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Brett H "pentangle" RSS Feed (Brighton)
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Smart Weigh Body Fat Digital Precision Scale with Tempered Glass Platform, Eight User Recognition, and 440 lb Weight Capacity, Measures Weight, Body Fat, Water, Muscle and Bone Mass
Smart Weigh Body Fat Digital Precision Scale with Tempered Glass Platform, Eight User Recognition, and 440 lb Weight Capacity, Measures Weight, Body Fat, Water, Muscle and Bone Mass
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $39.99
3 used & new from $35.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive and Versatile, September 16, 2014
The first impressions of this set of personal scales are that the platform feels reassuring large and solid. Having checked our existing scales they are approximately 10 inches square (26 cms), but the Smart Weigh scales are a little over a foot square (31cm). This may not sound like a huge difference, but in fact it means that the platform is over 50% larger than the standard size which is fairly significant especially for the user who may be less confident on their feet.

In appearance these scales are very smart, finished in silver with an attractive black hourglass design in the middle and with a white numerals on black display. There are a choice of units – stones and pounds, kilos or pounds and the unit takes two lithium CR2032 batteries (included). The scales weigh to 0.1 of a pound or kilo.

That is the standard method of operation. However, these scales really come into their own as they are way (sorry!) more sophisticated than just a weighing machine. They can store up to 8 different user profiles and setting up profiles could hardly be simpler. Once the scale has been turned on using the SET button you just use the arrows below the display to set up the profile including gender selection (athlete or not), height and age. You will then be able to measure body fat, water, muscle and bone readings.

When used again the scales will recall your user profile from the last weight reading and there is no need to reprogram. This is fine unless you have two or more users with similar weights and if the weights are within 6.6 pounds you are presented with a choice of profiles. There are charts in the back of the booklet which show how ‘normal’ your readings are and whether you are classed as normal, overweight or obese by your BMI measurement.

The scales come with a two year warranty and appear solid and well built as have each of the Smart Weigh products I have seen. The additional readings available are useful and motivational if you are seriously trying to lose weight, particularly if you can see your BMI dropping along with the pounds. This is a nice product which I have no hesitation in recommending.

This item was kindly sent to me so that I could test it and write an objective review.


Syncwire Lightning Cable to USB [Apple MFI Certified] for Apple iPhone 5 / 5C / 5S, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPod nano 7th generation, ipod touch 5th generation - Best Compatible Charger Cord for Data and Syncing - Guaranteed Wire to Work with iOS7 - Fits All Aftermarket Cases and Accessories - Long (3.3 ft. / 1.0 m) and Portable - Original 8 Pin connector on Lightning End - Fits All USB Car Chargers - Premium Quality with Lifetime Replacement Guarantee
Syncwire Lightning Cable to USB [Apple MFI Certified] for Apple iPhone 5 / 5C / 5S, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPod nano 7th generation, ipod touch 5th generation - Best Compatible Charger Cord for Data and Syncing - Guaranteed Wire to Work with iOS7 - Fits All Aftermarket Cases and Accessories - Long (3.3 ft. / 1.0 m) and Portable - Original 8 Pin connector on Lightning End - Fits All USB Car Chargers - Premium Quality with Lifetime Replacement Guarantee
Offered by Syncwire Products
Price: $29.99
2 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Lifetime Warranty is Impressive, September 14, 2014
The first thing to mention about this cable is that it is Apple certified. This is important as there are any number of cheap knock offs out there which, at best, are not going to work properly or fail quite quickly. Given the relatively modest price tag it is really worth investing in a known and trusted brand.

The cable itself is a metre long which is the same as the original Apple supplied item. The quality also appears to be the same with sturdy, plastic connections firmly fixed to the cable – having manhandled it a bit I can confirm this! In use this cable appeared to charge up my iPhone just as quickly as the original.

I think it is highly significant that this cable comes with a lifetime warranty which certainly demonstrates confidence in their product by the manufacturers. I do not think I have tested any other cables with this sort of guarantee. Overall this is a good quality cable at a modest price and certainly fit for purpose.

I was kindly sent this item to test and write an objective review.


Forty Acres: A Thriller
Forty Acres: A Thriller
by Dwayne Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.30
60 used & new from $8.12

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Debut Novel, September 14, 2014
Forty Acres starts with a young, black lawyer, Martin Grey, winning a major law case in some style. At that stage I thought I was in for an interesting legal drama a la Grisham style. However, nothing could be further from the case as the story quickly develops into an original, well written and well plotted tale with a rather tense climax.

Following his victory, Grey is introduced to a small group of powerful and successful black men. His first reaction is to be flattered and to anticipate these connections helping his career. However, clearly this is a very select group who have chosen him to join them. Grey soon realises that all is not as it seems and that these people are harboring a secret of immense proportions. He soon realises that there is no way out and that both he and his wife are potentially under threat if he does not fit in.

