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M. Walton (England, UK)

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Happy Feet - Black 3 Stripe - Slippers
Happy Feet - Black 3 Stripe - Slippers
Offered by Happy Feet Slippers USA
Price: £17.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great pair of oversized novelty slippers. Fun to wear., 17 Nov. 2012
I bought a pair of green & grey happy feet slippers from the official web site over three years ago, and I'm still wearing them now.

First thing I noticed is that they are a little furrier than my previous ones. Still the same great quality and appearance you'd expect from Happy Feet. The soles have grips (which are the words 'buyhappyfeet') and are made from 1 inch thick foam. This will wear down over time, particularly on the heels, but they're still comfortable. The laces can be tied and untied, but don't actually function as a normal lace would. So you can't really tighten them, but with the amount of padding stuffed throughout the slippers, you wouldn't really need to.

I'm a size 10UK and bought the XL size - which fits perfectly. Don't worry about a wide or narrow fit, as the slippers take any width. They are quite stiff to start with, and, in comparison to the pair I already own, defiantly more snug across the tops and bottoms. So it will take a little while to break them in, but the slippers will eventually mould themselves around your feet over time. Like most novelty slippers, they're not as practical as normal ones, so to start with, you might find yourself stomping (instead of walking) around, a little like being in snow. I wouldn't advise wearing them outside otherwise the bottoms would get ruined. I can't say how long they'll last if worn a lot of the time, every day. I only wear mine in the mornings, (and evenings occasionally). I just assume it's how well they're looked after. I'm not too sure about putting them in the washing machine, but washing by hand should suffice, if the soles or tops became dirty.

For little over £16 (with free delivery) I think that's a fair price. I ordered them on a Friday morning and they arrived Saturday at eight o'clock-ish by courier. Considering it's free super saver delivery - that's not bad at all.
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The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
by J. K. Rowling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A descriptive, yet chilling portrayal of a part of life, which some will appreciate..., 15 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Casual Vacancy (Hardcover)
...and others will not. Having finished the book two nights ago, my thoughts were more than somewhat negative. I could not relate to any of the characters very much, and the plot depicts aspects of life that are, perhaps a little foreign to most. On reflection, however, I must say that it's not a bad read, although the storyline will certainly dishearten some readers. It took a little while afterwards to see whole picture, and perhaps see past the grey smog that surrounds the characters - to acknowledge there are two sides to the story, however tough that may be to see.

Although it's not easy. It is difficult at times, I grant you that, not to be judgemental towards to characters because of whom they are and what they do. The book's not light reading, and I needed to think at times, after keeping up with who's who, not to rush to conclusions. It's too easy to vilify the youngsters because of their age, and lack of rationality, but you soon see the adults are just as bad, and sometimes much worse. What made me change my mind from a negative review was perhaps, realism. If Terri had seen the error of her ways, and changed overnight, it would become a fairytale, and I would think the author's lost her marbles. This is certainly at the other end of the spectrum from how soaps/reality television grasp today's dilemmas.

This book addresses many of today's predicaments & subjects, some of which are not pleasant. This, I think, is where some, but not all, of the negative reviews come into place. Although I must say that Jo does so vividly, and not vaguely. There's no beating around the bush regarding what someone's doing, whether drinking, smoking, taking drugs, bullying, stealing, or being violent to name a few. Every family in the book has its problems, some more vicious than others. I don't think there's a run-of-the-mill character in sight. As much as a society, we would like to see [good/better] changes, sometimes they just don't happen, or happen quickly enough. Other times, we rush headlong into situations without consideration. This book exemplifies that.

