Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Steve Benner > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Steve Benner
Top Reviewer Ranking: 797
Helpful Votes: 2603

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Sevenhills Wholefoods 250 g Organic New Zealand Wheatgrass Powder
Sevenhills Wholefoods 250 g Organic New Zealand Wheatgrass Powder
Offered by Sevenhills Wholefoods
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good quality solution to an imaginary problem, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Wheatgrass seems to all the rage at the moment, trumpeted amongst detoxing circles as the latest wonder food, containing more nutrients and vitamins than you can shake a stick (presumably of celery) at. Laboratory analysis has failed to show any greater concentration of such things in wheatgrass than in any other green vegetable (such as broccoli) and, given the fact that it isn't the tastiest of veggies (it is, after all, very closely akin to hay) so is generally only consumed by the teaspoon full or so at a time (and even then only as dried product) you can't count a helping of wheatgrass as one of your five-a-day. All in all, in fact, wheatgrass is pretty much as pointless a dietary supplement as it is possible to find.

Of course, if you like the stuff -- and I found that this "Organic New Zealand Wheatgrass Powder" from Sevenhills Wholefoods produces quite an interesting and punchy vibrant green 'milkshake' when stirred into a glass of "Good Hemp Milk" which makes for a good night-cap -- there is nothing wrong with buying it. And if you are a fan of the stuff, there is little doubt that this is one of the finest brands of wheatgrass out there.


Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Coconut Flour 500g, gluten free, Soil Association certified organic
Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Coconut Flour 500g, gluten free, Soil Association certified organic
Offered by Sevenhills Wholefoods
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great tasting gluten-free flour alternative, 25 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This "Organic Coconut Flour" from Sevenhills Wholefoods is an excellent gluten-free flour, best suited for use in sweet cakes, biscuits or breads, rather than savoury baking, owing to its strong coconut flavour. As with all coconut flours, a little goes a long way, so it is good that this 1kg bag has a good long shelf life, unlike many other wheat flour substitutes. It does take a little experimentation (or internet recipe searching) to get the flour to liquid ratios correct but the results so far have proved well worth it.


Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century
Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century
by John Higgs
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Making sense of the nonsensical!, 19 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The 20th century was arguably one of the strangest and most bewildering in recorded human history. It is also the one about which we know the most and yet which nevertheless remains almost impossible to understand.

In "Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century", British author, John Higgs, delivers a superbly enlightening review of the significant paradigm shifts that occurred during the 100 years since 1901, connecting seemingly disparate developments -- such as physicists' theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, the emergence of modernism and post-modernism in the arts, the rise of feminism and sexual equality, half a century of warfare culminating in the arrival of the nuclear age, our increasing dependence on technology, and the establishment of the internet -- in ways that demonstrate a thread of continuity across almost all fields of human endeavour over this period. From the mish-mash of seemingly unrelated and inexplicably bizarre events that triggered some of the most rapid changes to the global human condition -- and which now seems to threaten our continuing existence -- emerges a coherent thread of causality, which shines a light of meaning upon the overarching whole and renders the nonsensical (even for those who lived through the times) entirely comprehensible. And it's even an easy, entertaining and enjoyable read.

Highly recommended.


Meowing Heads Fat Cat Slim Kibble, 1.5 kg
Meowing Heads Fat Cat Slim Kibble, 1.5 kg
Price: £14.24

3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't really compete in the popularity stakes, 4 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My test subject for "Meowing Heads Fat Cat Slim Kibble" isn't exactly an overweight cat, but he is inclined to over-indulge when he is allowed. The first serving of the product was greeted with his usual enthusiastic approval but sadly this didn't last long: within a couple of mouthfuls, he had lost interest in the dish and was pestering for something different. In side-by-side test with his usual Whiskas kibble, this one just doesn't get a look-in, I'm afraid, so whilst this product may well help with an overweight cat (by reducing the amount that it wants to eat) I suspect that this will be at the sacrifice of a quiet life on behalf of the feeder!


Fenugreen FreshPaper Produce Saver Sheets (1 Pack of 8 Sheets)
Fenugreen FreshPaper Produce Saver Sheets (1 Pack of 8 Sheets)
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Had no noticeable effect, 26 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I tried various controlled tests with "Fenugreen Freshpaper Produce Saver Sheets" to see how effective this spice-impregnated paper was at extending the shelf-life of my weekly shop of fresh fruit and veg. In all cases, the produce supposedly protected by the sheets seemed to age at exactly the same rate as that not protected. I can only conclude that this product either does not work, or only works with a narrower range of fresh fruit and veg than I had to hand. Oh well... nice idea.


Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection Lotion SPF50 200ml
Garnier Ambre Solaire Protection Lotion SPF50 200ml
Price: £4.79

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, long-lasting protection, 22 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have been using Garnier's sun protection products for a good many years, and have always been impressed with their performance. Their "Ambre Solaire Protection Lotion SPF50" goes on more smoothly than any other suncream I have ever tried and in this regard it is very good indeed, producing an even, thin layer without streaks, blobs or -- worse -- thin areas. This is particularly impressive in a SPF50 product, many other brands of which come out very thick, gloopy and streaky. This said, it does needs a bit of care getting it out of the bottle from full: I started with a gentle treatment and when that failed to yield anything moved up to a more vigorous approach -- only to get a LOT more than I needed! It seems to be somewhat thixotropic in its formulation, so it takes a bit of rough treatment to get it to flow but when it finally does flow, it flows generously.

The product is non-irritant, even on over-sensitive skin and offers good protection: one application lasts well, and is effective for hours; when working in the open, I have found a single application at the start of the day to last through to evening. If swimming, or undertaking strenuous activity with profuse perspiration, you'd probably need to renew a couple of times during the day, though.

I do have one grumble, however: why does it have to be so highly scented? People who do wear perfume will find their own scent overpowered for about an hour and people who really don't like perfume have to put up with it for an hour at least. It doesn't bother me too much, but I know many people who much prefer their suncream to be unscented. If Garnier would just leave the perfume out, they'd have a sure-fire winner with this product.

Now... if only the British climate gave us more occasion to use it!


Streets of Darkness (D.I. Harry Virdee)
Streets of Darkness (D.I. Harry Virdee)
by A. A. Dhand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark Pennine Grit, 14 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I rather suspect that the Tourism Department of Bradford Metropolitan District Council are not going to be terribly enamoured of A. A. Dhand's début novel, "Streets of Darkness". Rather than the vibrant city, "full of a rich and varied mix of cultures and languages" and where "you'll find plenty of ideas and inspiration" and where "you're never far from a new experience", which their visitor centre website advertise, this gritty thriller portrays Bradford as a city very much in decline, its streets rife with prostitution, drug dealing and organised crime, where racial tensions threaten conflagration and mayhem on a regular basis and where the only hope for salvation from the dual evils of the city's crime barons and the corrupt police force lies at the hands of a maverick police inspector, Harry Virdee, who is currently suspended from duty and likely to be dismissed from the force altogether (although we already know he won't be as the book is advertised as the first part of a series featuring DI Harry Virdee).

To give the author his due, he works hard to pull this story off -- very hard indeed. The writing is gripping and exciting, maintaining a fast pace with the action coming thick and fast. He tries hard to capture the real racial tensions that characterise so much of Bradford as a city. Unfortunately, very little of the book is in any way believable. Partly the problem is caused by the author tripping himself up so often with straightforward impossibilities (the book contains an epic physical achievement of an injured character running a mile and a half in six minutes -- a feat of which Roger Bannister would be very envious; a major story element is the supposed "once-in-a-lifetime" coincidence of the Muslim feast of Eid and the Hindu festival of Karva Chauth -- an alignment that, in reality, simply cannot happen; and so on) that all of his story's realistic extremes start to lose their credence also. But also the book is let down by both characterisation and plot: almost without exception, the book's characters are portrayed as flat and stereotypical, whilst the story itself is overly contrived and never in any way particularly original. It is all pretty obvious where everything is heading all the way through, so there are very few surprises indeed.

If you are happy to approach the story without thinking about it too much and are prepared simply to regard it as a straightforward piece of violent and gory Northern Grit then, provided such is your thing, you'll almost certainly enjoy this publication and will eagerly await the next. Anyone requiring anything of real substance would do better to skip this series altogether.


The Metamorphosis of the World: How Climate Change is Transforming Our Concept of the World
The Metamorphosis of the World: How Climate Change is Transforming Our Concept of the World
by Ulrich Beck
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Making sense of an increasingly unhinged world, 13 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ulrich Beck was Professor of Sociology at the University of Munich and the London School of Economics and Political Science. His sociological text, "The Metamorphosis of the World" was incomplete and in preliminary manuscript form only at the the of his sudden death from a heart attack in early 2015. His partner, Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim, has worked with Beck's former colleagues and collaborators, Anders Blok (Copenhagen) and Sabine Selchow (London) to bring the work to publishable form for Polity Press.

