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Reviews Written by
Grr "Gumbo" (England)
(VINE VOICE)   

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Levivo Chopping Board made of bamboo wood with pull-out compartments
Levivo Chopping Board made of bamboo wood with pull-out compartments
Price: £14.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A missed opportunity, 17 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I wanted to like this chopping board more than I did but I’m afraid I find myself underwhelmed by it. The basic problem being poor materials and a design flaw that I feel is quite obvious.

The plus sides: The board looks nice, the bamboo wood is attractive and warm to look at with the brilliant white of the drawers giving a nice contrast. The manufacturer advises that the wood is from sustainable forests so this is an ethical product in terms of the bamboo. The two drawers have enough depth to hold a chopped large onion or a few carrots or several mushrooms each so are suitable for couples or smaller families.

The not-so-good: It feels quite flimsy. I wasn’t expecting a board as solid as my butchers block or anything, but this doesn’t feel any sturdier than some of the cheap plastic ones I have. I wouldn’t use it for chopping anything that needed a bit of brute force for example.

The flaw: You cannot secure the drawers in. There is no catch so when moving the board from one place to another, the drawers keep slipping out. It’s the matter of adding a small catch either side. Seems odd that it’s not been thought of. Such a simple fix.

Overall, it’s not a bad piece of kitchen kit and it’s not hugely expensive either but, for me, it misses the mark a bit in a few important aspects.


3M 1581GR20 Scotch Designer Scissors 40 cm Designer Handle Green
3M 1581GR20 Scotch Designer Scissors 40 cm Designer Handle Green
Price: £17.06

3.0 out of 5 stars Do not cut cleanly despite nice design, 10 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are a nice looking pair of scissors that sit comfortably in your kitchen drawer. They are bright and eye catching and the unusual design gives lots of space for those with larger hands. That said they do not really live up to what you would expect from a pair of scissors costing upwards on £15. I found that the blades do not slice as closely together as they really should and this means that (with our pair) they are not ideal for cutting paper as the edges are not as cleanly sliced as you would expect. We have been using them in kitchen prep mainly and have found they slice meats fairly easily but these are not really designed for this. We had needed some more household scissors but I think we will be shopping for another pair to make sure we have a really sharp pair for general use.

Overall I would say that although these are well designed and eye catching they fall short on their actual functionality and I have used much better pairs of scissors over the years at considerably lower cost. If these scissors had been exceptional in how and what they cut I would happily give 5 stars and ignore the price but sadly this is not the case.


Leon Fast & Free: Free-from recipes for people who really like food
Leon Fast & Free: Free-from recipes for people who really like food
by Jane Baxter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Reliable Leon, 1 Feb. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A confirmed Leon devotee, I already owned 3 of their previous cookbooks and eat in their restaurants fairly often, I was very pleased to be offered this latest volume to review, even though I am not necessarily the target for this book as I, thankfully, have no dietary requirements that would require me to use these recipes.

This said, I'm a confirmed foody an I enjoy trying new things and amongst my stocking fillers this Christmas I got given a spiralizer (well, I am podgy...) this seemed a perfect opportunity to try it all out.

As with all the Leon books, this really is a very attractive book, great to look at, well made with good paper and binding and excellently informal, messy and creative design. It looks great on the kitchen bookshelf as well.

Recipe wise, time constraints have meant I've used this less than I perhaps might have done but so far, generally so good. Recipes that I've tried that have hit the spot for us all - Coconut Mango Pancake, Cashew Courgetti with Chicken and Brazilian Black Bean Stew. Mixed results for these - Coconut Water Fried Chicken, Tuscan Chestnut Cake. A couple of flops - Chocolate Mayo brownies & Tea Leaf Salad. The hit rate is good so far and there are several recipes here i'd like to try.

A good addition to my cook book collection - i'd suggest it could be essential to those who have the dietary needs it covers.


Harry Potter Cluedo board game
Harry Potter Cluedo board game
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £21.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A great twist on a family classic, 31 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fun family game based around the combination of two well known brands. Cluedo has a fantastic history and I am sure most people have fond memories of arguing over who got to be Miss Scarlett or Rev'd Green as a child, combine this with the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter and you can't really go wrong.

The game itself takes a while to set up so if you are playing with children you may want to get the set up done in advance so you can just play straight out of the box. All the parts are well made and should last a long time and the artwork is nice.

Because this is based around Harry Potter there is automatically more interest from the younger generation than for most board games I have encountered. We certainly managed to get pre teens more interested at a quicker rate than previously. It is so nice to be able sit round a table and play a board game without wails of protest. Judging from the fun we have had with this so far I predict it will become a firm family favourite over the years to come. Extremely enjoyable board game mash up!


There's a Pig up my Nose!
There's a Pig up my Nose!
by John Dougherty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Surreal Madness, 15 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A funny and bonkers story that both my children - 4 & 2 respectively - thoroughly enjoyed hearing, it was an entertaining one to read aloud as well.

