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    • True Romance (DVD) / DVD / 32 Readings / 29 Ratings
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      29.07.2011 13:05
      Very helpful



      Truely a great film that is a must see!

      Was and is still one of my favorite films of all times! I see that there are tons of reviews on this, but as it is my favorite I feel I should put my 2p worth in as having re-watched it last night I feel the need to tell everyone how great it is, I couldn't tell you how many times I have watched it over the years but it in the double figures.

      Genre wise?

      Well it certain falls within the cult following of today so could be difficult to specifically pin point as in my eyes it has everything you'd want from a film, so I guess as you can purchase it from Amazon for £2.99p it has almost paid for itself, and is certainly worth its weight in gold.

      I first saw this film in 1996, I was 16 and was completely blown away by it. If you were to watch it without reading the blurb on the back you will be rightly pleased with yourself if you guessed it was written by Quentin Tarantino. In hindsight it screams of his doing and as he was new on the scene at the time it seemed way ahead of its time. With 'My best friends Birthday' and 'Reservoir Dogs' before this.

      True Romance was released 1993 and billed as an American romance crime film. The film, whilst written by Quentin Tarantino it was actually directed by Tony Scott a legendary director who has made some fantastic films in the past such as Top Gun, Man on Fire and more recently taking of Pelham 123.

      When I was first introduced to the film shamefully I did a little judging the book by the cover and was initially put off by the title thinking it was going to be a slushy 'chick flick' Cor-blimey I could not have been more wrong.

      Reading a little into the films conception it is established that by 'those who know'' that the title itself is a play on the titles of romance comic books, things I know little about, but the film itself has a strong comic book theme. The film is dark in its nature, raining with crime all around, much like the modern day batman films, made with grit. The main Character Clarence Worley, played by Christian Slater works for his friend in a comic book store, which forms his 'being' as he himself is a comic buff constantly making reference to such things throughout the film.

      A loner, Clarence, for his birthday he opts to go to a triple Sonny Chiba Move night at the local cinema where he meets Alabama Whitman played by Patricia Arquette, who will become his whirlwind romance, which I won't give away. They quickly become wed. The two of them seem to have great chemistry and play their dirty, grimey roles well and really seem to work as a couple.

      Don't think this is a 'white picket fence' in suburbia type of affair, this is set in the dark dingy industrial town of Detroit, where drugs and violence seem to rule.

      Further to the rest of the plot its worth mentioning the some of the additional cast, most of whom have featured in subsequent Tarantino film, or who have played smaller almost cameo roles. Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Corrigan, James Gandolfini and Brad Pitt and Val Kilmer. Hugely impressive I'm sure you'll agree.

      Following the swift grungy wedding Clarence decides to free his new wife from the grips of her previous employer Drexl (prompted by his inner voice (who seems too be Elvis) who we see tiny glimpses of, but do not see throughout the film). Drexl (Gary Oldman) is my favorite character, a horrid, dirty, white thinking he is black character who would kill you as blink at you. Elvis convinces Clarence to kill Drexl, during the bumbled attempt and much violence Clarence does so and escapes with what he thinks is Alabama's suit case.

      On opening the suitcase, the two find it is full of drugs, which they later discover was had been inevitable stolen previously. Without ruining any of the key features of this film, those who have seen it will know, that the remainder of the film is a fast paced journey as new lovers attempt to rid of drugs, make money and settle in their bliss, Cancun. The many famous name play some amazing characters along the way which again I won't spoil, as when I watch it with 'new viewers' for the first time its fun to see if they can recognise who is who!

      Their toil and turmoil has them mixed up with gangsters, drug barons, film makers, friends and foe as they try to rid of the drugs and make a better life, as I say I am betroth to give reems and reems of plot and story as I feel it will ruin the actual beauty of the film, but needless to say there is something in this film you.

      It's a high pace film lots of guns, true love throughout, drugs and blood with some fantastic scenes, I have eluded to some, but worthy of note is Tom Sizemore's role and the Walken/Hopper scene, truly great. There's something Rotten in Denmark if you fail to enjoy this.

      Thanks for reading, I hope this prompts you to watch it, if not buy it for the collection of must have's.


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      • More +
        21.07.2011 12:26
        Very helpful



        A great tooth brush for the price, but don't expect it to last for ever!

        Braun-Oral B is synonymous with oral hygiene as I am sure everyone is aware! If you were to pop into any one of the A to Z of supermarkets Asda to Waitrose you will find some form of Braun-Oral B products tooth brushes, floss, mouth wash and toothpaste.

        In today's market these seem big business, certainly with the number of adverts on the television and billboards on the streets all telling us that mouth cancer is on the rise, and tooth decay is rife. Competition it seems is fierce.

        I bought my first electric toothbrush nearly 10 years ago, it was £90 (which I got for £50 thanks to a friend, Dental hygienist), it lasted nearly 8 years, which, for a re-chargeable device was fantastic I thought.

        It finally died, and I was in the market for a new one. I spoke with my Dentist as to which would be best as many "Professionals" rave about Sonic care tooth brushes and others about the Rotating head style. I was advised that the rotating head type was best as the action is more vigorous and removes more plague, according to him.

        Not wanting to spend a fortune, and aware that technology has improved dramatically in 10 years I opted for the Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean rechargeable toothbrush. This cost me £19.99p at the time, however you can get these for around £15 from many retailers, Amazon.com, boots and super drug etc all seem to offer these at a reduced price.

        The packaging states that the "toothbrush uses Advanced Cleaning Technology to surround each tooth and gently stimulate the gum line for a fresh feeling mouth and improved gum health"...Does it? Well, perhaps not a flowery as that, it does leave your teeth feeling smooth and clean. The rotating head has interdental tips for the harder to reach areas which may aid plaque removal, but certainly doesn't remove it completely, floss is still required.