I liked the story which raises issues about race and identity and I liked the style of writing. It is very much to the point and the author does not repeat the mistakes of many new authors in overcomplicating things, adding unnecessary description and trying to impress with verbiage. It is a good length book, but not overly drawn out and the climax is well thought through. The twist at the very end was to my taste, although I suspect it will not suit everyone.

Overall this is an excellent debut novel and it will be interesting to see what the author comes up with next, as Forty Acres has a fairly unique plot which would be difficult to transfer to a sequel. Highly recommended!


DBPOWER Kitchen Cooking Fried Oven Poacher Pancake Egg Poach Ring with Folding Handles (2, flower)
DBPOWER Kitchen Cooking Fried Oven Poacher Pancake Egg Poach Ring with Folding Handles (2, flower)
Offered by bravolink
Price: $5.99
2 used & new from $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Star Quality!, September 12, 2014
For a breakfast with `star quality' this was just the ticket! Great fun with either poached eggs or fried eggs it is certain to be a conversation piece for your guests as the star shape (or other shape as there is a choice) can hardly be ignored. It works perfectly if you are poaching, but for fried eggs it does make them somewhat thicker than usual, and you will have to cook them a little longer, but on a very low heat so as not to burn them.

Also worth mentioning is that they are non stick so, once cooked, it is very easy to remove the shape (easily done with the handle) and remove the egg from the pan with a slice. Worth making sure the shape is greased before use for ease of removal though. Not mentioned in the product description is that these also make very nice pastry cutters to get some interesting shapes.

Overall I thought these were really a nice kitchen accessory at a fairly modest price.

I was kindly sent this item so that I could test it and write an objective review.


Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
Istanbul: A Journey to the Heart of Turkish Cuisine
by Andy Harris
Edition: Hardcover
19 used & new from $19.51

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicely Presented and Very Practical, September 4, 2014
Eat Istanbul is a very nicely produced and presented book stuffed with dozens of authentic Turkish recipes to tempt the palate. The recipes are divided into half a dozen sections – Breakfast, Streetfood and Snacks, Vegetables and Pulses, Meat and Poultry, Fish and Seafood and Desserts. Rather usefully there is also a glossary of ingredients at the end, although few of the ingredients are very obscure or hard to source.

The methodology of each recipe is clearly laid out. This varies between the extremely simple such as Tomato Soup to the rather more complex dishes. Some have quite lengthy instructions, but the reader should not be put off by this as it is all quite clear and a detailed step by step guide. I thought the illustrations were particularly good and looked very much like authentic Turkish cuisine. I also liked the little snippets which were a little like a travelogue and brought it all to life.

If you like Turkish food then there is plenty here to entertain you and which you will want to try yourself. Ones that caught my eye were the delicious Veal, Tomato and Pepper Stew which, incidentally, was very simple to make, Stuffed Lamb with Apricots, Pistachios and Greens and, frankly, just about all of the desserts which I have a particular weakness for!

Overall an attractive and nicely presented and very practical book which will be a very welcome present for anyone who has an interest in Turkish cuisine, or alternatively very worthy of a place in one’s own culinary library.


Risen: The Battle for Darracia (Book III) (The Darracia Saga 3)
Risen: The Battle for Darracia (Book III) (The Darracia Saga 3)
Price: $1.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Entertaining Saga, September 4, 2014
This is the third of the Darracia saga and I have been anticipating reading this one, having enjoyed the first two. The first thing to mention is that you really need to have read the others, or at least the second one to get on board with this story. The starting point is very much the continuation of the end of the second book, and without this background you will probably just find it confusing. Even having read the second book, there is a lot of reference to various characters and I found myself working hard to remember who was whom. A list of players would possibly be helpful.

However, overall this is a very entertaining trilogy. It is certainly one of those sagas where it is very clear as to who are the good guys as the divide between good and evil is unambiguously portrayed. I think I commented in an earlier review that I feel that this is ideal for the Young Adult market, but having said that, I, who am certainly not a YA nor have been for quite a while, found plenty to keep my interest alive here.

Personally I did not think this book was quite as strong as the other two and hence my rating. However, overall I would certainly rate the trilogy as a whole at Five Stars. Michael Phillip Cash has, in his relatively short writing career, already demonstrated what a gifted and versatile writer he is. I have read all his published books and am looking forward to reading his next offering. I wonder what direction he will choose to go in next!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2014 6:35 PM PDT


The Sun is God
The Sun is God

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing Tale in Quite a Different Time and Place, September 4, 2014
This review is from: The Sun is God (Kindle Edition)
I have read Adrian McKinty’s three Sean Duffy books and have thoroughly enjoyed them. The author writes of the Northern Ireland setting with which he is so familiar with some authority and more than a little dark humour. However, The Sun God is set in quite a different time and place so I thought it would be interesting to see if McKinty’s undoubted talents would smoothly transfer to this environment. The answer is a resounding yes and the result is an entertaining and very readable tale.

