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Pointress
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Member since: 06.08.2013

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    • Otex Ear Drops / Medicine / 18 Readings / 18 Ratings
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      05.09.2014 19:08
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      Hopefully this will make your ears pop!

      I am prone to getting blocked ears and I absolutely hate that dull feeling you get when you can’t hear properly. I don’t think this is due to excessive wax production but more because I apparently have quite narrow and twisty ear canals which means that any wax tends to get lodged in the wrong place!



      Having had a horrible experience with getting my ears syringed, I now try to do all I can to keep them clear. I’m a believer in ear candling although I know that the medical profession remains sceptical. Sometimes however I wake up with a blocked ear and I need to take immediate action. The thought of going to work with a blocked ear is too much to take – I feel off balance when an ear is blocked.



      On these occasions I use Otex ear drops. I apply them after my shower and usually my ears will give a satisfying pop as I drive to work and my hearing and good humour is restored.



      ~~~How to use~~~

      1. Remove the cap to reveal the applicator nozzle.

      2. Tilt your head and gently squeeze up to 5 drops into the ear.

      3. Keep your head tilted for a few minutes so that the drops stay in the ear.

      4. Wipe away any surplus with a tissue.



      Repeat once or twice daily until you notice an improvement. This should take no more than 3-4 days.



      Once opened you should get rid of the bottle after 4 weeks.



      ~~~Who can use~~~

      All ages can use Otex but you should not use if you have history of ear problems (damaged ear drum, tinnitus, etc) or you suffer from dizziness.



      ~~~How it works~~~

      The drops react to release oxygen which breaks up hardened wax and helps it disperse. They also have antiseptic properties.



      One of the side effect is listed as a temporary mild bubbling sensation in the ear. The chemist warned me about this when I first bought Otex – it’s actually the release of oxygen as the drops break down the ear wax. I don’t always get this sensation but I find it quite reassuring when I do – to me it’s proof that the drops are working.



      ~~~For those who like to know~~~

      The ingredients are: 8-Hydroxyquinoline; Glycerol



      I buy mine at Boots for £4.99



      ~~~Dooyoo rating~~~

      It’s worked consistently for me. I would definitely give Otex 5 out of 5.

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      04.09.2014 23:41
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      Advantages

      • "Effective pain relief"
      • "Amazing value"

      Disadvantages

      • "May not suit everyone"

      Why pay more?

      ~~~Well who knew?~~~
      Having just bought a pack of Value Health Ibuprofen from Boots for the princely sum of 35p for 16 tablets I thought I would look into the history of the drug. I had always associated it with Nurofen but in fact it was discovered by the research arm of Boots in the 1960s. It was first used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis on prescription in 1969 and later became available as an over the counter pain relief. Boots was awarded the Queen's Award for Technical Achievement for its development in 1987.

      ~~~How it can help~~~
      As well as an all round pain killer (it can be used to relieve headaches, muscular pain, period pain, dental pain etc), Ibuprofen can reduce inflammation, fever and cold symptoms.

      ~~~How to Use~~~
      Take two tablets with water. Repeat as necessary every 4 hours up to a maximum of 6 tablet in any 24 hours.

      ~~~Does it work?~~~
      Like many medicines, ibuprofen will suit some people but not others. I am prone to tension headaches and migraines. For me, ibuprofen really does help. I felt a headache coming on today while I was at work and I popped out to the nearest Boots to get something to help. I bought the Value Health version of Ibuprofen and popped a couple of pills when I got back to the office. Within 20 minutes the headache had disappeared.

      Last week, I was down with my daughter helping her to move house and I felt a headache coming on. My daughter dashed off to the local Co-op for me and came back with a box of Nuforen. They worked just as well and as quickly but at £1.99 cost over 5 times as much. Why pay more than you need to??

      ~~~Warning~~~
      Some people are allergic to ibuprofen including my mother who once alarmed my father by fainting on the way to the bathroom one evening having taken some ibuprofen to help a headache. Luckily the paramedics were quickly on the scene and she soon came round with no lasting ill effect. Needless to say she now uses alternative pain relief.

