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London222

London222
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      17.03.2014 12:58
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      Another decent product from Imperial Leather.

      Two things attracted me to this product when I was shopping recently: first it was on offer - large 500ml bottles were 2 for £3 at Asda - and secondly, the product looked attractive and different. The product appeared to be a clear gel with tiny pale pink pearls/beads suspended in it. I was intrigued and wanted to try it.

      The product:

      This SkinKind Enrich body wash product from Imperial Leather is raspberry and lime blossom scented and has jojoba oil moisture beads. It is hypoallergenic, allergen free fragranced, and dermatologically tested. The product is triple moisturising and pH neutral. The product aims to be kind to skin, leaving your skin healthy, feeling moisturised and well cared for.


      Ingredients:

      [Aqua, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Glycerin, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Helianthus Annuus Oil, Tilia Cordata Flower Extract, Rubus Idaeus Fruit Extract, Parfum, Lithium Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Gelatin, Acacia Senegal Gum, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Nitrate, Methylisothiazolinone, Methylchloroisothiazolinoe, Mica, Cl 77891, Cl 75470, Cl 73360]


      My experience:

      I liked the smell of this product. You can smell the raspberry scent coming through in this gel as soon as you flip the cap on the bottle - it is a soft scent though. Lovely.

      The gel is very thick and I did need to rub quite a bit to get a lather - but when it does lather up, the lather is creamy and has a silky feel to it as you move it across your skin. The soft fruity scent and the creamy lather makes for a luxurious feeling combination which appeals to the senses.

      I wasn't as impressed with the jojoba beads in the end though. The beads are soft, I couldn't feel them particularly - but some seemed reluctant to dissolve away and I found brushing them off my skin vaguely annoying. Although they made the product look appealing in the bottle - I'm not sure that they added to the overall experience of the body wash.

      After washing, this product does leave your skin feeling soft and nourished with a soft lingering scent for a while. As far as results on my skin goes, this is one of the best products I've tried in quite a while. It does not irritate my sensitive skin at all and feels beneficial to use. Full marks for the end result then. Shame about the pearls.

      Conclusion: a good body wash. I'd give it 3 and a half dooyoo stars. (A relief, since I have two big bottles of the stuff.) Recommended.

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        16.03.2014 16:02
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        Citrus freshness in the wash.

        I bought this product as it was on offer at Tesco's. A big 2.4 kg box was £4 reduced from the normal price of £6. A box this size is enough for 40 washes, so it seemed like good value to me.


        The product:

        The product is a biological powder so you may want to bear that in mind if you are sensitive to any of its ingredients. It promises to get whites white without being harsh on coloured items and leave your washing smelling citrusy fresh. The powder is dispensed into your washing machine via the drawer, following the dosing instructions on the pack bearing in mind the type of water you have and the size of machine you use.

        For a 6kg+ washing machine:

        Soft water, light soil 135ml, medium soil 135ml, heavy soil 200ml

        Medium water, light soil 170ml, medium soil 170ml, heavy soil 235ml

        Hard water, light soil 205ml, medium soil 205ml, heavy soil 270ml


        Ingredients:

        5-15% Anionic surfactants,Oxygen-based bleaching agents; <5% Non-ionic surfactants ,Phosphonates ,Polycarboxylates ,Zeolites; Enzymes ,Optical brighteners ,Perfumes ,Alpha-isomethyl ionone ,Butylphenyl methylpropional ,Geraniol ,Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde ,Limonene.


        Experience of the product:

        Powder is probably my least preferred option for laundry items as I often seem to find undissolved clumps of the stuff in my machine drawer. Although, this powder wasn't bad on that score. I must also add that I find a box of this size rather unwieldy to store and to pour out the powder. Nevertheless, since my main aim when buying this was saving the pennies and hoping not to compromise on the standard of wash, then this is a minor niggle.

        The first thing you notice about the powder is its fresh smell. You can smell this product even before the washing is emptied from your machine. The scent of limes is especially noticeable in my opinion. So the way this laundry powder leaves my bedding and clothing smelling gets the thumbs up from me. Everything smells really lovely and fresh.

        As far as cleaning results go I would give this powder a very respectable 8/10. Whites do come out well, even when washed at low temperatures. The biological power of this powder also seemed to fulfil its promise of not being too harsh on coloured items. Most marks and stains came out well - but it failed on the following:

        Dried bloodstain - still there after one wash. Had to leave the garment to soak for a couple of hours to get rid of this stain.

        Shoe scuff mark on a white shirt (don't ask) also had to soak in a solution of this product before coming completely out.

        Conclusion: Would recommend this product at the offer price. I've been using it for two weeks and still have half a box left. The product cleans and smells pleasant - and although it failed me on a couple of stubborn stains - I think most laundry products can't claim perfect results every time. A good product at a fair price.

