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Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom)
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Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely outstanding, 1 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A book about depression? Surely that would be rather, well, depressing? Surprisingly, "Reasons To Stay Alive" is one of the most enjoyable, uplifting, and life-affirming books I've read in some time.

Matt Haig has written an outstanding book here, based on his own experiences of this terrible condition which is unfortunately misunderstood by so many. As one who has suffered from depression in the past I could relate to much of what he described, but this is a book everyone should read. It's not a scientific, scholarly book, but is written in a light and easy style, yet is full of wisdom. The chapters are short and it's a compelling read - I often found myself going to make a cup of tea and standing with the book in my hand as the kettle boiled.

I've read a few of Matt Haig's books in the past and found them to be enjoyable if not great, but this is just brilliant. A book to read and treasure, and hold on to in case you or anyone you know may need it at some point.


Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored
Price: £8.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I recently read an interview with John Lydon in which he said his least-favourite word in the English language was "nice". Well I'm going to upset him now. After reading "Anger Is An Energy" I was surprised that he came across as being a really nice bloke. I've never been a fan of his music, nor have I been a particular fan of the man, but while I was reading this I kept thinking I'd love to sit down with him and have a drink and a chat.

It's a totally surprising read. The early parts are harrowing, as he describes his childhood and upbringing, and at times it's unbearably hard to read, full of horrific images of poverty and illness. Then he forms the Sex Pistols and the world starts to listen, until their sudden collapse and Lydon's formation of Public Image Ltd. If I'm honest, despite not being a fan of the Sex Pistols' music I enjoyed this section of the book more than the considerably lengthier (for obvious reasons) coverage of PiL.

Towards the end the book did lose something for me, becoming a little repetitive (form new PiL line-up, record album, tour, fall out with PiL line-up, form new PiL line-up, record album, tour, fall-out with PiL line-up... etc.) but it was still enjoyable, especially when we learn more about the man behind the music. A thoroughly enjoyable read.


Crucial CT2KIT25664AA800 4 GB (2 GB x 2) DDR2 Memory Module
Crucial CT2KIT25664AA800 4 GB (2 GB x 2) DDR2 Memory Module
Price: £45.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper than buying from the manufacturer, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My PC was running a little slow so I decided to upgrade my RAM. The Crucial website has a handy system scanner to check exactly what RAM you need and what your PC can take, so after checking my system on there I compared Crucial's prices with Amazon, and as Amazon were cheaper I bought the same item from there.

Installation is simple. Open your PC case, release the clips at the end of each of your RAM strips, remove the old, push the new in (they will only go one way), then make sure the clips are back in place. Reboot your PC and voila - your memory has been increased, with no further action required.

Yes it's expensive, but if it improves the performance of your PC it's ultimately worth it.


Official Sennheiser Part (088115): Foam headband padding - Black -To Fit Sennheiser Models :PCX250-II /PX200 / PX100 /PXC250 /PX200 III /PX100 III PX200 II - Black /PX200 II / PX80- SOLD SINGLY
Official Sennheiser Part (088115): Foam headband padding - Black -To Fit Sennheiser Models :PCX250-II /PX200 / PX100 /PXC250 /PX200 III /PX100 III PX200 II - Black /PX200 II / PX80- SOLD SINGLY
Offered by Hifiheadphones
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A new lease of life for my headphones, 26 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My Sennheiser headphones are still working as well as the day I bought them but over the years the earpads and the two cushions on the plastic headband had started to flake a little. I replaced the earpads a little while ago but this time I refreshed the headband cushions.

As my headphones have two of these short cushions I had to order two of this item. On delivery they were sealed in Sennheiser plastic bags and fitting was simple - the pads have a sticky backing so the old ones pull away from the headband, then you remove the paper strips from the rear of the new pads and press them into place. Be careful as the glue is strong, so make sure you position the pads correctly as they can't be repositioned!

Yes they're a little expensive for what you get, but my headphones now look and sound as good as they day they were bought, so for me they're worth the money.


Satin Island
Satin Island
by Tom McCarthy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not my idea of fun, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Satin Island (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Some years ago I read Tom McCarthy's "Remainder" and found it enjoyable, despite having a rather preposterous plot. Since then I haven't read any of his other work, but the synopsis of this one sounded interesting if baffling, so I looked forward to reading it.

