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Reviews Written by
Lark (North Coast of Ireland)

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Rapesco Transparent Half Strip Stapler and Staple Remover R4 with 20 Sheet Capacity and Uses Staples 26 and 24/6 mm - Blue
Rapesco Transparent Half Strip Stapler and Staple Remover R4 with 20 Sheet Capacity and Uses Staples 26 and 24/6 mm - Blue
Price: £6.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Great little blue stapler paired with staple remover, 27 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Great little blue stapler of a similar kind to another green transparent plastic stapler which I reviewed previously, featuring the same staples storage in the base (additional to the main body of the stapler's store which it uses when being de-pressed). On this occasion handily paired with a staple remover which uses the pressing together of its jaws on the staple to bend it open once more and allow for its removal from the paper. The staple remover also features a small dipple which can be moved to keep the jaws of the staple remover closed or open for use.

The stapler and the staple remover are both supplied in a small cardboard box with instructions on their proper use printed on its reverse in a number of different languages. Recommended. I recommend the complete Rapesco range.


Rapesco P20 Shimma Stapler and Hole Punch Set - White
Rapesco P20 Shimma Stapler and Hole Punch Set - White
Price: £16.62

5.0 out of 5 stars The matching set, 27 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a pairing of a hole puncher which I have reviewed by itself, as the rolls royce of hole punchers, in white and paired with an equally aesthetically pleasing stapler.

The stapler, besides its aesthetics, is utilitarian, it does not have any storage in the heel or base for additional staples over and above those which are loaded for use within the main body of the stapler (which is spring loaded and draws back when the stapler is opened).

A stylish and nice combination proving that utilitarian or mass market does not have to be basic or lacking in attractive design.


Rapesco Shimma Two Hole Punch with 30 Sheet Capacity - Black
Rapesco Shimma Two Hole Punch with 30 Sheet Capacity - Black
Price: £8.62

5.0 out of 5 stars Rolls Royce of hole punches, 27 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is probably the Rolls Royce of hole punchers, as far as the mass market variety goes and excluding more unique, bespoke or artistic varieties performing the same function.

The hole punch features a small catch which can be moved at the front locking the hole punch or releasing the mechanism for use, the paper can be lined up using a small triangular mark between the two metal rods which are driven down by the mechanism to make holes in the paper (you fold the paper in half to get holes were you would want on most A4 pieces of paper in order to file them) or an extendable arm can be used (or both). The extendable arm is sturdy and clicks as you extend or retract it in place.

The entire bottom of the hole punch does not come away from the hole punch in order to empty the collector tray of the holes punched in paper but a small hatch can be opened and closed again, which maybe makes mess when emptying the hole punch a little less likely. A nice hole punch and better than most I've seen in more offices or homes.


BFA Studio Farming Today "Aberdeen Angus Bull" Border Fine Arts Farming Sculpture
BFA Studio Farming Today "Aberdeen Angus Bull" Border Fine Arts Farming Sculpture
Price: £43.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a piece, 27 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have always loved the bull, I'm born under the star sign of Taurus (star gazing and horoscopes being fun provided you do not put too much stock in prophecy of any sort really) and having read some of the personality typology associated with the sign I tend to regard myself as a fairly typical Taurean.

Having read Hemingway and other authors on bullfighting, read about the bull run in Pamplona, I've thought a lot about the animal as a symbol and source of power, the beast itself is easily the match of any mere man or matador, I know that most people regard the bull fights, even the bull run, with a mixture of horror and revulsion, if they consider it at all. I think perhaps that I regard it with more of a mix of horror and fascination. Bulls are not as domesticated or passive as could be supposed by anyone unfamiliar with the animal or farmers or breeders.

This is a fine piece of sculpture, larger than a paper weight and more of a mantel piece ornamentation. If you like this sort of thing or think it would compliment your decor and interior design tastes I would recommend it.


RHS The Little Book of Bonsai: Master the Art of Growing Miniature Trees
RHS The Little Book of Bonsai: Master the Art of Growing Miniature Trees
by Malcolm and Kath Hughes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A work of art, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This little book is a work of art, it provides all the necessary knowledge and insight for an established grower to improve and ply their hobby or for the complete beginner, without, I think, being of greater appeal or interest to either audience.

