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Reviews Written by
Richard Murphy (Winchester, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot Folding Chopping Board, Bamboo, Brown, Large
Joseph Joseph Chop2Pot Folding Chopping Board, Bamboo, Brown, Large
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The rubberised feet are a nice touch, keeping it in place on the work ..., 21 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very stylish wooden chopping board. It is thicker than I expected, giving it a very solid feel. The rubberised feet are a nice touch, keeping it in place on the work surface.

It folds into a good V-shape, making it easy to tip ingredients into a frying pan. The risk is that the join between the two pieces breaks. The instructions warn the user to cut across the join, not along it, which seems a sensible precaution. Having used it for a month, there is no sign of wear, so it looks like it is built to last.


Rapesco Hole Punch - 835, 40-sheet capacity. Black
Rapesco Hole Punch - 835, 40-sheet capacity. Black
Price: £9.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Solidly reassuring, 21 Aug. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
After quickly breaking a few cheap high-street own-brand hole punches, I decided to get hold of a proper one.

Solidly made. Sharp hole cutters. Does the job well from 1 sheet upwards. Feels like it will last years. And very good value at the current (Aug 2016) price of under £10.


BLACK+DECKER 36 V Brushless Lithium-Ion Strimmer
BLACK+DECKER 36 V Brushless Lithium-Ion Strimmer
Offered by Tooled-Up
Price: £143.95

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely bit of kit, 3 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an excellent strimmer.

It is easy to assemble. The components feel solid and well -made, and should last. The telescopic handle means it can be adapted to your height.

The battery holds a decent charge. The controls are straightforward. It feels well designed and therefore, although it is not the lightest of strimmers, it is comfortable to use.

It is a bit expensive and would be over the top if you only have a small garden. However, if you have plenty of vegetation to keep under control and your budget stretches to this, it should be a very good investment.


Communication Practices in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Research for Food and Water Safety (IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series)
Communication Practices in Engineering, Manufacturing, and Research for Food and Water Safety (IEEE PCS Professional Engineering Communication Series)
by David Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting taster of current communication issues, 22 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a useful collection of studies on communicating technical issues to non-technical audiences, primality related to food. This is an academic book, if quite a readable one.

The outstanding study is the first, dealing with the attempt to bring in animal identification in the beef industry. Here David Wright clearly has an in-depth knowledge of the industry; he explains the challenges and the personalities involved; he is non-judgmental, where it would be very easy to allocate blame; he does not directly offer solutions but it feels that the participants would benefit from reading the item as it would give them insight into the perspectives of others. Although the circumstances are very specific, the analysis clearly has wider application - much of what is describes had clear equivalents in my field of financial services.

The rest of case studies vary in depth and quality, and all would have benefited from David Wright’s systematic approach to documenting the issues. Each had interesting elements and I suspect that their interest / usefulness would depend very much on the reader’s own circumstances.

The last case study “Communicating food through muckraking” was particularly noteworthy, highlighting important challenges and opportunities for improving food safety through great and well communicated journalism.


Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World
Blood Oil: Tyrants, Violence, and the Rules That Run the World
by Leif Wenar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.72

4.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas but overly long, 1 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a very long book.

Unlike many books written about how to change the world, Leif Wenar is a realist. His thesis is (essentially) that pragmatism has led us to deal with unsavoury regimes to get the natural resources we need for modern life but that our interests and the interests of others would be better served if we did not fund kleptocracies by paying them for the goods they steal from their populations.

Moreover, he claims this is not a revolutionary idea, but is a natural development following in the steps of the abolition of slavery and the ideas of universal human rights. He makes an excellent case.

He sets out the best explanation I have seen of the resource curse - where countries with mineral or oil resources would seem best placed to bring their populations out of poverty, but are actually much worse than those countries that have had to rely on the education and hard work of their populations to grow.

