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Tim from Surrey (Surrey)

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Sony HT-XT100 Sound Base Speaker
Sony HT-XT100 Sound Base Speaker
Price: £139.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to my HD Panasonic television, 4 May 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This soundbase speaker is sleek and sits under my television.

Many televisions have quite poor quality speakers, so this sound base speaker boosts the sound enormously.

Connecting the sound base speaker to the television is extraordinarily simple. The longest part of the installing the sound base speaker to the set was actually taking it out of the box! It is amazingly light for a speaker – yet is powerful too.

An optical cable is included in the box, but if you want a HDMI cable, you have to purchase one separately. Either connecting optically or with HDMI is straightforward. Once connected, switch on, and it’s working perfect.

The remote control is small, but does the job fine.

When I switch my television set on, it automatically switched the sound base speaker on too (connecting with HDMI). The front display on the sound base speaker lights up to show the connection eg HDMI, Opt as well as the volume level.

The sound is much deeper and more rounded than coming from a television set, and this is due to the integrated subwoofer. There are different sound fields such as music, sports, audio, as well as a ‘night mode’ – although I’ve not used that at all. When using this, I switch off the television sound and just have this sound base speaker providing the sound.

Any negative points? None that I’ve found so far.

Lenovo MIIX 3 7.85-Inch Tablet (Intel Atom Z3735F 1.33 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, Camera, Wi-Fi, Windows 8.1)
Lenovo MIIX 3 7.85-Inch Tablet (Intel Atom Z3735F 1.33 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, Camera, Wi-Fi, Windows 8.1)

11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tablet which ought to be prescribed for everyone, 23 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lenovo Tablet - an excellent tablet.

I’ve been using computers since the late 1980s, and so comfortable using them. I had not considered upgrading my laptop to a tablet, and when this opportunity arose to experience a tablet for the first time, I was apprehensive – assuming that I’d not find a tablet to have any benefits above the laptop.

How wrong I have been! From initially switching on the tablet, to using it, was so fast. Linking it to my broadband (wifi) was extraordinarily simple. Setting up my email accounts was straightforward too.

So what are the benefits? It’s light, and can easily be used sitting down on the train, on a bus, easier to carry around than a laptop. From switching it on to being able to access the internet is so much quicker than my laptop. The screen – although smaller – is spectacularly clear. The “keyboard” is user friendly – and hides when not in use. The battery remains charged for a good time – far longer than my mobile phone does, it’s easily charged and uses the same connector as most mobile phones now.

I’ve also noticed too – that I’ve downloaded ‘apps’ for some games, newspapers, journals etc giving me a greater use of the tablet. It’s great for playing games on – checking the news, looking up information on the internet.

Now, I rarely switch on my laptop – the tablet is always the first to be used.

Any negatives? Well, I still use Microsoft Office, and to use this on a tablet (Office 365), it appears that I have to pay about £60 – and I believe this is annual. I haven’t used this, so don’t know if I am then able to use Office 365 offline such as writing documents – or retrieving them if stored in Microsoft’s version of the ‘Cloud’ (Skydrive). It doesn’t come with a case – and for this particular model, I can’t find that Lenovo makes a case for this one, but there are many generic cases easily obtainable. I bought mine from Sainsburys! A case, as well as a screen protector are essential – and whilst I appreciate taste for cases is so variable, it would be helpful if Lenovo either made a case, or at least, recommended one.

Overall though, I’m very pleased with this tablet, and will use it increasingly – and my laptop will go to laptop heaven as soon as I’ve paid for Office 365.

Reasons to Stay Alive
Reasons to Stay Alive
by Matt Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suffering with mental health - from a male perspective, 16 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Reasons to Stay Alive (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Reasons to Stay Alive

Matt Haig has written the book from his own perspective, when mental health directly affected him at the age of 24. Mental health continues to have a stigma, and HAIG’S contribution to this important topic is welcomed. He is an ordinary 24 year old male, with everything to live for. He has a good life, enjoying it, has a lovely warm family, and an adoring girlfriend. He then suddenly develops depression for no apparent reason.

Although HAIG believed that the depression suddenly commenced, at the age of 24, he is able to reflect upon his life, which was “pretty comfortable and ordinary”, and remembers that when he was a teenager, HAIG writes that he felt lonely and also that he worried all the time. A precursor to the development of his severe mental health problems, which no one noticed at the time.