        The packed contained:

        1 x Vitality power toothbrush
        1 x Precision clean brush head
        1 x Charging stand

        Charging is not via mains power but by a typical 2 pin shaver charger, an adapter can be used for UK mains 240v charging. The blurb stated that charging is required every 5 days, however after a few months use I have noticed a dramatic reduction in the battery life and have had to charge it every 2 days. In fact, now I have a bathroom light, with shaver power socket, I keep it constantly charging.

        How does this tooth brush fair up?

        To be honest its not the most fantastic of tooth brushes, it seems to lack the gusto of my old one and I don't feel it as good. The back of the pack says that the rotating head makes Up to 7,600 rotations a minute for effective, non-abrasive cleaning. But as eluded to, I don't get the 'dentist clean' feeling after cleaning.

        Good points.

        A good point is that the majority of the handle is rubberised for the non-slip feature, the brush will also vibrate to let you know that the recommended brushing time has elapsed so you don't go on brushing all morning. The main feature that I love about electric tooth brushes is that the small brush head can isolate each individual tooth so you can ensure each is clean. The removable heads last a good 6 months and cost around £5 for two replacements.

        Over all?

        My personal opinion for what its worth, this is a great tooth brush for the price. Would I buy another? No, I think I will perhaps invest in a better model that should last a while longer. The battery lets you down some what as not only does this model not rotate quite as well as my previous toothbrush, but when you couple with a reduction in power/battery life I wasn't left feeling as sparkling clean as I'd like.


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      • Olympic Holidays / Travel Agent / 30 Readings / 29 Ratings
        More +
        19.07.2011 14:18
        Very helpful



        A bad experience, bad flight, poor reps but a fantastic holiday!

        Olympic Holidays,

        ATOL protected, Offering package holidays at great prices.

        Now let me start this review with a little personal history; I have use this holiday company to travel to what are short hall flight destination a number of time in the past. In the last 4 years I have used Olympic to travel to the Greek Island of Corfu 3 times. I use this company and the apartments I stay in are fantastic and I would not ever want to stay in any other accommodation. I shall review this family run accommodation at a later date. Needless to say if they had subscribed to a different holiday provider I would ultimately use them.

        Never the less, the first 2 years, I had found Olympic, relatively average, a means to an end to get to a great destination and lovely apartment. The Holiday Reps were knowledgeable, amenable and there when your required them, they offered trips around the Island, excursions etc. The air line in which they contacted was Monarch who would never break any records but were a decent enough air line to get you from A to B.

        Last year I did not holiday outside of the UK, so as you can imagine I and the family I travelled with were excited about heading back to our known friendly resort in Sidari, Corfu.

        I had been away with work for the majority of this year so the organisation was left to my good lady, which had gone without a hitch.

        To the day of travel, everything at Gatwick ran smoothly as you would expect, and then we boarded the plane...

        Something had changed, no longer was Monarch our vessel, we were to fly Strategic Air lines.

        This Bird was an A320 Airbus aeroplane, where on earth they company found these I do not know, quiet possibly the worst plane I have ever been sat in and I have been lucky enough to have been in many.

        I was initially taken aback by the size of it, 6 seats abreast (3 on each side), a relatively small plane in today standings. The interior was extremely poor and did not give me the warm comforting feeling you require when about to be thrust skywards. The cabins and over head lockers were nicotine stained yellow/cream colour, screaming to me that they were dirty and un-clean since people were once able to smoke during air travel. The carpets were well worn, frayed at the edges and the Luminous "safety" strips were cracked and old looking. The fold down tables were shiny with no recess for a drink/cup meaning that anything placed on the table slid off. This may be because my tray was not flat too. That said I was lucky as my partner sat next to me didn't have a tray and had to eat off her lap.

        The meal time provided even more calamity, where by in the age of saving money, if you didn't pay for the meal, you didn't get one, an initial trawl through the plane finding out who had paid and who hadn't ensued before the meal was distributed, we had paid for 5 meals and got 4. Most annoyed, as the paperwork didn't correspond. Not a great start to the holiday. That said the in flight service offered a range of 5 sandwiches if we wanted to pay £4 for them, as only 3 of the 5 were available one of us sacrificed the meal on what was the short 2 ½ flight. In-flight drinks are notoriously expensive, here we paid £3.80p for a 330ml can of beer, £1.60p for a mini can of coke which were both warm!

        I haven't yet mentioned the noise of the aircraft, extremely. Needles to say a majestic flight we were destined not to have. What made things worse was the fact that one of the toilets was un-serviceable. I over heard someone saying that it was good of them not to delay the flight by fixing it, and just fly with one broken one. My view, the Airline didn't want to pay the taxes imposed if the strict flight time lines aren't stuck too!

        Flight over, thank god and were landed in Corfu's airport, a swift retrieval of our luggage identified that my Mountain Equipment 'rubberised' duffel bag was ripped. Fantastic.

        The passengers including us were corralled onto the necessary coach, our initial Rep was Jenny. The transfer stops off at various stops as people get off at their hotels, apartments and villas the norm with transfers on this sort of holiday; it took around 2 hours to get to ours which was the second to last stop. Which we were aware of.

        We took our bags, along with the other passengers that were also staying at these particular apartments. It was 0445 in the morning.
        As we were a large group we waited as the other 3 couples were shown to their rooms. We waited only a mere 10 minutes before a flustered Jenny appeared and went to get on the coach.

