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Reviews Written by
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK)
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Lavario 331800000018 Silicone Ice Cube Tray Set
Lavario 331800000018 Silicone Ice Cube Tray Set
Price: £17.65

4.0 out of 5 stars Variety of ice cube shapes, but only one lid, 3 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Four trays, these each offer a different size or shape of ice for making a drink more interesting. The silicone plastic in these trays feels more durable than the usual polythene types of ice-tray often found in fridges, although in the past I have had thinner silicone trays that also fell apart (usually at the centre-push-dimple intended for removing the cube). These claim to be dishwasher proof, and so far these have survived a couple of cycles through the d/w and a very cold freezer.

There is a minor problem with these in that there is only one lid, and if one has a 'Frost-free' air circulating freezer then the ice in the trays will quickly evaporate unless they are cube-stacked as in the picture with each being the lid for the one below, which raises the other problem that they will then take ages to freeze. I put cling film over each tray, so they could be laid out flat for fastest freezing, but really should not have to do this.

If they each had an effective lid then I would have given this little set five stars for imagination and variety as well as utility.


Tower T80410 Spudnik Spiralizer, Green
Tower T80410 Spudnik Spiralizer, Green
Price: £20.70

3.0 out of 5 stars Convenient spiraliser, but with limitations and requires skill in its use., 3 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At first sight it looks wonderful, with the twirly handle and the grippy disk to turn the vegetable against the chosen cutters below with the results being collected in the captive bowl.

And, once mastered, it produces very tasty results from a wide variety of fresh vegetables - the fresher the better because it is poor at cutting anything that lacks crispness or is tending towards soggy rubberyness.

Its height also limits the length of something normally long like a cucumber or courgette or carrot, they need to be cut down to fit and so the spirals are shorter than with either a lathe-type or a freehand type spiraliser.

This spiraliser has:
. three nice adjustable feet that do not slip on the worktop;
. a collecting bowl that locks onto the top to prevent the cuttings from escaping;
. a rotating spiked gripper on the inside with an easy to turn handle on the outside;
. a fixed blade cutter to slice ribbons from the vegetables;
. an adjustable julienne cutter can be rotated through three positions,
. . no grooves for spiral ribbons,
. . coarse grooves for wide spiral straws,
. . fine grooves for thin square spiral straws.

And it all collapses to store everything within itself, and can be dismantled completely for washing, including the bush bearing for the gripper axle.

But there are some downsides:
. it requires skill and patience to achieve the desired results, fair enough - not a quick start then;
. it also requires a careful and delicate touch to fit the bowl to the bayonet lugs under the slider blade;
. it is even more fiddly fitting the thin plastic lid for the bowl onto the bowl for keeping the cuttings fresh for a while before eating them;
. the feet only adjust down by about half an inch, and tend to slide up again if one presses down for a firmer cut;
. and it all feels too flimsy.

On balance it is OK, but it is not a complete solution because it is limited in the applications, flimsy, and requires significant care and skill for good results.


Blue Room
Blue Room
Price: £15.83

4.0 out of 5 stars Another delight from Ana, a retrospective with her Dad, 1 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blue Room (Audio CD)
Ana and Dad singing and playing together, the blurb is right, it is a treat to hear them enjoying themselves playing the music Ana grew up with. Some of the numbers are better than others, but they all are true to the tradition of the old southern blues, and the guitar work is a dream throughout.

The sleeve notes are interesting, and the 'poster' shows lots of snaps of this little girl and her Dad, which (being also the father of a guitarist daughter) I found very touching. I just wish I could sing or play even a tiny fraction as well as he does.

I heard a track on the radio recently and this prompted me to buy the CD, I'm glad I did.


Wolfcraft 3008000 Hook and Loop Straps Velcro 600 x 20 mm Set of 2
Wolfcraft 3008000 Hook and Loop Straps Velcro 600 x 20 mm Set of 2
Price: £13.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Good basic bundle straps, 1 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These are good basic re-usable bundle straps with an 8cm long section of hooks and the rest of the strap being loops.

The strap is ideal as a constraint for anything equivalent to a wrap around a diameter from about 9cm up to about 22cm. With smaller bundles the strap is too long and hooks go past the loops (two or more turns needed), and with bigger bundles hooks don't reach the loops, (these figures assume all the hooks section is being used for maximum grip).