      You should also not take ibuprofen if you ever had a stomach ulcer or suffered from any stomach bleeding or perforation.

      ~~~Recommended~~~
      It works for me and for 35p is exceptionally good value for quick and effective pain relief. I really must get into the habit of having a packet in my handbag just in case.

      5/5

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      • More +
        03.09.2014 22:47
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        Advantages

        • "Deals with all sorts of allergies"
        • Non-drowsy
        • Effective

        Disadvantages

        • "Can cause drowsiness"

        A good all purpose anti-histamine that stops the sneezes

        Piriteze is one of many allergy tablets that are available for hayfever sufferers without prescription. Piriteze is made by GlaxoSmithKlne and contains the active ingredient cetirizine, an antihistamine which should not make the user drowsy.

        ~~~How to Use~~~
        The tablets come in blister packs of 12 and are actually very small. Because of their size, they are easy to take and can be easily swallowed down with a drink of water.

        Adults and children over 12 can should take one tablet daily. Children aged between 6 and 12 can be given half a tablet twice a day.

        The tablets can be taken daily for as long as required.

        ~~~A few warnings~~~
        Piriteze allergy tablets contain lactose so are not suitable for anyone who is lactose intolerant.

        Although cetirizine is a non-sedating antihistamine, the packet does warn that it can make some people drowsy.

        ~~~Our experience~~~
        There are two of us in the household who use piriteze on a fairly regular basis. My son suffers from hayfever and takes Piriteze as his main form of relief. I am very allergic to cats so I pop one when I’ve been in contact with one or know that I’m visiting friends who have feline friends. I actually quite like cats but sadly it seems that their skin doesn’t like me and within minutes my eyes of coming anyway near one my eyes are itching, my nose runny and I start to wheeze.

        Piriteze definitely works. I find it very effective in battling with my cat allergy although not surprisingly it is most effective when I take it as soon as I suspect there may be a cat about. It also seems to work well for my son and his hayfever although for severe sufferers I would always suggest going to your GP to get his or her view.

        We've also found it effective if someone has had a bad reaction to a bite or sting.

        Luckily for us, we haven’t had any side effects and it doesn’t appear to make either of us feel sleepy.

        ~~~Where to buy~~~
        Piritieze are widely available at larger supermarkets and high street chemists. You can expect to around £5 for a 12 tablet pack. You can also bulk buy at Costco which works out quite a bit cheaper.

        ~~~Recommended~~~
        Yes. Piriteze works well for a range of allergies and hayfever.

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        03.09.2014 14:35
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        Advantages

        • "Handy to have"
        • "Easily absorbed"
        • "Gives relief"

        Disadvantages

        • "Affects may wear off"

        Every medicine cabinet should have a tube.

        I’ve been doing quite a bit of gardening this year and there’s something out there that finds me most delicious! I wear long trousers and long sleeves when I’m skirmishing in the flowerbeds, but I have had more than my fair share of insect bites. I never see who they are but somehow the little blighters get to me – my legs, arms, shoulders, back have all been bitten at some stage this summer. All I do know is that the bites develop into painful red lumps and I have to fight very hard with myself not to scratch.

        Apparently when the skin is attacked – either a bite or a sting – histamine is released which stimulates the nerve endings (ie is painful), increases the blood flow to the affected spot (ie goes red) and alters the tissue fluid balance (ie swells up).

        ~~~The cream~~~

        Anthisan bite and sting cream contains the active ingredient mepyramine maleate, which is an antihistamine. It blocks the histamine receptors and stops the release of other allergy chemicals.

        It’s been around for years – I remember it always being the medicine box at home when I was a girl. It’s still pretty effective though and does provide relief. Unsurprisingly, it’s most effective when applied as soon as possible to the bite or sting.

        I do find that I need to reapply it two or three times a day. The cream instantly soothes but my reaction to my bites has been quite severe and after three or four hours the urge to itch returns with a vengeance. Clearly this will depend on the nature of the bite or sting and your own reaction to it but if you are still suffering after three days you are advised to seek medical help.

