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Shelley Wood "shelleybirduk" (Blackpool)

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8000m: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains: All 14 Summits
8000m: Climbing the World's Highest Mountains: All 14 Summits
by Alan Hinkes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring the picnic hamper Archibald we're off to find a mountain., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I don't climb mountains. I'd like to but to be honest the thought of climbing the stairs is more than enough for me. I would love to climb mountains but living in coastal Britain they are a bit of an endangered species really. Instead I had the opportunity to see the top of the worlds highest mountains from the comfort of my own sofa with Alan's beautiful book.

The photographs in this book are simply stunning, the one on the cover that's not even one of the best. Gorgeous blues, whites and pinks are expertly captured to create beautiful images which draw you in. Often I found myself not concentrating on the text as my eyes were continuously drawn to the photograph again and again. When I did manage to tear my eyes away the text was as engrossing as the pictures.

The book charts Alan's quest to become the first British climber to climb the 14 highest summits in the world in possibly the worlds most impressive Peak bagging escapade. As a non climber it was great to be able to read the book without having to stop and Google technical jargon every few sentences. The book is designed as a coffee table type publication but the excellence of his writing and the subject matter make it a book you want to read from cover to cover. This led to an unfortunate incident whilst attempting to read in bed which led to a black eye and concerned friends asking me if everything is ok "at home"...

The book now graces our coffee table and never fails to merit being picked up and read by any visitors we have. I can only surmise that this book would be an absolute must read for those interested in climbing and an eye opening journey into a world most of us will never have the privilege to see.

GQ Eats: The cookbook for men of seriously good taste
GQ Eats: The cookbook for men of seriously good taste
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.60

4.0 out of 5 stars So far so good. The foreword of the book is written by ..., 17 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly let me start by saying I have never read GQ. My knowlege of the magazine does not extend further than ogling the cover star in the local WH Smith. I am aware after a bit of a google that it is an aspirational lifestyle magazine for men and this is its cookbook.

So far so good.

The foreword of the book is written by Heston he talks a little bit about himself and a little bit about the evolution of cookery and just a smidgeon about how GQ taught him the best things in life are Brioni.

The book itself contains a number of recipes divided into sections such as Breakfast, Boy's night in, Pub food favourites and the strangely titled "rock and roll roasts" Each recipe is set out in a clear no nonsense format in a palette of white, black and oh so chic olive with a mouth wateringly large photo taking up the facing page. Some pages are randomly green, I'm not sure why they are not vegetarian as much as I am tempted to believe it is a secret "man code" for something it probably just adds to the appeal of the design.

The recipes vary in complexity from relatively simple to "book a day off work fella" complex but be warned Jamie Oliver does not grace the pages of this book with a 15 minute meal. Each recipe has clear instructions and a chef's tip with surprisngly down to Earth hints and tips. Fans of Masterchef and the Great British Menu will recognize many of the names in here and some of Britains finest chefs are well represented.

I've read this book through a few times and it has grown on me enormously. The first read through left me thinking it was a "little bit poncey". The second time was after watching Masterchef and left me thinking "hmmm" by the third read I was wondering if I could find pigeon in Blackpool without breaking out the shotgun.

Regular readers of GQ will find no surprises in this book but for those who enjoy Masterchef and similar shows this will make an entertaining and inspiring read.

Smartshake (Vers 2) Drinks Bottle with 2 Storage Compartments - GOLD Edition
Smartshake (Vers 2) Drinks Bottle with 2 Storage Compartments - GOLD Edition
Offered by Aroma
Price: £13.76

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great little item and I'm very pleased i took the ..., 12 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great little item and I'm very pleased i took the plunge. I bought one as a spare but it has become my main shaker and my old one relegated to spare.

The shaker is made of three sections. The main shaker compartment has a removable mesh like insert which is what mixes the shake when inserted. It works very well, having used only the ball style shaker I was dubious this would work but there is no discernible difference between the two. The lid is easy to clip into place and stays securely shut, so far there have been no leaks of shake into my bag (great, as the smell of old protein shake it stomach turning to say the least) and finally the shaker has a carabina style clip to attach to your bag further negating the need for stinky bag accidents. On its own the shaker is also very compact and easy to fit into a bag.

The other two sections comprise of small containers which screw onto the bottom of the shaker. Each fits a portion of protein powder in making it easy to have three shakes on hand without carrying around 3 shakers or a bag of powder. There is also a cross shaped insert which can be fitted into one of these compartments to allow tablets and supplements to be sorted into four types as yet I haven't found a legitimate use for this apart from sorting jellybean's into four colours to use as a snack.

The build is solid and of high quality the parts come apart easily and are simple to clean.there is no taint from either the plastic or from old shake you were too lazy to wash out properly the night before. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a new shaker.

The Secret Society® - Hidden Mystery
The Secret Society® - Hidden Mystery
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars good little game, 19 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Enjoyable game it shoves the in app purchases down your throat a bit. If you can ignore this then it's a good little game to pick up for ten minutes to pass the time.

