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ARWoollock "We are limited only by our imagination®"

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VonShef Stainless Steel Milk Jug Suitable for Coffee, Latte & Frothing Milk (600ml)
VonShef Stainless Steel Milk Jug Suitable for Coffee, Latte & Frothing Milk (600ml)
Offered by Designer Habitat
Price: £12.99

1.0 out of 5 stars VonShef sounds German, made in China!, 30 Aug 2014
VonShef sounds German, made in China!
A fine looking product at first glance reveals that it is just a stainless jug that could be bought in PoundLand. The Germanic sounding name is a conscious attempt to frame the product as being European in origin; to evoke a pseudo German-Swiss engineering legacy and stimulate neurological metaphors of quality, style and excellence. A legacy to which this Chinese manufactured product has no legitimate right to claim, align with nor assign itself to.

Not surprisingly given the above, my jug arrived with dents, scratches and pits at the welding spots. Quite inferior, would not recommend.


Aerolatte Frother with Stand, Stainless Steel
Aerolatte Frother with Stand, Stainless Steel
Price: £16.33

5.0 out of 5 stars Great physics, 26 Aug 2014
I have to say that if you can't get this to work, you are likely making one of the following to major errors:
i) Heating the milk too much,
ii) Using full-fat milk.
That said, however, it will froth full-fat milk if it's cold.

Furthermore, I would also suggest a couple of points (and no I am not being sarcastic, when I say that) the potential purchaser needs to stop and think a little about the physics of what they are trying to do and what this machine is capable of (and what it's not). What I mean by that is that if you understand what is going on in terms of how the milk (volume) is appearing to be expanded in mass by the act of simply adding air (and nothing more) then I think you will be moving from a good starting point. There are also a couple good videos on YouTube, which you can find if you search, one from the manufacturer and the other from a third party.

A number of other people have also mentioned the stand, and I think that is a big selling point too. Whilst I have issues with the finish on mine (I'll mention this later) I would certainly recommend paying a bit more for the stand version because if not I could see how you will easily bend the wand if you shoved it in with your cutlery.

As for the finish, well it is (surprisingly for these days) actually stainless steel. This version apparently also has a beefed up motor and thicker wand - but I haven't seen another model to compare to verify that.

The only problem I have with mine, and this most likely relates to Amazon, not the manufacturer per se. is that whilst the stand was wrapped in plastic, the frother was not. In fact the fold-out portion of the box where the frother was placed is WAY too small. The end result is that it was very difficult to retrieve (without pulling the actual wand, which for obvious reasons I did not want to do) and as a result the actual body has a number of scratches on the surface. My stand too, although well-protected liiked like a 'Friday afternoon' version as it is not quite symmetrical. I did mail Amazon about this but no response as yet. So, my key reason for mentioning this is (apart from the obvious), if you are planning on buying it as a present, beware! it could be pretty disappointing for whomever gets the gift.


Gustbuster Classic Umbrella - Black, 48 Inch
Gustbuster Classic Umbrella - Black, 48 Inch
Price: £30.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Never go back to single-canopy, 24 Aug 2014
Double-canopy umbrella, sturdy and strong. Physics will teach us that a single canopy umbrella is a no-no, yet it amazes me that even today they are being manufactured and sold. If you buy an umbrella (this or another) you have to go double! Looks impressive, made from quality material, and can handle Belfast weather, what more could one ask!


Hahnemuhle Watercolour Postcards
Hahnemuhle Watercolour Postcards
Offered by Jackson's Art Supplies
Price: £7.11

1.0 out of 5 stars Too thin and also substandard quality, 24 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hahnemuhle Watercolour Postcards
I love the idea of these, but there are problems with the product.

Firstly the card (substrate would be a better word) is far too flimsy. Not sure what the grammage is but you certainly couldn't post it as-is, it has to go in an envelope, which in some places will put up the cost and kind of defeats the purpose. In fact, the paper i so thin that even using water-soluble pencil-crayons and a light wash will make it curl right up like a trick fish from a party cracker.

