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Sammyantha (England)

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The Path of the Shaman
The Path of the Shaman
by Anna M. Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and useful read, 21 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Path of the Shaman (Paperback)
The second in a series of eight under the overall title of "Eight Paths of Magic", this book explores the role of the shaman, from the perspective of British Shamanism. As a British Pagan with Druidic leanings, I can imagine that the series will also appeal to most Druids.

There is no real introduction, which is a pity, but the book begins with an interesting discussion of "What is a Shaman?", which includes clear explanations and talk, and defines shamanism neatly as: "A magical/religious practice during which the shaman enters a trance state in order to enter a realm of non-ordinary reality beyond everyday consciousness in order to encounter spirits". The author emphasises that everything the Shamam learns comes through personal experience, and that all understanding comes through practise. As a pagan, these ideas touch the core of my understanding, and resonate with my worldview, making me want to read more.

Throughout the 8 chapters which follow, there are examples, stories, and myths from the British and European traditions, very refreshing considering the focus of the book is primarily British Shamanism. Shamanic methods such as the use of trance, gateways, shape-shifting, fairies and spirit helpers, are covered, and two of the longest chapters deal with animal powers and plant allies. The author really shows her vast knowledge here, drawing upon stories and myths from a wide range of sources in order to provide long, helpful descriptions of the qualities of each in turn. A fascinating insight into an area of interest to me!

The book is clear and well written, and the illustrations are just divine. It gives a good grounding in some of the most basic Shamanistic concepts, and does not restrict itself to Britian. Unfortunately there is no further reading section, which would have proved useful, nor is there an index giving further information on the author and her background. Overall a very intersting and useful read.


Samsung 16GB Galaxy Player 50 - White
Samsung 16GB Galaxy Player 50 - White

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basically a smart phone without call capability, 21 Mar. 2011
The best thing about the Galaxy is Android 2.1 OS - running this means you have the opportunity to to use the Android Market with all of its 200,000+ applications and download all the media content you like. The Player supports many files including MP3, OGG, AAC, M4A, WAV audio and MPEG4, H.263, H.264, WMV, DivX and XviD video, and serves as a camera, a digital voice recorder, an electronic compass, a radio and a GPS. G50 also supports 802.11n Wi-Fi networks so you are only a bluetooth zone away from using the internet. Runs for around 24 hours of audio or 5 hours of video on a single battery charge.

As a player, sound is great - SoundAlive technology gives full 5.1-channel surround sound. The controls are simple to use - Advanced and multiple sound presets allow you to change file sound to your preference, for example, adding more bass oh high tones. Video is equally simple to use - you can use the changeable sound presets or leave it in Theatre mode.

The camera option takes good pictures, and the great thing is that you can share them instantly via your favourite social networks and websites.

If 8 or 16 GB is not enough for you, Galaxy Player has a micro-SD slot for memory extending. I'd definitely recommend this as the 8gb just isn't enough for all the things you'll want to use this for.

Downsides
If you only opt for the standard 8gb model, you'll find that this really equates as only 6gb, and even then it leaves no room for storing photos and videos.
The controls can be slow, taking up to 10 seconds in some cases. And the player sometimes fails to recognise the headphones, resulting in you having to unplug and plug them back oin again. This is usually after a period of inactivity. Not a major biggie, but certainly an annoyance.

This is basically a smart phone without call capability. At a cheaper price this wouldn't be an issue, but in all honesty I sold mine on again and bought an IPod!


Panasonic Lumix TZ18 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP, 16x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD
Panasonic Lumix TZ18 Digital Camera - Black (14.1MP, 16x Optical Zoom) 3.0 inch LCD

304 of 311 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need in a camera and more!, 18 Mar. 2011
This is all you need in a camera and more! A huge, smooth, almost stepless 2-speed zoom, sharp results in optimal shooting conditions, Good, natural colour and excellent exposure, Effective image stabilization, Fast (and accurate) focus, Bright, clear, high resolution LCD screen, and excellent EVF. Physically, the camera is good build quality in a nice compact package. With a comprehensive range of controls & fast operation, Well designed menu system, and Lots of in-camera image adjustments, it's exceptionally nice to handle. It has a powerful flash, Good movie mode (16:9, VGA, 30fps), usable raw mode (approx 4 second shot-to-shot with a fast card), and a powerful raw converter. Excellent optical zoom (can be extended even further optically by reducing resolution down from 8 to 5 or 3 megapixels), and the long battery life is very handy.
For travelling and holidays I have found this camera invaluable. It's so light and easy to take around, you never miss a photo opportunity. It takes such great photos, sharp, clear, and bright, and far higher quality than you'd expect from such a small bit of kit! There is very little red-eye syndrome, and it performs well in most lighting conditions. There are even plenty of functions to be able to custom set-up the camera to the way i want it (without the necessary complexity of dSLR's).
On the downside, there is no facility for electronic remote / cable release, lens performance can drop off slightly at long end of zoom range, and there can be some loss of fine detail to noise reduction even at ISO 100. All in all though, I'd say this camera performs exceptionally well for such a small bit of equiptment. It's great value for money and I am well satisfied with it.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2012 6:10 PM BST


