Profile for Catherine > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Catherine
Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,460
Helpful Votes: 473

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Catherine

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
The complete wildlife pond: Wildlife Ponds. How to make, maintain and enjoy a wildlife pond. 2014 edition
The complete wildlife pond: Wildlife Ponds. How to make, maintain and enjoy a wildlife pond. 2014 edition
Price: £1.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and enthusiastic book, 13 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I found this book useful and interesting to read. It's written by someone who runs a company creating wildlife ponds, so he has the practical know-how needed. As well as practical info it also includes info on what species you might attract to your pond and what plants to choose.

I like that he takes a low tech approach, so a lot of the time he is suggesting the cheaper, easier way of doing things and telling you what you won't need (pumps, filters, lots of plants, etc). His approach is to look at what nature does naturally and use that to work out what will best encourage local wildlife to your pond. If, like me, you have a small garden and not much room for a pond, this book is good as the author includes ideas for even the tiniest area.

I enjoyed the author's enthusiasm for his subject - his passion for wildlife comes across very strongly and is a pleasure to read about, and he is also very encouraging to readers to have a go at pond building.

It's a short book but no worse for that - it's a quick and easy read. Its main shortcoming is that (presumably because it was self-published) it's not been well edited or proof-read, so the text rambles a bit in places, and there are quite a few grammar or spelling mistakes. Having said that, it's a low-priced book and includes good info so is good value for money, and I would recommend it because of the author's knowledge and enthusiasm.


Gardening for Butterflies, Bees and Other Beneficial Insects
Gardening for Butterflies, Bees and Other Beneficial Insects
by Jan Miller-Klein
Edition: Perfect Paperback
Price: £16.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful book for wildlife gardening, 2 Nov 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a useful book if, like me, you are looking for ways to make an existing garden more wildlife-friendly. It would also be helpful if you were planning a garden from scratch as there are suggested designs for butterfly-friendly beds. It's also useful if you just want to find out more about butterflies and the types of plants they are attracted to. This was the only book I could find in print that deals specifically with gardening for butterflies and it covers this topic well.

There are already quite a number of books available on gardening for bees, birds and wildlife in general. Although this book does have sections on bees (specifically bumble and solitary), ladybirds and other pollinators, I felt this information was less well-researched. One example is that the author states that bumblebees do not sting. In fact they are less likely to sting than honeybees and wasps and their stings are less painful, but many do have the capability to sting. Also (& this is obviously not the author's fault) harlequin ladybirds are much more common now than they were when the book was first published in 2010, so the ladybird info felt out of date with only a brief mention of harlequins - certainly in my suburban London garden I get far more harlequins now than native species. On balance the sections on other pollinators felt less authoritative and more of an afterthought and I think the book would have been just as good without this info.

The author's main area of knowledge and experience is clearly butterflies and moths and there is lots of information on identifying and gardening for the main UK butterflies, but also encouragement and advice on providing for the lesser-known species of butterflies and moths too. There is good information on plants and their flowering seasons and explanations of why butterflies (and to a lesser extent moths) prefer certain flowers. The plant information is divided into seasons and linked to butterflies which are in flight at that time of year (or their larvae feeding at that time). The details also include information on propagation which I really liked as it shows how creating a butterfly-friendly garden can be inexpensive if plants can be grown from cuttings or seeds. I also liked that the author is quite realistic about whether you are likely to attract certain species.

The book has very large pages - larger than a typical magazine page - and is quite heavy. I found it a bit difficult to handle and felt I would have preferred a smaller format. Although there are lots of lovely photos, a few don't really benefit from being blown up so large, and there is quite a lot of space on some pages, so I think it would work fine in a smaller format - I don't think I'm the only reviewer to comment on this, so perhaps it's something that could be considered for a second edition. Perhaps this would also help reduce the price which is quite high compared to similar gardening books.

At the end of the book is a section on designing beds and borders for butterflies and other pollinators including useful planting plans. There are also interesting sections on more 'specialist' garden features such as green roofs and ponds.

This is a lovely book to browse, despite the unwieldy page size, and also contains lots of useful information on butterfly gardening written by someone with knowledge, experience and passion for the subject. I have some reservations about the information on other pollinators, but overall I would recommend it.


Showa Floreo 370 Lightweight Gardening Gloves Colour: Green, Size: Medium
Showa Floreo 370 Lightweight Gardening Gloves Colour: Green, Size: Medium
Offered by Centre Sales Marketing Ltd
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The best gardening gloves, 22 Oct 2013
I discovered these a few months ago and they are wonderful!

They are lightweight and close fitting so, unlike most gardening gloves, they don't compromise your sense of touch too much, so are perfect for fiddly jobs and for handling delicate plants, while still giving you the protection of gloves. If you are the kind of gardener who prefers not to wear gloves but likes the protection they offer then these are the perfect solution.

They are waterproof on the fingers and palms so great for most jobs, though you would need something tougher for a job like pruning thorny plants.

They wash very well - I either pop them in with my normal washing (rinse first if very muddy) or sometimes just rinse them under the tap at the end of the day and they are normally dry by the next morning.

Because they have the huge advantage of being thin and very comfortable there are a few inevitable downsides: I have knicked the fingers a couple of times with secateurs (though that's mainly down to my clumsiness); if you're working in the mud or rain your hands can get wet and dirty through the fabric on the backs; they will probably not be very warm in the colder weather though I am going to experiment with wearing disposable gloves underneath or possibly buying a larger size of these so I can wear 2 pairs together.

Mine have been well worn and probably washed at least 10 times and (apart from the secateur knicks) they are still in excellent condition with plenty of wear left, so I'd say they are great value for money too.

Definitely highly recommended.