        We approached her, requesting that she show us to our apartments, 5 people, in 3 separate apartments, blank looks, confusion and fluster followed. She hadn't a clue where we were stayed, conscious of the coach driver wanting to get on she announced "Just find a room, top and tail until the meet and greet with the Rep at 1200 midday and she'll show you where they are, I've got to go cos the coach driver needs to go".

        A blink and she was gone. 5 in the morning by this time, a tired frustrated group stood amongst luggage with the sun coming up. After some time we did eventually find 3 rooms, which were allocated to us. Not that tricky to find as it turns out, but this wonderful place that my misses and I love and recommended suddenly didn't seem too great.

        After a few hours sleep we were up by the pool waiting for the meet and greet, complained about the previous night drop off to our Rep Beth, who shrugged and wasn't bothered.

        During this meet and greet, the rep offered the normal excursions etc previously mentioned, with a price hike that seemed un-necessary. In protest of the price and previous evening shenanigans we didn't book any through the company and chose to go to book in Sidari itself, which as it turns out is much, much cheaper. Olympic, state that the reason theirs is more expensive is due to the insurance they provide, is we all had our own holiday insurance, this didn't wash!

        Over all, this was not the greatest travelling experience, and the read may seem like we had a poor holiday experience. I am pleased to say that the initial first day blues did not taint the rest of our trip. Our apartment, the staff, the family, the beach the trips the island were fantastic, I recommend a trip to Corfu and I shall review later. It's a wonderful place just a shame that the apartments have subscribed to the Olympic brand.

        Would I use Olympic again.....Not through choice but necessity, we love the Apartments in which we have stayed many times before and unfortunately using Olympic is the easiest and cheapest way to do so. I have used Olympic before, and I hope that this trip is an isolated event. In my raw state I think I would say never again, but time will heal all wounds I'm sure, I will keep an eye on future reviews and gauge with my wallet next year!

        If you have booked with this company, I hope this doesn't taint your view to much, be prepared I guess would be my words of advice.


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        • More +
          23.06.2011 16:10
          Very helpful



          A great medium for spring and summer sowing

          Gardening! Not everyone's cup of tea and I'll be honest I have always been a buy it from the super market kind of chap for the majority of my life, until recently that is when I have discovered a depth of excitement, enjoyment and challenge of a little green fingeredness.

          Don't get me wrong I'm no Monty Don or Stew Benson, but recently my potting successes have been speaking for themselves and I'm really pleased with myself. However before the fanfare and streamers are thrown I must give my credit where it is due! Good old British soil.

          It is easy to take this for granted let me tell you, whilst many will buy compost from a garden centre or simply plant straight into a back garden or plot without really giving the soil a second thought, I certainly had until that was until my recent trip away.

          I have spent the last 4/5 months in a hot, arid, dust bowl of a country; in order to pass the time and create a little project good friend and I decided to grow some simple produce. Tomatos, herbs, chillies and the like. Now, the UK the adage of just add water was employed, with disastrous effect! Initially we would have shoots and seedlings pop up out of the ground for a few days, realise how horrid the country was before returning to its life provider, and dying. A huge disappointment! Following these initial failed attempts we went about preparing the soil.

          Now the soil in this country is similar to clay when wet, and like moon dust when dry! Useless! We added our home made compost, nutrients and our very own nitrites! With again limited success. Plants that grown need constant care and attention and protection. In fact a gruelling frustrating task.

          Which leads me to Miracle gro.

          Having returned I have wished to continue with my limited success of a the arid nastiness of the previous months and popped out to the local garden centre a bought 8 Litres of potting mix to get me going in my unheated propagator!

          On opening the mix I was amazed even at its smell...Earthy and rich taking me back to warm summer days with my granddad planting in the greenhouse as a kid. It's a simple thing, but smells can take you places and this just made me glad to be home!

          On reaching inside you are met with a moist, not wet feeling that feels wonderful and spongy, nothing like the hot, dry, flour like sand I had been used too. The soil is soft and almost granular, and did not stick to my hands as you would expect what is effectively mud would do.

          I bought miracle gro compost because of my limited gardening experience, and the lack of time I have daily to tend to my tiny small holding (a few pots in the garden). Miracle gro is enriched with nutrients that will feed you sown plants for up to 6 weeks compared to normal soil.

          Keeping things earthy, the compost is actually mixed with organic plant food, so any people concerned with what goes into their food can have strict control over what they are adding.

          The constitution of the potting mix, like all 'Scott's Miracle-Gro' are made from a reduced peat or peat free formulas enabling a sustainable composting facility for generations to come. The bag I opted for was 1%-39% peat.

          The 8L bag does come with preparation advice depending upon what you wish to grow, the advice ranges from out of the bag growth to seedling sowing/plugging. It also advises upon when to water. I know this may seem like common sense, but as this compost contains the miracle gro formulae, it does give specific instructions to optimise potential growth. Whilst there is no strict use by date, the soil does have an optimal use within a year advice lable, it also states to not to allow the soil to dry out.

          Having sown some seeds not 4 days ago I already have the sprouting of my salad leaves and various other herbs in my propagator, something I am excited to crop ready for summer BBQs!

          If you are a novice or have never grown so much as a sunflower as a child I would urge you to start! It really is satisfying growing and eating/cooking with produce you have made with your own hands! It doesn't take much other than some mud, seeds, pots and water! and I would recommend miracle gro as a growing medium; it's full of good stuff that is essential to plant development and growth.

          Good old British mud, slightly more expensive than other compost, but it is packed with extra goodness that should double the amount of crops you can use!!


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          • More +
            22.06.2011 15:23
            Very helpful



            Liquid gold, lovely drink of the gods...

