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Constant Reader (UK)
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The Secret Place
The Secret Place
by Tana French
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The best new book you'll read this year, 28 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Secret Place (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tana French's Dublin detective stories have been my favourite crime literature for some time now. As she
only produces one book a year, I have my preorder in months before publication.

This book was well worth waiting for. Set in an upmarket Dublin girls school a year after a pupil from the local boys school is found
murdered in the grounds, the police enquiry is reignited by a postcard left on the school's informal notice board. It just says
- "I know who killed him", And that's all I'm going to say on the story because I don't want to give anything away to spoil
other readers enjoyment.

French is such a wonderful writer that she can shift the timeline of the book between past and present without obvious effort
and never lose the readers attention. She is also great at creating atmosphere and suspense, which builds gradually through the book.
Gradual is the word btw, this is a slow building, involving read, so if you like short snappy police procedurals with a high body
count and a detective who runs around whacking people its probably not your cup of tea.

By the last 100 pages I was carrying the book around with me so that if I got a chance I could dive into it.

Highly recommended.


TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
TP-Link TL-PB10400 10400 mAh Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger (2 USB ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android Smartphones and Tablets)
Price: 25.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for antiquated laptops, 26 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm very pleased with this charger, I keep it at work and use it as emergency backup to my rather ancient laptop, which is prone to battery failure - usually in the middle of meetings when I am the presenter . Instead of lugging a power cable to meetings, I can take this. Its a solid little powerbank, about 4" (10cm) high and 1.5" (4cm) deep and can be slipped into a laptop case (it comes with a little bag to store the unit and the supplied usb cable). It has a little torch built into the top, which seems a bit odd, but might come in useful in different circumstances.

Charging the Power Bank is done via a laptop or other item with a usb port and a mains connection. There are 4 lights on top to indicate how much power is in storage - while charging the lights run in sequence, when it is fully charged all four lights show as constantly on. The only negative I've found is that it takes a long time to charge it through the laptop, about 6 hours per led.

You can purchase a 5VDC adaptor (instructions recommend a 5V/2A adaptor) to charge the Power Bank from the mains, but this is not supplied with the unit as standard.

In summary, it looks nice - the blue top is a flat diamond pattern to catch the light, its of good quality and it is functional. It also comes with a 3 year warranty and 24/7 technical support via e-mail and phone (charged calls).


Vacu Vin Cocktail Recipe Sticks - Set of 6
Vacu Vin Cocktail Recipe Sticks - Set of 6
Price: 7.96

4.0 out of 5 stars Love them - a clever and fun idea, 19 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I loved these - the sticks are quite sturdy and each has a little height adjustable coloured rubber thingy that allows you to hang them on the side of a tall glass. So your guests can use them to keep track of their own glass.

Also, each one has the measures for a different cocktail notched off, with the ingredient identified in raised letters along the stick. I've been inspired to make a Tom Collins, simply because with these its so easy to do.

I like to give people an "activity" present at Christmas that they can play with over the holidays. If you know someone who is into cocktails these would be a very practical small present. Or keep them yourself!


Salad Love: How to Create a Lunchtime Salad, Every Weekday, in 20 Minutes or Less
Salad Love: How to Create a Lunchtime Salad, Every Weekday, in 20 Minutes or Less
by David Bez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 11.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book, 15 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a beautifully presented book, with a shortened dust jacket to show the green hardback book beneath; it looks appropriately fresh to match its contents. Inside its well laid out, the photographs are clear and appetising and there is a ribbon marker and an index which makes it easy to use.

The idea is that this is a book of simple salads that you can assemble quickly at work. It requires some organisation around shopping and some of the ingredients have to be prepared at home the night before, plus you have to keep a few things at work but it is feasible, although I'm not sure how my employers would regard me keeping a sharp knife and a chopping board in my desk drawer. Anyway, you could equally use it as a book of salads to take to work with a seperate dressing.

The cornerstone of the book is the description of how to assemble a salad - starting with the leafy bit, then adding protein, toppings, herbs and dressings with multiple suggestions for each. Reducing it to the simple basics is brilliant and inspirational, you start to see where you can change things you don't like for things that you do. And there are many recipes for salad dressings presented in their own section.

Then you get the recipes themselves, divided into the 4 seasons by the colour of the edge of the page - this was the bit I particularly loved. So when it starts to get cold and your stomach demands something more substantial than the fresh green and fruity salads of Summer, you can easily flip to the Autumn section where seasonal ingredients such as butternut squash and corn combined with nuts,dried fruit and rice start to provide more starch and sugar. Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and vegetarians who eat fish are catered for with suggestions for substitute ingredients.

Instead of a sandwich, lunch today is rocket, leftover chicken and chopped avocado, scattered with walnuts and mint with a balsamic dressing. All organised in less time than it would have taken me to get the sandwich.

Its such an appealing book that I intend giving several copies as Christmas presents. I've never reviewed a better or more accessible salad book,


Philips SC2006/11 Lumea Precision Plus IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Philips SC2006/11 Lumea Precision Plus IPL Hair Removal System for Face and Body
Price: 450.00

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone - check exclusions before you order, 13 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't tried an IPL before, but like the sound of permanently zapping unwanted hair so that shaving/waxing/tweezers are things of the past.

This is a nicely packaged kit as you'd expect, with a little bag to keep it all in after you get rid of the packaging. The device itself is the size of a travel hairdryer and very star trek, if you have kids then I suggest placing your "ray gun" out of reach.