It's a short book but for me it was a total mess. The narrator, known only as "U", works for a company but seems strangely reluctant to describe what they do, or the details of their latest contract win despite it being mentioned numerous times in the book. He is employed as a "corporate anthropologist", his purpose being to find sense from disparate nuggets of information, and he is allowed to pretty much do anything and go anywhere. His manager asks him to write a defining work on humanity, but as the book goes on this doesn't seem to happen.

From the start it's an odd book, and I didn't find it at all enjoyable, entertaining, interesting, amusing or exciting. It's fair to say that there is neither characterisation nor plot here, so by the end nothing had really happened, and on the final page it just stopped rather than coming to a conclusion. I'm normally a fan of slightly "out there" fiction, but for me "Satin Island" was just awful. Looking at other reviews here and online though it seems that some people do like it - I really don't see why though.


Oster Delighter Blender, 1.75 Litre, 450 W, White
Oster Delighter Blender, 1.75 Litre, 450 W, White
Price: £69.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad at all, 9 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've never owned a blender before, but after receiving a few cookery books for Christmas and wanting to try my hand at making soups I got one of these.

It's a sleek-looking thing, the base very curvy and the jug made of heavy glass with a silver plastic base and a grey plastic lid. Instructions are minimal, and inside the booklet there are a couple of recipes for drinks. I'm not sure why the manufacturer seems to have a fixation with using the blender to crush ice cubes though - is this really a normal use for a blender? The box and the write-up claim that the jug was designed to fit in a fridge door, but it certainly won't fit in hours, and if like us you have a fitted kitchen with built-in fridge you will likely find the same is true for you.

In operation it works well, and there are a few different modes you can select from on the base. It whizzes things up well enough, and soups & smoothies work well, but again I've no requirement to crush ice cubes or harder, drier items so I've no complaints. As with food processors, sometimes there are "lumps" left behind, but it that's the case just let it run for a little longer and they usually go away.

All in all it's good enough for me. Not bad at all for my first blender.


Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg
Vanish Gold for Whites Oxi Action Stain Remover Powder 1.41 kg

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 6 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been using the Vanish Oxi-Action Crystal White powder in with my whites wash for a while now and on the whole I've been happy with it. There have been a few times though where it hasn't made much difference, so I was keen to try this new improved version.

The process is the same as before. You can use it with your normal detergent, or as a pre-wash treatment, or you can add some to a bucket of water and use it to soak items (instructions are printed on the side of the tub, and a scoop is inside - you may have to root around for it though as mine was buried!) There is a list of warnings on the tub - do read them carefully as it shouldn't be used on various fabrics, and it's also clear from the name of the product that this is intended for white items, not colours. The powder seems finer than the "normal" Vanish powder, and also smells nicer.

What of the results though? I washed a batch of white shirts and other items (underwear etc.) and everything came out well, maybe a little whiter than before, but it's hard to confirm if the product's "three shades whiter" claim is true or not. Things certainly seemed brighter though. There weren't any major stains I hoped to remove, but worn-in grime on collars which other products hadn't quite got rid of seemed a little better.

All in all I'm pleased with it. Does it warrant the increased price tag though? That's harder to answer.


Discovering Scarfolk
Discovering Scarfolk
Price: £8.64

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully dark, 13 Jan. 2015
The cover of this book caught my eye in a local bookshop - it looks almost weathered and worn, and has an authenticity to it, as though it is a forgotten guidebook, which in some ways is exactly what it sets out to be.

Scarfolk is a fictional town in the north-west of England and is apparently trapped in the 1970s. All manner of sinister events occur, and the council are clearly keen on public information posters, many of which are printed in the book. In case you haven't guessed the book is humour, but of a very dark "League of Gentlemen"-esque nature, with many echoes of classic horror films such as "The Wicker Man" thrown in. The graphical side of the book is stunning, the posters being things of sinister beauty, and as a child of the 1970s they reminded me of the terrifying public information films that interspersed TV shows back then. I did make a bit of a scene on the train one day when I was reading this on my way to work as I started laughing out loud, especially at the section called "The Missing Years" where there is a collection of unrelated bits and pieces from the town, and I loved the part about music, such as the album "Space Minstrel" by a group called Beige. There is also a narrative to much of the book, where a man travelling through the country with his sons stops in Scarfolk and suddenly his children go missing, and the book supposedly forms his dossier of information on the town. but for me the narrative aspect was the least successful part of the book - I greatly preferred the more random sections, where different aspects of the town were covered. For me the laughs did fizzle out somewhat towards the end, as though the book peaked around the half-way mark for me.