            Well to start, let's have a little history about this wonderful liquid gold.

            Who was he? He was Captain Henry Morgan, history tells us (well the drinks company at least) was one of the 17th Century's most daring and successful buccaneers, admired throughout Caribbean waters - a legend in his own lifetime, or lunch time depending upon how much of his own hooch he'd consumed

            You may be surprised to know that Capt Morgan was born in Wales in 1635, he sailed throughout the, then New World. Around the Caribbean, from Curacao to Panama City to Jamaica and beyond adventuring as a buccaneer.

            Capt Morgan became one of Britain's most successful military strategists and an inspirational leader. He gained the loyalty of unruly buccaneers who followed him without question, and won the respect of nobles and heads of state. In 1674, a grateful King Charles II rewarded Captain Morgan for his devoted service to England with a knighthood, and Sir Henry Morgan served as Governor of Jamaica in 1680. Renowned for his sociability and generosity, he became a celebrity in the rum shops and taverns of Port Royal until his passing. Honoured with a state funeral, he was laid to rest on August 25th, 1688...which we honour when we consume his legacy.

            Captain Morgan worked hard but also knew how to have a good time. The Captain pioneered the role of the rum ration on his ship, decades before it became the official drink of the Royal Navy.
            As a businessman and Governor, Henry Morgan was familiar with the booming Jamaican rum trade, so a brand was created and it bore his name...

            The original Captain Morgan rum would have been produced on traditional pot stills. Enjoyed by sailors and other characters of adventurous temperament, traditional dark rums were generally consumed straight or with lime juice. This tradition has survived to this day through Captain Morgan (Black Label Rum).

            In the early 1950s, the brand responded to changing consumer tastes and the popularity of Cuba Libre (rum and cola) by introducing a White Rum version - the first line extension.
            Over the years, Captain Morgan rums have sold very well in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and over 30 other countries, but before 1984, the Captain Morgan name meant very little in the United States.

            How is it made?

            Captain Morgan's Rum is distilled from sugar cane. The combination of the type of yeasts employed for fermentation, distillation method, aging conditions, and blending determines the characteristic flavor of rum. Made with molasses, water, mash and yeast, Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum is distilled in a continuous still. Once distilled, the clear spirit is aged in oak barrels for up to a year, adding a golden color and character to the rum before the flavors and spices are added. The brand's taste is achieved through a proprietary recipe, which is blended into the rum mixture at the final stages of production, making use of spices indigenous to the Caribbean Islands. Captain Morgan is, by volume, the second largest brand of spirits in the United States, and the seventh largest worldwide.

            The drink itself.

            Whilst this is an alcoholic spirit, the Spiced rum (Spicy) is certainly not a harsh one, any who has drank shots (neat) will have at some point recoiled afterwards with the strength and 'smack' a neat spirit can give. Spicy is smoooooooth, sold at 37.5%abv it certainly could send you on your merry way, but as it is so smooth it can be enjoyed and savoured as its drank.

            I don't usually drink this neat however enjoy it with Cola. My personal preference is Spicy and diet coke, (Normal coke is just too sweet for me) and ice! Lots of. This for my taste, just adds to the smooth taste of the drink without the alcoholic kick you normally get if you were to drink Vodka and coke for example.

            It's hard to describe the taste of spicy, if you hate rum, Spicy may be for you, as it doesn't taste anything like dark rum which can be extremely harsh, or like white rum which for me is far too sweet (Bacardi, Malibu). Spicy has a distinctive taste of its own, Obviously it contains spices, but don't be afraid that it is going to be Chilli spicy as it is not hot! More essence of flavoursome blends of Caribbean spices and a hint of vanilla.

            The traditional way to drink this is with full fat cola and a wedge of lime, I have already explained my preference however another nice variant is with ginger beer, Whilst not my favourite it adds a nice different flavour to a night out.

            This is an extremely refreshing drink, great for hot summer afternoons or during BBQ's, just be careful as you could drink this all day without realising how much you have consumed, until the next morning where you may not remember much about the night before! I have had some great nights and days involving vast amounts of this wonderful drink, some I remember, some I don't, if you want random stories just email me and I'll bore you with my stupid antics! But needless to say, you could drink more spicy, than beer which may have positive or negative effects, depending on your constitution.

            If you have never tried this spirit before, or you think you may not like it because you don't like rum I would urge you to give it a go. Not to encourage binge drinking at all, but as a drink to be enjoyed socially to aid in relaxation or unwinding that may be required.

            Drink it sensibly, enjoy it and love it!

            There are similar spicy rums like 'sailor jerry', whilst this is nice, it doesn't compare to Captain Morgan' Spiced Rum.

            Worth a try even if its not your normal tipple!


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            • More +
              07.06.2011 05:24
              Very helpful



              Soulful, lyrical genius

              Now I like to believe I have an eclectic mix of music, however my mainstay is made up of 90's metal and hip-hop. I tend to keep listening to the same old tunes and it takes a lot for me to accept some of the new music around, which in my view, for what its worth, is made up of remixed rifts that sound very similar.

              I do venture well beyond my old stomping grounds, however, me like many have 'that' album that could be listened to over and over.

              Which brings be to this review of what I feel is an amazing soulful beautiful album created by a Deep South rapper/artist.

              Those of you will be well aware of Cee-Lo Green from his recent chart success with 'Forget You' and his album 'Lady Killer' and previously to that his joint album with DJ Danger Mouse who formed Gnarls Barkley, St Elsewhere. In themselves are great albums but this review is for his first solo album 'Soul Machine'.
              Cee-Lo Green...is the soul machine.

