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Breakfast (United Kingdom)

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The Tale of Tallest Rabbit
The Tale of Tallest Rabbit
by Rodrigo D Lopez
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually tall for a rabbit, 25 Jan. 2016
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Tallest Rabbit is a whole lot of sweet-natured, whimsical fun. It is a story about rabbits who are not all rabbits and about an adventure in a land of monsters and talking animals where stories are currency. The central story provides a frame for the various tales used in payment as our heroes travel across the realm meeting new friends and confronting various types of peril.

One of the things that makes this enjoyable is the way that Rodrigo is playing with the stories here - whenever the shape of a narrative gets too far onto the straight and narrow he drops a little twist or gives a brief nudge to the fourth wall to switch direction. The stories themselves are often in a quite traditional fable form, but the messages they carry are not the ones you might expect from the way they begin. They are funny and clever and wise and sweet, often all at the same time. The types of story different characters tell reveal things about the tellers and if there is an underlying theme to the book it is that in a way our character is the stories we tell and that the narratives we carry are a unique treasure in their own right, one that we have earned for ourselves but that offers the most value in sharing.

It’s a brief book that never outstays it’s welcome, split up into neat bite-sized chunks- if you are of a parental disposition it would be great to share with your children, something you could read to them and that they could read for themselves. I enjoyed it a lot and I really hope it gets the attention it deserves. I also hope we get to see more stories from Rodrigo- his imagination and vision are unique and intriguing, it would be good to see where else they can take us.

Sennheiser PC 8 USB Internet Telephony On-Ear Headset
Sennheiser PC 8 USB Internet Telephony On-Ear Headset
Price: £34.37

4.0 out of 5 stars These are not the most comfortable headset to wear, 19 Sept. 2015
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These are not the most comfortable headset to wear, but compared with everything else I have tried, they sound brilliant. I'm currently working on recording a podcast with a group of friends spread around the country and I have chosen these as our standard headset because they offer a good sound quality at a very reasonable price.

Functional JavaScript: Introducing Functional Programming with Underscore.js
Functional JavaScript: Introducing Functional Programming with Underscore.js
by Michael Fogus
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.27

4.0 out of 5 stars JavaScript: The Better Parts, 19 Sept. 2015
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If you're interested in taking your JavaScript to a more advanced level, this is a great book showing the functional side of the language ( which is strongly influenced by Scheme during its creation ) and giving you a chance to use it to explore functional programming techniques. I have read a few books on functional programming and the concepts have never fully stuck, but this one - perhaps because it starts with a language I already know in depth - has really helped me to grasp them and to see places that they would be useful.

It also gives a good introduction to the Underscore library, which I have used for a few years and now feels very much like the missing part of the language for me.

If you are an experienced programmer who wants to improve your JavaScript this is well worth a read, particularly if you come from a more object-oriented background in a language like C# or Java and you find yourself spending more time than you would like trying to understand what "this" refers to at any given point, this will really help.

An ideal follow-up to "The Good Parts" in any JavaScript programmer's education.

Best Crossfit Skipping Rope / Jump Rope - For Professional & Fast Double Unders
Best Crossfit Skipping Rope / Jump Rope - For Professional & Fast Double Unders
Offered by Susama
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars a great addition to a workout programme, 19 Sept. 2015
Lightweight, convenient and very practical, a great addition to a workout programme.

Mythica - A Quest for Heroes [DVD]
Mythica - A Quest for Heroes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Melanie Stone
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.95

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly, lightweight and clichéd, but entertaining nonetheless, 6 July 2015
This is a low-budget, fairly silly, film that is so deep in RPG tropes that it's pretty much a movie of someone's D&D game.

The world is divided into people who think the previous sentence is the worst thing they have ever heard of, and people who think it is awesome in a kind of corny way. For the first group, this is a one-star film and there are plenty of them reviewing this. For those of us who enjoy things that are fun, this has a lot to recommend it. The characters are exactly the characters you expect - even down to having a fighter/thief/cleric/wizard party - and do pretty much the things you expect them to do. The one-liners are frequent and leave almost no cliché unturned. The script is undeniably some words. If these are things you appreciate, then you're going to love this movie.

