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Zaz (Manchester, UK)

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Berghaus Optimus II 40 Wheeled Travel Bag
Berghaus Optimus II 40 Wheeled Travel Bag

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fits a lot in, compromises on comfort., 19 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I had been searching long and hard for a decent trolley rucksack (that also fulfilled hand luggage requirements) when I came across the Berghaus Optimus 40. After almost 10 years with my Antler trolley rucksack, it was time for a replacement. I asked in various luggage shops if they could recommend one that was both comfortable as a rucksack and yet worked smoothly as a trolley. I was mostly told that it was impossible to find something like that, since a trolley rucksack tends to compromise on comfort in favour of functionality.

The Berghaus Optimus 40 is, however, quite a find. The rectangular suitcase shape of it (in contrast to some other trolley models that are rounded at the top) means that you can really fit a lot in. The inner pockets ensure you can find everything easily and the mesh section in the lid is great for underwear etc. There are also straps inside to hold your clothes in place (though I would have preferred these to be of the elastic kind). The zips are chunky and robust, making me think (or hope) they’ll last a while. They’ve also got the usual interlocking holes for adding your own padlock. The outer zip pocket on the front is not one of those pockets that you can’t actually fit anything into, but rather expands due to the “tailoring” of the seams. Providing you’re not going to be doing too much walking around with it (I tend to use it as a trolley in the airport but as a rucksack when I’m walking around the city), it’s actually quite comfortable to use as a rucksack, though the straps could perhaps do with a bit more padding (btw, I’m a 5’ 3” female).

There are some negatives though, which is why I’ve only given it 4 stars. The wheels are of a plasticky material (like the kind on cheap rollerblades) and are quite loud when you’re rolling it around as a trolley. I’ve also found the telescopic handle to be a bit sticky (I’ve not tried oiling it yet). The transition between trolley to rucksack and vice versa is not so smooth as it was with my Antler trolley rucksack, as the straps on the Berghaus model have to be clipped on. Also, it’s not really possible to pull the trolley along with the rucksack straps still attached as they get caught in the wheels and/or act as a sweeping brush collecting all the dust on the airport floor.

A small aesthetic critique is the fact that the logo is printed not embroidered, giving quite a cheap impression that you don’t normally expect from a brand like Berghaus.

All in all, it’s a great bag that suits my needs. But I’m starting to think that the sales assistants were right – a REALLY comfortable trolley rucksack probably doesn’t exist.

German Home Cooking: More Than 100 Authentic German Recipes; Passed Down from Generation to Generation
German Home Cooking: More Than 100 Authentic German Recipes; Passed Down from Generation to Generation
by Duane R. Lund
Edition: Paperback

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars some great recipes but a little cliché, 11 Oct. 2009
The font says it all really...this book is overwhelmingly clichéed, yet does manage to provide some good easy-to-follow recipes, especially the rye bread and potato salad ones. The lack of pictures is a bit disappointing but then what do you expect for the price. I should point out that this book has quite an American feel to it. I think the emphasis is on recreating German dishes in an American kitchen, so British users may be unfamiliar with some ingredients (as well as the measuring system!).

Eat Your Heart Out: Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health
Eat Your Heart Out: Why the food business is bad for the planet and your health
by Felicity Lawrence
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will change your life, 11 Oct. 2009
This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the state of the global food industry. Neatly divided into chapters which focus on topics like "Milk", "Pigs" or "Fish", Felicity Lawrence has done her utmost best to give us an accurate picture of the current state of the food industry. Not biased or persuasive, this book simply tells it how it is and allows the reader to make up their own minds. I'm pretty sure this book will encourage anyone who reads it to rethink the way they buy and consume food, and may also cause them to start spreading the message too (as I have found myself doing!).

Vegan, Virgin, Valentine
Vegan, Virgin, Valentine
by Carolyn Mackler
Edition: Paperback

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not pro-vegan, 30 Jun. 2009
If you're a young vegan buying this book expecting to relate really well with the main character, then think again.
The implicit message in this book is definitely anti-vegan. Mara openly admits that her veganism is a way of distracting herself - she basically says that she does it to be in control of her life (...because she's control freak) But when she starts to loosen up a little, she starts to eat chocolate and cheese and eggs. Nothing at all is mentioned in the book about animal welfare and in the end we are left feeling as though veganism is somehow boring and dull.
However if you like a love story and some family drama, then you might like it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 14, 2011 11:41 PM GMT

