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Green Dragon
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Member since: 23.06.2007

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    • Olympus FE-230 / Digital Camera / 143 Readings / 139 Ratings
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      03.10.2007 03:03
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      You could not ask more from a pocket camera!

      I chose this camera initially because of the weight. I looked around at different cameras in the below £150 section on a nuber of websites, paying particular attention to John Lewis (one of my favourite stores), and this one was simply the lightest. I ventured further in my research before deciding to definitely purchase, however, only to discover that everything else the camera offered ticked my boxes too!

      I bought the camera in the end from John Lewis for £130 though you can find it cheaper elsewhere, for example I saw on Amazon it was £105. I try to buy from John Lewis though as I like dealing with them as a shop, they are always helpful and with more expensive items I like to buy from a physical place, to feel I have somewhere to go should anything go wrong, someone to talk to etc. who is an expert. Also there was a three year guarentee attached, and a free picture XD memory card. The camera itself does come with an internal memory of about 10 pictures so you can get started straight away even if you haven't got a memory card yet.

      Firstly, aside from already knowing this camera was a wonderfully light 105 grams (others are more like 130g and often more) and weighs less than your full purse or wallet, it is also very small and thin, which was another concern for fitting into small, slim bags. It measures less than 3.5 inches (9cm) wide/long and 2.5cm deep, by 5.5cm high. Overall size and weight are excellent meaning you can take it anywhere in nearly all bags and not feel it an incumberence. In fact, I bought a slim little case to go along with it to take advantage further of its tiny size, so it can fit in my smallest handbag even in its case.

      The looks on the whole are very attractive. The neat shape and size are complimented by the sleek silver design with all the buttons fitting gently in place and nothing sticking out. Of course when you turn it on the lens comes out a little, and more so if you use the zoom function, but it is very sleek and could not look any better in my opinion. The big 2.5 inch screen also makes it easier to see and display your pictures

      Specification wise the Fe-230 is an impressive little character. It has 7.1 megapixels, which the photographers at my office were excited about! They tend to say to go for anything more than 4 as this means the pictures are of better quality than with a lower pixel camera. The zoom lens give x3 close up and there is a macro facitilty too, as well as a super macro, which lets you get even closer and still retain sharp focus, up to just a few centimetres away.

      There are lots of facilities on the camera including time delay shooting, different range close up photography, red eye reduction as part of the flash adjustment function (very useful I find), and maual adjustments to exposure if required.

      You can use the camera as a video camera if you like and take a moving image with sound. This does use up more memory however. I used it to record the best man's speech at my cousin's wedding!

      There are also special set ups for different 'scenes' such as 'sport' which is designed to capture movement scenes whilse reducing blur; 'indoor'; 'candle'; self portrait; sunset are also options. The other speciality settings are night portrait, landscape, regular portrait and 'dis mode' which is for movement shots specifically to reduce blur ( similar to the 'sport' one from the 'scene' selection.) You can take underwater shots with theis camera but you need to get an additional case.

      All these different modes allow various speciality settings for the camera to get the best out of your particular needs for that shot. I tend to keep it on auto which does the job perfectly for all basic requirements. Indeed, I have found the camera is high spec enough pretty much everyone, including those with a passion for photography like my brother who borrows it a lot (grrr!) to take on his city travel ventures as it is much lighter than his, and fine also for those that aren't too sure what they are doing and just want to point and click (i.e. auto setting!).

      Another great touch is the small 'guide' that is included in the menu so you can get tips as you go along at a time convenient for you without having to always get the handbook out.

      All these functions are very easy to use and to find on the camera itself. There is a little wheel to turn to the appropriate setting such as 'auto' or 'landscape' and a separate keypad (like on your ps2!) with the zoom super close up functions and time delay etc. So your scenes/modes are on the wheel, and the functions by which to shoot those scenes are on the keypad.

