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mssmith1 "mssmith1" (UK)
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Schleich Riding Arena
Schleich Riding Arena
Price: £22.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality worth paying for, 28 Jun. 2015
This review is from: Schleich Riding Arena (Toy)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really high quality plastic kit. The horse, rider, fencing, roof and accessories are made of good, solid and nicely detailed plastic. I got this for my horse-mad daughter, and it has already served up plenty of enjoyable play. I've deducted a star simply because Schleich is not a cheap brand and despite the quality, it is a lot of money for not much toy. That said, you get what you pay for, and I have a feeling this is going to last well and give plenty of imaginative games.


Carmex Cherry Tube and Pot - (Pack of 2)
Carmex Cherry Tube and Pot - (Pack of 2)
Price: £5.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My family love it - always a battle to keep it out ..., 26 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Top notch lip salve - fairly thick, but not greasy which has the benefit of making lips feel smooth and protected. Cherry "flavour" is just about right. Noticable but not too strong. My family love it - always a battle to keep it out of the kids' hands.


Braun Series 9 9040s Wet and Dry Electric Shaver
Braun Series 9 9040s Wet and Dry Electric Shaver
Price: £179.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really powerful shaving beast!, 11 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really powerful shaver - ploughs through stubble on my face or head like an absolute beast. It gives a smooth, close and comfortable shave. Comes in a well protected, although slightly bulky travel pouch along with a charging cord and small cleaning brush. Dead easy to clean - just pop the top off. While you can use it wet or rinse under the tap, I've not needed to.

Only one unusual thing I noticed, which was that it seems to "eject" the hair it's shaving off as you angle it to save the sides of your face (or top of head). Downside is it's a bit messy, upside is cleaning it is even easier. Personally it doesn't bother me as I the mirror I shave in front of is over the sink, so the hair just gets rinsed down the plughole.

All in all, an excellent shaver that does what it's supposed to very well.


Purina ONE My Dog Is Delicate Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food, 800g (Pack of 4)
Purina ONE My Dog Is Delicate Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food, 800g (Pack of 4)
Price: £13.96

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for poorly pooches, 8 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having had one of my dogs diagnosed unexpectedly with an autoimmune disease this year, the hospital put her on a very strict diet as part of her treatment. This was a kibble that was essentially just fish and potato. As she began to recover, I started to wonder if there were alternatives to the particular brand that the hospital had prescribed, as it was seriously pricey.

I'm pleased to report that she has enjoyed the Purina ONE - seems to really enjoy the taste and the resulting back-end product seems to suggest that her tummy is not upset, which gets a big thumbs up from me. No it's not cheap compared to some dog feed, but given the relative ingredients that's not surprising.


The Strategy Builder: How to Create and Communicate More Effective Strategies
The Strategy Builder: How to Create and Communicate More Effective Strategies
by Stephen Cummings
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great summary of theory, not a game changer for creating and communicating strategy, 8 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really smart way of condensing a whole heap of classic business strategy theory into a nicely presented book. The hardback copy is a polished, nicely laid out volume that starts by explaining why they have taken a visual approach. It then moves into strategy design and groups the various models into five basic categories:

- The environmental ecosystem
- The competitive spidergram
- The capability radar
- The growth options heatmap
- The balanced goals envelope

Within each of these categories you'll find most of the business strategy tools you'd expect if it's a field you're familiar with - Porter's five forces, blue ocean strategy, value chain analysis, McKinsey 7S framework and the Ansoff growth matrix. Each tool starts with a visual representation, which to be clear is generally just the drawing of the tool itself (often a two by two matrix for example), a summary of when to use it and with what other tools it works well with, and then a brief case study. There is then a blank page for you to draw your own version.

Where the book works well, is as a summary of all the tried and tested business strategy tools of the last forty years or so. It reminds me of the Financial Times book "key management models" which I used during my MBA as a reminder and a quick summary of the theory. It would be a decent place to start for someone new to business strategy or someone about to start an MBA.

As with any of these summary books, it is not a shortcut for really immersing yourself in the tools or theory if you are serious about using them. While you can get the basics of value chain analysis across in a couple of pages, it's no substitute for reading "Competitive Advantage" by Porter.

The other place the book falls down slightly is the visual component. I was expecting more (given the sub-title) on how to communicate strategy visually, and in reality the book does little more than show the tool as a matrix, spidergram or graph and then include a blank page for you to draw your own. I would contrast this less favourably with, for example, the brilliant book "business model generator" which has a single canvas at the heart of the process and thus genuinely changes the way you communicate strategy.

In summary, great introduction to theory - comprehensive, clear and nicely presented. If you want depth or a model to actually help you develop and communicate strategy, this is probably not the book for you.

Hope that helps


Science in Sport 1 kg Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
Science in Sport 1 kg Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
Price: £28.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Great for cyclists, 4 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a cyclist I take protein to help recovery after long rides. Although much of the science seems to change, consensus seems to be there is a twenty minute window after exercise which is optimum for protein delivery, and the body can ingest 20-25g at a time. These SiS shakes are ideal for that purpose. They mix pretty well and are reasonable tasting. Not delicious, but certainly palatable. Personally I think they taste better when mixed with milk, but that does mean you need to alter the quantities slightly to get optimal protein. The shakes seem easier to ingest than bars, and I generally think that more fluid is probably a good thing after being out on the bike for several hours.