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        • Cadbury Bitsa Wispa Bag / Chocolate / 63 Readings / 61 Ratings
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          09.03.2014 16:50
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          A good idea from Cadburys.

          The product:

          The Wispa bar was launched in 1981 and was on sale until 2003 before disappearing from the nation's shelves. But it was missed...and in 2007 the bar was back.

          Bitsa Wispa - a variation on the Wispa theme - are exactly what you'd expect them top be. Bits of Wispa.
          The snack describes itself as "cheeky chunks of itsy bitsa Wispa." These chunks are packaged in a 130g recyclable foil bag with an easy tear top and a sticky strip to reseal the pack for freshness. Each of these tiny bite-sized pieces has the bubbly smoothness that you'd expect from the full sized Wispa bar - and they melt in your mouth.

          Ingredients:

          Milk, Sugar ,Cocoa Butter ,Cocoa Mass ,Vegetable Fat ,Emulsifier (E442) ,Flavourings ,Milk Solids 14% minimum ,Cocoa Solids 25% minimum ,Contains Vegetable Fats in addition to Cocoa Butter.

          Allergy Information:

          Contains: Milk
          May Contain: Nuts

          Calories per quarter pack 180kcal, 19% of your GDA sugars, 16% GDA fat, 34% GDA saturates (ouch!) and 1% GDA salt.

          Store in a cool dry place.

          Thoughts:

          I love Wispa bars - and I love these. I find them incredibly moreish. Personally, I like to keep them cool in the fridge to give that extra crunch. The chocolate is silky, smooth and delicious. The texture is crumbly and bubbly. They're little cubes of joy in my opinion.

          Like so many delicious things in life though, you have to keep in mind that they're not the healthiest choice for a snack. They are a treat rather than an everyday food. If you scoffed a whole 'sharing' bag of these you would exceed your Guideline Daily Amount of saturates. Not wise.

          I find they provide a tasty nibble when you aren't in the mood to scoff an entire chocolate bar. And they are good to share....probably. Sharing these is not easy for me. Hence, my bag is currently hiding behind the cheese.

          Eat responsibly. Enjoy.

          A sharing pack of these (130g) is £1.50 at Tesco, £2.10 at Sainsburys, £1.49 at Ocado.

          Would recommend.

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          • Patch! - Cath Kidston / Fiction Book / 94 Readings / 93 Ratings
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            01.03.2014 14:22
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            Sew very Cath Kidston.

            I received this book as a gift a couple of months ago and have enjoyed using it. There are so very many good ideas presented in this book the main trouble was choosing the first one to start with.

            The product:

            Patch! is a small paperback book (measuring approximately 21.5cm x 15cm) which is just the right size for slipping into my sewing bag. The front cover illustrates an attractive piece of Cath Kidston style patchwork and declares that there is a Cath Kidston needle case free inside - but don't get too excited about that - the needle case is actually a piece of folded over thin card shaped like a patchwork flower, but it does come with 8 needles of assorted sizes.

            There are also 12 templates included which are required to complete the projects in the book. They are printed out onto several sheets of paper and need to be either cut out or traced onto a separate piece of paper for use. Most of the templates are the actual size required but it must be noted that some are not - and you will have to enlarge the shapes which are provided using a photocopier. (Some technical knowledge required there!)


            Experience of the product:

            Although not an absolute novice at sewing I hadn't done patching for years so I appreciated the detailed instructions in Patch! So far I have had a go at two of the 33 projects in this book: the Dresden plate cushion - a plain cushion with one large piece of patchwork on it and the Circles Laundry bag which is a plain bag sporting interlocking patchwork petals. I chose these pieces as they looked the least demanding to start off with and I found the end product useful. Some of the projects such as the throw would seem to be a little more challenging and time consuming...but then it does say in the introduction to this book that the aim was to include 'something for everybody.'

            The patch projects include:

            Floral and Spot Tote Bag
            Tweed Messenger Bag
            Red Hens Bag
            Harlequins Bag
            Rose Knitting Bag
            Hounds Bag
            Circles Laundry Bag
            Floral Wash-Bag
            Dresden Plate Tote Bag
            Dresden Plate Cushion
            Rose Linen Pillowcase
            Boudoir Cushion
            Triangle Patch Pillowcase
            Suffolk Puff Cushion
            Child's Cushion
            Child's Pentagon Ball
            Stanley Toy
            Bunny Blanket
            Star Throw
            Hankie Bedcover
            Curtain Panel
            Tea Towel Tablecloth
            Sugarbag Doorstop
            Tartan Beanbag
            Applique Tea Towel
            Hexagon Pincushion
            Personalised Dog Bed
            Flower Picture
            Bunny Sweater
            Patched Dungarees
            Puff Collar Cardigan
            Puff Necklace

            Thoughts:

            All the projects shown possess that friendly, pretty, homespun Cath Kidston style. The instructions are presented using diagrams as well as written text and are clear and easy to follow. Beginners are well catered for as there is a useful run through of the essential equipment you will need for starting sewing, a guide to choosing fabrics, how to cut out your patches, essential tips for using a sewing machine and a handy set of instructions covering some hand sewing basics. The book gives an overview of different types of seams and hems and explains a range of embroidery stiches - all with illustrations.

