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Reviews Written by
Elise (Southend on Sea, UK)

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Le Creuset Cool Tool, 20.5 cm, Blue (No Longer Available)
Le Creuset Cool Tool, 20.5 cm, Blue (No Longer Available)

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful, 17 Mar. 2006
The multimat is a ridged circular silicone mat of 8" (20.5cm) diameter. It is all the things the previous reviewer said it is, versatile, heat resistant (up to 425oC it claims) and grips things excellently. I generally leave it lying next to my cooker and then it's right there to use as a pan stand, and accessible to be used to grab small things out of the oven, take lids off jars etc. It is fairly expensive for what looks like one of those grip things that you use to take off stuck jar lids, which, as I've said, it does well, but it is so much more versitile with being heat resistant.

I don't find it quite as invaluable as some of my other Le Creuset stuff, such as the spatulas (those I'd be lost without these days), but it is very useful and I can recommend it.


Typhoon Stainless Steel and Acrylic Mist Oil Sprayer
Typhoon Stainless Steel and Acrylic Mist Oil Sprayer

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic for low-fat cooking, 17 Mar. 2006
I bought this about 6 months ago when I started a serious low fat diet. I have since lost 2.5 stones (!) and although it is by no means all due to this, this little pump-action oil-spray has been in continual use. It allows me to still get the great taste that you get when you brown things off in a pan, without adding more than a negligible amount of extra fat. As you fill it yourself with your favourite oil for frying, you don't have to buy the pre-packed oil sprays from the supermarkets that have all sorts of extra additives. Long term it also saves money too.
Highly recommended! Please amazon, if you can, put it back on sale.


Belkin Leather Flip Case for Palm Zire
Belkin Leather Flip Case for Palm Zire
Offered by MarkdownElectricals
Price: £5.59

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good case for Zire/Zire 21; useless for the Z22, 7 Mar. 2006
A year ago I reviewed this (non-leather, whatever the description may say) flip-case, which was excellent when I was still using my Zire 21. A year later, through no fault of its own, my Zire 21 is well and truly dead (I accidentally knocked it into a sink of water - good tip for what not to do to PDAs!), and I now have a Z22. The flip case has had to be consigned to the bin (after about 9 months of hard use the press-stud closure broke, but this is not why it got binned as it could have easily been used without the fastening) as it simply isn't suitable for the Z22, which is an entirely different design.

The Zire and Zire 21 were basically the same PDA, at least on the outside, with all of the buttons etc. identically placed. The Z22 is a much-updated version, with an entirely new design - good design, I must add, but very different to the Zires. It is a bit smaller so does not fit snugly in this case and, as all the buttons (especially the on/off button) are in different places, it is essentially useless as a case for the Z22.

I can still recommend it to people who are using Zires and Zire 21s, though not as whole-heartedly as when it was cheaper, then it was a real bargain as well as being a good design.


Chocky (Puffin plus)
Chocky (Puffin plus)
by JOHN WYNDHAM
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best John Wyndham, but still very enjoyable, 7 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Chocky (Puffin plus) (Paperback)
John Wyndham is one of my very favourite authors, and I would say that his "The Chrysalids" is my second favourite book of all that I've read (my favourite is Nevil Shute's "A Town Like Alice", I can read it over and over; and if you haven't read these two books now, go out and do so immediately!). I've also read his "Day of the Triffids" (also excellent), "The Kraken Wakes" (rather too like the "Triffids" in its premise, but also very good) and "The Midwich Cuckoos" (which inspired the film "The Village of the Damned" and was a strong story and a good read). Chocky somehow seems less substantial than these others. Although I may be totally wrong about this, it almost gives the impression that it may have started life as a short story and later been a little expanded to make it into a short novel, or perhaps it may have been one of his very early attempts at a science-fiction novel, re-worked in later life.

