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Moonless (London Town)

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Rapoo E6300 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad - White
Rapoo E6300 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad - White
Price: £32.98

3.0 out of 5 stars Could be better, 19 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am in two minds about this keyboard. I learnt to touch type and I do find it a bit frustrating doing the one-finger typing on my devices (and often hitting the wrong keys). However, it is something you get used to. With the keyboard, I thought it would help me to type quicker. I have slim fingers but even so, the keys are so small on this keyboard that I still keep hitting the wrong keys. I find you have to type a bit slower than if you used the keyboard on the device itself.

I can understand that the manufacturers wanted to make the keyboard compact, but a slightly bigger keyboard would have probably been of better use. This keyboard is the width of my iPad mini.

The instructions are also very sparse. A few diagrams to help you connect. There are many keys on the keyboard; I have no idea what they do, and I couldn’t find any information online either to enlighten me. I figured out that one locks the device (it has a picture of a padlock on it!), but other than that, it is not very clear. So if there is a lot more functionality in this keyboard, it is totally lost without clear instructions.

On the plus side, it is very easy to connect via Bluetooth. It looks good and is very light. I’ve carried it in my bag and it seems robust. If there is more it can do, please let us know, Rapoo, and perhaps I can get over the tiny keys!

Waiting For Doggo
Waiting For Doggo
by Mark Mills
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A man's best friend..., 19 April 2015
This review is from: Waiting For Doggo (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Poor Dan. His girlfriend has gone and dumped him – and left him the dog, a dog he didn’t even want in the first place. Now Dan has to readjust to life without Clara but life with Doggo. As time goes by, Dan and Doggo become the best of friends, with Doggo seeming to fill the void that Clara leaves.

However, Dan finds other interests and ladies to fill the void, too, and what we have here is a fun, light-hearted novel that follows our protagonist as he finds his feet again, with Doggo at his side. There are many likeable characters in this book, and the writing is witty and fast-paced. There are some twists and turns as Dan discovers things about his life and himself.

The book is written in the present tense, and at just over 200 pages, moves fast. Recommended for an enjoyable, escapist read, and if you want something that will make you chuckle.

How To Stress Less: Simple ways to stop worrying and take control of your future
How To Stress Less: Simple ways to stop worrying and take control of your future
by Benjamin Bonetti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Good self-help if you can manage your own problems, 6 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Benjami Bonetti’s book seems to take a very simple, direct approach to dealing with stress. The language is straightforward, the layout is clear and the book is very easy to read. That is not to say that the subject is taken lightly. Mr Bonetti clearly knows what he is talking about; I imagine he used the same approach to write this book as he does in his sessions with clients.

He suggests that stress can be a choice; maybe you destroy it or let it destroy you. If you are stressed, then you need to try to do something about it. Part of that can be things you can control directly and immediately such as your diet and taking more exercise. Other things will take a longer time to sort out, for example issues at work or relationship problems. Either way, it appears that dealing with stress is in your hands and only you can do something about it.

There are exercises to do throughout the book – nothing difficult or time consuming, but things such as making note about how you are feeling at particular times, and what triggers those feelings. For me, the best part, surprisingly, was about diet and nutrition. There are a whole host of recipes, such as for smoothies, and explanations about what different types of foods can do for your health.

Overall, I would say this is a book for someone who can manage their own stress. It’s not for someone with severe problems and may need medical help; the book is too basic for that. But if you are looking for a guide, advice or a way out of a problem that could get worse, then this is the book for you.

1946: The Making of the Modern World
1946: The Making of the Modern World
by Victor Sebestyen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1946 was not a time of rejoicing as this book reveals, 8 Mar. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At the end of the Second World War, one would imagine the world was rejoicing – relieved and thankful that the war was finally over. However, although the fighting had stopped, it was only the start of the next chapter – more fighting, famine, executions, starvation, rapes, refugee crisis. All this becomes clear in ‘1946: The Making of the Modern World’. Indeed, 1946 was the year in which the fallout began. Boundaries were redrawn, revenge taken, new (and old) leaders battled to take command, the allies were at loggerheads, people yet again became pawns in the games of the powerful.

The Second World War no doubt changed the world and made it what it is today. This book gives us an insight into how that change happened. The author is a journalist by trade, so his writing is not heavy nor a dry, academic exercise. The book flows well, and keeps the reader engaged, throughout. It is anecdotal, littered with quotes and descriptions of the key players of the time, and uses a lot of documented evidence. It also looks at the human cost and trauma that the war left.

