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Reviews Written by
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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John Frieda Frizz Ease Nourishing Oil Elixir 100 ml
John Frieda Frizz Ease Nourishing Oil Elixir 100 ml
Price: £7.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Precious oils subdue and soften, 4 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a big fan of 'leave in' hair conditioners, I find they work the best for me. I also love the John Frieda range, so I was delighted to try this Nourishing Oil Elixir. I have been using it for several weeks now, and have to use only very little of the serum, I am so pleased to see only a little has gone from the pot.

After shampooing, conditioning even, when the hair has been rubbed dry, a tiny dot of this Elixir is all that is needed. If you take 'too much' your hair might look a little like doll's hair. The 100ml pump pot will last for months at this rate. Passing it through the hair with fingers or a comb, it spreads right through, absolutely non sticky, and ensures a well behaved head of hair on drying. My hair is more fluffy than frizzy, but no matter, I appreciate the new found obedience my hair has developed since using this. I tried it on my grandchildren's hair over the holidays and they really love the look they get with it. Best of all, as I have my hair trimmed and styled every six weeks, the shape remains true to the hairdresser's cut when this is applied; it extends the 'just left the salon look' until the next appointment. The scent is pleasant and the effect is sleek, flattering, shiny. You can also use the Mousse from this range mixed in, to really stamp out frizz!


Jane Austen at Home: A Biography
Jane Austen at Home: A Biography
by Lucy Worsley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.00

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy work by Lucy ‘Wordy’ Worsley, 4 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is a truth universally acknowledged… that lengthy, commendable treatises such as this will always be mightily lauded by those who have not actually Read The Book - Well, Anyway, All The Way Through. I am not casting nasturtiums, but several other writers/historians are already enthusiastically quoted on the covers; however, honestly, this warmed up, pimped up even, possible thesis, doctorate submission, ‘non fiction’ about ‘fiction’ book could keep you going for weeks. And weeks. It is not a page-turner. I certainly could put it down, and did so dozens of times. Enthusiasm for the subject is tirelessly communicated, but for the reader attempting it ‘all in one go’, it may prove indigestible. The devil is in the detail. No speck of information, however loosely connected, is passed over. Move over Mastermind question setters, this is a specialist subject book, with every question ever possibly asked and answered.

If you are a true Jane Austen Aficionado, then you are what is called a ‘Jane-ite’. You will assuredly want to have every tiny morsel there is to be scratched up, forming for you a veritable feast, a banquet even; serving up everything there could ever be to know about the renowned lady author JA and the social history of her times. Brainy Lucy W, is a jolly good egg, a twinkling, sparkly television presenter, generally breathless, excited and so so mad about her subjects. With her blonde, swinging hair, fresh-face, and endearing lisp, she is friendly and accessible. She casually mentions that she was once a pupil at the same school as Jane Austen attended in 1785. Lucy’s lofty qualifications sit easy on her down to earth unpadded shoulders. She takes on a more mature, teacherly tone here. Much is made of every tiny detail and we are implored, admonished, to remember this, and that because she will come to it later… signal to yawn.

Learning about child rearing, care of babies especially, in the late 1700’s clears up a lot of concerns. Deep in the Hampshire countryside Mrs. Austen bore eight children, finishing at 40, but coped with apparent ease and great powers of organisation. One boy, George, who suffered from epilepsy, was farmed out forever; another more attractive prospect , Edward, was given away to childless relatives. Babies were quickly sent off to be fostered in the village, only returning in time to go away to school. Older children looked after their younger siblings. All The Time. The pay off was when they were grown up (15 to 24) – they could marry advantageously, or stay at home and work. The Rev Austen certainly loved his family and kept them in the best way he could. Notes of his purchases are brought to light showing the way in which the Parsonage was furnished. Letters and advice given, make him more real.

Many of the preoccupations of that age endure and resonate. That is rather comforting and pleasant. Reading of how the households worked is fascinating. Finances are explained, many historical records are used to elaborate the expenses and commitments. Constant references to the content of JA’s novels tie up many loose ends and explain where the ideas came from. Social niceties are helpfully picked apart – the difference between a rector and a parson, for example, which was interesting news to me, and I was brought up in a Rectory.

Thorough academic rigour is demonstrated in the Bibliography – Around two hundred sources are acknowledged. The thirty six chapters, including an introduction and an epilogue, afford nearly one thousand and one hundred footnotes. A little out of control there. Also fully indexed, this is careful teamwork, as Lucy pays tribute to at the end. A bumper book indeed that has earned a permanent place on the bookshelf alongside the novels of Jane Austen herself.