        The cream comes in a handy 20g tube and can be used by anyone over the age of 2. However it shouldn’t be applied if you suffer from eczema or directly on to broken skin. It's not particularly sticky and I find it absorbs into the affected area quite quickly.

        Stocked by most supermarkets and high street chemists, expect to pay around the £2 mark.

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      • Daktarin Cream / Medicine / 6 Readings / 6 Ratings
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        03.09.2014 13:17
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        Advantages

        • "Clears up infection quickly"
        • "Gives immediate relief"

        Disadvantages

        • None

        When you have that overwhelming urge to scratch

        Occasionally I get Athletes Foot which is a common fungal infection but one which can be extremely painful. The first I know about it is the urge to itch between my toes and on close examination the skin between my toes looks very red and sore. I’m never quite sure what triggers these episodes but it seems to happen if I’ve been exercising and then keep my trainers on for a few hours. My feet are probably a bit sweaty and no doubt the trainers provide just the right environment for the fungi to attach themselves to my toes! I’m also probably not very good at drying my feet after showering – I give them a thorough wash but then tend to let them dry off naturally while I pad around in the bathroom.

        So when I get the urge to itch – and it can be quite overwhelming – I apply a pea size amount of Daktarin cream to the affected area. The instant relief is bliss!

        ~~~The cream~~~

        Daktarin cream contains the active ingredient miconazole which is used to treat fungal and yeast infections. It breaks down the cell membranes of fungi and yeasts ultimately killing them. The cream can also be used to treat fungal nail infections as well as athlete’s foot.

        It comes in a 15g tube and is currently on offer for £3.19 at Boots.

        ~~~How to apply~~~

        1. Wash and dry the skin or nails thoroughly before applying the cream.
        2. Apply to the affected area twice a day (morning and evening) by rubbing the cream gently into the affected area and surrounding skin.
        3. You should continue to use the cream for 10 days after all signs of the infection have cleared up. This is to make sure that the infection is fully treated and helps prevent it coming back.

        ~~~Recommended~~~

        Absolutely. I find this cream very effective. It provides instant relief to the excruciating urge to scratch and applying in the morning will give relief until bedtime. It also clears up the infection within a couple of days. To be honest I usually forget to keep on applying the cream once the skin has cleared up but it makes sense to do so.

        I now always make sure that we have a tube in the bathroom cabinet. 5 out of 5.

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      • More +
        03.09.2014 10:56
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        Advantages

        • "Can be relaxing"
        • "Gentle on the ears"

        Disadvantages

        • "Not clinically proven"

        An alternative to the dreaded syringe

        According to my doctor I have funny ears! Charming!! Luckily it’s not the outward appearance (although I have to say I don’t find ears the most attractive part of the human anatomy) but a reference to the narrow and apparently unusually twisted ear canals I have. This means that I am prone to getting blocked ears. My one and only attempt at getting my ears syringed was a particularly unpleasant experience and one that I am very reluctant to repeat. It took several goes and in between left me feeling disorientated and very hard of hearing.



        So when someone told me about ear candling a few years ago I decided it had to be worth a go. The candles look a little like big hollow bamboo knitting needles but in fact are cones of waxed cloth. Lying on your side, the candle is placed gently in the ear and the other end is lit. It’s not an unpleasant feeling as the candle burns down – there’s a lot of hissing – but you need to have someone with you who you trust to hold the candle in place and ensure that it doesn’t burn too close to the ear. It takes about 10 minutes per ear.



        There are many critics of ear candling who see it as a form of quackery with no scientific backing. The theory is that the heat draws the wax and any other nasties out of the ear canal. If you cut open the candle when the treatment is finished, you can often see particles of wax. Now I don’t know whether this is ear wax or has come from the candle itself but I can say that ear candling has helped me. Occasionally I get a satisfying pop as a blockage is cleared but usually it’s a slower realisation that there’s not feeling of pressure or dullness in my inner ear.