HAIG adds to the slow but growing material about mental health – from well known people (Billy Joel, Janet Jackson, Greg Louganis, Frank Bruno, Ruby Wax, Alastair Campbell, Freddie Flintoff). The more people raise this topic in an informative way, the stigma attached to mental health will eventually subside.

Early in the book, he discusses that when experiencing a bout of severe depression thoughts are illogical, and that the person can only seem to focus on the depression. He makes an excellent point that whilst there is no relief from this, he “didn’t want to be dead, just didn’t want to be alive” and that ‘death can only happen to someone who has been alive’.

HAIG reminds the reader that suicide from depression is one of the deadliest diseases – and lists amongst others, terrorism, domestic abuse, gun crime, assault that even adding those together, depression still kills more people. As he eloquently writes “yet people still don’t think depression really is that bad”.

HAIG talks about the use of prescribed medication, and how he really didn’t want to take any. Clearly this isn’t appropriate for everyone with depression but it does illuminate that taking medication does not always work, and doesn’t take away the cause of depression. Anti-depressants, according to HAIG are on the rise – with the UK being in the 7th place of countries prescribing the most (Iceland being the first). An extremely valid point is made though by HAIG, that in the UK, women are more likely to seek and receive treatment for mental health than men. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 35.

Research undertaken at Stanford University is mentioned in the book – in that they have discovered that pleasure and addiction has been identified as coming from the part of the brain called ‘nucleus accumbens’ so if this isn’t working properly, it is likely to cause anhedonia – the complete inability to feel pleasure, which is a key symptom of depression.

There are some very good areas of the book, which made me smile – including some aspects of life I’ve never even though of before now. One of these, is that the world is designed for us to be unhappy. For example, we are always wanting more money, to make our lives better; plastic surgery to make us look more attractive (or less old); making out that people are missing something, and that we must have the latest ‘smartphone’ or other similar gadget; make people vote for a particular political party by getting them to focus on the negative issues. Reading this area of the book made me realise that life is really set up for us to prioritise the negatives in life, lending it to become unhappy.

This book is very easy to read and is broken into many different and small ‘chunks’ which means that you can pick it up, read a small section, and then leave it for a few days, before reading the next area, although these are not called ‘chapters’ in the usual description of the word.

The book has glowing tributes from Ian Rankin, Simon Mayo, Jo Brand, Joanne Lumley – and Rev Richard Coles (but with his recent revelations, I’m not sure I’d want him supporting my book). But it is the comment by Michael Palin which is the most poignant – “brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light”.

This book isn’t designed to have all the answers – but does show how a happy, ordinary 24 year old man, overnight, becomes depressed and how he has had to cope with his mental health over a period of time.

A very good read, and well worth it.

Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser Powder 990 g - Fresh Cotton, Pack of 3
Dettol Antibacterial Laundry Cleanser Powder 990 g - Fresh Cotton, Pack of 3
Price: £22.23

4.0 out of 5 stars I have great expectations of this product being excellent, 22 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Dettol is a well known name, having been around since the 1950s. So, I have great expectations of this product being excellent.

Using fairly warm water (handhot), adding a scoop of Dettol powder, I then soak all my sports gear in the solution. Although it suggests for 5 minutes, I usually leave it longer, and then wash on a normal cycle in the washing machine. It’s that simple to use. I don’t rinse my sports gear, I just load it all into the washing machine – and then throw the remaining water down the sink.
The solution smells pleasant – not as strong as Dettol original liquid disinfectant. The claim of killing 99.9% of bacteria I can’t argue with – and with my sports gear, certainly needs a good bacterial clean! It also means that after the normal wash in the washing machine, there’s been fewer opportunities for bacteria to thrive or survive during the wash.

I like this product and will continue to use it, not just for my sports gear, but also other items – such as bedding.

However, like with other Dettol products, this is potentially harmful – and remember, Dettol can harm animals, so make sure nothing is spilled, and if you spill the powder, clean it up immediately.

Finish Quantum Original 2 x Pack of 30 (60 Dishwasher Tablets)
Finish Quantum Original 2 x Pack of 30 (60 Dishwasher Tablets)
Price: £12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars and then to determine if one is better than the other, 22 Feb. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a simple product to use: just simply place one of the tablets in the dispenser, and switch the machine on – and when the cycle comes to an end, you can see the results of the dishwasher.

Now, the product claims to have be a powerful cleaning agent, and able to remove tea stains. I don’t know about tea stains, but it really does clean my slow cooker amazingly well – and no stains are visible. Even when the slow cooker has dried material stuck in it, Finish cleans it superbly well.

