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Reviews Written by
Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK)
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The Gauntlet
The Gauntlet
by Ronald Welch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful to see this book available again, 8 April 2015
This review is from: The Gauntlet (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved reading the Ronald Welch books when I was a child/teenager and great to see them being reprinted as they have been hard to track down second hand and were very expensive. Slightly Foxed are reprinting all the Carey family novels much to my delight and am collecting them all, and now OUP have come up with the Gauntlet, another of my favourites by this author.

Peter is on holiday in Wales and immersed in local history and fascinated by the castle ruins of Carreg Cennen. He finds an old gauntlet and when he slips it on finds he is back in the 14th century, to a time when his Norman ancestors held the castle. It turns out that he is the son of the Lord of the Castle and the reader is plunged into the daily life of a boy of that age. Wonderful descriptions of hawking, learning the different parts of armour, being taught how to manage the longbow, coping with the fact he has to eat with his fingers and watching his mother genteelly spit any excess onto the straw at her feet, wearing strange clothes. All totally fascinating and it is clear that Ronald Welch loves his subject and is keen that we do too.

The castle is besieged and Peter discovers first hand the way that wars were fought and sees a trebuchet in action. The entire book is a history lesson but so engagingly written that the reader is never bored. I loved reading this all over again and delighted to see that the original illustrations have been used.

Looking forward to more of this author being reprinted


LEGO Friends 41085: Vet Clinic
LEGO Friends 41085: Vet Clinic
Price: £17.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Should be marketed for older children, 3 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As always with Lego the attention to detail and the product itself is always spot on. However, this Friends set, and similar, are categorised as being for 5-12 year olds. I disagree with this as I think the difficulty level of putting this together needs more skill and dexterity than that possessed by a five year old. I am obviously biased in thinking that my five year old granddaughter is a genius but she had no chance of putting this together without adult help, ie me. I took nearly an hour, following the instructions, to get this all together and though I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it absorbing and fun, this toy is not aimed at me! My daughter told me that she found the same thing when putting together another Lego friends given to my granddaughter for her birthday.

I am giving this five stars because of its high production standards and, as I have already said, you cannot fault Lego for interest and creativity but please note that I think this should be aimed at the 7-12 bracket. Also some of the pieces are incredibly tiny so do keep out of reach of smaller siblings


Braun SE810 Face Epilator and Facial Cleansing Brush
Braun SE810 Face Epilator and Facial Cleansing Brush
Price: £54.81

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle wash, 26 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am only using this for the facial cleansing as I do not need the Epilator but so far am very pleased with the cleansing brush. Moisten before use, add a touch of your facial wash or soap or what you use and switch on. I clean my face first with a wipe and then use the brush to deep clean and it is clear that no matter if you think you have all the make up off, you have not. It leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. I have a dry and sensitive skin so was a little worried about using it but so far in its daily use for two weeks I have not had any problem at all with it and can recommend it.

As I said I cannot review the epilator hence just four stars


Oral-B Pro CrossAction 600 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush - Pink 6, Units Per Case
Oral-B Pro CrossAction 600 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush - Pink 6, Units Per Case
Price: £28.20

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Non usable plug, 9 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
You may wonder why I am reviewing this when I cannot use it and therefore cannot review it.
Simple. The two pin plug attached to this toothbrush does not fit any electrical point in my flat, even the shaver point. I have many travel adapters so checked if I could use one of them and I cannot. So I will now have to go out and see if I can find an adapter that I can use and then I will be back with my thoughts on this toothbrush which certainly sounds from other reviews as if it is a goodie

Watch this space.....
And yes I know this is not a helpful review as such!


The Olive Branch
The Olive Branch
by Jo Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 8 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Olive Branch (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I see that my review is going to be the odd one out from those already posted as of today's date and I am sorry about that but I really found this book pretty uninteresting and I simply could not get into it at all. On paper it sounded a delightful read, a heroine who buys a crumbling Italian farmhouse and an olive farm. You just know that through all hardships and drawbacks she will succeed and meet a handsome man on the way and they will fall in love and all end happily ever after.

Now I have absolutely no problem with this at all. I love happy endings and I love stories set in rural Italy/France etc etc but I am afraid it is written in the present tense and this is my absolute bugbear. I know this is a personal thing but I really find reading books written in this way very difficult to get into. When we talk, we automatically talk in the past tense so writing in the present feels awkward (to me anyway). I also found the style very jerky and disjointed and I found it uncomfortable reading so in the end I gave up.

As I said, this is very much a personal foible so read the other reviews before making up your mind whether you want to read it or not.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 1, 2015 9:51 AM BST


Russell Hobbs 20682 Legacy Coffee Maker - Metallic Red
Russell Hobbs 20682 Legacy Coffee Maker - Metallic Red
Price: £39.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Cup of Coffee....., 10 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Simply delighted with this. I have been using a cafetiere for some time but have never been particularly enamored of this method. I will not drink instant coffee as I think it is awful and so have kept my coffee drinking for when I am out and can nip into a coffee shop. I can say straight away that I am now drinking coffee every day thanks to this coffee maker and what is more, it stays hot as the hotplate remains on.

Instructions book very clear and straightforward. Had it up and running in five minutes. Coffee scoop clicks into the side of the machine, clever touch, so you need never lose it, you can brew as much coffee as you want, be it one cup or four and the result in each case is excellent.

My cafatiere is now heading for the tip.....


The Lovers of Amherst
The Lovers of Amherst
by William Nicholson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.89

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelmed, 6 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Lovers of Amherst (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My knowledge of Emily Dickinson is nil so I came to this book with no prejudices or ideas and found, initially, that I was enjoying it. The story of Emily's brother, Austin, an upstanding member of his community falling madly in love with a young professor's wife, lends itself to fiction though this book is based on fact. It has two strands, Alice writing a screenplay about this affair, travels to Amherst to research the background and finds herself having an affair with an older man, thus mirroring the love affair of a hundred years earlier.

Well written and kept me engaged to start with but after a while it became predictable and I found myself skimming at the end, always a bad sign. It was OK but no more in my opinion.


Revlon Nail Enamel - 14.7 ml, Red
Revlon Nail Enamel - 14.7 ml, Red
Price: £6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Love the colour, 4 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Love the colour, goes on nicely, dries quickly. I only use nail varnish on my toes as I prefer to keep my fingernails short and clear. So far I have had the varnish on for three days and no chips or cracks and it looks pretty long lasting to me.


Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer and Brightener - 2.4 ml
Revlon PhotoReady Eye Primer and Brightener - 2.4 ml
Price: £6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars but the produce comes out in blobs and you do waste a lot, 4 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I usually use Touche Eclat for round my eyes and to cover up dark shadows etc and of course it is the top one in the market. This one by Revlon is much much cheaper and the packaging reflects this, not that that bothers me particularly, but the produce comes out in blobs and you do waste a lot. For the price it is fine but that is all I can say


Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Coloured Lip Balm - 2.7 g, Honey
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Coloured Lip Balm - 2.7 g, Honey
Offered by Cosmetics international
Price: £5.98

1.0 out of 5 stars Too dry for me, 1 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Tried this out as soon as I received it and after using had to check that the word Balm was on the product. I can agree with the word Stain as it coloured my lips beautifully and lasted for hours, but I found that the product felt incredibly dry and did not go on smoothly at all. I am assuming that this product is meant to colour and moisturize at the same time but in my opinion it fails. I see from all the other reviews that I am in the minority!


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