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Profile for H. Ashford > Reviews

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Content by H. Ashford
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Reviews Written by
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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AmazonBasics LED Bulb GU5.3, 4.5W to 35W, 345 lumens - Pack of 2
AmazonBasics LED Bulb GU5.3, 4.5W to 35W, 345 lumens - Pack of 2
Price: £5.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good value from the Amazon Basics range, 7 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These Amazon Basics bulbs are, as you would expect, good value for money (without being so cheap as to make you nervous of buying them) and practical. They have replaced the halogen bulbs in my bathroom without problem; the light they give off is very slightly brighter and there’s no problem with flickering.

I can’t comment on how well they last at this point, but will come back and edit the review if they fail too early.


L'Oreal Cosmetics Kristina Bazan Full Box Kit Contains Eyeshadow Palette, Lipstick and Lipliner, Mascara and Eye liner
L'Oreal Cosmetics Kristina Bazan Full Box Kit Contains Eyeshadow Palette, Lipstick and Lipliner, Mascara and Eye liner
Price: £24.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars subtle colours, 7 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This isn’t really a “box kit” – more a bundle of 5 products put into a cardboard box together. However, having said that, the products do all complement each other, and at under £30 it is quite a lot cheaper than buying the items separately.

The eyeshadow palette contains 10 colours which range from cream, through a series of pinky brows to grey. All the make up items are of good quality, and are easy to apply and get a good finish. They all seem to be full sized products too, not mini versions made for the box, which is nice.

Overall, this makes a lovely set of essential make-up items in neutral / smokey / earthy colours.


Hero of the Empire: The Making of Winston Churchill
Hero of the Empire: The Making of Winston Churchill
by Candice Millard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

3.0 out of 5 stars the story of one dramatic year, 7 Nov. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book covers a single episode in Churchill’s life – a period in 1989 when as a young man he went to South Africa as a journalist and was taken prisoner. His daring escape and subsequent return to South Africa as a soldier, and the part he played in the eventual release of those taken prisoner alongside him, shaped his future life as a politician and leader.

Not being an expert on Churchill, I can’t comment on the supposed historical inaccuracies that other reviewers complain about. What I can say, is that I found the book very readable and, for me, it gave interesting insights into the early life of a man who is largely famous for later events and deeds.


Lab 2 Kabuki Brush, Just Face It
Lab 2 Kabuki Brush, Just Face It
Price: £9.00

4.0 out of 5 stars feels luxurious against the skin, 12 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love this neat little brush, and will definitely look for more from this manufacturer.

The soft dense bristles feel luxurious against the skin and allow powder to be applied quickly and evenly. Personally, I like the short handle, but I do agree with other reviewers that it could do with a lid so that I can put it in my bag without getting it, or anything else, dirty.


bagsy Wow Lips Gloss Pencil, Happy Days 2 g
bagsy Wow Lips Gloss Pencil, Happy Days 2 g
Price: £12.00

4.0 out of 5 stars neat little lip gloss pencil, 12 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love this neat little lip gloss pencil. The packaging is cool and it looks great in my bag.
It goes on smoothly, is easy to apply accurately, makes my lips feel nice and moist, and I love the colour!


BULK POWDERS ELEVATE, Pre Workout Supplement, Summer Berry - 540g
BULK POWDERS ELEVATE, Pre Workout Supplement, Summer Berry - 540g
Price: £27.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG!, 10 Oct. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve never used a pre-workout stimulant before. Being an idiot, I only read the instructions (and saw the bit about drinking it 30-45 mins before exercising) when I was ready to exercise. So I made up the powder as instructed and drank it very quickly.

OMG (1): it tastes AWFUL! I gagged at first and had to force it down. However, I note that other reviewers have said it doesn’t taste bad, so I guess/hope that I will get used to it???

OMG (2): within a couple of minutes I was shaking and trembling (as if with cold). Now I should say that I don’t drink coke, or coffee, or strong black tea, and I know that I am sensitive to stimulants: cold cures work a treat on me – take a couple of Lemsip tablets and I am bouncing round the room even if I felt like death warmed up just 20 mins earlier. So I wasn’t surprised at this reaction to the caffeine, and I should have been more careful!

OMG (3): after another 10 minutes or so, my hands started to tingle and then prickle. Right, I thought, better start running and work this stuff out of my system as quick as I can. As I ran, the prickling sensation spread up my arms, to my face, to my lower and then upper legs. Unpleasant, but not too distressing.

OMG (4): alarmingly, as soon as I put my body under pressure (I was trying to do some interval training with periods of running/jogging interspersed with short sprints), I felt myself starting to lose control of my bladder and had to sprint for the Ladies! Now, I will say that I sometimes get exercise induced asthma – when sprinting or trying to go uphill too fast – and I am sure this is down to nerves/stress, so I am willing to put this down to anxiety brought on by the funny side effects exacerbated by the stress of sprinting. However the bladder thing has never happened before!

