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Isn’t it funny when you despatch your husband off to the local supermarket with a list of things to pick up and then he only ever seems to return with half of them, and those that he has bought aren’t what was on the list in the first place? LOL. My hubby is the biggest culprit when it comes to this, and before anybody leaps on my back and calls me an ungrateful mare as he has so bravely ventured into Tescos all on his own leaving me at home to paint my nails and curl up in front of a good soap, I should point out that he refuses to let me go with him! He says we always spend too much money when I accompany him and that I buy non-essential luxury items like groceries and laundry products, rather than the basics………booze, chocolate and ciggies! So who am I to argue? I leave him to battle with the hordes at the supermarket and I keep myself busy at home doing essential jobs such as toenail painting and nibbling on Galaxy! One of the latest things I asked him to pick up for me on his last trek out was my usual anti-perspirant deodorant. I’ve always used Sure as it’s a name that I trust and it does the job admirably. But as I ploughed my way through the carrier bags of lager, Galaxy and cancer sticks, I noticed that once again he’d picked up the wrong product! Instead of my usual trusted Sure, he’d brought back an Impulse roll-on, the ‘Spirit’ fragranced one. I gave him the benefit of a typical Squiggles blast and after he retreated to a corner, gibbering manically about them having run out of Sure and crying for his mother, I thought it only fair to give the thing a try. Do I like it? Yes! Firstly, the fragrance is gorgeous, very fresh, very light and subtle enough not to clash with your favourite perfume. It’s also nice enough to wear without the need of extra perfume, as although the fragrance is very light, you will still be able to detect it. It’s a kind of pe
ach/floral combined fragrance, very clean and fresh, almost like a soft summer meadow after a rain shower when the air is clean and revitalised. Does it stop nasty sweaty whiffs? Yes again! Being a roll on, it applies smoothly and dries very quickly. And because it is an anti-perspirant as well as a deodorant, not only does it mask nasty whiffs, it prevents you perspiring in the first place. It works for up to 24 hours at a time so you should get away with only one application per day. I’ve never had any problems, even on the busiest and most stressful of days I’ve felt fresh and pong free throughout! Does it leave those nasty white chalky bits under your armpits and all over your clothes? No! Well it hasn’t with me yet LOL, but it’s always best to allow the deodorant to dry completely before getting dressed so that stains and white flakes are avoided. Does it irritate sensitive skins? Well I can only comment on mine, which is about as sensitive as it gets, but so far not a single problem with angry rashes or anything like. Obviously, don’t ever apply straight after shaving, if you’ve nicked your skin at all, it will sting like hell as the product contains alcohol based ingredients. What if I think the peachy/new meadow fragrance is a bit naff? Well you could always try the other three fragrances in the range. In addition to the ‘Spirit’ fragrance, you can choose from Air, Sci and O2 but having not tried these yet, I can’t comment on how nice/bloody awful they are! How much am I expected to fork out for it? Well, hubby managed to find it on special offer at Tescos, it was just £1.06 for the 50ml size. But the average retail price seems to be around £1.40, a few pennies more expensive than my usual brand. But even so, I find it just as effective as the Sure one, and it certainly smells nicer! And what̵
7;s the packaging like? Well, nothing too flashy but maybe that’s a good thing because if it were, you’d only end up paying through the nose for it. It’s a white curvy plastic bottle like thing, with a large shaped roller head and a pale pink coloured lid. But it’s shaped perfectly for easy application with all the contours in the right place! So you rate it then? Well yes, it’s rather nice actually and I feel good and protected when I’m wearing it. It smells lovely, isn’t overpowering, keeps me feeling fresh and dry all day and doesn’t turn my armpits into a snowdrift. What more can I say? Highly recommended!
OK, OK, I confess! I’m a smoker, so go on, nag me to death and bash me over the head with a wet kipper, but I do, so there! I’m not proud of it and I try to be a considerate smoker, well, as considerate as any smoker can be! I smoke only menthol cigarettes, mainly at home in my own space; I never smoke in restaurants or in public places, and never in the company of non-smokers unless there are other smokers there too. I don’t need anybody to tell me all the pitfalls, I know I’m being stupid, that it will ultimately finish me off sooner than maybe I’d want to go, and I know all about the other problems associated with smoking, including those that aren’t health related. But this opinion isn’t about the dangers of smoking to your health, we all know about those, instead it’s about toothpaste. As we get older, our teeth become stained and yellowed for a number of reasons, age, drinking tea and coffee, certain foods, medication etc but of course, one of the biggest causes is smoking. But there are products that can combat this problem, at least make a difference anyway, and one of them is Pearl Drops Smokers Stain Removing Strongmint Gel. This is a strange looking product, not at all like your conventional toothpaste, this one is a blue green gel, quite vivid in colour. The first time I used this at home, my hubby wandered into the bathroom and almost passed out at the sight of me, he thought I had some terrible disease LOL! I had bright green frothy goo sliding down my chin as I scrubbed away enthusiastically, Squiggles turns alien LOL. Oh well, have been called much worse in my time! ;O) Despite being a gel rather than a paste, this product really does froth up well with water, and a little goes a long way. You need to use no more than a pea shaped blob to give your teeth a thorough clean. There are no gritty or sandy bits scratching away at your molars and it has a strong and very
refreshing strong mint taste to it, which leaves your mouth feeling revitalised and fresh and clean, and removes any trace of ‘ashtray’ breath, ewwww! It’s very pleasant tasting, strong yes, but not so strong that you can taste it for hours afterwards, but your breath does stay fresh for a good long time. It is also very effective at gently brushing away plaque as well as discolouration to your teeth and contains no harsh abrasives, acids or bleaches. Like all toothpastes, it contains fluoride (more on that later!), helps to strengthen tooth enamel, fights tooth decay and reduces the build up of tartar. But does it actually work as a stain-removing product? I have to say a big resounding YES! After just a week of regular use (3 times a day) I noticed a big improvement, my teeth were brighter, whiter and it works every bit as well as the conventional ‘whitening’ toothpastes currently filling up supermarket shelves everywhere! Packaging is simple but effective, the box is a deep mid blue fresh mint colour, and the actual tube itself is constructed of very soft and pliable plasticky stuff, very easy to squeeze even if you suffer from arthritic or weak hands. I bought mine on special offer at my local supermarket, a double pack containing two 50ml tubes cost me £1.20, but they normally retail at around £1.50 or so. I’ve never noticed any other sizes; the small 50ml tubes seem to be all that are on offer! The product is made by Carter-Wallace Ltd, based in Kent but I couldn’t find a website for them, other than a US based one at www.pearldrops.com. But Pearl Drops is a brand that has been around a long long time, with a trusted reputation. One point to note however, British toothpastes rarely contain information about the dangers of overdosing on fluoride which can lead to severe health problems, especially for anybody who is cleaning their teeth with a high fluoride to
othpaste and perhaps drinking lots of water in an area where fluoride levels are high. Children can be very much at risk so their teeth brushing should always be supervised to prevent overdosing, and Pearl Drops don’t even tell you on their packaging the percentage of fluoride contained in their products! Anybody wanting more information can check out the following website: http://www.fluoride.org.uk/news/major_articles/a_close_brush_with_poison.htm One quote from the site reads as follows: 'The manufacturer has not even bothered to give the percentage of fluoride contained in Pearl Drops - presumably because it figures that smokers are already engaging in slow-motion self- poisoning. Again, there is no warning about accidental overdosing and no PL number displayed.' Cheery huh? But despite the dangers of poisoning yourself, overall, this is a wonderful toothpaste for anybody suffering with discoloured teeth, be it from smoking or not. It has the usual health and hygiene benefits of all toothpastes, as well as removing stains gently and with no abrasive ingredients. I give it a big thumbs up! :O)
