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Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK)

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Wahl Elite Pro Main Hair Clipper Kit
Wahl Elite Pro Main Hair Clipper Kit
Price: £49.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended quality, Wahl product., 28 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We have been using Wahl trimmers on and off for several years. We have never experienced any technical problems with them - and this continues our love affair with the brand.

These are mains only trimmers, no rechargeable facilities here, they're reasonably heavy but the design is such that they feel comfortable in the hand - the weight is well distributed and the unit exudes the usual Wahl quality.

Unlike many brands of clippers these come with a full set of 'metal' guide combs, Unlike plastic elsewhere.

A very high quality unit with a comprehensive set of accessories - including a 'bib'!

One standout feature compared with other brands is that the metal combs have their sizes printed in black on the silver like surface of each comb - much easier to see!

Highly recommended.

Max Weber
Max Weber
by Joachim Radkau
Edition: Paperback
Price: £17.99

2.0 out of 5 stars The Myth of Heidelberg, 27 July 2015
This review is from: Max Weber (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Even those with little acquaintance of Max Weber’s work realise the phenomenal influence he has had in the field of sociology, his thoughts and opinions evoking variable emotional responses from both academics and interested followers. Whether his various stances on diverse topics are viewed positively or otherwise, his contributions to the academic world have been wide ranging and prolific.

I read this as an interested layman, prompted by my embarrassingly sparse knowledge of Weber buried in the murky depths of university studies in the 1970’s. With no pressure now for researching Weber for essay completions, I approached this biography in a different, more relaxed way than hitherto the case. This author writes with an engaging style that facilitated a demanding but stimulating read.

The length of this book gives it space for both depth and breadth, an impressive and extensive exploration of Weber’s life, its particular focus being on how Weber merged the studies anthropology and natural science.

Of course, the first section of the book, “The Violation of Nature” gives a strong sense of how his family influence is a strident feature in his personal psychology, and how his view of the world developed from a view of man as thoroughly naturalistic. The utter belief in himself coupled with his inner raging, the “inner volcano” seems to be a man not able to live in harmony with others, but proposes that reality is very much about life being in harmony with nature. To read about his own raging nature is fascinating and how this determined his varying outlooks and theories. The spirit of antiquity fuels much of his thought.

After reading this biography however, I am left not really knowing anything substantial about Max Weber the person, and much would have benefited from contribution from a psychoanalytic perspective to give some real meaning to this intriguing life. There are too many spaces unfilled which could so easily be rectified by a more psychologically based history on the man himself to bring parts of the jigsaw together hence my 2 star rating. Perhaps a dual editing of this biography by a more psychologically minded author would have done much to to make it a far better story.

Wenger Hand Luggage, 28 cm, 10 Liters, Black
Wenger Hand Luggage, 28 cm, 10 Liters, Black
Price: £30.83

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Bag!, 26 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Excellent, capasious - ideal for in-flight - travel use.

Sony HX90 Compact Digital Camera with OLED Viewfinder (18 MP, 30x Optical Zoom and Wi-Fi)
Sony HX90 Compact Digital Camera with OLED Viewfinder (18 MP, 30x Optical Zoom and Wi-Fi)
Offered by Camera Centre UK
Price: £308.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A versatile, well specified, compact camera., 26 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A very interesting, well specified, good all- rounder of a compact camera.

Of particular note and of interest to me was the inclusion of the pop up, crystal clear, eye level viewfinder.

This I find of particular use when using the HD Video setting - previous 'Travel Zoom' compact cameras I have owned -primarily Panasonic TZ series have only had the rear LCD display - trying to video in that mode - I found very difficult - this Sony excels with a bright image - and as a plus the ability to zoom whilst filming - others I have used did not have this feature.

Obviously, the prime feature of any camera is the lens. The 'Vario-Sonnar' unit fitted to the HX-90 is superb with excellent colour rendition and pin sharp focus across the full range.

