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AJS (London) (London UK)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

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Polaroid Optics 40.5mm Multi-Coated UV Protective Filter
Polaroid Optics 40.5mm Multi-Coated UV Protective Filter
Offered by Smart Shop UK
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Inexpensive and performs as well as others, 23 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Less expensive than other brands, it appears to function to expectation without distortion caused by poorly made filter elements.


JJC LH-S1650 Metal Lens Hood for Sony E-PZ SELP 1650
JJC LH-S1650 Metal Lens Hood for Sony E-PZ SELP 1650
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Effective and inexpensive, 23 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
To fit many compact mini-zooms using a 40.5mm screw thread.

Purchased to use on an older Pen E-P1 camera fitted with the original 14-42mm standard zoom lens. This has an internal thread only although later versions have an external bayonet fitting for lens hoods which are also shaped to suit their 4:3 native format. A major problem with universal attachments is the possibility that there will be some degree of cut-off into the image corners with the lens set to its widest but that does not apply in this instance.

A fraction of the price of Olympus' current bayonet-fitting hood; the older original screw-thread hood is no longer made and dfifficult to find.


Rapesco ECO A4+ Expanding File with 13 Colourful Compartments - Clear
Rapesco ECO A4+ Expanding File with 13 Colourful Compartments - Clear
Price: £9.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Ok rather than brilliant; some practical usage limitations, 23 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Expanding files are not exactly new and versions were in daily use when first starting work - retirement was a few years ago! Where Rapesco's products differ is that they are constructed of plastics rather than thin card, are inherently more robust but less expandable and then only at the top. Another type (also Rapesco's) is also firmly bonded at the edges, bottom included, leaving limited expandability at the top. With the older products, it was sometimes possible to have 50-plus sheets of paper in some pockets if others were less well-filled, but not in these - 15-20 sheets is about the maximum per pocket and perhaps 200 in total. There are 13 pockets in this version but a similar 7-pocket version is available. The reduced capacities may also reflect a reduction in the use and storage of printed documents relative to the past.

The material used in the construction is quite thick and rigid but there is no gussetting in these areas that would allow true expandability. The fixed bottom edge is also restricting. The product's functionality is therefore limited. The front flap and contents are held by elasticated corner straps at the bottom. There are two possible colours but supplied randomly.

Although Rapesco products are often replacing those from other brands, many the traditional office brands, their filing products are not as obvious a choice as other groups may be.


Teach Yourself Visually MacBook (Teach Yourself Visually (Tech))
Teach Yourself Visually MacBook (Teach Yourself Visually (Tech))
by Guy Hart-Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent coverage of the subject but with minimal text; uses a visual approach, 22 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Although the choice for many will be the wordier tomes that comprise most third-party computer hardware and software guides, there are others who prefer the visual approach to the subject and the 'Visually' series is among the best of them. 'Teach Yourself Visually MacBook' is the current edition of the established series-within-a-series of which several, if not all, earlier editions were by the same author. There is therefore a certain similarity to the contents of its predecessors but updated to incorporate the latest software and hardware changes that exist.

The book is primarily intended for those purchasing or using the late 2015/2016 series of MacBooks whether the Air, Retina screen or other models and especially those pre-installed with the El Capitan release of OS X or using an older model and upgrading to El Capitan from a previous version. It is possible that 2016/2017 models may have been announced or released as may another OS X major release before too long has passed. In either situation, some portions of the book may then no longer apply.

The book takes a task-led approach and its chapters cover almost everything from unpacking a new computer and powering it up for the first time, setting it up to your needs including Internet connectivity, e-mail accounts, using the installed applications and exploring basic functions plus the more interesting possibilities of obtaining and collecting and later working with music, movie clips and movies, family and personal photographs and much more beyond. Each double-page spread tackles one topic within the scope of the relevant Chapter, each of which uses colour-coded top-of-page margins. Although not a primary concern of author or publisher, the book may also provide limited help for those migrating from the Windows to Mac platform. With its visual approach, the book will be less effective with some topics than others.

The concept of the 'Visual' series is to concentrate on the images and minimise textual content, most of which is limited to short sentences. The book is intended as an Introduction to its subject and is suitable for readers from 8 to 80 and beyond. For further reading with additional detail and broader coverage which may be later required, there are various 'Dummies' guides of only slightly greater technical level (comprehension level Beginners to Intermediate) from the same publisher although there will be areas of overlap and redundancy; both series are highly regarded and among the best sellers of their respective types and subjects.

One of the best choices available.


Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Number 2.0, Top Coat 14.7 ml
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Number 2.0, Top Coat 14.7 ml
Price: £9.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intended for use with the brand's nail colours; not a stand-alone treatment, 22 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ordered with the sole purpose to help treat a family member's very soft nails, a lesser side-effect of certain types of arthritis and which may be exaggerated by medication; 'Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Number 2.0, Top Coat 14.7 ml' was expected to be a possible answer.

Although this brand or product had not been previously tried, it had been a long-term intention to try a specific product from a well-known nail-care brand that is designed as a nail treatment which, with frequent use and over time, can build up the strength of the nails, prevent breakage and otherwise improve their condition. This is not that type of product although it may provide some of those benefits in the short-term but it cannot be used other than to augment the brand's nail colours or similar products from other brands. That information was garnered only after placing the order. When correctly used, it does not need UV light or a specialist device to harden and it can be removed with a standard nail varnish remover without a pre-soak or other pre-treatment; it can be left on for up to 14 days but reports suggest that it is more prone to cracking than other similar finishes which are typically removed and refreshed more often.

However, as it not intended to be used as expected and not suited as a stand-alone treatment, it will currently not be used. The intended user does not wear highly coloured nail colours, occasionally a clear almost colourless coating, and it isn't known whether this will work with such products.

Addendum - the user ignored the manufacturers' advice and applied this directly to the bare nails, achieving some hardening almost as soon as it dried.


Vanwalk 60-inch Golf Umbrella - "Dupont Teflon" Automatic Open Extra Large Full Size Umbrella with Teflon Coated 210T Microfiber Fabric, Windproof, Lifetime Warranty (Black)
Vanwalk 60-inch Golf Umbrella - "Dupont Teflon" Automatic Open Extra Large Full Size Umbrella with Teflon Coated 210T Microfiber Fabric, Windproof, Lifetime Warranty (Black)
Offered by Vanwalk
Price: £22.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Large and robust umbrella, reasonable price, 20 July 2016
The 'Vanwalk 60-inch Golf Umbrella' is, in many ways, as traditional as others of its type but also innovatory in several respects. It is full-length, a standard 40-inches (fractionally in excess of 1 metre). As a golf umbrella, its handle is straight rather than curved, is quite large and covered with foam rubber for a positive grip. Despite its extensive use of glassfibre which is typically regarded as weight-saving material and relatively minimal use of metal, it is surprisingly heavy. A slip-over cover, apparently of the same fabric as used for its canopy is included.

The canopy is not of the usual nylon fabric or in multiple bright colours typical of most golf umbrellas but in a close-weave, black multifibre which is also Teflon-coated. Not only does the close-weave fabric increase rain and wind resistance but the coating ensures that any water remaining on its surface will soon bead and drip off; a quick shake after use and it should be dry enough to fold away until next time. The same coating is used on another Vanwalk umbrella's canopy and has never yet needed to be dried before closing, folding and storing. The umbrella arrived during a hot, dry spell although, had it arrived a week previously, there were both strong winds and periods of heavy rain which would have proven a good time for testing.

The umbrella's ribs and shaft use glass fibre for a claimed reduction in weight and greater strength. The shaft is thicker than is probably normal but appears to be in proportion to its overall length. The ribs are circular, probably thin tubes, which would be inherently substantially stronger than the U-shaped thin metal pressings usually used. The ribs have large plastic caps at their outer limits. In heavy rain or strong winds there is a lesser chance that the ribs and canopy will collapse and blow inside out, one or more ribs snapping etc. It is also fitted with a fully automatic action, opening fully at the press of a button and part-closing when pressed again; some straightening of the canopy and securing its strap will still be required. A similar mechanism, although within a folding umbrella with several joints within each rib, is employed within another Vanwalk umbrella previously purchased.

While the canopy is wider than that of some umbrellas, this will not be out-of-place within a staid office environment, whereas a standard multi-coloured golf umbrella could raise a few eyebrows within some. With its 40-inch length, this is not an everyday umbrella many would use 'city gent' style when walking; it is far too long for that, too heavy and its straight handle would make that difficult. Conversely, it is a great umbrella to have in the car and, for those who actually play golf, in the golf bag among the clubs. The canopy is certainly large enough to shield two adults, possibly three if very friendly.

This is not a 'cheap' umbrella. Were it not imported from the Far East, a price several times higher would be expected. The seller must be very convinced of the product's quality and expected longevity as not only does it carry a standard 2-year guarantee but a lifetime repair or replacement guarantee, too. It is certainly worth trying by those who would actually need it.