Hail the man! Dave rules! What am I talking about? Well for months and months, many DooYoo users have complained about the lack of community spirit at the site, no Guest Books for us to fill with daft messages for our buddies and respected writers like they have across at Ciao. But all that has changed, courtesy of Dave *kneels down before him chanting ‘I’m Not Worthy’ over and over* :O) Dave, also known as ILoveJackDaniels at both Ciao and DooYoo, has given us the chance to have our very own completely free DooYoo guest book. Just pop along to http://www.hotshotsdesigns.co.uk/tooyoo/ and check it out! Dave has made the entire process incredibly easy, the first step is to register by simply tapping in your DooYoo username and your choice of password. Then, if you want to, you can post a link to your guestbook on your DooYoo profile page, using this format: http://www.hotshotsdesigns.co.uk/tooyoo/book.php?user=YOURUSERNAME Then anybody checking out your ops can go visit and leave you messages. You can customise your guestbook too, with the option of changing the colours of the background, text, names etc so you have a fully personalised page that is totally your own. Dave has also included the facility to use emoticons in your messages, smiles, frowns, winks etc, and you can highlight bits of text using bold or underlining where appropriate. He is also very open to ideas too, Broksababe demanded glittery backgrounds LOL, and not to be outdone, I asked for fuzzy ones, he tells me he’s working on them! :O) Wonder if he can do a Galaxy chocolate background?! Also included is a general message area, where you can leave messages for all registered users to see. This is a great idea as Dave regularly posts updates to the site here, and you can check out fun links and so on that everybody can enjoy. The guestbooks are very fast loading and leaving messages takes just seconds. When somebody leaves
you a message, their username is displayed as a hyperlink so by clicking on it, you are taken directly to his or her own guestbook. And what’s more, Dave has even included daily email alerts so that you can choose to be notified of new messages both in your own personal guestbook and also the general message area. If you are uncertain of anything, click on the Help link displayed at the top of each page and there you will find helpful notes, a list of all the smileys available and how to use them, and handy hints for formatting your messages. Click on the Member’s link, and here you will find a list of all currently registered members, you can even search for your favourite names. At the time of writing, there are 43 registered members, so please help to spread the word! This is good I tell ya! There are two more links on every page, one that takes you straight back to the DooYoo home page, and the other lets you contact Dave direct with any questions or problems. Dave has really done a brilliant job with this, and I think we should all support him in his endeavours, he has put such a lot of hard work into this! Go register now!! And please DooYoo, maybe you could even endorse this officially? A huge thank you to the man himself wouldn’t go amiss either! Oh, and if you do sign up, do me a favour please, leave rude messages in Excelle’s book on my behalf, just so I can get my own back. ;O) Bwa hahahahahahaha……but only nice friendly messages in mine please! :O) Over Too Yoo……. :O)
There can’t be anybody who hasn’t heard the name Kenco, it is probably the biggest name to be associated with coffee and they have a long history dating back to the early 1920s. As the name suggests, Kenco is a Kenyan coffee producer who introduced their range of coffee beans to the UK in 1923, by opening up a coffee shop in Sloane Square, London. Shortly afterwards, they introduced a mail-order service (John Gardner (London) Ltd) so that local hotels and restaurants could order direct. The company expanded and many top hotels and restaurants around the country were soon buying their beans. During the Second World War, tea was in limited supply but the supply of coffee beans wasn’t affected and coffee soon became the most popular hot drink amongst British consumers. In the 1960s, the company changed it’s name to the Kenco Coffee Company, and in 1987, was purchased by General Foods and became the biggest company providing ground coffee in the UK. General Foods are now known as Kraft Foods. Kenco have produced a number of instants and freeze dried instant coffees, with the Rappor range introduced in 1999. It is available in jars of either ordinary, decaffeinated or stick packs for individual use. I was first introduced to the Rappor range when a friend sent it to me as part of a ‘miss you’ gift! Because she had moved away, we weren’t able to enjoy our usual coffee get togethers so she sent me a jar of the decaff along with a big pack of chocolate biscuits and asked me to think of her as I got stuck in! :O) At 11am each morning, I’d pop the kettle on, make myself a huge mug of steaming hot Rappor and sit and nibble on choccie bics whilst waiting for the phone to ring. As regular as clockwork, Sue would call and we could still enjoy our coffees together! :O) Taste wise, Rappor is one of the most full flavoured decaff coffees I have tried. It’s very smooth an
d rich, with no bitter aftertaste and is almost as good as the real thing! It even smells gorgeous still intact in the jar, a lovely deep and rich fragrance, with just a hint of burnt toast. I drink my coffee black, and it’s just strong enough to give me a good coffee hit without being too bitter. I’ve found it a little too mild if I do add milk, but that’s probably because it’s decaffeinated and you do tend to lose a little flavour as well as the caffeine! I would imagine that the ordinary version is a little stronger with milk. The taste is very smooth with just about the right amount of richness, and is much smoother than say the Nescafe equivalent. I’ve always found that to be very bitter with an awful aftertaste that lingers for ages. The granules are very soft, almost powder but they dissolve beautifully and very quickly. You don’t get any of those annoying blobby bits floating around at the top of your cup. Well, not with black coffee anyway! The packaging is simple but effective, the decaff version comes in a clear jar with a dark rich green wrapper, the ordinary is identical expect the wrapper is red. The name ‘Rappor’ was chosen to suggest that the coffee is intended to be shared by two, even the illustration on the front shows two mugs with steam billowing, forming the shape of two faces. In fact, the message on the jar is ‘Get together with Kenco Rappor’. Price wise, expect to pay just under £2 for the 100g decaff size and about £1.65 for caffeine included. The 200g jar is much better value, averaging around £3.25. A pack of 20 of the Rappor ‘sticks’ will set you back around £2.60 (for a total of 100g of coffee, very expensive method!) If you need any coffee advice, you can call the Kenco Coffee Line (the number is on the jar) or even email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They also have a website with some interesting facts and more
about their history which can be viewed at http://www.kraftfoods.co.uk/
Joint op by Squiggles and flclayson: Squiggles: Good of you to invite me over for the day Freddles, but what on earth is that smell wafting through the house and tickling my nostrils? Oh the smell Fred, the smell! Such a delicious, overpowering, all-embracing type of smell that you want to wake up to every morning. flclayson: Hey, just let me shower and freshen up, and you can take the peg off your nose, and come check out the bread making machine in my kitchen. I have always wanted to make you feel like a woman, and this is the time I can turn to you in my kitchen and tell you exactly what you mean to me. Eggs and chips please, plus a cup of coffee, and then some ironing, if you don't mind...meantime, let me turn the gorgeous thing on...sorry, I will cut my fingernails next time... Squiggles (getting busy with the iron and frying pan, the latter shortly to connect with a certain somebody’s head!): Ooooooh, this looks exciting Freddles, a breadmaker eh? Let me take a closer look…… It’s a beautiful pristine white is this Hinari model, the HB174 to be exact. No Fred, I said pristine white, not Christine White, and yes I know you finished with her last week! It does have a very glossy professional look to it, how much did it set you back? flclayson: It cost me just £39 at Safeways at Crimbo time. Yes, it was Crimbo; you remember me hanging my balls on the tree...? But that’s another story….. So here we go, making a normal standard white loaf. Ingredients you need for this are: Water, strong white bread flour, dried milk powder, salt, butter, dried yeast and sugar. I use marge (no, not Marge; I finished with her a long time ago) and it doesn't seem to make any difference. You can experiment if you like and see what happens. Then we can make some bread... Squiggles: Let me check out the recipe book then Freddles after I’ve finish
