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H Pedder "bookworm" (UK)

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Philips GC9241/02 PerfectCare Expert Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 340 g Steam Boost, 1.5 L, 2400 W, Dark Purple
Philips GC9241/02 PerfectCare Expert Steam Generator Iron with OptimalTemp - 340 g Steam Boost, 1.5 L, 2400 W, Dark Purple
Price: £239.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Bulky, but a beast with those creased clothes!!, 7 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wow this is pretty big and heavy! The base unit plugs into the mains, and the water tank is sited within the base unit, however, so the iron itself is actually quite lightweight. Standout features for this are:
* No faffing with different temperatures for different clothes. The sensored plate adapts automatically and the fact it's all steam means it's actually gentler on fabrics.
* The cord from the iron to the base unit is really long, so enables you to move about with good access without feeling 'tied' to the ironing board.
* The iron and the unit are both very easy to use, self-explanatory, clearly marked and feel really solid, with minimal need to fuss.
* For large areas, you can 'double click' the steam trigger and it sets it so steam is emitted constantly.
* Ultimately, it makes the chore of ironing a quicker and less flustering job as it's so effective at quickly removing creases - even in those shirts that retain wrinkles like a Shar Pei.

Just a couple of niggles hence the 4 star rating:
* It's very expensive. It is, after all, an iron and not one that operates all by itself alas.
* occasionally, for no particular reason, water seeps out of the hotplate even though I'm using steam as instructed. It doesn't happen all of the time, and it doesn't hinder the ironing, but it's annoying and shouldn't happen I'm sure.
* As per my opening sentence, it's bulky. This just means I can't keep my iron and ironing board out and ready to at a moment's notice.

Saying that, this really is an outstanding iron that utilises steam to great effect. If you have large quantities of ironing quite regularly, it may be worth investing in like this. It certainly makes things easier and less arduous, which is surely only ever a good thing with the ironing pile!?!

Philips BRT383/15 BikiniGenie Trimmer
Philips BRT383/15 BikiniGenie Trimmer
Price: £24.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Compact, good for everyday use, easy to use, 7 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a really compact shaver that's been well-designed for the areas it's intended to be used. In the handy travel pouch there are several head attachments that alter the length of the hair for trimming, depending on your desired result. It also comes with a little cleaning brush.

It is great for trimming , rather than being used for a finish like waxing or even that from a bladed razor - even with the closest shave attachment it wasn't a perfectly smooth finish. However, using a 'proper' razor can be quite an irritant so this is a perfect intermediate solution to tide you over between proper 'tidy ups'.

It's battery operated (not rechargeable) but I can't comment on the battery life as I haven't used it often or point enough yet. It does mean, though, that it's convenient to use without worrying about charging it or plugging it in.

Its very easy to use, the attachments are easily identifiable for what length each gives, and its small and ergonomic. My only quibble is that it doesn't always get all of the hairs or sometimes the finish isn't as smooth as expected so I can't do away with my razor or waxing sessions unfortunately.

Beco Things Bed Mattress Eco Friendly Hemp and Cotton Pet Bed, Medium, Blue
Beco Things Bed Mattress Eco Friendly Hemp and Cotton Pet Bed, Medium, Blue
Price: £38.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Plush crash pad for pampered pooches, 7 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If this was bigger, I'd sleep on it ;-) it's a good size for a small to medium dog, and looks really neat. The finish is excellent, with piped seams that help keep the square shape. The cover feels hardwearing, yet isn't harsh or scratchy to touch: it's removable so easily cleaned. The filling feels springy and so far is still good.

This is a stylish dog bed that is practical AND eco-friendly (beco also make things like food bowls from sustainable materials like bamboo). I can't pick fault with it, other than the fact that its quite expensive, and the dog still prefers my spot on the sofa!

If your pooch is a princess (or prince!) I would recommend this plush bed.

Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary
Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary
by David Crystal
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.94

4.0 out of 5 stars a fun, informative and engaging reference book, 9 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Interesting and engaging format that is both practical and enticing. Packed with information that is easy to reference. Includes lots of examples of usage directly from Shakespeare work.

Great reference or revision book for children and young adults who are studying the Bard, but also for those of us grown ups who just enjoy reading and learning about Shakespearean words.

Singleton Spey Cascade Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Singleton Spey Cascade Single Malt Scotch Whisky 70 cl
Offered by The Master of Malt
Price: £33.37

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent all-rounder at a great price - recommended!, 2 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Drunk as it comes, this is an exceptionally smooth whisky that is a pleasure to sip. It harnesses the smokey (but not peaty) essence from the bourbon barrels, without the sweetness that can be found in Bourbon itself.

On the nose, it's vanilla and butterscotch - a delicious sweetness that is soft and palatable.

This is a great all-rounder; a 'safe' gift if you you're not sure what kind of whisky the recipient prefers, and an ideal introduction into the world of single malt whiskies.

Would absolutely recommend.

Philips HR1867/21 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer - Brushed Aluminium
Philips HR1867/21 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer - Brushed Aluminium
Price: £81.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical, functional, compact and aesthetically pleasing - winner!, 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Whoever designed this juicer knew their stuff! It's compact, and can comfortable sit out on my kitchen worktop without taking up too much space. I have called it Eva... It looks so like the character from Wall-E!!

I have only my previous juicer with which to compare this, and that was Russell Hobbs Desire juice extractor. Of the two, this is way more practical, well designed and usable. It comes with a sturdy jug that fits neatly beneath the juicer spout, and the suckers on the bottom of the juicer are strong enough to keep it firmly in place when in use.

The chute for placing the ingredients is wide enough for a full apple, and the design of the juicer itself is 'stacked' which aids its compact size. Between juices, you could run a quick rinse through it by pouring warm water into the chute, or for a good clean just take it apart and wash the segments in warm water. A soft brush is ideal for effectively cleaning the centrifugal extractor. There is only one speed setting, but it handles things like carrots and ginger without a problem.