        To have a hopi ear treatment at a spa is going to set you back a whopping £50 or so but it’s easy to get a friend or loved one to do it for you. Mr P has now become quite an expert and for me it's quite relaxing! You can get hopi candles easily on the internet but as always you need to have confidence that you’re buying the genuine article. Biosun candle meet European standards and are made with. They come with a instruction leaflet and a reassuring red line which marks when the candle should be extinguished. They are made from natural ingredients - honey extract, pure beeswax, St John's Wort, Chamomile and essential oils. They cost around £7 a pair but are cheaper they more you buy. You can currently get a pack of 5 pairs for £25.75.



        Worth a try if you suffer from blocked ears and want to avoid the dreaded syringe.

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      • More +
        23.08.2014 11:53
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        Advantages

        • "Quick to read"
        • "Latest installment in the Bennett series"

        Disadvantages

        • "Characters lack depth"
        • "Unconvincing storyline"
        • Far-fetched

        Not the best book in the Michael Bennett series.

        I’m a huge fan of James Patterson and have read most of his adult books (he also writes for children). Because he works with co-authors, he is able to churn out a huge number of books – standalone thrillers and a number of series. Alex Cross is his most established series – 19 in the series plus a couple of standalone novels. The Bennett series is catching up – 6 books to date and another one due to be released this autumn.

        ~~~ Detective Michael Bennett ~~~
        Michael Bennett is an Irish American detective with the NYPD. What makes Bennett different is that he has 10 (yes 10) adopted children. I am not sure how a policeman can support such a large family but seemingly he can! In the first of the series, his wife is dying of cancer. After her death Mary Catherine arrives from Ireland to step in as the nanny. Bennett’s grandfather, Father Seamus, is also there to lend a hand.

        ~~~ Gone ~~~
        By the 6th book, the whole Bennett family are in a witness protection scheme and are hidden away in a remote Californian farm. In the previous novel, Bennett managed to put Perrine, a ruthless gang leader, behind bars. However Perrine escaped and is now out for revenge. Because Bennett knows Perrine so well, he is put back on the case leaving Mary Catherine and Father Seamus to stay with the kids, the eldest of whom are getting increasingly frustrated by their time in hiding.

        ~~~ Recommended? ~~~
        Not really.

        Overall, this isn’t the best Patterson book. The storyline is just too far-fetched and the basic premise of Bennett as a single dad trying to bring up a family of 10 just doesn’t ring true. There isn’t very much depth to any of the characters and Mary is just too perfect. When does the woman ever sleep?

        I’m sure I will read the next book (Burn) when it comes out just to see whether do eventually get together. It won’t take long. These books are quick to read – lots of short chapters and although there are twists in the plots it’s usually not that difficult to follow the plot. More often than not you can see what’s coming.

        If you’ve read the other books in the series, you may want to read this but you’re not going to miss anything of you skip this one. At the end of the book, things are pretty much as they were at the beginning – the relationship between Bennett and his nanny is unresolved, Bennett still has to balance his busy job as a NYPD detective with raising his ten children and Father Seamus is still hovering in the background providing spiritual comfort and moral support.

        Sorry, Patterson, this one only gets 3 out of 5.

        ~~~
        Amazon: Paperback £3.85, hardback £9, kindle £3.49.

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        22.08.2014 13:40
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        Advantages

        • "Tasty and healthy dishes"
        • "Easy to follow recipes"

        Disadvantages

        • None

        The Hairy Bikers prove once again that diet food can be tasty

        This is a great cookbook. I used it the other night and Mr P picked it up and leafed through it. His comment was that it was unusual to find a cookbook where he would happily cook and of course eat nearly every dish. Not only that, but these are low-fat, low calorie recipes.

        ~~~ The Hairy Dieters ~~~
        I guess you probably know the background – the Hairy Bikers have been around for several years now. Si King and Dave Myers are successful TV cooks travelling around the UK on their motorbikes. Both are big lads and in 2012 they admitted to themselves that they had got too hefty and that their health was suffering as a result. So by making small changes to their cooking habits they started to shed the pounds – 6 stone between them.