      Taking the photos is easy, just click the biggest button on top. the only other button on top is the on/off button which is depressed so you can't press it accidentally! The only criticism I have of this camera, and it is a minor one, is the tiny delay from pressing the button to take a picture and the picture actually being taken. It means your subject might have moved slightly, it is not instantaneaous. But then mostly they aren't. It is worth a mention though as I have been frustrated by this on one occasion, (a secret shot of a precise moment that got spoiled when he lifted his hand to shield his face on hearing my click!!)

      Looking through the pictures after you have taken them is easy because of the big 2.5 inch screen. You just change the setting from 'taking pictures' (press the red camera sign button) to 'play back' (the green play button), then move along with the arrows on your keypad to look through them all. If you want to keep a picture just move along again, if you want to delete just press the delete button, then confirm the selection with the OK button in the centre of your keypad. It is all very easy and obvious you can get to grips with it so quickly. I read through the handbook in one go and it only took half an hour to aquaint myself thouroughly.

      The camera itself comes complete with instruction booklet, guide, software, recharger, cable to link to computer (USB), cable to link to TV (AV) so you can play back on the big screen if you have shot a home movie (great!) also an extra two pin style European recharger so good for taking abroad.

      I got a 2gb memory XD card to go with this camera and can take about 1000 shots with that to store on the card. It is very easy to attach this camera to your computer so you can download them, just plug in and follow the instructions that come up on the screen on both camera and computer. You are supplied with the correct software that you load onto your computer first so it recognises your camera. all of this is straight forward and explained step by step in the handbook.

      The camera takes about 5 .5 hours to fully charge and I can get about 300 images taken before it needs recharging. The charger itself charges the little battery and not the camera itself which is a bit novel, but works just the same, it means you don't have to have the whole camera lying around recharging, just the little battery in the holder.

      Overall a smart, great looking, great quality little camera. The only negatives (ho ho!) I can find are the tiny delay when pressing the button to take the picture, and the fact it takes XD memory cards which are slightly more expensive. But this is a small price to pay for such a fantastic camera. Truly great value. What is it they say about the best things coming in small packages?!!

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      • Kenwood JK770 / Kettle / 116 Readings / 110 Ratings
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        28.07.2007 21:36
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        Boils water lightening quick: a good price, non nonsense kettle

        I bought my Kenwood kettle six months ago and I can honestly say it is the best kettle I ever ever found. This is for the simple fact that it boils water more quickly than any other kettle I have used.

        I first looked for this Kenwood kettle when I noted that 'Which' consumer magazine gave it a top rating and put it in a 'best buy' square for top honours. Apparently it was the fastest boiler of all on test. The knowledge that 'Which' rated it highly made me condsider that model a number one choice straight away, coupled with the fact that Kenwood are generally good for appliances. So off I went and after browsing at a few other designs with various features I settled on this model as it appeared to have everything I wanted. It cost me 13.99 from Amazon. I think this price is very reasonable and a wonderful bargain for such an important and basic buy for every kitchen. You should loko around at the prices though as I have seen it on sale for over £20 in some stores.

        The kettle itself is not particularly stylish to look at but it is not ugly either. I had a chrome kettle before which looked quite fancy but it was noisy and slow (and a lot more expensive) so I learnt not to judge a book by its cover! The Kenwood is basic looking white plastic, plain with no extra stripes or bling factors, just a simple design that would fit in with the usual kitchen colours and appliances. It is quite a sleek shape, curvy and neat. So the appearance is no nonsense and pleases the eye enough to be perfectly acceptable in all but the most chrome obsessed kitchen!

        As for ease of use, the water level window is easy to read, and can be filled to whatever you choose so you can see how much is needed just for one cup, or for four cups etc. so it is good for energy conscious users who don't want to boil extra water needlessly. When you depress the button on top and the kettle is on the light comes on and it starts to boil very quickly. Whe it is ready the button clicks back and the light goes off. To boil enough water from cold for a couple of cups takes less than a minute.

