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Sheba Tray Sauce Lover Mixed Selection, 85 g, Pack of 3
Sheba Tray Sauce Lover Mixed Selection, 85 g, Pack of 3
Price: £11.97

3.0 out of 5 stars It's in the ingredients..., 30 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Cats aren't the best barometers! They're fussy and particular, and I doubt any two are the same. I wasn't sure he'd like Sheba - after all, he's been eating another brand for several years without any complaints. But even putting a treat on the top - a sure-fire way to get him grazing -- didn't work.

Which is not to say there's anything wrong with Sheba; it was just my cat's preference. That said, I checked the ingredients, and it doesn't seem there's anything particularly special in Sheba: in fact, in a given flavour (tune or chicken, say), there's only 4% meat or fish - the rest is made up of derivatives. Which makes Sheba no different to Felix or Whiskas.

So, as they say - you pays your money, and makes your choice.


Mindfulness: Living Through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in This Moment
Mindfulness: Living Through Challenges and Enriching Your Life in This Moment
by Richard W. Sears
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great guide and tool to mindfulness, 27 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Most 'self-help' books sell for being easily consumed. We want to get better, but either we're too busy to sit down and properly read up on the wheres and the whys - or too scared to peek inside. Either way, publishers trade on the myth of the easy-fix.

Sears' book falls into the other category. It's no flicker-book. I doubt card or book shops will stock it by the till - and it probably won't end up in people's bathrooms.

Which isn't to say this is a text-book. It could be; as it's well researched, insightful and expertly laid out. It's engaging and well written; humorous in all the right places - and for the author's voice, a great friend to go exploring with. But, I guess, what I'm trying to get across is that it's reassuringly thorough.

We're simple - and complicated -- creatures. Our intellects over-ride our bodies; we tell ourselves we're okay, that there's a pill for everything. That, even illness is temporary. But, really, we're just machines. And machines always, eventually, go wrong. If we overwork them, steam comes out, and bits break.

It's an easy idea to get our heads around - but, again, modern life and our egos get in the way, telling us to keep grinding away. Mindfulness, however, teaches us (as does meditation: the practice upon which 'mindfulness' is based, by way of a western re-brand) that there's energy to be found in little silences. That, if we become aware of and hunt out these little silences, we can draw upon them. Use them as anchor-points; as stepping stones, to get through the day.

To get to read a book like Sears' is to be given a great tour around the way we work on the inside. Our consciousness work on many levels (obviously, otherwise we wouldn't need books like this to reveal our true natures), and the chemicals our thoughts generate, via stress or sadness or anger, or exhaustion, impact on the way our cogs turn.

And once we understand this, becoming aware of silence is a revelation - because it is the realisation as to how crowded our lives really are. Music, television, computers, traffic; city streets - we never give our senses, or our brains, a moment to rest. And machines that never stop, inevitably, have a tendency to go wrong.

Obviously no book is ever going to cure us. We have to do that ourselves. But Sears' Mindfulness is one of the best 'self-help' books - the guides to better self awareness that I've come across.

As it is, I reckon this book would be excellent for anybody who feels like they need to do some work on themselves. Sure, you're going to need to set time aside to read it. But in doing so, you'll get to know more about yourself and - ironically - stop for long enough to enjoy the break.

It would be great as a learning tool for a therapist in-training, given how thorough it is.

Highly recommended.


Carmex Original Tube and Pot - (Pack of 2)
Carmex Original Tube and Pot - (Pack of 2)
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this stuff!, 23 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My golly, the tube is goooood. Okay, sure - lip-balm is lip-balm. Or so I thought until I tried Carmex. Both the tube and pot are excellent, but the tube tops it, for the ability to really get a good gloss on.

Ultimately, though, the proof is in the product - and Carmex, unlike a great many balms, doesn't dry your lips out. The hint of fennel has a menthol effect. And once applied, lasts an age.

Price-wise, I'd say these are really competitive. But, for me, the tube wins.

Highly recommended.


HP Standard Sleeve for 15.6 inch - White
HP Standard Sleeve for 15.6 inch - White
Price: £21.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Best sleeve I've had..., 30 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first couple of carriers I had for my laptop were - in order -- a veritable briefcase, with a strap worthy of a bazooka; and then, a wetsuit-type sleeve so lightweight that had I dropped my computer, it would have done nothing to save the day.

This HP sleeve, however, is brilliantly placed between the two. From the outside, it's slick, with a leather-like appearance. And from within, there's fir lining, which gives it some padding. I'm not sure whether the white will stay, well, white for too long. But otherwise, it's a great sleeve. The side-pocket is plenty roomy, and not so tight on the sleeve, making storage of pens, etc, comfortable.

