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LittleMoon (loving my life in the rain)

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Rexel Advance 240x190mm Subject Notebooks - Black (Pack of 5)
Rexel Advance 240x190mm Subject Notebooks - Black (Pack of 5)
Price: £26.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Smart and sturdy notebooks x 5, 13 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’m studying at the moment and thought these notebooks would be really useful for condensing down notes from A4 pages, books and the internet into a smaller more portable format – digital note-taking is not for me. For this purpose the notebook gets the thumbs up, with positives being that pages are perforated and can be removed and have wide ruled lines. I find the plastic wallets (which have 3 compartments in total) useful for holding postcards upon which I have written even more portable notes! It’s also very handy to have a little pen holder on the front and I use it every time I take the notebook out with me.

The plastic covers and fabric covering of the spiral binding do give the book a slightly more sturdy feel than a paper cover but as another reviewer mentioned it is a shame that the whole thing isn’t refillable. I do plan on keeping my notes for a while though, and the cover has been useful against the odd spot of rain when I am revising outside.

The 2 coloured tabs are neither here nor there. I have put two modules worth of work into the first coloured section and there’s still some room left; probably won’t use the coloured tabs at all as they divide the notebook into very large sections.

Like the notebook as it’s smart looking, an easy portable size and the covers stand up well to being bashed about in my rucksack.

Maclaren Replenishing Body Lotion
Maclaren Replenishing Body Lotion
Price: £12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Soothing & moisturising body lotion ..., 15 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Marketed as being gentle enough for mums and babies, this body lotion is designed to appeal to buyers who care quite a lot about what's in their moisturiser and what they're putting onto their skin - and we probably all should, considering that our skin is absorbing all the lotions and potions we're lathering on it. So it's Soil Association certified organic (83% organic), cruelty free, vegan and paediatrician and dermatologist tested. Phew! There's a further list of everything it doesn't contain on the back, such as parabens, phthalates, petroleum derivatives and synthetic perfumes, which is useful for those who have allergies to some of these ingredients.

I don't have problems with dry skin, but it's always nice to have something to lather onto my skin especially after epilating, and this works really well, not irritating my skin and making it feel cool and smooth. The lotion has a rich consistency; I would say perfect actually, not too runny and not too thick. It applies easily although I don't like the slightly sticky feeling that I'm left with before it absorbs in ... once it has absorbed however, it does make my skin feel nice. Is it nicer or smoother than using any other body lotion (I tend to shop around rather than sticking to a single preferred brand), to be honest, not noticeably so. The scent is quite strong initially and is most definitely lavender - there's lavender and chamomile oil in the mix, and linalool but it's the lavender that stands out. I love lavender so am very happy about this, the scent does tend to fade quite quickly.

The 250ml tube I expect to last me some time as I am not a daily user of body lotion; I also find that a small amount goes a surprisingly long way, which makes it reasonably good value for money. The price compared with other organic products is good, especially when compared with 100% organic products, and that is presumably because of the 17% non-organic ingredient content. All in all a good product that makes my skin feel nice and isn't just for mums and babies.

Braun Silk Epil 7 7-561 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator with 6 Extra Attachments
Braun Silk Epil 7 7-561 Wet & Dry Cordless Epilator with 6 Extra Attachments
Price: £79.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for legs!, 12 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My first ever epilator. My advice if you haven't used one of these things before is to read the instructions and make sure you choose the correct `head' for the job, and don't epilate your underarms first!

If you epilate your underarms first you may never use the thing again and that would be a mistake. Even with the `sensitive area cap' which essentially just cuts down the size of the area to be epilated, doing my underarms is very painful and frankly not worth it. I will be continuing to shave rather than epilate here. The booklet suggests that this pain will reduce over time but I'm not convinced.