People of the Book
People of the Book
by Geraldine Brooks
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CSI for Librarians, 14 Aug 2008
This review is from: People of the Book (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was lucky enough to read this book for free, it wasn't the type of book I would give a second glance to in the bookshop. It consists of two separate stories, the story of the book its self and the story of its rescue and preservation by the main character. The book is quite in depth, the sections written on book preserving are very detailed and (to me anyway) very interesting. It tells the story of how the history of the book is unraveled by the items which fall from the binding of the book. each section tells of how the main character discoveres that the book has been in a certain place by the insect wing that falls from it or the hair that she finds in the pages. Interspersed between these is the "actual" story of how the items got there.

The book makes interesting reading and s very well researched, the writing is engaging and absorbing. The historical sections are very detailed and the threading together of the compenents to illustrate the journey of the book is very clever in deed. The book does have a few harsh passages where it deals with issues of religion and persecution but they are well handleed.

All in all I enjoyed this very much, the only criticsim I have and it is a small one - is that the writer peppers the book with Jewish phrases and names which I had to keep going to look up - it does not however detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Sony PSP Media Manager Pro 2.5 (PC)
Sony PSP Media Manager Pro 2.5 (PC)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars psp media manager, 2 Aug 2008
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must admit I'm quite a new PSP owner and as yet have not really explored its true potential. Although I was aware that it played music and movies I have an Ipod touch and so generally use that to play music and movies (often while playing the PSP). Another reason why I was loath to use it's full functionality is that previous to my Ipod I owned a Sony HDD MP3 player...

Those of you who owned one of these (or any other Sony MP3 product) will remember with equal love and loathing the sonic stage program, It contained more bugs than a flea circus and was the main reason why the content of my MP3 pleyer never changed...ever. I approched this product with trepidation expecting something similar.

The program installed without incident although it seemed to install an awful lot of compenents. During installation it suggests inserting your memory card and activating the usb link before starting the programme - take heed when I changed the memory stick for a larger one the programme didn't like it and promptly stopped working.

Once installation was complete the program booted up to show a simple interface. Those who have ever used Samsungs media manager for mobile phones will find it familar. The screen is separated into two main panes one to reflect the contents of your Pc and one to reflect the contents of the PSP. A side menu along the left hand side allows you to jump to movies, music etc.

Trandserring files is done wholly through the manager. There is no drag-and-drop feature like in I Tunes. files are found by the program checking your video and music files in your windows folders so if like me you have multiple folders for downloaded, imported, converted etc you will need to move them to your windown music folder for the program to pick them up.

Once your file has been found simply drag it from the top pane to the bottom and quicker than you can say "encode to avi" it's off and running converting and transferring to your PSP.

The real value of this product will depend on how you use your PSP. I found it handy to have an all in one conversion and transfer tool but my personal preferance is to use Winavi to convert my files and use my Ipod to view them. It is very simple to use and somebody might well prefer this to the current awkward methods of conversion that are available.

Charlie Jade - Series 1 Vol.1 [2005] [DVD]
Charlie Jade - Series 1 Vol.1 [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jeffrey Pierce
Price: £21.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars different, but different enough?, 9 Dec 2007
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Charlie Jade is a sci-fi detective story set in a world where multiple universes exist some are aware of this and are trying to exploit it while others are unaware of this and find themselves caught up between worlds. Charlie finds himself one of these temporal refugees and must begin to unravel who is behind it and how to stop them.

The series is created by Chris Roland who had a hand in the excellent Lexx and Robert Wertheimer who had a hand in numerous horror flicks of the 80's including the Friday the 13th series.

Having left my review until after I had watched the first two episodes a few times I still couldn't past the opinion that it's just "ok" I have to admit though that only seeing a promo copy of the first two episodes means that I can't give a definitive opinion.

I found that the series was much more like a book than a television series. Whereas other series have a storyline through the series each episode has its own small enclosed story, not so in Jade. Each episode is like a chapter with no real beginning or end, its slightly annoying but only because it needs time to become accustomed to.

The series is shot in South Africa and while this gives it a fresh twist on the standard American scenery a drinking games based on the number of times you hear a South African accent would leave everyone sadly sober. The influences of films such as blade runner are clear and the graphics and effects are not subtle. Saying this though the series is heavily character driven rather than dependent on heavy science guff.

The story generally revolves around two main characters, Charlie jade and 01 Boxer (produced Owen). Charlie is slightly two dimensional, he has the brooding good looks, model girlfriend, flash apartment and car but still seems flat, he is like able enough but not a particularly strong character. O1 however is much more interesting, very well written, a man who knows right from wrong but deliberately makes the wrong decision to enjoy the resulting chaos.

I will certainly be watching the rest of the series as I am hoping that as his tenets and life are stripped away Charlie Will become more "real" and I suspect that there will be close ties between Charlie and O1. I'm not sure however that I would be wiling to fork out for the box set to find this out.

The Early Learnings Of
The Early Learnings Of
Price: £10.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a promising start, 9 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Early Learnings Of (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This isn't the normal type of album I would buy and to honest I crept towards it with a feeling of trepidation but I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised.

