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Profile for Christina Giscombe > Reviews

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Content by Christina Giscombe
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Reviews Written by
Christina Giscombe "KrissyG" (London)
(VINE VOICE)   

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AmazonBasics Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP920XL Combo Pack
AmazonBasics Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP920XL Combo Pack
Price: £12.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Being an Amazon Basics, it looks good quality and value for money., 26 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I haven't been able to test this in a printer as I mistakenly thought it would fit my Epson, which is actually a different size.

I will comment that I have used remanufactured ink cartridges before and a nasty experience with one that leaked, left me feeling quite wary of using them again.

I would recommend checking the cartridge at regular intervals to ensure there are no leaks. At the first sign of 'dodgy' quality printing, remove from your printer at once. On the plus side, you can save a great deal of money in the long run. The concept or recycling and sustainability is an important one.

This being an Amazon Basics, it looks good quality and value for money.


SportPlus Massagerolle / Foamroller for fascia and trigger points, different degrees of hardness, SP-YR-001
SportPlus Massagerolle / Foamroller for fascia and trigger points, different degrees of hardness, SP-YR-001
Offered by Latupo GmbH
Price: £29.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Maximum benefit with the guidance of a physiotherapist or personal trainer., 26 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I found it difficult to get on with this roller massage. I didn't like the strong plastic smell it gives off. It is quite large and found it did indeed massage my lower limbs and seemed to work on the muscles. I did suffer from a snapped achilles tendon this time last year. It's better now, but I couldn't feel the roller massager having any particular effect on the tendon, at the back of the ankle.

The gadget is quite large. It comes with suggested exercises. However, I think it would probably give maximum benefit with the guidance of a physiotherapist or personal trainer.

It's called 'Yoga'. I guess that refers to the stretching effect. Gimmicky.


Braun TexStyle 7 Pro steam iron SI 7062BL
Braun TexStyle 7 Pro steam iron SI 7062BL
Price: £71.94

5.0 out of 5 stars This is Super Iron - for those monster ironing jobs, 26 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This monster of an iron is the best I have ever used. It's virtually of professional level, and is indeed, described as 'pro'. It is heavy, so not for those with weak arms or arthritis.

It is amazing. It irons both backwards and forwards and over buttons and pockets.

I mostly use irons for wet blocking freshly knitted woollens, which requires great care.

The options here are:

- continuous steam - 'turbo steam' - by pressing the usual button.

- a second button for a spray, which ejects a spray of water from the front of the iron.

- vertical steam - means you can iron something on a hanger.

- a dry iron.

There six temperature settings.

All I can say is: super iron!


Angelcare AC315 Digital Video, Movement and Sound 4.3 inch Screen Baby Monitor
Angelcare AC315 Digital Video, Movement and Sound 4.3 inch Screen Baby Monitor
Price: £229.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A bit sceptical of the need for these monitors, 26 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am a bit sceptical of the need for these monitors. The box warns, 'This product should NOT be used to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome', yet the whole aim is for parents or carers to monitor Baby's movements. It has an alarm that will sound if there is no movement after twenty seconds. Yet this surely creates the same kind of anxiety as a new parent checking Baby is 'still breathing' (as I did) umpteen times a day.

It comes with a movement sensor pad with cord covers. There are warnings to make sure the cord is covered by this and about the dangers of strangulation. One gets the feeling these warnings are to cover the manufacturers' backs. These criticisms are generic and apply to all such similar products.

It's a handy gadget that comes with a table top camera, which can be wall mounted and a 43." LCD with touch controls.

Biggest attractive feature is that it allows you to watch Baby, without having to get up or disturb him or her, from another room.

Price-wise, it is quite expensive.


The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
The Sixteen Trees of the Somme
by Lars Mytting
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One man's quest to uncover his family secrets. A cracking good yarn that stomps along at a fast pace., 26 Jun. 2017
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the story about one man’s quest to discover the dark secrets of his family history. The novel begins intriguingly in a small Norwegian rural village called Saksum, where the narrator Edvard, 23, lives alone with his aging grandfather, Bestefar. The locals stare at them when they go into ‘town’ to shop and all starts to become clear when the village simpleton daubs Bestefar’s car with a swastika.

