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Top Reviewer Ranking: 340
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Reviews Written by
Samuel "Samuel"
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Shampoo 400ml
Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Shampoo 400ml
Price: £1.93

4.0 out of 5 stars and that it smells nice. She also swears that her hair feels stronger ..., 6 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My wife always likes Garnier hair products, and this shampoo is no exception. She believes it leaves her cleaner than normal (and likes it when used with the matching conditioner), and that it smells nice. She also swears that her hair feels stronger after a few days of using it. How she can judget that i have no idea, but I can't argue with anything she says! It's more than my life's worth. On this basis, recommended.


Rapesco Security Popper Wallet A4+ Camouflage Print - Pack of 5 Folders
Rapesco Security Popper Wallet A4+ Camouflage Print - Pack of 5 Folders
Price: £3.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Secure, 5 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I quite often have to carry around confidential papers at work, and so these security popper wallets looked like being just the job.

They are made of a sturdy plastic (grey with black dots), and fasten with a popper. They comfortably take A4 sheets (I've fitted around 50 sheets in one so far), and the selling point, that you can't read normal-sized font through the wallets, definitely works. I've found that anything under about a size 16 font is definitely not able to be read. Of course you could just get folders that aren't see-through at all, but these are handy as, because you can read large fonts from the outside, you can easily see the title of what is inside, ensuring that you can make sure you have the right folder to hand.

These are a good thing that I like a lot. Recommended.


Rapesco 835 2-Hole Metal Punch, 40 sheet Capacity - Blue
Rapesco 835 2-Hole Metal Punch, 40 sheet Capacity - Blue
Price: £10.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Good solid punch, 4 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must confess that I am a bit of a stationery geek, and so I was pleased to find that I really like the Rapesco 835 punch. As far as hole-punches go, it's larger than average, with a quoted capacity of 35 sheets of 80gsm paper.

The punch itself is really well-built, and made from quite thick metal. It definitely gives the impression that it won't break any time soon (the fate which has befallen my last three hole punches). The piece of plastic that acts as a guide to ensure you punch in the middle of the paper is also fairly sturdy, and is well-integrated into the body of the hole punch, as it is fairly stiff to move.

My 'maximum punch' so far is on 30 sheets of 100gsm paper, which the punch handled okay; this was at the absolute limit of what will fit in the punch, however, so it would be tricky to do more. The punching requires a little effort (the more paper, the more effort is required), but nothing abnormal.

All in all this is a decent hole punch that does the job well, lets you punch a good number of sheets at once, and is built very sturdily. Recommended.


BullGuard Internet Security Premium Protection - 1 Year - 3 Users - 5Gb (PC)
BullGuard Internet Security Premium Protection - 1 Year - 3 Users - 5Gb (PC)
Price: £23.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Seems to do the job, and no adverse effects on performance, 4 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Historically we've used McAfee or BitDefender as our antivirus software, so I was interested to see what the BullGuard offering was like, as I'd heard good things about it from a couple of techie friends.

Installation was fairly typical; there's no CD/DVD supplied, so after ensuring that you have uninstalled your old anti-virus software, you download the Bullguard software from the web, install it and register. You have the option to run a system scan straightaway - which, fortunately, found no issues.

In the fortnight since then, the software has been running away quietly in the background, and doesn't seem to have found any issues. Best of all, there's been no noticeable hit on speed since installing Bullguard, which has been a headache with other anti-virus software.

We haven't used some of the functionality of Bullguard (Parental Controls and Social Media Protection), but in all other respects we are more than happy with this. It seems to do the job, and hasn't impacted on performance. Four stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 6, 2016 9:48 AM BST


Orphan X (An Orphan X Thriller)
Orphan X (An Orphan X Thriller)
by Gregg Hurwitz
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun and lots of thrills, 2 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The plot of Orphan X is pretty simple. There is an American agency that takes orphans at an early age, and trains them up to be killers and spies. The titular Orphan X is Evan X is one of those children, who is trained by Jack Johns, who is his mentor and kind of like a father figure to him. Evan drops out into hiding and uses his skills to help those who need it - until, as one might expect, it all starts to go a bit wrong...

If I were forced to describe this, it's kind of like a cross between James Bond and Jack Reacher. Evan is a pretty believable character who is overwhelmingly good, and is placed in jeopardy. As such, it's a pretty normal thriller plot, and you'll have read things like this before. I know I have. However, the writing is believable, one actually finds oneself rooting for the main character, and there are lots of chases, fights and the normal thriller mullarkey along the way. Not the most original book ever, but it's good fun and keeps you in suspense. Recommended.


MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 2017 - Record, edit, optimize and convert audio (audio grabber)
MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab 2017 - Record, edit, optimize and convert audio (audio grabber)
Price: £30.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use, and good quality output, 2 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have used Magix products before, and generally found them to be easy to use, and to produce good results.

The installation of Magix Audio Cleaning Lab was straightforward. I note that some reviewer have given Audio Cleaning Lab a very low star rating (one or two stars) because it will try to install all sorts of other programs whilst installing the core product itself. This is very easy to avoid - you just actually read what the prompts are when installing, and untick things when asked if you want to install the other programs. It's not very difficult, and is something you'll only do once unless you install the software on another PC, so I don't see this as being a valid reason to give the product a poor review rating. It's worth adding that you need to register the software online (something which some other reviewers have also moaned about); again, this is common with most software these days, so is no problem to me at all.