        ~~~ Eat for Life ~~~
        Eat for Life is their second cookbook written in their new persona as the Hairy Dieters. It has a very similar format to the first. Some general tips to begin with and then recipes organised in sections – for example breakfeast & brunch, fast food, and fab fakeways. I guess we all know (but sometime choose to forget) that takeaways are laden with fat and probably far too much salt. The Hairy Dieters’ fakeaways have much fewer calories but are just as big on taste. The creamy prawn korma recipe is absolutely delicious and only has just over 200 calories. For those who like it hot, the fiery beef madras (you can substitute chicken for a change) will do the job and comes in at 346 calories.

        A couple of the recipes are incredibly similar to the ones in the first book. The cottage pie in the first book becomes mince and veg pie with tumbled spuds in Eat for Life. Blueberries are in the muesli in the second book, cranberries in the first. That said, there are over 80 recipes to choose from and whether you are trying to lose weight or not, there are some great dishes. There are full page pictures so you know what you’re aiming for and the cooking instructions are easy to follow. All in all it’s a winning formula.

        A great cookbook whether you are wanting to lose weight or just wanting to eat more healthily.

        ~~~
        Amazon price £5.60, Kindle £4.72.

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        21.08.2014 09:14
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • "Compelling storyline"
        • "Believable characterisation"
        • "Well written"

        Disadvantages

        • "You won't want to stop reading"

        I couldn't put this book down.

        I recently read a review on dooyoo about a Harlan Coben book. I can’t remember which one now but I do remember thinking that Coben sounds the kind of writer I like. So, when I spotted at the local library I took it out. Judging by this book, I’m likely to become a Coben fan!

        I would describe this novel as a psychological thriller. It’s well written and from almost the first page I was hooked. I just had to read on. In fact it’s one of those books where I really have a struggle with myself to stop skipping to the back pages to find out the final outcome.

        ~~~ The plot (without giving anything away) ~~~
        Ray Levine is a once highly respected photographer fallen on hard times.
        At first glance Megan Pierce appears to be a perfectly normal American mother with two children but she clearly has a less than normal past which has hidden from her husband.

        Detective Broome can’t shake off his failure to get to the bottom of a case that happened 17 years ago. In fact all three are linked by what happened on one 18 February. That event is about to come back and haunt them.

        Only Megan’s mother-in-law, Agnes, has any idea that Megan has a past which is very different from the one her husband has been told about. As Agnes once said ‘We all got secrets’. Even though Agnes has Alzheimer’s, she gives Megan some advice that sets Megan off on a dangerous road –to right the wrongs of 17 years ago.

        ~~~ What I thought ~~~
        You will have gathered that I enjoyed this book. It’s an intense thriller that held my attention throughout. Some of the reviews I’ve read of Stay Close suggest that it is not Coben’s best work in which case I can’t wait to read more. He paints great characters in whom you can believe even if some of them aren’t very nice.

        Coben has a great turn of phrase too which made me smile even in some of the more gruesome parts of the story. For example, Harry is Megan’s attorney whose eyes “had enough bags under them to take a three-week cruise”. Set in Atlantic City, Harry’s clients tend to be those who down on their luck. In fact “they wouldn’t know a break unless it involved a bone”.

        The odd moment of comic relief is welcome in what is otherwise a taut and sometime horrifically violent thriller. If there is any message in the book, it’s that you can’t run away from your past.

        If you enjoy James Patterson and David Baldacci, odds are that you’ll enjoy Coben too. 5 out of 5 from me.

        ~~~
        Available from Amazon: Paperback £7.03, Hardback £14.59, Kindle £3.95 or Audio download £15.20.

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        20.08.2014 10:27
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        Advantages

        • "A quick read"
        • "Familiar characters"
        • Entertaining

        Disadvantages

        • None

        Another fun caper in the Stephanie Plum series

        I’ve read the majority but not all of the 21 books in the main Stephanie Plum series – there are some other Evanovich books in which Stephanie appears. They appeal to my sense of humour and share the same common elements including:

        Stephanie Plum: Stephanie works for her cousin as a bounty hunter. She describes herself as having shoulder length curly brown hair, blue eyes and ‘can almost always’ do up the top button of her jeans which is somewhat surprising given the amount of doughnuts and Cluck-in-a-Bucket chicken she gets through.