Sea (The Huntress Trilogy)
Sea (The Huntress Trilogy)
by Sarah Driver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First of three, 'Sea' is a wondrous realm to explore with two young heroes aboard 'The Huntress', 4 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A most attractively produced paperback, with an alluringly decorated cover, embellished with swirls, patterns, of metallic, shiny waves, fish, giving a real ocean feel, 'Sea' will call out, like the whale singing of the boy named Sparrow, to young readers, from the shelves, for sure. The pen and ink artwork inside is fascinating and carefully thought out. The explanatory map of Tianukka, the place where this Trilogy is set, is a useful guide. The sliced through interior diagram of 'The Huntress', a kind of pirate ship lookalike, galleon, trading vessel initially seems fun to look at, but rather lacks the domestic detail that brings these things to life. Through the pages there are illustrations along the margins and adorning the forty six individual chapter headings of all three parts.

I chose this with my eleven year old grand daughter in mind. She loves the sea, was brought up by it, she can row, use a motor boat, kayak, swim and body board. Her younger brother at seven is also keen on the water and tales of the sea, pirates, fishing, adventure. I read it in advance, as I wanted to be sure this was a worthwhile read. This is where I ran into trouble. You see I believe that reading should be mind stretching, and yes, this is pure fantasy stuff, so can lift the thoughts and impart thrills beyond the everyday. It was 'Mouse's' narrative voice that bothered me. She is thirteen, and her brother Sparrow is eight. She uses wonderfully rich and detailed dialogue, colourful and exciting language, yet talks like a mockney cockney, using 'ent' and 'cos' endlessly, which I found irritating. Worse still, for me anyway, there is real cursing and swearing, perhaps ok, but 'ble*ding' sounds horrible when read aloud, 'flaming' too. It seems a bit too hot to handle for children who don't swear. Here ends my old lady warning. The Grandma in this book is an example to all Grannies!

I admit I never read fantasy but I know full well older children lap it up. This hones their reading skills and keeps them within the pages, as I remember so well as being such a wonderful escape and occupation. So this fantastical, mythical, fast moving story of a perilous, risky, brave and rousing alternative world is sure to please. Another warning though, it is very scary - could cause nightmares...


Before This Is Over
Before This Is Over
by Amanda Hickie
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read..., 3 April 2017
This review is from: Before This Is Over (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An original and thought provoking story of Hannah, a suburban housewife, who has an inner core of steel for when it comes to protecting her family. Having survived breast cancer, she is always on the alert, watching one step ahead, disaster planning is her forte and she spares herself no quarter.

Gripped on the edges of a terrifying pandemic, Manba, all her instincts erupt into a clear and exact foresight of what matters most, and what her role must be. Going against the grain, she decides she personally has to plan, control and encircle her children, Zac, Oscar, and her husband Sean. The cat, Mr. Moon, can be sacrificed to the world outside, which is humming with germs. Altruism towards her neighbours is tested, some values are so ingrained she is uncomfortable about going against them, but keeping her family safe is the job in hand. A desperate race to gather them all together in the home, living with what she has squirreled away in preparation, and using the water from the rainwater collecting system, begins the domestic ordeal, which kept my heart in my mouth for the duration. Far from a comfortable read, thoroughly nerve wracking in fact,

Neither is it a perfectly polished narrative; in places it slows and falters, however, I think the uniqueness of the dilemma devised, places that small inadequacy above criticism; and I commend the novel for its thoughtfulness and character. For those who remember ‘The Survivors’, this doomsday scenario will be familiar, but with the modern extras of the internet, smart phones, bio security; there is an extra dimension to the drama. I am glad to have got to the end!


Flower Mandalas
Flower Mandalas
by Cynthia Emerlye
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A true boon for an elderly lady, 1 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Flower Mandalas (Paperback)
I bought this for my 97 year old mother, who is really enjoying the Cynthia Emerlye books, having already worked on another more nature based one. We have looked up the artist on line and the photograph of her, together with the further information have made my mother feel a connection and a loyalty, which enhances her enjoyment of this new found hobby that I have introduced her to. Now my mother's handwriting has greatly improved, as her pen control has returned since working happily at her mindfulness colouring in. Receiving this new book was a highlight for her and she was so grateful to have it arrive at her door.

Making the designs has rekindled her love of colour, she was previously a talented embroiderer, she made church vestments to a high level and was also a keen calligrapher. She thought that as she had to give up those occupations, through extreme old age, a little failing in concentration and memory, there was nowhere else to direct her talents. Now she has found Mandalas she is an enthusiast and quite evangelical about their beauty. Once they are complete, to her satisfaction, she carefully cuts around the designs and gives them to friends and family, mounted on card for celebrations or just as 'doilies' as she calls them.

I am thankful to have found a hobby she can enjoy and find rewarding. I have been doing 'adult' colouring in with my grandchildren myself and was busy working away at an earlier Cynthia Emerlye when my mother asked what I was doing. She ticked me off for not repeating the patterns correctly, using too many colours, not leaving spaces in between the patterns and making a design that made her dizzy!