ed your breakfast, ironing, wallpapering and mowing your lawn. Actually, it’s very comprehensive and easy to follow; the ingredients for each recipe (more of which later) are listed in a left hand column, and the first in the list is the first to go into the machine. It’s very important that you add the ingredients exactly in the order shown in the recipe to get perfect results. And please don’t do what the Freddles did, and measure the salt out over the machine, the top fell off and about a kilo of the stuff ended up in there, doh! As you read down the list, so you shove the ingredients in. Simple, unless you live in Australia or are called Freddles! OK, all the ingredients are in the machine, and we can now make a 1.5 lb loaf (in metric weight, this equals quite a large loaf). Switch machine on, select setting from one of ten settings (more later) and choose whether you want dark crust or light crust. Everything you select is done by one-touch digital push button and is foolproof. If Fred can manage it, then anybody can! Three and three quarter hours later, as the smell you would die for permeates your kitchen, your mouth salivates at the thought of fresh hot bread. The machine pings when done, and you can tap the finished loaf out on to a cooling plate, rack or whatever, or eat it straight away. Delicious, and you'll soon be doing more! flclayson: A quick run through on the machine itself: measuring 350x280x230mm (for our English friends, this equals 'medium size') and weighing in at 5.5kg (English = can carry under your arm) it runs off standard electricity and uses 600w max power. On top (no Louise, that is NOT an instruction...yet) you have a viewing window (to check on the progress of your bread) and the control panel. Ergonomically laid out (no Louise, that is not an order either), it's easy to follow, and you don't really need to read the instruction book more than once - unless
you're blonde of course, in which case what are you doing trying to plug the Hinari into the gas fire? Squiggles (sticking out tongue and making rude gestures with two fingers): The viewing window is part of the flap that you lift in order to gain access to the breadmaking pan itself. This is where you tip the ingredients and let them get on with the process. If it's just a simple loaf you want, you can let it do its job without intervention. Some recipes call for human interaction (bad luck Freddles, rules you out for a start!) part way through the process, such as adding fruit etc. The recipe book is detailed enough, listing recipes such as basic white bread, chocolate hazelnut bread, french bread, cheese, onion and herb bread, sundried tomato bread, white bread rolls, naan bread, floury baps, apple and cinnamon doughnuts, petit breads, pizza dough, hot cross buns, chelsea buns, bagels, brown bread, granary bread, wholewheat bread, bacon and herb bread, malted tea loaf, rosemary and garlic focaccia bread, brown bread rolls, muffins, pitta bread, brown pizza dough, onion bagels, banana nut bread, nut bread...phew! And if that's not enough, you can glean more recipes by going to http://www.google.com and tapping in 'bread machine recipes'. The recipe book also lists a handy conversion table - grams, metric, imperial - and has a few blank pages at the back for you to make notes. Every recipe is fully explained and anyone can follow them unless you are as cerebrally challenged as the F word here. ;O) The User Guide explains the component parts of the machine, in simple terms, with diagrams making it easy. This takes you through the basic steps of using the machine, but once learned, you won't need to use it again, and it’s that simple. The machine has a timer on it, so you can shove your ingredients in and the machine will make bread ready - say - as you get out of bed in the morn
ing! A great way to wake up. Also there are help and advice sections that guide you through possible mistakes, of which you'll not make many. The machine has an auto lock feature, to keep those tiny digits away from the controls while it's operating. This means little Jimmy can't reset the machine while your back is turned. flclayson: All in all, Louise, a beautiful little package - and the Hinari is to die for too! Simple and easy to use, the minimum of fuss, and if I can do it, so can you! Get one! One last thing: Hovis and other companies do ready mixed bags of flour that you simply empty into the machine. A little water (always make sure that the water you use is tepid in temperature otherwise your yeast won’t do it’s job properly!), or olive oil etc, and away you go. These 'kits' cost about 70-90p but the results are mouth-wateringly delicious every time. Highly recommended! Squiggles: It really is a brilliant little machine that makes bread making incredibly easy and the results are delicious. I’m totally convinced, I’m getting myself one of these as soon as I can! By the way Freddles, which orifice did you want this fried egg wedged in??! .
A Joint op by Squiggles and fclayson :O) Squiggles: I lay on the bed, quivering in anticipation of him coming home and finding me. I was clad in his favourite colour; my outfit was a deep rich silky purple. I almost melted at the thought of him slowly peeling away at my delicate layers, to reveal my ample, some would say chunky, body beneath. I wanted so desperately for him to be pleased with me, he’d paid out cash for my delights, I needed to know I could satisfy him. You hear so much about men’s great appetites for this kind of thing. I just hoped I was all he needed. Closing my eyes, I dreamed about how gentle his touch would be as he undressed me, the touch of his lips as he took that first tentative nibble at my body, his appetite and desire increasing as he tasted me for the first time. I couldn’t wait, I was almost bursting out of my outfit at the thought. Would he know how to treat me? Would he nibble gently at my delicate brown body, or would he become so overcome with wanting that he would be rough, taking hungry and urgent bites as I strove to satisfy him? I knew he would be here soon, I felt warm and sticky in anticipation of what lay ahead. A man’s hunger in need of satisfaction…..would I live up to his dream? fclayson: I looked at her as she lay on the bed, her perfect form - despite her often sharp edges - exquisitely fascinating. I couldn't believe she was waiting for ME, especially after I had been with her friend Hazel the night before. But here she was, and I told her how much I loved her, how much I needed her tonight. And she was wearing purple, my favourite sensual colour. I couldn't wait to get inside her layers and get my tongue working on her, the sweetest thing I’d ever met. I had never met anyone I wanted as much as her tonight. I took my time, making sure the rubber sheet was placed correctly (in case of stains that might betray me; any evidence on t
he pristine white sheets could be pounced on by my wife and used against me). As I smiled at her and told her how desirable she was, I knew she was getting hot. I couldn't afford to have her melting in my arms too quickly; love like this has to be slow and savoured. I bent over her and took her in my trembling hands. Putting her on my knee and giving her a playful slap, I was rewarded with the shimmer of her satin-purple inner garment. I fondled her for a while, and knew that I had fondled others like her, but tonight she was the one for me. I fondled her milk-ingrained flesh and thanked providence for her; many other men could be satisfied by her, but I was the one who quivered and dribbled saliva over her sweet form. She felt hard and erect beneath my caress, but I knew before the night was out she would be like putty in my hands. Holding my breath because of her perfect beauty, I slowly removed her top, sliding it off and marvelling at the jug and a half beneath my gaze. Her nakedness almost blinded me, and my mouth watered as my lips approached the divine piece, I knew her tender body would satisfy me through the long hours she would be mine, all mine, this night. I turned off the light, turned her on to her back and let my tongue slide along her 2-dimensional body. Squiggles (now in a cold sweat, Fred, we'll get kicked off the site for this!): I could see how much he desired me, the man was practically drooling. His fingers caressed my lovely shape, feeling his way over all my indentations and soft curves. I just hoped he’d feel I was worth the 78 pence he’d had to splash out for me. I could see he was more than impressed with my jug and a half of creaminess, his eyes were half closed as his tongue got to work, devouring me inch by inch. I knew I had the ingredients to satisfy him, yet leave him wanting more. My cocoa coloured skin was nectar to his lips, he just couldn’t get enough of me!
But hey, that’s what comes of pretending to be a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate! ;O) And I always knew that my glass and a half made me a chocolate and a half. So how do you eat yours? **Chocolate Facts** *125g of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk will set you back about 78p, but you’re guaranteed to have a night of wanton pleasure! For those ladies who are never completely satisfied, there are larger sizes available! *Cadbury’s have been making chocolate since 1905, it is enjoyed all over the world, particularly by women. In fact, 85% of interviewed women say they would prefer a night in with a bar of chocolate rather than a night in with their lover. *Cadbury’s produce a large number of other chocolate bars, including Fruit & Nut, Wholenut and many more. *Cadbury’s have a fascinating website at http://www.cadbury.co.uk (or http://www.dairymilk.co.uk) Register on the latter and get five free chunks (plus the chance to earn more!) and be able to enter a competition.
