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Reviews Written by
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria)
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[Apple MFI Certified] FLOUREON GE6 External Protective Battery Case for 4.7 inch iPhone 6 3200mAh Li-Polymer, Original Lightning Connector (Compatible with all IOS Operation System and following updates) (Black)
[Apple MFI Certified] FLOUREON GE6 External Protective Battery Case for 4.7 inch iPhone 6 3200mAh Li-Polymer, Original Lightning Connector (Compatible with all IOS Operation System and following updates) (Black)
Offered by Oxford Street
Price: £23.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Purpose and Price, 18 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is important to realize this ‘Floureon Protective Battery Case’ is designed specifically for use with the iPhone6 4.7 inch with its central ‘lightning connector’ at the base. It serves a dual purpose as a protective case for the phone, and also as an extra battery which is built in to the case and is rechargeable. It extends usage time by a factor of 2.

The case comes with a USB micro charging cable, and also an audio jack connector for headphones. Side buttons link positively with iPhone controls. The case and its battery weigh only a few ounces, and the material appears remarkably robust, and with manufacturing tolerances to ensure a secure fit for the iPhone. A ‘User Manual’ provides straightforward instructions for phone installation, charging, using headphones etc. but this is hardly necessary. However under ‘tips’ it stresses the need to fully charge before first use.

A beneficial feature is the ability to charge the case battery whether the phone is or is not fitted, or both may be charged together. The battery is fully charged when all 4 LED indicators are solidly lit (mine came indicating fully charged - but I still charged it). Pressing a button above the LEDs allows the case battery to charge the iPhone. The ‘Floureon Protective Battery Case’ performs just as well as other products on the market, and with it comparing so favourably on price it deserves 5-stars.


GRDE® Smart Sound Control Lamp, Lucky Bedside Table Lamp with Sound Activated Function, Energy Saving LED Night Light, Great Gift for Children (Upgrade Version, UK Plug)
GRDE® Smart Sound Control Lamp, Lucky Bedside Table Lamp with Sound Activated Function, Energy Saving LED Night Light, Great Gift for Children (Upgrade Version, UK Plug)
Offered by UK tree
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Lego Lamp, 17 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In addition to a comforting soft light it is comforting to learn that the ‘Lego’ shaped base takes the form of a Chinese word (Xi) meaning ‘great auspicious’ and supposedly it brings good luck. It is practical as a bedside light - 8 inches high with 5 x 3½ inches lamp, and 4¾ x 2 inches footprint. The cable is just over 4 feet including plug.

From a functional point of view the ‘GRDE Sound Control Lamp’ deserves a 5-star rating - it performs as described in product information with a 3-way switch (on/off/sound) and there is an economical LED bulb to provide a soft light via the white diffuser shade. For the sound facility to function the lamp has to be in darkness, and it requires only a small sound (product information states 65Db).

Whether the lamp deserves 5-stars aesthetically depends on one’s taste - I would have preferred a matt finish to the base rather than gloss, and maybe a more refined colour as terracotta rather than bright orange/red (which is lucky in Chinese culture?). Hence my 4-star rating - but it’s a great lamp and the ‘smart sound control’ operates without a hitch.


The Third Wife
The Third Wife
by Lisa Jewell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Family Flaws, 17 April 2015
This review is from: The Third Wife (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
At one level ‘The Third Wife’ is about a family that stays united and mutually supportive in spite of the husband, main protagonist Adrian, marrying three times. Previous wives and all five children share Adrian’s grief when his third wife is killed in an unexplained manner, and they fortify him. At this level ‘The Third Wife’ appears to be a psychological drama with a strange woman who seems to be stalking Adrian and who has knowledge of his wife’s demise, and perhaps knows whether it was accident or suicide. However the novel descends to a ‘chic-lit’ level as it switches backwards and forwards and introduces intriguing relationships that expose the unconventional nature of Adrian’s bizarre family, and his own weaknesses. Narrative ambles along but the story lacks plausibility, especially when family flaws are revealed, and author Lisa Jewell clearly finds it difficult to produce a credible conclusion. For me ‘The Third Wife’ is only average - hence 3-stars.


Sinoguo Fashional Gray Felt & Leather Handmade Carrying Bag Case Holder Sleeve Cover Pouch with Black and White Grid and 2 Pockets Carrying for 13" Macbook Air / Pro /Pro With Retina Display and Most Popular 13~13.3 inches Laptop / Notebook / Ultrabook /Netbook
Sinoguo Fashional Gray Felt & Leather Handmade Carrying Bag Case Holder Sleeve Cover Pouch with Black and White Grid and 2 Pockets Carrying for 13" Macbook Air / Pro /Pro With Retina Display and Most Popular 13~13.3 inches Laptop / Notebook / Ultrabook /Netbook
Offered by Eguo
Price: £26.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Females?, 17 April 2015
This attractive fashionable lightweight ‘Sinoguo Laptop/Notebook Case’ takes all types of notebook up to 13 inches and is ideal for carrying my small PC laptop with plenty of room to spare for A4 size papers. With pockets there is room for pens, cable etc. and with a bit of stretching my adapter can also fit.