        The kettle is eay to fill through the wide angled spout or by opening the top up, all very smooth and easy. Of course it is without a wire so you can take it anywhee to fill up then replace it on its stand in any direction (very handy) as it is '360 degree' roatation you don't need to be precise with placing it on the stand it just needs to go over the lump in the middle that holds it in place. The filter is eay to remove and clean. Although an easy way to remove lime scale I have found from previous experience is just with a good old soak in lemon juice - just as effective as lots of chemical cleaners and more environmentally friendly, as well as more health conscious.

        The boiling of the water itself is extremely efficient time-wise and it is relatively quiet too, especially when compared with the metal kettles that look so cool (like my disappointing old one) which can sound like a jet taking off. It has a 1.5 litre capacity which is fine for about 8 mugs worth, so should be capable of boiling more than enough water at a time for most people's needs. The whole kettle itself is lightweight too so it is handier in general once filled with water, and also safer for children or the elderly when pouring the boiled water. Despite its light weight it is a sturdy design that feels strong in your hand.

        The cable that comes with the kettle is quite short, about 30cm, so you might want it to be longer if you need to stretch it to a plug socket, and Hey presto! there is extra cable length stored in the base, taking the length up to 80cm, so they seem to have thought of everything!

        The one and only negative I have found is that a couple of times when I have opened up the top of the kettle a small amount of water has spilled out onto my hand from the hinge from where the top lifts up. Both times the water was uncomfotably hot so this is slightly dangerous and I would say a design fault. Water seems to collect here for some reason and it has caught me out twice. The way to avoid this would be to fill it only though the spout, to be very careful when opening the top or make sure it has not boiled recently when opening it up. I'm sure this is a very rare complaint, it hasn't happened to anyone else in my family, and it would not put me off the kettle at all as it is such a good buy.

        All in all I totally recommend this kettle for its great price, its efficiency, 360 degree base rotation and no nonsense approach to boiling water! Marvellous.

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          22.07.2007 21:15
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          Gorgeous smelling, rich body butter for dry skin

          The Body Shop's products are always of a certain standard, you can be sure you are getting a quality product although sometimes their products seem a little expensive, they are also ethically aware, helping community trade projects.

          The idea is that they use as natural ingredients as possible, maybe not as much as Lush, its rival lovely 'natural' toiletries shop, but pretty close. Indeed, they strive to make their products with organic ingredients where they can, or so the woman told me in the Coventry shop when I asked about the ingredients! You can read about their ethics in leaflets in the shop and also on some of their products.

          This body butter is a normal body moisturiser only more intense. It is very thick, and can linger on the skin, it needs a good rub to get it absorbed as it is quite firm too. Once you have kneaded it in though it gives a gorgeous amount of moisture, I really felt my legs were protected and soothed especially after shaving. I've also used this as an after sun lotion as it is really rich and soothing. It is supposed to be used on the body as the name implies as it is a bit to heavy for the face in general.

          I do seem to have to leave it a good few minutes before getting dressed after using it, to feel it had been absorbed properly, or else my trousers stick to my shins and shirt sticks to my arms, as the skin is so moist with the intensive treatment!

          The body butter comes in a tub, which I find easier to use than the usual squeezy tubes or bottles as you can control better how much you get out. It also seems to stay cleaner. I think it looks very attractive too, in neutral colours soft browns, and well designed, being in a short, round tub with a screw on lid makes it easier than a bottle would be to store in a regular bathroom cabinet.

          You can get two different sizes of the body butter tubs, but I think the big one is the only one they have for regular sale in the shop or online. The big (regular) one is 200ml and costs £12. It sounds like a lot but the body butter does go a long way as it is so luxurious and thick, and compared with some designer toiletires prices it is really not all that bad. I'm not sure on the cost of the smaller one I'd guess around £5 but I don't know if they sell this normally as I have only ever had it in gift packs or as free gifts with another purchase etc (I am a regular at Body Shop!) so the small tubs of 50ml may only be in these multi packs or gift packs and not for regular sale.