Actually using the software is straightforward enough. It's a case of connecting your output advice (in my case an old Technics turntable via a Yamaha pre-amp) to your PC's soundcard, and you're more or less up and running. The software has a clean interface, and although more advanced options are available, the simplest thing to do is to just select what you assess the quality of the record to be, press the relevant button, start the record playing, and you're creating MP3s. There are options to set regarding bit-rate, etc, but I haven't worried too much about these yet.

The output is pretty good; okay, it will never be as good as properly-mastered digital or CD, but it does indeed produce files that are remarkably clean-sounding, bearing in mind the fact that some of my source vinyl is not in a good condition. I must confess to have first tried the software without using my pre-amp for the input, and the results were very poor, so unless your turntable has got an inbuilt amplifier, you will need a pre-amp stage.

All in all, this is easy to use, and I'm pleased with the quality of the output. And I'll say it again - if you don't want the software to install lots of bloatware, then make sure you untick the relevant boxes during the installation process.


3M P180 SandBlaster Fine Large Sanding Pad Between Coats - (Pack of 1)
3M P180 SandBlaster Fine Large Sanding Pad Between Coats - (Pack of 1)
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Handy sanding, 2 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This 3M P180 Sandblaster Fine Large Sanding Pad is a good thing for small sanding jobs. Sanding pads have the advantage that the sandpaper doesn't ruck up as it does if you just wrap loose sandpaper around a block, which generally makes sanding easier. I've been using this for sanding down skirting boards prior to painting, and I've been really pleased with it.

The sanding pad fits nicely into your hand, has sandpaper on one side, and has proved to be a really handy thing - easier to use than normal sandpaper. It seems long-lasting, as despite having used it quite a lot, it's still pretty abrasive, so it should be possible to get quite a bit of use out of it. Recommended.


Socks: The Rule Book: 10 essential rules for the wearing and appreciation of men's hosiery
Socks: The Rule Book: 10 essential rules for the wearing and appreciation of men's hosiery
by Member 001
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly interesting and well laid-out, 2 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When I first saw this, I thought it would be one of those books that you are sometimes given as an 'amusing' gift at Christmas, skim through, and then never look at again. Well, you could treat it like this, but it's actually a quality book, and pretty interesting.

The book is hardback with a dustjacket, and inside are over 100 pages on glossy paper with lots of sock facts and advice - and, it has to be said, many well-taken photos of socks. Why do I say it's interesting? Well, you'd never think there was so much to know about socks, and how to choose and care for them. Most of us (like me) probably just buy any old socks, wear them until they have holes in, and then throw them away - but there's a lot more to it than that!

You're perhaps thinking that I sound rather geeky and sad; well, yes, this book will do for people who are a bit sock-obsessed, but it is genuinely interesting, and would interest a lot of people. A quality book that is well thought-out and well laid-out. I'm not sure that I'll be joining the Sock Club of Great Britain anytime soon (as they are responsible for the book!), but I'll certainly be choosing my socks with more care from now on, and taking better care of them. Recommended.


Post-it Recycled Notes - Pastel Rainbow Light Green, Grass Green, Grey - Tower Pack Of 16 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pad - 76 mm x 76 mm
Post-it Recycled Notes - Pastel Rainbow Light Green, Grass Green, Grey - Tower Pack Of 16 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pad - 76 mm x 76 mm
Offered by Choice Stationery Supplies Limited
Price: £19.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Post-its with an environmental conscience, 1 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Post-its are the sort of thing that always come in useful, whether it's at home or at work. This box of post-its contains 1600, in 10 pads of 100. The pads are various colours, and the post-its are the normal square size. They come in a thin cardboard box, which is made from recycled cardboard, The main selling points of these post-its is that they are themselves made of recycled paper. As such, they don't look as bright and shiny as 'normal' post-its, but that's really not important when using - this doesn't affect how one writes on them, or how sticky there are.

If you're after a 'green' version of post-its, then these are a good thing - post-its, but with an environmental conscience. Recommended.


Philips HR2052/91 Daily Collection Blender, 1.25 Litre, 350 W, Black
Philips HR2052/91 Daily Collection Blender, 1.25 Litre, 350 W, Black
Price: £25.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice compact, powerful blender, 31 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Our old blender was too small and not powerful enough, so the Philips Daily Collection blender looked as if it might solve both of these problems.

First impressions were good. The blender is surprisingly small and compact given its capacity (1.25 litres being about four normal-sized mugs of liquid equivalent), and quite light. We had to hold down our old blender when in use so that it didn't move across the worktop; this one has little suction feet on the bottom which mitigate against this (but not entirely).

The lid is slightly difficult go get off (we have to twist and pull it relatively hard to do so), but I guess this is what is required so as to make sure there isn't a very messy accident whilst blending. You add whatever you want to blend (in this case fruit - banana, mango, orange), and add a bit of fluid as it will have trouble blending lots of hard fruit without any liquid present. The on-off button has two settings to make the blender start - one for instant, which gives a constant blending, and another called 'P' (which stands for pulse) which varies the speed up and down. When blending, it is quite noisy, which is to be expected I suppose.

Having now used this for a few days, we are quite pleased with it. Whilst it's tricky to get too excited by blenders, this one ticks all the boxes - quite small, so easy to store; largish capacity; quite powerful (350W motor, not 250W as at least one other reviewer has said), and does the job well. A good thing, and recommended.


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