Krystal appears to be a piece of work - she's rude, a bully, inconsiderate, a thief, and a nasty girl. Or is she? No. Not entirely, anyway. Surprisingly, there are far worse people than her in this book. To the people she's been rude to/bullied they will have their own opinion, as do I to those who bullied me (although some did change years after.) You learn, despite the rudeness, the appalling mother Terri, and her upbringing (or lack thereof) that Krystal is actually trying to do right by her younger brother, Robbie, and keeping her mother off the game. Even though she doesn't always go about it in the best fashion. She's done good things, mind you. Barry saw potential when he brought the rowing machine into school, and chose her as part of the rowing eight. That was the start of something positive in her life, and despite the language/attitude towards the opposing rowing team, I think there could have been a change in her behaviour. She treated Barry differently to how she treats many others, and Barry did likewise. Krystal helped Andrew when Fats (Stuart) hid a peanut in a marshmallow and starting seizing, but the following day, she'd hit another girl hard enough in the face to knock out two teeth. She's trying, but her tries and attempts to do well are negated by the bad. I think you need to look long and hard at Krystal to see behind her aesthetic characteristics. Barry did. Perhaps others could have done too, be it on the right day at the right time, but it seems Barry was probably the only one who stepped out of his own way to help others. I would have wanted to see Krystal change; to become more positive over time, but I can't say I would have the strength and courage, personally, but as a reader..., sure. Once Barry had passed away, the rush to take his seat, and for Pagford to wash its hands of The Fields, starts. Barry, on reflection, was a cornerstone of the community, who was trying to help others, similar to how he pulled himself up and out of his situation, and thrived in society.

Parts Five, Six and Seven (the last 100 pages) had drawn me in closer, and I will admit I was now turning the pages to follow the story, and not because of who wrote it. The story speeds up, as we learn who takes Barry's chair, which is eclipsed almost entirely by the following pages. Despite the tone of the book, I was not expecting the bombshells that were to follow. It was shocking to read about Krystal overdosing, and killing herself. I was not expecting that. She seemed strong to me, but after Robbie drowning, it changed her perspective on every thing, and with her love & responsibility now gone, she decided to end it there and then.

At 503 pages, it's long. Jo has a knack for really getting into the heads of the characters, and through much explanation, you really see the world through their eyes. The length she goes to, to provide a description of what a character's saying, thinking, looking at, feeling, and their surroundings is superfluous on occasions. Because of this, there are seldom parts of the book where I wanted to hear more from the characters, or linger a little longer on a scene. As repetitive as this sounds, the book's start, and ending are fine, but it does hang in the middle. I kept turning the pages there because I knew Jo wrote it, and I think some edits would be warranted, to condense a portion of the book. As well, you are introduced to many characters in such a short space of time. As I mentioned earlier, it takes a while to get to know who's who, and keep up with the characters, because depending on who's talking, some are addressed by forename, surname, or nickname, which can confuse the reader. Understandably, you are going to bring in many characters quickly, given the chain of events what ensue after Barry's death. So I suppose it would be out of place to throw in various people halfway through, because you might think, surely they would have crossed paths by now. Otherwise, the story would to and fro, which would ruin it, I think.

There are characters in The Casual Vacancy that you will hate. Two spring to mind: Obbo is head and shoulders above any one else. He brings goodness know what into Krystal's home for her mother to take, and uses the house to store stolen goods. He even made a remark about Robbie being his child. He's a vicious man with a carefree manner. He raped Krystal, which sent her on a hell-bent mission to have sex with Fats - which led by a series of events, to Robbie's death. He's sick.
Simon Price - his son Andrew (under the pseudonym of the Ghost) created a post on-line about Simon's cash in hand jobs at work, and stolen computer. I was naïve (for want of a better word) enough to think, 'I wonder how he'll react?' Be a fly on the wall, perhaps, when Simon might stop, take a step back, and think to himself when he learned about the post. He didn't. His actions were to hit his wife and children, and use a torrent of unpleasant words, and swearwords towards them all. He needs help, and to open his eyes a little wider, because to me, he's ignorant with a foul temper, not a good combination. Simon, on the other hand, seems to be less cruel towards Andrew towards the end of the book, so perhaps, now the family are moving, and change of scenery would change his temperament, but it's not always that easy...