If you're a cyclist and thinking about trying a protein shake for the first time, this is a good choice. I can't speak for other sportspeople, but I imagine this would work well for other sports too.


Philips HR1867/21 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer - Brushed Aluminium
Philips HR1867/21 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer - Brushed Aluminium
Price: £102.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Easier to clean, smaller footprint, what's not to like?, 22 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Juicers are just getting better and better. I've had a few over the years, and this makes two big improvements. Firstly, the footprint is much smaller. Juicers used to spit the pulp into a big container that was attached to the side of the machine, meaning they took up loads of valuable worktop space. That might not sound a big deal, but after the novelty has worn off, keeping the juicer in a cupboard and having to get it out and assemble it can be a big barrier to juicing. This one is a big improvement - it's still bigger than a kettle, but not massively so, and as long as you haven't got cupboards that overhang (as it is quite tall), it could probably live tucked away in a corner.

The second big improvement is making it easy to clean. Cleaning juicers used to require quite a bit of dis-assembly, and then lots of poking around with a brush to get rid of fiddle seeds and pulp that were lodged in the mechanism. This was clearly a universally hated task - hence the development of a juicer with "quick clean" in the title. And quick clean it is. The claimed one minute clean is pushing things a bit far - it definitely takes longer than that, but five minutes should get you cleaned, dried and re-assembled.

The performance of the machine is excellent. A wide load chute minimises prep time and it's pretty quiet in operation. All in all a really good juicer that would be a good buy for first time and regular juicers.


Andis Agc Super 2-Speed Professional Animal Clippers
Andis Agc Super 2-Speed Professional Animal Clippers
Price: £125.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for new (non-pro) groomers, even with shaggy hounds!, 22 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have two cocker spaniels and a black russian terrier. The latter is eight stone of big, shaggy bear. My first attempt at home grooming with some cheap wahl clippers I bought at a pet store was disastrous. I'm pretty sure all the other dogs at the park were sniggering at my poor spaniel, but I'm pretty sure the under-powered tools made my first attempt look even worse.

Recently I decided to try again, and went with some more expensive Wahl clippers (badged as professional) which were much better. They worked fine on the spaniels, but struggled with the Russian's thick coat. It was a similar story with the high-end cordless Moser clippers I tried next, so finally I landed on these Andis.

In short, worth every penny. Gets through even the thickest coats easily. Really powerful, pretty quiet and with a nice long cord. I bought the additional combs (the magnetic, metal ones) which work brilliantly too. I'm delighted with these tools, with a bit of help from some youtube grooming videos, I've managed a decent job at last.

They may seem expensive for a non-professional, but I was paying a groomer £35 for each of my spaniels, and £70 for the Russian, so the payback period is pretty short. I'd recommend these to any owners of thick coated dogs without hesitation.


Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8211/02 Rechargeable Power Flosser
Philips Sonicare AirFloss HX8211/02 Rechargeable Power Flosser
Offered by Select Homestyle Ltd
Price: £59.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like many of the other reviewers, 22 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Really impressed with this. Like many of the other reviewers, I've been an on-off flosser for years, but always found it a fiddly habit, and particularly struggled to floss further back in my mouth. Intrigued by the Airfloss and impressed by the reviews I took the plunge. After two weeks' use I'm really impressed. It's quick, easy to use, and based on what it blasts out, effective. It definitely reaches places that an electric toothbrush and mouthwash doesn't, and leaves a nice fresh feeling.

Loses a star only because it's fairly pricey for what seems relatively simple technology.

My tip for new users - keep your lips together when you use it, otherwise you get a blast of mouthwash over the mirror!


Wahl Rex 1230 Multi Cut Pro Pet Clipper
Wahl Rex 1230 Multi Cut Pro Pet Clipper
Price: £61.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Great for cocker spaniels, struggled a bit with a monster thick coat, 7 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly, I'm not a professional groomer. Far from it. I recently started grooming my three dogs (two cocker spaniels and an enormous black russian terrier). After a bad experience with some cheap clippers bought from a pet shop, I have been looking for something with more performance.

Firstly the good points. These clippers are simple to use and come in a handy plastic carry case. They've got two plastic combs to cover some basic changes in hair length, and there is a bit of adjustment with the blade itself. There's a little pot of oil included and a small brush for cleaning. They are not too heavy and despite what I read in some reviews, pretty quiet and I didn't find they got too hot.

The challenge came with the big hairy dogs. The clippers worked fine on the cocker spaniels and I'm happy to recommend for that type of dog. However, they did struggle with the big, thick russian coat and took a long time to get through it. I'd borrowed a friend's professional clippers and they were much faster and easier. Overall, not the best choice for my big hairy beast, but for a less challenging coat, these would be a good choice


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