Although there is a rinse function with these tablets, I still do use the Rinseaid – although to be fair, I very rarely need to top up the rinseaid dispenser.

There are so many different varieties of Finish products available, and it is difficult to decide which one to use, and then to determine if one is better than the other. What I am able to compare though, is the original Finish tablets (still available), and these Finish Quantam tablets do clean crockery, cutlery and ovenware much better. With other makes of dishwasher tablet, I occasionally have had stains or marks left on the cutlery – but not with Finish Quantam; other tablets didn’t clean the ovenware so thoroughly, which meant putting the item back into the dishwasher for a further cycle – I don’t need to do that with Finish Quantam.

Overall, I’m very happy with Finish Quantam – and yes, there are products on the market which are cheaper than this one, but the quality is not as good in my opinion, so for me, I’ll use Finish Quantam for my dishwasher.

BEEM Germany Air Joy Hot and Cold Fan Heater Black
BEEM Germany Air Joy Hot and Cold Fan Heater Black
Offered by StressNoMore
Price: £149.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars so I’ll just refer to as a circle (which is where the heat or cool air comes from), 23 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite an attractive heater / cooler, and so simple to use. I don’t know what the circular device is actually called, so I’ll just refer to as a circle (which is where the heat or cool air comes from).

After removing from the box, quite straightforward to set up – just lift up the circle and plug in. It’s that simple. Switch it on, and you can have the circle in one place, or gently moving from side to side.

Using the heater, warm air starts very soon, perhaps because its powered by 1800w, but impressive. The cool air worked well too.

This is probably best suited for a small room – in a living room or conservatory may not be so good. For me, it’s a good secondary source of heat, and will be brought out when a short amount of heat is required, and I don’t wish to switch on the central heating.

It looks very easy to clean – and much better than the usual fans which need regularly dismantling and cleaning. This doesn’t gather dust in the way that those fans do.

I thought this may be perfect for using in the bedroom, when the summer nights are warm, and I want some cool air breezing across my face. However, this brings me to the only negative point, it is rather noisy, so I think my idea of using it when I’m a asleep isn’t the best idea I’ve had this year.

El Nino [DVD]
El Nino [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jesús Castro
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it – and it’s packed with action, 4 Dec. 2014
This review is from: El Nino [DVD] (DVD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the first film from Spain I’ve seen, and it won’t be the last based upon this viewing. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching it – and it’s packed with action, tension and superb filming.

The film is set in Algeciras. Algeciras is just 10 miles from Africa. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, which is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

It opens with the Spanish Police observing a suspect, who leads them into Gibraltar – which of course, they have no jurisdiction. Returning to Spain, the Officers decide to empty a container. The container should contain fish – and it shows how thorough the Spanish Police are when searching.

Within the first 30 minutes, there is a helicopter scene across the Strait of Gibraltar – amazing filming of this – and just increases the excitement and the tension.

Nino and his friend, Compi, travel over to Morocco to begin their new business venture. Shortly after arriving, they encounter a cannabis farm. Not like those in the UK, but large plantations growing outdoors, by the side of the road. Plants taller than Nino. On the way back to Spain, they cross into Ceuta, and Halil, their Moroccan companion, explains that life for some of the Moroccans, is simply to cross into Ceuta, obtain goods and take them back into Morocco. After they’ve done this, they go back again, more than once a day. One of these is his sister, Amina.

Nino uses his jet ski to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, and meets up with Halil’s sister, Amina, who is helping their illegal activities. But he is clearly attracted to her. He arranges to meet her and although she can’t move to Spain, he takes her on his jet ski, and in two hours, they’ve arrived in Spain.

The Spanish Police though are really looking for the major players who are smuggling drugs into Spain from Gibraltar. The film travels between Spain, Morocco and Gibraltar, and really shows how close they are to each other – and even shows a British Airways plane landing at Gibraltar, and that the road linking ‘the rock’ to Spain has to close for the landing.

The Spanish Police are convinced that the main man is an Englishman in Gibraltar, and follow him. But he’s always one step ahead.
The scenery is awesome, and the quality of filming is spectacular. Unlike so many current films from the UK, the camera remains perfectly still, and doesn’t seem as if the cameraman is on some illegal drug. The focus on the subject remains – it doesn’t flick from one scene to another in milliseconds. Excellent filming – really adds massively to the whole story.

I can’t praise this film enough – it lasts just over two hours – and in the whole film, the story keeps moving, and is just brilliantly acted.

