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Asphodelia (Brighton, UK)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Yankee candle- 'Love Your' Everyday Candle Care Gift Set (boxed). Wick Trimmer, Candle Snuffer. Illuma-lid
Yankee candle- 'Love Your' Everyday Candle Care Gift Set (boxed). Wick Trimmer, Candle Snuffer. Illuma-lid
Offered by Casa Candles
Price: £15.24

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great set for all fans of Yankee Candles, 20 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Yankee candle accessories can be quite pricey and hard to come by, so when I saw this set including a candle snuffer, an Illumalid and a wick trimmer, I thought it was a great opportunity to purchase all 3 items in one go.

If you're a fan of Yankee Candles, these accessories will be very useful: the Illumalid prolongs the life of your jar candles by protecting the candle from draft and ensuring a more even burn. The snuffer helps you blow out the candle without getting soot inside the jar and the wick trimmer is essential as it's very hard to trim a half-burnt jar with normal scissors.

There are nicer Illumalids out there - the one included with this set isn't particularly pretty - but it still does the job. This set is a must for all fans of Yankee Candles.


Ben Cohen Grooming Tools Moustache and Beard Scissors
Ben Cohen Grooming Tools Moustache and Beard Scissors
Price: £13.50

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars there's no finger rest like on his other scissors and the actual blades kind ..., 19 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got these for my husband as he has a beard. Unfortunately, he was not impressed. The handles are really thin and feel flimsy; there's no finger rest like on his other scissors and the actual blades kind of stick when you 'scissors'. The matte handles have very poor grip too.

He said his other scissors cost roughly the same and are a lot better. So he wouldn't recommend this product.


Panasonic RPHD10EK Hi - Fi Monitor Headphones - Black
Panasonic RPHD10EK Hi - Fi Monitor Headphones - Black
Offered by elevenfirst
Price: £131.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality for the price, 19 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have tried so many headphones over the years and most tend to be a disappointment when it comes to price/quality. However, these Panasonic headphones did not disappoint. In a nutshell:

- Very flexible over the head adjustment, and also forward/backwards, therefore they would fit different users with the same degree of comfort.
- Sound reproduction: crystal clear with both classical and rock/pop, great bass reproduction too without being unbalanced.
- No sound leakage, therefore suitable for travel
- Pretty good insulation from outside noise, even if they're not specifically marketed as noise cancelling headphones.

Considering the current price, these headphones are a bargain for the quality you get.


Panasonic RPHXS400EW 1.2 m On Ear Street Headphones - White
Panasonic RPHXS400EW 1.2 m On Ear Street Headphones - White
Price: £31.50

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok for home use and gaming, 19 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
These headphones are really not bad considering the price. They look very good, for starters. The sound clean enough to make the reproduction of most genres of music okay.

However, I found them rather uncomfortable on my ears, pressing down too much. The fit isn't great so there's a lot of sound leakage and my husband could hear me from the other side of the room. These are the kind of headphones that would annoy whoever is sitting next to you on the bus.

All in all, these Panasonic headphones are good enough for home use and gaming.


Danielle Creations Safari Easel Mirror, Pink/Black
Danielle Creations Safari Easel Mirror, Pink/Black
Offered by WomanlyCharm
Price: £10.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, 3 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This mirror, which comes in a lurid pink and black animal print, is slightly padded and therefore quite portable. However, it is a little big for a day to day 'handbag' mirror. Also can only be angled in a fixed position so you might need to put it on top of some books on a table to get the right height. Finally, I expected it to be more magnifying.

Overall, it's not a bad product for the price, but I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase it.


Philips Lumea Prestige SC2008/11 IPL Hair Regrowth Prevention System for face and body
Philips Lumea Prestige SC2008/11 IPL Hair Regrowth Prevention System for face and body
Price: £399.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good investment, 10 Jun. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This machine is virtually identical to the previous model, with the notable exception that it has an extra attachment for the bikini line. I have the previous model and as such, I can already tell you that it's a very good investment and it will lead to a massive reduction in body hair - provided that you're constant and use it regularly every two weeks for the first few months.

Here are my FAQs:

**Does it hurt?**

Not particularly. Compared to professional clinic-level laser, I found using the Lumea less painful on my face (Level 4, facial attachment). The lamp does get hot with use (this is normal), so I would suggest using the Lumea on more sensitive areas first (face, armpits, bikini line) and then areas such as arms and legs. So far, the area in which I felt the most discomfort is the armpits.