            I didn't use traditional Cath Kidston fabrics. I raided the scrappy collection of natural fabrics I had been putting aside for ages - but I was quite smugly satisfied with my cushion and laundry bag. Cutting out and hand sewing patches does require some patience but I found the experience quite therapeutic and it does give you a sense of accomplishment when you are done. I found the book easy to use, a joy to thumb through and would thoroughly recommend for crafters of all abilities.

            A colourful, inspirational, good quality book. Good value for money in my opinion. Available at Amazon for £6.30.

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              26.02.2014 20:27
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              Each episode takes you out of yourself for twenty minutes

              Series review only:
              I discovered Archer whilst flicking endlessly through lists of programmes, looking for something which didn't tax my brain (as I was ill at the time and feeling sorry for myself). I did not know anything about the show prior to watching it. Being an animated offering I expected it would be a little like the old marvel cartoons I used to watch years ago. How wrong can you get?

              The fact that this show opens with James Bond style graphics of silhouetted women and was being shown after the watershed should have given me a clue.

              Plot:
              This animated series is about a spy called Archer who works for the fictitious International Secret Intelligence Service in New York. The Head of this agency is his dictatorial mother Malory Archer. Archer works with his stunning ex-girlfriend Lana Kane - who still has feelings for him - and his other ISIS co-workers: Ray, a fellow agent; Cyril, the accountant; Pam from Human Resources; secretary Cheryl and the mysterious Doctor Krieger.

              Series 1:
              The characters are introduced and the viewer soon learns that there are several plot threads to follow in these short (approx. 20 minute) animated adventures. There is a new story each episode but there are also sub plots which concern relationships between the characters and also plots which deal with the back-stories of these characters. Murder, Kidnapping and Equality in the Workplace all get the Archer treatment in this first set of adventures.
              Episodes: Mole Hunt, Training Day, Diversity Hire, Killing Utne, Honeypot, Skorpio, Skytanic, The Rock, Job offer, Dial M for Mother.

              Series 2:
              Can Archer be trusted to guard a teenage girl? Is Archer the daddy? And who's Archer's daddy? These questions are posed to the viewer in the second season.
              Episodes: Swiss Miss, A going concern, Blood Test, Pipeline Fever, The Double Deuce, Tragical History, Movie Star, Stage Two, Placebo Effect, El Secuestro, Jeu Monegasque, White Nights.

              Series 3:
              Is his mother really dating Burt Reynolds? How did an Italian politician wind up murdered in Malory Archer's apartment? Has Archer's fiancée come back from the dead? ...just some of the questions asked in the third season. This season contains some longer stories so some of the episodes leave you with irresistible cliff-hangers.
              Episodes: Heart of Archness parts 1,2,3; The Man from Jupiter, El Contador, The LImited, Drift Problem, Lo Scandalo, Bloody Ferlin, Crossing Over, Skin Game, Space race parts 1 and 2.

              Thoughts:
              This show might be described as a guilty pleasure. In so many ways this show is rude, crude and often politically incorrect - and normally I'm quite po-faced about such things and won't watch. But I watched every episode of Archer and have looked into getting the next seasons. Why?
              Well, the animation is first rate for one thing. There is a kind of old-style look to the animation which gives it a comic book appeal.

              The voice acting is very well done too. All the characters are memorable and are given depth. Even Archer with his impossibly huge ego, lewd behaviour and disregard for others has another softer side to him. As the series progresses you find yourself actually caring how these characters lives develop. The lives of these people take on a soap opera quality which is quite addictive.

              The script is irreverent - but also very witty. The plots often have surprising twists in them to keep you hooked.

              There is something engaging about the anachronistic nature of this presentation too. The show has a fifties style to it on one hand - the characters' clothing and surroundings often suggests this. But they have cell phones and up to date equipment, things which suggest the story takes place right now. The attitudes shown by the characters play on both these eras. Sometimes the response is old world - sometimes bang up to date. In the end, all this adds to the comedy. It's a spy spoof - and occasionally it reminds me of Get Smart - but only occasionally. This is far ruder but just as funny.

              Would recommend you take a look at series 1-3. This box set - which contains extra features - is out of stock at the moment on Amazon but the series can be bought separately for around £10-12 a set. The series are also available on Netflix at the moment( 26/02/14).

