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H Pedder "bookworm" (UK)

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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 Toy and Gift Shop
Price: £4.79

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: £16.00

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.

Philips Satin Soft Wet and Dry Epilator
Philips Satin Soft Wet and Dry Epilator
Price: £50.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Good for my sensitive skin, ironically!, 11 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't epilated before and hurts. However, each time gets a little easier. I have sensitive skin so this felt like something I ought to steer clear of, but in fact it's better than the standard razor. It's more intense as it essentially plucks the hairs out, but the effect on the skin is much kinder.

This feels well made, sturdy and compact. It's quite noisy, but that's OK, it hides my whimpers of pain ;-)

It comes with 5 attachments including a shaver. I only really use the massager and sensitive areas ones but it's good to have options. The carry pouch is a basic white nylon bag but it does the job.

It's great you can use this wet or dry, and the overall result is super smooth skin.

Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (Black)
Panasonic ALL8 Wireless Speaker System (Black)
Offered by ASK
Price: £284.95

4.0 out of 5 stars superb sound, lovely looks, some minor niggles but overall, top notch., 24 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It's larger than I imagined (perhaps the size of a large toaster, if I had to compare it to a standard household item!) and is quite heavy - heavy enough to make me feel a tad nervous at the thought of affixing it to my walls with the hangings supplied! It's a reassuring weight, given the price - it feels good quality. I'd respectfully disagree with another review I saw saying that it looked cheap, in my opinion the finish and overall appearance (particularly the front) is minimalist and sleek...just shows how subjective such things are! The control buttons are touch sensitive and discreet, so don't impede with the stylish silhouette.

Additional plus points:
* What is the purpose of a speaker? Good sound and volume. This delivers in bucketloads. At lower levels, the sound is lush - full, rounded and defined. At top notch volume, it's ear-thumping. Somebody standing next to you would not be able to hear your voice, put it that way! Even at maximum, there is little distortion (although it depends on the bass level of the music, of course) so it's still a pleasure to absorb. It handles bass heavy music very well, and treble heavy music even better in my opinion. I'm no expert on all things audio, but for a domestic sound system I was mightily impressed.
* You can control the sound directly from the device you're playing music through, and unlike other speakers it's actually aligned to the volume of the speaker. So if sound is at max on your phone for example, it will be at max on the speaker.

* Set-up was fiddly. The quick start guide is great and easy to follow, but needed to be clear that a system/firmware update was likely required, with guidance on how to do it. I followed the instructions to the letter, but it wasn't working and only on reading the full manual online did I realise an update might resolve the problem.
* It's great for streaming music from online services, but I don't think it's right that you can only stream Spotify if you have Spotify Premium. I'd say this was a deal between the two companies, but is penalising those who may not want or need Spotify premium. It smacks of corporate greed! What's more, it's not obvious how to get it to play through Spotify, so read the online manual for details!
* No USB port (there's only an Aux port)

Some reviews question why this uses WiFi to connect devices, rather than standard bluetooth. This will be because the speakers are designed to work in conjunction with others around the house, if you're lucky enough to have multiple speakers! Via WiFi, the speakers can all connect/group and play from the one device. I don't think this would be physically possible via Bluetooth. What's more, I've experienced some interference with Bluetooth connected speakers, but with this it was uninterrupted.

I'm not sure how I feel about having to download an app and play music through that, but it works quite well and so I can't complain. It just feels like one more stage in the set up.

If I was looking to spend this kind of money on a speaker, I wouldn't be disappointed with this.

The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom
The Great Leader and the Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Tyrant Who Created North Korea and the Young Lieutenant Who Stole His Way to Freedom
by Blaine Harden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing historical tale, 23 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
North Korea is a state of such secrecy and intrigue that I couldn't help but be enticed into reading this, although I'm not usually a fan of war/historical books, either fiction or non. That said, I enjoyed this retelling of the lives of two Koreans in very different circumstances. Harden's narrative is easy on the eye and engaging; informative but neither complicated nor condescending.

I couldn't work out really what the link was between No Kum Sok and Kim Il Sung, as far as their stories are concerned. I imagine the two tales have been interwoven to highlight the differences, with one man fighting for (his) freedom whilst the other strived to restrict it. I did find it a bit confusing sometimes, flitting from one to the other, and wonder whether it would have been better to be two separate books. I also sensed a bit of a bias to US attitudes, but am all too aware that historical texts are often subjective, even if only subtly so.

That said, I found this an interesting read and it certainly feeds on the mystery of the secretive North Korean state.

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On Ear Headphone - Ivory
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On Ear Headphone - Ivory
Price: £150.37

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful headphones, superior quality finish, just reasonable sound and power., 2 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review is for the Ivory/Brown Momentum 2.0 headphones that do not have wireless/bluetooth/NFC technology.