There certainly are things to criticise- why does half the film take place with a night filter obscuring things? why so many shots of the party just wandering about? why is everyone in the world so freaking white? - but then exploring those inexplicable elements is part of the fun as well. With a film like this, sometimes you're laughing with it and sometimes you're laughing at it, and that's how it's supposed to be. We're not looking at a deep exploration of a unique and intriguing world- a small party of heroes striding about the place, exchanging exactly the banter you expect, and fighting monsters with a certain low-budget panache, well, it put a smile on my face.

You need to go in with realistic expectations ( tricky when the cover is apparently from the sequel and consists entirely of things that aren't in the actual film ) but if you do, especially if you have a group of geeky friends to watch it with, this is undoubtedly worth a few quid of your money.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 21, 2015 6:41 AM GMT

The Essence Of Good Horsemanship
The Essence Of Good Horsemanship
by Ross Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the definitive books on horsemanship, 5 Mar. 2015
One of the problems with most of the great horse trainers and clinicians is that although they are brilliant at working with horses or explaining what is happening with the horse in front of them, they are not always as good at teaching humans as they are at teaching horses and - at the next layer of remove - the number of definitive books on horsemanship can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Ross Jacobs is a clinician, a trainer and a writer and in all of those settings he stands out for his excellent communication skills, with people as well as horses.

In this book, Ross sets out to explore what lies at the very heart of horsemanship. Unlike many books in the field, it isn't tied to any particular discipline or style of riding but instead seeks to draw out what lies in common across disciplines and of course at the heart of them all is the horse. There are many books on how to train horses to peak fitness, how to improve your performance over fences or in the dressage arena but none of them really go into any depth on how to work with a horse's mind although that is usually the single most powerful governing factor in both the performance of the horse and the relationship between horse and rider. The Essence Of Good Horsemanship fills that gap.

The book explores three central pillars of working with the horse - Focus, Clarity and Softness and considers how to develop all three and how each one affects the other two. It is broken up into short chapters, each separating out an important idea and exploring it in detail. The writing is clear and easy to follow, combining expertise, personal experience and scientific evidence to shine light on topics that are traditionally difficult to grasp but become accessible through Ross' writing. Reading this there will be many "light-bulb" moments for any horse owner where ideas suddenly fit together into a new understanding, often answering questions we didn't know that we had.

This is not a "how-to" book, instead it is a "why" book. It explores the reasons that some techniques work better and others less well and also raises ethical questions about why one would choose one approach or another. Not everyone who reads it will agree with everything here - in fact the book challenges us to question our own ideas and everything we hear about horses from any source - but anybody who is involved with horses will find more than enough valuable content here to make it more than worth reading and returning to time and again.

Highly recommended for anybody interested in horses and horsemanship - wherever you are in your process of learning, this book will hold something for you.

Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky)
Range of Ghosts (Eternal Sky)
by Elizabeth Bear
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fantasy from different roots, 24 Dec. 2014
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If you enjoy the fantasy genre but have grown tired of the standard tropes out of European mythology mixed in with a few ideas borrowed from Tolkien and D&D, then something that takes it's folklore from Central Asia and then builds something distinctive and interesting from that, might appeal to you.

Cold Magic: Spiritwalker: Book One
Cold Magic: Spiritwalker: Book One
by Kate Elliott
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, satisfying and confoundedly good reading, 24 Dec. 2014
Point one, which is the important one that you should attend to: This is an outstanding book - managing to be clever and fun, drawing you into a world of depth and history that is revealed as the story builds up.

We're in a 19th Century Europe where the last ice age persisted, magic works and things are culturally very different. There is radicalism and technological progress in the air, but the ruling princes and cold-mage houses are seeking to maintain the status quo. There is a lot to enjoy about the world-building here, the way that cultures are drawn together to create the setting, the mysterious spirit world that lies in parallel with the mundane one and the dangers and powers of magic.