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                22.02.2014 08:58
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                A bro' and his hoe

                Small, hard, well-thumbed ...and with a picture of a watering can on the front...yes, I'm talking about my copy of Fifty Sheds Damper, the sequel to the popular parody Fifty Sheds of Grey which began as a humorous twitter response to the Fifty Shades series. If you like witty word play then you will appreciate these handbag sized parodies. These books might be considered instruction manuals on how to write double entendres.

                The plot this time seems to promise a much darker experience. Our hero, multi- millionaire shed designer Mr Colin Grey, finds himself kidnapped and tied to a chair. The question is by whom? What is their agenda? Colin muses through the possibilities and another hilarious selection of quips ensue. Don't expect in depth characterizations and complicated sub-plots - this book is all about the punchlines.

                The book promises to be "Hotter. Steamier. Damper!" than the previous offering and saucily proclaims that the book now comes with a wipe clean cover.

                As with the first book in this series, it is easy to read (I read it in under an hour) and very amusing. Another selection of black and white photos of sheds, workbenches and garden paraphernalia are interspersed amongst the list of erotic/gardening witticisms.

                I am not going to list any of these as examples on this occasion - you will have to look them up yourselves. The book is available in hard back at Amazon for four pounds currently, and is available on kindle for under two pounds.

                Although I found this book amusing, I think that the first parody had the edge. All jokes only run so far, I suppose. Still, I enjoyed this and feel it would make a good gift - although perhaps not for your grannie.
                Fifty Sheds Damper still retains enough novelty value for me to recommend.

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                  21.02.2014 21:15
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                  A bit of a laugh at the expense of erotica

                  Written as a parody of the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey this book presents the reader with the love that dare not speak its name...the love of a man for his shed.

                  The parody began on twitter and the account has 100k followers - the book has also been extremely popular and is available in hardback for a fiver at Amazon - or a mere 20p for the kindle version.

                  The plot - well such as it is - involves Mr Grey reminiscing about his youthful encounter with an older woman and his wife's desire to try new things after reading Fifty Shades....all against a gardening themed backdrop. The book is very short and it took me less than an hour to read its 144 pages - even allowing for pondering time over the many black and white pictures of sheds and the time it took for me to laugh at the long list of twitter-sized double entendres.

                  This one made me laugh:

                  "Harder," she cried, gripping the workbench tightly. "Harder!"

                  "Alright," I said. "What's the gross national product of Nicaragua?"


                  The book is really a stream of these snappy little jokes and I enjoyed relating the funniest to my other half. There is something very English about the tongue in cheek humour in this tome - and possibly a bit middle aged...but then I am English and middle aged. I enjoyed it.

                  My daughter bought me this book and its sequel Fifty Sheds Damper for Christmas this year (I hadn't the heart to tell her I'd already got it on kindle). The hardback is quite small but has a quality feel to it and I feel it makes a good stocking stuffer or a daft pressie for someone who appreciates silliness.

                  If you aren't sure whether this this is your cup of tea or not I'd recommend you visit the twitter page first - you will soon see what to expect from the book.

                  Would recommend.

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                    08.02.2014 12:06
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                    Iconic horror.

                    Having read Stephen King's 'Doctor Sleep' recently, I had the urge to revisit the chilling events at the Overlook Hotel in this book's predecessor 'The Shining' - a book which I originally read about twenty years ago.

                    The Shining has been lauded by many as one of the best supernatural horror stories ever written. When I first read the story many years ago, I think I would have agreed whole-heartedly with this assessment. Since then I've probably become a little more desensitised to descriptions of gore and also much more critical of what I read generally - I don't think I found this as horror-filled as I did but there's no argument that this is still a five star story.

                    As I grow older I find myself prizing the author's skill in creating and maintaining a sense of suspense and tension above a gruesome scene any day. In 'The Shining,' King presents the reader with a suitably suspenseful horror story which keeps you reading until the final page.

                    The plot has much of the ingredients of traditional horror. The scene is one of isolation. For the whole of the winter period the Torrance's - Jack, his wife Wendy and his five year old son Danny are cut off from the outside world in the bleak, snowbound Overlook Hotel. King builds up a sense of the darkness that pervades the Hotel as Jack uncovers aspects of the hotels murky past. He discovers there have been several violent/ unexplained deaths at the Overlook. The atmosphere becomes claustrophobic as the family slowly realize all is not well.

                    As in all King's novels the characters are finely wrought and believable. Jack Torrance is a flawed personality, prone to outbursts of rage; filled with a sense of his own failure. He is frustrated by missed opportunities and his inability to conquer his writer's block. He has fallen in life and we see his inner despair at having to work as a caretaker. As an alcoholic struggling to stay away from the bottle, he is constantly at war with demons of his own. But at least there is no drink whatsoever at the Overlook to tempt him....or is there?