So, we discover Edvard’s grandfather was a collaborator with the German forces during the war, fighting on their behalf on the Eastern Front. Straightaway we understand the hostility. Bestefar’s brother, Einar, on the other hand, fought for the French Resistance. Thus we have the juxtaposition of two brothers in conflict and their hatred and fear of each other.

The novel progresses like a detective story, it begins with two bodies, that of Edvard’s parents who died mysteriously in a wood at the Somme battlefield twenty years ago. After his grandfather dies, Edvard goes on a quest to find out the reason and causes for his parents’ deaths and to discover the perpetrators. His Uncle Einar, whom Edvard knows is involved somehow, leaves him a trail of clues, which begins with Edvard visiting Einar’s last known place of residence, the Shetland Islands. We are taken on a fast-paced breathless journey to the furthest north island of Unst and its surrounds.

Central to the story are the flame birch woods at the back of Edvard’s Norwegian homestead with which he has a fixation from a young age. What is the connection between these woods and that of the ‘Sixteen Trees of the Somme’ of the title? Einar was a master craftsman and skilled cabinet maker during his youth. Edvard seeks to understand how he ended up as a recluse on a remote Scottish Island.

Who is the mysterious young woman watching him when he arrives? He discovers she is an upper class Scottish lady, Gwen, who claims to be a housekeeper looking after a fine mansion, Quercus Hall, on behalf of its wealthy owners. Soon Edvard is embroiled in an adventure with Gwen that takes him across the North Sea and then throughout the Somme in search of the missing pieces of the jigsaw.

The book storms on at a cracking pace and I appreciate Mytting’s straightforward style. No ‘keeping the reader in suspense’ or similar formulaic ‘hooks’. The subject matter, too is fascinating to me as I have a Scandinavian background and have done much research into what happened during the two great wars of the last centuries, as, like most people, I still have relatives who remember them or fought in them. In my family, the details are not spoken of and thus to my generation there is an urge to find out and understand what drove people to fight for either side and their legacy for today’s generation.

The theme of fine wood, the birches and the walnuts, is unusual and absolutely absorbing. I love the forest, too, and my uncles and grandfather were fine craftsmen who built all their own homes, and even ours, and barns, and were renowned throughout their region for their skills as builders in timber structures.

The novel is dark, dealing as it does with the issues of Ravensbruck concentration camp, the French and Norwegian Resistance fighters, the Nazi collaborators, against a backdrop of bleak remote terrains, of rural Norway, and windswept Shetland isles, together with the miles and miles of desolate graveyards of the Somme where hundreds of thousands of young soldiers fell in 2016.

I am not sure I like the character Gwen much. She is a bit ‘cardboard cut-out’ and Mytting’s view of the British upper-classes is an old-fashioned caricature of tweeds, hunting and shooting. This is a good complement to Edvard’s casual Norwegian classlessness. However, I feel the scene at the Edinburgh gun shop could easily be cut and the story would be better still, as Edvard’s adventures with Gwen during this episode seems to change the story into a children’s adventure, or at best, a ‘young adult’s’ soft romance.

However, I have given it five stars as I thoroughly enjoyed it: the best novel I have read so far, this year. It is original, great writing and moves at a cracking pace. Excellent story line, which gets rather complicated, dealing as it does with three generations and with two key dates, 1944 and 1971. The secrets revealed are wonderful and I loved the history and the sheer amount of knowledge of the different types of wood.

I am still puzzling as to who was the traitor, central to the story, but hey, it’s good to have food for thought long after the novel is over.

Mytting paints some superb images that stay with you.


