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    • Acer Aspire 8000 / Desktop PC / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      04.03.2015 03:54

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      Great thing to use :)

      I moved into a new office a couple of months ago, and needed something that went "beep" to sit in the middle of my desk. The option of spending lots of money wasn't there, so I looked around for a branded but cheap PC. For about £380 inc VAT I got the Acer. The spec is modest. 1.2GHz Duron, 40GB HD (the ads, invoice and web site all say 20GB, but I have 3 of these now, and they're all 40!) 52X CD-ROM drive, 128MB of RAM.
      Plugging it in was a breeze. Acer provide a wall chart thingy with pictures of sockets, cables etc., so you just hold something next to the picture to find out what it is, and plug it in! The mouse is a standard wheel mouse, but the keyboard is a USB one with a very nice touch, and it has a volume control (tap to mute), play/pause, stop, back and forward buttons, WWW and email buttons, plus 5 programmable buttons. Nicely, Acer have provided desktop software that lets you print the button layouts and there is a little see through window above the 5 keys that these printed labels fit into. They also provide blank labels you can write on. As a touch typist I find the Acer keyboard very nice to use. No harsh clicking, and no bouncy feel. Just right for my gently typing.

      The case itself is blue and grey. There is an easily removable flap at the front which covers the floppy and CD drive bays. With the flap up, there's just a light and a switch on the front. I think it looks slightly strange, but the flap cuts down a surprising amount of noise (see below) Going inside the case, there are 3 PCI slots, a separate AGP slot, two DIMM sockets, one with the 128MB in it and two IDE interfaces with proper two-device cables provided. The PCI slot covers are the snap-off type, but what do you expect for £300+VAT? On the rear of the case you have the standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, two USB ports, integral video card, sound card, game card and network card connectors, and a "hard" power switch, should the software front switch fail to operate in the event of a crash.
      Apart from the PC, keyboard and mouse, there isn't much in the box. The wall-chart, a system restore CD and a nice an "extras" CD with Adobe Acrobat and a few other essentials. The box has an integral carry handle, which is a sight better than having to heft the whole lot around under an arm. There's a one-year warranty in there too, although I have 4 of these PCs now at work, and they've been rock solid in day-to-day use.

      Right, it's all plugged in and I hit the power button. Yark! This PC is pretty noisy. Not whiny, or grunchy or squealy, thankfully, just a constant mid-tone thrum from the fans. In my working environment, it would be just fine, but in the office it's just slightly too loud. I suppose this is the "get what you paid for" trade off, and the only downside of the Acer I can really see.
      Within 30 seconds, Windows XP Home has loaded, and I batter through the registration process. Everything feels nice and snappy. I installed Office 2000 Pro, got my network connection up, and configured my mail and web clients. At this point it started to feel slightly slower, and a quick gander at Task Manager showed my Commit Charge going beyond 130MB with a couple of apps open. 128MB is just about the mininum requirement for any Windows based PC beyond Win98SE, so I bought an additional 256MB DIMM (£26+VAT). Fitting extra hardware is a breeze. A single screw at the rear of the side panel releases it, and there is very easy access to all areas of the machine's internals. Plugging in the 256MB DIMM was just a case of moving a couple of cables to one side (no disconnections necessary), and pressing it gently into the spare socket. Literally a 3 minute job. With the side back on, I powered up again, and had 384MB of RAM immediately. The extra memory makes an astounding difference. Boot times are down to about 35s, log in is just about 10s, and I can have Excel, Word, Opera and my email running in parallel and still have 177MB of free physical memory. It really does fly! I won't go into the joys of playing Medal Of Honor on it, because it isn't a joy. But it's a business machine at heart. Surfing the web, working with data, writing letters and reviews, sending emails. For this kind of work it excels, and with the multimedia keyboard a tap of the volume control silences things for answering the phone, talking to The Boss etc.

      A sheep in sheep's clothing. If you want a cheap, network ready PC, and don't mind a bit of background noise, you won't find much to beat the Acer for build quality and value

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      04.03.2015 03:19

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      the most technologically advanced

      Featuring 24 amp channel models--both the clean and distorted channels of 12 popular amps for the first time anywhere--plus 11 editable preamp "stomp box" effects and 11 editable post-amp "rack" effects with dual-parameter control. Players can use up to five effects simultaneously. When used with the optional Peavey Sanpera(tm) II foot controller, the possibilities further expand from 12 in-amp presets to 400 programmable presets, with an on-board looper and more.