Legs however can be epilated brilliantly and efficiently and I've been really impressed with the results so far. I certainly notice that re-growth is much slower than with shaving, and even a week after usage I only have a small amount of new hair (as opposed to a day or so with shaving). I do find I need to go quite carefully in order to catch all the little hairs, but with care and attention I can achieve a good clean hair-free leg in about 10 mins. It's true that the finish is not quite as super-smooth as a shaved leg and I have therefore supplemented with a very cursory sweep of the razor over the bottom halves of my legs on a couple of occasions, but really this isn't necessary as the tiny bits of hair that are less than 0.5mm are not noticeable on me. I did make sure that I shaved my legs before using the epilator the first time, as the instructions recommend use on hairs between 2mm-5mm.

Some people report a larger occurrence of in-growing hairs using an epilator but I haven't found this to be a problem, or at least no more so than with shaving. Again, the instructions recommend using an exfoliating sponge in order to keep the skin cells healthy and allow the new hair growth to penetrate. I do this anyway.

Very useful to be able to use this epilator in the bath and I haven't used it `dry' yet. Neither have I used the face or bikini line options - I refer you back to the underarm note for the reasons I haven't done this. I prefer using the `massage cap' which makes for a more comfortable experience (I experience hardly any pain when epilating my legs) and feels more ergonomic than the `efficiency cap' which supposedly offers a better adaptation to all areas.

The epilator feels sturdy and well-built and the different sections `clip' together nicely; it's easy to clean and dry after use in the bath or shower. It charges fully in about an hour, and once charged can be used for 40 minutes continuously - I haven't needed it for this long, but it hasn't cut out on me yet over a 20 - 30 min period. It comes with a cheap-feeling drawstring bag which is useful for keeping all the attachments in one place. The light is kind of handy sometimes in illuminating hairs that might otherwise be missed and perhaps more useful when shaving in artificial light at night - often though, I find the way that I'm epilating doesn't really allow the light to be very useful, or I am accidentally covering it up.

All in all I think this is an excellent product for epilating legs and I will definitely be using this, rather than shaving, from now on.

Igenix IG2070 Manual Microwave 700 W - 20 L, White
Igenix IG2070 Manual Microwave 700 W - 20 L, White
Price: £60.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Basic, simple, easy to use., 28 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Capacity: 20 litres
Size (H x W x D): 258mm x 439mm x 334
Power output: 650W – 700W

If you want an all-singing all-dancing microwave, then this is certainly not the model for you. However, if you are an occasional microwave user, looking for a simple product that does the job, you could do a lot worse than this easy-to-use Igenix.

I use microwaves mainly for reheating, melting butter and some defrosting; I never buy microwave meals nor do I use it for “cooking” per se. I’m a light user with little requirement beyond these basic functions and am happy to say that this product covers my needs nicely.

This products biggest plus is its simplicity, with only 2 dials it’s ready to use without the need to look at the instruction manual. One dial controls the power which on high produces the full 700W output; the other is a timer dial which can be set for up to 35 minutes. Neither of these functions are particularly awe-inspiring; the power output is pretty low and the timer range up to 35 mins is also basic level … but if you know that you’re never going to use a microwave for more than 10 mins (as I do) then it doesn’t matter a bit. There is also a defrost function available.

The product comes with a free 2 year warranty against electrical or mechanical defects and you can register it online or via an enclosed leaflet and this must be done within 30 days of purchase.

Breville Colour Notes 4-Slice Toaster - Cream
Breville Colour Notes 4-Slice Toaster - Cream
Price: £31.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for bagels, crumpets and homemade bread ..., 8 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)

4-slice toaster
A single browning control 1-9 with halfway points to adjust
Cancel button
High lift: to make the toast easier to remove
Lift and look: you can check on the toast without cancelling the toasting process
Frozen bread: toast bread straight from the freezer
Reheat: reheat toast that has cooled
Illuminated red controls
Removable crumb trays
1 year guarantee

Toast is one of my favourite things in the world, especially for a no rush weekend breakfast with butter and homemade jams or marmalade. It’s the perfect comfort food and makes an excellent companion to stews and soups in the winter. As such I eat quite a lot of it, and tend to toast a lot of things other than your average sized sliced loaf from the supermarket. I need a toaster that is happy with bagels, crumpets and pitta breads as well as larger and less perfectly shaped homemade bread slices. This Breville really is accommodating in all of those areas.