The initial thing that strikes me is Eugene's excellent wordsmithing skills, to rhyme phases "Shakespearian sonnet" with "caked in vomit" shows Mr McGuiness obviously paid attention in his school English lessons. The EP contains some 9 songs some of which are chirpy and upbeat such as "A girl whom my eyes shine for but my shoes run from" while some are melancholy and haunting such a "Vela". It is clear that Eugene is influenced by a wide range of influences, the baroque "High score" sounds like what Rufus Wainwright would produce should he ever decide to fall off the wagon and one could well imagine Jeff Buckley singing the "Vampire casino".

As for the music itself its experimental to say the least, cowbells, tribal drums and even the Super Mario Tune gets an outing on the album while McGuinness's seems to be singing through a megaphone on a few songs, giving his voice an unearthly sound.

The meaning of the songs is clear in some and ambiguous in others, you can read into the songs how you wish. I had a "soundtrack" moment with the song "Madeline" sitting on a coach at 8 am in the morning on a day with an absolutely glorious sunrise contemplating whether to just pack a bag and leave the town I live in, the song came on and I just had the thought "If there was a movie of my life, this song would play at this moment" even though the song has nothing to do with the situation I was in.

The album is like a dizzying merry go round of fantastical sounding chords and vocals and somehow quintessentially English in a wet Sunday kind of way. Its catchy and mysterious and a little bit unsettling and certainly deserves a place on your shelf. Given a bit of room to experiment McGuinness will become a talented and established musician, lets hope he gets the chance to do this.

The Interesting Bits: The History You Might Have Missed
The Interesting Bits: The History You Might Have Missed
by Justin Pollard
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to appear quite intelligent., 28 Oct 2007
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was quite intrigued when I received this book to see that it was written by Justin Pollard, one of the main contributors to the program Q.I. and contributor to programs such as time team and films such as Elizabeth and its sequel. Being an avid fan of Q.I. I popped the book in my handbag to read on the commute to work the next morning.

The book is split into twenty sections each with a common theme such as Crime and punishment, religion and royalty. Each section contains 8 - 10 anecdotes phrased in the form of a question with the answers ranging between half a page to a page long.

The book is written in simple language and is easy to understand, the anecdotes are succinct and humorous. It isn't really a book that you can sit and read like a novel, after a few chapters you begin to get a litte muddled as to which story you have just read - a case of information overload.

The interesting bits is a great read for dipping in and out of while you have your afternoon tea or in a spare ten minutes and would make a wonderful present for those history buffs or QI fans in your life.

Nike + Sensor Kit -
Nike + Sensor Kit -
Offered by Euroshoppinguk
Price: £30.22

91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your own running coach., 16 Oct 2007
I hate exercise, I really do. I only do it so I can eat more food. I haven't found a sport I enjoy yet so thought I would take up running, being a complete beginner I had to choose which kit to use and stumbled across this product.

The basic kit consists of a sensor which fits into a specially created socket in certain models of Nike running shoe, there are conversion kits available which allow you to use another favorite brand of shoe but I have not tried these myself. Also included in the pack is the receiver which plugs into the charge socket of your Ipod nano and all the instructions needed to get going.

Setting up the system is very simple, stick in the sensor plug in the receiver the sensor in your shoe and install the software (supplied) takes five minutes to do. Once your up and running so to speak the system is your new best bud. You can access the nike system through the top level menu of the Ipod and set your workouts to one of four settings, time, distance, calories or a "freeform" run.

Once you have begun your run a quick glance at the screen of the Ipod will tell you your speed, distance traveled, time elapsed and track playing (if you have chosen music)upon depending on the setting you have chosen you will also have the music interrupted with spoken notifications such as "15 minutes remain" etc although these can be turned off. At the end of the run you get a spoken overview of your run giving you total distance, time, average speed and calories burned (which is made accurate by the ability to enter your weight into the Ipod) a nice touch is also that you also get a well done if you beat a personal best.

The beauty of the system lies with what you do after your run. Every time you plug your Ipod into your PC the data is sent to the nike plus website where a record of your runs is kept. The Nike plus website allows you to set personal goals such as run 10 times in 4 weeks or take part in challenges against other runners. The website is very easy to use and the simple but bold diagrams give you a real sense of how you are improving. you can also set your profile to public to allow everyone to see it and widgets are available to place your data on sites such as Facebook.

Seasoned runners will have done exactly what the Ipod does with a good old fashioned map and ruler but having the system do it for you is a real bonus.

Your choice of music has no effect on the system at all, you can nominate a song to be your "power song" to give you that extra oomph when you are flagging, I'm sorry to say that yes, mine is "eye of the tiger" Also running mixes are available to buy through Itunes and podcasts by athletes such as Sally Gunnell are available to download.

I absolutely love this system and wouldn't trade it in for the world. I think without it I would have given up running a long time ago and as a weight loss tool it is invaluable as it can be used to measure walking as well as running.

The sensor unit itself is sealed and so when the battery goes you will have to buy a new pack but mine is still going strong a year on. Even at a replacement cost of once per year the system is still excellent value.

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