Oxford Landing 2013 Estates Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 75 cl (Case of 6)
Oxford Landing 2013 Estates Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 75 cl (Case of 6)
Price: £41.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Blackberry, blueberry and strawberry flavours linger, 22 Jun. 2017
This is a blend of two classic grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. I love each in their own right. But a blend? This brings out the wine snob in me. All my instincts scream, no!

Aroma: I caught an eggy aroma, which I associate with reds, as many wine producers filter out the residues with egg solutions, so that might be where it comes from.

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the body. Blackberry, blueberry and strawberry flavours linger on the back of my tongue.

Not sure about mixing as I love Shiraz on its own. The jury is out as to whether a Cabernet Sauvignon input adds anything.


Oxford Landing 2015 Estates Merlot 75 cl (Case of 6)
Oxford Landing 2015 Estates Merlot 75 cl (Case of 6)
Price: £48.42

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice robust body, tannic, zesty, fruity, but is smoother than usual,, 22 Jun. 2017
I like my Merlot rough, This has a nice robust body, tannic, zesty and fruity, but is smoother than usual, in my view. Lovely purple-red colour, quite watery.

This is a sophisticated Merlot, almost as though it has been toned down for public taste.

I like Merlot because (a) it is cheaper than most reds, yet packs a punch; (b) it has a higher ‘phenols’ level than most reds (the good stuff that’s supposedly good for your heart) and (c) because it is good, honest and unpretentious.

This has a pleasant acidic aftertaste. Goes well with cheese.

Classic wine.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2017 10:39 PM BST


Oxford Landing Marty's Block Chardonnay Wine, 75 cl (Case of 3)
Oxford Landing Marty's Block Chardonnay Wine, 75 cl (Case of 3)
Price: £26.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Light, lemony, acetone hints in the aroma. Too lightweight for me., 22 Jun. 2017
I used to be a snob against screw caps, but now I have come to prefer it. It doesn’t affect the taste and you don’t have to rummage around for a corkscrew. In addition, you can screw the cap back on – no fiddling about with fangle-danglery.

Light, lemony, acetone hints in the aroma. Pale. Chardonnay tends to lack body in my experience. True to form, it is very sharp, acidity, - there is a wow factor on the tongue that is quite intense, which soon gives way to a mild apple aftertaste. As predicted by the light aroma, it is light bodied. Probably best with a meal, as there is little pleasure in enjoying it on its own.

5.5/10


Oxford Landing Marty's Block Viognier Wine, 75 cl (Case of 3)
Oxford Landing Marty's Block Viognier Wine, 75 cl (Case of 3)
Price: £26.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fruity and chocolatey, 22 Jun. 2017
Blackberry, granny smith apple aroma, minty, even. Pale off-yellow. I love the bouquet: flowery and earthy. In the wine tasting session, I was spitting out the samples, but this was so delicious, I really wanted to swallow it and finish the glass. Crisp sharp apple after taste. Quite a complex body, buttery, creamy, fresh and even strawberry hints on the back of the tongue. Fruity and chocolatey. Almost – but not quite – tantalisingly on the edge of being overripe. However, thankfully, it stops short of that nasty aftertaste. The final aftertaste is peppery. Score: 8/10


Oxford Landing 2015 Estates Sauvignon Blanc 75 cl (Case of 6)
Oxford Landing 2015 Estates Sauvignon Blanc 75 cl (Case of 6)
Price: £48.42

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sauvignon Blanc: Bananas, tropical aroma, vanilla/ Pinot Grigio:Tart, sharp - but lightweight, 22 Jun. 2017
Sauvignon Blanc

Bananas, tropical aroma, vanilla, 2016 – Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry?; acidic, zesty, grapy.

Good with food, as flavour not overpowering.

Aftertaste is quite salty.

No.1 selling. Lowest alcohol at 10.5%. Score 7.5/10

Pinot Grigio

Not a great fan of Pinot Grigio. However, it never fails to invigorate the tongue with its tart, sharp - but lightweight - flavour.

The bouquet is of blackberry. Quite tannic and 'earthy'. Aftertaste is a strong apple, not all together pleasant IMV. Score 6/10


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