I have had an interest in Bonsai of a kind of "popular culture" variety for some time, having seen the little trees featured in popular films, like the final Karate Kid movie to feature the characters Dani La Russo and Mr. Miyagi, or when considered as a facet of asian culture like the tea ceremony, zen archery, haiku and bushido. I owned a small, probably poor and mass produced/farmed example of a Bonsai tree some time ago which I got from a large home improvement/DIY retailer, it died after a short time and was little more than a house plant like a spider plant or vase of flowers. If I do buy and keep another Bonsai plant I think that it will be a very different story following this book and the knowledge it has been able to impart.

The book itself is a beautiful production, a nice not too small and not too large hard back book, replete with pictures but not simply a coffee table book, picture book or art book presenting the little well cared for trees for a readers viewing pleasure while telling you little. Recommended.


Rapesco Stapling Set with Whale Plier Stapler and 2 Boxes of 5,000 Staples 26/8 mm
Rapesco Stapling Set with Whale Plier Stapler and 2 Boxes of 5,000 Staples 26/8 mm

5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've never seen or used this design of stapler before, perhaps because its one of those things innovators strive to "design a better mouse trap" but so long as the standard design does the trick, is cheap and plentiful in supply then it will remain the mass consumer option which everyone "knows and loves".

As opposed to working in the standard fashion of pressing upon the front of the stapler with the heel of your palm you instead grip the upper and lower halves of the end of the stapler like a set of pliers and press them together and it drives the staple through the paper securing the sheets together. The staples are front loaded in a reservoir which is spring loaded and releases when a button at the back of the pliers grip is depressed. This is not exactly immediately obvious but you can work it out without breaking the stapler, design over functionality in some respects here and the boxes of staples, supplied with the stapler provide strips of staples which need to be "broken down" in order to fit within the staple reservoir.

Good functional tool, a nice change on the tried and tested design, I dont know if this design is different in order to prevent any sort of strain or other office injury but it works fine. I think I would prefer this to other designs, although I'm not especially precious about the same like the character in Office Space with his red singline stapler (which did not exist until the movie was made). Recommended.


BLOOM Absolute Matcha (30g)
BLOOM Absolute Matcha (30g)
Price: £11.88

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How is this a craze?, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've seen all sorts of Matcha drinks, recipes, gimics online and read about it being a craze which was sweeping the globe, I even saw it thickened and put in a fountain much like chocolate can be and people were dipping doughnuts or strawberries into it. It looked like a thick bright green goo to me but I decided I'd like to try it anyway.

Well, they say that you should try new things but in this is one of those instances in which I think they are definitely wrong, I tried dissolving some of the powdered mixture in warm water and then pouring it over ice and water, its not like green tea or Oonlong tea particularly but its closer, in my view, to the later than the former. Another reviewer who described it as having a "grass" like taste is not too far off the mark.

This particular brand is a more expensive variety of Matcha and I can not be sure that there is a significant increase in quality with the higher price tag, I have not tried the suggestions to create smoothies, milk lattes or milk shakes and perhaps these would be tastier than the water based beverage but for the time being I really am not convinced this deserves to be popular.


Rapesco Snapper Half Strip Stapler - Random Blue/Green
Rapesco Snapper Half Strip Stapler - Random Blue/Green
Price: £6.24

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great little product for the home office, school pencil case or work place, 23 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Products like this give pause for thought, or maybe they should, after all they are common place enough and often provided at no extra cost by workplaces, schools or libraries, drawn from stationary cupboards, and if you are buying them from the stationary aisle of a local supermarket or newsagent do you give a second thought to what you're buying or just reach for the nearest or cheapest mass produced piece of kit?

When I read novels or fiction I often think its the mark of a great author that they are able to take the everyday commonplace and present it in such a way that the reader does pause for thought and think again with wonder about their every day and ordinary. Terry Pratchett was a great author at doing this in his day, in no small part because he would present objects from our world in very different fantasy contexts, either as a new innovation or "something which should not be" or "does not belong" in that context (as I remember him doing skillfully with a firearm in one of the Guards books). On the other hand in our "post-materialist" times customers do not want people to labour a point or promote a product too much, especially if it has to all appearances a quite utilitarian function in any case.