          The smell of this body butter is lovely too, with hints of vanilla and chocolate. I like all the Body Shop body butter smells but this is one of my faves, my other favourite is the coconut! I believe cocoa butter is supposed to be one of the more thickly moisturising of ingredients in any body lotion. I know the Superdrug cocoa butter body lotion I used to get before this was for dry skin as opposed to their vitamin E one which was for normal skin. With the Body Shop body butters, again they say their cocoa butter one is for 'extra dry skin', so my theory seems to hold true. Maybe that is why I have to wait for it to absorb fully, perhaps my skin is not dry enough for this cocoa butter - but I just love the smell! Not fair! It says on the tub it contains community trade shea butter, so not only is it extra good for dry skin it also is ethically friendly.

          So all in all an excellent moisturiser for the body if you have very dry skin, it is very rich and soothing. If you have normal or oily skin though it is not so good if you are in a ruch as it takes a while to fully absorb. The wait might just be worth it though if you fall in love with the smell of it like I did!

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            14.07.2007 00:40
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            Great tasting boxties - shame about the service

            I was on holiday for the weekend with three friends in Dublin and we were walking round the main streets looking for somewhere to eat when we spotted the interestingly named 'Gallagher's Boxty House'. What is a boxty we wondered? we soon found out...

            Outside the restaurant is inviting, painted dark green with gold lettering and big windows it looked clean and homely. Inside the boxty house is not all that big but just the right size for somewhere comfortable and intimate. It was nicely decorated with Irish looking things, pictures on the wall etc. It was easy to get service and a table - a nice one, like a booth by the wall. The menu was quite extensive and I liked the sound of lots of the dishes. My friend had steak (as always!) which was cooked to perfection. Of course, I chose a boxty! It turns out they are delicious things,savoury pancakes with a filling. I had chicken and it was beautiful, a nice aromatic sauce, big and substantial with the trimmings on the side, lovely.

            The place itself is right in the main tourist spot slap bang in the city centre lively and popular Temple Bar area and is priced accordingly. It was a tad expensive but not more than you would want or expect to pay when on holiday, going somewhere a bit different and special. I like to try places offering specialitites and this boxty is apparently a special dish of Ireland - whole heartedly recommended.

            What was particularly nice was the feeling of the boxty house being unique. They even sold souvenirs such as keyrings and t shirts. It felt very olde worlde and cosy with wooden furniture and Irish music. I do believe they have live music sometimes too which we saw advertised while we were there but did not have the pleasure of hearing for ourselves, I can imagine that would really make a wonderful evening -traditional Irish music with your boxty!

            The bill was a surprise as they had added on a 20% gratuity charge which we thought was a little excessive, especially considering the service we received was minimal. Our bill was large as we all had full meals with pudding and alcohol, but we did not feel we had been served as such, the waiting staff brought out the food but none spoke much or even smiled. We also had to wait a long time even though it was not very busy. The waitresses were polite enough but it did not feel they really cared or made any real effort. I suppose they know their tip is assured so they need not bother too much to offer great service!

            Anyway our Dublin trip was wonderful and the boxty house's food was superb. The only negative was the mediocre service.

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            • Gillette Venus / Shaving & Grooming / 34 Readings / 30 Ratings
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              09.07.2007 00:57
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              Great quality, safe smoothness in snazzy colours

              Gillette Venus is one of those products that I keep coming back to becasue it does the job it is supposed to do and does it well.

              The razor I bought and still have is about 6 years old, it is the classic blue one, though you can also get the same style in shocking pink which does look really cool. Either way you get the same razor design.
              A thing I particularly like though nothing to do with the razoring itself is the case that comes with a sticky back that means you can attach it to the wall of your bathroom /shower tiles. However I had mine at Uni and so when I came home I had to detach it and it won't stick again. (boo!)

              Anyway onto more important matters. The head is a curvy shape which makes it handy for flitting over lumps and bumps without taking out a lump of flesh or driving a gash over your knee like with some straight head razors. The smooth head is soft on your skin. The three blades work perfectly and there is a 'lubricating strip' which wears down with each use, telling you when to replace it. though it is just common sense, and I dont really think the lube strip does alot really. You should shave with a moisturising shower gel of some variety so the strip is superfluous anyway. It looks nice though and matches the blue of the razor.