It's not the lightest of cameras but feels really solid in the hand.

The flip-up viewfinder has displays excellent sharpness and is very bright even in full sunlight - and for the 'selfie' lovers is ideal!

There are numerous features accessed by means of the Menu System, I particularly like the four cross-hairs that aid image composition and the built-in 'spirit level'.

A really nice, versatile little camera that oozes quality.

The two pictures demonstrate the two extremes of the optical xoom.
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Brabantia Premium Peg Bag
Brabantia Premium Peg Bag
Offered by kitchen essentials
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Product, 21 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Brabantia is always a name to look out for regards quality, so when offered to review this product I grabbed the opportunity.

OK, a peg holder is a peg holder, but anything that can make life that bit easier is always a boon, a bonus to those day to day things that are just an absolute pain. This is just one of those items that strangely make the mundanity of life’s chores a bit brighter.

Like a very small duffle bag, this is quite innovative. It does hold 150 pegs, as the blurb says, but as I have worn it on my belt, I would say 120 would be the maximum for comfort. The simply clever part of this is that it makes hanging heavy washing out that much easier. Anyone who has Egyptian cotton linen knows how heavy the sheets are when wet, and before this product I have felt like an acrobat trying to get the sheet over the line whilst trying to peg it out on my own. With the bag attached to my belt, it is a breeze to hang out heavy washing. I have never come across this idea before. Also, I forgot to bring in the bag of pegs last evening, and even though there was rain, the toggle left the pegs dry.

A simple idea that makes a product superior to others. I think this is well worth the price. Highly recommended.

The Informant
The Informant
by Susan Wilkins
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ties That Bind, 18 July 2015
This review is from: The Informant (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Susan Wilkin’s extensive experience of writing drama scripts for various TV drama series transposes well in this soundly constructed, gripping novel. I felt catapulted into the plot, and immediately engaged in the story line. It is raunchy, gritty, down to earth, and chock-a-block with action.

There is a definite cut-and-thrust to her mature writing, where she is able to communicate complex dynamics in a deceivingly simple way. This maturity provides an authoritative, informed air to her writing which has vitality and immediacy. The pace is consistently pushed forward, with a rhythm that keeps attention held, the narrative having subtle, credible twists and turns that make it satisfying and add to interest and engagement.

With a brutal realism, nothing is black and white, as are the characters who are not necessarily all corralled into the “goodie” and “baddie” corners. Here, she is artful in bringing out the nuances of the interactions between characters, resulting in a meaty novel with depth. There is a pleasing rawness with her writing at times, sometimes horrific and violent, with some shocking scenes and surprises that come right out of the blue.

The sense of kinship, whether family or friends - indeed those ties that bind, are really stretched to the limit for both benefit, disadvantage and harm for those involved. Her portrayal of tension in this particular family’s enmeshment is particularly fine. The characters are all well defined, colourful and unique. Her portrayal of the main villain Joey I found particularly impressive as it is often difficult to communicate with distinction what really does go on in a psychopathic mind. Again this can be very stereotypical with lesser skilled authors, but Susan Wilkins comes up trumps in how she deals with Joey’s “mercurial changes of direction”, who “knew he was special”, and “never suffered from the maelstrom of debilitating emotions”; an individual that brings shivers to your spine.

A well deserved 5 star. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with this novel as I feel she is at the top of her game here alongside any credible long standing author of this genre.

Kensington BlackBelt 1st Degree Rugged Case for iPad Air 2 - Black
Kensington BlackBelt 1st Degree Rugged Case for iPad Air 2 - Black
Price: £23.75

2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing - look elsewhere!, 16 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sorry, but the only feature that I like with this case is the 'feel' of the supposed Military Grade material - and even that 'Like' comes with a caveat - when holding the IPad in the case with my left hand I find that my thumb easily 'pulls back' the rubber edge, such that it nearly exposes the side of the IPad!