Britax King Plus Group 1 Car Seat (Jet)
Britax King Plus Group 1 Car Seat (Jet)

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, easy to install (by the hubby!!), easy to clean, stylish, safe, and lots of useful safety and comfort features, 18 Mar. 2011
After much research, we decided that the Britax King appeared the best seat around on the market currently - it had won the Gold Award on the mother & baby awards site. I have to say I am extremely pleased with the purchase and can't recommend it highly enough. For starters the seat is sturdy and well padded, and my son appears comfortable and secure when in it. The back reclines in four different positions (with ease) for extra comfort, and the seatbelt is placed in between the seat and back to avoid discomfort. The harness straps are also easy to adjust for height. Safety wise the car seat has been side impacted tested which gives me that extra bit of re-assurance, and the click and safe warning on recline is great peace of mind. The covers are removable and washable, a god-send with our mucky pup! Best bits - Comfortable, easy to install (by the hubby!!), easy to clean, stylish, safe, and lots of useful safety and comfort features.

The only con is that it is quite heavy, but as i dont intend to move it much this is irrelevant to me. The heavy, slightly bulky design is worth is for the safety and comfort. The only thing i would change about it is the head hugger - it's not removable. However, I understand that this is part of the design & it's a safety feature, so I can live with it in light of all the good points mentioned above.


Circle Glide Cross Trainer
Circle Glide Cross Trainer

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those must have and can't live without peices of kit!, 18 Mar. 2011
The Circle Glide is one of those must have and can't live without peices of kit! This is all about keeping the core strong. Focusing on posture & balance, it's designed to work the gluteals (bum), obilque (stomach muscles) and adductors (groin area), while giving you a good cardio workout, and boy does it do it - after only a couple of workouts you can really feel it in your shoulders, arms, and abs!! After around 3 months of use, 2 workouts a week at 30 minutes per session, I can see real improvements in the tone and definition of my legs, arms, and abs.

The Glide is easy to setup yourself, and to use, and the accompanying free DVD and guide are really useful, allowing consistency and flow - it's very easy to move from one excercise to the next without stopping.

There is a little noise as the pads move along the tram line, but overall this is easy to live with.


Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR Camera Kit (EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens)
Canon EOS 500D Digital SLR Camera Kit (EF-S 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens)

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loaded with features. Looks and feels far more expensive than it is!, 16 Mar. 2011
This cam is loaded with features, and affordable. It looks and feels far more expensive than it really is, and is far better than the other models on the market in terms of functionality and quality (far more options than Nicon D 5000 for example). The LCD screen is sharp and colourful and the system is easy to navigate, with a well laid-out menu and quick Control facility, for fast access to main functions. The added resolution is a real bonus when reviewing sharpness of images. One of the best features is that it has the latest version of Canon's Live View - a big help with candid photography or still life. Image quality is great, with accurate colours & detail, and the cam copes well with different styles of photography. Image stabilisation works a treat and its possible to get pin sharp images at slower shutter speeds. Video features are well integrated - records an impressive 1080p video at 20fps, and you can record about half an hour of video (4Gb maximum file size). Overall it's easy to use, lightweight, shoots straight from the box, has good noise performance and colour rendition, good battery life, and is simple to use on all the automatic and semi automatic modes. Favourite features include the expandable ISO, full HD video, and the same fast and powerful 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor as the EOS 50D.

The only real issues I found were that on the auto settings you can't use LCD live view - you have to switch to custom mode to use it. And the LCD is not moveable. Live view focusing can also be a bit slow. These are not major irritants though, and I'd still happily recommend the 500 SLR. Buy an SDHC memory card and go for a class 6 or even better a class 10 version, it is worth the extra money!


Sony DSCS2000B Cyber-shot Digital Camera - Black (10.1 MP, 3x Optical Zoom) 2.5 inch LCD
Sony DSCS2000B Cyber-shot Digital Camera - Black (10.1 MP, 3x Optical Zoom) 2.5 inch LCD

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Main attraction is likely to be the price, and ease of use", 14 Mar. 2011
As an entry level digital camera, the Cybershot performs OK. Perhaps not the best choice, but the main attraction is likely to be the price, and ease of use.