              This album was released in 2004 and only sold relatively few numbers, which having listened to it relentlessly surprises me. Any one with an interest in soul or hip-hop will love this music.

              The album is described as him exploring his Southern roots; his collaborations with the likes of Ludacris, T.I. and Pharrel are party to this. There are also some amazing productions made within the album by Timberland and The Neptunes.

              The 17 track list below features some amazing vocals, if you have heard Crazy from the Gnarls Barkley album you know this man can hit those notes which are sang with heart and of course Soul. His southern twang lends itself to some of the slower tracks. Of note and my two favorite songs from the track list is 'My kind of People' and 'All day love affair' which I urge anyone who has an interest in music to listen too.

              These songs themselves are my two stress relievers; my good lady bought me a waterproof MP3 player some time ago. This album is on it and I will always remember floating in the sea on holiday listening to this, and in particular these two songs, in the warm sun not wishing to be anywhere else. When ever I need to relax, I head straight to this album which instantly unwinds me.

              There are also some great rapping songs within the album too. Cee-Lo doesn't give it the street grit the likes of 50 Cent or Onyx do, but really raps with feeling and a great voice. If like me you like all sorts of music you may have come across Henry Rollins (Rollins Band), whilst not similar musically the lyrical sense of the spoken word to great tunes is amazing.
              1. "Intro"
              2. "Soul Machine"
              3. "The Art of Noise" (feat. Pharrell)
              4. "Living Again"
              5. "I'll Be Around" (feat. Timbaland)
              6. "The One" (feat. Jazze Pha & T.I.)
              7. "My Kind of People" (feat. Jazze Pha & Menta Malone)
              8. "Childz Play" (feat. Ludacris)
              9. "I am Selling Soul"
              10. "All Day Love Affair"
              11. "Evening Newz" (feat. Chazzie & Sir Cognac The Conversation)
              12. "Scrap Metal" (feat. Big Rube & G-Rock)
              13. "Glockapella"
              14. "When We Were Friends"
              15. "Sometimes"
              16. "Let's Stay Together" (feat. Pharrell)
              17. "Die Trying"
              18. "What Don't You Do?" (outro)

              If you like the chart music you have heard from this larger than life character from the deep south I implore you to have a listen at the very least to this fantastic album, you will like it I am sure of it.

              It's always nice to be someone to have loved an artist before then became huge and famous. A friend of mine gave me this album years ago having listened to it once. I became instantly hooked 7 years ago, and I love the fact that his branching out with the likes of Danger Mouse, and another soulful album last year has him coming to the forefront of music pop culture.

              Keep the roots, listen and love this great music!


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            • More +
              01.06.2011 11:48
              Very helpful
              1 Comment



              Works well, smells good, can be used by males and females!!

              As a bloke I have to say I'm not massively in touch with the feminine side of life and am not one for moisturising, primping or making myself look beautiful.

              However, as you are reading this review for a moisturising product you may be forgiven for thinking I'm a liar. But I use this product for cracked and callused hands.

              I know this sounds disgusting, however I am currently working in a hot dry and dusty place involving manual labour and decent graft. I also lift weights, which again causes calluses on the palm of the hands beneath each finger, which are actually quite painful (think corn kind of pain). I appreciate; this does not paint an attractive picture.

              Needless to say, a kind person sent me a 200ml bottle of Vaseline aloe Vera gel, for reasons unbeknown to me. After some time I began to use it to sooth my hands, which it indeed has.

              I hate having creams, lotions etc etc on me, I don't even like sun cream as I do not like the sticky nasty feeling, luckily for me this gel is rapidly absorbed, and the uncomfortable feeling is avoided! A huge tick in the box for me.

              I have used other similar lotions before like E45 which I have found greasy and pretty nasty to be honest, but the gel is great, I only use a little at a time to avoid being too slippery. It does smell good too. The aloe Vera content smells particularly good and not fragrant at all so you won't smell like you have just wandered through the perfume department at Debenhams.

              The aloe Vera is a selling feature for me. It means there are cacti involved which are sharp and spiky, meaning in simple minds like mine, slightly more masculine.

              If you read the blurb on the back of the bottle it will tell you that the product will leave your skin with a sheer, light burst of hydration. Well, I'm never going to have baby soft hands, but the hydrating part is correct, the skin dryness has reduced which in turn has also stopped cracking of the skin at the joints.

              There are the typical ingredients that you would associate with such a product which mean very little to the average reader, but needless to say there are no alarming chemicals likely to cause you any harm.

              In short, from someone who is not a typical user of such products i would recommend it. It has done exactly what it states it should by moisturising the skin. The product is sold as a body lotion/gel. I'm not quite there yet, but it certainly works on my rough hands.

              I'll certainly purchasing more once this runs out, so feel people reading this should also!

              Enjoy and thanks for reading.


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              • Lifesaver 4000 Bottle / Camping / 31 Readings / 28 Ratings
                More +
                29.05.2011 19:29
                Very helpful



                In short, this really is a life saving peice of equipment that i think is amazing.

                The life saver bottle, enabling you to drink from the muddiest, most contaminated water you can think of and live to tell tale.

                This piece of equipment filters out all of the nasty bugs and parasites that can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

                The science bit.

                There are hundreds of bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses and cysts within water that if consumed could potentially cause life threatening illness. Hepatitis A, Cholera, E.coli, and Leptospirosis to name but a few serious common illnesses associated with drinking water.

                Whether you are abroad or simply trekking in our glorious countryside in the UK, getting potable water is essential in remaining hydrated and healthy. If you are stuck out on the hills and drink contaminated water, you may go down with an illness in a matter of hours. Dangerous if you are in the middle of no where.