        Joe Morelli: Stephanie has two men in her life and I really wish she’d make up her mind and commit to Joe, the good looking and long suffering policeman and his goofy dog, Bob.

        Ranger: an altogether more professional bounty hunter with his own security agency. Of Cuban descent with a mysterious background, Ranger can make Stephanie go wobbly at the knees. All he has to do is utter the word Babe, and Stephanie is in danger of forgetting what she has going with Joe.

        Lola: supposedly a filing clerk at Vinnie’s bail bond office, more often than not Lula rides shotgun for Stephanie and is usually squeezed into spandex several sizes too small for her ample figure.

        Rex: Stephanie’s hamster who lives in a soup can and has miraculously survived several attempts to blow up Stephanie’s apartment.

        … and no Stephanie Plum novel is complete without at least one car or apartment getting fire-bombed.

        ~~~Notorious 19~~~
        No surprises that this is the 19th in the series. The book runs true to form – it’s the usual wacky tale of Stephanie’s attempts to bring in a FTA (failure to appear). Stephanie is after Geoffrey Cubbin who has apparently embezzled large sums from an old people’s home but has disappeared while in hospital. She is also doing some work with Ranger which involves her having to provide cover as a bridesmaid (the bnde and groom have been receiving some very nasty threats). Cue major trauma about having to wear taffeta.

        Like the other books in the series, this is really just a bit of fun. Although a light read, it is a page turner with high comedy value. Evanovich has a hit upon a winning formula with her Stephanie Plum novels. Notorious 19 is not going to stretch the reader but it does provide a bit of escapis and a large dose of humour. Like the other books in the series, this will cheer you up if you’re having a bad day.

        I borrowed a copy from my local library but the paperback is available from Amazon for £8.18, the hardback for £12.91 or the kindle edition for £3.99.

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        19.08.2014 16:08
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        2 Comments

        Advantages

        • "An alternative view"
        • Compelling
        • "Well researched"

        Disadvantages

        • "Takes a while to get use to the style"

        A well known story told from a different perspective

        I like to intersperse my lighter reading (Patterson, Evanovich and now Coben top my list) with something more literary. The last two books I have read in that category are the first two parts of the Hilary Mantel trilogy documenting the life of Thomas Cromwell.

        I found the first of the trilogy, Wolf Hall, very hard going at first. It’s a big old book and Mantel’s writing style is quite difficult to follow. I persevered however and the more I read, the more I enjoyed the book. It was a slow read however and I felt I need a break before starting the second instalment. After a breather, I girded my loins so to speak and started on Bring Up the Bodies.

        I found this second book easier from the start, perhaps because I am now used to Mantel’s prose. It’s also shorter - the paperback is 432 pages compared to the 674 pages of Wolf Hall – but it only covers a year, September 1535 to the following summer. It’s a pretty detailed account of Cromwell’s role in the fall from grace of Anne Boleyn and the raise in the fortunes of Jane Seymour. The story of course is well known and ‘bring up the bodies’ refers to the four men who were executed for the treasonous act of sleeping with the Queen.
        History tends to paint a pretty grim picture of Cromwell; Mantel’s account is very much more sympathetic and I find myself convinced by this portrayal of him as an often conflicted man. In the very opening pages of the book we see him haunted by the memories of his late wife and daughters who were struck down by the plague. Mantel’s account does provide balance however. While presenting the more vulnerable side of Cromwell, it is made very clear that he is feathering his own nest and does very nicely out of being the King’s enforcer.

        If it is kind to Cromwell, it certainly isn’t kind on Anne Boleyn or indeed Henry. Anne may have got to be Henry’s wife through cunning and deceit, but according to Cromwell she’s incredibly slow to recognise that she’s running into troubled times as Henry gets increasingly frustrated by and loses interest in her. Henry comes across as petulant and increasingly erratic and difficult. The writing is on the wall for Cromwell’s own demise …

        Clearly Mantel, who after all has come the first British author to win the Man Booker award twice and the only author ever to win for two successive books, clearly did a huge amount of research when writing this thorough depiction of Henry’s right hand man. Her imagery transports the reader back into the Tudor age and is a compelling account of how events may have unfurled. It’s hard to do this book justice in just 500 words. Suffice it to say, it’s well worth 5 stars.