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    • The Brood (Blu Ray) / Blu-Ray Movie / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      04.03.2015 03:16

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      Its a classic movie, if you like buy it!

      Arguably the best and most personal of director David Cronenberg's early films, The Brood is an extremely unsettling horror film about familial disintegration and emotional trauma taken to a monstrous extreme. Art Hindle (Black Christmas) stars as a man embroiled in a bitter custody struggle with his estranged wife (Samantha Eggar), who is undergoing therapy at psychiatrist Oliver Reed's controversial institute. Reed's treatment causes his patients to give form to their inner conflicts, and Eggar--whose psyche is at the boiling point from childhood abuse as well as the custody trial--creates a horde of homicidal humanoid children who enact bloody revenge on anyone who has threatened their "mother." Cronenberg's first feature with name actors and composer Howard Shore has its share of gruesome moments, but the film's subtext--how emotional violence impacts a family--is its most chilling aspect.

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    • Renault New Kangoo / Car / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      04.03.2015 03:09

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      • "Terrible Car"

      Dont Buy This Car

      Beware: do not buy this car. I purchased a 2009 model and I used it in my cleaning business. It's done only 40,000 km but in that time I have changed a cylinder, starter motor, the entire air con system and all out of warranty. Roughly $6K of work. Now this week I am told the computer is broken which is another $2-3K. I bought it because it was the only auto van in market and was good price. Wors e mistake ever and to rub salt into the wound Renault Australia that is run under Nissan could not give a toss about my concerns. French are good at wine, cheese and running away from wars. Cars. No. Disgrace.

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    • NAD C370 / Amplifier / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      04.03.2015 03:05

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      • "clean power Audio"

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      Have Some Problems But its Gold

      Ok.now for the review. Well to start off, this amp is a very good value for what you get. It has a LOT of clean power. It has very good build quality and componets and a real pleasure to listen to. I dont even remeber what my first impressions were in particular (they were good though) but in my system this amp has very clear, airy smooth, detailed powerfull sound. Bass control is superb. Highs are not harsh. they are smooth and airy. Very black soundstage is thats how you explain it. It has alot of control and grace, on my speakers which are 4 ohm, it has no problem whatsoever driving them at high levels. the sound is never strained sounding. I just cant really think of anything else to say about the nad. It sounds wonderfull and i love it. Nuff said!

      As for the build. the face and chassis is all metal. the rca plugs in the back are all gold plated and they arent going to pull out if you have tight fitting cables like me. The binding posts are a bit funky, compared to something im used to using. Its kina of hard to get a set of cables on the B output when your using spades. But they are very secure and do the job nicely. I will be honest, i have had the amp in for service once. About a month after i got it i moved my gear around and when i went to turn it back on the left channel was really weak. turned out giving it a nice tap on the side made the channel kick right back in lol. well in jan 02 i finally got tired of it and sent it in, the service center tried to send it back because he couldnt find anything wrong with it the first time, Bill at YAWA told me about it and i convinced him to have it sent back. turns out they found the volume pot was bad. I have had it for almost a year now sice i recieved the unit back and it has worked flawlessly since. Some people complain the remote isint good because you have to point it directly the unit but i havent had this problem.

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    • Yamaha RX-V565 / Receiver / 0 Readings / 0 Ratings
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      04.03.2015 00:46

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      • "accurate auto set-up"
      • "good bass"
      • "Solid build"

      Disadvantages

      • "not as dynamic or exciting to listen to as the class-leaders"
      • "Input assignment issues"

      Perfectly decent, just not the daddy at this price point

      This past year we reached a place where almost anyone can enjoy surround sound. There are two paths to home theater nirvana - or at least the start if it: a home theater-in-a-box system, or building a 5.1 or 7.1 system from quality entry level components. Yamaha's RX-V565, with its typical selling price of just $429.95 gives consumers a very inexpensive way to get into an HDMI-equipped AV receiver. The receiver has four HDMI inputs, each of which are capable of reading and decoding the new high resolution audio formats. This provides a great way to feed four components into a newer HDMI-equipped HD television. Because these HDMI inputs decode the latest HD audio formats, you can all but say goodbye to optical or multi-channel 5.1 analogue audio sources. You can also say goodbye to switching inputs on your television, should you decide to use the 1080p up-conversion that comes with this receiver.