I got the Vanilla Cream colour and it’s nice and warmly off-white colouring would help it to blend in with any kitchen décor, if that is what is important to you. It’s quite large: (length x width x height) 28cm x 27cm x 20cm but light enough to carry out from a cupboard if you don’t have room for it permanently on a work surface. As mentioned above it will happily accommodate a variety of things to be toasted, and the high lift function makes it so much easier to access those smaller articles which can otherwise require a bit of levering out with a wooden spoon! Toasts evenly and gets those bits that might stick out of the top of a smaller toaster!

It has all the features that I’d expect, including crumb trays that help to keep the toaster clean, although I still give it a good shake from time to time to dislodge any bits that get stuck inside. The illuminated red controls (noticeable on the cancel, reheat and frozen buttons) don’t really add anything as far as I am concerned, but do highlight the function currently being used so perhaps may be of some use if you’ve accidentally depressed the wrong button. The build quality is good overall, although the buttons feel just a tad ‘clunky’ when depressed. Also, it doesn’t have a separate browning control for each set of 2 slots, which my parents’ Morphy Richards does … having said that I can’t really imagine this being a significant issue.

I would very much recommend this toaster: it’s good looking, with toasting slots deep and wide enough to toast even over-sized goodies, and it’s very easy to use, clean and look after.

Roberts 'Play Duo' DAB/DAB+/FM RDS Stereo Radio with Built In Battery Charger - Grey
Roberts 'Play Duo' DAB/DAB+/FM RDS Stereo Radio with Built In Battery Charger - Grey
Price: £72.52

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and effective DAB/FM radio, 3 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really pleased with this simple and effective DAB radio from Roberts. Simple because it doesn't contain any advanced features such as an alarm function, but effective because it is user friendly and has everything that I need in order to listen to my favourite radio stations. The radio is a nice size, not too big and light enough to be easily portable; there's also a headphone socket.

I am one of those odd people who read the instruction manuals for products (and the one included is clear and tells you everything you need to know) but you hardly need to read this one as the radio essentially sets itself up once you've turned it on by automatically scanning for all the available services in your area. You can then scroll through the lists selecting the station you want to listen to, and you can add 5 presets for each waveband (ie: five for DAB and five for FM). The Band button selects between DAB and FM and an Info button allows you to change the information shown on the display - my favourite thing is being able to see the name of the singer and song currently playing.

The selling point of this particular model is the built-in battery charger which can take either alkaline batteries or rechargeables - just make sure that you move the switch located in the battery compartment to the correct setting (NiMH or Alkaline) in order to avoid "serious damage to the batteries or radio". It takes 4 AA sized batteries which are not included. Battery life, according to the manual is up to 20 hours (when used for 4 hours a day at normal volume) using alkaline cells. Mine is currently plugged into the mains, and I haven't used batteries in it yet.

The radio comes with a 12 month guarantee, and should you wish to, you can buy interchangeable Roberts Play Bumper covers for £9.99 each.

All in all a good quality basic-level portable DAB/FM radio perfect for the simple pleasure of listening.

Kensington Keyfolio Fit Universal Folio with Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for 9" and 10" Android Tablets UK QWERTY Layout - Black
Kensington Keyfolio Fit Universal Folio with Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard for 9" and 10" Android Tablets UK QWERTY Layout - Black
Price: £62.06

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful for tablet typists ..., 6 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Was lucky to get offered this keyboard as I’ve just got my first tablet, a 10.1” Samsung Galaxy Pro, and it fits perfectly.

