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Bron (UK)

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Good Quality Gym Bag - Swim Bag - Drawstring Backpack - Waterproof - Strong stitching and thick cords - Handy zipped wet pocket and shoe compartment - Suitable for Adults and Kids, Holiday, Swimming (Navy Blue)
Good Quality Gym Bag - Swim Bag - Drawstring Backpack - Waterproof - Strong stitching and thick cords - Handy zipped wet pocket and shoe compartment - Suitable for Adults and Kids, Holiday, Swimming (Navy Blue)
Offered by Joggaboms
Price: £16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Sturdy, good quality kit bag, 28 Sept. 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A sturdy, good quality bag, great for PE/ sports kit bag as well as a swimming bag. The string straps are thick and strong which means that, when pulled closed, they don't tighten so much that a child can't pull the bag open. It is large enough to fit a pair of trainers/ rugby/football boots as well as the associated kit and still be held comfortably on the back. The waterproof pocket in the front is also useful for a damp rainjacket on rainy school days. Purchased as a kit bag for 12 year old at high school and he is finding it perfect for his needs.


Oranurse 50ml Unflavoured Toothpaste
Oranurse 50ml Unflavoured Toothpaste
Offered by Dental Direct UK
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a toothpaste that is not minty, 21 Jan. 2015
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My son hates the taste of mint and can't understand why adult strength toothpaste only comes in one taste - mint! At last he is using the correct amount of toothpaste to brush his teeth (he had been using minuscule amounts to minimise the mint taste). Although pricey, it is well worth paying to have him brushing his teeth properly.


Kärcher WV60 Window Vac - Window Cleaning Vacuum Kit
Kärcher WV60 Window Vac - Window Cleaning Vacuum Kit
Offered by Alex Shanks Ltd
Price: £84.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Condensation buster, 21 Jan. 2015
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The windows of our bedrooms run with condensation and this is a great gadget for sucking it all up. Out with the copious quantities of kitchen roll and sopping towels and in with the glide and suck of the Window Vac. It sucks up the condensation efficiently and quickly and instead of that sinking feeling I'd get when I saw the trails of water on the windows I am rather excited to get vac'ing. A must in any house with condensation problems!


ELEPHANT MOON
ELEPHANT MOON
Price: £2.63

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant but not astounding read, 10 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: ELEPHANT MOON (Kindle Edition)
Grace is the teacher of sixty-three half-caste orphan girls in a Church of England school in Rangoon, Burma. At the fall of Rangoon and Burma to the Japanese she undertakes the evacuation of these girls to India and safety. Along the way she encounters danger, betrayal, cowardice but also bravery, spirit and love. She and the girls are ultimately rescued by working elephants who are also being evacuated from Burma by the head of the British Teak company and their flight from the encroaching Japanese is made possible by these wondrous creatures.

This book hovers between a 3 and 4 star for me. The storyline is interesting and complex, the subject inspiring, the prose is descriptive and evocative but the book is let down by the characters. They are described rather than revealing themselves and the reader doesn't get to know them emotionally. It is very hard to make any connection with the characters whether they be good or bad; I didn't find myself rooting for Grace and the children or reviling Gregory, nor had any sense of Grace's growing feelings for the Jem or Peach. The characters that really shine are the elephants and I felt a greater attachment to their welfare than to the human characters whose back stories are told in large lumps rather than being revealed by the characters themselves. The dialogue between the characters is often stilted and unsatisfying whereas the elephants seem to lumber right off the page.

The writing shows a great deal of historical research into the events of the time and that aspect was most interesting: the Jiffs, the movements in India and Burma to rid themselves of the British, the British attitudes and way of life in Rangoon and the events of the fall of Rangoon and Burma.

It was an interesting and pleasant read but could have been a superb one if the human characters had been as powerful as the elephants.


Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek (A Memoir)
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st century teenage popularity, 1951 style, 24 May 2014
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Maya van Wagenen spent her 8th grade attending a tough Texan school in Brownsville, on the border with Mexico, where she is a self acknowledged social outcast. This is her memoir of her 8th grade experiment to become more popular by following the advice of Betty Cornell's book, Teenage Popularity Guide, published in 1951. As the months go by Maya works on her posture and deportment, and her dress style, trying out skirts, pearls, twin sets and a girdle; she tries out different hairstyles and skin care and make-up a la 1951. And her hardest task is when she tries to get to know kids in the the other 'more popular' groups such as the football jocks, goth chicks, choir geeks, gangsters and spanish club.