**Is it easy to use?*
Yes. The machine is designed to be used at a certain angle so it won't fire unless you hold it down correctly, but the green light at the back will show you when it's ready. You can hold the Lumea facing forward or backwards, and you will be able to see the green light from both sides, but you will need a degree of contorsionism to reach places like the back of your legs. You could, of course, get a friend to help you. It can also get a little tricky on bony areas where the machine doesn't make good contact with the skin.
I recommend investing in a white eye pencil will help you mark the areas you have covered.

**Is it safe?**
So far, I've experienced no adverse reactions, despite starting the treatment at a high setting. The area treated might look a little red afterwards but that doesn't last long. The bikini line area obviously is more sensitive - I put a thin layer of an antiseptic cream like Germolene a couple of hours after the treatment, just to prevent any possible reactions.
It's important to wear sunscreen on any body part that is exposed to the sun for a couple of days after the treatment.

**What else do I need to know?**

You may need to charge the machine in between body areas - I can do lower arms, armpits, face and bikini line, and one lower leg before having to recharge it.
You will need to keep a record of when you treated what areas and at what setting so that you can repeat the treatment every two weeks - this has to do with the hair growth cycle. The instruction booklets has a table you can fill in by hand, or you can make a note on a spreadsheet, like I do.

**Why are you not giving this product five stars?*

Because of the way it's activated, the machine only really works on fleshy tissue. So if you're trying to treat awkward areas like knees, toes, jawline etc - it will be tricky to get the Lumea to 'fire'. Maybe in the future the manufacturer could implement a special attachment for these areas.


Find Me
Find Me
by Laura van den Berg
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Style over substance but a good read, 14 May 2015
This review is from: Find Me (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
What would we do if the world was afflicted by a terrible sickness that wiped out people’s memories? A twenty year old woman called Joy finds herself in suca a predicament in “Find Me”, Laura van den Berg’s post-apocalyptic debut novel.

Set in present-day United States, the first part of the novel takes place in a hospital. There, patients are under the care of a mysterious Norwegian doctor searching for a cure to the sickness. Some patients get sick and disappear ‘upstairs’, some don’t, some attempt to rebel or escape. Apparently significant things occur: after a storm, TV reception ceases and cannot be restored. People referred to as ‘pilgrims’ turn up at the hospital doors for no apparent reason. One has the sneaky suspicion throughout that some unexpected twist will reveal that nothing is what it seems. Are patients actual patients? Are they inmates? Is this all a Truman Show-style setup? I honestly had no idea.

The second part is less structured and more episodic. I wonder how much the author was inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s 'The Road' - another post-apocalyptic dystopian novel with very little in terms of actual plot. Only ‘The Road’ is a masterpiece and ‘Find Me’ is, by all means, a good first novel but that’s where the comparison stops.

What works more than the actual story is van den Berg’s beautiful, lyrical prose and her short, punchy sentences that actually sound as if they’re the internal monologue of a protagonist barely out of her teenage years. What doesn’t work so well is the deliberately vague story, which attempts to keep the reader guessing what’s really happening without ever providing any answers. I kept expecting twist after twist, double guessing myself and the author, although none of my guesses were correct. On top of that, I was left guessing once more at the end - and I’ll leave it at that in the name of spoilers. Just be aware that if you are looking for a book with a strong plot and a conclusion that neatly ties all loose ends with a perfect bow, this is not the book for you.

‘Find Me’ is undoubtedly a very promising step up for Laura van den Berg from short story to novel writing; despite its flaws, it’s still strangely compelling. Style over substance, maybe, but sometimes that still makes for a good read.


Ink Jet Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP 301 - Black
Ink Jet Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP 301 - Black
Price: £15.47

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Press a couple of buttons and it works, 26 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have an HP Printer (Deskjet 1050A) which is a few years old and as such, it doesn't have any form of display or screen so when I installed this cartridge, I didn't get any flashing messages saying that the cartridge was empty. What did happen was that the 'ink low' button on the actual printer flashed instead. All I did then was to press the 'test page' button (the button with 3 coloured dots on the bottom left hand corner of the printer), which printed a test page perfectly well. I then scanned the test page (as you always do after changing a cartridge) with no problem whatsoever, and the cartridge was successfully installed.

It's too soon to say how long this cartridge will last but it certainly works so far.


Fire TV Stick
Fire TV Stick
Price: £35.00

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good solution for streaming, 16 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Fire TV Stick (Electronics)
Please note: The following review is based on first impressions. I will update it if necessary.

I had been looking into some sort of streaming solution for a while, after discovering that most the apps my 2009 Samsung “Smart” (inverted commas intended) TV no longer worked. I’d considered Chromecast but it seemed expensive. Then, the FireTV stick was launched, with a special offer to Prime members and I thought, why not?
I was slightly worried, however, after reading the reviews on US Amazon, as several customers with older TV sets like mine had reported problems with Netflix.
I am glad to report, however, that, at least so far, I’ve had no problems whatsoever.