              You can get coloured shaving gel by gillette too especially for women, to match the venus razor (in pink as well I believe), which works well although you can get the same effect with any shaving gel. The use of a gel is of course highly recommended as it makes the shave much smoother, closer and safer.

              The razor itself comes initially with a spare couple of blades, mine costs £5.59, and the replacement cartridges come in packs of 2, 4, 8 or 16 I believe. My usual 8 pack costs £12. This lasts me a long time as the blades seem to stay sharp and usable for a long time, beyond after the blue strip has worn away. The cartridges come in tiny seperate packs individually wrapped ready to slot into position (removing the old blade is easy you just press a button).

              The only problem I would remark on is that there is no saftey cap for the razor once it is removed from its holder. For example if you want to take it away in a shower bag it is exposed and if you catch yourself on the blades it will rip a layer of skin off your fingers (experience speaks loudly here). Its best to store it blade down in your washbag!

              So all in all a good quality, very long lasting razor, giving a smooth safe finish. Recommended.

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              • Nissan Micra SE in general / Car / 21 Readings / 19 Ratings
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                01.07.2007 18:32
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                Excellent, great looking, spacious small car

                This is a wonderful little city car. I say little because it is classed as a 'supermini' but in actual fact it is quite spacious inside. Quite roomy in the back too, sort of like a tardis! The roof is also noticeably high, my dad can even get his head comfrtably in and he is one tall bloke. You can always catch sight of it in a busy carpark too, so no forgetting where you parked - just scan the rooves and the one that sticks up round and proud is your little buddy!!

                The Micra is lovely to look at as it is a curvy car, lovely design round the front with the stretched headlights. Safety wise it feels cocooned inside. There is plenty of room from the drivers seat to the road, lots of dash board in between you and the outside so in a crash plenty of crumple space. It feels extra safe psychologically too.

                I like all the little pockets and grooves in which to put drinks bottles and cans. There is a box under the seat for valubles, room in the doors for cloths or scrapers etc.
                My SE version has a leather steering wheel too so a touch of luxury there!

                One thing immeditately noticeable were the strong brakes. Of course a garage can change it around, but I like the feeling of if you break hard then you are going to stop very very quickly. It doesnt take a lot of pressing down to grind quickly to a halt. It is easy to drive, very manouverable. In fact I remember a boast that it is also supposed to have the smallest turning circle in its class.

                The doors shut with a comforting clunk, a quality sound. They dont spring out your hand into the car parked next to you like with the Polo! The driving is solid, the gears are quite clunky but you get used to that and its nice to really fel when you are in the right gear. The only car that I enjoyed driving was the Fiesta when I test drove A LOT of small cars. That was a dream to drive, teh gears were just sooo smooth. However my Micra more than makes up for his clunky gearswith his strong happy character. It makes me smile just sitting inside. you feel nice and high up in the drivers seat, in control of the road, like you can see everything.

                the 'intelligent key' where it opens by pressing a button (closes too) is good as you dont need to go rooting around in your bag to find your keys all the time. Also feels safe if a nutter is after you you can run and get in easily without the key business. It does convert to manual key though in an emergency. They seem to have thought of everything.

                Fuel economy seems quite good. No technical problems or niggles at all and Ive had my little beauty for nearly four years now.

                Cost wise I think the Micra is good value. Like all the small city cars really. You can get a brand new one for 7000 or a second hand bigger car. The safety of driving a new car sways me every time.

                The only thing im unsure about is the side view mirrors with the dotted line down the side, changing the size of the vehicels that pass the line, feels a a bit weird on the motorway. It is supposed to help with the blind spot but I found it got in the way of feeling I could see proporerly. I guess you could have those changed if it bothered you too much though. All in all anyway
                Im very happy with my cute bug-like micra, clunky gear stick and all!