Given that all novels are a product of their time and must be taken within the social and cultural context in which they are written, some attitudes which would now be considered unacceptable need to be overlooked. However, all of Wyndham's other books that I have read have contained major female characters with relatively strong personalities and minds of their own. The books seem to have a real flavour of the forties or early fifties (which was exactly right in the other books that I have mentioned, because that's exactly when they were written), and therefore some things have to be looked at in this light, and understood. However, in Chocky, there is far more overt sexism and women generally seem fairly two-dimensional - for all it was first published in the late sixties. Matthew, who is the young boy who hears the voice "Chocky" talking to him, is adopted, and his mother, Mary, (I've just had to go back and check the name, which tells you just how much notice I took of the character) seems to go from lamenting her lack of a child, to blaming him for the fact that she can't see either herself or his father in him when anything goes wrong, to being treated like a doormat by the members of her large family. She one-dimensional and is portrayed as conforming to many negative female stereotypes, which I find highly irritating.
Although I have picked on the characterisation of the mother in particular in this case, I think that all of the characters are rather sketchily drawn, and that one can find less to identify with than in other Wyndham books. As is usual in his books, the story is told in the first person, from the perspective of Matthew's father, David, in this case. However, he also is a character without great depth, and overall, the characterisation in the book leaves us feeling that something is lacking. Perhaps what also put me off was that the characters, as well as their lives were so suburbanly "normal", where his other books usually have one or two slightly quirky characters, or a very unusual situation for very "ordinary" types to live through.
Having thought about what I have just typed, anyone reading this must be wondering why on Earth I have given it a four-star rating. I actually had no intention to be so disparaging. One of the things that I have most enjoyed and admired about Wyndham's other books is the way I which he tells a story that has a lot in it, both in terms of narrative and characterisation, in such a small space. In this book, which is even shorter than most, it appears that something had to be cut back on and it was the characters' depth of personality.
Overall, though, the book is a well told story and I enjoyed it thoroughly, I just would not recommend it quite as highly as Wyndham's other books, and I would certainly recommend anyone who is thinking of reading Wyndham's books to start on "Chrysalids", "Triffids" or "Cuckoos" first. Wyndham is an author who took the genre of science fiction and made it into something very skilfully understated (and dare I say very British). Even those who would not touch most sci-fi should try these. Don't be put off by the label, they are far more sophisticated and deftly written than the run-of-the-mill, and a million miles away in content and narrative from conventional sci-fi. Do try this book if you've already read some Wyndham, but try one of his others first if you have not.


The Pianist (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003]
The Pianist (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Adrien Brody
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £2.36

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying in its realism, 7 Mar. 2006
This is a film that makes one realise that nothing can be more disturbing than man's inhumanity to man. Certainly nothing in the horror genre is nearly so sickeningly shocking in its appalling cruelty or true horror.
This is the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a man who before Germany's invasion of Poland had been a popular classical pianist on the radio, and his lucky survival of the Warsaw ghetto and a narrow escape from Treblinka, even though the rest of his family were not so lucky. This luck is not due to his own actions in any way, it becomes obvious that he and all of those around him are gradually being desensitised to the brutality around them, it is simply a matter of fate that he survives the war.
Although it is brilliantly filmed and the actors show a profound sensitivity for their subject, I've only given it 4/5 because I can't actually bring myself to like it. It is a film that everyone should see, it reminds us, even more graphically than did Schindler's List, of what we should learn from the worst atrocities of the twentieth century. That doesn't make it a pleasant or an easy film to watch. There is nothing uplifting in the film, and if you have a similar reaction to me you will find yourself shaken and depressed after the film is over.


Viking 128MB Secure Digital Flash Memory Card (MLC)
Viking 128MB Secure Digital Flash Memory Card (MLC)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It works very well in my Palm, 4 Mar. 2006
I have a Palm Zire 31, which has a secondary function as an MP3 player, when you use an SD card as the memory to hold the songs. While I can't comment on the technical detail that some of the other reviewers have given, what I can say is that it lived up to expectations. It can't hold more than 2 - 3 CDs worth of music, but I knew that when I bought it, and it is, for me, just an added extra which I use when I have to use public transport rather than drive, so it just gets occasional use.
The card has performed in every way exactly as I expected it to, as an MP3 memory. I can't comment on how it would be in a digital camera or another device. So cheap and old technology it might be, as another reviewer commented, but the quality it good and if that's the case, then surely cheap is actually an advantage? If you want to use an SD card the same way I do but have the same capacity as a small iPod, then you'll need to spend a fair bit more and get the 1Gb version of this, but if you just want to carry a couple of album's worth of music for "emergencies" then I can highly recommend it.


Typhoon Professional Stoneware 500Ml Measuring Jug
Typhoon Professional Stoneware 500Ml Measuring Jug

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more attractive than a glass jug, 4 Mar. 2006
Typhoon's stoneware is a glazed white pottery which has a quality feel to it. I also have a couple of bowls and a couple of oven dishes in the same range (i.e. also Typhoon's stoneware), so I can say that this is true of all the products. It is a standard 500ml size (so just short of a pint) and the markings which are on the inside, so that you can see what volume you have filled it to are in a pretty powder-blue, and more importantly, in both ml and fl oz.
The thing I like most about the jug, though, is the shape, which is straight sided, taller and narrower than the dumpy glass jugs that you usually get to measure liquid. Definitely has more elegance than a bog-standard glass measuring jug.
Even though it might be slightly easier to read the liquid level through glass sides rather than by peering in the top of the jug, to me, the aesthetic qualities of this measuring jug far outweigh that slight disadvantage. Overall, highly recommended.