Popband Ponytail Holders, Glo
Popband Ponytail Holders, Glo
Price: £6.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Well-named and the poppiest colours of all; fairly priced, 20 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This has to be the brightest and most eye-popping set of the many possible. 'Popband Ponytail Holders, Glo' are well-named as the colours are similar to fluorescent tones used in several unrelated products.

In essence they are wide and very stretchy hair bands, knotted to join the open ends and consequently more secure than those that are either stitched or use a metal clamp to join their ends. Additionally, as the fabric is wider it is also kinder to the hair as they are far less likely to catch, tangle or tear out some strands. It is also claimed that use as wrist-bands is possible and these five colours may be among the best suited should that be an intention or a possibility; many of the other available colours are dark and may lack the 'decorative' element if so used.

If bright and cheerful is your personal choice, and it will be for many, this is probably the set to have.


Popband Ponytail Holders, Working Girl
Popband Ponytail Holders, Working Girl
Price: £8.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Accurately illustrated and fairly priced, 20 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This mini-collection of Popbands is probably those most would want to wear in the working place be it an office, retail situation or possibly a lab or medical situation and probably the best suited other than those that may tone in with your hair colour - blondes, browns and blacks are among the plainer-coloured sets available.

'Popband Ponytail Holders, Working Girl' comprise patterned fabrics in tweedy and other duo-tone styles with some plain styles included. The fabric is elasticated and very stretchy and sufficiently wide and soft not to tangle into the hair or pull it out when removed; they are far kinder than either plain elstic bands or the fabric-covered bands that break all too easily and too quickly. These are knotted and therefore inherently stronger.

All the sets comprise five bands and there are many, including some far brighter, poppier colours that may be better suited to lesiure-time activities. The plainer and mostly darker sets may be more appropriate to workplace, school and college, anywhere that is likely to take a conservative view on dress codes.

Fairly priced and well-suited to their role.


Crocs Karin Women's Clogs - Black, 6 UK (38-39 EU)
Crocs Karin Women's Clogs - Black, 6 UK (38-39 EU)
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Comfortable, lightweight and fairly priced, 19 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The 'Crocs Karin Women's Clogs - Black, 6 UK (38-39 EU)' is in a dramatically different design than those of most Crocs; rather than having either a ankle strap or nothing, this has an additional mid-foot strap. Although initially appearing small and a possible issue, fit was extremely good. The front section of the shoe is quite shallow, following the form of many traditional ladies' shoes.

The perforations in the front section are classic for Crocs as is the blocky design of the outer sole, in a form of chevrons. The inner sole has the usual dimpled surface which provides security on the foot and was once claimed to help circulation; the dimples usually need a few days after which they are never again noticeable. The wearer has indicated that the insole appears to be softer than expected.

Although there is no personal wear experience of any ladies only designs, there is with several gents and unisex models, the latter being common within the brand. Crocs typically provide about two years' service if worn for several hours daily 24/7, usually until the outer sole becomes too smooth to be safe if worn outdoors in wet weather. In addition to being an everyday outdoor shoe, they could also be a shoe for the workplace worn for comfort while not being outlandish or unacceptable.

Although designated for UK size 6, these will probably also suit those needing a slightly smaller size in a wider fitting. Otherwise, they appear to be true-to-size.


Kitchen Craft Stay Fresh Potato Bag
Kitchen Craft Stay Fresh Potato Bag
Price: £4.25

4.0 out of 5 stars OK but not fully light-tight; limited extra storage life, 17 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is essentially identical to a bag purchased several years ago and branded by a major kitchen and housewares supply chain.

The outer is a coarse fabric, the interior of which is coated in black with the intention to make it as lightproof as possible, but the coating is thin and patchy with the result that some areas allow light to seep through. There is also a half-length white zip down one edge which has no form of light shielding to help preserve the contents. The bag is sized to hold the contents of a 2.5Kg bag of potatoes with a small extra capacity.

In practice with the existing bag which this replaces, some potato varieties will keep quite well in the bag, potentially for 2-3 weeks should you not use them often. However, others - Maris Piper is the consistently worst performer regardless of where they are sourced (market stall, major supermarket or local shop) - will barely last a few days either before sprouting or, as a worst case scenario, suffer from the offensively odoured wet rot. Wet rot will stain the fabric but washing the bag is not recommended but it can be wiped with a damp cloth; that will not remove the stain and it will do little to relieve the permanent foul odour that the fabric will retain.

Best stored in a dark and cool location, a dry cupboard or lidded wooden box, the bag can help add a few days to potatoes' storage life, but don't expect too much.


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