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Reviews Written by
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom)

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Aquapac 658 Medium Whanganui Waterproof Case for Kindle
Aquapac 658 Medium Whanganui Waterproof Case for Kindle
Offered by GM Suppliers
Price: £23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are brilliant things. Okay, they're not cheap, but they look good and work superbly. Simply turn the two catches with your thumbs, open the pouch, put your Kindle (or small tablet computer) inside and then close the catches... voila! Your device is now safe from splashes of water, drinks, sweat, spills of sand, and will even float if you drop it into water (water resistant to 15ft apparently) so you can use your electronic devices on the beach or by the pool with confidence. Touch screens work perfectly through it too. Of course you can also use it to hold other items too - money, tickets, passports... whatever.

If you want to use headphones with say a tablet, this isn't the product for you, but for its intended purpose it's a travel essential. We don't go on holiday without ours.

5.5V Lavolta AC Adapter Power Supply Charger for Pure Evoke D2 / Siesta / One Mini / One Mini Series II / ONE Flow / Siesta Flow / Pocketdab PD1000 PD1500 PD2000 Digital Radio - fits Pure spares 60984 KS019055 KSAA0550100W1UK
5.5V Lavolta AC Adapter Power Supply Charger for Pure Evoke D2 / Siesta / One Mini / One Mini Series II / ONE Flow / Siesta Flow / Pocketdab PD1000 PD1500 PD2000 Digital Radio - fits Pure spares 60984 KS019055 KSAA0550100W1UK
Offered by Smart Parts UK, Digital Lifestyle Retailer
Price: £13.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A great little adapter, 15 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My Pure Siesta suddenly stopped working, and as part of my troubleshooting I tried the AC adapter from my girlfriend's Pure Chronos II, finding that my Siesta came back to life. Dodgy mains adapter then!

I was a little concerned about buying an unofficial adapter but took the plunge on this one mainly because delivery was quicker than for the "official" Pure product. On arrival the product was in a Jiffy bag of sorts, inside which was a box as you can see in the product image, and inside that there was the adapter, packed in a bubble wrap bag. I plugged it in and my Siesta was alive once more!

Worth mentioning is that the adapter doesn't look exactly like the one in the product images. In reality it's a curvier thing, not unlike the genuine Pure adapter, and I was relieved to find that it doesn't feature the bright LED the product images show.

All in all it's a great product, and I'm happy to have my Pure Siesta back on my bedside table. Such a shame that it has to wake me up so I can go to work though.

Bosch TDA5080GB Steam Iron with SensorSecure, 2050 W - Black/Blue
Bosch TDA5080GB Steam Iron with SensorSecure, 2050 W - Black/Blue
Price: £64.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It's not a looker, but it's a decent iron, 10 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My first impressions of this iron weren't good. On opening the box and taking a look at the thing it looks pretty bad in the flesh - lots of thick black plastic, thick white plastic, and a vaguely opaque blue plastic water tank, with chunky buttons for a shot of steam and a water spray, plus a strangely clunky looking switch to set the steam level. It looked somehow institutional, like the kind of iron you may expect to find in a hospital rather than in a modern home, as if the designer had decided to follow 20th century design rather than looking to the future. My previous iron, a Phillips, was almost all made of translucent plastic, so this one was a bit of a culture shock.

But hey, looks aren't everything, and the important thing is how does it work. I'm pleased to say it was much better to use than to look at. The base is a strange thing, made of a ceramic and feels slightly matt to the touch, so when you're ironing it doesn't glide as well as an iron with a steel plate. This was a little surprising and took a bit of getting used to, but it did seem to work well, making light work of jeans, cotton shirts, and woollen items. From time to time it did make a loud "pock!" sound though, presumably caused by the plate heating up, and this was a little alarming. The handle has a sensor built into it so that when you are holding the iron the base is being heated, and as soon as it detects that you have released your grip the power is cut, which is a nice safety mechanism, and should mean that the chances of burning clothes are reduced. I did notice that on a few occasions while using the iron the sensor light was flashing, indicating that I wasn't holding the iron, when I was holding it properly, so this did seem a little temperamental. Still, the clothes ended up nice and smooth.