I have always been a huge fan of Aramis or Kouros when it comes to men’s fragrances, but lately my man has changed to Hugo and I have to say, this fragrance is one of the most appealing and sexiest my nostrils have ever had the pleasure of encountering! I first sampled it in good old Boots, when I was having a quick spray with most of the men’s aftershaves and fragrances, and have to say that at first squirt I wasn’t that impressed. I thought it seemed quite bitter. But the joy of this fragrance is it comes into it’s own when applied to your man’s skin, and all those delicious middle musky notes start to waft around you in an intoxicating way. It’s heavenly! The fragrance itself is very fresh and aromatic and fairly sweet without being at all sickening and is created wholly from natural ingredients. It lingers delicately without being too overpowering and despite being sweet, is very masculine. The aroma you will experience from the top notes is made up of geranium, jasmine and clove , and shortly afterwards, when the middle notes start to permeate, you’ll be able to detect cedarwood and sandalwood . Finally, after a couple of hours wear by your man, you’ll experience the heady scent of apple, bergamot and cinnamon. All of the ingredients combine to create a fruity yet very masculine cologne that is fresh, spicy, revitalising and very very sexy! The fragrance is very long lasting and changes subtly during the day as the base notes come to the fore, but is never overpowering. And the nice thing about this fragrance is that it can be used by men of any age, from teenagers to granddads. Packaging of the product is very simple yet classy, a clear curvy bottle with spray top and canvas strap and housed in simple yet effective packaging. And as for price, not too bad for a ‘designer’ fragrance, averaging at about £25 per 100ml if you shop around.
Squiggles says: I’m a girl. Yep, some of you might be surprised, but it’s true, Squiggles is a big ol’ girlie. And being a girl, I like my hair to be soft, bouncy and conditioned, so I can bounce down the High Street like the girls in so many TV ads throwing my hair back over my shoulders and grinning inanely at complete strangers. Course, I always ruin the illusion by strolling slap bang into a lurking lamppost, and end up with bloody nose, hair standing on end and eyes streaming. Maybe I need a change of shampoo, what do you think Freddles (flclayson)? Freddles says: Yes, as an inane strangler - erm, stranger I mean – I have been watching that delicious bounce of yours as you waltz along the street. Nice hair too! And P.S.: waltzing is against bye-laws, sorry to make a song and dance of it. And yes, as I watched you, you went slap bang into the lamppost and knocked yourself out. I hastily dropped the binoculars and rushed the two miles to your aid. I did everything I could to help medically - loosened clothing, kiss of life...then I helped you. You came round slowly (nice shape, if you don’t mind me saying so) and told me the smelling salts were particularly strong. I looked you in the eye (you should seek help and get another; most people have two), offered you a cigarette, which you turned down on the basis of you never smoke beforehand...and said WHAT IS THAT SMELL? Ah Vosene... Squiggles says: Oh yes, I tried that once, remembers Squiggles as she clambers out of Freddles lap and onto her feet. Awful stuff, claims to be a medicated shampoo for treating dandruff and scalp problems. What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s actually the equivalent of paint stripper for hair! It smells foul, very very strong, and is loaded with chemicals. I used it twice I seem to remember. A thick bluish shampoo that lathers well, and smells like something from The Black Lagoon. It contai
ns an ingredient called climbazole, they claim it is the most modern and effective anti-dandruff ingredient, which allegedly combats bacteria and fungi and is supposed to help prevent the return of scales on the scalp. What they don’t tell you is that it strips your hair completely of it’s natural shine, bounce and goodness leaving it looking like…well….Freddles’ straw thatch ;O) Freddles ponders: Freddles doesn't let on that Squigs is now joined to him at the hip (good stuff this Superglue, but that's another op). Freddles says: Well, the way you describe it brings to mind a Chanel factory...English Chanel, you say? It's not so bad, the smell is totally medicated, brings back fond memories of hospitals and Sanilan and chemical toilets. Yeah, you’re thinking that it's heaven, right? Well, it's an oldie but goodie and has been seen propping up supermarket shelves for years...but that's enough about me when I’m drunk. Let's get back to Vosene. You can wash your hair with this - or your rabbit, but it's primarily designed to conquer that all-disgusting stuff: dandruff. Now, I don't suffer from dandruff myself (the snow plough outside my bathroom in June is an illusion) but I decided I would put this to the test. I cupped my hands around the ergonomically shaped piece. Squigs, you feel lovely - then I picked up the bottle of Vosene. It comes in a streamlined bottle, a stubby pack that you can't easily find slipping out of your hand in a shower. Vosene is made by Wella, though quite why Paul turned his back on music to make this stuff is beyond me. Maybe he wanted to get to the top (pun there). A little squirt into your hand (stop making your own jokes up) and an intensive grind on your barnet, allowing the viscous liquid to soak in...leave for two minutes, it tells you on the bottle, so I went to make coffee, then rinse and reapply...
I came out of the shower smelling nice and my hair feeling lovely and silken. Here, Squigs, get your nose here and use your hands liberally, and tell me what you think.... Squiggles says: Well Freddles, I’ve had a jolly good feel old chum and have to admit to being very disappointed, you’re feeling very rough and ready to the touch. ;O) Yeps, not a trace of dandruff, oh but your poor hair! All that natural shine has disappeared, it feels dry and coarse and it’s so limp. Ahem. It has cured your dandruff but it has totally stripped your hair (I said HAIR!), that’s why I hate this product so much. It’s just too strong, and jam packed with chemicals and alcohol based ingredients. Take a tip Freddles, be a natural girl like me (cough) and use gentle natural plant based shampoos instead. I shall be sticking to Aveda who use nothing but plant based ingredients (when I’m finally unstuck from Freddles) but all that means is that I’ll be cannoning off trees rather than lampposts! Being that you’re of such advanced age Freddles, I really would recommend you stick this in the shed and keep it for the next time you want an effective paint stripper and get yourself a product that actually nourishes your few remaining strands rather than choke them to death. ;O) Who wants to walk around smelling like a swimming pool anyway? Oh, and how much did you pay for this pot of poison? Freddles says: Be a natural girl like you? (Freddles talks in soprano voice) and wiggles out of the shower, disregarding the hairy legs - what are you doing here, Mother? Well, this isn't for gurlies who like to smell of camomile and nectar and all things garlic, Squigs, but it is for all the family (I know you haven't got a large family, but I can arrange it :O). Come here :O). But it's an unpretentious shampoo, does what it says on the bottle (hdjhgjkd ;jljflkjghjh kgfgffgkfg; whoops, was holding it upside d
own) gets rid of dandruff after a couple of washes, but yes it is stringent and strong and manly...I am a man and I use it and I like it, ok? How much did I pay? Wouldn't give you tuppence for Barthez and Brown (though Billy Smart is looking for a couple of clowns) but I paid £2.09 for this magic elixir and it will last me ages, though I wash my hair regularly - at least twice a year. It's good stuff and it's been here since I were a lad - how do you think Neanderthal Man washed his hair, Squigs? Anyway, that's Vosene for you. Let's discuss what you look for in a 6" package... Squiggles says: Moisturising qualities usually, but that’s another story…. Think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this, you like it, I don’t! And I’m not too fond of the old Vosene either! In summary, it does a good job on clearing up the nasty flaky scalp problem, but it ruins your hair, simple as that. Me staying well clear….and not touching the shampoo either! Thanks Freddles, it’s been….erm…..interesting? :O)