It's compact and fits into a large pocket, with a handy raised area on the front to help you get hold of it more easily. Overall it's not bad looking, with a choice of colour options available.

The Cybershot boots up nice and quick at around a second, recovers fast after shots, and viewing your library is quick and effortless.

Easy shoot mode is a handy tool, incorporating easy to use instructions and controls, with auto recognition, face detection, and adjustments of scenes, lighting, and settings.

It comes with the ability to retouch and correct images, and easily upload to the web or computer.

The best feature is the bright and compact LCD screen, which is bright and clear.

On the downside, the Cybershot finds it hard to cope with contrast and focus on some occasions. I found that focus often slips away toward the edges of pictures, and darker images in the background sometimes appear as blobs with little detail. These problems are more noticeable in the larger sized prints, and for the most part snapshots have been just fine.

Overall I'd say this does what it says on the tin. It really is nothing fancy, and there are better options for a starter or budget camera.


Toshiba Satellite C660-19G 15.6 inch Laptop (Intel Pentium T4500 2.3GHz Processor, 3GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium)
Toshiba Satellite C660-19G 15.6 inch Laptop (Intel Pentium T4500 2.3GHz Processor, 3GB RAM, 250GB HDD, Windows 7 Home Premium)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "A great little machine, representing real value for money over and above the other models currently on the market", 14 Mar. 2011
This Laptop looks sleek and stylish, combining great value for money with high spec design and functionality. Crystal clear, widescreen display is a must in the current age, and the Satellite does not disappoint. With its 39.6cm (15.6") screen and TruBrite display, picture quality is crisp and clear, and resolution is focused and bright. One of the best visual quality laptops I've owned.

The T4500 processor gives great speed, making it perfect for multi-tasking games, videos, word processing and other functions, and easy and quick to use overall. Brilliant for net surfing, and the super multi dvd drive means you can literally keep all your DVD's on one machine!!

Super light-weight design, makes it fantastic as a work laptop - I can take it on the train or plane when travelling to meetings, and it fits nicely in my bag between home and office. I've even had it out on a park bench during my lunch hour, hastily typing out the last few pages of a report. My son often "borrows" it to nip round to his girlfriend's with so they can watch movies!

Battery life is great, usually lasting me around 4 hours or more, and other plus points are the truly easy setup and the great backup support.

Strangely though, built-in camera and mic are not included with this model, just the USB ports. The integrated sound speakers are not brilliant either. I have however, found a handy little Logitech clip on cam with sound, and now use this instead.

Overall, the Satellite is a great little machine, representing real value for money. Stylish, lightweight, quick, and great for dvd's, games, surfing, and word processing. It has easily replaced my desktop, and I'd buy it again in a flash if only they'd add the built-in cam and mic as standard!


Gallop to the Hills (Jinny)
Gallop to the Hills (Jinny)
by Patricia Leitch
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely timeless classics. A series you will never forget!, 31 Dec. 2010
The Jinny & Shantih series were, and still are, my favourite books of all time (and I'm now 30!!). A wild, headstrong girl, and a wild, beautiful, mystical arab mare combine to create a magical and unforgettable series, beloved of pony mad kids and adults accross the world.

These books are not your average pony stories (or average STORIES in fact!). They contain elements of mysticism and pagan history, the characters are real, with personal battles the reader can empathise with. You will fall in love with Jinny the passionate, unruly teenager with flame red hair and temper to match. And like all horse lovers before you, you will forever dream of rescuing your own chestnut arab mare called Shantih!

A joy to read, and how wonderful they have been republished.

Buy the whole series and read in order if you can. Then pass them on to the next generation as these are timeless classics :)


Jinny of Finmory: For Love of a Horse (Jinnny of Finmory)
Jinny of Finmory: For Love of a Horse (Jinnny of Finmory)
by Patricia Leitch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book series of all time, a must-read, 31 Dec. 2010
The Jinny & Shantih series were, and still are, my favourite books of all time (and I'm now 30!!). A wild, headstrong girl, and a wild, beautiful, mystical arab mare combine to create a magical and unforgettable series, beloved of pony mad kids and adults accross the world.

These books are not your average pony stories (or average STORIES in fact!). They contain elements of mysticism and pagan history, the characters are real, with personal battles the reader can empathise with. You will fall in love with Jinny the passionate, unruly teenager with flame red hair and temper to match. And like all horse lovers before you, you will forever dream of rescuing your own chestnut arab mare called Shantih!

A joy to read, and how wonderful they have been republished.

Buy the whole series and read in order if you can. Then pass them on to the next generation as these are timeless classics :)


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