                    His wife Wendy has considered leaving him due to his behaviour and there is a sense of tension as she is torn between loyalty to her husband and the desire to protect her son and give him a good life. She is a 'Mommy' first, I think - but she is certainly no caricature. She is feisty when the need arises.

                    It is perhaps Danny who is the star of the story though. He has 'The Shining' - an insight into things that have happened in the past, and into events that are yet to occur. Having a 'special' character in a story like this really opens up the possibilities as far as plot-lines go and King takes full advantage of this. Danny is an innocent - but unlike a typical carefree child of his age, he knows there are things lurking in the shadows.

                    The Shining makes for a good read. For me, the fully realised characters are what kept me most interested. The personalities are given a lot of back-story and there is a real sense of getting into the protagonists skins. The plot is a page turner too and there are many genuine scares there - although since I've read this previously, perhaps the element of surprise was dulled for me this time around. It's a scarefest. Well - with one exception for me. In my opinion topiary isn't scary. Topiary is never scary.

                    The film of this book alters the story somewhat - so if you've only ever seen the film I think I'd recommend you read King's original version.

                    Available on Amazon in paperback for six pounds - less if you order it in kindle format.

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                    • Teapigs Peppermint Infusion / Tea / 108 Readings / 107 Ratings
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                      02.02.2014 08:46
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                      Extra special tea

                      I was introduced to the Teapigs range of products by my sister. She loves to explore health food shops and often brings me stuff which I would n't otherwise have tried. Some of this stuff I have considered overpriced, pretentious fare - so when she brought me a pack of 15 peppermint 'caffeine free, biodegradable tea temples' my initial reaction was to roll my eyes and stick them away in the cupboard. Tea 'temples'? Really? I was perfectly happy with my collection of flavoured Clipper and Twinning teas thank you very much. And how much were these 15 er...'temples'? Nearly four pounds a pack? (More eye rolling. She must have more money than sense, I thought.)


                      The product:

                      The back of the Teapigs pack tackles the purchasers first obvious question: 'What's so special about this tea?'
                      Teapigs claim that their tea is 'fresher and finer than any teabag mint you have tasted before because...we insist on whole leaves.' The tea temples use whole leaf only, avoiding the dust found in regular tea bags.

                      The 'tea temples' are transparent mesh bags - the material used for the bags has an almost satin sheen to it, making the product look classy, expensive but also wholesome. The temples have string attached for convenient infusing of the tea. The peppermint tea inside looks appealing. It is green in colour and the pieces of leaf are quite large when compared with the teabags I've been used to.

                      According to the Teapigs website the peppermint for this tea is sourced from Bulgaria.

                      The product claims (like all peppermint teas) to be beneficial for soothing your tummy.

                      The tea is 2 calories per cup and is suitable for gluten free and dairy free diets.



                      Using the tea:

                      Teapigs advise that you steep the tea for at least three minutes in a cup of boiling water to get a good flavour. Seven minutes will give you the strongest flavour. Can be served hot or cold.



                      My view:

                      Having tried this tea I am really impressed with it. Yes, it's pricey - but in my opinion it's probably worth it.
                      It is particularly delicious. Three minutes of infusing gave me a light, minty, refreshing drink - with a fresh taste that really hit the spot. It certainly has that extra something. My mouth felt minty, clean and tingly after this drink and it did seem to settle my stomach. An enjoyable experience.

                      If money were no consideration for me I would probably buy this peppermint tea all the time. As it is, I will have to be content to buy this as a special treat now and again.

                      Would recommend.

                      This tea is available from teapigs.co.uk in various sizes, both in loose tea - and in the tea temples. There is a delivery charge to factor in when you are purchasing. The product is also available from good health food shops and from Amazon where a pack of 50 tea temples are currently £10.75.

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                        01.02.2014 18:30
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                        Green credentials - but a bit sappy on occasion.

                        Billed as a fantasy comedy-drama, The Odd Life of Timothy Green certainly is ...well...odd. Saying that, it kept my interest for 105 minutes and had its appealing moments. Produced by Walt Disney studios, this 2009, Cert U film offers an off the wall plot, quirky characters and some glorious bucolic scenery.


                        The plot:

                        I'll try to set the scene without spoilers here...

                        Cindy Green (Jennifer Garner) and her husband Jim (Joel Edgerton) can't have children and are heartbroken about it. So they write down a wish list of the characteristics of their ideal child on leaves of paper and bury them in a box in the garden. (Er...As you do.)

                        After a storm, a ten year old boy, covered in mud and with leaves growing from his legs appears and announces he is their son. The Greens believe he is the ideal son which they wished for.

                        The story re-runs as a series of long flashbacks as Cindy tries to convince an adoption agency to give them a child by relating their experiences with Timothy.