The plot is pretty bizarre, as the title suggests, young Natalie wakes one morning to discover that a pig has gotten into her nose. Can her class mates help her out of this predicament??! It's fair to ay that this is not a story steeped in reality and it doesn't convey any heavy moralistic undertones, it is simply a nice piece of nonsense.

The illustrations are bright and colourful and the prose is light and simple. It's a good book, worthy of investigating.


Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Griffin Rock Firehouse Headquarters Toy
Playskool Heroes Transformers Rescue Bots Griffin Rock Firehouse Headquarters Toy
Price: £29.99

3.0 out of 5 stars One figure supplied- and it's not even a Rescue Bot!, 15 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When is a transformers toy not a transformers toy? When it doesn't have a transformer toy supplied with it! In a very odd move, Playskool have decided that this rather nifty, solid plastic Firehouse Rescue Bot Base should not be supplied with an actual Rescue Bot but with a supporting human character - nowhere near as exciting or interesting to my little man's eyes. Given that the RRP is £50 (selling at £24.99 at the time of writing) that's pretty astounding.

The playset itself is well made, robust and has plenty of good features - firing 'water' cannons, pop up towers and various bits to press and turn. It's a decent enough toy but unless you have Rescue Bot toys already or are willing to invest on plenty more, I would suggest starting the collection elsewhere.


STABILO Cappi Felt-Tip Pen - Assorted Colours, Wallet of 12
STABILO Cappi Felt-Tip Pen - Assorted Colours, Wallet of 12
Price: £5.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Bright, colourful and a notch above most other felt pens!, 13 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These felt pens are a great investment if, like us, you suffer with a pot of pens lacking lids, or with mismatching lids forced on, leaking ink or drying out all over the place.

The addition of a simple loop of plastic that can keep all of the pen lids together makes such a huge difference in the life of a felt pen in our household. We have had these for a little while now and have not yet lost one!

The children love finding a colour on the hoop as we lay them out in a circle and rainbow formation and they often have mini races to see who can get their pans back into their lids quickest. The pens themselves are full of bright ink and seem to last a long time, they also have a nice gripping system to encourage children to hold them in the correct manner. This has been extra helpful with our 4 year old who much prefers to hold pens in a fist and draw quickly rather than concentrate and hold pens properly. We find he tends to find these easier to hold in a decent grip than his other pens and his lettering and writing in general is noticeably improved when he decides to write using these.

Overall these make a great investment for any family, either for your own children or as a gift.


Cressi Men's Beach Swimming Shoes, Black, 43/44-8.5/10
Cressi Men's Beach Swimming Shoes, Black, 43/44-8.5/10
Price: £9.16

3.0 out of 5 stars No Frills but do the job, 7 Jan. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Inexpensive and perfunctory, these are basic design flip flops at a sensible price. Black with white trim and a 'Cressi' logo on the strap, these are simple and no-frills in the style stakes - which of course means that they will complement most beach wear and swim wear easily. They are comfortable enough to wear as well and fit as expected.

In design terms they are flat footed rather than ergonomic so they probably aren't suited for wearing for longer periods of walking but for getting around the pool or gym they will do the job admirably. If you want more than this - say flip flops for long walks along the sandy beaches on holidays - then I'd suggest paying for a more stylised pair but if your requirements are simple then these will do the job nicely.


Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy
Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy
by Bonnie Burton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 11 Dec. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Such a fun book!

Please don't assume that this book is in any way mean-spirited towards feminism or feminists, this a book that has been written by feminists after all! It is, however, a genuinely funny book which gave us some huge laughs and may well have inspired my wife & I to tackle a few fun projects for friends.

This book does require a particular sense of humour however, So if you are planning to give it to anyone as a gift, be sure that they are happy to chuckle about the subject. I consider myself a strong feminist as do all in our household but we can laugh at the well meaning silliness of this book. For some, this may not be the case so err on caution.

It's an attractive book, bright, cheerful and has proved a bit of a talking point for guests this weekend!


AVI-8 Men's Lancaster Bomber Special Edition Quartz Watch with Green Dial and Green Leather Strap AV-4049-01
AVI-8 Men's Lancaster Bomber Special Edition Quartz Watch with Green Dial and Green Leather Strap AV-4049-01
Price: £65.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Watch, 7 Dec. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm rather in love with this watch, for it's current asking price (around the £120 mark) it's an absolute bargain, its full RRP of £180 is also good value. This is a time piece that punches way above it's pricing.

This is a seriously handsome timepiece, chunky in a good way masculine, expertly styled and packing a real 'wow' factor. I've worn this out several times now and have been pleased to receive a number or compliments about it.

The dambuster styling is quirky, well realised and a great talking point. I think this would be an exceptional gift for someone with a keen interest in military history, aviation or WW2.

The face is simple and easy to read, the date window is fun and both date and time are easy to set. The watch keeps time accurately and is relatively silent. The packaging is superb and well thought through.

A classy product.


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