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                  01.07.2007 18:25
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                  Everything you need in a hotel stay - great value

                  With Holiday Inn you can pretty much guarantee a standard kind of accommodation. I have always found them to be pleasant and really enjoy staying with the chain. I stayed at the Dublin city centre Holiday Inn and this hotel was really particularly nice. The breakfast is great as its all you want to eat you can get your moneys worth pile it high. The bad thing is the breakfast room service is not so good as you only get a small amount. One piece of toast. I like to have loads. But I guess theres only so much you can fit on a tray!

                  Anyway the location is not so good as it is not entirely central. You have to walk ten minutes to get into the bustley city centre. However its not to bad and pretty swiftly you can get there on foot. It is not great looking either, quite industrial around the nearby streets. But it is inside that counts really and I can vouch for this hotel that it is lovely inside.

                  It is all very clean. the staff were realy helpful when I visited too, in fact I have been twice and would happily go there again. the second time I stayed we had an executive room and wow it was worth it! Enormous room with lovely furniture. Gigantic bed this must have been seven feet wide - a super king - which is important if you want a decent amount of space to spread out with your partner.

                  In fact the beds in the normal twin room that my friends had were both regular doubles too. So they are very generous with beds and space. The rooms are lovely and big.

                  The bathroom is well equipped, standard toiletires notrmally but the executive room (more like a suite) has posh body lotions and all sorts. Dressing gown and slippers in the wardrobe too! Our room even had its own patio room terrace! Although I think this was a fire exit and they had left the door unlocked for safety reasons! Perfect views across the city, it was beautiful.

                  Would definitely stay there again a no nonsence hotel you can be sure of good value, good food (lots of it too) decent service. Its always a lovely break and I love the anonymity of it being a large chain. This hotel is very big and I found it very plush. Great value.

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                  • Spaghetti Westerns (DVD) / DVD / 12 Readings / 11 Ratings
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                    01.07.2007 18:22
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                    Perfect Western collection

                    This special collection has got to be the best Western colection around. Even if you are not a Western fan particularly, the atmosphere will have you reeled in straight away.

                    A Fistful of Dollars features, of course, the Man With No Name (i.e. Clint) arriving into the dusty town to find two rival gangs at war, the Baxters and the Rojos. Clint cleverly plays them both off against each other. There are great gun battles and some dry humour too from Clint's cutting one liners. The tension mounts in the gun show downs with close ups of the eyes and mouths of the shooters, not to mention the amazing music.

                    For A Few Dollars More is the sequel, featuring our Clint as a bounty hunter teaming up with another guy in the same line of work, Van Cleef. Both are after the outlaw El Indio, and after pursuing him each alone, stumble upon eachother staking out the El Indio's gang and after a cool moment of sizing eachother up decide to go into league to catch the gritty bandit. There are lots of different interesting rifles on show in this movie. Again the music is stunning, my favourite theme tune out of this trilogy.

                    The Good the Bad and the Ugly, made in 1966, is the most highly acclaimed of the three and it is the strongest story I believe, following Clint (the Good), Van Cleef again (the Bad) and a brilliant Eli Wallach (the Ugly) on a treasure hunt for a secretly buried $200,000. There is back stabbing and scheming and again some great toungue in cheek humour along the way. Set at the time of the American Civil War you get a real sense of history in this adventure. It is hilarious when Wallach shouts out in support of the Confederates to a passing patrol, only to see their uniforms are just covered in dust and they are actually blue not grey - the Union!

                    My favourite has surely got to be The Good the Bad and the Ugly for the breadth of character involved. The 'ugly' and the 'good' in a battle of wits, developing a real affection for each other by the end, although it is tested many times!

                    There are some breathtaking scenes out in the deserts, great atmosphere. Also ther camera work is startling, particularly around the gun battles with teh cose ups to build tension. The directing is just outstanding, these Westerns defined the genre! However, possibly the best feature of this collection is the unrivalled musical score. The Good the Bad and the Ugly theme tune went to No. 1 in the charts. It is all just so atmosoheric and rousing, exhilarating I would call it, feels like you are out there in the barren desert on your horse.