Second MAJOR problem, which I only discovered too late when I got towards the second half, was that these were stacked too quickly after printing, i.e., they weren't dry and so the front face has the address lines on it, and they are not that faint! So basically half the pack is sub-standard and should have gone back.

Would not purchase again, nor recommend.


Fulton Ambassador Men's Umbrella Black One Size
Fulton Ambassador Men's Umbrella Black One Size
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and strong, 24 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this to keep in my briefcase. For a compact umbrella it has a surprisingly large cover. It is made of very sturdy stuff with high-grade canopy. A great buy.


2 Way 2 Metre extension Lead White
2 Way 2 Metre extension Lead White
Offered by Openeye
Price: £3.50

1.0 out of 5 stars Not the same as the photograph image., 24 Aug 2014
As per other reviews, this product is not the same as the one that arrived; the one that arrived does not have the light which was a point in choosing it! Whilst this seems a reasonably good product my angle-pose does occasionally suddenly dim, which it never did when it was connected directly to the mains. Is it thus extension lead? Can't say, but certainly that is the only change I have made, so probability would assume so.


Alessi Alessandro Mendini Moka Espresso Coffee Maker 3 Cup
Alessi Alessandro Mendini Moka Espresso Coffee Maker 3 Cup
Offered by Design 55 online
Price: £27.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a Bialetti by far!, 22 Aug 2014
I have owned a number of stove-top espresso machines, and this is by FAR the best quality one I've owned. The Bialetti ones (like so much of Italian engineering) are just too shoddy a product for my liking. They are cheaply manufactured and seem to have no care taken over their production. I have returned them in the past due to sloppy production and dubious quality. The Alessi, is however, a FAR superior product. The design is not the same - note the handle fastening, and the actual quality handle material. Make no mistake, the two manufacturers are NOT identical. And like most things in life, you get what you pay for - except that ironically, the Bialetti ones can actually be more expensive... This high-quality product looks great, works well and carries Alessi''s stamp of quality.


Alessi 3-Cup Moka Espresso Coffee Maker with Thermoplastic Resin Handle and Knob, Black
Alessi 3-Cup Moka Espresso Coffee Maker with Thermoplastic Resin Handle and Knob, Black
Price: £25.18

5.0 out of 5 stars Better than a Bialetti, by miles!, 22 Aug 2014
I have owned a number of stove-top espresso machines, and this is by FAR the best quality one I've owned. The Bialetti ones (like so much of Italian engineering) are just too shoddy a product for my liking. They are cheaply manufactured and seem to have no care taken over their production. I have returned them in the past due to sloppy production and dubious quality. The Alessi, is however, a FAR superior product. The design is not the same - note the handle fastening, and the actual quality handle material. Make no mistake, the two manufacturers are NOT identical. And like most things in life, you get what you pay for - except that ironically, the Bialetti ones can actually be more expensive... This high-quality product looks great, works well and carries Alessi''s stamp of quality.


Ladies Fox Umbrella, Handmade British Classic. Gilt Band, 8 Rib Manual, Genuine Whanghee Crook Handle & Tassel, Rose Pink Canopy & Sleeve
Ladies Fox Umbrella, Handmade British Classic. Gilt Band, 8 Rib Manual, Genuine Whanghee Crook Handle & Tassel, Rose Pink Canopy & Sleeve

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A nice looking product, but is it 'Fit for the purpose for which it is intended?', 11 Mar 2014
If you want a 'fashion accessory' then this product might just be for you, if however, you want an actual umbrella I would suggest (from personal experience) to think again before shelling out your hard-earned cash on a Fox umbrella.