A great setting would be nothing without interesting characters, and our heroine is both well drawn and credible - she gets herself into trouble and gets out of it, sometimes she gets distracted by handsome men instead of her immediate struggle, in dangerous situations she may be terrified, but she also shows sparks of humour, something that fictional characters in dire straits seldom seem to retain, but real people often do. The characters around her are also intriguing and as a reader our views of them develop as we see more of their actions and understand more of their motivations. By the end certain characters were making me smile just by entering a scene, which is a sure sign that I am entirely engaged with a book

As for the story, it's clever, action-packed and compellingly told, as history and lies are exposed and every question answered raises two more questions that you need to solve even more urgently. Also - and this is important for volumes in a trilogy - it finishes at a satisfying conclusion - there is clearly more story ahead, but this book contained itself well.

So if you like strong stories featuring interesting characters in beautifully realised, culturally diverse and original worlds, this might be the kind of book you enjoy. It's easy to use the term "unputdownable", but this one I read so fast I virtually inhaled it.

Alarms In The Heart
Alarms In The Heart
Offered by Squirrelsounds
Price: £6.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong album of depth and elegant songwriting, 24 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Alarms In The Heart (Audio CD)
It is always challenging for a band to follow up an excellent debut and Dry The River's Shallow Bed was a good album by any standards. After a successful arrival it must be tempted to try and continue in that vein, to produce more of the same.

Alarms In The Heart is not more of the same.

This is less acoustic than their first album, it exists in a dark echoey space with sweeps of clean electric guitars, bursts of driving rhythm and Peter Liddle's sweet tones arching overhead like winter stars. The memorable tunes and harmonies are still intact and it is very clearly the same band, but focussed on a different aspect of their sound. It seems as though Liddle is incapable of writing a bad lyric- each song here is immaculately crafted, deftly shaping his trademark mixture of biblical images and autobiographical storytelling. The band push a little harder here, sometimes bursting into twisting fireworks of distorted guitar, other times drifting away into distant space as the songs stretch from quiet corners to wild open-hearted anthems and back again.

There aren't any songs here as immediate as "No Rest" - for that matter there are very few songs anywhere as immediate as "No Rest" - but this is a consistently strong album, worth listening to as a whole. I have been playing it a lot over the last few weeks and every time I hear it I like it a little more. It is a beautiful, spacious record, full of moments of transient beauty that hook their way into your subconscious so you want to go back and seek them out again and again. The shade and texture of it constitute a perfect soundtrack for autumn days and deepening evenings. Strongly recommended.

Easy Camp Tent Tipi
Easy Camp Tent Tipi

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A terrible design, badly implemented, 31 May 2014
This review is from: Easy Camp Tent Tipi (Sports)
I wanted a tall tent and this looked like a great design- simple, easy to put up and spacious. It is all of those things.

However, there are several glaring flaws:

Firstly it leaks. Water just pours in. Different people have different priorities but I think a tent that keeps the water on the outside is a fairly common aspiration. It's not all bad news, though - the groundsheet is completely waterproof. That is all well and good except the water that comes in through everywhere else can't go anywhere so you wake up in a lake with all your belongings soaked. I know this because it happened to me. That is not a typical part of an enjoyable camping experience.

Secondly it is not sufficiently stable, so if there is wind it will almost certainly blow down. That is augmented by the fact it packs with tent pegs of a similar thickness to the average paperclip. If you use this on dry clay ( and as I have mentioned above, you really don't want to use it in wet conditions ) those pegs are going to bend completely out of shape. If they do go into the ground and the wind blows they will pull out or just bend and the guys will pull free of them. Then your tent will collapse and everything will get even wetter than it was before. I know this because it happened to me.

Thirdly the design means that it is almost impossible to stop the walls from sagging in. When they make contact with anything in the tent, the tiny amount of waterproofing the tent offers will be utterly negated and your belongings will get even more wet, if that was possible given how wet they probably were already.

Basically, the way it works is that if you like to sleep out under the stars, fully exposed to all the elements, but not actually able to *see* the stars, this might be the tent for you. Otherwise I sincerely recommend that you avoid it unless you only plan to camp in absolutely dry, still conditions.

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