Once I'd finished, the instruction booklet (very easy to follow) advised me to wrap the cord around the base, but not too tightly. The bottom of the iron has a small lip jutting out, designed to hold the cable in place, but for me the cable slipped over this every time. I think the lip could have been a little better here.

Good points in summary:
- Performance.
- Weight (felt good in the hand, and lighter than my Phillips.)
- Long cable.
- Good sized filling jug provided.
- Clear instructions.

Bad points in summary:
- Workmanlike appearance.
- Slightly rough base.
- Questionable sensor.
- Cord management.

All in all it's a pretty good iron with only a few fairly minor issues.

Family Tree [DVD] [2013]
Family Tree [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Chris O'Dowd
Price: £10.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Warm, gentle comedy, 16 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Family Tree [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I'm a fan of Christopher Guest's films ("This Is Spinal Tap", "Best In Show", "A Mighty Wind", "Waiting For Guffman", "For Your Consideration") so the thought of a series written and directed by him was a delicious prospect.

"Family Tree" follows his usual template in that it is a mockumentary of sorts, following Tom (Chris O'Dowd) as he attempts to find out about his family tree after inheriting a box full of mementos from a relative. He is accompanied by his best friend Pete (Tom Bennett, seemingly trying to be Ricky Gervais throughout), and his sister (Nina Conti) who goes everywhere with a puppet monkey on her arm. Tom is helped on his way by various individuals who point him in the direction of genealogists, family members, and others who try to fill in the gaps in the tree.

It's a gentle comedy, made of eight 30-minute episodes, and although there are a few big laughs peppered throughout it's more of a warm, smiley feeling that the viewer is left with. There are moments of slapstick, but lots of subtle humour too. I've only watched it once so far, but I feel that repeated viewings will reveal more gems in the script.

A shame it was cancelled after a single series. I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable.

The Story of Northern Soul: A Definitive History of the Dance Scene that Refuses to Die
The Story of Northern Soul: A Definitive History of the Dance Scene that Refuses to Die
Price: £4.19

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many reminiscences make this a long all-nighter, 13 July 2015
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For a long time I've enjoyed listening to Northern Soul but I'm far from being an expert, nor have I been to an all-nighter. I was keen to learn more about the scene and the music and hoped that this book would fill in the rather large gaps in my knowledge.

It's a slightly frustrating read. Initially I found it fascinating, as it told the story of how the music became popular in England, eventually leading to the Wigan Casino scene, but for me the book felt rather fragmented, the text peppered with "top 10s" of Northern Soul songs liked by certain individuals, and numerous reminiscences by people who attended events at the likes of the casino. For a while these are interesting, as you get a feel for what it was like, going to an all-nighter, being there, and then how it felt afterwards, but to me the book seemed to run out of steam, appearing to give up on the narrative and concentrating on the memories of those who were there. Personally this made the book rather dull and drawn out for me, but I imagine that if you were there at the time and had attended the venues in question it will be a great read.

Mightier than the Sword (Clifton Chronicles Book 5)
Mightier than the Sword (Clifton Chronicles Book 5)
Price: £3.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but preposterous and over-familiar, 13 July 2015
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I've found the "Clifton Chronicles" books to be thoroughly entertaining so far, but whilst this volume is still an enjoyable page-turner it's all becoming a little too familiar now.

The book opens where the previous volume left off, with a bomb explosion on board an ocean liner on its maiden voyage. As with old television serials of the 1950s the action here begins just before the explosion, so the events that concluded volume four were not quite as they seemed. After that, normal service is resumed, and the book has a rather binary cast of characters who are either holier-than-thou or waxed-moustache-twiddlingly evil. Much of the story here concerns an imprisoned Russian author, jailed for a biography he wrote of Stalin, and Harry Clifton's efforts to have him released from his predicament. There are implausible plot developments aplenty - a character is revealed to have a photographic memory which is unbelievably accurate - and once again it all ends with a cliff-hanger as our heroes stare into the face of adversity, this time in a courtroom. Fast paced, entertaining hokum, but I'm beginning to tire of this saga which increasingly feels as though it is written by template. Of course I'll buy the next instalment though.

