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Apollo 11 (UK)

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Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery
Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery
by Antonio Carluccio
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Truly scrumptious!, 21 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Quite possibly the best pasta cookbook I've read. You'd expect it from Caluccio, but the book is nevertheless gorgeous. Walk into a bargain bookstore, and you'll see oodles of pasta recipe books. But this, well, this is creme. Broken down into two parts: 'All About' and 'Recipes', the various chapters cover just about everything you'll ever need to know.

There's an excellent section on making (and identifying), the many different pastas, sauces, crucial Italian ingredients (and their roots), and with recipes broken down into... 'pastas in soup', '... with sauces', 'baked...', 'pasta salads and leftovers' and ' deserts' it's certainly thorough.

A great touch is how each recipe bears a small map, highlighting which region of Italy it came from. There's a paragraph from Carluccio himself on why it's a necessary part of the book - and the recipes are excellently laid out and clear.

Most of all, this is a beautiful book to look at. Quadrille are the Michelin star of cook books, and their designs, photography and layouts are, in my opinion, the best on the shelf today.

Truly scrumptious - and highly recommended.

AmazonBasics 10-Inch Black Sleeve for iPad Air / Kindle 8.9 Inch Tablet
AmazonBasics 10-Inch Black Sleeve for iPad Air / Kindle 8.9 Inch Tablet
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for the iPad Air, 9 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Great, great protection for the iPad. I've a few Amazon Basics, and they've all been excellent quality - but this iPad sleeve is the best so far. Made out of what feels like a diver's dry-suit type material, the sleeve is really well padded. The fit is snug but not tight, and if you're someone who takes theirs out of the house a lot, this has got to be the perfect sleeve for protection in bags.

And while it might be labelled a basic, in terms of look, the sleeve - in my opinion -- is far cooler than those bright, and rather fussy, coloured ones you can get.

Highly recommended.

Ultrasport Men's T-Shirt V-Neck  - Black, Small
Ultrasport Men's T-Shirt V-Neck - Black, Small
Price: 14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Cool; keeps its shape!, 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not up on the special processes used to make this t-shirt, but I was nevertheless surprised how cool it is to wear. I've only worn it during the day, not on a sports field, but I'd recommend this as a great, breathing t-shirt, that won't have you clammy.

Just as importantly, it washes well and retains its shape. So, for the money, this is a great buy.

NOCO G7200UK Genius Smart Battery Charger
NOCO G7200UK Genius Smart Battery Charger
Price: 38.82

5.0 out of 5 stars My new BEST charger..., 19 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not a mechanic, and will happily admit my knowledge of what goes on under the hood is limited - but this charger put my old one in the shade. Okay, it costs a little more than the average charger - but I can't imagine ever needing another one, this is so comprehensive. There are a couple of features I've not had to use (to save a majorly damaged battery, and because I only have the one car, haven't used anything but the 24V setting), but this is a great and responsive tool to use. There's a percentage counter, so you can see how fast this model works - and (a little thing I know, but) the connector leads are plenty long enough to make recharging a car battery easy in these days of not necessarily parking your car in the garage.

Really like that this model will give you an 'error' message if you've connected it incorrectly - and while the instructions are a bit on the tiny side, it doesn't require an electronics degree to get the most out of what is clearly a well designed machine.

Highly recommended.

Linksys EA6400 Dual Band AC1600 Smart Wi-Fi Router with Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0
Linksys EA6400 Dual Band AC1600 Smart Wi-Fi Router with Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0
Price: 92.55

3.0 out of 5 stars Great (but instructions could be better), 17 Jun 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had this up and running for three weeks now and, living in a two-floor house, it's served us pretty well. Some folks have complained that it's complicated to set up - and to an extent, I agree it could be simpler. There's little instruction beyond some basic steps; and I think this could have done with a couple of paragraphs on what it actually does - and how. I say that because the fact this booster doesn't just spread extra signal, but in fact has the facility to offer specific streams to named devices (including a 'guest' stream for visitors) is great... and actually simple to set up once you're running.

That said, getting this going is a bit trial and error... and there's a curious mind at work if, once they've told you to unplug your existing router in order to supplant this between it and your computer, they advise you to consult a web page if you're struggling to make sense of it all. Personally, I got by just plugging the thing in and making some educated guesses as to what I was supposed to do - but for the first ten minutes I could be found cursing the makers for sending something so bizarrely lacking in basic instruction.

But... once you're up, it's good. That said, like all routers, it can't do the impossible and push strong signal through brick walls. So if you're on separate floors and opposite corners of a house, you're still likely to find yourself walking your iPad closer in order to get an extra bar of signal.

But, for the money, I'd say (and it does seem that most of the boosters out there lack instruction) it does what you need!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2014 6:58 AM BST

Galt Toys Art Jar
Galt Toys Art Jar
Price: 7.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the money!, 17 Jun 2014
This review is from: Galt Toys Art Jar (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For the money, this is excellent. The four- and ten year-old sisters squealed with excitement, and that, I reckon, is the marker. Four weeks later, and they're still dipping into it; and it's still got untold treasure swishing around inside.

Some reviewers have grumbled about the amount of paper (creped and shredded), but I think they're expecting too much. if you tried to buy everything that was in this jar individually, it'd cost way more than the asking price. And to focus on the larger paper content, is to ignore everything else contained.

To be honest, I was as excited by this as the kids I gave it to - and I can't say its lost its thrill yet.

Go on, you know you want to!

