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Reviews Written by
Mrs. D. J. Smith "eowyngreenleaf" (Luton, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Illustrated Compendiums of the Sea
Illustrated Compendiums of the Sea
by Virginie Aladjidi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Quality Book, 24 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is recommended for children 7 years and over and I'd agree that it would probably be a bit advanced for a child any younger.

It's a large hardback with about 70 pages. The paper is really nice quality, which makes this a nice book to leaf through. The illustrations are proper line drawings - not cartoon style or anything. It covers a wide selection of marine and shore life, although obviously not every single plant and animal are in here! It gives the common and proper Latin names and gives some information about each creature - usually something funny/amazing.

A good choice if you know a child interested in wildlife.


Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub 125 g
Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub 125 g
Price: £7.40

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, 8 May 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've heard of baking soda for cooking (naturally), for deodorising bins, fridges and even in toothpaste, but not before in a facial product!

This is a powder (I didn't expect that as baking soda toothpaste isn't a powder, but there you go). You can dispense how much you want, but the powder can get everywhere and you usually lose a bit each time you dispense. You need to moisten your face before applying and then mix the powder with the right amount of water to allow you to apply it. A bit of a faff but you'll probably get the hang of it fairly quickly.

Sometimes I did feel a little tingling or a bit of a cold sensation, so I'm not sure how good it would be for sensitive skin. I have combination oily/normal skin, so am in the target range for this product. I agree that it make my skin feel softer and smoother, so was pleasantly surprised by this. I haven't, however, noticed any particular change in the size and number of my blackheads/enlarged pores.

Currently on Amazon for just under a fiver (RRP about £8) and as it's a powder it should last for quite a while, so reasonable value for money.


The Shadow Queen
The Shadow Queen
by Anne O'Brien
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Historical Novel, 1 May 2017
This review is from: The Shadow Queen (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Shadow Queen is the latest historical novel from Anne O'Brien and this focuses on Joan of Kent, mother of Richard II. The story follows her aged about 12, growing up in the household of Queen Philippa of Hainault, until just after the accession of her son, Richard II.

Joan is someone I knew a little about but this novel really helped to put some flesh on the bones for me. Karen Harper's The First Princess of Wales looked at some of Joan's life, but I thought that O'Brien's offering was better.

I read a lot of Jean Plaidy as I was growing up and still enjoy a good historical novel. I do like what I read to stick as far as possible to historical fact - I get annoyed when some authors seem to go completely off the rails in terms of historical accuracy. O'Brien has looked at the loves of some of the medieval woman and really helped bring them to life and I think that can only be a good thing.

Well written, believable and probably worth reading again in a year or two. I only wish we could have followed Joan a little further into her story. Not that the part of her life seen here was without incident!


Westminster Bones: The Real Mystery of the Princes in the Tower
Westminster Bones: The Real Mystery of the Princes in the Tower
by Richard Unwin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.91

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dem Bones, 17 Mar. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For his analysis of 'those bones', Unwin does something that no one else seems to have thought of - he starts, so to speak, at the end. That is, with their discovery. You might expect a lot on Richard III, but we actually get rather more on Charles II, but his theory makes absolutely perfect sense.

Of course we all know that a proper scientific analysis could yield huge amounts of information, but it is indeed completely understandable that the Westminster authorities continue to deny such a request to keep their tourist attraction going. Although a daresay having the whole thing blown open as a political manipulation might well attract a few new punters.

A short but interesting read for those with an open mind.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 18, 2017 11:44 AM BST


The Private Life of Edward IV
The Private Life of Edward IV
Price: £15.60

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Contribution from John Ashdown-Hill, 16 Mar. 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just finished this latest offering from John Ashdown-Hill, and like all of his other published work, this is both accessible to the general reader and ground-breaking in terms of research.

This is not a biography of Edward IV, but concentrates on a specific aspect of his life - namely his intimate relationships. Ashdown-Hill has also produced a detailed itinerary, pinpointing here Edward physically was during each month of his reign.

Contemporary (and some near-contemporary) quotations are given in the original English, so some readers may struggle a little with this. I did find the will of Edward IV prior to his French campaign a little heavy going, but I think I got all the main points.

In the book, Ashdown-Hill has sought to uncover contemporary evidence for the reputedly numerous sexual partners of Edward IV and what he does find is really quite astonishing, but makes a good deal of sense when put into its historical context.

There are some areas which are not examined in great detail because these have been addressed in previous books by the same author - the question of the marriage with Eleanor Butler (nee Talbot) is examined closely in 'Eleanor: The Secret Queen' and the substitution theory for the young Early of Warwick in 'The Dublin King'. You don't necessarily have had to have read these books previously, but this is where to go if you do want more information.

Approach this with an open mind and I believe you will find it both enjoyable and informative.


Train To Busan [DVD] [2016]
Train To Busan [DVD] [2016]
Dvd ~ Yoo Gong
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Korean Zombie Film, 13 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Train To Busan [DVD] [2016] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not a great fan of zombie films, but my husband is quite keen and even more keen on Korean films, so we had a romantic evening in to watch this together!

