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Chloe "I love the classics, history, fantasy, the odd thriller - I will try most genres if the plot description appeals." (Coventry UK)

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Crock-Pot 1.8L Saute Rice Cooker Black
Crock-Pot 1.8L Saute Rice Cooker Black
Offered by Electrical Emporium
Price: £24.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars which I loved but the non stick coating had started to come ..., 6 Nov. 2014
Bought this to replace a cheap Ikea rice cooker I had had for years, which I loved but the non stick coating had started to come away.

I just can't seem to get the rice to cook right with this rice cooker. We eat quite a lot of rice, so I've tried a number of times, adjusting water levels etc. We use basmati rice most of the time.

The temperature just seems to be too fierce. Every time we lose a great chunk of rice which has stuck to the bottom of the rice cooker. I tried the sauté function with veg and curry paste and threw the rice and stock in on top - when it clicked to warm there was a crisp burnt layer on the bottom which means the pot is currently soaking in the sink.

The instructions are almost unintelligible. If anyone can suggest what I am doing wrong, it would be appreciated!

Summer Infant Easton Tote Changing Bag
Summer Infant Easton Tote Changing Bag
Price: £19.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the job!, 12 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this after the zip on my previous changing bag broke (as a result of me trying to stuff too much into it i presume!). I didn't want to spend a fortune but wanted to buy something with a cheerful pattern after my husband had insisted on the last bag being plain black - very boring.
This bag fit the bill in terms of price and design. The zips are stronger than my last bag, but the zip pulls fell off and got lost within a couple of weeks of me buying it. The zips still work ok, they are just fiddler to use now, so I will probably have to improvise and attach my own zip pulls at some point.
The bag is fairly roomy and the main strap hangs on the buggy easily. The shorter handles are useful occasionally. The end pockets are useful for drinks cups and there are small inside zip pockets for valuables like loose change.
If you want to carry around a lot of extra clothes etc you might want to purchase a larger bag, but this suits my purposes just fine.

Time for Bed, Tilly!: A lift-the-flap book for toddlers (Lift the Flap Book for Toddlrs)
Time for Bed, Tilly!: A lift-the-flap book for toddlers (Lift the Flap Book for Toddlrs)
by David Sim
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Bold illustrations and familiar situations, 12 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this book for my 18 month old for Christmas after we had borrowed Don't Do That Dexter!, an earlier book in the series, from the library. My toddler loved the colours and repetitive dialogue and began to request the book by name. When I realised there were other books available I knew they would be the perfect present. Time for Bed. Tilly, although lacking some of the charm of Don't Do That Dexter!, shares the same childlike, paint daubed images that seem to appeal to my son, and the flaps to lift help to engage him in the story. There aren't many words, but i find the books are easy to embellish as we talk about what. Tilly is doing on each page instead of going to bed!

Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

154 of 185 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The weight of expectation, 9 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I felt compelled to write this review after some of the negative reviews I read on here nearly stopped me from purchasing this novel (which would have been the first Discworld novel I didn't buy on publication since Men at Arms was published and I had just discovered the Discworld at the age of ten via my uncle, another long term fan).

I will say now that I am so far 25% of the way through the book, which doesn't leave me fully qualified to review but perhaps more so than someone who claims to have read 4%, hardly enough for any novel to get going. I have to say, I'm not sure exactly what some of the reviewers are wanting from this book, but I fear that Pratchett must feel akin to the England football team en route to another world cup, with the weight of expectation heaped so high that he can't possibly hope to meet it. Pratchett has written 40 novels in the Discworld series - in any series with that amount of novels, there are going to be some absolute belters and some that are mildly entertaining but not the best book you have ever read. I am going to say now, I struggled to finish Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad and Lords and Ladies and haven't returned to them, whereas I have reread Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, the Fifth Elephant and Thud more times than I could count. The books I didn't like were written by Pratchett a long time ago during a time which is considered by many as the height of the Discworld series (I don't believe there is a height - I think as a series it has fluctuated in quality throughout). This is the point of the Discworld - certain books will appeal to certain people more than others - some people's favourite novels in the series would probably only receive 3 stars from me and vice versa. This is why you have to take the Discworld as a whole, knowing that for every so-so book that appears, another great one will be just around the corner. While I acknowledge that Terry's disease and the impact on his work may prevent another masterpiece, he is still more than capable of entertaining books that add a little more to the Discworld universe.

I will agree that so far, this book has a different narrative style to some of Pratchett's earlier works, though it is not out of line with the last few novels, with less snappy dialogue and more dark introspection. Indeed, the whole tone of the Discworld in recent years has been far darker altogether - perhaps a sign of our times or Pratchett's opinion of them. We all change as we age, becoming perhaps more cynical and less tolerant of humanity and its foibles, and this is bound to be reflected in Pratchett's work.