                        The film shows Timothy dealing with life at school and his interactions with his extended family and the wider community. He learns slowly about the world - but ultimately, it is his parents and others who learn most from him.

                        The plot was generally interesting - although I wasn't bowled over by the sub-plot which involves the fathers job at the pencil factory.


                        Acting and script:

                        The acting is generally good, as you would expect from a strong cast but the quirkiness of some of the characters made me feel that the actors were n't always quite sure what was required of them. Consequently, some of the characters - such as Cindy's catty sister - remained largely caricatures.

                        Timothy himself (CJ Adams) is believable as the mysterious, naive child who comes into the Green's home.

                        The script was not without its flaws. Despite the strange plot - so much managed to still be predictable. This was a very sentimental film - cloyingly so at times - and some of the set pieces were too sickly sweet for my personal tastes.

                        The film has a few 'spooky' moments - the storms, for example - which balance out this sweetness.

                        I found the photography in this film also quite notable. There are warm panoramas of the changing season as summer turns to autumn. This - and the film's cheerful soundtrack - adds to the feel-good factor of the film.



                        Final thoughts:

                        This is the sort of film which to enjoy and engage with you have to suspend belief. It offers its own reality and you just have to go with it. For example, I doubt very much whether telling an adoption board that you looked after a child who emerged from your back garden with leaves sprouting from his shins would be a smart move in real life. But this is Disney life. It's sweet - and dreams can come true.

                        My overall feelings were, however, that it was a pleasant film. It had something to say about the importance of family, how we should accept others and reminds us of the brevity of life itself.

                        I would give it 3 and a half dooyoo stars.

                        DVD available on Amazon for a fiver.

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                          15.01.2014 16:51
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                          When you want to scrub up well...

                          I was given a 150 ml flip top tube of St Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub recently as a gift. I tend to use face masks these days to cleanse rather than scrub my skin - so this was a product which I would not have purchased for myself. I have fond memories of the St Ives range, however, and used to use their scrubs a lot in my younger days. Nowadays my skin tends to be normal and not really that greasy - so I did not see the need for a scrub as such. Nevertheless, I've been using it - and I'm pleased with the results.

                          The product:

                          The product is supposed to gently exfoliate your skin, removing the dead skin cells. It purports to leave your skin smooth and radiant. Using this product is supposed to lead to healthier-looking, glowing skin in 7 days. The product is oil free and suitable for all skin types.

                          The product trumpets its Swiss origins: it contains more than 90% naturally derived ingredients; Swiss glacial water and Swiss botanicals.

                          Ingredients:
                          AQUA (WATER), JUGLANS REGIA (WALNUT) SHELL POWDER, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE , ZEA MAYS (CORN) KERNEL MEAL, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, CETYL ALCOHOL, LINOLEAMIDE DEA, LANOLIN OIL, PEG-100 STEARATE, PRUNUS ARMENIACA (APRICOT) KERNEL OIL, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) EXTRACT, PRIMULA VERIS EXTRACT, SAMBUCUS NIGRA FLOWER EXTRACT, SORBITOL, CETEARETH-20, CARBOMER, METHYLPARABEN, POLYSORBATE 60, TRIETHANOLAMINE ETHYLPARABEN, PROPYLPARABEN, PHENOXYETHANOL,METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, CITRONELLOL, BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE).

                          Usage:

                          The product advises: moisten the face and gently massage the scrub into the face - then rinse. Avoid contact with eyes. For best results use 3-4 times per week.

                          My experience:

                          The scrub is taupe coloured and easily squeezed from the tube. Applying this over my damp face is certainly invigorating as is claimed. Whilst you feel the particles rubbing on your skin, doing their job of exfoliating - you are enveloped in the gentle scent of peaches. If you are used to gentle, more finely blended scrubs this one might take a little getting used to. It's a scrub that means business.

                          I tend to gently massage this scrub on my face for less than a minute, however - and I'm still impressed with the results. My skin felt smoother with this product from the first time I used it. After two weeks of occasional use I find my skin has a glowing, well-cared for look about it - and when you're over forty this is good news.

                          This product does not irritate my slightly sensitive skin and once I got used to the tingly feeling using this scrub gives then I enjoyed using the product a lot. Would recommend.

                          Good value scrub.

                          Available for £3.99 at Superdrug.

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                          • More +
                            13.01.2014 17:22
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                            A treat for your skin.

                            One of my Christmas gifts this year was a 200ml tub of The Body Shop's Cocoa Body Butter. This is currently retailing on their website at £13 - but there are often offers on this product - so I would recommend that you look out for those. Nevertheless, I still think it represents fair value at its full price since a tub lasts for quite a while and it is a lovely pampering experience.