My only criticism would be that I would have liked to have read more of other parts of the world. Victor Sebestyen’s focus is mainly on Europe: Germany, France, eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland, Russia, Britain. There is some coverage of the partition of India, the creation of Israel, China and how the United States reformed Japan into an Asian version of itself (very fascinating!). However, I feel the focus was very much on the western side of things. Perhaps this took the lead as that is what changed much of the world as the allies continued their ‘interference’ in post-war affairs, and Britain began to put out the dying embers of its empire.

Be prepared to go on a rollercoaster of a read as you are taken through the most turbulent and traumatic of times. This book is great to get an overview of that time in history, but also for historians who want something written in a wider context.

Panasonic SD-2501 WXC Automatic Breadmaker - White
Panasonic SD-2501 WXC Automatic Breadmaker - White
Price: £99.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing machine and amazing bread!, 13 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It was 2am. After coming back from a late shift, I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd have a look on Amazon to see what Black Friday deals were available. This bread maker came up. It was already 96% sold and with nearly 1,000 5 star reviews. After hesitating for just a few minutes, I quickly ordered it. I had never before been interested in, nor had the urge to purchase, a bread maker, and I'm afraid I was lured in by the madness of Black Friday.

Therefore, I thought I would write a review, so the rest of you could take a more measured approach. (I hadn't even checked to see if it would fit in our kitchen, which is made up of one wall and a bit as it's open plan.)

As you can see, I've given the bread maker 5 stars, and to be honest, it's one of the best purchases I have ever made on Amazon.

So what's good about it?

Well, firstly, the different types of breads you can make are vast. From good old plain white, to wholemeal, granary, spelt, rye, pesto, gluten-free and so on, and then other types such as ciabatta or French loaf. There are also recipes for dough whereby the bread maker will make the dough for you, and then you do the rest in the oven.

So far, I have made white loaf, wholemeal, half and half and rye. The machine is used at least twice a week. The recipes are clear and easy to follow. Basically, a combination of flour, water, salt, sugar, butter and yeast in various quantities depending on the bread you are making. The bread can be made there and then, with an average cooking time of 3.5 to 4.5 hours. It can also be timed for certain recipes, so for example, you can set the bread maker to start the process at 0330, and the bread will be ready by 0800. It's a wonderful smell to wake up to! It literally is a case of chucking the ingredients into the bread maker and letting the machine do the rest. The taste is exquisite. The bread isn't dry nor too soft.

We have reduced the recommended water amount by 10ml as initially, the amount recommended made the bread too moist. I have also worked out the white loaf contains 1/6 of the sugar that you get in shop-bought bread. It also lasts for a good few days without drying out or going mouldy.

In terms of size, the machine is around the height and width of 3 cans of diet pepsi, and depth of about 4.5 cans of pepsi (though the precise measurements are given in the product description!).

The only downside is we are eating more bread now than before!

Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life
Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life
by Paul Dolan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.12

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small changes can lead to greater happiness, 3 Jan. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
‘Happiness by Design’ is a book focusing on ways to change your life to make yourself happier. It’s not necessarily about making massive changes, for example, becoming a size zero or moving to a bigger house or earning more money. It’s more about making small changes which, in turn, could lead to bigger changes.

For example, spending more time with people you like; having experiences rather than buying ‘stuff’; finishing a task that has been hanging over your head for weeks. Even opening your post so it doesn’t pile up and then feeling stressed and even more lethargic when it does (guilty!).

There’s a lot of common sense in this book – things that you would already know but not necessarily adhere to. Its main focus is on the ‘pleasure-purpose principle’. Does happiness come from doing something ‘worthy’ like donating to charity, or from pleasure such as having money to buy stuff? Does stuff make you happy? It’s about making small changes that will make you feel better about your life. For example, do you get distracted by the internet when you should be doing something else? So it could take you twice as long to complete a task, which in turn then makes you anxious, and ultimately, unhappy? This may sound like a very basic and simple approach, but I’ve tried several techniques, and found that they work.

Attention is one of the key points mentioned: we have much to distract us in life and this can make us unhappy. How many of us have piles of papers to sort through or chores to complete?

I would say this book is more empirical in nature rather than having a cognitive approach. Be aware of what you do and how you are. Can going to bed an hour earlier make you happier because you will feel more alert and prepared? Paul Dolan uses lots of examples of studies that have been done; the outcomes of people’s reactions and attitudes to certain experiments. Fundamentally, you realise that we are all not so different or individual as we think we are.

‘Happiness by Design’ adopts a practical approach with clear and easy to understand language. It’s a book for the layperson. Definitely worth a read once, but then again, maybe twice, if you don’t fully concentrate the first time!

Banished (Blackhart Legacy )
Banished (Blackhart Legacy )
by Liz de Jager
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but a lot going on!, 16 Dec. 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Liz de Jager creates an amazing world in which humans, fairies and other supernatural creatures live side by side (sometimes in the same world, usually in parallel ones). There are portals which can carry creatures from one world to the other, strange phenomena, magic, madness and lots of mystery.

