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pseudopanax (London)
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Sealy Select Balance Duvet, White, 10.5 Tog, Double
Sealy Select Balance Duvet, White, 10.5 Tog, Double
Offered by Branded_Bedding
Price: £39.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and well made duvet, 15 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This duvet is true to size and fits standard double covers well. It’s a medium weight, suitable for spring or autumn use (or, probably, winter use in a well heated house). It is too heavy for summer use. The cover material is smooth and slightly textured – which means that it holds its position within a cotton duvet cover well without slipping into the corners. This is further helped by the substantial taped edging which runs around the whole duvet. The filling is held in place well in stitched panels. There is a pale grey grid pattern printed on the cover material which might show through a pale-coloured duvet cover. Like most microfiber/hollowfill duvets this has a bouncy feel which can take some time to get used to, especially if you are used to the weight of blankets or down duvets. The fibres used are meant to promote deeper sleep – I don’t know how this could be tested but the duvet has a 5-year guarantee and looks as though it would withstand a lot of use.


Silentnight Supersoft Pillow, Microfibre, White, Pack of 4
Silentnight Supersoft Pillow, Microfibre, White, Pack of 4
Price: £20.88

4.0 out of 5 stars Soft and light pillows, 15 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These pillows are, as promised, very soft and have a light, breathable quality to them. They do offer some support and might be particularly useful for children or as a second pillow on top of something rather firmer and more supportive; for an adult, two pillows together provide a gentle level of neck and head support. The filling is quite mobile within the cover and after a few nights’ use I noticed some unevenness and clumping in the pillow I have had on top. I haven’t tried washing them yet – it may be that would resolve the clumping, or perhaps make it worse. The cover material on the pillows is ok, rather thin and probably not of a kind to stand up to a lot of wear (or repeated washing). For the price these appear to be good value for money. They are comfortable to use brand new but don’t seem likely to last particularly long.


Salter Contour Digital Kitchen Scale, Black
Salter Contour Digital Kitchen Scale, Black
Price: £24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Robust, labour-saving, versatile, 7 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Too many kitchen gadgets don't merit the space they take up, but this scale really is worth the money and the shelf space. It's slim but robust, and can be slipped into the side of a drawer or cabinet to store. The large platform will hold most bowls or containers you're likely to use ink me cooking; the digital display is slightly angled for better visibility. Having the choice of different units -- not only metric and imperial weights, but also fluid measures -- makes it easy to use a range of old, new, UK and US recipes without having to do fiddly conversions. Being able to "add and weigh" multiple ingredients into the one bowl, by resetting to zero between additions, saves time and washing up. As far as I can tell the scale is accurate and weighing up to 5kg, it should be the only scale most home cooks will need. It's a very intuitive and user-friendly piece of kit.


Mizuno Wave Inspire 12, Men's Running Shoes, Surf The Web/Silver/Safety Yellow, 10 UK
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12, Men's Running Shoes, Surf The Web/Silver/Safety Yellow, 10 UK
Offered by SportsShoes Unlimited
Price: £109.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value running / training shoe, 1 April 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The Mizuno Wave Inspire is a good looking well designed running / training shoe. The body of the trainer is tough and appears that it will be resistant to damage from the runner's toe pushing through...which is a problem for a number of lightweight, breathable trainers. Time will tell. The size 10 fit is excellent, especially for me as I have a wider than normal foot and usually have to seek out a US 10.5 as UK 10s can be a bit tight. The laces are tough yet supple and should be resilient, which is another plus as I have gone through a number of sets of laces with more expensive running/training shoes. The sole, as with many other trainer brands, is a bit stiff; and, until it is broken in a bit more, I will be using these for training rather than running. The sole grip is good for gym work and should improve as they are broken in. The colour is a bit on the eye-popping side but it is not so shocking for a middle aged runner! All in all this shoe is good value for money.


