me think and pray!, 25 May 2015
This review is from: Simply Good News (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tom Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity is bound to know so much more than me, but that's the point rather isn't it? "Seek advice of every wise person "! As a Christian I seek to understand more and encounter more views on the Good News of Jesus Christ and thus the appeal of this book.

Tom expounds in good plain understandable English his views of how The Good News has overtime (and notably since the Enlightenment) morphed into something very different from the original. Good News has become merely good advice, loosing the power of the original and giving rise to aberrations . The pivotal moments of the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ on which believers hold that time and eternity hinges has been usurped by the Enlightenment and its secular advances. Heaven and Earth have been separated in some minds in a dichotomy that denies the progress of The Kingdom, the marriage of the two inherent in Jesus Christ.

Tom's style is very much in a protracted , clear sermon style, divided into chapters but reading as one. His arguments are based on his obvious faith and learning and by and large they make sense to me as a believer ( I am not entirely convinced by his argument that the first Christians used eschatological terminology not because they expected the immanent return of Jesus but because only such terminology expressed the grandness of the vision).

The book ends with a mediation of sorts on the Our Father.. Thought provoking and quite beautiful , it obviously relates to the rest of the book but feels like and addendum.

I enjoyed this book and it made me think and pray. Petty dislikes, the authors self referencing ( I've written loads on this elsewhere)! And an index that is frankly confusing in its attempts to be simple but otherwise I am glad I read it!

Philips GC2045/26 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120 g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Blue
Philips GC2045/26 Easyspeed Steam Iron with 120 g Steam Boost and Ceramic Soleplate, 270 ml, 2300 Watt, Blue
Price: £27.50

4.0 out of 5 stars A new convert!, 7 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was keen to review this iron as I do a lot of ironing being a priests housekeeper . Not just for the clergy in the house but also a constant through put of church linens such as altar cloths, mean I get at least a half day of ironing a week. I hate ironing!

My old iron (which I must say has done faithful service for over ten years) is a Tefal Turbo Pro 400, just so you know what I am comparing this new iron with,and it's really solid and heavy. For me this was very reassuring, after all you expect an iron to weald some weight to get the creases out!

The Philips iron is, in comparison, very light. This at first perturbed me until I had tried it a few times and got to trust the three steam settings to do the work that my old irons weight did! The Eco setting for steam is the default setting but I found that there was not quite enough steam on this setting for the job, so used the next one up. To be honest, I iron all things on maximum heat ( except woollens, which I don't iron at all) and on the first steam setting it works well. There is of course a dial of different heat settings for different fabrics, but I am a bloke and just go for very hot!

It also has a clean setting that allows you to steam clean the iron which has come in handy . My old iron did occasionally drop some rusty water out as it was difficult to clean, if you have ever ironed an immaculate white altar cloth only to have your iron put rust stains on it at the last moment you will understand my joy at this cleaning setting.

I have also used it to do some vertical steaming of curtains and linen vestments which also worked very well.

So, I am a convert. Light and steamy beats heavy and rusty. It's easy to use, does what it says on the tin and gets the job done. Simples!

The Catalyst
The Catalyst
by Helena Coggan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A very promising first!, 28 April 2015
This review is from: The Catalyst (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are those in the so called “adult world” who would dismiss fiction meant for a young adult audience as beneath them. This is a great shame, as it means they miss some truly remarkable writing. My teenage world was littered with authors who wrote for this audience; Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Ursula LeGuin to name but a few and I have returned to those early works often and with pleasure as a not so young adult. This remarkable book is not only designed for this market but written by a member of it, the teenage Helena Coogan.

The author conjurers for us a post-apocalyptic world ruled after “The Veilbreak “ by angels and those with magical abilities brought about by a symbiotic merging of souls and the “Ashkind” non magical inhabitants of the world who suffer under the regime.

In this skilfully woven world we are introduced to Rose Elmsworh and her father David who work for “The Department” to maintain the magical dominance and so prevent further wars. But Rose and her Dad hide a desperate secret, they are hybrids, prone to changing werewolf like every six weeks into to destructive monsters!
Rose becomes embroiled in helping (albeit thanks to blackmail) what would be considered enemies of the state and so becomes introduced to anomalies in her otherwise settled life and existence that make her reassess her life as her world implodes in a fast moving and climactic change of events.
To give more away would be to spoil the very real pleasure you could have by reading the book! Occasionally the pace and time changes of the plot seem a little clunky and at other times breathlessly manic but this adds to the excitement for the most part. Any, slight technical rough patches will, in future novels I am sure, be smoothed out by experience.
A truly remarkable start for our teenage author!

The Nuns of Sant' Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal
The Nuns of Sant' Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal
by Hubert Wolf
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent "Chalice boiler"!, 15 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In 1998 Pope John Paul II opened the archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with them the files of the Holy Roman Inquisition providing unprecedented access to researchers and historians. Hubert Wolf, Professor of Ecclesiastical History at The University of Munster and internationally renowned scholar unearthed as a result the scandalous tale of the Nuns of Sant Ambrogio.

This lurid sex/abuse/political scandal kicks off with the admission of German princess Katharina Bon Hohernzollern to the convent in 1858. Her subsequent experiences, particularly at the hands of novice mistress and madre vicaria Maria Luisa will embroil Jesuits, Benedictines,Cardinals, an Abbess and a Pope in a romping tale of sexual abuse, attempted murder , heavenly letters and ultimately The Inquisition!