Our Zoo
Our Zoo
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating - just don't expect the book of the TV series, 13 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Our Zoo (Kindle Edition)
For as long as I can remember I've been a regular visitor to Chester Zoo, but I didn't know that much about its history. I enjoyed the recent BBC series which shares the title of this book, and looked forward to reading June Mottershead's version of events.

Don't expect the book to mirror the TV series. Several events in the show were pure fiction, made up for dramatic purposes, and in fact the whole matter of the locals mounting a campaign to stop the zoo opening only takes up a tiny fraction of this book. Instead this is the story of the Mottershead family moving to Oakfield, the house at the centre of the zoo to this day, and the gradual opening of the zoo. I found it to be a fascinating read, packed with anecdotes about animals living in the house, and a wonderful "make do and mend" type attitude towards building enclosures, and some of the things June mentions can still be seen at the zoo today. Some may find the story to be a little repetitive, even dull, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great pictures too.

The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
Price: £5.70

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bonkers, 13 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Every morning Rachel's train to work stops at a red signal, and as she looks out of the window she gazes at a row of houses, making up imaginary aliases and lives for the people who live there. One day she sees something that shocks her, and she decides to investigate.

It's an interesting opening to a story which rapidly descends into silliness. The narrative flits between two storylines, the reality of the plot slowly being revealed, but it's ultimately a load of fast-paced nonsense. Several times I found myself exclaiming "oh come on!", and once again it's another book where the police are painted as being incompetent. Okay, so the pages kept turning, but I was glad to finish it. Like SJ Watson's "Before I Go To Sleep" it's another book which has been lavished with, in my opinion, unwarranted praise. A shame, as it started so well.

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

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff!, 22 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Over the years I've used various lip balms and although they all seem to work, none of them seem to have lasted. I've seen Carmex in shops before but this is the first time I've tried it.

The pack contains two items - a small pot of Carmex and a tube. The pot is a little deceptive, looking deeper than it is (look underneath it!) and the screw-top reveals a rather hard quantity of the stuff. It smells of vanilla and after rubbing my finger on the top for a second I smeared it across my lips. It goes on fairly easily and has a nice tingle, due to the menthol in the product. Best of all though is that this stuff really seems to last. As I said at the start, other lip balms seem to disappear quickly, requiring constant reapplication, but this tends to last almost a full day with a single coat. The second item in the pack is a small tube of Carmex which is slightly thinner in consistency and therefore easy to apply. I carry this one in my suit pocket each day.

Carmex is a great product and I'll definitely use it again. My girlfriend has tried it too and she's also become a fan since I got this.

(Ingredients, in case anyone wants to know for allergies etc. Petrolatum, lanolin, cetyl esters, paraffin, theobroma cacao seed butter, cera alba, camphor, menthol, salicylic acid, vanillin, parfum, hydroxycitronellal, limonene, linalool, geraniol, citronellol.)

FFS - Digipack
FFS - Digipack
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.66

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Despite the song title, collaborations *do* work, 18 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FFS - Digipack (Audio CD)
I've loved Sparks for a long, long time, despite finding Ron Mael terrifying when I first saw him on TV in the early 1970s. On the other hand, I've never liked Franz Ferdinand at all, so when I heard about this collaboration I was more than a little hesitant.

Thankfully it's an absolute joy. From the start it sounds extremely Sparks-esque, but for fans of Franz Ferdinand their sound is still all over the record too, from Alex's vocals to the sound of the band themselves. It's a great mixture of their two sounds, and hugely enjoyable from the off. The opening "Johnny Delusional" is probably the most commercial track, and the superb "Collaborations Don't Work" towards the end is the most Sparks-esque. For a person who's never liked Franz Ferdinand I'm now tempted to explore their back catalogue too.

A great little record, and one of my favourites from 2015 so far. I hope they work together again in the future.

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