RSPB Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain
RSPB Pocket Nature Wildlife of Britain
by Rspb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great beginners book, 24 July 2013
This is a great book for someone who wants a starting point for identifying wildlife, whether in the garden or out and about. It covers a wide range of categories - trees, wildflowers, insects, birds, etc, etc. Obviously in a book this size it can't be comprehensive, but the coverage is fantastic for a single book. I've found that as my interest has deepened I've bought a few more specialist books, but I didn't really know what areas I'd become particularly interested in until I'd used a more general book like this, and I still like to carry it with me on a walk or have it to hand if I'm in the garden, while I have some more specialist books at home. The pictures are all photos, which are mostly clear, but I think drawings can make identification easier and I did find some wild flowers difficult to identify from the photos in this book, but when that happens I normally take photos and then double check with other books or internet when I get home. Its worth knowing that, despite being called a "pocket" guide, this is quite a heavy volume, a couple of centimetres thick and weights around 700g, which might be off putting for some people if you are looking for something lightweight, but I find it fine for carrying in a backpack. On the whole I would recommend this as a good general nature identification guide, either for someone starting out in this hobby, or for someone with a general interest, and it's good value for money too.


Brooks Women's Pure Cadence W Trainer
Brooks Women's Pure Cadence W Trainer
Price: £61.04 - £103.35

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars comfortable running shoe, 18 July 2013
A very comfortable running shoe. I have narrow feet and these fit really well but with plenty of room for my toes and they are very lightweight. They also look good. I've never had any blisters or discomfort wearing them. My only gripe is that the mesh on the front means your toes can get very cold when running in winter. I would love it if Brooks would bring out a similar design for colder weather with a more substantial fabric covering the toes!


Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Running Watch - Black/Red
Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Running Watch - Black/Red
Price: £79.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good basic running watch, poor quality strap, 19 Jun 2013
I have had this for about 5 months. Prior to that I'd occasionally used my husband's Garmin 610. This one is a lot more basic, so maybe if you are used to something like the 610 you might find this a bit clunky - the look of the screen, only 2 bits of info on screen at one time, no touch screen. However I find it does a good basic job & tracks my running nicely.

You can choose to display 2 out of distance, pace, run time and calories. It does have a run/walk feature e.g. for beginners you might do say 5 mins running then a minutes walking and it will bleep to tell you when to stop/start running. The only problem with this is that the max time you can set it for is 10 minutes, so I was doing a programme where I wanted to run 2 x 30 mins with a short fast walk for a couple of mins in between and it couldn't do this. You can, if you wish, pause your run and restart, but it also will pause automatically if you stop for a few seconds (you can switch this feature off if you prefer). One feature I like is that it keeps track of your records e.g. your fastest mile, 5k, etc, and lets you know when you've set a new PB, which is not essential but nice! You can also tell it what pace you want to run and it will let you know every few minutes if you are on pace or behind or ahead. At the end of a run you can save your stats for checking later. As well as distance, time, pace and calories burned it will tell you your pace/time for each mile. You can switch it to do distance, pace, etc in km if you prefer.

It's quite bulky but smaller than many running watches (I have the black one), and I find it light and comfortable to wear. It doesn't seem to stay chargeed for as long as it did when I first got it, but will still last a few days between charges. It only comes with a USB charger but the USB will plug into the 610 mains charger (though the 2 chargers are not the same) so I guess if you want a mains charger you can just get the plug for another Garmin.

The GPS has generally worked fine for me & gets a signal within a few minutes, though it's sometimes taken longer when I've been away from home, so I'd guess any difficulties are more to do with location than with the watch. One thing I've found is that it picks up the initial signal better when it's still rather than moving, so I put it on the window sill to get a signal before I leave rather than wait until I've left the house and am walking/running (& it's worth working out which window sill gets the quickest signal!). The signal has never cut out in the middle of a run.

Worst thing is that the strap is coming off after only 5 months of use, which I think is pretty poor quality, even for a relatively cheap watch. I can't see any part that is actually broken so not sure if a new strap will help, so maybe just a bit of duct tape will have to do :(

Overall it does a good job and give me all the info I need in a straightforward way.


RHS Pruning and Training
RHS Pruning and Training
by C Brickell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great book. Very comprehensive - I'm sure there are a some plants missing, but I've yet to find one. Gives clear info about when and how to prune a huge range of plants. If you buy one book on this topic, this is the one you need. I am studying for a horticulture qualification, so have bought it as a reference book for future work, but I think it's equally useful for anyone professional or amateur and whatever size your garden.


66FIT Adjustable Hand Grip Exerciser - 10 - 40 kg
66FIT Adjustable Hand Grip Exerciser - 10 - 40 kg
Price: £9.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great!, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Great idea to make this adjustable - a good addition to home exercise equipment. Easy to use and good value.


The Lazy Runner
The Lazy Runner
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this book, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Lazy Runner (Kindle Edition)
I bought this to read on kindle when I was on holiday in the winter. It's a really good read - easy to follow, well-written. It's part autobiography so not just a running guide, but I liked that it was about a "real" person's journey to becoming a runner, and there are lots of tips and ideas too. A very readable and encouraging book.


A Handbook for Horticultural Students
A Handbook for Horticultural Students
by Peter Dawson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £36.42

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for RHS Level 2 students, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this because I have recently started the RHS Level 2 course and this book is designed to cover the whole syllabus. It's very clearly written and easy to use and will be great revision tool. Only problem I had was that Amazon sent me an old edition of the book which I had to return, so if you are considering buying this be aware that there is a 2011 edition which takes account of the 2010 updates to the RHS syllabus, so make sure that is the edition you are sent and not an older one which may not have the information you need.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6