I like books about Nuns, not entirely sure why, but there you have it. On its arrival this book gave me some pause though. It's Dramatis Personae at the beginning gives a daunting cast and its end notes etc ( all 96 pages of them,all in ) announces a truly serious book, undertaken by a serious and lofty author. This is in fact true, but any concern of mine about being inundated or about being insufficient to the task where misplaced.

The author has skilfully divided the events of the epic drama into digestible and logical chapters all of which are sub divided into delightfully titled sections . The momentum of this ,almost operatic story ,carries you along with enthusiasm and an eagerness to know more. The context of the period with its beliefs in the direct intervention of heaven in worldly affairs, particularly via Mary, The Mother of God , makes plausible what would otherwise possibly leave the modern reader sceptical. The author weaves his obviously extensive historical research from wide ranging sources into a narrative that is eloquently simple and enjoyable.

I , unequipped with any historical skills or background , enjoyed this book immensely as simply an excellent story well told, that fact that it's a true story adding icing to the cake!

Tefal X-Large Actifry Express Health Fryer, 1.5 kg, Black
Tefal X-Large Actifry Express Health Fryer, 1.5 kg, Black
Price: £159.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Three men can get through a lot of chips!, 29 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In this all male household we all love chips and roasties, no surprise there really. Disliking the standard chip pan because it's greasy , smelly and in some hands down right dangerous, we have relied on oven chips, which while adequate never seem right in terms of crispness or texture.

Then, along came the ActiFry express XL ! It's a bit bulky but nice enough looking out in the kitchen with its spacey dark good looks. It's eminently easy to get up and running, which I did as soon as it arrived! The accompanying instruction book is nice and clear, even if it is printed on the cheapest paper possible (it looks and feels like Izal toilet paper). This is a shame as the product looks classy and and the very cheap looking instruction booklet detracts from that.

An added attraction, you would think, would be the free recipe book which comes with the fryer. To call this a book (which they do) is a major exaggeration. Three recipes each for vegetables, meats, fish and deserts and a repeat of the cooking times for various food stuffs , already available in the cheap instruction booklet, does not a "book" make. More a pamphlet ! You can augment these meagre recipe options by accessing the Facebook ActiFry page ( although some neglect is evident here given that some recipes are submitted without quantities and do not state whether the paddle was used or not.) Surely a company this size could edit the page? Other web pages for similar products also give recipes for what is termed, rather unfortunately, "brown air cooking". Amazon books have a small selection of recipe books for this sort of cooking, but to be honest the reviews if these were not great, so I didn't splash out!

Well how does it cook I suppose you want to know. The chips are great (and the roasties!), crispy, fluffy and delicious and all with only a really tiny amount of oil. A full load is just the right amount for three adult men. Cooking time is shortish and there is no mess or smell while cooking.universal thumbs up in this house for the chips and roasties!

Being an adventurous type I decided to try some other stuff. Sausages do really well (without the paddle in) and chicken cooks well too, although it dries out easily. You can add water instead of oil to cook and I tried this on carrots which did not work out so well. Back to oil cooking and mushrooms did great but not onions or peppers. I am heading for fish cooking next!

The inside basin is effectively non stick, but the paddle which rotates the food is much less so and seemed to scratch very quickly (washed in a dishwasher as recommended only. Easy cleaning although the component parts are large and take up a lot of space). Food then catches on the paddle surface causing some food breakage.

I remain to be convinced of its versatility in cooking foods other than potatoes, but for the chips alone, this household gives the ActFry a well deserved thumbs up!

Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Philips HX6732/45 Healthy White Rechargeable Toothbrush
Price: £69.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The tooth fairy and I saw far too much of each other!, 28 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Dental hygiene came to me late in life and this coupled with a pathological fear of Dentists ( and more especially Dental Hygienists...more scraping !) led to an increasing and unfortunate relationship with the Tooth Fairy. The little lady flew off with four adult molars before I decided to get real with dental hygiene.

I progressed from manual toothbrush to electric only about a year ago and the improvement was notable. I had heard from friends about the even greater joys of the sonic toothbrush but had not tried one; and then Amazon offered me this one to try!

The handle looks sort of sleekish and the recharge base is easy to sort out and looks neat ( with convenient ports for two toothbrush heads). The heads attach with ease. I got two different brush heads and to be honest I am not sure what they do differently so I use them alternately. The handbook promises coloured collars so that different people using the same base can work out whose head is whose. A good idea but there were no such collars in my kit!

There is , apparently, an "easy start" feature that gradually increase the power over the first fourteen brushes, but I did not use this feature and found full power brushing fine.

There are three power settings, clean, sensitive and clean and white. I tried all three and found them all fine. The brush on clean and white is timed which I found handy. The sixty four million dollar question I suppose is "did my teeth look whiter within two weeks?" as was the company boast. The answer is definitely yes. As an added bonus your teeth really do feel almost as clean as when the hygienist has had a go at them but you get that feeling every day!

My only downer is that the slightly raised on off button is not raised enough so that when the brush is in your mouth you sort of have to fumble to find it, but that aside, it's a great bush and most definitely does what it says in the tin!

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