Le Creuset Silicone Spoon Spatula, Volcanic
Le Creuset Silicone Spoon Spatula, Volcanic
Offered by GRAGO LLC

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable tool for the kitchen, 4 Mar. 2006
This is a wooden handled spatula with a flexible (but not wobbly) BRIGHT orange silicone head, overall about 30cm (12") long and the head must be about 9cm (3.5"). It's wonderfully versatile and very heat resistant (I have to admit when I first got my first silicone spatula I was a little doubtful as the head's texture is rubbery, so you instinctively think it should melt, but you can lay it against the base of a hot frying pan without any adverse effects). I actually think that the colour is the best thing about it (especially if you have any of the Le Creuset Volcanic cookware) as it is only the head that is orange and I like a splash of colour around my kitchen. My only slight niggle is that if you are stirring a deep dish of anything, or if you stir vigorously and splash the handle then leave it dirty for more than a couple of minutes you may stain it - beware curries or bolognese sauce. However, even though my wooden handles have some stains, they are very slight (certainly no more than you'd find on a well-used wooden spoon) and this and my other spatulas are very well used. The head is simple to clean, whether in the dishwasher or just the sink, because it is non-stick, but the handle cannot go into a dishwasher - it doesn't take a moment to clean outside one, but if you go for fully dishwasher-proof on everything you might not be so keen. It is much more practical than a wooden spoon though for stirring, and this "model" though it is more of a shallow spoon than a spatula. The other "ordinary" spatulas are better for scraping out pans/dishes, but this is a more versatile all-round replacement for a large wooden spoon.

Highly recommended! I have the whole set of Le creuset spatulas now and I simply can't imagine cooking without them.


Le Creuset Pot Holder, Blue
Le Creuset Pot Holder, Blue

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Single Oven-Mitt, 9 Feb. 2006
This potholder is the high quality you'd expect from Le Creuset and I use it frequently. It is thick enough not to burn yourself but not so thick as to make the glove bulky & unwieldy. I really like the royal(ish) blue colour as it blends in with most of my other kitchen textiles & gadgets, but if you don't like it there are other coulours to choose from. The only reason I'm not giving it a 5-star rating is that the pot holder is only just big enough to cover down to very top of your wrist, which means a busy cook can catch her/his wrist on the side of the oven/oven door and get burned. In my experience, you'll only do it a couple of times before you learn to be more careful using it, but it does take it down to 4 stars from 5.

I would still recommend it as a piece of high quality kitchen textiles, but just be careful, especially if you (like me) have large hands, you may want to go for something with better wrist protection.


Le Creuset SaucePan x3 Set, Volcanic
Le Creuset SaucePan x3 Set, Volcanic

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Without doubt, the best pans I've ever had, 5 Feb. 2006
I find it difficult to believe that anyone can criticise these pans simply because they aren't non-stick. I wonder whether the person who criticised them because of that had ever tried using them, as except the one time I burned what I was cooking, nothing has ever stuck to the pan. Even better, once I soaked the pan for a couple of hours, the burned on stuff came off no problem. Also, because they aren't non-stick if I ever do have to scrub them to get off burned on stuff, at least I won't take off half the coating with the food, and the literature tells me that as I use the pans they will develop a natural non-stick patina which will work as well as Teflon.

They are fantastic, though heavy and therefore not necessarily something you'd want a child or a frail elderly person to use. The quality is incomparable with anything else I've used before. They heat up fairly quickly, but once they are hot, they stay that way for ages, and need just a low heat from the ring to remain bubbling merrily (it has the added advantage that if you want to be a bit greedy and go back for seconds, as long as you've put the lid on whatever you were cooking, there's no need to re-heat at least within an hour or so). The phenolic handles (like a durable matt plastic-type black stuff) is apparently ovenproof to 200oC, though I haven't tried it yet, but I have to say that that makes them extremely versatile.

I know that they seem expensive, but I would recommend these to anyone, especially as this set of 3 costs less than buying the 3 pans separately would be, and actually buying them this way, they are really little more expensive than any other good quality 3-pan set would be. If you like cooking, try not to think of them as expensive, merely as a good value investment for the future, as they are so solidly built that they should last you a lifetime.

Oh, and lastly, they are attractive enough that if you leave them on top of your cooker they won't merely look untidy, but decorative. I do this because I have a small kitchen, and it frees up extra cupboard space for me!


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