                    This DVD costs about £40 but you can pick it up for as little as £20 if you shop around, especially online. My copy contains three bonus discs too with audio commentary and featurettes including an interview with Clint Eastwood, a documentary about Sergio Leone, locations and style featurettes, commentaries by Christopher Frayling, original trailers, discussions about Ennio Morricone's music, and more besides! This one says it is a three disc set but it looks the same as mine which is a six disc set so this version may not contain these extras so look out for the six disc version. Even without the extra discs though it is still a marvellous collection of classic Westerns with remastered images and music giving the best versions yet.

                    This DVD collection is excellent and the six disc version includes so much extra stuff it is an even better bargain!

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                    • John Lewis / Highstreet Shopping / 16 Readings / 15 Ratings
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                      01.07.2007 18:17
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                      Excellent store, great service and great products

                      This department store has got to be the best chain in England. The stores are always well stocked and laid out. The goods are excellent quality, especially John Lewis's own brand (always scores well in 'which' consumer magazine). Good value and *Classy classy classy.*

                      What is most impressive though are the staff. They all seem genuinely interested in, and knowledeable about, what they are selling and the department they are manning. They are also all intelligent. I know John Lewis runs a good staff programme, where the staff all own shares in the company so it is in the staff's best interests for the company to do well, which promotes a pride in their work and a desire to present a good front and of course do a good job. They are also very knowledgeabe about their products and can answer all your questions. This is SO refreshing for the customer to be served by someone polite intelligent and who knows what they are talking about! I have great safety confidence in the store.

                      Another good thing is their guarantee to match the price of any other shop and will pay you the difference if you find it anywhere cheaper. You cannot say fairer than that! Indeed, whenever I have had to return anything they have always been really helpful with a no nonsense attitude and will refund or exchange straight away.

                      A top store, very classy products, intelligent staff and great service.

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                        01.07.2007 18:14
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                        Good all round epilator, no nonsense smoothness, grin and bare it!

                        This epilator looks nice and gentle, a pretty colour, and even includes an exfoliator pad, and a little brush for helpful cleaning. However, if you ever think you are going to have painless hair removal by ripping the hairs out at the root then you will have to think again! Of course it is very painful and I still cannot epilate my legs without tears coming to my eyes. I suppose it depends on your skin type though, perhaps mine is sensitive. However, it is also suitable for more delicate areas like bikini line and for some reason I can cope with that better. Epilating is much better for bikini line than shaving as it lasts much longer and none of that awful itching that comes soon after shaving.

                        Pulling the skin taught works as well becasue the hairs stand out more and so are easier for the whirling tweezers to grip. What is a nuisance is the loud sound when it is turned on, the whirring electric noise sounds like you could be doing something naughty!

                        I did find that if you use the high speed setting, rather than the lower speed setting, it seems to be less painful. It seems to be more proficient at higher speeds. The tweezers whirl round more quickly and with a fast pull it seems to grip the hairs better, remove them more quickly, as so cause the least stress to the skin.

                        My skin is red and sore afterwards but that subsides in a day and then next day it is back to normal. It does leave a lovely smooth finish, and lasts a good couple of weeks, you can just top up with manual tweezers now and then for little hairs that are just coming through.

                        I do prefer it to waxing as you can control the removal process better (stop when you want, take it slow over some areas or faster etc). It also gives a more uniform result than waxing, and of course once you buy the epilator you have it for life.

                        I have to sometimes remove stragglers with tweezers, but another interesting point and useful tip is that any hairs that are left are weakened by the epilating and they slide out easily with manual tweezers afterwards. Just moisturise afterwards, and exfoliate a few days later to keep the skin in tip top condition and avoid ingrown hairs.

                        All in all a good epilator with nice extras. Just don't expect any of them to be painless

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                        • No Way Out (DVD) / DVD / 34 Readings / 28 Ratings
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                          23.06.2007 03:59
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                          Costner is brilliant in this twisting, shocking, creepy and sexy roller coaster - perfect stuff

                          No Way Out is quite simply one of the best films ever made in my opinion!

