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Reviews Written by
A. Lester "Ahren Lester" (Southampton)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Top quality bag for solid travel, 12 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is really top quality bag. The build quality can be felt all around. The handle is strong and seemingly unlikely to see any important bits and pieces bump loose after many miles of walking.

Similarly the internal space is huge and it is a welcome decision not to include too many internal dividers. This allows you to pack the way you want/need. That being said, the additional pockets and spaces are excellent. The two mesh odds and ends pockets seem built to last. Similarly the shirt/trousers/whatever space between these mesh pockets and the front of the bag is superb and highly useful (especially for smart shirts).

Other good points include top quality rubberised wheels which are as near to silent as you could want (my previous bag was supremely noisy). There are also nice touches such as the handle at the bottom of the bag which also acts as a stand for the bag. This means it is a doddle to get into overhead lockers etc without causing yourself too much mischief.

In terms of air travel, I have not yet used it for this. But during my research for a new bag I did check whether it would count as hand luggage. For most carriers the figures suggested it would (except Ryanair, of course!). The only thing I would say is that the soft handles, flared wheel protectors and edge protectors do come out some way. I presume they were included in the dimensions. If not, I suspect it will be over the limit. I will try and update when I get the opportunity to test it.

The only issue I have encountered (which means that I cannot quite give it five stars) seems to be a result of the wide bodied nature of the bag. Clearly, being wide bodied you can fit more in but it does have some unfortunate side effects.

First, the centre of the bag between the wheels tends to scrape on the ground far too often for my liking. Eagle Creek clearly appreciated this and included a thick plastic guard, but in many ways this makes the problem worse by lowering the ground clearance further. For many who chiefly use their bags for moving round stations/airports, etc with a little walking on streets in between, this should be fine. However, I tend to walk a great deal with my bags (for example, I invariably walk to the station which is about 2 miles away).

Second, what I find it that I, on occasions, have the bag hit my foot when I am walking. This does not happen enough to be a major problem.

All in all, this bag is superb and I am happy to have bought it. I am sure it will give me many years (and many miles) service. I will be more than happy to buy another Eagle Creek bag in the future. However, I may in that case pick the normal width bag rather than the wide bodied version.

TEA Infuser - GREEN - with drip stand - made by Tovolo
TEA Infuser - GREEN - with drip stand - made by Tovolo
Offered by Good Thymes
Price: £16.89

2.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointing, 8 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is not a bad piece of kit. But there are some issues.

I have found that if you are brewing anything other than Earl Grey (or any other large leaf tea) this does tend to let out a fairly worrying amount of leaf. My old gauze cage was far more efficient.

Also, often you find that a lot of air gets stuck in the infuser when in the mug which means it is hard to fill with water and means that brewing is both longer and often less effective. Maybe some tiny holes in the top of the infuser would provide space for the air to escape?

Overall, it is not a bad infuser. However, I find myself using a cafetiere mostly when handling loose tea or my old tea cage. I so wanted this to be the answer to my prayers, but it has fallen quite short. It now sits in my draw unused.

EDIT 12/1/13: I have now found that I still do not use this at all. Sadly the stuck air problem is still a major issue. I have since seen similar infusers which have holes in the top which allows air to escape. I am sure these do the job far better. However, this experience continues to disappoint me. As a result I have also dropped the stars from 3/5 to 2/5. Shame.

Men's Windbreaker Super Strong Folding Umbrella
Men's Windbreaker Super Strong Folding Umbrella
Offered by Toys and Interiors
Price: £20.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost bombproof umbrella! Top stuff!, 8 July 2012
It was a warm and dry day in October 2010 that I first laid my hands on the Fulton Windbreaker brolly. In the two years since then, the weather has often been far from warm and dry and the winds have been high. This brolly has faced them all with some style. It is remarkably robust and compact. Even now it is in perfect condition. The only minor issue that has emerged has been a bit of rust on one of the arms, but that was due to me leaving it wet for a while. User's error and all that.

-Very compact for such a robust umbrella (even held up against the wind alley effect of Southampton High Street);
-Nice and wide cover (can fit two people comfortably even if there are wider ones out there, few are such compact ones)
-Good value. In the two years passed since I bought this my girlfriend has had to buy 3 umbrellas after the others have failed (often at exactly the moment you needed it). This is going strong.
-Automatic pop up button is top notch and is still going strong after heaven knows how many uses (when the heavens open!)

Cons (or rather areas of improvement)
-The extent of the struts in the umbrella (which give it its strength) does make it a little heavier than normal, however, it is not excessive and more than a little comforting!
-Handle is maybe a little short but not excessively so;
-The joints do sometimes stick and push into the material which was a bit of a worry, but so far the material has shown no bad effects from this and it can easier be sorted.

Overall, this is top brolly at a top price. They have been making umbrellas for years and when the sad day comes that this umbrella does give up the ghost (if it ever does) it will be another Fulton to take its place. Could not recommend strongly enough!