                            The product:

                            The product claims to be 'a feast for the skin' and purports to leave skin feeling soft and smooth. It contains Community Fair Trade cocoa butter. It promises to give 24-hour hydration and be great for dry skin.

                            It is packaged in a round, cocoa coloured plastic container which is recyclable. The butter itself is a lighter cocoa colour.

                            To use:

                            Apply to skin. Best applied after a bath or shower.

                            Ingredients:

                            Aqua (Water) (Solvent/Diluent), Glycine soja (Soybean Oil) (Emollient/Skin Conditioner), Theobroma cacao (Cocoa Butter) (Emollient), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter) (Emollient), Glycerin (Humectant), Cyclomethicone (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifier), Lanolin Alcohol (Stabiliser/Emollient), Phenoxyethanol (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Methylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Xanthan Gum (Viscosity Modifier), Benzyl Alcohol (Preservative), Disodium EDTA (Chelating Agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH Adjuster), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Caramel (Colour), CI 19140 (Colour).

                            My experience:

                            I have used this product several times after a shower since receiving it - and have enjoyed the experience. The butter itself is luxuriously thick, firm and cooling to the skin. It blends into my skin well and leaves it feeling soft and nourished. This nourished feeling does last through the day too in my experience. This sensation is much appreciated as my skin does tend to feel a bit dry in winter from a combination of chilling winds outside and from having the central heating on inside. The advice on the website for this product is to be generous with this body butter - personally I have learned to be a little sparing with it as when I put on what I would call a generous amount, my skin tends to feel a little greasy. As it is, when I apply as much as my skin seems to need my skin feels fantastic - and smells gorgeous!

                            The body butter has a soft, sweet cocoa scent to it and this lasts on the skin for quite some time. I think the scent is underpinned by a subtle floral aroma too - but that's my opinion. Would recommend you try it to find out for yourself.



                            Super product.

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                            • 9 (DVD) / DVD / 81 Readings / 79 Ratings
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                              11.01.2014 22:11
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                              Could have been done better.

                              Film review only.

                              I had never heard of this film before my daughter decided we would watch it on Netflix this afternoon. Directed by Shane Acker, this 2009 feature film builds on his former animated short of 2005. Produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, the influence of the former is clear; it's an oddly dark animated adventure which reminded me in parts of The Corpse Bride. However, where The Corpse Bride cleverly balanced a strong story with humour and pathos - 9 falls short on all these accounts and I didn't feel it was the same calibre.


                              The plot:

                              The story is set in a post apocalyptic world as a tiny rag doll robot awakens in a scientists workshop. He has a number 9 written on his back. Taking a strange button-like talisman with him, he soon bumps into doll number 2 who helps him escape from a machine/skeletal 'creature' in the midst of the devastated planet much to his own cost. He is taken away by the beast. Wounded, 9 faints away and awakes later to find himself in an abandoned cathedral with no 1 who is the leader, no 8, the bodyguard, no 5 the engineer and no 6 who appears to be something of a mystic.

                              (Spoiler alert here)

                              The leader doll does not want to rescue no 2 and writes him off as hopelessly lost - but no 9 and no 5 go off towards what appears to be an abandoned factory to rescue him. They find the missing no 2 - but are attacked again by the terrible creature. Fortunately for the dolls another of their number who had previously been counted as missing appears and saves the day.

                              Their reprieve does not last long as no 9 inadvertently awakes The Fabrication Machine which we learn later was made by the same scientist who made the dolls. The Machine was a sentient invention originally made with benign intentions - but subverted into an instrument of war by an evil dictator. Eventually The Machine and the other machines it created turned against the human race and destroyed them all.

                              We learn later that the scientist stayed alive long enough to put the nine parts of his soul into nine rag dolls...


                              My opinion:

                              On the plus side, the animation in this film was top notch. The graphics are excellent; the dolls are always brilliantly modelled, the action scenes are sharp and vivid.

                              The film has a 12 rating and it is worth remembering that some scenes are not suitable for younger children. The machine creatures are part machine/part skeleton for example - and we are also shown (from behind) the decaying corpse of the scientist.

                              The voices of the characters have an impressive cast list, so I was surprised I wasn't bowled over by the performances here. The voices were O.K. don't get me wrong - but I expected more. None of the performances were particularly memorable. In fairness, some of the blame for this has to lie with the lack lustre script. The sound-bites which pepper some other animated films, help form character and make the film memorable were absent in this film. Hence, I felt limited empathy with the characters. To me, they remained largely caricatures.