Price: 9.68

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who stole the soul?, 14 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: ZABA (Audio CD)
If Glass Animals don't have bedrooms stuffed with late-period Rebirth of Cool compilations from the 90s, I'll eat my hat. Because that's where their collective head appears to be at on Zaba.

Once upon a time, a scene that (to the disdain of all those involved) became known as trip-hop, splintered into two. One strain grew so creamy (unchallenging and dull) it begat chillout, and faded into irrelevance. While other, more challenging acts (as chronicled on the Rebirth of Cool series from, and after, edition Phive) got all serious (and, likewise, eventually very dull) playing cerebral games with jungle angularity and time-signature-bucking jazz vocal flows.

In the latter's case, the woozy, narco beats and clever, underpinning turntablist samples were all very interesting; as were the meandering, almost stream of consciousness vocals. But by trading heart for smarts, the music also dumped its ability to move or emote, and disappeared up its own bong. And that, sadly, is where Glass Animals have slaved the formula too closely; because, while previous single Gooey is all sweet charm and engagement (as the hit that will bring people here), the rest of GA's debut album is challenging - but not in a great way.

Okay, GA's building and matching of ethno-jazz percussion loops to smart cut-up samples is admirable. But over an album's length, a formula emerges - and repeats (and repeats) to fade; a revolving exercise in style over sincerity not helped by vocalist David Bayley's tendency to kick off on a sinewy vocal and not let up. As Talking Heads once said (on the Stop Making Sense inner sleeve), singing is just a way to hold the listener's attention; but in Bayley's case, the overall feel is that he's frightened to stop singing lest he expose his music's ultimate lack of heart. Moreover, what he's going on about is rarely clear - and while a lack of sense has never stopped pop or rock music from hitting the sweet spot, whereas Bjork might be singing the telephone book for all the enraptured world knows, Bayley's seeming dadaist lyrics could actually do with some narrative hooks to justify the attention.

Compilations like Rebirth Of Cool worked because they curated acts who didn't do albums - and in Glass Animals' case, less is most definitely more.

11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 2
11+ Practice Tests for the CEM Test - Pack 2
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.15

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for practising / great for making up your mind, 15 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As reviewed by our 10 year old next-door neighbour, who ordered these to see whether she wanted to take the exam: "If you're considering the 11+, then these papers will be really helpful. They cover all aspects of the exam - through several practice papers, and accompanying sheets which not only gives the answers, but also explain the questions. Importantly, these tests will give you a taster of the 11+ if you're undecided - and with adult guidance, they'll help you prepare for exams. You'll need adult help, though, as you wouldn't be able to use them alone."

Strictly Come Dancing: 1: Tango Tangle
Strictly Come Dancing: 1: Tango Tangle
by Chloe Melody
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One 10 year old's fave book of the moment!, 15 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'll let our ten year old book fan from next door review Strictly Come Dancing #1 - "Dancing fans get clicking! Bella is an ordinary school girl, until she auditions for Strictly Dancing Academy and has the time of her life. Bella meets lots of new friends on her journey - but she also makes enemies. The author uses powerful descriptions to make her fantastic tale come alive - and the book is so good, you can't put it down. I will not spoil the ending, but all the way through the book you want to know if Bella gets into the academy."

PS. Our young fan read the book in one long day; which is testament to how good she found it. (Although, parents might want to take note: the story is so engrossing, they'll be buying the next books in the story before long.)

Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Inside Llewyn Davis [DVD] [2014]
Dvd ~ Oscar Isaac
Price: 9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slight but seriously powerful stuff..., 11 May 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Beautiful film - looks great, sounds mighty fine; and the period detail is some of the best I've seen. Centred around the hugely influential Greenwich Village folk music scene (the same one that launched Bob Dylan), this is almost a musical, so regularly are songs performed throughout. But for having been performed live, in actuality, on the sets, the music doesn't feel contrived, but alive - and I bet the performances move you.

Visually, in terms of production design, settings and costumes, Inside Llewyn Davis is a perfect example of how much the Coen brothers put into their films. It's atmospheric and, taking its cue from Bob Dylan's iconic The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album cover (along with hints of The Panic In Needle Park [DVD]), cold to the point of freezing. An effect the movie's colour-grade plays a major part in conjuring.

This is immersive movie-making, and you'll feel like you've been somewhere - back to a recent past that's familiar, but not in the usual cosy way of gobbit nostalgia. Because Llewyn Davis' is a truly bohemian world, without central heating and luxury; this isn't (like today) a time of disposable hip and easy fashion. If anything, this is where the whole notion of rebellious cool came from. Folk artists as the original punks.

That said, you'll get as much out of Inside Llewyn Davis as you put in. This isn't a sit back and be passively entertained kind of gig. You could come at it like that, but by film's end you'd probably be left feeling hollow, and rattled, because symbolism and context - mythology, even -- inform what, otherwise, might come across as vague storytelling.

Let's be honest, you have to work at Coen Brothers movies, so this might not be for everyone. But if you meet this movie halfway, I guarantee you, Inside Llewyn Davis will stay with you for days and you'll be watching it again (unlike so much of our DVD collections these days). And that's the payoff. You won't get all the thrills in one sitting (after which, the movie goes up on the shelf to gather dust); the experience is slow-burn.

I wouldn't class myself as a Coen Brothers fan - in fact, some of their movies have left me cold. But Inside Llewyn Davis, ironically, for all its wintery scape and cool, has real fire at its heart.


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