The book's main topic is a proposed remodelling of the way sociologists need to think of and analyse the modern world if they are to make sense of the way it now functions; that the mode of change into which the world has now entered should no longer be viewed in conventional sociological terms of transformational, revolutionary or evolutionary but rather as metamorphosis -- the author's suggested term for a world undergoing complicated spontaneous (and irreversible) emergence into something new, unknown and unplanned. This change is not the result of deliberate policy or design anywhere, but rather arises as a consequences of undesirable side-effects of the progress of modernity; side-effects (such as climate change) that operate on a global scale and which render obsolete political action and thinking within traditional national boundaries, creating "risk societies" across national and class boundaries and calling into question the legitimacy of nation-state political decision-making.

The book's main intended audience would appear to be principally sociologists themselves, rather than the general public, for whom many of the finer points of the author's argument will be lost, obscured by the opaque and impenetrably precise technical language which the author employs (and not helped by the fact that much of that language is clearly influenced by Beck's German language heritage). That said, however, there remain many revelatory ideas for the lay reader within this volume's 200 pages and anyone prepared to invest the effort in reading it should be well rewarded with much to ponder, not just with regard to the politics of global climate change, but also with regard to digital communities, the politics of invisibility, empowering of the younger generation, the emerging promise of a world of great equality and the power struggles that are likely to arise, as nation-states lose their legitimacy and world cities emerge to become the principal power-houses for global change in the way people view the world and their relationship with it.


The Couple Next Door
The Couple Next Door
by Shari Lapena
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A curious crime thriller, 6 Jun. 2016
This review is from: The Couple Next Door (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"The Couple Next Door" is a curious little novel. Billed as the début suspense novel of lawyer and former English teacher, Shari Lapena, it recounts the ordeal of parents, Marco and Anne Conti, following the disappearance of their six-month old baby daughter from her crib one evening while they were out at a dinner party with their neighbours. Shari Lapena clearly believes in laying all of the parts of her story out for the reader, leaving little to the imagination and explaining every minute nuance of her characters' thinking and behaviour; the result is a novel that gives a deeper than usual insights into the workings of her characters' minds but which gives disconcertingly little for readers to work out for themselves. Oddly, I found that this actually worked surprisingly well, especially at the narrative's many turning points, where the author manages to make sudden revelations and reversals seem all part of the natural order of things -- even when it rapidly becomes apparent that almost nothing in or around the Conti family actually follows most people's understanding of the natural order of things -- largely because nothing is ever really as it seems nor really fully as it is explained at the time. This really brings home just how much of a lie her characters are living most of the time, with the way this presents are 'normal' providing a good deal of food for thought.

With its minimal cast and heavy focus on dialogue, the book reads very much as a stage play reworked as a novel; it would in fact make for an excellent stage or TV drama. As a novel, it perhaps works less well, being a tad over-explained, but it still makes for a great beach read.


Scotch Restickable Tabs 25.4mm x 25.4mm (R100) - 1 pack, 18 tabs per pack
Scotch Restickable Tabs 25.4mm x 25.4mm (R100) - 1 pack, 18 tabs per pack
Price: £3.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Very sticky sticky things, 4 Jun. 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
"Scotch Restickable Tabs" from 3M are an excellent alternative to oil- or solvent-based temporary mounting materials for hanging papers, posters, notices, balloons and other festive or seasonal decorations. The product consists of a pack of medium sized (25.4mm x 25.4mm in this case, but available in various sizes) pads of double-sided adhesive rubber, which certainly seem to adhere well to any clean, dry surface, while at the same time peeling off easily again to be endlessly re-used. The manufacturers claim that if the tabs lose their stickiness with use, they can be washed in warm soapy water to refresh it. I tried this out by deliberately coating one in domestic fluff from the top of a tall cupboard and can confirm that they do indeed recover from this sort of treatment with a quick wash and a blow dry!

In use, the tabs offer a surprisingly high level of adhesion and are supposedly capable of supporting items up to 8 ounces in weight, although I personally wouldn't trust them to hold anything that heavy for very long. Being only a millimetre or so thick, as well as completely colourless, they work much better than sticky putty type alternatives, such as Bostik's "Blu-Tack", which invariably show through even quite thick poster paper. Also, as the adhesive of the pads is very firmly bound to the rubber from which they are made, they leave no visible residue on either wall covering or the item being hung.

My only criticism of the product is that while the plastic container in which they ship can be resealed again after opening, it is of flimsy construction and probably won't last very long with repeated opening and closing, so doesn't serve terribly well as a place to house the unused tabs. The tabs ship attached to several large backing sheets of protective plastic, with each tab's front face protected by individual squares of protective film. This latter is removed from each tab is first used and most likely then lost, so that although tabs can be replaced on the backing sheet after use, this still leaves each front face exposed, and therefore prone to stick to anything they touch! This makes storing a sheet with more than just a few previously used tabs on it a tricky proposition. Apart from this minor gripe, however, I encountered no problems with this product whatsoever.

Recommended.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20