The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare
The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare
by Michael Dobson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.14

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good general reference, 19 Dec. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A lot has happened in the world of Shakespeare studies since the first edition of this book appeared in 2001; as well as the ongoing global production of the plays on a huge scale, research and particularly the use of digital resources has uncovered and connected hundreds of documents relating to Shakespeare’s life, family, work and business dealings. Controversy has arisen around the discovery of previously lost plays by Shakespeare, perhaps the most convincing of which is Cardenio.
All these developments are reflected to some degree in the new edition of the book, but the majority of the material is taken directly from the first edition, with minimal updating. This is particularly evident in the lists of representative criticism for each play, and in the bibliographic items appended to some of the short articles. In many cases these lists look back to the 1970s and 1980s, and don’t include much if any of the major work published in the last 15 years. Much of the updating is presented as an addendum and it’s clear that there hasn’t been a thoroughgoing revision of all the material.
This is a book for the generalist not the specialist, however, and any practitioner or researcher engaging professionally with Shakespeare would of course be drawing on other resources. What the Oxford Companion offers is a thoughtfully balanced, handsomely produced book summarizing information about and approaches to the plays designed for a non-expert audience. To its credit, jargon and highly specialized vocabulary are avoided and the style is accessible but authoritative. No one topic is explored in great depth, but an impressive range of topics is covered in enough detail to help the general reader or audience member to understand the plays, their performance history and their wider context. The organization is logical and clear, making the encyclopedia-style use of the book easy, and an interested reader could happily spend considerable time browsing.


Burt's Bees Natural Cleansers Collection, Gift Set
Burt's Bees Natural Cleansers Collection, Gift Set
Price: £17.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to Burt's Bees products, 3 Sept. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a lovely set, containing four full-size cleansers; all are packed with botanicals giving effective, gentle cleaning that smells great and doesn’t leave residues on the skin. Before trying this I was under the (evidently mistaken) impression that honey was a key ingredient in Burt’s Bees products, but it doesn’t feature here. I was particularly impressed by the scrub, which is well balanced, not too aggressive but still effective. The packaging is attractive and very well made, but the gift potential is limited by the fact that all the products are cleansers (for a gift set you might want a moisturiser too) and that the packaging is marked “value”. The different botanicals give each cleanser a distinctive character, and each one is easy to use and effective, ranging from the deep cleansing cream and scrub to the quick cleansing wipes and the everyday cleanser. This is a great introduction to the Burt’s Bees range and certainly a bargain for those already converted to more natural beauty products.


Whiskas Healthy Joints Cat Treats 55 g- Pack of 8
Whiskas Healthy Joints Cat Treats 55 g- Pack of 8
Offered by Livy Home UK
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Our treat hounds love them, 25 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Our two rescue cats were obviously brought up on a diet of cheap Whiskas and Felix, and although we have finally weaned them off such high salt and sugar junk food, we have not had the same success with treats. Any amount of posh (to the point of ridiculous... I mean Canadian wild boar treats) treats have been offered with very limited success. As our treat hounds are nearly ten we have decided that they can have some junk food in the form of treats, and Whiskas treats are their favourites. I'm not sure if the health benefits of Whiskas treats, whether anti hair ball or these healthy joint ones, are as noted on the packaging, but as a daily treat in moderation I'm sure they're fine. Nothing makes our treat hounds come running as fast as Whiskas treats and these healthy joint ones are no exception.


Sony BDP-S6500 Blu-ray/DVD Player with Super Quick Start, 3D, Super WiFi and 4K Upscaling
Sony BDP-S6500 Blu-ray/DVD Player with Super Quick Start, 3D, Super WiFi and 4K Upscaling
Price: £99.00