I've used one of these as a method for strapping a small camera head to an anti-roll bar where the original mounting strap was too short, and two turns of this strap with the original rubber sleeves next to the head gave a superb non-slip grip.

A more flexible (any length possible) but maybe less convenient (it requires scissors to cut strips to the required length) alternative is a roll of this double sided Velcro tape.


Posh Pile 60508 Pacific Coast Highway Universal Luxury Car Mats, Black
Posh Pile 60508 Pacific Coast Highway Universal Luxury Car Mats, Black
Price: £34.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable quality, reasonable fit, but not exact., 1 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These five car mats have a good quality soft pile carpet on top, and a rubber backing covered in lots of pimples to stop them sliding about on the original car carpet. It lies flat on the floor and does not want to curl up the edges (yet - I will add more here if it eventually does).

The set has five pieces, a pair for the front foot-wells, a pair for the rear foot-wells, and a strip to drape over the transmission/exhaust tunnel in the rear. The four foot-well pieces stay in position reasonably well (even with nervous passengers), but the fifth piece has a mind of its own and we quickly lost it.

The edges are bound so there is no possibility of cutting any of it down for a better fit to the contours of the foot-wells.

The fit is OK in my old Vectra but not brilliant, a lot better than nothing but nowhere near as good as the original mats designed for the car.

Only time will tell how well the driver's heel pad survives.


Ariston C00081578 Creda Hotpoint Indesit Oven Shelf 447mmx364mm
Ariston C00081578 Creda Hotpoint Indesit Oven Shelf 447mmx364mm
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid basic shelf., 1 May 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A simple, solid, non-adjustable wire oven shelf which happens to fit my oven (not one of the Indesit family) almost as well as the original shelf but costs about a tenth as much. It is basic and flat so might tend to slide about a bit in some ovens which expect a shaped shelf with some sideways bracing or lock-stops.

The dimensions of the shelf are as described in the Az blurb at 447mm wide x 364mm deep, and it is well made and looks much more like stainless than chrome. It does not have a kink to prevent it from sliding all the way out of the usual side runners, but if located on a telescopic slide then this problem goes away.

My oven was supplied with just one shelf and a full width tray which blocks the fan circulation, not good enough. I do a fair amount of baking and needed three wire shelves, so I bought two of these, plus two pairs of TR1LFV telescopic sliders (from JL) which happen to be exactly the right length (ie shelf depth) for the Indesit shelves and expect to clip onto 3.5mm side rails (but will squeeze onto 5mm rails when forced).


Hawaiian Tropic 180 ml SPF 50 Satin Protection Sun Lotion
Hawaiian Tropic 180 ml SPF 50 Satin Protection Sun Lotion
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Effective SPF 50 lotion, but strong coconut aroma, and no claims about moisturing, 29 April 2016
I was sent one of these by Amazon Vine by mistake instead of the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Air Soft which is also an SPF 50 sun protection, but that has added moisturiser and is in a clever pump bottle instead of this squeezy tube.

Today was mostly a sunny one and I spent much of it gardening with a single application of this to protect my fair skin, and I have not been burnt at all, so I can believe the SPF 50. It does not claim to be a moisturiser but my skin was not dry after a day outside. It soaks in quickly, and the skin no longer feels greasy after only a couple of minutes, just smooth and soft.

The coconut aroma is quite pronounced, so if you dislike coconut, then avoid it, and until now I have been using the much more neutral and equally effective Soltan SPF50 Protect and Moisturise lotion 200ml bought from the usual high street shop.

The list of ingredients is long and the instructions for use are in the second layer of the label, and all in tiny print. A major plus point is that it does not contain the cytotoxin irritant MI (Methylisothiazolinone) frequently added to liquid products as a preservative.


3M Wrist Rest Gel-filled - Wrist pad - midnight black
3M Wrist Rest Gel-filled - Wrist pad - midnight black
Price: £27.97

4.0 out of 5 stars A comfortable and handy Wrist Rest for a full size keyboard, 29 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Vine sent me a 3M gel-cooled grippy-plastic-backed faux-leather topped WR320LE (48.2 x 7.1 x 2) instead of the requested WR310MB (51.3 x 7.7 x 3.2), so this review is mostly for the smaller and well proven WR320LE.

This wrist rest is as almost good as any I’ve tried in the past, and it has the advantages of being wipe-clean and non-slip on the desktop. At 2cm thick it is more suitable for the thinner low-profile keyboards used by many modern computers, and at 48cms long it is about the same as one of these but not long enough to reach across for the mouse as well, unless there is no number-pad.