So this is a colourful little stapler, larger than the smallest (and perhaps least effective) staplers I have encountered, but small enough for a pencil case of desk tidy in an office, the one which I was provided with to review is green rather than blue but has the same see through aesthetic (though it probably would help to determine what is broken if it stops working), The small front metal surface upon which the staple is bent when the stapler is depressed has two options, bending the prongs of the staple in or out the ways, I have been told by others that the outward bend is for larger gatherings of paper that you are attaching/affixing together but I dont use it really. There are small rubber "feet" upon the bottom of the stapler to keep it in place on a smooth desk, there is also a compartment which has a plastic hinged door on it and a strip of staples are provided with the stapler here.

A final word about the company, they provided this stapler for review with an additional box of 5000 staples to assist with review, it was provided with care in a cardboard box and a letter providing an e-mail and contact number, this is probably among the best customer service I have received from any business and would encourage me to recommend this product and the manufacturer to others. It is a piece of almost generic produce and so the customer care aspect is a differentiating and important factor to consider when making purchases, perhaps in bulk.


Zero In Decorative Window Fly Killer - Twinpack
Zero In Decorative Window Fly Killer - Twinpack
Offered by LightingandMobileAccessoriesUK
Price: £2.64

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This works, an option were sprays and swatters are not, 23 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I selected this product from those made available by Amazon for members of the Vine programme to review after having seen them in use in leisure centres and other public facilities in which they could not use insecticide sprays or fly papers, I was interested to see how they would work myself.

The product is provided in a thin piece of card, instructions are on the back of the packaging advising on the contents, how to use it etc. and these are clear and easy to follow. Opening the card outer casing there is a single sheet of protective paper which falls away and the two flower themed stickers are on a piece of sticker paper. Its an easy matter to peel them off and attach them at the corner of windows were there are flies you want to kill.

The product is treated on the front facing, on stick, side of the sticker with insecticide and there is a warning about children, animals or food stuffs coming into contact with this, it does not work like fly paper by capturing flies on a sticky surface but their contact with it and exposure to the insecticide treated surface.

I do believe that this works but I also have to say that most people may prefer swatters or sprays to deal with the flies as opposed to letting it work, it is maybe a good product for somewhere which this isnt an option. The product is labelled as lasting for just under two weeks. If there are higher volumes of flies or if its a persistent problem I would recommend some sort of an electric zapper box but that goes without saying perhaps, this is for a different setting.


The Caliphate
The Caliphate
by Hugh Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and engaging read for the casual reader, 21 July 2016
This review is from: The Caliphate (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I confess to being a casual reader when it comes to the topic of the Caliphate, equally I have not read Hugh Kennedy's writings before so I can not comment about how it compares to other historians, authors, sources. However, as the saying goes about art and not knowing art but knowing what you like, I really liked this book.

As a casual reader of topics like this my acquaintance with the Caliphate was only that which is cited in the news or media, so I considered it a historical theocracy, perhaps some kind of singular dictator or military junta, a pre-modern institution anyway, like an absolutist Papacy or anointed kingly ruler of a territory or empire with no division of powers between political authority, judicial/legal authority, ecclesiastical/religious authority. Hugh Kennedy does a great work of clarification, describing the ancient institution, its legacies and continued relevance and the claims that modern proponents of political islam/theocracy, in the shape of ISIS, are making with respect of this history of the islamic world. As other reviewers have said the history of the post-Mohammed and division of islamic world into sunni/shi'te communities is all covered in a very interesting fashion.

I have read other books in the series, this is a good addition to the series, I read books from this series regularly and I will continue to on the strength of this read. I also think that I would read Hugh Kennedy's books again too. It would have been easy to include a book on this topic in the series because, well, its topical, its in the media, people are acquainted with it as I have said that I was, through second hand media sources but that has not been the case. Equally, I've read biased or sensational history books, mainly relating to the cold war and modern political divisions since the French revolution and American war of independence and this book is definitely not that sort of read either.


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