If you visit the Fox website in addition to claiming to be 'The World's FInest Umbrellas' - (why hasn't Trading Standards challenged that one?) they will seduce you with iconic images of the 'Best of British' and eras gone by, they will carefully imply, nay suggest, that buying one of their 'handcrafted' products (define terms) made at the bench of one of those faceless grubby-handed artisans they show in the slideshow will serve you long and pay dividends on your premium investment (or is that just my perceived inference?) Having essentially manufactured (in the Chomskyan sense) a fictional narrative they have turned the good old rain and wind protector into an 'aspirational lifestyle' - this can be clearly seen in the vocabulary and imagery they use to evoke a sense of quality. And that is all well and good, but the question has to be asked are you getting value for money? - well define 'value' and define 'money' you might say.

let me tell you my own experience. I like quality items, I was born in an era when paying more for something actually meant getting more; better quality, not merely hyped up hype. So, upon moving to (rainy) Belfast I duly shelled out £80 (+p&p) for a GM3 (Whanghee Handle) and waited for the rain. In actuality Belfast isn’t that rainy and so I was disappointed to have hardly opened my umbrella in four months. When I did get a chance to use it, it seemed OK, nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. I have huge hands and I still found the handle way too big, but apart from that I hadn’t used it enough to form a valid opinion, other than it didn’t seem a whole lot more secure or well-built than your average disposable umbrella (which costs a fraction of the price) and certainly not as good as a Borsalino one I had prior. Anyway, I waited to be impressed, sure I must have missed the hidden dimensions brought to me by our grubby artisan friends toiling away at their benches.

Sadly I did not get chance to see where my money went (where did it go?) because on a very short trip, a small gust of wing popped out the arm attaching the central spindal to the arches. I have no idea why they were slotted (barely crimped) in and not riveted or screwed in, because they are bound to come out (as they did). So I folded up the umbrella and walked home in the wet. At home I inspected the umbrella and was quite appalled at the lack of build quality - really I should have seen past the shiny corporate image and checked the quality first off, my mistake. I re-attached the arm and although the shape was a bit off, I though I could use it until I contacted Fox to complain. The very next day whilst walking out, the arm came detached taking another one with it and then the whole thing collapsed. I should point out at this juncture, that all around me people were milling around carrying cheap and cheerful umbrellas, the weather was not so bad, and besides which idiot, would take an £80 umbrella out in a gale? Not I!

I duly contacted Fox and received a terse response from managing director Paul Garrett, who seemed more annoyed with the justifiable ‘tone’ of my e.mail then he did about the quality of his products, and he proceed to tell me so. I recall an old adage from a business seminar I once attended ‘You can’t negotiate a problem, only its outcome!’ clearly Mr. Garrett missed that meeting, and clearly he seems to be living in a bygone age, informing me that I ‘may’ return my umbrella for inspection - may? may? my statutory rights afford me that protection, Sir! To cut a long story short, (apologies for the length already, but this is important) I sent my umbrella to Fox (at my cost) for an inspection and whist I knew full well they wouldn’t admit liability because that would then corroborate by assertions that the products are not worth the price-tag, i.e. they are not superior products (in my opinion) as the advertising and traditional British mystique would allude to. SO after paying for the courier I was told that it was not their fault (no surprise there) and I should pay £25 if I wanted to have it fixed and another £30 to have it shipped back - so another £55 (on top of the £80+ I had already paid). I told Mr. Garrett to put the umbrella in the bin, where it belonged and would continue using my superior GustBuster.

I think this is an important story for a number of reasons and that’s why I want to share it. Not because I am pissed off or angry; actually I’m more saddened than anything, because it’s clear to me a la British Leyland et al, that the British (left to their own devices) are not good at (mass) manufacturing quality products. Now I am not disputing they might HAVE been, but take a look around and ask yourself what is British (English) and world-class quality? Not a lot... But beyond that I am saddened that the iAge has brought with it high price-tags for poor quality, that the consumer can no longer rely on a high price tag to indicate the quality of the materials and the workmanship. In addition, the corporate responsibility that was once there has also gone. I mean if you are purportedly selling hand-made, hand-crafted items made at the dusty benches of thick-fisted, grubby-handed artisans, then shouldn’t the corporate ethos reflect those supposedly higher qualities? I think they should.