I’m grateful to Vine for offering me this new one to try as my ancient Dell wrist rest is close to becoming a health hazard because of all the skin and sweat that has soaked into its cloth covering over the last decade or two, despite regular cleaning. Alas, the WR320LE is thinner than my usual rest, and although it is very comfortable on the skin I need the extra thickness, and after a day of typing I have reverted to the thicker old one.

I’ve used wrist rests with keyboards since the 1980s, not consistently because some keyboards such as on laptops or custom consoles make them impossible to position effectively and then I suffer; but I always try to use one with a full-size keyboard with proper sculpted keys, such as this very-nice-to-type-on big old heavy Dell AT102W PS2 type, because I have found the rests to be very beneficial in minimising RSI in the wrists and the back of the hands, and they also help with typing speed and precision.

I also use a separate [[ASIN:B000YBZZU0 mouse wrist rest]] and regularly swap the mouse between Left and Right hands every couple of days to help prevent RSI in the shoulders and the back of the hands.

The extra thickness of the WR310MB would have made all the difference and I would still be using it now, and it would be long enough to have the mouse on the left sharing it since I rarely use the number pad.


3M(TM) Leatherette Gel  Keyboard Wrist-Rest - Black - 48.2cm x 7.1cm x 2cm
3M(TM) Leatherette Gel Keyboard Wrist-Rest - Black - 48.2cm x 7.1cm x 2cm
Price: £22.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A comfortable and handy Wrist Rest for a full size slim-line keyboard, 29 April 2016
Vine sent me a 3M gel-cooled grippy-plastic-backed faux-leather topped WR320LE (48.2 x 7.1 x 2) instead of the requested WR310MB (51.3 x 7.7 x 3.2), so this review is for the smaller and well proven WR320LE.

This wrist rest is as almost good as any I’ve tried in the past, and it has the advantages of being wipe-clean and non-slip on the desktop. At 2cm thick it is more suitable for the thinner low-profile keyboards used by many modern computers, and at 48cms long it is about the same as one of these but not long enough to reach across for the mouse as well, unless there is no number-pad.

I’m grateful to Vine for offering me this new one to try as my ancient Dell wrist rest is close to becoming a health hazard because of all the skin and sweat that has soaked into its cloth covering over the last decade or two, despite regular cleaning. Alas, the WR320LE is thinner than my usual rest, and although it is very comfortable on the skin I need the extra thickness, and after a day of typing I have reverted to the thicker old one.

I’ve used wrist rests with keyboards since the 1980s, not consistently because some keyboards such as on laptops or custom consoles make them impossible to position effectively and then I suffer; but I always try to use one with a full-size keyboard with proper sculpted keys, such as this very-nice-to-type-on big old heavy Dell AT102W PS2 type, because I have found the rests to be very beneficial in minimising RSI in the wrists and the back of the hands, and they also help with typing speed and precision.

I also use a separate [[ASIN:B000YBZZU0 mouse wrist rest]] and regularly swap the mouse between Left and Right hands every couple of days to help prevent RSI in the shoulders and the back of the hands.


Democracy: A Life
Democracy: A Life
by Paul Cartledge
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.00

4.0 out of 5 stars If you need to know more about Democracy, then dive deep into this book., 27 April 2016
This review is from: Democracy: A Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With his thorough grounding in all the relevant aspects of the history Paul Cartledge has given us an extremely detailed analysis of the evolution of Democracy from its raw beginning (as effectively People Power) to today where the People are largely ignored by those wielding the Power, through the many re-inventions and alternative interpretations, notably with the help of Aristotle. The book is based on the sets of lectures given to his final year students as part of their courses, and the rigour is profound. This is well worth a good study, but also requires perseverance.

The text in the first few chapters is far too academic with long self-validating multi-clause sentences in even longer paragraphs; these make reading it very difficult, and one needs to be a truly dedicated student to make progress. However, persistence is rewarded, and the readability of the later chapters is much improved making the book well worth finishing. It has taken me the best part of three weeks to work through it, and I confess I dropped off in several places with heavy eyelids; but having reached the end and felt the benefit for my efforts I intend to read it again when I'm free in a couple of months time, now with the advantage of knowing where I lacked proper understanding on the first pass.


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