Pre-menstrual tension (or pre-menstrual syndrome) is something that just about every woman will experience in her lifetime to some degree. We girls can all relate, our hormones rage a riot in our bodies and we turn into mad shrieking banshee type women, wielding weapons and causing havoc and misery with everything we say and do……. well, according to most males anyway! But as Ian (Excelle) is joining me in this opinion, I shall allow him to add his experiences as a ‘victim’ and express the male point of view! But as I’m currently in the throes of mad axe wielding maniacal tendencies myself (PMS!), he can wait his sodding turn! I’m going first! LOL In all seriousness, PMS can be downright unpleasant, and in some cases, potentially very dangerous. Not only for the sufferer, but for their families and friends. The symptoms normally appear ten days to a week before a woman starts to menstruate and can include a variety of unpleasant and painful changes to the body, as well as changes to your normal state of mind. Most women experience severe mood swings and a tendency to being over-emotional and bursting into tears over the simplest of things that normally wouldn’t touch us at all. We can be depressed, anxious, very irritable, more aggressive than usual, suffer from sleeplessness and feel generally lethargic and unwell. Physical symptoms can include an aching back (and sometimes legs), headaches and dizziness, painful and swollen breasts, swelling of the ankles, a distended stomach caused by water retention, and in my case, a severe craving for sweet things, chocolate in particular! What most men fail to understand however, is that we have no control over how we feel. The symptoms are all caused by a natural change in our hormone levels and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it (well, mostly!) until the pre-menstrual time runs its course. The minute we start to actually menstruate, the symptoms d
isappear altogether. Then life becomes bearable and pleasant again…… Ian says: Unfortunately for us blokes, we sometimes have a little trouble figuring out when the moods are PMT-related, or when they are just plain bad moods! And after a bad night on the beer, it might not exactly be what we need either. But before we go off in a storming mood, it's probably best if we try and understand what it is and what it's like for the poor little darlings. After all, we love them don't we, and if they're having a hard time of it, we're going to do our best to make it easier for them. Even if it does result in a metaphorical axe in the head (or a real one for that matter!) The thing that is so hard for blokes to understand is just what it's like. So this is my view of what it's like! Imagine, if you will, that you've been out all night in the company of that harsh mistress we like to call alcohol. You've had about 17 pints of the 'headache-beer' Kronenbourg, followed by 5 doubles of vodka, 5 doubles of Bacardi and a Smirnoff ice to wash it all down with. Then you've passed out on someone's rockery. With a gnome in your back. Now someone comes along and wakes you up with a bucket of water over your head. Hey presto - you try and kill your assailant, nearly vomit across the driveway, and your back is killing you. Your stomach doesn't feel so hot either. Right Louise? Louise says: That's pretty close Ian, the sad thing is that us girlies don't have the fun of the all night raging that goes before it! We're poodling along quite merrily, being all lovey-dovey and sunshine and light and then suddenly, bam, out of nowhere we undergo a major personality change and start wanting to kill people, men in particular! But then, some of us want to do that anyway, PMS or no PMS.......!!!! But Ian, there are things that can help, and the love and support of an understanding pa
rtner can go a long way to easing some of the stress and angst. Jokes are good, but never ever at the expense of the affliction itself, make some glib remark about the joys of PMT and you're likely to lose a limb at least! Only we girls can joke about it, men have to be understanding and supportive, or else!! Reminds me, why does it take 3 women with PMT to change a light bulb? Ian says: why DOES it take 3 women with PMT to change a light bulb? Louise says: IT JUST BLOODY DOES, OK??? <Louise takes deep breaths and eats more Galaxy > Now, where was I? Oh yes, things that can actually help to alleviate the suffering, both for him AND her! Exercise is one, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing! But if you can manage some gentle exercise, you’ll relieve a lot of the pent up stress and it really does help with the bloatedness, insomnia and aching back! Ian, I’m sure you can think of ways to get physical with Lizzie to ease her suffering! <wink>. Also, eating smaller and more frequent meals high in non-sugary carbohydrates can do wonders, even if you just nibble on a Ryvita every couple of hours. Doing this keeps your blood sugar levels from falling and can combat the lethargy that can sometimes take over. But of course Ian, if you really wanted to be the ever compassionate and sensitive partner, then the best thing is to lovingly spoon feed your woman chocolate or ice cream on demand. Even if she insists on it at four in the morning! It’s the least you can do whilst she’s suffering! Lots of women swear by Oil of Evening Primrose, which you can buy over the counter at most pharmacists and health food shops. Other supplements which can help are vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Reducing your salt and sugar intake can also help, particularly in reducing the distended tum caused by retaining water. And again, doing the same with alcohol and caffeine can make a diff
erence with some women. Most of all, it’s important for women that they are given support at a time they can feel quite dreadful. Cracking sexist jokes doesn’t help, most women feel particularly lacking in confidence and not at all attractive or sexy during the worst of PMS, and ill thought out cracks are only likely to send her into a mad hormonal rage from which you, mister, will feel the backlash! <Ian flinches> Ian says: Ouch! Getting physical you say? Well, me and Lizzie play tennis quite often ;) Well, that's how women can try and sort themselves out, but what can us poor blokes do? Well, apart from hiding under the nearest table and calling in the nearest paramilitary unit, a good place to start is to know what's going on. If you have a good, how shall we say, rapport with your lady, you should easily be able to sit down and chat about these things. Although instigating a discussion about her mood swings while she's primed and ready to kill isn't the best of things to do, but it's a chance you'll have to take. If you're lucky you'll have caught her while she's out of 'the zone', and you can sit down and have a chat about when her 'time of the month' is. Just make sure you explain that it's so you can be a little more understanding! It's important to remember that the period varies from woman to woman, so claiming you didn't realize because "That's when it was for my ex" is liable to get that axe through your forehead that little bit quicker! And no, I don't know from experience :) There's being understanding of course, and there's being downright annoying! Treating your lass like she's some sort of invalid is definitely NOT the way to go. Just understand if she feels a bit ill, try not to have all out wars with her that she may (or may not) regret later, and don't go up to her friends and go "It's alr
ight, she'll be on her period soon…" (NO, I haven't done that one either!) <Lou looks cynical> The thing is with PMT is that there isn't much we, or them, can really do about it. We've both got to live with it, and really after a while it doesn't become so much of a problem for us anyway. One last tip though - if she's bawling her head off at you, don't just smile at her cheerfully and say "It's OK, I know it's only your PMT talking!". There are a few bodies in the morgue that said that. Any exes of yours Lou? Louise smirks evilly and says: Well, seeing as I'm now on partner no. 23,456 I'd hazard a guess that I might be solely responsible for the rather surprising and staggering over-crowding at my local morgue! And local newspapers have reported that hospitals nearby are astounded by an extraordinary large number of unexplained deaths to young men caused by axes in the head! Seems the number is on the increase too Ian, dear buddy! Bwa hahahahaha I think Ian is trying to be the nice caring sensitive guy here, and yes, he understands that PMS is something that us ladies have no choice but to endure, and that it's just as unpleasant for us as it is for the poor sods that choose to live with us. Sometimes, cases can be so serious that women have actually murdered during a blind rage over which they have no control. Some have even appeared in court charged with first degree murder and have had their cases quashed if it can be proven that severe PMS was responsible for a crime of passion. If anybody is concerned at the level of rage they are experiencing before menopause, I would suggest a chat with your local doctor as soon as possible. There is help out there, you just need to find it. And most symptoms can be controlled, even if they can't be stamped out altogether. Various medications can be prescribed if the level of your symptoms is high enough to warrant them. So Ian my old chum, over to you to conclude this op once and for all and to share the secrets of how you manage to keep your lady happy, calm and rational, despite having to spend time with you for long periods! <evil grin> Ian says: Blimey! I didn't realise that! Maybe the under-table options sounds more promising after all! But seriously lads, we have little to compare with the monthly pains and troubles our lady friends have, so the least we can do is be a bit understanding and try our best to make things as easy as we can for them. Well, relatively easy anyway, or they might start thinking all they have to do is claim PMS and we'll start hand feeding them chocolate! Hehe, only joking <ducks> Oh, and lady you say? Of course! Calm and rational - well, that's another story...