For every young teenager out there, girl or boy, this is a book for you. And for every adult who adhered to the school social hierarchy or was made an outcast by it, this is a wonderful read. Maya's experiment shows what courage, determination, tolerance, openness and kindness can do in the world around you. She writes with a natural style which shines through and reaches out to the heart of the reader in her youthful wisdom and humour.

What an inspiration!


We Need New Names
We Need New Names
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An African voice for an African story, 20 May 2014
This review is from: We Need New Names (Kindle Edition)
This is a book of two halves: ten year old Darling in her life during the 'lost decade' of Zimbabwe, living in a tin shanty in Bulawayo, and an older Darling, immigrant to the USA.

In its episodic structure it describes, through Darling's ten year old voice, some of the highs and lows of living in Zimbabwe during the nadir of Mugabe's reign: misgovernance, poverty, hunger, lack of schooling, AIDS, murder of political activists. Darling is not commenting on these events but living them and they are set against a background of powerful friendship, belonging, identity and lack of materialism.

In the second half we see Darling growing up in the country she and her friends envisioned as a land of milk and honey, the USA. But here the safety and plenty of her life is set against a backdrop of materialism and the loss of identity and displacement she experiences as an immigrant.

Bulawayo has taken on the monumental task of describing the lost decade of Zimbabwe and its effect on its people and children as well as describing the diaspora of Zimbabweans trying to find a new home. While often episodic in structure the narrative does flow and Darling tells her story with humour, love and a lack of sentimentality. It is this lack of sentimentality which makes this a powerful narrative of Zimbabwe, we see the travail of the ordinary person.

This novel is worth reading because of powerful voice of the ten year old narrator who calls the reader to see Zimbabwe in a glorious technicolour of good and bad which reverberates into the lives of its exiles. The language is powerful, emotional and hard-hitting; Bulawayo's voice rings out to the reader


Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife, 49'
Nella Last's War: The Second World War Diaries of 'Housewife, 49'
by Patricia Malcolmson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Fascinating, 5 Mar. 2014
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This is a great read on two levels: firstly, because it is a first-hand account of living through World War 2 as it happened, and secondly because the diary is written in wonderful prose. Nella Last had a real talent in her writing for making the events around her as real to the reader as they were to her. Although she was writing for the Mass Observation Project and could not have anticipated her writing being compiled and sold in book form, she writes like the best of writers, full of detail and description that makes the reader feel they are standing next to her and living through the war with her.

Her diary is not a memoir, but a real day to day description of what is was like to live through the war in Barrow-in-Furness: dealing with rationing, making your garden over to vegetables and chickens, making the best possible meals out of few ingredients to please her family, trying to do your bit in the WVS and Red Cross and sheltering in a Morrison shelter during nights of bombing. We also see her growth as a person during the war, taking on more and more work in the WVS, canteen and Red Cross shop as she feels compelled to do as much as she can to help all the boys out there fighting, offering her humour and charm as a way of dealing with the spats amongst the various volunteers even when she is feeling very low herself.

First and foremost she sees herself as a mother to her two sons and in her own worries for her sons we see her desire to aid everyone else. She obliquely mentions her battles with her health and depression in the past and we see how her work propels her through her 'bad times' .He war work allows her to escape the repression of her marriage and we see her stop bending her life around her husband and start finding her wings. Her reflections on how society is changing around her, how different the social mores are for the young during the war and how she imagines life after the war for the men and women returning are fascinating.

This is an important historical document of a moment in time but also the most wonderful story of a woman of spirit, honesty and imagination and in the end that is what makes this a great read. I was left wishing desperately that she could have known what an impact her 'scribblings' would make on readers in the future.


Transforming Pandora
Transforming Pandora
by Carolyn Mathews
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Transforming Pandora, 12 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Transforming Pandora (Paperback)
Pandora, at 51, is bereft and adrift after the loss of her husband. She begins her process of recovery with the help of spiritualism in the form of being able to converse, using auto-writing, with Enoch, an archangel. She is guided towards an examination of her life to this point and we see Pandora at key times in her life, when she is 18 and meets her husband for the first time, during her first relationships and with her parents. Her reflections on the past are interspersed with her current life as she deals with financial worries, new relationships and old.