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    • More +
      03.03.2015 23:35
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      Bitesize of his best recipes x

      Battered.
      The whole book is simply battered by food, equipment and now totally unrecognisable from when it was purchased.

      The reason I rated this three DOOYOO hearts and not more, is simply because as fabulous as this book is, it basically is a combination of his best recipes condensed into a easier and more manageable format to have in your kitchen.
      You are able to find exactly what you are looking for and not struggling to get book after book out trying to find 'THAT' recipe.

      On one hand this is good for the beginner, the meals are straightforward, his best ones and easy to accomplish. A great introduction for new cooks that want to go up a gear.
      For those who love Nigel Slater and loyal, you basically just need this out of sheer loyalty.
      There are one or two recipes in here I haven't seen before but otherwise this is a combination of his works in recent years. I do use this and like I mentioned at the top of the review its battered for a reason. That reason is it is actually much more accessible. Most of his recipes that I've fallen for and my hips are in one place.

      I'm on the fence whether to recommend it because a little I feel cheated but on the other hand it looks great on the shelf!

      This retails at £12 but obviously the prices now differ and a kindle format is available [not such a fan of that due to formatting].

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      03.03.2015 23:34
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      • "pretty bottle"
      • "smells lovely"

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      • "not very long-lasting"
      • "heavy and headache-inducing"

      Lovely but headache-inducing

      Vera Wang Glam Princess is an Eau de Toilette which is available in a 30ml bottle priced at £28, or a 50ml bottle priced at £45. It's not part of their current line of fragrances so it is more difficult to get hold of.


      My thoughts

      The bottle is very pretty and I love looking at this standing on my dressing table. The gold and pink colours work really well together and the heart shape of the bottle is really cute.

      I couldn't find a description of this fragrance from the manufacturer which is a shame as I do like to see if their description match my thoughts on the scent!
      The top notes are watermelon and berries, the mid notes are jasmine, rose and frangipani, and the base notes are wood and musk. The overall fragrance is quite a heavy, sweet floral with a lot of depth provided my the woody and musky base.

      I do like this scent, it's nice and fresh to begin with and then gets heavier as you wear it, with the mid and base notes taking over from the fruity top notes. I find it's one that develops and changes throughout the day and it becomes very deep and musky.

      The scent is quite versatile as it's light enough to be worn during the day without being ott, but it's also heavy enough to hold it's own on a night out. It would suit anyone I think as it has elements within it that seem younger and elements that seem more mature, so I think it wouldn't seem out of place on any age of woman.

      Although this is a lovely scent which I do enjoy, it does give me a headache very quickly so I struggle to wear it, and it's also one that I've never received any compliments on, which leads me to believe that most people don't like it as much as I do! It also doesn't last that well, even for an eau de toilette, and I find I have to top it up every 3 hours or so if I want the scent to stay with me.

      Recommended?

      Yes, I would recommend this as a nice versatile scent if you're not sensitive to chemical perfumes like me. If you are then you'll probably find it will leave you with a major headache!

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    • More +
      03.03.2015 23:33
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      More than seeing in the dark.

      I always said that, for me, nothing would ever replace the book - the feel of the page, the look of the type ... but if like me you can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night but don't want to disturb your partner by clicking on the light for a read, your average book isn't much good.
      Enter the Kindle Fire HD. I'm not much of a technology expert so I couldn't believe it when the page showed up in the dark! Brilliant, all I have to do is locate the switch to turn it on, which is easily found on the top of the device and hey presto - a book I can read to my heart's content without having to switch on the light.
      But this really does just touch the tip of the iceberg for me as this Kindle does everything. You can listen to music, watch your favourite movies and play games - there's an app to suit every occasion. Setting up the Kindle enables you to create an Amazon account so you can get the app that you need quickly and easily. Some of the apps are free but others charge a fee.
      The apps I use enable me to also browse the internet, check my status on Facebook and also my e-mails. To say that I never thought there would be a place in my heart for a Kindle that's not bad going!
      The only issue I have and this is no reflection on the device, is that I get so carried away using it, I forget to charge it up, as this is few and far between and I get loads of usage before having to bother.

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    • More +
      03.03.2015 23:33

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      • " lots to do"
      • "Good long game"

      Disadvantages

      • "Some tedious challenges"
      • Glitches

      Assassins Creed Unity - Worth a play if you're a fan of the series.