                Whilst there are numerous similar devices on the market the Life savers simplicity is its favour. Other devices I have used require lengthy periods of pumping through a chlorinated filter and a carbon filter, something that can be both time consuming and energy sapping.

                All that is required with the life saver is to unscrew the bottom cap, fill with a water source, pump 3 times and drink away as if drinking out of a sports bottle.

                Another great thing is that no chemicals are used. The smallest microbial hazard within water that can cause us humans harm is 5 microns in size. The Life saver filters to 4 microns. In simple terms it takes out every possible bug that can cause ill health. Meaning that no residual chlorine or iodine is required which those of you who have drank it knows tastes horrid!

                Another great feature on this product is the filter life is huge! The 4000UF and 6000UF models will filter up to 4000 and 6000 litres respectively. I have the 4000UF model. Whilst the life of the filter is great, another fantastic point is that once the filter has filtered its limit of water, it automatically shuts off not allowing any risk or hazardous bacteria to pass through the system.

                1 Litre of water weighs 1 kilo, so when planning for walks or treks the use of a life saver can significantly reduce you carrying weight, obviously you will have to do a bit of map appreciation to identify a water source on route, but an additional 6 kilos could mean more rations or warm clothing!

                As stated the use of the life saver is simple. It is important to read the instructions however, as a know-all I did not and did not prime the filters properly meaning that my first sip was a weird sweet taste. In order to maintain the integrity of the filters; they are covered in glycerine which needs to be washed off prior to proper use. This is done by simply rinsing the filter and membrane a couple of times with fresh water. Once this is done the life saver is good to go.

                There is no need for continuous pumping either, as the container is pressurised, 2 or 3 pumps is all that is required for a steady flow of potable water, there is no need to suck like you would on a sports bottle either also meaning that the water will flow out of the bottle whilst in any position, great for when cooking or filling other vessels.

                As the filter system 'filters' it can sometimes result in the membranes becoming blocked, this can simply be fixed by taking the filter out of its housing and rinsing under a tap once you have finished.

                An additional 2 great features include a prefilter sponge, which can initially stop grit etc from entering the filter system which could potentially damage it, but also where you are unable to submerse the bottle to fill it, the sponge can be used to mop up the precious life juice and squeeze into the life saver (Ray Mears or Bear Grylls style!).

                The other is the activated carbon filter. This screws into the lid, and can act as an additional barrier to any chemical or heavy metal contamination! Great if you have to drink contaminated water over a prolonged period of time.

                If there is a down side to this bottle I would identify these few;

                The price is high, but when you consider the technology and potential usage of the bottle I would say it's worth it. I can see myself needing to buy another one in some time.

                The bottle is quite large, but again considering the weight saved when carrying this it's a necessary evil.

                Membrane care, the booklet states that the filter must be kept wet once initially used to prevent the nano pores from closing. Again not a huge problem to leave a few ml of water in, but this is not covered in a warranty should you forget. A costly mistake if you do so.

                In short, this really is a life saving piece of equipment that I think is amazing. I have used a piece of bacteriological analysing equipment I have at my disposal (Coli-alert) and measured a contaminated water source before and after passing through the life saver with fantastic results. The water source in question was heavily contaminated with Total coliforms (bacteria) and E.coli (faecal matter). After passing through the life saver not one single bacterium was found. I was absolutely amazed and now take this bottle of every expedition I undertake. I fact, when in a group we take one between 2 to significantly reduce our carriage loads.

                A must to regular outdoor enthusiast, canoeist, walkers, mountaineers, over seas traveller's even military personnel or NGO's working within refugee camps!


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                • Cotswold Outdoors / Sports Store / 13 Readings / 13 Ratings
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                  12.05.2011 16:03
                  Very helpful
                  1 Comment



                  For all your outdoor needs, use this store, I've ben using it for years!

                  Cotswold Camping or Cotswold outdoor, which ever you know it as let me inform you of how much I have utilised and love this shop.

                  'The' Cotswold Outdoors shop located near Swindon, funnily enough in the Cotswold's. The original store is a grand affair, and as geeky as it may sound to some, it's worth taking a trip off the M4 motorway when you're near for a visit. The log cabin style store is a glorious 3 stories high, jam packed full of every piece of camping equipment you could shake a rambling stick at, built to mirror the wooded surrounds in which it is located. If you're a novice day walker to expert rock climber/ mountaineer there is something in the store for you.

                  Even the grounds in which the shop is located in is worth an afternoon tour. The Cotswold's has some beautiful waters to visit with a plethora of wildlife to view. Perfect even, to break in a pair of boots you may have purchased from this wonderful camping store. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop every time I visit.

                  If however you live some distance away from the Cotswold's have no fear. The success of Cotswold Outdoor is such that there are now 55 stores nation wide, so pop into one when you're next on your town or high street. Each of the stores is similar in layout to the original, which is great to see a theme throughout the UK.

                  Again, fear not if you are unfortunate enough to not have one in your town as the Cotswold Outdoor website is simplicity itself. All equipment is categorised for ease of use, which can be broken down further to pinpoint the products you are looking for. Whether you're looking for a particular make, garment or searching via gender, you can easily scroll through all products at the click of a mouse. A great feature about the of website is the 'sale' section which is always worth a look as there are always some bargains to be had, to the point if your like me. See it, then convince yourself (and the misses) that your need it!

                  Also, another method of getting hands on the items for sale is via the telephone, all you need is a description of the item required or item number, followed by payment and the posting of you're wears.