The 4 silicon straps hold the tablet very securely in place and don’t cover the screen at all. The inside of the folio case is soft and feels nice to rest your wrist against when typing; it also makes a snug, scratch-free home for the tablet if you decide to keep it on all the time. The outside of the case is black with a ribbed-like appearance, but is smooth to the touch and classical enough in looks. The folio snaps satisfyingly closed thanks to the magnetic flap.

Basic picture instructions come with the keyboard, though if you’re not a visual learner or au fait with using Bluetooth technologies and “pairing” you might not even recognise them as anything other than random pictures. It’s easy enough to bring up the online user manual by going to Kensington’s website – the url for which is helpfully located under the images – and the “Quick Start” will walk you through “connecting” the keyboard to the tablet. It’s quick and easy to do. The keyboard comes with a USB connector that will attach to your tablet’s charger in order to re-charge the battery; fully-charged it has 110 hours working time.

The keyboard itself feels comfortable to use. It’s smaller (obviously) than a laptop keyboard, but still manages to fit fingers to keys without noticeable problems with hitting the wrong keys when typing. The keys are soft and springy, making a quiet clicking noise when depressed – not as clacky as my laptop. I’ve not experienced any problems with the connection between the keyboard and the tablet, and no lag between typing and letters appearing on the screen. There is the option to launch apps from the keyboard; I haven’t really used this function as yet, except to test that it works, but it’s there for those who might find it useful.

If your main reason for owning a tablet is portability then it’s worth knowing that this keyboard does add quite a bit of weight – it is actually heavier than my tablet. The folio only allows for one angle to fix the screen when typing and it’s quite steep (a bit too steep for my personal preference) but this doesn’t cause any real issue and the screen stays in place and resists being easily jolted out.

The Kensington keyfolio also comes with a 2 year limited warranty.

Definitely worth a look if you’re doing a lot of typing on a tablet and don’t object to the extra weight it brings.

Kipling Women's Cayleen Shoulder Bag K12452B94 Party Dot Pr P
Kipling Women's Cayleen Shoulder Bag K12452B94 Party Dot Pr P
Offered by Bexons Gifts
Price: £55.00

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun and functional, 21 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’d not heard of Kipling bags before, but having the need for a new little bag I thought I’d give this a try. I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality; nice stitching, for example, and good solid fasteners and zips. The nylon it’s made from means it has some water resistance (not been tested yet) and its feel and texture mean that it’s sporty and durable rather than being showy.

The bag is a good size, and remains nicely compact when carrying the basics (which for me is purse, phone, keys). However, the base expands and the bag can actually accommodate a surprising amount of stuff, should you want it to. For instance, height-wise it just fits in an A5 size notebook, or an average paperback book (though not a 10.1 inch tablet). It has also been stuffed with gloves and my fat glasses case and held them quite comfortably.

The strap is reasonably wide and doesn’t seem to dig in when carrying a heavier load. It’s nice to wear it across the body and the strap is plenty long enough to do this. The main compartment to the bag is zipped, and an outer flap folds over this and secures with a satisfying snap into the magnetic popper. There’s a small pocket at the front with a Velcro fastening and a roomy zipped section at the back which can be accessed without going into the main bag. Inside the main compartment is a zipped pocket, a key fob, a mobile phone pocket and a pen pocket (the latter two are perhaps a smidgen too shallow, but certainly do the job).

I don’t really get the monkey thing if I’m honest (Kipling references aside) but for those of you who do collect them, this is Davina and she (?) will happily suck her thumb, hold her hands together or do a flying monkey thing with both arms outstretched. All rather cute!

Low-key, slightly retro in design and colour, this fun and functional bag is a nice size for those of us who don’t carry everything around, but like to have room for the essentials and a little bit more.

In Praise of Bees: A Cabinet of Curiosities
In Praise of Bees: A Cabinet of Curiosities
by Elizabeth Birchall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars encyclopaedic, disjointed ..., 9 Nov. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The reader cannot want for information in this encyclopaedic coverage of everything bee, from “Bee Masters Through the Ages” to their biblical heritage, from honey to “Bee Beards” and a cornucopia of facts and fictions in between. This really is a cabinet of curiosities, and I did have the feeling when I opened the pages of this book—much as I imagine someone opening the doors to a cabinet crammed with the strange and unusual—that I wasn’t quite sure where to look first.