      As a big fan of the Assassins creed franchise since the first one I can say that after the big glitches at launch were ironed out this game is now very good. A good compelling story line coupled with the parkour style game play leads to some fun gaming. After completing the game I enjoyed going back and completing the "challenges" that each level requires to get that infamous 100% completion. The game is not easy and takes a long time to complete. Gladly they've unlocked the content that previously you had to play the " companion app" to unlock which was awful. Some bad points though, the game is frustrating when your character doesn't do what I intend him to do. Sometimes he just hangs there while I frustratingly try to get him to climb or drop. This is the result of Ubisoft releasing an unfinished game to begin with, they've gotten the worst glitches out which were laughable but the game will never be perfect.

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    • More +
      03.03.2015 23:21
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      Mr Slater is simply stunning again xx

      Stunning. This is more like a novel than a cookbook and I suppose that is what he is almost trying to achieve. Intertwining this with everyday living.

      As I read this, it felt personal as though you were really reading his diaries exactly what they aimed to achieve came across but so much more. It felt like you were getting to know the author, his ideas and where they came from.
      At times, it felt like sitting down with an old friend and listening to them.

      This guy has a wealth of knowledge and understanding that successfully spills out onto the pages, coming alive in your taste buds as you read through the ingredients, you sense the season he is in and taking inspiration from and the hope it gives him to cook and the confidence that you too can achieve this.

      I thought it would be impossible. I am really starting to love reading through cookbooks and this book feels more than that.
      I can come away with a recipe that a man such as himself has made and create it in my own home.
      The attention to small details makes a big difference to your thinking as you read this through and it changes the way you think about food and what results you can get.

      The format is clear, clean and inspiring. The pictures are rustic and draws you away from a busy world and its almost like you can hear Nigel Slater speaking these words, having watched the SIMPLE SUPPERS series on TV.

      Day by day throughout the year there are menus that reflect the time of year, everything that should be in season so it makes it more achievable for you to get hold of.
      Your walking through a kitchen diary, literally.
      I love the way he brings the left over together to make something really fabulous and tasty and the way he also gets you to pull out all the food you might have thrown away and use them.

      A final mention is of the way in which he cares about the food producers comes across, where it comes from, sourced and handled comes across strongly. He helps you believe in the bigger picture and your contribution to that.

      If you are passionate about cooking this is for you.

      This books is well used beyond the moment I brought it in and used time and time again. Not bad for £16.9 at the time of purchase.

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      03.03.2015 23:20
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      Such a social way of cooking!

      I decided to buy a Teppanyaki grill during a particularly rainy summer a couple of years ago. I'd been really hoping to have a barbecue, but the weather just hadn't allowed for this, so I decided, following a practice my parents had had for years, to have an 'indoor barbecue'.

      Teppanyaki is a Japanese phrase that means to fry or grill on a steel plate. At least, that is the literal meaning, but culturally it is more likely to mean a system of cooking at the table, with the grill forming a central focal point where everyone can become involved in their own meals. It's a way of eating that is fun, sociable, and very interactive. As well as being a barbecue fan, I'm also something of a Japanophile, so I was definitely going to use this to cook Japanese meals with friends, as well as just for burgers with mates.

      This 2000w grill really is incredibly cheap for what it is. It costs just 22.99 for a cooking area of 46 cm long and 24.5cm wide. Pretty much all of that cast iron surface can, with the twist of a simple dial at the side, be turned into a fab cooking surface, and is excellent for grilling and frying (though the very edges to tend to be a little cooler).

      The cooking surface has feet at each corner, and a drainage hole on one of the long sides to take off any fat.There are handles at either side of the cook plate, to enable easy movement from above the fat drainage pan to a table for serving. The mains cable itself is , of course, detachable for washing, and includes an adjustable thermostat that enables the temperature to be controlled to make cooking not only easy, but tasty!

      This is incredibly easy to use - the manual does recommend pre-heating for five minutes before cooking, and also points out that once food is cooked, you can keep everything warm by turning to the minimum setting. Other than that, it is incredibly easy to set the cooking temp through the online controls. I have had this out on multiple occasions with friends, all of us cooking on this on my coffee table, and it has been so much fun!

      This is very easy to cook on. Food doesn't stick easily, and it does come with utensils for cooking. It is easy to wipe clean, and not terribly heavy to lift to wipe down, although naturally you do have to make sure not to wet the sockets. With that said, you should treat this grill as you would a non stick pan, and avoid unnecessary scratching and scrubbing.