In addition, it is my opinion, that people like Mr. Garrett use ‘Acts of God’ to bypass and negate their responsibility. Firstly, as a non-believer, I don’t believe in God, only in nature, in meteorology, so that argument falls flat with me. What I do believe in, however, is the the Sale of Goods Act which states that an item sold should be ‘Fit for the purpose for which it is intended’ and that should mean that (within reasonable bounds) an umbrella should be able to be used in rain and wind (not gales and floods) and yet my Fox wasn’t - far from it. To reiterate I walked a short distance and had the weather been bad, I would have sooner closed it that risk loosing an £80 umbrella! I mean if an (expensive, top range) umbrella won’t keep you dry then what’s the point of purchasing one? To tell your friends that you are mug enough, rich enough, stupid enough to shell out £80 for an umbrella that will pop out and fold under the slightest pressure, as mine did? I personally can’t see the point in that, but again, that’s my opinion.

As I say, this is MY story, this happened to ME. I am not saying this is indicative of Fox umbrellas across the board, maybe I was unlucky... If you wish to purchase one of their products, then good luck to you. My suggestion, however, would be to buy a GustBuster and impress your friends by how long your double-canopy umbrella (designed to deal with wind) lasts you and how little it cost!


One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Routledge Classics)
One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society (Routledge Classics)
by Herbert Marcuse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society, 16 Dec 2013
Still Much to Offer Contemporary Society

I arrived at Marcuse as a result of reading Terri Murray's 'Black Mirror Reflections' in issue 97 (July/August 2013) of Philosophy Now (pp42-44). Although Murray's introduction was perhaps somewhat interpretive, it nevertheless sparked an interest in the Man.

ODM is one of those seminal and prophetic texts (à la Boorstin: Image, Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death, Huxley: BNW, Orwell: 1984) which was written in an age past and which actually resonates louder in the present. One of those works where perhaps even the author could not have imagined how true its prophecy would turn out to be.

Rather than critique this text, I would simply like to offer some extracts which should give the potential reader a flavour of what the work is about.

"The products indoctrinate and manipulate; they produce a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood. And as these beneficial products become available to more individuals in more social clases, the indoctrination they cary ceases to be publicity; it becomes a way of life. It is a good way of life - much better than before - and as a good way of life, it militates against qualitative change." (p.12)

"Society must first create the material prerequisites fo freedom for all its members before it can be a free society; it must first 'create' the wealth before being able to 'distribute' it according to the freely developing needs of the individual; it must first enable its slaves to learn and see and think before they know what is going on and what they themselves can do to change it." (p.40)

"If the individuals are satisfied to the point of happiness with the goods and services handed down to them by the administration, why should they insist on different institutions for a different production of different goods and services? And if the individuals are pre-conditioned so that the satisfying goods also include, thoughts, feelings, aspirations, why should they wish to think, feel, and imagine for themselves?" (p.50)

"Higher culture becomes part of the material culture. In this transformation, it loses the greater part of its truth." (p.58)

"Whether ritualised or not, art contains the rationality of negation. In its advanced positions, it is the Great Refusal - the protest against that which is." ( p.63)

"The Happy Consciousness - the belief that the real is rational, and that the system delivers the goods - reflects the new conformism which is a facet of technological rationality translated into social behaviour." (p.84)

"Language which constantly imposes `images' militates against the development and expression of `concepts.' (p.95)

"Remembrance of the past may give rise to dangerous insights, and the established society seems to be apprehensive about the subversive contents of memory. Remembrance is a mode of dissociation from the given facts, a mode of `mediation' which breaks, for short moments, the omnipresent power of the given facts." (p.98)

"It (Time and Memory) militates against the closing of the universe of discourse and behaviour; it renders possible the development of concepts which de-stabilise and transcend the closed universe by comprehending it as historical universe. Confronted with the given society as object of its reflection critical thought becomes its historical consciousness; as such it is essentially judgement." (p.99)

The given reality has its own logic and its own truth; the effort to comprehend them as such and to transcend them presupposes a different logic; a contradicting truth. " (p.142)


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