Things start out with Will Prior in the army in South Africa in the early 1900s. Clearly not happy he is determined to get out with his skin and his liberty intact. Having accomplished this we next encounter Will living in German New Guinea where he is persuaded by the German authorities to investigate a possible murder on a neighbouring island. The victim was a member of the cocovores, a tiny and strange sect who think they can achieve immortality with a diet of coconuts and naked sun worship. Things do not go easily for Will and not only does he meet a wall of silence, but both his sanity and health come under threat as he strives to get answers.

Rather surprisingly this story was based on real events and has clearly been meticulously researched. The cocovores really did exist and there are numerous authentic touches such as their dedication to heroin a ‘non addictive’ medicine produced by Bayer from 1898! This is a relatively short book, but is an absorbing portrayal of the rather stuffy colonial environment which existed at the time and which most readers will appreciate.


Love to Cook: 140 Simply Delicious Recipes to Share
Love to Cook: 140 Simply Delicious Recipes to Share
by Valli Little
Edition: Paperback
2 used & new from $75.27

5.0 out of 5 stars An Eclectic But Interesting Collection, August 28, 2014
This is an unusual cookbook in that it has no particular theme, but is just a collection of recipes which, presumably, have appealed to the author who has considered that they are dishes which her readers too will love to cook. It is none the worse for that in that the scope of the recipes has not been limited and the result is an eclectic but interesting mix which is fun to read and fun to follow in the kitchen.

The book is split into a dozen sections – eggs and dairy, soup and starters, seafood, poultry, meat, pasta noodles and rice, vegetables, salads, desserts, cakes and bakes, fruit and, finally festive. Some of these are incredibly simple such as proper custard and how to boil and egg properly – don’t laugh but I was certainly not boiling eggs quite this way! Others are much more sophisticated. However, none suffer from the syndrome of unrealistically long lists of ingredients, nor did I spot any of the ingredients which look too demanding to source.

The methodology is succinct and not overly lengthy and is quite easy to follow. This is clearly one author who does not believe in making things too complicated in order to impress her readers! However, some of the dishes are very tempting. Indian Spiced Prawns with Fresh Coconut, Bloody Mary Crab Pasta and Lemon Tiramasu are just three examples which I will be trying out.

Overall I thought this was an impressive book which I am sure will be the source of some favourite recipes.


MeasuPro TF1000 ThermoFast Waterproof IPX7 Pen Shape Digital Stem Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
MeasuPro TF1000 ThermoFast Waterproof IPX7 Pen Shape Digital Stem Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Takes Out All The Guesswork, August 26, 2014
In my opinion a probe thermometer is an essential extra in any kitchen as it takes all the guesswork out of cooking meat. Some meats are juicy at certain temperatures but dry out at higher temperatures, beef being an obvious example. It is even more important on the barbeque, where undercooked poultry is an ever lurking hazard.

I was impressed with this probe. It is designed to be inserted in meat for a few seconds - you should get an accurate reading after about six seconds - rather than being left in the meat whilst cooking which it is certainly unsafe to do. Clearly well made, it is constructed from food safe and robust plastic with a stainless steel probe. Completely waterproof it is rather surprisingly also dishwasher proof which speaks to its robust construction and is very useful as this is one item which you absolutely need to be absolutely uncontaminated. It also comes with an instrument which looks like a biro with a clip which you can put the probe in to hold it in a breast pocket.

The instructions are sufficient to operate the probe but are extremely difficult to read. I do not know who decided that white on grey was a good idea but I feel they were misguided! However, it is intuitively quite obvious what the control buttons mean. It has the facility to swap from Centigrade into Fahrenheit and has a phenomenally large temperature range. There is a hold function to keep the last reading and a maximum and minimum facility to recall the highest and lowest temperatures measured.

In my opinion a temperature probe is an essential aid in the kitchen as it makes the whole process of cooking meat rather more scientific. In the last few weeks this has behaved faultlessly and I have no hesitation in recommending it.

This was kindly sent to me so that I could test it in order to write an objective review.


Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6500-FFP)
Linksys AC1200 MAX Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE6500-FFP)
Price: $94.90

5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Piece of Kit, August 26, 2014
I have used range extenders before, both the sort which work through an electric point and distribute the wifi signal through your electrical wiring and the type which, like this one, rely on wireless signals to operate. At best I have found these to be challenging to set up and in one notable case, after an hour on the phone with a techie and a replacement router, all agreed it was best to give up!

The Linksys router was like a breath of fresh air. Out of the box the instructions were suspiciously simple along the lines of:

Plug in the router halfway between the source and the point where you want to extend the wifi to, making sure you have a reasonably good signal. Wait a couple of minutes until you have a solid light on the router
Use a tablet, laptop or phone and connect to ‘Linksys Extender Setup’. If a window does not automatically open go to web address 192.168.1.1
On opening the window you had to put in your wifi password, then finish and connect to your network

Would you believe it really was as simple as that and the whole process took rather less than five minutes and worked without a hitch. Even better the wifi now extends all over our rambling Victorian house to places far beyond my reasonable expectations.

This really is a brilliant piece of kit and the best of its type I have come across by a wide margin. It certainly gets my unequivocal recommendation.


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