        ~~~
        Available from Amazon: £3.85 for the paperback, £8 for the hardback or £3.66 for the kindle edition

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          18.08.2014 18:59
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          Advantages

          • "Familiar characters"
          • "Easy reading"
          • "Fast paced thrilled"

          Disadvantages

          • None

          As expected, another good Patterson read.

          ~~ The Private series ~~
          The first book in the Private series came out in July 2010. Since then there have been six more in the series with two more in the pipeline. Private is ‘the world’s most exclusive detective agency’ and is run by Jack Morgan a former Marine and all round action hero type. Based in Los Angeles, the agency has offices all over the world which form a convenient hook for each Private yarn.

          Although each book stands alone, there are recurring characters and themes in the series. Jack has a twin brother, Tommy, but the two do not get on; in fact Tommy is Jack’s nemesis. Number two at the agency is Justine Smith. In the past her relationship with Jack has been more than professional and although no longer an item, the emotional ties have not been completely severed.

          ~~ Private LA ~~
          Private LA is the 7th book in the series. The book starts with the murder of four surfers. When a second murder spree occurs the mayor asks for help from the Private team. The team are also investigating the disappearance of Hollywood’s golden couple (think Brad and Angelina) and their children. If that were not enough on Jack’s plate, Tommy also features trying to cause maximum trouble for his twin.

          The Private series are co-written with other authors allowing Patterson to churn out the books in rapid succession. As a result the books do seen somewhat formulaic – you can expect a number of subplots – gruesome murders and/or a terrorist plot for the team to contend with and some personal challenges for Jack or the head of the particular agency featuring in the book. That said, it’s a highly successful formula. Private LA is true to form – there are a number of unexpected twists in the storyline which moves along quickly. Patterson’s style is to use short chapters which helps deliver a punchy style and makes the book very readable. It is one of those books which once started, you want to finish.

          ~~ Where to buy ~~
          The paperback came out in May. Published by Arrow, it’s 512 easy pages long and is available from Amazon for £3..
          ISBN-10: 009957415

          The hardback version is £9 or the kindle edition is only £1. What a bargain!

          The next book in the series – Private India – is due out on 28 August. It’ll be on my reading list.

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          17.08.2014 12:06
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          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          • "Lightweight and comfy"
          • "Easy to wear and wash"

          Disadvantages

          • None

          Great for walking.

          Every Tuesday evening during the summer months, I go walking with a group of ladies from the village. Usually I just grab a pair of jeans from the wardrobe to wear but this year I decided that I needed to gear up and noticed that a lot of the other ladies wear Craghopper walking trousers.

          Craghoppers come in a variety of styles. These basecamp trousers seem to be the entry level version but they do the job. They are available in navy blue and brown. Mine are the blue. They are lightweight (they weigh 450g) and very comfy. Made from something called solardry poly cotton, they offer sun-protection and dry off quickly if they get wet. They have 4 pockets and a part elasticated waist. You can also get convertible versions (ie the bottom part of the legs zip off just above the knee to give you a pair of shorts) and there is a lined version for winter wear.

          I think trousers are tricky to buy at the best of times - I'm sure that I'm not the only one to find it difficult to get the right fit. Buying online is even more hazardous so I do recommend tracking down a size chart. Here's a link to one I found:
          http://www.oldbarncastleton.co.uk/craghoppers-size-charts-c50.html

          I'm somewhere between a 10 and a 12. I had tried on a friend's size 14 and knew that I needed something a tad smaller so I plumbed for the 12 which are just right for me. I inadvertently ordered a short pair. At 5 ft 6 I would usually go for the regular but actually with a pair of walking shoes the short (inside leg 28) is fine.

          The regular price is around the £30 mark but I got mine at a reduced price from Debenhams. Debenhams currently have them on sale for £22.50.