Rating these on looks alone, I'd give them 6 out of 5 if I could. They're beautiful looking headphones that ooze class, style and quality. The ivory on-ear pieces have a subtle pearlescent finish, and the band is the same soft brown suede material as the inner part of the ear 'cups', finished with beige contrast stitching. The metal on the band is like brushed stainless steel. The overall finish is stunning and the retro styling make these headphones so distinctive; it seems many cheaper brands have copied the Beats by Dre style so if you want to stand out from the crowd, I'd recommend these.

For comfort, I'd give them top marks too. Due to the soft material used on the inner part of the headphones and the head band, they're a delight to wear. The cups have 360° movement so the headphones easily adjust to fit any sized head! I've worn other high end headphones for a while before now and suffered with what can only be described as earlobe cramp when I took them off, but the fit and design of these virtually eliminates any discomfort.

The headphones come with 2 cases - a cloth drawstring 'bag' and a black suede-effect zip case, which again looks and feels good quality.

On to the whole purpose of headphones: sound. The overall quality is good and they are a great all-rounder. Put through their paces with bass-heavy music, to dance and treble-led tunes, there was no distortion at full volume. However, speaking of volume, these headphones don't give the teeth rattling volume you secretly hope for. It's nice to have the option for instigating tinnitus (you know what I mean... I'm not endorsing that!) and it feels like these need another 50% more oomph than they have. You don't get the richness, the depth or the all-encompassing sound that you do from some other high end headphones (I compared the sound using others in our household, which were Studio Beats by Dre, although they're noise cancelling too, and the Soul by Ludacris headphones); it's a good sound but a step down from these that seem to offer a deeper bass capacity.

These headphones are specifically marketed towards 'Samsung Galaxy and other smartphones and tablets', with the box also listing LG, HTC and Sony - with the usual caveat that not all functions may work with your phone/tablet. I tried using the inline control/microphone with various devices with mixed results:
* Samsung S3 phone: fully functioning inline controls for music and phone calls;
* Sony Xperion Z2: volume controls work, but the middle button for answering calls does not work;
* iPhone 5S: can answer calls using the inline controls but the volume controls on this do not work;
*Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet: the inline volume controls do not work.

So a word of caution that the inline controls may not function even if your device is android (although the inline microphone worked in all cases). As a little addendum to that, the controls aren't very defined, it's not easy to differentiate between the volume buttons and the middle button for stop/pause/answer a call. In summary, the inline controls are a bit of a letdown.

These are not cheap headphones but if style inches ahead of power, I think these are a class above others on the market. If you want some that have the capacity to rattle your brains you may be a tad disappointed. I just love the look, finish and quality so much, however, that I can forgive them any minor points,considering their good all-round capabilities.

Fresh 'n Rebel Wireless Bluetooth Selfie Stick
Fresh 'n Rebel Wireless Bluetooth Selfie Stick
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars good value, 27 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
No app required for this selfie stick which is a great plus point. It uses Bluetooth: just connect your phone to the selfie stick via Bluetooth and off you go! The gripper is kind of 'elasticated' so you just pull the soft clamper grips apart and put your phone in. Its quick and easy and reasonably sturdy, but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable reaching out over a building ledge or a bridge with it...

The head is on a pivot so it's very manoeuvrable, and the telescopic arm is quite stiff so that feels like it stays in place quite well. The shutter button on the selfie stick is a bit too firm, so if you don't grip it well,it can be awkward to take the picture.

Generally, though, for £20 it's a good piece of fun kit. Great for taking pictures of things from unusual preferred use rather than pictures of me, me,me!

Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love
Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love
by Ella Woodward
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Whole food that's easy and inspiring and tasty!, 27 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Love this book and everything it stands for: healthy, clean eating with a dash of excitement! Loads of great recipes, with supporting information about key ingredients and why they're good for you. Ella's enthusiasm for good food shines through in this book. I've already made several recipes,all successful! The only advice I'd add is that some take longer than the stated cooking time (eg. Butternut squash in Thai curry was still solid after half hour, it ended up taking almost twice as long to cook) and -not that it's a bad thing- the servings are generous (eg. Red pepper,tomato & cannelini bean soup said it served 4 but I got at least 6 generous servings!).

Women Galaxy Green Space print pants Tights Leggings
Women Galaxy Green Space print pants Tights Leggings
Offered by Kars Business
Price: £4.89

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice print but baggy legs, 27 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Despite ordering the smallest size available, these leggings are baggy around the legs. They fit great on the waist, but they're a poor, slack fit on the legs, and I don't have skinny legs, I'm more 'athletic'! The print is OK, though. They took several weeks to arrive as they're posted from Asia so don't expect a quick delivery!

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