                          It relied very much on the fast pace and the element of surprise - there are many twists and turns. So if you haven't already seen it I urge you not to read the following paragraphs of plot detailing. It truly will spoil the film - itnwould have for me anyway. The first viewing is amazing but subsequent viewings cannot match it. I guess that could be said to be a flaw, but such a twisting fast paced film will always be that way I believe. Anyway here goes...

                          Kevin Costner is brilliantly believeable (yes it's true) as Tom Farrell, a US Navy Officer who starts a relationship with the sassy Susan Atwell (Sean Young) at a party after they have a romantic tryst in a limousine on the way home! Susan is already the mistress of US Defence Secretary David Brice - not that Tom knows this at this point. When Tom find out the 'other man' is Brice (his boss) he isn't best pleased.
                          Tom and Susan share a romantic trip away and all looks rosy, but on their return Brice suspects Susan of having an affair and during the ensuing argument Brice acidentally kills her. This really shocked me! I expected Susan to be a main character throughout and not to be killed off so early. That was an excellent twist thought.

                          Anyway Brice is distraught and wants to turn himself in, but his aide, Scott Pritchard (played by Will Patton in an incredible performance) persuades him to try to cover it up. They blame the murder on Susan's secret lover, and they decide to say he is a Russian spy, 'Yuri'. So now everyone sets about catching this spy. Tom, or course realises what is happening when he is told of the murder. Que Tom's heartrending desperation to resume control when he realises Susan has been murdered by Brice and that they are trying to cover it up. Tom is put in charge of catching Susan's lover!

                          The following action is so exciting with Tom trying to delay the evidence against him, the processing of a polaroid Susan took of him, while at the same time trying to find the computer print out of a present Brice gave to Susan - proving he was her mistress. It is a frantic race against time. Edge of seat stuff to say the least!

                          Warning - extra big plot spoiler coming up!! The final twist at the end is that Tom turns out to really be a Yuri. This adds complication and I feel this is superfluous to the plot. This final twist was unnecessary as the film was superb as it was. Just an ironic little ending I suppose, making his relationship with Susan start as a political move to get information aaginst Brice to blackmail him. You can ignore this ending and it is just as good if not better.

                          There are some stunning performances especially by Will Patton playing Pritchard. He is in love (or infatuated) with Brice to the point of insanity. He is smooth and softly spoken, intelligent and a touch madness (you are sure he would do absolutely anything to help Brice and to gain his admiration, well, he helps him cover up a murder): he is the main villain of the piece, played with perfect sinister understated menace in his desperation to save Brice's skin. His face at the end when Brice turns against him though is so pathetic and desperate I almost felt sorry for him. Patton gives such a stunning, subtle and believeable performance, I feel the character of Pritchard steals the whole film.

                          As an overview, the film starts off slow and stylish, romantic and sexy, you have no idea what a tense and fast ride you are going to end up getting with this film! The suspense gets so high I was punching my duvet on the bed shouting 'no way! no way!' Slightly embarassing to admit but true nonetheless. And yes Kevin Costner does look amazingly fit in his slim fitting white navy uniform. This is when he is in his early thirties. The great sex scene in the back of the limo is very erotic and sensual. The plot twists and turns throughout, it is outrageously captivating, as Costner ends up being pursued AND doing his own pursuing. The movie builds up into a crazy journey of twsts and turns leaving you breathless. Amazing performances: sexy, smooth, understated, sinister, passionate. Oh so perfect!

                          The DVD itself unfortunately does not have much in the way of extras. Just scene selection and language choices as you'd expect. It does however have the original theatrical trailer which is interesting and entertaining to see. I'm not sure if there are different DVD versions with more extras but mine and all I have seen are simple with just the film and a few normal additions as I have commented on. The DVD menus are all easy to follow and look good, nicely presented, easy to select from, and with attractive still shots. So apart from the lack of extras to peruse this DVD is a must and has to command all five stars.

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