The instructions aren't great at first glance, it took me a while to work out that the segmented build meant I had to pull off the centrifugal juicer part before I could remove the final bit that collects the pulp, but once you've done it it's easy thereafter.

In comparison with my old juicer, the residual pulp is perhaps more moist - suggesting it doesn't remove as much liquid - but the juice itself was less frothy so I'm extremely happy! It's a good looking, well designed juicer that makes great juice. Would recommend.

Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Pearl Oyster Mushroom Kitchen Garden Grow Your Own Kit
Price: £18.95

2.0 out of 5 stars great concept, not great results! :-(, 29 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A fantastic idea, to use upcycled coffee grounds to grow your own pearl oyster mushrooms! As somebody who loves gardening and tree-hugger, I thought this was a great concept. I followed the instructions to the letter, however, but I now have a box of shrivelled semi-developed mushrooms lodging sorrowfully on my windowsill. Sad face :-(

The box arrived in great condition, and instructions were clear. It was difficult finding something suitable to weigh the buoyant box down in a bowl of water overnight (so the contents could soak), I ended up using a plate balanced precariously on the bobbing box. But sure enough, within about 10 days my mushrooms started to sprout, and using the water spray pump that comes with this (just attach it to any bottle) I could ensure they were kept well-watered.

They did grow quickly, but at about day 14/15, it all started to go wrong! Despite careful watering (what I thought was not too much, not too little) the mushrooms stopped growing but hadn't reached the point of harvesting, for sure. Then they started to look singed and brown around the edges! Nothing I did could rescue them so I've had to give up.

This is a great idea, albeit an expense way to get perhaps the equivalent of 2 punnets of oyster mushrooms (after 2 or 3 harvests, that's it...but you can then out the coffee grounds on your plant beds for an excellent fertiliser!), although its obviously just as much about the experience of growing your own and eating them fresh.

I'll try again, of course, but my first results were not good... and for £18 it's a sore disappointment with such uncertain results.

Maclaren Lavender 100 Percent Pure Essential Oil
Maclaren Lavender 100 Percent Pure Essential Oil
Price: £6.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Very concentrated, powerful floral lavender scent, great for relaxation, 22 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Part of the Maclaren 'Beginning' (of motherhood) range, this 100% pure essential oil seems a little highly priced when compared to other essential oils available. At £6 for 5ml, this is twice the price for half the amount compared to the lavender oil I usually use.

However, I thought all pure lavender oils would smell the same...not so. My usual brand from a local health food shop, is 'Country Harvest', and is the same source (genus): Lavandula Angustifolia), the only difference being the Maclaren one is certified organic (always a good thing). Comparing the two, the Country Harvest one smells quite deep and almost musky, whereas this Maclaren product is profoundly floral. It's difficult to say which one smells more natural, but the Maclaren oil definitely has a more obvious 'nose' appeal out of the bottle.

It's really concentrated, and just a couple of drops added to bathwater is sufficient. This makes me think it's more concentrated than my usual oil; the first time I used it, I added half a dozen or so drops like I usually would and the scent was almost overpowering! So although it's a super small bottle, it'll last twice as long I'm sure.

The child-proof cap is, I guess, a necessity but it's frustrating and at times adult-proof too! And the packaging was a bit of a joke, with the bottle wrapped in a small padded envelope that was then sent in an A4 brown envelope - so wasteful!

Ultimately, even though it's more expensive than I'm used to and a smaller bottle than I expected, the oil itself seems of a very good quality and a little will go a long way.

Avalon Organic Clarifying Lemon Shampoo 330 ml
Avalon Organic Clarifying Lemon Shampoo 330 ml
Offered by Blue Herbs
Price: £7.42

5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous, and ethical!, 12 April 2015
Gorgeous natural lemon scent, foams nicely, rinses well and - in conjunction with the conditioner - left my hair beautifully soft and shiny. I have fine, long brown hair and I always use 'professional' hair products, but wanted to try a more natural hair care line that didn't break the bank. My hair was feeling lank and dry, but this perked it up and left it completely revitalised. This is definitely a keeper.

Maclaren Nurturing Bath Milk
Maclaren Nurturing Bath Milk
Price: £15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars yummy (mummy) bath milk but a bit pricey for what it is, 11 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although this is marketed as being nurturing for 'mothers' or mums-to-be, it's a nice product for anybody to enjoy, including even us childless women!! ;-)

The packaging is nice, it looks expensive, and the product is in a frosted glass bottle. All rather plush. The oil itself is strongly scented in the bottle, and it is recommended that you add 2-3 capfuls to your bath. I use 3 and the scent remains, but doesn't overpower and doesn't transfer all that strongly onto the skin. The most prominent note is citrus, with a lavender undertone.

As you add it to the water, it louches, turning milky on contact, so the water becomes cloudy. It doesn't make the bath feel oily though, which is good - you're not left with that oily film on the surface of the bath afterwards.

My skin felt soft and nourished after use, and it's great knowing that 70% of ingredients and organic and it's all pretty natural.

I have given it only 3 stars for a couple of reasons. It's expensive, and if you used the 3 capfuls per bath I'm not sure you'd get many more than half a dozen baths out of it, so you'd have to be a little more frugal with it. The scent is nice, but no nicer than the essential oils you could add to bathwater yourself...although with this being aimed at mothers and mums to be it will at least be 'safe'.

It feels like a lot of the price of thus goes towards the indulgent packaging, and it plays on the fact it's for expectant mothers which is a market ready to be milked (excuse the pun).

But it is without doubt a lovely bath milk that smells yummy, so if you want to treat yourself this is a nice option.

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