          I would definitely recommend if you are looking for a pair of easy care walking trousers. Don't pay full price though - you often seem to be able to get them at a discount price.

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          • American Hustle (DVD) / DVD / 12 Readings / 12 Ratings
            More +
            15.08.2014 13:37
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            • "Well acted by a great cast"
            • "Good story based on a real sting operation"

            Disadvantages

            • "Didn't live up to the hype"
            • "Too long"

            Over-hyped but an okay film

            I don’t know I must have been having an off day when I watched this. It was an okay film but for me it didn’t live up to all the hype.

            ~~ The story line ~~
            The film tells the story of con man, Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who teams up with Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) manages to uncover one of their scams and then blackmails the pair into helping him nail the New Jersey mayor (Jeremy Renner) in a bribery and corruption case. The film is based on a real sting operation of the late 1970, Abscam or "Arab Scam" sting. FBI agents posed as two fictitious sheiks seeking to bribe state and federal officials and led to the conviction of seven members of Congress.

            ~~ The performances ~~
            It is very well acted although Amy Adams’ British accent is not totally convincing. Christian Bale looks very different as a slightly overweight middle aged man. Apparently Robert Di Nero (who plays an Arabic speaking gangster boss) didn’t recognise him when he was introduced to the cast. For me Jennifer Lawrence steals the show as Rosalyn, Rosenfield’s wacky wife. Lawrence is such a convincing actor; I am always amazed at her versatility and yet again she delivered. Rosalyn provides a lot of the film’s humour for example doing the housework to the soundtrack of Live And Let Die her sexy outfit completed with a pair of rubber gloves. Despite reading a whole load of self-improvement books, Rosalyn isn’t the brightest and you just know she’s going to say the wrong thing to the wrong person.

            Hair plays a large part in the men’s roles – Rosenfield is sensitive about his comb-over which provides a few comic moments. DiMaso has an incredibly tight perm and even the New Jersey major has a barnet to be proud of.

            The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Bale), Best Actress (Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Lawrence) and Best Director (Russell) but was pipped at the post. It did however win three Golden Globes and three BAFTAs.

            ~~ Overall ~~
            I seem to be out on a limb in being disappointed with this film. It runs for over 2 hours and for me it was just a little too long. That said, it’s a good story, a great cast and there are some funny moments. I’m glad I saw it but I think the Film Academy was right – there were better films released in 2013.

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          • More +
            14.08.2014 15:59
            Very helpful
            (Rating)

            Advantages

            • Slim
            • "Looks good"

            Disadvantages

            • "Only protects the front"
            • Expensive

            There are smarter covers on the market

            When I bought my beloved iPad two years ago I was advised to get a cover for it. I ordered my iPad online from John Lewis and added an Apple so called smart cover to my shopping basket. It cost £35.

            ~~ The basics~~
            Magnets on the side of the polyurethane cover hold it in place. It has a soft microfibre lining to protect the display. It comes in 6 colours – black, orange, red, yellow, blue and lime green. Mine’s the green. The cover has four folding panels –one slightly larger than the other three – so you can fold the cover to make a stand for the iPad.

            ~~ My experience ~~
            Not wonderful. It looks nice – I went for the lime green which is a really nice vibrant colour – but that’s all that I can say in its favour. The magnetic clips do hold the cover securely in place for the most part but every now and then the cover would come off and I have to fiddle about to get it back on. More annoying was that I didn’t find it reall worked as a stand – either the angle wasn’t right or the iPad slowly slid to a flat position.

            What really made me put the cover into retirement was the fact that it got grubby and scuffed quite quickly. The good news is that it protected the front of my iPad which otherwise would presumably also have got grubby and scuffed. The bad news is that it is only a front cover – the back of my iPad did start to look well used. When wondering around TK Maxx one day I spotted a nice leather case which would protect both the front and back of the case and so I decided to upgrade. Actually this iHome case was considerably cheaper. I do still have the smart cover just in case I ever need it – the leather case is bulkier – but so far I’ve not swapped the cover back.

            These covers are still available from the Apple store for £35. Personally, I’d shop around before adding one to your own shopping basket.

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