      Overall, I think this is fantastic considering the low cost, and can be an incredibly social way of eating. My only criticism would be perhaps that when washing there is one side you naturally need to be cautious of as it houses the plug connector, but otherwise I am very happy.

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      03.03.2015 23:13
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      Advantages

      • "Small and sleek design."
      • "Online streaming services such as Netflix and BBC iplayer"
      • "Next Gen Gaming graphics"

      Disadvantages

      • "Front USB sockets sometimes difficult to insert into due to the slanted design."
      • "Poor battery life of console controller."

      PS4 - Fantastic console a must buy!

      After a few months of use I can write a thorough review of this product. The PS4 is a quality piece of equipment and the definition of next gen gaming. At launch there were only basic services available but now a lot of the bugs have been wriggled out and there are little to no errors or crashes during general use. Netflix is a favourite of mine on this console as it has a easy to use layout and the streaming always seems to be much smoother in HD that my PC or smart tv could produce.
      The gaming itself is also fantastic, highlights being the remastered GTA 5 and Assassins creed Unity. Both games look beautiful when played on this console. More and more games are being produced for the PS4 as developers get more confident with the hardware and software capabilities so its only up from here.
      The only negative point I have is that the battery life of the consoles controller doesn't seem to be very long, but maybe that's a standard across all consoles.

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      03.03.2015 23:12
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      • "Can use both sides"
      • "Great educational toy"

      Disadvantages

      • None

      Double the fun

      This Chad Valley double sided easel is approximately three foot tall and is brightly coloured in lime green and bright blue and one of the sides is a traditional chalk board and the other is a wipe off magnetic board so two children can do different things at the same time. I think that one of the best features is that it has a large tray underneath which is big enough for keeping chalks, dry wipe pens or magnets or anything else children want to keep there.

      There is a large red paper clip at the top of the easel where you can clip a piece of paper which you could draw or paint on and as the paper is upright it is easy for a child to use. As the one side is magnetic we have a set of magnetic letters which my nephews use to make words on which is great as they really enjoy this even the younger ones and it is helping to teach them how to spell. We also use the blackboard side quite a lot as they like the black background which they can make some quite dramatic pictures on and you can buy coloured chalks very cheaply. We have some of the chunky ones so that the younger ones can hold them easily and can make bigger marks with them.

      As this wasn't new when it was bought round to my house I am not sure exactly what was included when first bought but I have had a look online and it comes with twelve coloured chalks, eraser, paper clips and a set of magnetic letters. The prices for this range from 19.99 to £34.99 and it is widely available online, in toy stores and department stores. It is said to be suitable for ages three and over however my youngest nephew is two and he loves playing with it, especially using the magnetic letters. The older nephews like to use the wipe off board the most but it is all used on a regular basis by all of us, for painting, drawing, chalks and the magnetic letters.

      It is fairly light to move around and you can remove the tray to fold down after use which my older nephews can do without any trouble. I know that they have had this now for several years and it is still in very good condition and so far we haven't had any accidents such as using a permanent pen on the whiteboard. I will always try to make sure it is clean when it is put away so it is ready for the next time. I can't see that this would every break or wear out but if it did I would definitely replace it as it is great fun and a great educational toy.

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      03.03.2015 23:08
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      A big difference from the GBBO format

      USELESS INFO ALERT- Just want to say first we met this guy at the GOOD FOOD show in London and he was a gentleman and signed our books and talked to everyone happily and even went through some of these recipes here at the show.

      We had already purchased the book because we really loved the series and hoped to achieve some of those recipes in our kitchen. It's a work in progress! But a good one.

      The show made it look so much more fun and easier and I would say that we actually struggle with a few of these dishes and especially the combination of foods that he 'married' together. [Beetroot- that's all I'm saying!]

      There were some old classics with a new twists, new recipes being stripped back to being simple and the receips actually brought but a lot of childhood memories for me and my mum. Why we ever stopped making these, we'll never know?

      This has given us a burst of inspiration and confidence where we have been lacking.

      The book is less glossy and more rustic than the GBBO's that we're used to but that's great because this reflects nothing of the show and completely separates him as a cook from the show.
      I love the GBBO, but this show and book helps you view Paul Hollywood and why he says some of the things he does and brings the talent he has to the table in the show.
      I would highly recommend this book to starters or the experienced.
      This retails at £4.99 and cheaper on Kindle, although formatting is slightly dodgy.

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