None of it is replaceable, which is a bit of a negative on the sustainable, green side of things, but if you get the predicted 140,000 flashes before the bulb wears out and you have to chuck it, then it will last for quite a while. Its rechargeable and charges quite quickly and you're then ready to get started.

The instructions are pretty exhaustive, which is a nice change. Do check online though, that this is going to be suitable for you before ordering - the exclusions include anyone with grey, blonde or red hair and those with darker skin. You can adjust the intensity of the flash if your skin is sensitive.

First you have to shave the area you're planning to treat and the warnings are quite dire about skipping this step, such that I expected to go up in a painful conflagration of singed hair if I didn't do as directed or accidentally missed a bit. My reservation about this is that my model includes a facial attachment. And what woman wants to shave her face? In the interests of experimenting, I've started with other areas, left side shaved, right side shaved and zapped and will see if I can see a difference as the weeks pass. I must say it was quick and easy to use, its light and because you're moving it forward after each flash you can treat an area quite quickly.

Once convinced that it works I might use it on my face, but not before! So I'll be back to update this review once I have seen some results. The four stars at this point are for the packaging and instructions and the look and feel of the system.


The Natural Cook: Eating the Seasons from Root to Fruit
The Natural Cook: Eating the Seasons from Root to Fruit
by Tom Hunt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice enough book, with some good recipes, 11 Aug 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a nicely bound hardcover book. I didn't like the quirky typeface - I'd sacrifice character for clarity in a cookery book. The recipes are grouped as "Winter" "Spring" "Summer" and "Autumn" with featured seasonal fruit and vegetables. Some of these fruit/veg are unexpected choices and there are some surprising omissions. I would advise having a look inside the book at the table of contents before you order.

About eight recipes are given for each fruit/veg, with one basic recipe being used in a number of ways - eg. how to roast rhubarb and then several ways in which you can use the roasted rhubarb.

I quite liked this book, but wouldn't use a lot of the featured recipes - eg. for celeriac, pumpkin or beetroot because I don't grow them. I'd have liked a book that dealt with more of the "glut" fruit/veg like runner beans and plums. It does cover tomatoes and courgettes, but only a few recipes for each.

In my opinion (other people may feel differently) a nice idea and some good recipes, but overall not one for people seriously dealing with allotment/garden produce. More for weekend cooks and those who just want to try something new when its in season.


VonShef Premium Jug 600W Blender & Grinder with 1.5L Glass Jug - Pulse & Ice Crushing Function and Multi-mill Attachment
VonShef Premium Jug 600W Blender & Grinder with 1.5L Glass Jug - Pulse & Ice Crushing Function and Multi-mill Attachment
Offered by Designer Habitat
Price: 69.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, 22 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this for its ice crushing capability and to make cocktails and smoothies. Its really excellent value for money, the ice crusher works well as does the blender. Produces perfect daiquiris in seconds and I don't find that I need to hold the jug while it is working, I just switch it on and leave it. The instructions do warn you not to run it for more than 60 seconds and then let it have 60 seconds to cool before using again, but I've found that anything I've put in it is liquidised in well under this time.

The chrome and black look very smart in my kitchen. Assembly and taking it apart couldn't be easier and the manual says that the parts can go in the dishwasher, although as all there is is the heavy glass jug and the lid to wash, I don't bother and just wash them by hand. The jug has cup markings on it which makes it really handy when the recipe says "1 cup of ice".

I think this is brilliant, it does what I bought it for and at less than half the price of competitors. Recommended


Home2Garden - Stainless Steel Wind Sailor Garden Sculpture
Home2Garden - Stainless Steel Wind Sailor Garden Sculpture

1.0 out of 5 stars Returned for refund, 14 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was a big disappointment. The item was well packaged and sent promptly. However, the supporting pole, rather than being straight is shaped like an inverse crook - so the actual height of the sculpture is reduced. From reading the other descriptions, it looks as though there were parts missing as there was no spike to connect to the bottom of the supporting pole.

There was no contents list in the box, nothing but a cut out section of photocopied page saying "we hope you like your sculpture". So I've no idea if I got a complete sculpture, but having put it together it appears that the plastic cap at the bottom of the top section balances on top of a slant cut steel pipe. There are no bearings or anything which would facilitate the sculpture turning.

Frankly, with the wind speed required to turn that, its more likely to blow over than revolve, so I can only assume that there were parts missing.


Gardman Expanding Natural Willow Obelisk 1.5m
Gardman Expanding Natural Willow Obelisk 1.5m
Offered by UK Garden Supplies
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent value for money, 11 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well made and sturdy obelisk, an absolute steal at the price. Darker than in picture, but arrived well packaged and promptly. I'm going to order another two.


Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
Eat Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
by Andy Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Part cookery book, part travelogue, 7 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a beautiful book. Good sturdy covers and the "eat istanbul" title on the front page is embossed. Its really gorgeous to look at, externally and internally, with a superfluity of photos of Istanbul and its people. I'd have preferred less photos and more recipes.

The book is divided into "breakfast", but then "street food", "meat", "vegetables", "fish" - it seems a little odd. Breakfast is a scanty section as well, not many recipes compared to subsequent sections. The rest of the book though is glorious, there are some wonderful recipes and the photos give you an idea of what the end result should look like - always a bonus.

To use this book it will be handy if you have access to a Turkish delicatessen or the patience to order online - Sumac and Kirmizi Biber flakes are a regular ingredient and a few recipes call for even more exotic items. At the back of the book are explanations of what these ingredients are, which is a step up from just assuming you know.

Lovely, lovely book to look at - could have done with a "bread and baking" section to be perfect.


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