RareWare have to be one of the best game developers out there, the quality of the video games they produce is second to none! Following on the heels of Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Tooie is their latest offering, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, yet another superb piece of gaming software…as long as you don’t mind a fair dollop of smutty humour and a few swear words to go with it! The game is a platform/roaming adventure type game, of similar genre to Banjo and Donkey Kong, although not as extensive, and the idea is to guide Conker the Squirrel home after a particularly hard night on the tiles, hangover in full rage! Where it differs, is in the language it uses (definitely not suitable for under fifteens this one!), and the fact that the characters all speak words out loud rather than just text upon the screen! The voices are a riot, from the Scouser accented dung beetles to the very small and incredibly not frightening Grim Reaper (who is called Glen by the way!). Some of the cut scenes in this game are just hilarious, and will have you helpless with laughter (assuming your sense of humour is as tacky as mine anyway!) If I tell you that I’ve just completed three rounds with an opera singing great lump of poo, followed by despatching a brass monster (with balls of brass you know!!) using just two bricks and a lot of enthusiasm, I think you can get the idea of the way this game goes! Humour is what makes Conker so special, the animations and the voices are all superb, the graphics astounding and it’s very much like being part of a huge comic story where you control the action. The humour is very tacky in places, but it actually adds to the appeal of the game. It can also get a bit saucy in places; one scene involving a male cog having his female counterparts returned to him and fitted on correctly will certainly raise an eyebrow or two! And hopefully, a few titters aswell. It actually rendered my husband incapable for a few good minu
tes as he writhed on the floor in giggles!! Although it’s great fun to play, it is surprisingly difficult in places. It took me a while to realise that the cute baby dinosaur/bird critter I had just hatched, was in fact to be sacrificed on a slab in a particularly bloody scene. I felt wicked as hell; poor little baby had been following me around like a lost sheep calling me ‘mummy’ for a good time too. :O( Expect to see many cutesy animals being disposed of in similarly gruesome fashion! Another favourite part of the game for me was when Conker hit the Rock Club, a nightclub playing the best in club music with a whole bunch of stone men (and buxom stone blonde women!) dancing merrily! If you let Conker rest by letting go of the joypad, you can watch him get into the swing of things with his own style of break dancing! Just too funny! :O) Conker is fond of his drink, it has to be said, so much so that when completely off his face, he can unzip himself and ward off enemies by directing a stream of urine at them! If you can handle tacky humour, poor jokes, an abundance of snot and poo, and like to giggle, then this game is for you! The puzzles are certainly challenging enough, and the game has good longevity. It also offers a great multi-player option, so if you and a few sozzled pals get together, you should be in your element! You can also replay any of your completed ‘chapters’ at any time, great if you want to recap on some of the best and funniest cut scenes. Pricewise, like most games for the N64, it isn’t cheap. It retails at £60 but the prices have come down since first released and you should be able to pick up a brand new copy of the game for around £40. But it IS a bit rude!! ;O)
All my DooYoo buddies will know that in August I spent a few days with Broksababe (Ana) up in Whitby, and my next op is on the method of transport I chose to get me there! I travelled with National Express Coaches as they offered the most direct and the cheapest service. Travelling by train would have meant a 6-hour journey with changes at London and would have cost considerably more! My journey was actually only as far ‘oop narth’ as Scunthorpe; to meet a pal before we set off up to Ana’s together. I travelled from Aylesbury to Scunthorpe, along the M1, the total journey time taking just 3 hours and 20 minutes, and that included a 25-minute refreshment break at Leicester Forest East. My ‘open’ return ticket cost £27 with an additional £1.50 securing fee payable at the time of confirming my return journey. You can also pay an additional 99p fee for insurance, which covers you for up to £500 (property), £10,000 (accidents) and £1 million (Public Liability). National Express offers a number of ways to book. They have a website (http://www.gobycoach.com) where you can look up times, plan your journey and even book your tickets if you’re happy to pay by either debit or credit card. These are mailed to you free of charge, unless your journey is very imminent in which case you need to collect them at one of the main collection points (usually the bus station you are travelling from) around the country. The website is very user friendly, but can be very slow to load at times. But the details are very clear and written in easy to understand language. You don’t have to register with the site to make online bookings and search for timetables etc, but if you do, one or two bonuses are on offer. Registration qualifies you for a free Argos Premier Points card and each time you book a journey online costing more than £5, National Express will credit your card. You are also sent details of additions an
d improvements to the site, and any new services available. Plus further bookings are considerably easier as many of your details are stored (except payment details which you will need to input every time you make a booking). You can also book by telephone (08705 808080) and calls are charged at national rates. I’ve always found the operatives there to be very friendly and incredibly helpful. The coach I wanted to travel back on was actually booked up when I called to confirm, but they were quick to offer alternative times and dates and were more than friendly. Lines are open from 8am to 10pm seven days a week. The coaches themselves are very comfortable, but you can feel a little cramped. They don’t really have a great deal of leg room, but the seats are comfy enough and you have your own light and air conditioning switches directly overhead. They are also usually fully booked, so if you’re travelling alone, expect to be sat next to a stranger for the whole of the journey. My neighbour wasn’t the chatty type and sat for the entire journey with headphones on and a permanently glazed expression! At least it meant I could read in peace! Most also have curtains at the windows, so if the sun is bothering you, you can pull those back for a nice quiet sleep, assuming your neighbour doesn’t mind! Coaches that are travelling longer distances often have tables between seats too. Most coaches come equipped with WC facilities at the back, but beware; these are tiny and incredibly cramped. I chose to sit at the back of the coach on my journey up there, big mistake! One father decided his little lad needed to use the loo, and being so young, thought it wise to keep the door open whilst he ‘went’ so Dad could keep an eye on him. I’m not sure what the poor child had been made to eat for his lunch, but the back of the coach was treated to the most foul smell which lingered for some time, it wasn’t p
leasant believe me! My neighbour was even stirred out of her coma long enough to give me, my seat, and all nearby passengers a good spray of cheap perfume! Not sure which was worse to be honest… If you’re making a very long journey using National Express, they also provide a hostess and trolley to serve you snacks and drinks en route. We weren’t treated to such luxuries, but we were able to stretch our legs and have a coffee at Leicester, when the coach stopped for 25 mins or so. The driver did speak to us over the mic once tho, informed us that if we were so much as a second late back to the coach after our stop, we would be waving goodbye to his exhaust pipe! But he was nice enough, and made sure we all had a helping hand down the steps as we clambered off. (And yes, one old dear was late back, there’s always one isn’t there?) One thing that did impress me were the times, the coach arrived bang on schedule and we arrived at our destination just a couple of minutes late (thanks to aforementioned crinkly person!) so no delays at all. This despite a bit of a snarl up on the motorway for ten minutes or so. I was quite impressed, my journey was fairly comfortable, and apart from the rather whiffy pong at one stage, I was able to relax for much of the journey. The air conditioning was superb, so no stuffiness to contend with either. I arrived feeling suitably rested and keen to get on with the rest of my journey. I’d certainly travel with National Express again, so are you listening Ana? Hint Hint ;O)
I’ve always used Outlook Express to handle my email, it’s a wonderful utility, does everything I need, but oh, it’s so so boring! Bring on Incredimail! This relatively new e-mail client does just about everything that Outlook does but is tons more fun to use! It’s available as a free download from www.incredimail.com and is bursting with fun letter backgrounds, animations, email alerts and more. So what exactly does it have to offer? Firstly, a number of fun backgrounds to jazz up your mail. The program comes with it’s own array of built in backgrounds including smileys, animals and others but you can also visit the site at any time to download any number of your choice. These are arranged under themes and most themes have at least 12 backgrounds on offer. Subjects include animals, star signs, greetings, smileys, butterflies, the list really is endless so you can personalise your e-mails to suit you and the occasion. Once you download your choices, these are automatically stored within Incredimail and each time you choose to write a new mail, you can choose which background you wish to use from a clearly labelled list of themes to the left. You can also opt for a plain background if you prefer. Most of the background images are very small in byte-size so you shouldn’t notice any slowing up when sending e-mails. Incredimail also offer a large number of animations to add to your messages, either on their own or with a background of your choosing. These are great fun and include images on just about every subject you can think of. For added fun, you can even add sounds to your mails. Most are wild and whacky (I love the sheep one!) and more choices are available for you to download at the website. Animal sounds and noises seem to be most popular, the turkey one makes interesting listening too! But you can also choose from giggles and laughs, and long smoooochy kisses and other emotions. You can