To say that his work is sloppy and shouldn't be published though is far from correct. The characters that have been introduced so far are all behaving as I would expect them to, the story is jogging along apace and I have been reading as much as my toddler will allow me to, which says a lot as most of my own reading activity has taken a backseat these days to countless renditions of That's not my Tiger. Pratchett is still capable of prose that is far superior to anything most authors manage these days, and I have always felt that a mediocre Pratchett book is still a good book by most standards. If anything, I think that it is more challenging than I have come to expect, with a lot of the references a little more obscure than usual. As a history teacher who has ploughed their way through the GCSE Britain 1815-51 syllabus, I recognise the parallels to railway fever - Pratchett clearly has an interest in the railways matched by the early railway barons and their passengers and he has researched his topic. Some of the complaints of the Ankh-Morpork citizenry are genuine!

Although the railways aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea, I think that the criticisms of some of the other reviewers are overstated and if you are wondering whether to buy this novel as a fan of the Discworld, don't be put off by fears of nostalgic emotional breakdowns in the first few pages.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 2, 2014 2:12 AM GMT

Emma [DVD]
Emma [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kate Beckinsale
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £2.89

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd rather watch the BBC version, 29 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Emma [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this version of Emma as part of a DVD boxset with two other adaptations about a year or so ago. Unfortunately, when I sat down to watch it I was disappointed. The main source of my disappointment was the casting of Kate Beckinsale as Emma - I found her totally unsympathetic and cold, which is not an impression I get of the character when I read the book. Yes, she is snobbish and can be manipulative, but she is also warm and caring which I did not feel from Beckinsale. I hadn't particularly liked the Gwyneth Paltrow film either, for exactly the same reason - Paltrow did not ring true as Emma. I had to assume that it was impossible for a TV adaptation to picture the characters in the book in the way I did and create a sympathetic Emma and a Mr Knightley of 36 or 37 who did not appear to be too ancient! Fortunately, I was proven wrong when the recent BBC adaptation (2009) was released. I have just finished watching this and found it engaging, well made, and more importantly, sympathetically cast. I understood the motivations of the characters. I understood Emma's actions and her youth. I found Mr Knightley to be one of the more believable Austen heros as portrayed by Johnny Lee Miller - this is a real person, with faults and insecurities himself. I have pre-ordered that DVD, and definitely advise a look.

Emma [DVD]
Emma [DVD]
Dvd ~ Romola Garai
Price: £5.93

155 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best adaptation I've seen..., 28 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Emma [DVD] (DVD)
I don't normally write Amazon reviews but after watching this adaptation of Emma (and pre-ordering the DVD as soon as it appeared here) I felt compelled to encourage others to do the same. I read Emma over ten years ago, in my teens, and enjoyed the book, but since then have seen the Gwyneth Paltrow film and the Kate Beckinsale TV adaptation and had to admit, they left me cold. I thought that I must just be destined not to enjoy this Austen novel as much as the others. This adaptation has proven me wrong - I have loved every minute of it! It even encouraged me to dig the novel out and reread it again, and I was surprised how, despite the clear modernisations and dramatic licence, much of the dialogue originates in the text and is merely shortened to fit the time limitations. Other additions work very well, giving us more of an insight into the respective characters.

The lead characters are perfect for me - others have complained about their respective ages but I think Romola Garai plays a twenty year old very convincingly. While others have complained about her 'smarminess', it is worth remembering that Emma is supposed to be a snobbish, manipulative, spoiled young woman who comes of age during the novel, to understand herself and her own feelings towards Mr Knightley. Garai portrays this beautifully - her Emma is manipulative and a little vain about her social standing, but she is also very caring, open and artless (directly opposed to Mrs Elton) and in my opinion eminently likeable. Emma is, after all, very young, and it is her youth that leads her into so many mistakes and misjudgements. As for Miller, he plays Mr Knightley as a slightly eccentric but extremely intelligent and caring mentor who spars beautifully with Emma on many occassions, providing some of the best scenes. He is able to show his realisation of the feelings he has for Emma wonderfully with his facial expressions, especially in the gorgeous dance scene (in which Emma, against social conventions, asks Mr Knightley to dance, just as she does in the book, showing the friendly familiarity of the two characters and also Austen's happiness to allow her characters to flount some of the rules of Regency society, something which so many modern day 'purists' seem unable to do).

All of the supporting characters are also beautifully cast - I particularly like John and Isabella Knightley and the portrayal of their loving though sometimes flawed relationship. The sets and costumes are gorgeous - I'm sure there are anachronisms but you would have to be a Regency Period specialist to spot them and allow them to mar your enjoyment.

All in all, one of the best costume dramas the BBC has produced in a while - the last one that gave me this much enjoyment was North and South, and it is no surprise to me they were produced by the same writer. Sandy Welch seems to have the ability to update a novel while still taking the innate sentiments and meaning of the dialogue to transcribe a classic story into a fresh and enjoyable modern television drama. Thoroughly recommended.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2013 10:25 PM BST

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