The film is entirely in Korean with English subtitles. I don't have a problem with this. If you do, well, your loss for missing what is really a rather good film.

On a basic level, this is an escaped virus turns everyone into rabid zombies film. It does also work on another level, which is nice. Watching zombies get hit around the head with baseball bats is amusing for a bit, but it's nice to have a bit more depth in a film.

This being a Korean film rather than your run-of-the-mill Hollywood offering, I really wasn't too sure how it was going to end. I won't spoil it, but I did have a bit of a sniffle.

I suspect the zombie actors had rather a lot of fun making this but hats off to the young actress who carried much of the film as Su-an. She could only have been about 7 or 8 years old and put in a great performance - not the annoying child you rather want to get fed to the zombies. There was an unpleasant, bossy corporate executive type who would have done with a nastier demise though. In my opinion.

Even if zombie films are not really your cup of tea, this still might be worth giving a go. It's a good film, with good production values and the sound quality on the DVD was particularly good! My husband, being an expert on these sort of films thought it very good indeed!


Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation 128 Warm Nude 30ml
Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation 128 Warm Nude 30ml
Price: £5.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Foundation - Warm Nude - 128, 13 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This latest offering from Maybelline is designed to appeal to a younger demographic - or just those of us with oily.combination skin!

It comes in a tube and has the consistency of a fairly thick cream. It applies and absorbs pretty well and leaves a pretty good finish. I have pores that feel like craters, but actually this did cover rather than emphasise them.

After a full day at work, I still did feel a bit oily around the t-zone. I always remove make up as soon as I get home, so can't update you on a wear of more than about 9 hours.

The shade is always going to be completely personal. I have fairly fair skin and it's not seen much sun over the winter. This wasn't a bad shade for me, just a touch too orange I thought.

It's so reasonably priced that I'd suggest it's certainly worth giving a try.


Cetaphil 236 ml Oily Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil 236 ml Oily Skin Cleanser
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK face cleanser, 13 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is put forward as a cleanser especially for oily skin. I have combination skin that is normal/oily and a product that will lessen the oiliness in my t-zone is always worth a try.

This is to be used like a facial wash, moisten the skin, apply and run in and then wash off with a flannel. It's clear liquid/gel with a rather medicinal smell that I'm not too keen on. It did it's job OK and didn't leave my skin feeling dry, but then so do a number of other brands. This is quite a large bottle, but it's still fairly pricey. Amazon has it for £8.99 currently (although available in 1-2 months!) and I've also seen it in Boots for about £10, so it's not cheap. All things considered, for me it doesn't represent value for money and, as I said, I don't like the clinical smell. I'd rather go for Simple or Olay or Sanctuary, or any other decent brand.


Zumba Slimdown Party (2 Disc Limited Edition) [DVD]
Zumba Slimdown Party (2 Disc Limited Edition) [DVD]
Price: £10.00

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 27 Feb. 2017
This is the latest Zumba DVD release. The last one wasn't bad, but this one I have been disappointed by.

Section one is 'Quick Start'. This is really, really basic. The previous DVD had a much better introductory section which you could do and it kept you moving. I put this on to see what it was like but had to stop if after about 5 tedious minutes.....

Section 2 is the 20 minute Express and Section 4 is 'Zumba Max' which is about an hour, led mainly be Zumba creator, Beto. For me, these were both disappointing sections as a lot of the music and moves are on previously released Zumba products (I have also four 'games' which were released for the Wii and other consoles). I was expecting something new. There's a bit too much flactulating (thank you, Len Goodman!) and not enough proper dance moves for my taste. Perhaps I have been spoiled by Fitsteps!

Section 3 is the Latin burst, again a section of about 20 minutes. This has Latin dances with high cardio 'bursts' in them. Unlike the previous Zumba DVD, which had an hours class with a 'burst' in each one, this has sort of decided if something is good, more must be better. The 'burst' sections are a bit too long, too frequent and just not exciting as they are not really dance moves.

I can't see this DVD getting more than the occasional use and I will hesitate to buy any new Zumba release if they are just rehashing old routines.


Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich
by Dr Janina Ramirez
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Brief History, 9 Feb. 2017
This review is from: Julian of Norwich (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is, indeed, a very brief history, with the whole book coming in at under 100 pages. It's hardback, with good quality paper and a number of colour plates. Still, for such a short book at the time of writing it's quite pricey.

I've seen Janina Ramirez presenting documentaries and she has an accessible style, which continues in this book. Not that much is known of Julian of Norwich in terms of who she was before she became Julian the Anchoress, but we are presented with some hints of what her previous life may have been like.

Even if, like myself, you are not particularly of a religious bent, she is still an interesting person and her Revelations of Divine Love is important in terms of women's literary achievement and pretty amazing considering the time she was living. The idea of living walled up in a single room, and this was in the end for a good many years, seems rather horrific in many ways, but I can sort of understand her desire for solitary contemplation. Besides, who wouldn't have wanted to be a fly on the wall during the meeting between Julian and Margery Kempe?!


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