You would have thought that the adults in this novel would set a good example? Once I finished, I think I'll be rooting for the kids instead.

I welcomed Jo's decision to change direction from the Wizarding world. After the immeasurable influence (both good and not so good) Harry Potter has had globally, Jo decided it's time for something different. I enjoyed reading the Potter novels (which, I started reading after the final book's release) and I approached The Casual Vacancy with similar enthusiasm. If the book was somewhat more uplifting, or less bleak, perchance, I might have given it a higher rating. Then again, and looking back, some parts are drawn out, whilst others parts move more consistently. Another reviewer mentioned a map of Pagford, or perhaps some index/diagram to a fashion so we can look up how people are related & acquainted through the chain of cause and effect.

I wouldn't recommend this book to any one who thinks we live in fairytale world, or has issues with parts of life they'd sooner forget, or fail to acknowledge. It's grim in places, but far from messy, as despite being over-explained and perhaps lengthy in places, it is well scripted.

There is much to discuss about this book, so I've tried to summarise my review as best I can, but it's easier said than done. I'd love to discuss each character in turn, and share thoughts on how I would help them, or discuss alterations & additions, but that's not the purpose of this review, so I hope it's concise (so to speak) and relevant.
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An Interview with J.K.Rowling
An Interview with J.K.Rowling
by J.K. Rowling
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read, but there are some errors..., 3 Mar. 2012
So why only 3 out of 5?

Firstly, it's short. Only 74 pages in all, and the text have been formatted with line spaces. Although, the book is called "an Interview," I would have thought it would be a little more substantial. The interview questions are fundamental questions you would ask an author regarding his or her books, growing up, inspiration, their interests, etcetera. I would have expected something more insightful. It's not all bad news, considering the books was published in ten years ago, which can seem like a lifetime ago considering the development of the further books, and naturally the films, it's not a bad read. Most of the questions I've read/heard before (seeing as I'm a fan of Potter and Jo too,) but there were still parts I enjoyed reading.

Secondly, this book (which is frequently at the top of the biography lists about Jo) unfortunately, contains errors. The bibliographies and the end of the book contain a short blurb. For Goblet of Fire, however, the author writes "...Triwizard Tournament featuring Quidditch teams from Europe's greatest Wizarding schools." This is wrong. Two foreign schools (Beauxbatons Academy of Magic & Durmstrang) attend Hogwarts, and an individual from both compete with Harry and Cedric in the tournament. The schools are not Quidditch teams. Second, during Lindsey Fraser's interviews, she mentions that Harry's post is being intercepted by his aunt and uncle. Wrong again. It's the beloved Dobby who's the culprit. This doesn't inspire much confidence.

Another reviewer, quite rightly, has also identified these erroneous entries.

The book is far from penetrative, and aside from the Q&As, you can pretty much guess what the remaining overview of the book discusses. If you're new to Harry Potter, or have only skimmed through the wondrous pages, then perhaps this books with enlighten you. But if you've read the books and done some research on Jo, I don't think you'll unearth anything new here.

At the end of the book, there are two drawings of Fawkes, and the Sorting Hat (drawn by Jo herself) which made me smile.

JK Rowling  (All About) (All About Series)
JK Rowling (All About) (All About Series)
by Shaun McCarthy
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Short & sweet. Great for younger readers., 3 Mar. 2012
I am a Harry Potter fan, so I read as much as I can bout the books and its author, Jo. I've read quite a few other books, and I cannot really criticize this one. It is definitely aimed at the younger readers, however, condenses Jo's life from birth to publication well enough. I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for a thorough read, mind. For instance, the books tiptoes around her leaving Porto after a falling out with her then-husband, and how she fought with little money and raising her daughter, Jessica, in Leith. Each page contains a photos relating to various key milestones in Jo's life. There's much information available on the Internet, and Sean Smith's biography, (which is a great to read) goes into much more detail. The only mistake was in the summaries, Azkaban prison was called "Azkabahan" (despite being spelled correctly earlier in the book.) Otherwise, not bad. Short & sweet.