Several reviewers have commented about the printing, and my copy (a first edition) did suffer from the faults. Many of the graphics look pixellated, as though they have been enlarged and as a result have become blurred or blocky, but this only really caused a problem on a few of the images where the text is rather small. It did spoil things a little, especially in such a visual book.

All in all, if you're a fan of the likes of "The League of Gentlemen" you'll love this. It's a lovely book to look at too, and the humour is wonderfully dark.


Us
Us
Price: £5.69

3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after "One Day", 7 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Us (Kindle Edition)
Douglas Petersen is shocked when his wife Connie tells him she thinks their relationship has run its course, and that after their forthcoming trip to Europe with their wayward son she intends to leave him. He hopes that she will change her mind during the holiday, but can she be persuaded?

I loved "One Day", especially its imaginative structure, but I didn't enjoy "Us" anywhere near as much. It's an easy read (I'm surprised that it was longlisted for the Man Booker prize) but in my opinion it was far too long, and crucially I didn't warm to any of the characters. Douglas was rather fusty and dull, Connie seemed cold, and their son just came across as rather obnoxious and selfish. Did I find it amusing? I'm afraid not, although I did smile a handful of times. Did I cry? No. It kept me occupied for a few days, but ultimately I found it a huge disappointment after "One Day".


Kärcher WV60 Window Vac - Window Cleaning Vacuum Kit
Kärcher WV60 Window Vac - Window Cleaning Vacuum Kit
Offered by Platinum Home and Garden
Price: £59.00

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant!, 30 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What a fantastic thing! We bought this on a whim as we're forever finding that when we clean our windows and tiles they end up in a streaky mess. Would this help? YES!

It's smaller than I imagined, and light too. Inside the box you'll find the vac, a mains charger, two squeegee nozzles (one narrower than the other), a sachet of cleaning solution, a spray gun and a fleecy attachment for the spray. Once the vac has been charged (took about an hour for us I think - a red light close to the power connector blinks while charging and is on constantly when charged) you simply clip a nozzle to the device, spray the window, give them a wipe and off you go. To operate, the vac has an on / off switch inside the handle (a button you click on / off, rather than a trigger) and you simply use the vac like a squeegee. The results are brilliant - our largest kitchen window has always been a problem to clean as every streak stands out like a sore thumb, but after a few seconds with this it looked amazing. We had no problems getting to the bottom of the window - you can use the unit horizontally if you need - and there were no streaks at all. Off the first charge I managed to do six picture windows, sixteen small windows, six glass door panels, and a seven panel glass porch! In use the vac is light and doesn't make too much noise - it sounds a bit like a hairdryer actually. To empty, simply pull out the rubber bung on the clear / grey water tank and tilt the unit over a sink. You'll probably be shocked at how filthy your windows are!

The spray gun is essentially a plastic plant sprayer, and the sachet of solution is enough to fill the bottle (20ml, then fill the bottle with tap water to a "MAX" line on the neck) - the windows I mentioned earlier used maybe three quarters of the bottle. 500ml bottles of solution are also available from Amazon and other retailers, including supermarkets. To be honest you can also use soapy water, or other detergent for that matter. Additional microfibre pads are also available, and the one supplied with the unit is washable, but again you could just as well use a cloth or paper towel to wash your surfaces.

Does it just work on windows? No! I've used it on windows, mirrors, tiles (the bathroom wall around the shower), and the stainless steel cooker hood, and all came up brilliantly. Be warned though - it's not a wet / dry vac and is only for clearing up liquids, and is also only for cleaning windows and the like, rather than mopping up spillages.

All in all this is a fantastic little thing. I wish we'd bought one sooner.


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