Excellent


Rexel A4 Budget 2 Ring Binder - Assorted Colour (Pack of 10)
Rexel A4 Budget 2 Ring Binder - Assorted Colour (Pack of 10)
Price: £20.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value folders..., 30 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Thought these were excellent value. To get 10 at this price is fantastic, and a huge encouragement to get my filing in order.

Buying files can be off-putting - the thought of having to go out and spend a fortune on more than one ring binder, is enough to make anyone stuff everything into a single purchase. But at this price for 10, well, hello, organisation.

Okay, they're not super-sturdy, as if they're made out of MDF (they're plastic; flexible), but they're perfect for projects. And getting 10 - two in each colour: green, black, red, blue and yellow -- is great value.

Highly recommended.


Rexel A4 Advance Stay Put Pocket and Prong Folder - Navy (Pack of 5)
Rexel A4 Advance Stay Put Pocket and Prong Folder - Navy (Pack of 5)
Price: £11.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Fussy with the flaps..., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Interesting... but I'm not entirely convinced by these Rexel binders. They're very clever: their spines are concertinaed, so they'll expand to how ever much paper is added. Plus, there are several flaps (one on either inside), and a fastened pocket (seen in the pic, on the lower back). But they're fiddly; a bit like a boy-racer's Escort - all tricked out with little details that, rather than elevating them, render them gimmicky. And I think, after a few days use - opening and closing them in class or at meetings -- all the flaps and fastening items would get on your nerves.

Less is more, to be honest.


GILDA Perfect Eye Cream
GILDA Perfect Eye Cream
Price: £31.58

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best eye cream I've used, 9 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Blimey, this is good stuff. First things first: the tube is long, so there's plenty to this purchase. Okay, it's not cheap, but - hand on heart -- this is the best under-eye cream I've ever used.

The applicator is clever: rather than squeezing the cream onto your finger, the nozzle has a slanted head, smoothed off edges and tiny pin-prick holes in the head, allowing for direct-to-skin transfer. It's a neat little feature.

The star is the cream itself, though. And right from the first use I noticed an obvious difference. In fact, it was so good that, given I suffer from dreadful bags, I had a blatant lightened stripe running under each eye.

The first couple of goes the skin under my eyes felt warm, but as the cream is slowly absorbed, it settled down. And now, well, I can see what all the fuss was about. You get what you pay for, surely enough. But GILDA's eye cream is pretty darn fantastic.


Toni & Guy Men Styling Fibre - 75 ml
Toni & Guy Men Styling Fibre - 75 ml
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Strong, feels natural - gorgeous smell..., 1 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Gorgeous smell. Something to do with oranges and cinnamon, maybe some cloves - not too sweet, but neither is it strong and pungent. Just lovely. And while there's always a strength issue with styling products, irrespective of whether they're from salons or supermarkets, this Toni & Guy styling fibre is just right. Not so toxic that it cakes your hair and makes you look like you've been dipped in sugar-water... Nevertheless, there's plenty of strength there - and the ability to remould. A bonus being that, if I run my fingers through my hair, they don't come out gloopy.

I've got short hair right now, and the control is spot-on.


A Robot In The Garden
A Robot In The Garden
by Deborah Install
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Fab, lovely and a sure hit, 26 Mar. 2015
This review is from: A Robot In The Garden (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For a first time writer, this is pretty darn good. Funny, sweet and touching, A Robot In The Garden follows the tale of Ben, who finds what appears to be a robot at the bottom of his garden. Much against his wife's advice, he brings it - Tang -- home, and from there, the two bond. There's a journey to be had - physical and spiritual -- and in taking this step to actually achieving something for once, Tang does as much for Ben as he the little robot.

Think Paddington for adults - with a little Nick Hornby thrown in. Install's debut novel is a joy, and bound to be a hit this year.


The Lives of Women
The Lives of Women
by Christine Dwyer Hickey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't go anywhere, 21 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Lives of Women (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Started off with such promise, but The Lives Of Women misses that one fundamental ingredient: a plot.

There's no denying Dwyer Hickey can write - and she has an eye for life's little details -- but without any sense of jeopardy, this book fails to engage. I kept waiting for it to kick in, but, instead, it just kept drifting around. I also felt that I should care about the main character, as she's not well and, obviously, going through some life experiences that will stay with her, but ultimately I stopped caring about a third of the way through. There's also a weird lack of location: I kept double-checking the blurb on the back, because, at times (especially when the author talks about people going to a pub), it's not obviously set in America... a bizarre lack of geographic description at odds with the writer's otherwise canny observations on everyday life.

Pity. The first two pages were amongst the best I've read for a long time.


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