First point to make is don't let the spiritualist aspect of the book put you off if you are not that way inclined - this is not a self-help spiritualist book. The spiritualism is part of Pandora's character, she is the daughter of a hippie, and you see her exploring this with a sceptical eye at first before beginning to embrace it and find its value for her. Although the examination of her relationships is from her point of view we don't see Pandora sparing herself - we see her good and bad decisions and how they affected her life.

Pandora is a very real character, someone you might meet at any time and place. This gives the book a real depth as the reader is able to recognise and sympathise easily with her life. The book is well written , with lyrical prose full of detail and description and you are drawn along easily with Pandora's story of self-discovery. And ultimately the reader is left with a message of hope, just as was left when Pandora opened the casket. We can recover from events which seem bound to destroy us and we can find renewed hope and joy in life.


Longbourn
Longbourn
Price: £1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Able to stand next to Pride and Prejudice on my bookshelf, 27 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Longbourn (Kindle Edition)
Many novels featuring the world of the Pride and Prejudice characters have been written, offering different viewpoints or 'what happened after', with varying degrees of success but at last here is one which is original. Baker has taken the fleeting references to the servants in P&P and given them their own story, a story which abounds with fascinating detail, strong characters and plot.

Sarah is the housemaid and heroine of the novel, longing to escape the drudgery of her life. The novel begins with Sarah getting up at half past four one chilly September morning to begin the weekly wash day which continues late into the evening before all the items are mangled and hung. The description is entrancing as we feel Sarah's chilblains, the soreness of her hands and her frustration with the young ladies who pay no mind to how muddy their hems get and how hard it is to wash the mud off (a delightful dig at Lizzie Bennet).

Into Sarah's life come two men: a exotic mulatto, Ptolemy, who is a footman in the Bingley household and James Smith who unexpectedly appears as a new footman in the Bennet household. She is attracted to Ptolemy and drawn against her better judgement to James, who she is sure is hiding a secret. Mrs Hill is the housekeep and Mr Hill the butle,r and they both have their own secrets and pain. Polly, the twelve year old kitchenmaid, rounds out the cast of servants.

The book cleverly runs parallel to the events of P&P but only intersects at carefully designed points which illuminate the life of Sarah and the other servants. We get a real sense of how the servants are dependent on the whims and fortunes of the family for their livelihoods and daily round of work: the girls are quite happy to send Sarah to walk all the way to and from Meryton in the pouring rain on a search for new shoeroses to decorate their shoes for the ball, Mrs Hill is very concerned that all the servants pay extra care to the needs of Mr Collins so he will keep them on when he inherits and while Jane and Lizzie are kindly girls who give Sarah one of their cast off dresses they clearly see her as a servant beneath them, there to help them and work for them.

There is plenty of plot, strong characterisation and attention to historical detail.The reader is transported to the world of a servant in a time period in which we tend only to read of the well-heeled. The novel stands independently of P&P and is yet enhanced by it. We see our well-beloved characters, Lizzie, Jane, Lydia, Mr and Mrs Bennet, Wickham and Mr Collins from the viewpoint of servants who have to wait on them and empty their chamber pots. But Sarah and the other servants have lives of their own that they have to struggle and toil through and the novel excels at leading us through their stories.

I think Miss Austen would have been proud to read Ms Baker's novel.


A Gathering Storm
A Gathering Storm
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant read but predictable, 10 Jan. 2014
This review is from: A Gathering Storm (Kindle Edition)
When Lucy finds herself in Cornwall near an estate where her grandmother grew up, she is drawn to continue her late father's research into his origins in an effort to understand why he changed so much after his mother's death. She finds an old lady, Beatrice, who knew her grandmother and begins to hear her tale, a tale which is interwoven with her grandmother's and father's. Over the course of a week she hears the extraordinary tale of Beatrice's work during the war and begins a romance with a man she meets in the village.

The outcome of Beatrice's story is predictable but there is enough to keep the reader interested along the way, particularly her work in the war as a female SOE agent which Hore must have meticulously researched. The story is slowly told with detail and you have a sense of the old Beatrice unfolding and reliving her memories in the telling. Beatrice is an interesting character in her drive to do something worthwhile and important in the war and the conflict this creates with the traditional role of women at the time; in escaping this traditional role she is forced into a heartbreaking choice. Beatrice is juxtaposed with Angelina, who embraces who traditional role but cannot fulfil it.

This is a pleasant read but I didn't feel passionately about the characters. There was enough to keep me reading but not quite enough to propel it beyond the story-telling level into something special. 3.5 stars


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