                  As previously eluded to, I have used these stores for many years and I return again and again. Not just because of the kit on sale, but also each of the staff within all of the stores I have visited have a vested interest in outdoor pursuits. To the point where staff members go to efforts to include a 'Bio' and photographs of each member, highlighting their particular interest. Whilst this creates a nice personable approach, it also serves as a handy tool. I have been approached in the shop previously where by a staff member asked if I required any help, a run of the mill occurrence in many retail outlets. However, in Cotswolds Outdoors, once I described what I was specifically after, the sales assistant gave up that particular sale and asked a colleague who had experience in the area I was looking for. A great touch I feel which reflects the passion in the products they sell and the outdoor environment they are used it.

                  My personal outdoors pursuits include canoeing, mountaineering, hill walking, camping mountain biking and canyoneering, anything that gets me out into the fresh air really. However, prior to any expedition my first port of call is Cotswold Outdoors where I am guaranteed to find something I need! From clothing, to food rations to maps. As my personal outdoor skills have improved, my purchases have too. Again, a credit to the store, for example, my first trip many years ago involved me purchasing a simple Silva Compass to aid navigation; this has progressed through the various styles Compasses and roamers available to the GPS I now own. All at great price ranges to match the skill set in which you are best suited too.

                  For parents with children about to embark on Ten Tors or the Duke of Edinburgh Award I cannot recommend enough a visit to this site or shop. There is equipment available that can provide the most advanced sleeping systems and clothing available on the market, a must in providing the best protection against the elements.

                  Like many stores fashion does feature highly on the agenda with regards to the clothing on the market, but this is not to the detriment of the usability of the kit and clothing. The styling will also match the seasons to which time of year we are in so shoppers can be sure to get the best kit for the weather out side. In fact this was noted so when we had the snowy/freezing weather last year before Christmas, whilst looking for a Nupse jacket for a Dartmoor hike, the staff had to inform me that they had nearly sold out due to passing commuters shop needing a warm jacket. Clearly the word was out!

                  The camping equipment is vast, whether you are planning a family camping trip to a single man hike there is a tent for you, from the huge multi-rooms to the lightweight 2-man. If the tent your after is not in store, one can be ordered from the catalogue in store, like wise, for sleeping systems and rucksacks, all in different sizes and styles to match you and your preference.

                  With regards to makes of equipment, if you can think of it, I'm sure you will find it, form Bergaus to Haglofs, it'll be there. Personally I like the North Face equipment, in Bristol we have a North Face shop, however, loyal to brand I still do my purchasing at our high street Cotswold camping store.

                  What ever you need from hats to socks Cotswolds Outdoors stock a wide range, the avid fashionable shopper and the hardened rock climber will both be at home in this store. To benefit people further, Students, Police and HM Forces get a 10% discount and I understand that if HM Forces are serving at a British Force Postal Office (BFPO) address then a 20% discount is available. Dedication for those who need the equipment.

                  I hope this review has provided you with enough to have a look at the very least. Its great, thanks for reading.


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                  • More +
                    09.05.2011 19:23
                    Very helpful
                    1 Comment



                    The most effective cooking system I've ever used.

                    The Jet Boil.

                    What an amazing design and usable cooking system. I have used many, from soild fuel, kerosene and other gas cookers. The Jet boil wins hands down!

                    The design of this equipment is fantastic, the large light weight cup (holds 1litre and is 450g) actually houses the component parts of the cooking system including the gas creating a robust, light and compact peice of kit.

                    The cup itself is extemely light so heats quickly. It is insulated by a neoprene sleeve that also serves to protect your hands whilst hold the cup. To increase its effectivness a snug fitting rubberised lid aids boiling/cooking speed and the insulation properties. The sleeve also has a small recess to hold a spoon or spork!

                    The cup then clicks into place to ensure its stability during cooking. The heating element is of such a design that it focuses the heat and creates a wind proof style heating system, much light a turbo lighter works. This enables you to boil 1 litre of water in under 2 minutes! there is also a self lighting system, similar to an electric lighter.

                    The system uses gas canisters. If your an avid out doors type then you'll be aware of calor gas canisters. These gas canisters are used which vary in sizes, the smallest of which fits into the cup along with the heating element. I normally use a larger canister especially if I'm going to be out on the hills for a number of days and need additional fuel. (We normally carry 1 jet boil between 3).

                    The Jet Boil company itself have produced a number of new 'add on's' to facilitate additional use like cooking pans, extended feet for stability.

                    What I think is great about the Jet Boil company is the fact that my original jetboil had been deemed unsafe due to one of the component parts and subsequently recalled the troublesome products. At the time of the recall, mine was over 2 years old, and was battered and bruised. They replaced the product 1 for 1, without any qualms regarding its state! Extremely handy for me as I was in the market to replace it. Not just because of that, aslo the products themselves, the Jet Boil Company have a customer for life in me!

                    Subsequently I would urge anyone in the market for a personal cooking system to stretch the extra few pounds to buy one of these. You really wont regret it.

                    I have actually used this peice of kit in an emergency whilst out on Dartmoor, infact, ther wrong side of Crane Hill if anyone has been up and over it. The weather had changed from good to bad, to very bad within 30 minutes. With an injured member of my walking team, the only thing we could do was to make shelter and brew up, as any true Brit would. The fact the 3 of us had a hot drink each, and had begun cooking within 5 minutes of being set speaks volumes for the deployability of the cooking system.

                    Whether your making tea, coffee or cooking food this is definatly the must have product. I have used it every where too. As mentioned, whilst walking on the moors, but also whilst camping on the beach and it also served as part of my emergency kit in my car during our dangerous winters we've had of late.