even record your own voice messages to add to your mails (assuming you have a microphone!), which can be great fun if you’re brave enough! These recordings are added as an attachment to your mails when you send them. And there’s more! You can send e-greetings directly from your inbox, and there is a good range to choose from including the most popular, birthdays, get well, missing you, thinking of you, love, Mother’s day etc. Most are of the cartoon variety but there are also some beautiful scenic greetings and again, tons more on offer to download direct from the website. And you can choose to add an extra animation, sound, or both from those you have stored in your own customised Incredimail. Incredimail also let you choose from a number of animated notifiers, these tell you when e-mail has arrived by sounds, voices, or both, but always with an animation. Some are funny, some are cute, and some are just plain wild! The wimpy envelope is hilarious! You can choose from many, including animals, the default butler who announces very formally that you have e-mail, or hi-tech, envelopes and more. And you can change your notifier at any time should you become bored with your current one. More are also available to download at site. Male users of the program will heartily approve of the ‘Babe’ notifier! When you’ve chosen your background, or card, or animation, sound or any combination, and are ready to send your mail, you are treated to another fun animation as it whizzes off, depending on what choices you’ve made. For example, I used a sea faring theme on one of my messages and as the mail was sent, an animation was shown of my message folding up into a boat and sailing off across the high seas, complete with nautical sounds! There are various ‘sending’ animations, mostly based on the theme of your backgrounds and so on. It’s so much fun and Incredimail will certainly appeal to the
child in you! There is more to the program however, than lots of bright and colourful animations and sounds. It is also a very good email client offering you most of the features you would expect from a serious program, very much on a par with Outlook. You can create rules for your messages, so that they can be stored in folders of your choice (all my ‘buisness’ mails go into one folder, personal mails into another and so on), and you can set up as many e-mail accounts as you wish, providing that they are pop and smtp based. The one thing this programme will NOT do is download mail from Hotmail or AOL. But it handles web-based accounts that use pop3, such as Yahoo and Lineone. The address book provided with the programme is very comprehensive, and will store addresses for you automatically if you set up that option. It will also automatically fill in address lines for you once you start typing in the first couple of letters of the address itself. You can also import and export addresses from other address books. Another nice touch within the options is that you can ask the program to choose backgrounds at random for you, everytime you go to write a new email. And you can choose to hear typing sounds as you compose your e-mails too. Overall, this is a great e-mail client that will appeal to anybody who wants to add fun and giggles to their email messages. And best of all, the program is completely free to download, as are all the backgrounds, animations etc. Plus there are other sites that have been set up by people who have created their own customised backgrounds for you to make use of, there are good links at the main site to those. Give it a try, I feel sure you won’t be disappointed!
A student friend of mine, Mark (yhwman on DooYoo), has been nagging me for weeks to check out this album as something refreshingly different with mass appeal. Finally, I've managed to do just that and have to say, this album was a complete surprise to me. My music tastes? Well, I’m still firmly wedged in the 80s with the likes of Wham, Adam Ant, Duran Duran etc. Why on earth would I be wanting to review something as funky and happening as Bungle, me an old woman in her mid thirties! I was expecting pure grunge if I’m honest, but California (fronted by Mike Patton/Faith No More) was a refreshing new sound, unlike anything I’d ever heard before. Be prepared to give your ears a brand new listening experience, if you’ve never tried Mr Bungle before, you could be very pleasantly surprised! On the other hand, you may just wanna head for the hills right now! The whole album is a mixture of abstract and absurd that actually works! Expect a blend of mellow jazz, rock, electronic, ska, 60s ‘Beach Boys’, Wurlitzer, grasshoppers in mass frenzy (!?), and tribal chanting. Sounds weird huh? Yep it is, but dig deeper, there are some masterfully crafted sounds going on here… To the tracks themselves then….. Sweet Charity This relatively mellow track (by Bungle standards at least, expect complete mayhem later!!) opens with the sound of Hawaiian steel guitars against a background of screaming seagulls and gently breaking waves. Don’t be fooled as you sit back and allow the gentle sounds and Patton crooning to wash over you, within seconds the chorus livens up the whole song with a ‘bop bop be doo’ feel and some gentle but refreshing Hawaiian guitar melodies that will have your toes tapping in no time. By far the smoothest and one of the most melodic ballad type tracks on the album, superbly arranged and a blend of LA lounge style with powerful contrasts. None of T
hem Knew They Were Robots A crazy track this one, that starts out with frenzied guitar thrashing combined with strings and then pans into 60s style combined with swing as Mike does his amazingly versatile vocal stuff. It has to be said, this is one very talented, if strange, vocalist! It has a good strong bass throughout which will have your toes tapping, punctuated every so often with more guitar thrashing. Overall a lively track, with distorted thrashing and insanity, but I loved the 'swing' elements in particular. Retrovertigo Woooo, a beautiful gentle acoustic guitar intro to this track, very easy listening, and what could be the start to any serious love ballad. Mellow yet intense, finishing with a dramatic climax in true Bungle fashion. This is certainly the closest track to typical pop that you will find on the album, and you’ll be humming along in no time. Ars Moriendi Hmmm, this one is interesting. Imagine an Indian/Arabic style intro combined with an imaginative and totally unique manic metal sound all of it’s own, with constant changes in tempo and a mix of thrashing guitars, strings, metal and wild vocals! That sums up the first four bars at least, hehehe. Am finding this almost impossible to describe, experimental is not the word! So I made hubby sit and listen to it and asked him to sum up in words for me. His response….’It’s shite!’…hmmmmmmm. Always said he was the wordy sort! Not quite the sort of song you can sing along to, and try dancing to this one and you could end up in Casualty faster than you can say ‘I’ve been Bungled’!! With its ever changing pace and style, it’s a complete riot! I even thought I detected a hint of Zorba the Greek in there somewhere! Highly recommended for anybody who wants something a little ‘different’. Oh, and Patton ‘does Latin’ on this track! Pink Cigar
ette This has to be my least favourite track on the album without a doubt. Melancholy, too sentimental for words and depressing were my first thoughts, despite the upbeat intro before we hear about doom and more doom. The lyrics hardly inspire either, a countdown to the ultimate suicide ending with ‘There's just 5 hours left until you find me dead, There's just 4 hours left until you find me dead, There's just 3 hours left until you find me dead, There's just 2 hours left until you find me dead, There's 1 more hour and then you will find me dead, There's just’.....................and then, the more persistent beep of the heart monitor before it finally flat lines altogether. This track is just awful, dreary as hell and the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard! Come back Spice Girls, all is forgiven! Just too too sad :O( Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy Without a doubt, the weirdest track on the album. Great opening with it’s wind up music box mixed with what sounds like computer generated organ and vocals. It actually sounds like something you might play to your six year old, but best not as poor little love just might have nightmares!! Mark, my student friend and he that is responsible for this, tells me that Golem is a character from Jewish legend, constructed of clay and made to act out tasks for humans. Until he blows a gasket or something and starts attacking his creators! Er, the golem that is, not Mark! Although…..anyway, I digress…… Golem II : the self-perfecting Lie-rejecting Human mind correcting Totem of the living Self-organized, wrought from the clay Our king by night, our slave by the day Giga-giga-gilgamesh What do you know? Watch the human life show OK let's go O my double He can pop your bubble That means trouble Hmmm, scary stuff huh? But an interesting a
nd varied sound and the atmosphere builds as you continue to listen, and I just can’t help but titter at the ‘Giga-giga-gilgamesh’ line! Think robotics, disco funk and electronic effects and you get the idea, kinda…… Holy Filament Nice track this one, has a bit of everything including some beautiful harmonised lyrics (does that even make sense?) and we even get to hear some haunting piano on this one. Very gentle but with a good supply of atmosphere and melodrama. Tis nice on the ears this one, can lie back shut your eyes and let the whole thing wash over you completely. The lyrics are short and can be summed up entirely as follows: In fiber optic illusion The flickering eyes By flourescent lights Supplicate before machines, Self-reflecting The legend of modernity: The phosphenes explode God's eternal strobe Through the holy filament, Graven image Tis rather beautiful really…sigh…….and the pianist is simply superb! Vanity Fair Another very busy track, which ambles along merrily and offers a whole plethora of sounds for you to enjoy. Expect a bouncy doo-wop feel throughout and an occasional eerie carnival style organ that makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck! You’ll get snatches of guitar and moody sax and Patton shows again the versatility of his vocal talents. I like this one, I like it lots in fact. It’s finger snapping good (listen to this track and you’ll see what I mean!) Goodbye Sober Day This is my ultimate favourite and Mark knows why. If I’m down, moody, irritable or just having the worst blonde day, Mark just has to remind me to ‘chak chak chakachakachakachaka’ and I’m soon back in the swing of things! :O) It starts with what I can only describe as the sound of grasshoppers in frenzied orgy (!!) followed by Hawaiian style
vocals and sound and is the most Bungled Bungle track on the CD. Hard core guitars throughout that lead to the ultimate chorus, a crescendo of….monastic chanting!! I defy you not to join in and believe me; those cobwebs are soon dispensed with! By far the strangest and most varied track on the album, it leaps from one riff to another with constantly changing pace and style so that your head will spin. This is one you simply HAVE to listen to! So there you have it, the middle aged woman's guide to Bungle! It’s the sort of album that cannot possibly be described in words, you really do have to sit and listen and expect almost anything. Experimental, yet traditional, funky yet classic, it’s all in there somewhere!