After an hour’s run, I felt almost back to normal. The prickling sensation had reduced to a mild tingling and went completely after another hour or so. However, I did experience mild and short lived panic attacks, and a feeling of sickness/tension in my stomach for the rest of the evening.

Did it work in terms of improving my performance and/or stamina? I don’t know – my routine was so thrown off by the side effects that I just can’t tell.

I will try it again, though. I’ll just take a half dose next time and drink it slowly, and hopefully my body will be able to cope with it! I would just advise anyone who hasn’t taken this type of product before to approach it with a little caution.


Heathcote & Ivory Atlas Silks Sublime Travel Set
Heathcote & Ivory Atlas Silks Sublime Travel Set

4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful presentation, 22 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This comes in a strong cardboard box; the front lifts up to reveal the four tubes of product and seals again magnetically. It looks beautiful on my bathroom shelf, but I’m not convinced about travelling with it – the box is rigid, it has sharp corners, it will probably get damaged if squished into a suitcase.

Maybe the idea is that you take the tubes of lotion/cream/gel out of the box for travelling; then you could keep the beautiful box in the bathroom (or even bedroom) and refill it as necessary.

What you get is 4 tubes – hand wash, shower cream, hand cream and body lotion – 50ml of each. The scent is pretty strong - the box itself must be impregnated with it, so it permeates through the bathroom/bedroom. Which is fine if you like the scent. Personally I find it a bit overpowering, and I would hesitate before using all the products in sequence (as they suggest) fearing that it would overshadow my chosen perfume.

This is a lovely gift set, and not overly priced given the quality of the presentation and the products inside.


Heathcote Atlas Silks Scented Drawer Liners
Heathcote Atlas Silks Scented Drawer Liners

5.0 out of 5 stars gorgeous luxury item, 22 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These are beautifully presented in a gorgeously decorated flat wallet with little Velcro fasteners. The drawer liners inside are much plainer – a detailed print in blue/grey & white. You could, I suppose colour them in if you wanted to – they are certainly beautiful.

The scent is lovely, and it’s the first thing you notice – even before opening the outer packaging! I do wonder if it could become a bit overpowering over time and/or would get into the items left at the bottom of the drawer.

This is a luxury item. (I mean, really, who would pay more than £1 each for drawer liners – I always use a bit of cut off wallpaper myself!). However, the quality of the product, and its presentation, is such that I don’t feel the price is excessive. Items that “wow!” you for under a tenner, definitely deserve 5*s.


Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance
Happiness and Other Small Things of Absolute Importance
by Haim Shapira
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars worthwhile read, 16 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Firstly, I have to agree with other reviewers. What on earth possessed the publishers to use such a tiny, faint font. You need to have good eyesight and a strong light in order to read this book!

I like his style. Shapira has a relaxed approach and a dry sense of humour that comes across well. This makes the book enjoyable to read – it almost feels like you are having a conversation about happiness. Which feels good.

But the real question is, does it work? Do I feel happier after reading it? Well, no, not really. And that’s not surprising – as Shapira explains very clearly on page 5, how-to-be-happy books don’t work!

However, I do feel that I have thought quite deeply about what it means to be happy – which felt rewarding at the time. And I have had some interesting conversations with friends and colleagues about what happiness means for them. Only time will tell, but I think some of the insights will stick with me over time – which, for me, makes the book a worthwhile read.


A Closed and Common Orbit: Wayfarers 2
A Closed and Common Orbit: Wayfarers 2
by Becky Chambers
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars what makes a person?, 13 Sept. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the second book in Chambers’ Wayfarer series, and features two characters from her first book.

A word of warning: although this is a standalone novel and can be enjoyed without having read the first book, it does contain an enormous spoiler of the first book – so I would recommend reading that first.

Chambers’ first book (The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet) introduces us to the crew of Wayfarer, a ship which builds hyperspace tunnels. In the course of their adventures, we meet a range of different species, habitats and situations in a storyline which is quite episodic in nature, but which introduces us to a colourful and imaginative “universe”.

This book is different; it takes the story of Sidra, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) who, through no fault of her own, has become trapped in a human body. Sidra was designed to run a medium sized space-ship not a single organic body, and the lack of sensory input from all around makes her nervous and frightened. What’s worse, her protocols and designated purpose are not always compatible with human behaviours and interactions.

Sidra is helped by Pepper and her partner, Blue. Pepper also knows what it is like to belong to a class of beings regarded as sub-human. Previously called Jane, she was designed and used for a particular purpose and had to escape her birth planet with the help of an AI trapped on a stranded space ship.

I found both Jane’s (past) story and Pepper’s and Sidra’s (current) story interesting and easy to read. The book attempts to have both a bit of an adventure and also some reflection on what it means to be sentient and whether a constructed person is any more “real” than someone who is born – and to some extent it succeeds.

Overall, I did enjoy this book, and I did engage with the characters and situations, but I didn’t find it as compelling as the first book in the series.


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