Speedo Challenger Holdall - Black / White
Speedo Challenger Holdall - Black / White

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Product, 13 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Speedo Challenger Holdall (Sports)
This is a well made product which is pretty good value for money. Having had it a good few months now this is my overview of it.

Pros - 1: Good size adn with very useful pockets, a wet pouch, long side pocket (with an organising band in it) and a large end pocket;
2: nice touch in regards to the bands on the lid to help attach things to the outside of your bag. Very useful for coats and flippers (also rackets if not using solely for swimming)
3: Grey interior makes it very easy to find things which I had never thought of before getting this holdall.
4: All parts seem to be well made and built to last.
5: Can sit A4 notepads plat on the bottom of the bag which is useful if you use it as an everyday bag/weekend bag.

Cons - 1: The zips are a little easy to unzip. Sometimes it is possible for it to get knocked a little open. Not too terrible thus far, but does make you anxious to check nothing had fallen out.
2: Shoulder strap has a tendency of sliding by its own volition. Can be a bit annoying but I am sure that it will cease doing this as it gets older.

Overall, a top quality bag which is ideal for almost any sport, not just swimming and a useful bag even for everyday tasks. Well worth the money. Hope this helps.

Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones - Black (Eco Packaging)
Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision Noise-Isolating Ear-Canal Phones - Black (Eco Packaging)

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good upgrade earphones, 13 Nov. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These earphones have been described as ideal replacement headphones for the free ones provided for various devices out and about. I think they are much more than this however.I should add now that I am no music expert. Other than listening to it casually and attempting to play the ukulele my exploits in the music world are purely for entertainment purposes. Nonetheless, having owned these for several months I have found them magnificent. Here is a simple overview of what I think.

Pros - 1: Very good price, for a very good product.

2: Sound is clear as long as you get the right earphone size (try them all for a day or so independently then you can easily judge which is best suited to you)

3: They cut out ambient noise easily (I used them on the different legs of a journey to and from Finland, whether a plane and the rustling of newspaper or conversation behind you, or a coach and the loud booming of your neighbours own mp3 player, the CX300s cut out the noise easily.

4: Cable is the right length - it is increasingly common for the cables to be too short to be of use in any pocket other than the breast one which is really annoying, on these the cables is more than long enough.

5: Sound is clear and crisp

Cons - 1: You can hear your own footsteps and any knocks on teh cables, however this is far less annoying and easier to get used to than the usual ambient noises that disturb your listening and also affect almost all in-ear phones. It is also quite entertaining as you realise that subconsciously you have started to try and match your footsteps to the drum beat, possibly an ideal exercising tool then...just pick a fast beat track!

2: Contrary to the claims, most MP3 players will not fit into the earphone pouch as well. This is a small niggle that will affect only a few people who actually use it. Onyl bothers me a little as I do actually have the pouch in my bag to protect my earphones but my ipod does not quite fit.

3: Actual jack is quite large and a little awkward in shape. However, it has to be said that it does appear near indestructible which is more than can be said for some headphones.

Overall, the pros are substantial and the cons are simply trying to provide all possible niggles I can think of, although they do not upset me a great deal personally. This is a very good product at a good price. You would be fortunate to get anything as clean sounding.

Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin
Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin
by Akbar Ahmed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £35.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamically Controversial, 9 Aug. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This book is peppered with controversial claims. Such innovative studies are interesting and good for historical study and I believe that many people who are studying this topic, whether as part of a course or simply from personal interest should read this. It provides many stimulating questions, although ocassionally the answers are not fully reliable in my opinion. Especially in relation to Mountbatten. Ahmed has a tendency of taking Mountbatten according to Mountbatten's own opinions of himself, especially in relation to his television appearances. Anybody who understands Mountbatten's treatment of his own history realise that he had a clear view of what he believed he was as a human being and what he had achieved. Often that was subject to a certain degree of selective thinking on his part. Otherwise a very stimulating book.

No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars No problems whatsoever, 26 Mar. 2009
I am now on my third pair of this type of shoe. I have never had any problems with them whatsoever. The original design of Ealing did have a problem of having the sole separate after a (quite long) period of time. But since then this has been rectified completely and now they are longer lasting and seemingly better built (for the price) than my Fat Face shoes. Each different coloured shoe however usually has a slightly different design, but they are all the same shap/size but their construction (for instance some are heavily padded, such as the Green shoes, whereas the blue ones have a thing lining and a non-textile lining). However, whatever they are in specific they are still a good shoe.

Pros - Comfortable. Strong lace holes. Well built (now). Very good value for money.
Cons - Changing of specifications for each colour (although this is only a minor point because I prefer the slightly more padded ones).

Judaism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Judaism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Norman Solomon
Edition: Paperback

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and interesting, 24 Jun. 2008
I have read many of the very short introduction series and have found them thorough, interesting but not too heavy. This has proven the same with Solomon's book. As a intellectual blank on Judaism prior to reading this book it ahs proven an able step in developing a solid knowledge of the subject. Solomon is able to explain a lot about Judaism without going too far into scripture itself. This is undoubtedly a plus when reading it in a obstensibly secular vein such as myself. A very good read.

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