"Dido": The Unauthorised Biography in Words and Pictures (Book Series)
"Dido": The Unauthorised Biography in Words and Pictures (Book Series)
by Sally Wilford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A concise biography. Good to read., 24 Feb. 2012
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It's a good book, but quite short. I wouldn't really call it a biography, but more of a detailed summary of Dido's life up to 2001.

It contains many photographs (mostly of her on stage) which illustrate every page, almost. The text is well written, and the font is easy on the eye. Although the book is 49 pages long, only 34 pages (including the two page contents) are about Dido. The others pages contain Dido quotes, which were nice to read, along with a detailed album & singles discography, and a list of web sites with more information.

The text is informing, but, misses out what most biographies include: a detailed look into the upbringing and growing up of the subject. Chapter 1 is an example of this. The two pages explain twenty years of her life from birth to working as a literary agent & studying at law school. So it's not exactly detailed. Don't get me wrong, it's still good read, but not penetrative.

With the vast amount of information available today, most, if not all of the biography you could, most likely, find on web sites like Wikipedia. So unless you enjoy physically reading/holding a book, or adding it to your collection, you might find the Internet a better place to start. As well, eleven years have passed, so have two more studio albums, so there's more to Dido than when the book was published.

Aside from its short length, the text seems to love Dido. A little too much if you ask me. You can't turn a page without reading how great, how inspirational, how much of a breath of fresh air she was to the music industry. I like Dido, but the book should turn down the praises as they do upset the text a little, in my opinion. Every time Dido achieves a milestone, whether personally, or professionally, the book seems to put her on a pedestal, which would be acceptable if the biography was 200 pages, or perhaps 300 pages long, but not 34 pages.

Otherwise, it was great to read. Four out of five stars.

No Title Available

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novelty slippers. Quite chunky, but still good fun., 20 Feb. 2012
They really are fantastic to wear. Great quality, with loads of padding to fill them out, and a rubber sole with little 'bobbles' to give you grip. You have to stomp around when wearing them, as they're rather big, so it's like walking in snow a little. Animal have done well as they look the business.

Don't worry if you have wide feet, as the slipper itself is big enough to accommodate, but at the same time, they're not too loose.

When going up the stairs, and in particular, coming back down you need to be more cautious than normal. Because the slippers are quite tall, the front face of the slipper can catch the next step. When coming down, you may need to step sideways every other step. If you're careful, it's not a problem.

I bought these slippers over 2 years ago, and they're still in great condition. (Slightly different colours, but still the Animal brand.) Although I don't use them daily, they're still worn a few times a week, and the soles only have a few marks.

Rabbits 2012 Wall
Rabbits 2012 Wall
by BrownTrout
Edition: Calendar

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great calendar., 19 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Rabbits 2012 Wall (Calendar)
Great photographs of various breeds of rabbits. The squares are large enough to make notes (such as birthdays, anniversaries, etcetera) but obviously not as big as the slim-line calendars. Like most calendars, all important holidays, and even moon phases are included. Throughout the calendar, there's a small hole at the top to hang it on the wall, or pin it to the notice board, although you'll probably need two/three pins because of the weight. Can't really say much else.

Lily Allen: Living Dangerously
Lily Allen: Living Dangerously
by Martin Howden
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but it needs a tidy up., 19 Feb. 2012
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So, why only three stars? I read through the first eleven chapters in one sitting. Although I enjoyed reading the first half, I wasn't compelled to continue, like some biographies that you can't put down. This, by no means, is a bad reflection on Lily. I feel that although the Martin's done his research, the structure of the biography is a little up and down. It seems to jump forwards and backwards a little during the first part of the book. It's still great reading, don't get me wrong, but there are parts where you re-read a sentence or two because they don't flow with the text.