In this respect I consider that there is too much stretch in the material - a tighter fit is required.

Other than that I don't consider it provides adequate protection, there are too many holes around the circumference in addition to another on the back - and of course, as others have noted, no protection whatsoever for the screen.

For me it's a disappointment, and I shall return to my trusty Apple branded case, that affords excellent protection with auto on/off and adds little girth to the iPad - albeit at a price premium.

Bosch Rotak 42 LI Ergoflex 36 V Cordless Lithium-Ion Lawnmower (43 cm cutting width)
Bosch Rotak 42 LI Ergoflex 36 V Cordless Lithium-Ion Lawnmower (43 cm cutting width)
Offered by Scuff Pro
Price: £389.65

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Price hike and no second battery!, 10 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is the second Bosch Rotak mower that has adorned our garden. Our first edition was noted as the 43li which was obtained from Amazon some 3 years ago - at about £100 less than the current price - plus an extra battery in the box!

It's certainly better than having mains leads running about 80-90 feet and our garden, both front and back are easily coped with using approximately 1.5 charges - so having the extra battery is an advantage.

As others have noted - the quick easy-setup claims are rather overrated.

We also use the "multi-mulch" accessory, primarily because it saves emptying the large grass container - but given the overall pricing I believe this should now be included or indeed built in.

That being said, the mower performs well, cutting right up to the edges, is comfortable to manoeuvre and easy to adjust the cutting height.

Sadly only 3stars this time due to the price hike and lack of second battery!

The Bones of You
The Bones of You
by Debbie Howells
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedium, 3 July 2015
This review is from: The Bones of You (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It is rare for me to give up on a book, but I am afraid I only managed to get through a ¼ of this particular novel which must be taken into account with this review.

I was expecting a thriller, but the narrative is written more in a style of romantic fiction with a dearth of suspense or excitement, something that I was expecting from the blurb.

Debbie Howells desperately leaves nothing for the imagination, which the theme itself really demands. She relies excessively on high expressed emotion to propel the narrative, touching often on the histrionic, resulting in conversations between the characters that are stilted and mechanical.

The reflective words of Rosie did appear to have some great potential to distill the much needed suspense. Initially quite engaging, the suggestion of a haunting element from thoughts on her past life (which suggested much promise), for me just didn’t materialise. The sinister elements inherent in the theme and plot are sadly not there, the potential for a gripping novel not developed.

Pleasant enough for a superficial read perhaps, it is undemanding and straightforward. For me, it just didn’t hit the spot

by Bradley Somer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Paths To Freedom, 3 July 2015
This review is from: Fishbowl (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An air of melancholy pervades this excellent novel by Bradley Somer. Ian the goldfish is a compelling, sole witness to the shared events of these mainly solitary people who live out their independent lives behind their respective closed doors within the apartment building “The Seville On Roxy”. Ian acts as a metaphor for the passage of time and life that all these interesting characters experience in such a different way, and who all in some way want to break free from what often feels a bounded life.

The experience of loneliness is the key state for many, if not all, the characters to a greater or lesser extent. They are memorable in their own right, and all so different, but still share a sense of isolation. Through his engaging vignettes, Bradley Somer seems to understand the actual quirkiness and diversity of these individuals being “normal”, communicating their various difficulties in a clear non-judgemental way. He has empathy for all his actors, that however bad things are in life, although all experiencing some dissatisfaction or feeling unfulfilled, there is a clear sense that things have potential to get better, (even possibly for Ian the goldfish). Bradley Somer has an engaging way of describing the vicissitudes of time, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, which I found rather hypnotic and soporific in the best sense.

Often surreal, the author’s creative style of writing allows the imagination plenty of room to wander. At times it is distressing and painful to read of others inhibitions and problems, with a sense of drama throughout, and always absorbing.

The moral of the tale is very much, Life moves on, so grab it whilst you can…..

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