Vegan Cooking for One: Over 150 simple and appetizing meals
Vegan Cooking for One: Over 150 simple and appetizing meals
by Leah Leneman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.54

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very useful book for anyone living alone, not just vegans, 31 May 2009
This book is a great resource for anyone living alone, not just vegans. It works by telling you how to plan your weekly shopping list and how to use the food you buy accordingly, e.g. half a tin of beans one night, with the other half used for something else during the week. There's 10 different planned weeks in the book. The recipes are easy and can easily be doubled or quadrupled when you have guests. The only downside perhaps is the lack of photos, but then again, this could be good, since there's no chance of feeling disappointed when yours doesn't turnout like the picture. Afterall, good food is all about taste and texture really and not necessarily about the way it looks. I would definitely recommend it!

Russian Politics and Society
Russian Politics and Society
by Dr Catherine Danks
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect balance between detail and simplicity, 10 May 2008
This book provides enough information to make the reader feel as though they have been sufficiently informed without leaving them overwhelmed. The writer assumes little previous knowledge of Russia (and thus isn't patronising or arrogant). Succintly divided chapters provide ease of reference and the info boxes throughout the book clarify any unfamiliar terms.

Would certainly recommend for anybody interested in modern Russian politics, either academically or merely just out of curiosity.

The 10-Minute Brain Workout
The 10-Minute Brain Workout
by Gareth Moore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect to add to the bathroom library..., 12 April 2008
This is a great book whose home should be either one of two places: your bag (do on the bus on the way to work), or next to the loo (need I say more?) Either way, it ensures that all those minutes you usually spend thinking about nothing are productively spent training your brain.
It has all the obvious brain teasers, like Sudoku and memory tests, but my faves are the mental arithmetic-style ones. Perfect amount of questions for when nature calls!
The book has a useful introduction, and the brain teasers progress throughout the book from "Beginners" to "Advanced". Would definitely recommend!

Europe by Rail (Independent Traveller's Guides)
Europe by Rail (Independent Traveller's Guides)
by Thomas Cook Publishing
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect travel companion, 7 April 2007
Striking a balance between the bare essentials and information overload, this book provides just the right amount of information to get you on your feet when you arrive to a new place. Obviously you've got all the usual practical stuff like train stations, tourist information offices accommodation and transport info etc, plus some handy hints on nightlife, eating out and sightseeing. The book provides you with enough suggestions to make you feel like you have a choice without causing indecisiveness.

I particularly like the way it offers a "where to next?" section after most major destinations - perfect for the backpacker. In addition to this, the book provides 3-stop routes that can be tackled in 10-day holidays, for example Munich-Innsbruck-Vienna.

The book also contains enough glossy pictures to keep most people happy, whilst still allowing some thought to the imagination.

A Companion to Modern European History, 1871-1945 (Blackwell Companions to History)
A Companion to Modern European History, 1871-1945 (Blackwell Companions to History)
by Martin Pugh
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for any history student, 21 Feb. 2007
The book is divided into three parts: 'Society and the State', 'Political Movements and Ideologies' and 'Diplomacy, Defence and War' with each part featuring around 5 essays from different historians on narrower aspects of the broader theme. The book also features many tables, providing statistical data from the time. There is also a chronology of events section at the back of the book, listing all the significant dates etc, aswell as a 'Biographies' section, which provides a brief description of key characters at the time from Abdul Hamid II to Zhukov. In addition to this, further reading is also listed categorically for ease of reference.

All in all, this is a superb book - one that I would recommend to students of History, Economic History, European Studies or perhaps even Politics.

Munich  [DVD]
Munich [DVD]
Dvd ~ Geoffrey Rush
Price: £2.97

5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little bit annoying..., 22 April 2006
This review is from: Munich [DVD] (DVD)
After watching this film, the events of it stuck in my head for several days after. I think this was due to it being my first exposure to the story, which is pretty shocking and often deeply saddening. However, there a one or two things I can complain about...firstly, why was it in English?? I think this film would have been much better if the actors actually spoke the language of the country they were supposed to be from. Accompanied by subtitles, I think this would have made the film a lot better. The English just reminds of you of who directed it, and what they were aiming for (an Oscar!). Secondly...there is a sex scene in it which made me feel extremely uncomfortable - not because of the nudity, but because of his facial expressions etc. (If you've seen it, then you know what I'm talking about) I wondered whether this scene was really necessary.

On the whole though, it was worth the money. Would recommend it.

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