                    If there is any down side to this, I am having to be picky to highlight it, but it wouldn't be a full review if I didn't. The original feet that fold away with the purchase whilst aiding a sturdy platform can be tricky to place whilst out in the field, especially if the ground is rocky, however, they can be adjusted and if required as an add-on you can purchase addition supports. As I said this is a very minor point on a fantastic product.

                    A superb peice of design!


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                    • Braun 590cc 5 / Electric Shaver / 12 Readings / 11 Ratings
                      More +
                      09.05.2011 16:00
                      Very helpful



                      The best electric razor I've owned! stylish and a good close shave

                      Shaving. One of the necessary evils, I hate it personally, however i also don't like excessive growth, so we shave, daily. In my job it is a must as my work will not stand for stubble nor beards.

                      To be honest I have never found the best option for effective daily shaving however this Series 5 is good, but I wouldn't believe the adverts on the TV. If you need completly smooth skin, the wet shave is still the way forward.

                      I have found the particular styling of the razor good, retro, comfortable in hand and is different to the typical triple headed electric razors which I prefer. It gives clear power usage identification and comes with 2 charging options which is very handy especially whilst travelling. The cleaning dock will charge as it cleans, again a great feature.

                      The cleaning mode within the dock is good and the razor will give you an indication of when cleaning is required. A pack of 3 refills are cheap for their length of use too. The smell of the cleaning solution however is a sickly lemon which takes a few shaves to get rid of. Personal opinion, but I would prefer an alternative. That said on the plus side, the razor is spotless afterwards. The second charging option is via a typical cable into a bathroom light.

                      When it comes to actual shaving, I have found that on daily shaving it's not the best. That may be to do with my rate of hair growth, but I'd say it's relativly normal... However, after 2 days or more the shave is great, nice and close, and I can get away with it for work! The better half doesn't get stubble rash whilst kissing her and to the touch, I know I haven't wet shaved but its more than good enough.

                      There is also a robust carry case that mirrors the shape of the razor, small and light. However, there is no space for the charging cable, but the razor will last over a weeks worth of shaving easily.

                      I use the razor in the shower at times whilst in a rush, so the fact that it's water proof is good, so dont be affraid in dropping it in the sink.

                      It is expensive, but if your going to purchase a decent razor you do have to pay for them, from personal experience. i know this, i have had a cheaper electric razor that was more like an epilator, agony whilst shaving, buy cheap, buy twice. the addage works in razors. The replacement heads would benefit form being cheaper too, I've not replaced mine yet but it was one of my considerations when buying.

                      A great stylish model!


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                    • Weber Go Anywhere / BBQ / 10 Readings / 9 Ratings
                      More +
                      09.05.2011 10:07
                      Very helpful



                      In summery, Light, robust, preserves heat, cooks well , long lasting and is fantastic!

                      Now, i may split people on this as I, among others have views on what a BBQ should be. For me charcoal, ifs its gas, well your cooking outdoors not BBQing...

                      That said, what ever BBQ your after Weber is 'THE' name to have and rightly so. This BBQ will last you years, and is perfect to pack up and carry away with you anywhere you go.

                      If you camp, enjoy the beach or anything outdoorsy this small BBQ is a superb must have. Look beyond the price tag. I paid £50 for mine, whilst this may seem pricey for a small BBQ its worth every penny.

                      The construction of the BBQ is solid, sturdy and robust! even down to the actual grill. Solid. Perfect for providing support whilst flipping or turning food. Obviously this isnt a huge cooking device, but i've cooked for 15 people on mine and it added an awesome edge to a good day out.

                      As this is so robust, i have even cooked and use this BBQ as an outdoor oven, piling coal to the sides, placing a small drip tray at the bottom of the BBQ, lid on and slow cook lamb! Beautiful!

                      As i mentioned at the start of this review, i dont use gas, however the fact that you can, opens this small device to everyone, as devils advocat, if you wish to cook in a hurry when eveyone is hungry, the gas will be extremely useful!


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                    • More +
                      08.05.2011 14:11
                      Very helpful
                      1 Comment


                      • Reliability
                      • Reliability


                      Fun, usable, packed full of features! A must for any active individuals wanting to capture that pic

                      Whilst i'm no David Bailey, i am one of those people who will always have a camera on my travels! My photographs are precious to me and i'm sure they are to many others. If your after a 'multi-role' camera this has to be it!

                      I have had many Olympus cameras, all of the compact style. My original requirement to purchase this camera was the fact that my good lady bless her fell into the sea whilst on holiday and subsequently broke our cameras, phones and ipod...

                      I went to a number of high street shops to have a decent look at a replacement for my previous camera and was impressed by the sellers active encouragement for me to try and break the Olympus µ[MJU:] Tough-8010. The shop assistant threw, with gusto the camera to the solid floor, without a scratch. As stated. impressive! Sold!

                      Since having this camera its been everywhere i have been. I'm an active chap, and have taken this to the hills and moors of Dartmoor to the Peak district. It also stays in my pocket whilst mountain biking and with me in my canoe. The most rugged of tests has been in the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan, where i have used it in conditions down to -14 in the mountains of Kabul, to the extreams heat of Iraq and Afghan, exceeding 48oC.

                      The picture quality is superb also, after all it is a camera review. There are numerous features, to many to mention, however an extremely useful on is the anti-vibration feature. a must for anyone taking photographs whilst in motion! The underwater photo quality is great and has added some fantastic additions to my albums. in a beautiful sea with the sun shining you can take some awesome pics, likewise in the pool having fun is great.

                      Whilst i haven't as yet, you can buy an additional case to further the depth you can dive! As it is however, snorkelling is fantastic!

                      This has reduced in price since i first bought it which is credit to this peice of kit!

                      Hope this has been of some use to any propective buyers!

                      Its great!


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