Melamine Bowl Two Tone Hen Print
Melamine Bowl Two Tone Hen Print
Offered by BuzzBase
Price: £8.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Higgledy Piggeldy My Black Hen, she lays eggs for gentlemen. Sometimes one and sometimes ten..., 1 April 2017
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Melamine Bowl Two Tone Hen Print
Bought as Easter gifts to be filled with chocolate eggs, these charming bowls will cheer any breakfast table or pudding tray. Ideal for golden, creamy custard too!

We love hens here and the jolly, colourful patterns these lucky ladies sport will surely raise a smile. The pretty pink interior colour is a bit girly so will suit a daughter or other fun loving female - best of all, the bowl won't break if dropped, and be used outside, in a tent, on a boat, at a picnic.

The shiny finish lasts and lasts, the quality is excellent, I love this Rice range, they are rather collectable!


Vax CCMBPV1P1 Power Pet Vacuum Cleaner, 2.2 Litre, 800 W, Blue
Vax CCMBPV1P1 Power Pet Vacuum Cleaner, 2.2 Litre, 800 W, Blue
Price: £59.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinarily good on stairs and sofas, 1 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have two Springer Spaniels and two British Short haired cats living in our house, so I felt ideally suited to try this one.
Pros:
In a week when a video of a car seat being wet vacuumed going viral, with millions of views, I wish I had videoed this turbo tool passing over a cream sofa that the pets do sleep on sometimes. The colour completely changed! Certainly the Power Pet is a small vacuum with a big heart.
Using the brush side of the big head, wooden and vinyl floors are dusted in no time. Pulling it back towards me over a carpet, raises the pile and sucks up all fur and dust left behind by other ordinary vacuums.
The machine is easily towed around, it is small and compact, light to move around with.
Emptying it is ok, quickly and tidily done, and you can wash the filter to keep odours to a minimum. Click off, open, empty, click back together.
Being smaller, it can be stored discreetly and won't get in the way when not in use.

Cons:
It is hard work to try to push this over a carpet even with the vent opened, on the pipe, to reduce suction. You have to drag it backwards.
Rather noisy in operation, especially with the turbo tool buzzing away in action on the stairs or the sofa seats.
Even with just over sixteen foot of cable, this doesn't feel very long reaching, I am frequently changing the plug socket.


Post it Notes 200mm x 149mm Super Sticky Note Pad, Green, Pink, Orange, Yellow (4 pads, 45 sheets per pad)
Post it Notes 200mm x 149mm Super Sticky Note Pad, Green, Pink, Orange, Yellow (4 pads, 45 sheets per pad)
Price: £5.81

4.0 out of 5 stars For when you have that bit more to say, 1 April 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's great to be able to use these Jumbo sized pads with the traditional, and now Super Sticky strip. This is positioned down the side for Portrait or along the top for Landscape.

The colours don't annoy when writing, as they are the lighter ones. The paper quality is good, they are 6"x8", a note pad size that works well for more text than just a note. I like being able to stick them on the front of a book or journal, anywhere really, they are re-positionable, and certainly catch the eye.

Now available in such a wide range of sizes and colours, the Post-it Empire is taking over the sticker edged stationery world for sure.


Post-it Notes - Note Pads - Lined - Canary Yellow - 1 Pack Of 6 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pads - 152 mm x 102 mm
Post-it Notes - Note Pads - Lined - Canary Yellow - 1 Pack Of 6 Pads - 100 Sheets Per Pads - 152 mm x 102 mm
Price: £16.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A5 size lined notepads with added extra of being Post-it, sticky edged, 31 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I use these daily for those pesky 'To Do' Lists, which I attach to my diary front, and later cross them off, with satisfaction, hopefully; also for shopping lists, when I stick them to the outside of my purse for walking around the store. I also use them for telephone messages, brief notes, and explanations, the way that they can be attached to most surfaces, and are made in a light lemon yellow colour which does not detract from the writing in the same way as the darker paper can do, is all good for my needs.

Another good thing is to have a pad and pen by the bed, so when you wake up in the night with a burst of inspiration, you can quickly jot down the ideas that have sprung to mind!


John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo for Lighter Shades 500ml
John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo for Lighter Shades 500ml
Price: £7.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Illumination for strands of gold, white blonde and silver, 31 Mar. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Truly a whopping great bottle, this pump action dispenser is efficient and practical. The rich shampoo is pearlescent, thick, and lathers up a treat.

I like the fresh, lively, gender neutral scent, and the resulting silky feel. I have enjoyed using many of the John Frieda haircare range. I have blonde/grey/white hair so this particular product suits my colour perfectly. There is a definite sparkly effect, my hair looks bouncy and full. I have had highlights in the past I can see that the shampoo picks them out and makes them as newly applied again. Great value.


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