Our heroine is a 17-year old feisty, determined and ass-busting girl called Kit Blackheart. After her nan dies, Kit is revealed to be part of a monster-chasing family that has lived and worked among fae and others for centuries. While Kit is getting used to her new identity and learning survival and combat techniques (and also her newly harnessed magic powers), dark forces are afoot. Forces that will tear our world and that of the fae apart. It’s up to Kit and her allies to stop the evil and the return of the Elder Gods who had previously ruled the world (ours and fae as one) through terror and torture.

This book is action-packed to say the least. We are introduced to many characters, feudal families, various types of supernatural creatures, historical events, different worlds and much more. It’s written in the first person narrative in the present tense, interspersed with a bit of past tense. I’m not particularly keen on present tense writing as I find it a bit jarring.

Also, there is a huge backstory here about Kit and her life before her nan died. There is also a lot of information that we are introduced to – the characters we meet, the set up of the different worlds, the types of magic, strange things like geas that I had to keep reminding myself what it meant. We feel that we are finding our way as much as Kit. I think the book would have worked much better if there had been a prequel, a book in which Kit is living with her nan (her nan sounds like quite a formidable character and it’s a shame she’s already dead when the book starts!), in which we see the relationship between the two, how her nan tries to protect her from her true legacy, and then what happens up to her nan’s passing and when the true Blackhart discovery is made.

Overall, it’s a good read and would appeal to YA fans who like their characters feisty, on a voyage of self-discovery and with fantasy and a love story element thrown in.

Le Creuset Stoneware Nutmeg Grand Teapot - 1.3 L
Le Creuset Stoneware Nutmeg Grand Teapot - 1.3 L

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for tea lovers, 8 Dec. 2014
This teapot can hold around 4 standard mugs of tea. The stoneware helps to keep the tea warmer for much longer than normal. It's also very easy to grasp because of its big, comfortable handle. The shape of the spout also helps to pour well and you don't get that overly dripping effect. The teapot is very sturdy and washes well in the dishwasher. Recommended for heavy tea drinkers!

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike)
The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike)
by Robert Galbraith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow up, 8 Dec. 2014
`The Silkworm' is every bit as good as Galbraith's debut novel, `The Cuckoo's Calling'. Second novels can often quake in the shadow of a strong first novel, with expectations high. In this one, Galbraith (JK Rowling) keeps the suspense going, the pace steady, the twists and turns coming, and the Cormoran Strike series still one to take seriously.

This novel is set in a world that JK Rowling knows only too well: the literary world. A cast of characters that include a self-important (dead) novelist, publishers, literary agents, editors and wannabe writers and fans. It seems a rather nasty world, where everyone is competitive and paranoid, where friends easily become foes, and where egos clash and hopes are dashed.
When Owen Quine goes missing, his wife asks Cormoran Strike to find him. Quine's done this before, and Leonora Quine is not unduly worried, but she wants him home. As Strike takes on the assignment, he realises there's more to the task than just a missing persons case. It seems Quine has written an unpublished manuscript that pretty much libels and defames nearly everyone he knows in the publishing world. What secrets does the manuscript harbour? Reading between the lines, does it give away the identity of the murderer, because, as you would expect, Quine turns up dead?

We feel we know Strike quite well already from the first novel; here, he uses his painstaking and meticulous approach to find out what he needs. There are many interactions with the various characters, lots of dialogue and thought processes that we are party to. We are also welcomed more into the worlds of Cormoran Strike and of Robin, and given an insight into their lives and loves (past and present),thoughts and feelings. We also meet one of Strike's very famous brothers and Robin's family. You can tell this is a slow unravelling on the part of Galbraith/Rowling, to give us snippets into the lives of the two protagonists, with more to come in the next book.

`The Silkworm' is not particularly taxing. It's a comfortable read but very little is given away as to the identity of the killer. I tried to figure clues out, but it seems the killer could have been anyone that Galbraith/Rowling fancied choosing up to the final chapter, at least, from what I could determine!

If you haven't read `The Cuckoo's Calling', then I would highly recommend reading that first. There are many references to that case in this book, though I notice nothing is given away as to who the murderer was, so if you do read `The Silkworm' first, it's still worth reading the debut.

Xbox 360 Achievement 'Got Out Of Bed' T Shirt Medium
Xbox 360 Achievement 'Got Out Of Bed' T Shirt Medium
Offered by TeamZad
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great pressie for any Xbox gamer, 19 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as a Christmas gift for my husband as he's an avid gamer. He loves it, and every time he wears it, it raises a few smiles with the family. The quality is good and the t-shirt fits well. A good Christmas present.

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