His observations on Saudi Arabia are particularly interesting. Whatever your ideological or religious views, it is noteworthy that the particular branch of Muslim thinking put forward by the leadership in Saudi Arabia has reached a much wider audience due to the £70bn education programme they have run around the world over the last decade. Whether you think that is a good or a bad thing, the reminder here is that the West chose to fund that programme by buying Saudi Arabian oil unconditionally.

If you have a deep interest in global political issues, this is the book for you. If not, we can only hope that Leif Wenar brings out a popular version about a quarter of the length. The ideas here deserve a wider airing.


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A harrowing but worthwhile read, 1 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There is a lot of superficial coverage of poverty in the media (some well-meaning, some malicious) but all the journalists can hope to achieve is to give readers a flavour of what people living at the margins of modern society are going through.

It is terrific when a book like this comes along, written by someone who has taken the time to document what is happening to people at the sharp end on housing, setting it firmly in the context of everything else that is going on in their lives.

There is great rigour here, but the author has made an excellent choice of sticking all of that in the footnotes and allowing the main text to focus on telling the personal stories. For some books the footnotes can be ignored, but here they are critical for the context. The stories being set out are not just about a few people in a small city – the notes make the case that they are representative of the lives of millions.

For a British readership there are important lessons here. With ever larger numbers of people renting, a trend to deregulation and with huge pressure on working age benefits, we need to learn lessons and avoid the traps that US states have fallen into. We do not need to speculate on what will happen if UK housing policy fails – we can just look to the experiences documented in books like these.

Whatever your political persuasion, I recommend this book.


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Your Route Out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage and Other Everyday Habits with CBT
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Your Route Out of Perfectionism, Self-Sabotage and Other Everyday Habits with CBT
by Avy Joseph
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clearly laid out and helpful guide, 1 May 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is more of a text book than a popular guide, and it is all the better for that. The chapters are well laid out, with explanations, examples and exercises.

Other than media articles, I knew very little about CBT before reading this book. What is particularly helpful is the way that is sets out clearly what the obstacles are, before then providing the steps people can take to address them.

For those who have not personally experienced the challenge of dealing with deeply negative self-sabotaging thoughts, this book gives an insight into the mental traps we can all fall into. It is packed with helpful ideas to help break negative cycles of thinking.


Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Groomer & Power Select Razor Blades - Pack of 4
Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 Groomer & Power Select Razor Blades - Pack of 4
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely smooth shave, 21 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been a long time user of Gillette Mach 3, but have tried every now and then to see if I can find a better wet shave. Finally I have one that gives a closer, safer shave. Based on a month’s use the blades last longer as well so, give the lower cost, it is a winner all round.

As I already have a beard trimmer, the trim blade at the other end of the razor is a bit of a gimmick but it works perfectly well.


ManCave Natural Cedarwood Shower Gel 200ml
ManCave Natural Cedarwood Shower Gel 200ml
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Decent shower gel, 10 Mar. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was looking for a Molton Brown substitute at a fraction of the price. This does the job nicely.

The scent is surprisingly subtle. It foams up well. Perfect.


New A-Level Economics: Year 1 & 2 Complete Revision & Practice
New A-Level Economics: Year 1 & 2 Complete Revision & Practice
by CGP Books
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A very impressive guide., 28 Feb. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is 250 page detailed revision guide for A-Level Economics for the AQA, OCR and Edexcel exam boards, with notes throughout of was is in or out for particular boards.

The notes are well laid out, with each page using headings, boxes, bullet points, examples, practice questions and asides (some serious and some just for fun).

This addition has been updated for courses starting September 2015 and the material has been updated throughout for events and terminology that have come to the fore since the 2008 financial crisis. There are sections on behavioural economics, quantitative easing, financial market failure, inequality, the EU and the pros and cons of UK membership, as well as a wide range of conventional economics.

I found it clear and well written, while still focusing the mind on what questions might be asked in the exams with tips on how to maximise marks.


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