I started at the beginning, with Birchall’s Introduction which takes us chronologically through some of the preeminent humans who have been interested in bees; and it’s a fascinating history beginning with Aristotle and ending with Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey, a man so dedicated that at 90 “he was carried up Kilimanjaro in a cane chair.” Don’t ask me why, the book doesn’t say, although Wikipedia furnishes the fact that he was in search of a particular bee. And this is my first niggle about this book, it offers tantalising snippets of information, but often they seem incomplete or out of context.

My next is the way that Birchall has organised her work. Let’s talk about poetry—a genre of writing I love perhaps above all others—and the fact that Birchall writes it and necessarily wants to put it in this book. OK, but, it’s a tricky thing to balance poetry and prose and difficult to combine the two into a coherent whole even on a small scale, let alone in a volume as complex and wide-ranging as this one; and it doesn’t work for me. There are occasions when the poetry doesn’t feel like an unwanted interruption but I found I began skipping it lest I lose the already tenuous narrative flow. The author’s style of writing, and her method of organising information seemed quite random and disjointed.

And I suppose that leads me to my final niggle which is that in throwing everything and the kitchen sink into this book (or perhaps not quite everything, Birchall makes no claims to have written “an authoritative work of entomology or manual of the beekeeper’s craft”) the experience of reading it is all a bit cursory. In a way this is ridiculous to say, because there is so much information gathered here, yet it began to feel like reading the literary equivalent of soundbites. Even after deciding to just pick up the book and read a random section, I still felt that I was being told a great deal but learning very little.

The book itself is a lovely thing, packed with photographs and illustrations and printed on lovely glossy paper; there’s even a yellow ribbon to bookmark your page. There’s no denying Birchall’s love of her subject, or the meticulous detail and research that must have gone into writing this work, both of which I admire immensely. In fact, these things only make it even more disappointing that I haven’t been able to engage with this celebration of bees as so many others so obviously have. I will keep trying …

Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery
Pasta: The Essential New Collection from the Master of Italian Cookery
by Antonio Carluccio
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Pasta for everyone ..., 25 Aug. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Down to earth and gently humorous in tone, the "master of Italian cookery" Antonio Carluccio welcomes the reader into the world of pasta with open arms. He waxes lyrical about his lifelong passion for pasta and invites us to learn from his "pasta knowledge" gathered over the last 50 years ... just don't add garlic or oregano to a Bolognese sauce or he'll be "hurt"!

Part One is "All About Pasta": history, types, sauces and how to make fresh pasta. There are pictures galore and easy to follow instructions for making your own pasta, either by hand or machine, and if you're interested in being able to tell your Pappardelle from your Tagliolini, your Ravioli from your Tortelloni, then Carluccio is the man to help you do it. The Pasta Code breaks down the cooking, serving and eating of your pasta and leads you temptingly into the recipes in Part Two ...

Pasta lovers rejoice! Pasta in soups, pasta with sauces, filled pasta, baked pasta, pasta salads, pasta leftovers and even pasta desserts (chocolate noodles!!). Carluccio isn't a purist either, mixing his Puglian pasta with a Sicilian caponata to create a delicious fusion dish for instance. There's a good selection of dishes and though many contain meat and fish there are some vegetarian recipes to be found. Simple, easy to source ingredients for the most part, and recipes that aren't unnecessarily complex, means that this is the kind of cook book you can actually use in the kitchen. Penne pasta with celeriac sauce and pasta twists with nut and herb sauce have me feeling really hungry already!

Lovely photographs accompany the dishes, and they're not just for decoration, often helping with the making of the dish. A short introduction to each recipe, with a little map showing where in Italy the food originates, and with useful alternatives included too; there's everything you need here to become a pasta master yourself.

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