From a functional point of view the felt material meets my requirements for a slim case to keep my laptop dust and scratch free, with an element of shock protection. The case opens wide enough to make it easy to slide in the laptop and to remove it, without ruffling any papers being carried. From an aesthetics viewpoint this ‘Sinoguo Laptop/Notebook Case’ is quite different from usual black cases, but perhaps may be most suited for ladies. The grey felt is attractive and goes well with the chequered flap, and the leather closer adds more than a zip. It deserves a 5-star rating.


Elizabeth is Missing
Elizabeth is Missing
by Emma Healey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Serious and Simple, 14 April 2015
This review is from: Elizabeth is Missing (Paperback)
With much humour the story of ‘Elizabeth Is Missing’ is narrated by Maud, a lady in her eighties who author Emma Healey skilfully employs to provide insights to the serious nature of dementia. The plot is simple - Elizabeth is Maud’s best friend, but with memory loss and confusion between different time lines from being a girl to an old lady Maud does not know where her friend has gone. Her attempts to find Elizabeth when an old lady are not only hampered by her own medical condition but also by family, carer, neighbours, police etc. not taking her concerns seriously.

Maud’s thoughts and actions provide a realistic portrayal of dementia in various forms - forgetfulness, memory distortion, not recognising family, talking out loud, speaking differently to thinking, writing notes to herself, collecting miscellaneous items etc. All are simply described and are totally credible, and the situation is cleverly used to introduce a dark side with attempts to find Elizabeth intertwined with attempts as a girl to solve the mystery of her own sister’s disappearance. The sister’s husband, Maud’s parents, their lodger, Elizabeth’s son and others all dovetail into the story, but a major character is Maud’s long suffering daughter with a communications problem. She could be in a position to provide explanations but these are hidden from readers - so maintaining a high degree of suspense throughout to give a 5-star novel.


Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Philips GC1020/70 EasySpeed Steam Iron with 70 g Steam Boost, 0.2 Litre, 1800 W, Green
Price: £19.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple Steam, 14 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Steam irons seem to have become more sophisticated of late with large water reservoirs, cyclonic steam chambers, smart fabric identifiers, self-activating temperature adjustment, automatic descaling mode etc. This ‘Philips GC1020/70 Steam Iron’ is at the simple end of the range - but this does not mean its performance is below par - it is fully fit for purpose at an attractively keen price. It is advertised as providing “3 ways to speed up your ironing” which is a bit gimmicky but certainly it works well - and it compares favourably with many more expensive appliances.

The iron is lightweight at just over 2lbs and is easy to use. It is rated 1800 Watts which is sufficient to ensure speedy heat-up and constant production of steam, and its water tank incorporates a level indicator. There is a non-stick ceramic soleplate to glide over fabric, a pointed tip to get into tricky areas such as pleats or around buttons, and a simple to operate steam spray. With even heat distributed over the soleplate it performs well in both removing wrinkles and forming creases where required. A User Manual provides straightforward instructions for spray function, steam boost, ECO steaming and dry ironing in addition to advice on cleaning and maintenance including descaling.

What more is required of a steam iron? The ‘Philips GC1020/70 Steam Iron’ may be a simple appliance - but it still truly deserves a 5-star rating.


The Isle of Skye (British Mountains) (Cicerone Guides)
The Isle of Skye (British Mountains) (Cicerone Guides)
by Terry Marsh
Edition: Flexibound
Price: £13.46

5.0 out of 5 stars Stupendous Skye, 13 April 2015
I enjoyed reading through ‘Walking the Isle of Skye’ before a planned trip this Easter [2015]. I have been to Skye on numerous occasions since first climbing in The Cuillin in the 1950s, and subsequent visits were then mainly to rock venues. This Cicerone publication confirms how much more there is on Skye with all grades of walk, locations of spectacular views, and outings to places of interest. After a brief overall Introduction to the stupendous diverse glories of the island there are short but informative sections on history, geology, flora and fauna, plus travel and accommodation details. General advice follows on how to use the guidebook with regard to access, paths, distances, heights, maps etc. and the obligatory warnings on safety. Useful instruction is incorporated on Gaelic and pronunciation of place names, mountains etc.

More specific Introductions precede each of 6 sections used by author Terry Marsh to cover the island, and he is to be congratulated on his choice of outings with a balance between strolls and scrambles. The 6 sections are:
1. Sleat peninsula as an area for escaping the more popular venues
2. Strath including Cuillin outliers and the Red Hills
3. Minginish with more scrambling amongst the majestic Cuillin than elsewhere
4. Duirinish in the west with emphasis on coastal venues.
5. Waternish in the isolated northwest
6. Trotternish in the northeast including unique rock architecture

Everything is packed into just short of 300 pages, but the book is small enough to be described as ‘pocket-size’ at 4¾ x 6¾ inches by only about ½ inch thick. It is protected by a ‘plastic’ cover and will stand up to rough use - with years of visiting Skye hopefully to come. ‘Walking the Isle of Skye’ is a 5-star publication.