Martin explains about her childhood and upbringing well, and has covered a fair amount of milestones in Lily's life to that point. The book is split into 26 chapters, which is great as this means the text isn't drawn-out, and moves swiftly from one topic to another. There's detail about Lily's struggle to get her foot in the door at record companies, and her success with MySpace. As well, there's a bit of detail about the entire tracks on her first album, and what Lily thinks about them, which is nicely presented. The last few chapters, which discuss more sensitive parts of Lily's life are written well. I think the first and last parts of the book hold your attention well.

There are two sets of photographs. The first set (a third in) are all black & white, and the second lot (two thirds in) are colour. They're great pictures, but I don't think they fully reflect who Lily is.

Perhaps it's because the book was published in 2008, between her first and second studio albums, and she hasn't pursued as many activities as she has today. The TV documentary, From Riches To Rags (aired a while ago) was great to watch, and I think that gave a genuine insight into Lily's life, which was better, but not as thorough as this biography.

All in all, if this biography was updated, for example, and made a little less higgledy-piggledy, I think it would be better. It's still a good read, nevertheless.

The Book of General Ignorance (A Quite Interesting Book)
The Book of General Ignorance (A Quite Interesting Book)
by Stephen Fry
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A great knowledgeable book. It's both funny and formal., 19 Feb. 2012
It's a great read filled with various misconceptions, and myths that we all believe are true, but whether funnily or formally, are dispelled here. Some of the 230 points go into quite a bit of detail, with various facts & figures, whilst others are stamped out in just a paragraph. Comic illustrations accompany articles well every now and then, and so does Alan Davies's commencing four words. Corrections to some so-called facts are enlightening, whilst others are just bizarre, but still great to know. After you've put the book down, you feel better for reading it.

The cover of the book (as per the photos) is actually the dust jacket, which is a great touch. The actual cover book is plain brown, with the title printed on the spine in gold.

Although I purchased this book over 4 years ago, it's not text that would date, unless more light is shed upon a given topic to reveal otherwise. Still great to flick through every now and then.

I have seen a few, but not all of the Qi episodes. Despite various (perhaps all?,) articles were taken from the show, it didn't leave me frustrated because I already knew the answer. I don't remember thinking "yes, I know that." I think it's because the book elaborates well on each point.

Mens Grey Black Winter Warm Comfort Snow Boots
Mens Grey Black Winter Warm Comfort Snow Boots

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great snow/rain boots. Might not be for wide feet, though., 19 Feb. 2012
They are cheap and cheerful, but the boots do their job well. I took them out in this year's snow, and they were fine. I didn't get wet socks, and my feet were warm. Surprisingly, (for a cheap boot) the sole is thick enough & well made, as so is the inside. I can't see the sole wearing away/falling apart after a few uses. The grip is good enough in the snow, but like most other shoes, when it comes to ice: it's 50/50, although I haven't fallen oven in them so that's a good thing.

I wore them over the fields, where the snow was quite deep, and my feet were dry. The back of my jeans (tucked inside the boot) were a little wet, but that was only because I was kicking snow about like a 5-year-old (shame on me.) After a few days' use in the snow, they're still as good as new.

So why only three out of five stars?

As the title says, if you have wide feet, you could find the boot a little uncomfortable. I'm a size 10UK, and the length is fine. The width is a little narrow, however. What's odd, is when walking (or 'stomping') in snow, the boot feels snug, but when walking on pavement with little snow or no snow, you can feel the width is a little tight. I was hoping to wear them when I'm out and it's pouring of rain, which I think they would be appropriate for, but the tightness might be off-putting.

The Velcro is very good, so much so that if you're wearing knitted/material gloves, you might find them sticking to the Velcro as you put them on. The downside is that, even with jeans/trousers tucked inside, it's too loose. I pull the as much of the Velcro over, so it's tight on the leg, but this doesn't leave much Velcro to 'stick' to. Because I do a lot of walking, I prefer a shoe that fits snug, but if you're wearing them for a quick walk, I think they'd suffice.

For the price, I would recommend them. But be careful if you have a wide foot.

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