SET-UP
Set-up was very easy (make sure you have an available power socket near the TV).
The hardest thing was actually opening the back of the remote control to insert the batteries - I’m sure there’s a knack to it and I managed eventually, but it was a struggle.
The stick didn’t fit properly at the back of my TV so I had to use the adaptor which is also included in the box. That leaves the stick dangling off the adaptor’s lead - I hope that that won’t weaken the lead’s components but hopefully Amazon have thoroughly tested the device for sturdiness.

Just like the Kindle, this device comes with your Amazon accounts details pre-installed, which saves you a lot of faffing. However, should you wish to use a different account, you can opt for that, too.

MAIN SCREEN

The instructions provided in the booklet are very clear and so is the instructional video that automatically starts upon installation. Just follow the prompts and you will soon be taken to the main menu. Amazon Prime/Instant Video is already pre-installed; links to popular apps like Netflix and BBC iPlayer already appear on the main screen - you just have to actually select them and download them.

NETFLIX
[Edited]

With much trepidation, bracing myself for the worst, I launched Netflix, and lo and behold, it worked (at least, it works so far - I know that it did work initially for some US users and then stopped).

Tip: check the viewing quality in your Netflix account settings (on your computer or tablet) *before* you install the app. I had it set on ‘medium’ and when I launched the app on the FireTV stick, video quality was in Standard Definition. I changed it (from my laptop) but still it made no difference. I then quit the app, signed out, and signed back in; some programmes were now in HD but not everything, until I realised that ‘resuming’ a programme was obviously not refreshing the video quality. I selected ‘watch from the start’ and then the quality finally changed from Standard to HD.

Edit: 20/04/15 - I noticed that on occasions, for instance if I select a program to view and then wait a few minutes before starting viewing, the definition reverts from HD to Standard. I have to 'go back' a few times and re-select the episode, sometimes more than once, until it finally shows in HD. This is far from ideal and as such, I will remove a star from my review.

AMAZON PRIME/INSTANT VIDEO

[EDITED]
I’m a Prime member but I haven’t used their instant video yet. At a first glance, Prime content is not clearly marked as 'HD' - it misleadingly looks as if to get the video in HD one has to rent or buy the movie/episode. However, once you start streaming the Prime video, if it's available in HD it will show in HD. I hope this clarifies some confusion. Prime's selection is not is not as exhaustive as the selection on offer on Netflix. Hopefully it will improve, also in terms of original content.

OTHER APPS

There are plenty of apps to download from the store - I ended up buying a couple of screensavers like aquarium, fireplace and storm (payment is automatically taken from your Amazon account). There are also other entertainment providers, like Curzon Home Cinema, 5 On Demand, Berliner Philarmonica with live-streamed and on demand concerts and plenty more.

MUSIC

Another really cool feature of the FireTV Stick is that suddenly you have access to any music you ever purchased on Amazon as digital downloads; therefore, you can just select the music menu and enjoy your music through your TV sound system.

PHOTOS

If you are an Amazon Cloud user, you can view your photos on the TV as well. I don’t use that service but it’s a useful feature if you want to bore all your neighbours with your holiday snaps.

MOBILE APP

I downloaded the iPhone app which allows you to use your smartphone as a remote control. So far, I’m not entirely sold: I was impressed by the voice recognition (which surprisingly worked!) makes searching for a title a lot easier, but the touch screen seems almost too sensitive and I found it very hard to navigate the menus through the phone. I will need to practice that - but it’s good to have it as backup plan. I haven’t tried the screen mirroring feature so I can’t comment on that feature.

OTHER

There are lots of other features, such as gaming, ‘X-Ray’ content to be found in movies/TV and so on, quiz apps, educational apps, religious apps - you name it, it’s there. Some features are gimmicky and you might not use them that much, but on the other hand, you really could just spend all day exploring what’s on offer.

CONCLUSION

So far the FireTV Stick seems to do what it says on the box - i.e. it turns your TV into an entertainment hub easily and without breaking the bank. Set-up is simple and doesn’t require a qualification in electronic engineering; the interface is intuitive; the streaming quality is excellent, with no buffering (obviously depending on your connection speed). Would I recommend it? So far, absolutely yes. It almost seems too good to be true.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 17, 2015 8:33 AM BST


The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (Penguin Reference Books)
The Penguin Guide to Punctuation (Penguin Reference Books)
by R L Trask
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need is this guide, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Put down your style guide and grammar books, because this short manual is all you need. Clear, concise and accessible, the 'Penguin Guide to Punctuation' is really all you need if you're unsure about commas, stops and semi-colons. I can't believe I've only just discovered this great little book - it has already become an essential title on my bookshelves.


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