I was unable to play my copy on a DVD player sadly, and so I had to play it on a laptop. I think if I had been able to play it on a good size television screen, this film would have been even better.

Lonely Graves: Pieter Posthumus Mystery 1
Lonely Graves: Pieter Posthumus Mystery 1
by Britta Bolt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue, death and investigations set in Amsterdam, 26 Oct. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Lonely Graves – Britta Bolt
There are three key and distinct elements to this book, which is set in Amsterdam. These are (1) the City Council (2) the Police (3) the family of Aissa Tahiris, Pieter Posthumus works for the City Council in Amsterdam, in a small department which deals with the funerals of people who apparently die without any relatives. Pieter is estranged from his own family due to an incident which happened many years previously.

Pieter wants to inject dignity, passion and more than just a functioning element to the funerals. In his investigations to try to establish who the person is, what the interests were when alive, and to make the funeral more personal, he encounters the death of a young male, who has hanged himself. A second young male (Amir) is discovered drowned in one of the canals in Amsterdam, which leads Pieter to encounter the family of Aissa Tahiris.

Aissa Tahiris’ family come from Morocco, and have settled in Amsterdam. But things are changing for the family. Aissa is a modern woman, who is studying at University, and has a younger brother, who is becoming more religious as he grows older. In the family too, are a distant cousin who has been sent over from Morocco, Amir.

Pieter has suspicions that Amir did not drown by accident. The Police report suggests that it was probably someone who was drunk and trying to urinate, fell in and drowned. Speaking with Amir’s uncle, Mohammed Tahiris, it seems that this view is shared, especially as Amir does not drink alcohol.

Whilst this is all going on, the Police are under pressure to infiltrate and prevent a group of fanatical radicals from causing major catastrophe in the Netherlands. The leader of this team, Lisette Hammers, has a difficult time with her boss, Veldhuizen, and she feels that she can not trust him, as he refuses to co-operate with her, when she tries to establish who the ‘mole’ is, that is feeding information.

As the three elements develop, they become interconnected, and merge into one towards the end. The deaths of the two young men are linked somehow, both are linked to the Tahiris, and yet the authorities have not linked these two men. Pieter is the central character, and it gives a little detail of what his life is, and his relationship with Anna, who is the local pub / café owner. Then suddenly, his own niece who he has not seen for many years appears. Britta Bolt, the author, attempts to show how delicate the reforming of that relationship is, and how quite easily, this may be destroyed.

Overall, the book is excellent. It took me a long, long time to really get into the book. That’s not the fault of the writer, who writes eloquently, and also describes life in Amsterdam quite well. For some reason, until I was almost half way into the book, I didn’t quite warm to it. Once I was half way, it was very difficult to put the book down.

Baby I'm On Fire
Baby I'm On Fire

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ritchie Family - baby are they on fire!, 8 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Baby I'm On Fire (MP3 Download)
This is the second track from the Ritchie Family's LP 'Arabian Nights'. The LP has just been released on CD in Florida, but has not been made available in the UK, so downloading is the only opportunity to obtain these tracks.

This track has a heavy production, and is absolutely perfect for motivation in the gym. Although the lyrics may be, well, brief, musically this track at just over 5 minutes, is perfect.

The first time I heard this track was on Carnaby Street, when one of the shops was playing a reel to reel tape - I stood in the shop just mesmerized listening in amazement at the quality, fierceness of the song. I knew then that whatever it was, I had to buy it. All these years later, it remains one of my firm favourites from that era - as does the whole of this LP.

Absolute perfection.

Wallander Collected Films 27-32 (The Final Season) [DVD]
Wallander Collected Films 27-32 (The Final Season) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Krister Henriksson
Price: £16.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The end of Wallander's career, 8 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Kurt Wallander, the Swedish detective returns with his final set of cases. The cases are, as always, excellent, and the acting superb. This also features his daughter, and their relationship has evolved, and he is now a doting grandparent, and like earlier films, "Jussi" is included - as well as many of the usual characters. It seems like it's been a long time since Wallander's previous cases were released on DVD, so it was good to see the whole team back again.

I did find the last two 'films' to be quite sad, as Wallander's career comes to an end. There is also an interview with the actor who plays Wallander - who commented that at the age of 68, he has decided that he wants to move on to other acting opportunities. The makeup department have done a remarkable job, because by the time Wallander retires, he does look quite old - and yet the actor in the interview looks much younger.

Yes - I've not given away any of the plots - nor why Wallander retires. It makes it much more interesting when you don't know what to expect.

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