                              Cast:

                              no 9: Elijah Wood
                              no 7 Jennifer Connelly
                              no 8 Fred Tatasciore
                              no 6 Crispin Glover
                              no 5 John C. Reilly
                              no 2 Martin Landau
                              no 1 Christopher Plummer

                              (no's 3 and 4 do not speak)

                              Finding the strangeness of the plot hard to follow and finding myself not particularly drawn to these underdeveloped characters meant that I had to really concentrate to finish watching the full 79 minutes of this film. My daughter wrote it off after the first thirty minutes and went off to do something else. Unfortunately, my perseverance was not rewarded. The ending felt unsatisfactory and as odd as the rest of the film. I tried to grab a moral message from the ending - but this too was difficult to grasp.

                              Perhaps what I found most distracting about this film however, was the fact that it reminded me of so many other things. Yes, I applaud the unabashed originality of 'robot rag dolls trying to survive in a destroyed world' - but there were other aspects of the plot/scene etc which felt too familiar. Robots destroying mankind felt very Terminator. The journey to the glowing factory across the Wasteland felt oddly like the Hobbit's journey to The Eye of Sauron; the splitting up of a soul into various receptacles had shades of Voldemort about it. Or perhaps this merely indicates that I watch too much T.V!

                              My overall opinion of this film is not as unkind as my daughter's (which is not publishable here). To me, it had it's good points and its bad. It is far from being the worst film I have ever watched - but I wouldn't care to watch it again. It was average fare but the disappointment of this is perhaps made all the keener by its association with Tim Burton from whom I have learned to expect vastly better offerings.


                              Currently available on Amazon for a fiver.

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                              • More +
                                11.01.2014 14:19
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                                A bargain vanilla delight.

                                I was given some of this for Christmas by my eldest and have been using it now for several days. I can't say it would have been something that I would have purchased for myself as I tend to associate the Natural Collection range of products at Boots with the younger female but I have, nevertheless, been pleased with my experience of this lotion.


                                The product:

                                The body lotion comes in a plastic flip-top tube, with an attractive floral/vanilla design on it.

                                The product claims to be a light lotion blended with natural, calming vanilla to leave skin smooth, conditioned and noticeably softer.

                                The retail price for a 200ml tube is currently three pounds from Boots stores - although it is often part of their three for two deals etc and can work out even cheaper if you buy it that way.


                                Experience of the product:

                                The lotion is white/yellow tinted and is quite a rich, creamy consistency. I find it an appealing colour and consistency. It spreads over my skin easily and absorbs quickly and well. It does not irritate my slightly sensitive skin.

                                The directions for use of this product are to massage into the skin after showering or bathing - and I must say that this product does enhance the after bathing experience. Partly this is because it does make your skin feel lovely, soft and moisturised - but mainly because it smells absolutely delicious. I know scents are a very personal choice but I feel that if you like a vanilla smell - then you will like this. The vanilla scent is gorgeous and lasts well on my skin. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at the lasting softness/scent that this product provides for such a low price. It is a longevity that I would expect from a pricier product.

                                The first time I used this product, I was a little too liberal with this lotion and the scent was at first slightly overwhelming for me - I have learned from experience to use a bit less since the vanilla scent is so strong.

                                Once is has been applied for a few minutes, however, the scent settles down to a warm vanilla aroma which I find delightful and my skin feels soft and supple. It is a lovely pampering experience at a bargain price.

                                Would recommend.

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                              • More +
                                05.01.2014 19:03
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                                Convenient softness

                                My husband kindly furnished me with a multi-pack of these a few days ago as I have had a bad cold over the New Year period (and I think he reasoned that reaching for a pack of these looked more ladylike than resorting to tearing off endless strips of loo roll).


                                The product:

                                The individual packs of white tissues are resealable for convenience and hygiene purposes. My multi-pack consisted of six packs. Each tissue is a reassuringly thick 4 ply and around 21cm square. They are infused with balsam and are gloriously soft to use.

                                Ingredients: (balsam)
                                Paraffinum Liquidum
                                Ceresin
                                Stearyl Alcohol
                                Isopropyl Palmitate
                                Dimethicone
                                Calendula
                                Officinalis
                                Tocopherol

                                Experience:

                                What I liked about these tissues was that despite having a streaming cold over several days, I avoided a sore nose. Apart from being an unsightly feature of a cold, it is also uncomfortable - and these soft tissues with their balsam infusion definitely helped take the edge off that particular problem. The tissues have no smell or greasiness to them because of this balsam by the way - they just feel softer than normal tissue. It is very soothing to have a lovely tissue like this to hand when you're feeling sorry for yourself.

                                The downside to these pocket size helpers is - well - the size in my opinion. It might have been the heaviness of my cold but the pack seemed to diminish pretty quickly. Perhaps a box of the mansize balsam tissues rather than a multipack of the pocket size ones would have been more appropriate in this case.

                                Still, I would recommend these tissues.

                                Available from Ocado for 1.47 for a pack of 6 x multipack. (9 tissues per individual pack)

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