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very neat little unit, 17 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very neat little unit, its compact size and simple looks disguising a really powerful and effective player. Most impressive, however, is its superfast and stable streaming and browsing capacity, giving access to the almost unlimited range of free and paid-for content through apps and the world wide web.
Set up is very simple, though you’ll need a high-speed HDMI cable (not supplied in the box). The BDP-S6500 gives you the option of wired or wifi connection; I used the wifi option and, as the user manual promised, once I had connected the player to the TV and plugged it in, the set up was as automatic and problem-free as any I have seen. There was a delay of a few minutes for the download and installation of software from the web, but this involved only a minimal wait and the system managed the whole process after I’d selected the web option.
Blu-ray discs play well, with the crisp video and cinema-quality sound associated with the technology. Disc loading is particularly fast if you enable the quick start option in the set up process. Controls on the remote are simple and familiar, although the remote is relatively small and this does make it feel a little crowded when using the playback functions in the lower half of the remote.
Thanks to its super wifi and 4K UHD technology, streaming and gameplay (from the web or through a selection of apps, which can be customised on your home screen) are much faster and more stable than I’ve achieved with the same broadband service through the TV. On-demand video searching is quick, loading is fast and there has been no evident buffering or hanging while watching streamed content. Screen mirroring increases the options to use this unit as much more than a disc player, complementing and in some ways replacing the functions of a laptop or tablet. There’s a lot packed into this very small box, it’s user friendly even without much technical knowledge, and it delivers crisp, well balanced video fast from media or online.


V is for Vegan: The ultimate vegan cookbook packed full of amazing recipes
V is for Vegan: The ultimate vegan cookbook packed full of amazing recipes
by Kerstin Rodgers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfocused and often unappetising cookbook, 11 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When first encountering a new vegan or vegetarian cookbook, I ask the question: does it include an interesting main dish with cauliflower as the primary ingredient? If a writer can do something interesting with a cauliflower (not cauliflower cheese in any form), they usually have quite a good sense of invention and experimentation. This book falls at the first hurdle. I next ask: does it include more unnecessary hummus and baba ghanoush recipes. This book certainly has these. Finally, I ask: does it at first glance include more than a couple of very fussy recipes (process and ingredient wise) that might result in food that is not worth the trouble. This book certainly has several of these recipes. The absolutely jaw dropping inclusion of a salmagundy recipe and the two pages spread for pineapple flowers are but two examples.

So, let’s try a few recipes: the shakshouka is okay if unremarkable, the scrambled tofu is okay although be wary of your mushrooms as some types could make this a bit soggy, the soya soup is strange but slightly appealing, the sweet potato and coconut South seas soup is fine but this is a pretty standard recipe and I can think of better, the salt baked potatoes are nice but this is more of a side dish than a lunch dish, the freekeh and broccoli is nice but again a very basic vegan recipe, nothing surprising. To be honest there are a large number of the recipes that are just plain unappetising to me and others that are just so basic that they add nothing new.

Not great. Vegan cookbooks are now suffering what vegetarian cookbooks went through about 20 years ago: should the cookbook be a gourmet book, a back to basics ordinary food book, a lifestyle book, an information book or an uncomfortable conflation of all of the above? The most successful vegetarian cookbooks are clearly focussed like Denis Cotter’s series (advanced cookery) , Anna Thomas’s Vegetarian Epicure (somewhere in the middle) or Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood books (everyday and satisfying), but what they all have in common is imagination. With the exception of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ books, few vegan writers are producing exciting and imaginative food, whilst retaining a sense of ordinary satisfying fare. This book, like a lot of vegetarian books, is simply a publishing house project to produce a “cool” vegan cookbook. The writer's history as a blogger certainly shows in the sound bite-like unfocussed style and the odd juxtaposition of recipes. Perhaps it is a well planned ploy to attract anyone under 30 dabbling with veganism?

It’s not a terrible book, as I applaud any new vegan cookbooks making their way to the mainstream, but it is unsatisfying and one of the least inspiring cookbooks I’ve encountered in over 20 years of cooking vegan. It certainly makes me recommend Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s latest book Isa Does It all the more as it is the best contemporary vegan cookbook out there.


AmazonBasics Everyday Duvet Cover Set with 2 Pillowcases, Double - Blue
AmazonBasics Everyday Duvet Cover Set with 2 Pillowcases, Double - Blue
Price: £25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Basic!, 13 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The set is made in Portugal -- slightly unusually -- and there's obvious quality to the material and to the finishing. The 200- count cotton is soft and offers a good balance between weight and softness. It's pleasant, smooth and cool against the skin, without the roughness you find with a lower thread count. It does need ironing after washing, but the ironing isn't too arduous and gives the set a crisp, clean finish. The seams and hems are immaculately sewn and should stand up to repeated washing. Overall it's a good buy for the price.


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