I have experience of only a small number of the 87 walks identified, and it is not practicable to comment in detail. Those I know are competently identified and understandably recounted, and all are supported by extracts of OS maps with route, start/finish and direction of walk clearly marked. Features of walks are presented together with background information to make ‘Walking the Isle of Skye’ a good read as well as a good guidebook. With further suggestions for variations and additional ventures there is something for everyone, from relaxed family days out with plenty to see, to strenuous outings for dedicated walkers.

If I had to select ‘favourites’ they would include the Coastal Path on the Sleat peninsula, Bla Bheinn in the Strath area, Sgurr a’Bhasteir in the Minginish Cuillin section, the Coral Beaches on Duirinish, The Point as the tip of remote Waternish, and the Old Man of Storr from the many dramatic alternatives in the Trotternish section. ‘Walking the Isle of Skye’ makes me realise how much more there is on Skye that I know little about - I’m already planning another visit.


The Ploughmen
The Ploughmen
by Kim Zupan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.48

2.0 out of 5 stars Buried Bodies, 11 April 2015
This review is from: The Ploughmen (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A strange and dark relationship is built between a policeman, Valentine Millimaki, and a serial killer, John Gload, held in jail before trial. Their tenuous connection is that both have childhood farming experiences, and the aim is to uncover information (pun - buried bodies!) about Gload’s many victims. Millimaki is struggling with a breakdown in his marriage and a run of bad luck in performing his duties as a rescuer but he does his best to expose the past. Gload sympathises with him, and he also has difficulties with his partner but he seems to enjoy withholding information and he continues his brutality. Much is made of their insomnia and states of mind, but the story is just a horrific catalogue of past killings with nothing to relieve its violence. Narrative is poor and plot is not credible, but more importantly - I disliked ‘The Ploughmen’ and found it distasteful in the extreme.


Lie of the Land
Lie of the Land
by Michael F. Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Civilisation Collapse, 11 April 2015
This review is from: Lie of the Land (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The story of ‘Lie of the Land’ is in the near future, but within that future narrative shifts backwards and forwards. The book is divided into parts - October, July, November, August, December, January-April, and finally to ‘New Life’ as a form of epilogue. There has been a collapse of civilisation, and though this is never satisfactorily explained there are insights to what was a new world order before the collapse.

The main protagonist is Carl Shewan, an investigative journalist who is on his way to meet an informer when catastrophe strikes and he is marooned in a small coastal village in the northwest of Scotland. Carl feels guilt over what happened and his failure not to act earlier, but he has to fit in with the local close-knit population. He attempts to make sense of what the new world government set in train, and he finds the claustrophobic nature of his new life difficult to handle. As well as never fully explaining the collapse of civilisation neither are Carl’s thinkings and actions made clear, but author Michael F Russell skilfully introduces a thought provoking shift in relationships and social order. The conclusion appears rushed and again falls short in detail - and what could have been a 5-star novel is reduced by a star.


iGadgitz IGX-450S Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Lightweight Stereo Sports In-ear Earphones Headphones (Music streaming and Microphone with Noise Reduction for Hands free Calling) - Black/Neon Green
iGadgitz IGX-450S Wireless Bluetooth 4.0 Lightweight Stereo Sports In-ear Earphones Headphones (Music streaming and Microphone with Noise Reduction for Hands free Calling) - Black/Neon Green
Offered by iGadgitz
Price: £29.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Price versus Performance, 11 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There are numerous in-ear type headphones on the market and prices vary enormously. These iGadgitz IGX-450S are towards the bottom of the price range for headphones and not surprisingly sound quality is not as flawless as expensive devices. However from a value-for-money viewpoint they are more than adequate over a full treble-bass span and with no interference. Playing time is 4 to 5 hours with claimed standby capacity for 180 hours.

The earphones come complete with 3 sets of earbuds and security loops, but though the S, M, L alternative buds allow for a good fit, the loops are not as effective as some products with fins, over-ear clips etc. There is a USB-Micro charging cable, an easy to understand User Manual, and the lot fits into a neat hard-shell zipped protective case.

Bluetooth pairing with a mobile phone, tablet etc. is straightforward, and though controls are inevitably fiddly with such a small device, these are all readily accessible - especially the main multi-function button. There are LED indicator lights to assist pairing, indicate battery condition etc. and there are shared buttons for choosing track and volume control. Also there is an integral microphone for hands-free operation (not been tested at review). The iGadgitz IGX-450S earphones are well made and lightweight and comfortable to wear as the connector lies flat against the neck. Perhaps performance is only average but the price is perfect.


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