Ahhhhhhh, Whitby! A beautiful and ancient little fishing port nestled amongst the moors with the imposing remains of the Abbey watching over the sleepy little bay, golden sands and harbouring as much history and tradition as you could possibly desire. Whitby during August Bank Holiday weekend is a little different however. All of the above still applies, with the addition of a short blonde woman, a slightly taller brunette one and small nine-year-old boy doing their damndest to avoid the man with the camera! The man with the camera gets everywhere, ready to snap at you when you’re at your most windswept, pulling the daftest of faces or generally just looking like you’ve spent twelve hours being dragged through a hedge backwards. He calls himself Bob, the man with the camera, but beware, he’s a crafty one! You can guarantee he’ll flash at you (ahem) when you least expect it! I spent the last weekend in August with fellow DooYoo writer Ana/Broksababe, our mutual pal Bob and Ana’s adorable son James in Whitby, where Ana is lucky enough to make her home. And it’s a beautiful place, perfect for a relaxing weekend break. Not that Ana was going to let me have one of those, we had to do the ‘tourist thang’ and boy, did we do just that! It was lovely, it was exhausting but I’d do it all over again! :O) Whitby is steeped in history and you’ll never be short of things to see or do. On our first full day we decided the best way to view the town was on top of one of the many open-topped tour buses, with the wind streaming through our hair and full commentary throughout from a tour guide. And of course, the man with the camera! ;O) The tour takes approximately an hour, but your ticket covers you for the entire day so you can hop on and off as often as you please, almost like a taxi service so ideal if your legs are starting to struggle, as mine were! Costwise, it’s not exactly cheap
but works out to be good value if you use it like we did throughout the day. The bus driver was very kind, the rates are cheaper for two adults and two children and he kindly agreed that one of the ‘adults’ in our party was suitable childish enough to receive the reduced fare :O) It cost us just over £8 for our party of four. Our first stop was the Abbey, after a slow and gentle meander through quaint little streets and up a very steep hill. We could have visited using the 199 steps (yeah right!), in fact, Bob and Ana teased me constantly about making me try them, but luckily James offered to be my tow rope if needed. :O) Thank goodness for open topped buses say I! The ruins of St Hilda’s Abbey are set in a beautiful spot, high up on the East Cliff and overlooking the town itself with some stupendous views of the sea and port. Alongside it you will find the very pretty parish church of St Mary, in beautiful condition and completely free to explore at your leisure. It’s one of the best-preserved 12th Century Anglo Saxon churches in the country today, and the graveyard there inspired Bram Stoker to pen his infamous Dracula stories. The gravestones are set on a steep hill, and over the years have been sliding gradually down the Cliffside. In fact, Ana tells me that bones were even discovered earlier this year on the beach as a result! Ewwwwwwww!! There is no electricity inside the church, so candles light your path. Inside is truly beautiful and very traditional. All the existing prayer boxes are in excellent condition (the church is still regularly used for weddings, christenings, Sunday Services etc) and the craftsmanship is simply stunning. You’ll be able to see a beautiful Elizabethan altar table, family box pews (with the family names etched on the sides), and an imposing upper gallery. There is also a gift shop, where proceeds go to the restoration fund to maintain the stonework etc. Well worth a visit,
if only to soak up the atmosphere of centuries gone by. The ruins of St Hilda’s Abbey are very impressive, and you’ll be able to see some beautifully crafted stone carvings. It also has lots of little niches, ideal for scurrying into when being pursued by the man with the camera! It was originally founded in the 7th Century but was destroyed during the 9th Century. Most of the remains visible today date back from the 13th and 14th Centuries. There is a charge to view the remains, but it’s very reasonable at £1.70 per person. There is also a mini museum set in the grounds where you can read and view the history of the Abbey (no extra charge) Once we’d finished ooooohing and ahhhhing, it was time for a quick ice cream/drink break and then back on the bus to be delivered to the pier on the other side of the town. All the usual seaside attractions can be found here, amusements, cafes and eating places (great fish and chips!), candyfloss, gift shops etc and ….boat trips!! I’m a big kid when it comes to these, I just love the water! Ana isn’t quite so keen, bless, but she didn’t argue when the idea was suggested! Here the man with the camera was in his element, there are no places to run when you’re on a small fishing boat (called the Kingfisher!) and we all got snapped! The sea was beautifully calm and the trip was lovely, very relaxing and was a good hour in length costing just £2.50 for adults and £1.50 per child. The views from the water were superb, especially of the church and abbey, beach and the two cliffs. That rounded off our first full day, so exhausted we returned to base to hit the booze big time and to recover before our next trip out. The following day, the man with the camera kindly acted as chauffeur and drove us (including Ana’s mother!) to nearby Goathland, a picturesque little village where the TV show Heartbeat is filmed. Not strictly Whitby, but very cl
ose and well worth a visit if you’re in the area! We took a picnic lunch with us and were able to have a leisurely stroll down the main street. At the bottom of a gently steeped hill, is a traditional steam railway where you can board the train to head off to nearby Pickering. The man with the camera had a field day, even if he did have to contort himself around the fence to get the best pic as the train steamed in to the station. :O) There isn’t a great deal to actually do at the village, but the views are lovely and open moorlands surround it with some delightful walks (five circular ones) and a small waterfall near the station. Plus there’s a nice and unusual gift shop and pub where you can sit outside for a quiet drink and something to nibble on. Oh, and if you like sheep, you’ll spot lots of them on the moors and sometimes the road itself! Back home again, and a couple of us decided we wanted a quiet walk on the beach as the sun was setting. The beach at Whitby is beautiful, very sandy and stretches for miles. You can ride a donkey if you like (they seemed cleaner than most!) or just enjoy the views as we did. It’s a good safe beach for children, well at least I thought so, until I almost stepped on a live jellyfish…Ewwwwwwww But it was lovely and quiet and a great way to round off the day. Whitby is a superb place to visit either with or without children. It offers all the usual seaside attractions but also has a lot more to offer than just amusement arcades and boat trips etc. Music lovers can take advantage of the Whitby Music Festival during the third week of October for a whole weekend of non-stop music. For culture seekers, you can check out the museum and learn about Whitby’s most famous resident, Captain James Cook. The museum itself is in the house that he originally lived in, in Grape Lane. Another great place to visit for unusual gifts in particular, is the Whitby Jet and
Enamel Workshop in Church Street, where the most amazing array of ornaments and jewellery are crafted from Whitby famous jet stone. Whitby also hold an annual carnival and regatta in the middle of August (we were a week too late to see it, very disappointing as they always finish with a huge firework display which is alleged to be spectacular!) and at this time, the small town becomes very overcrowded. Oh well, there’s always next year! All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay, and would happily return to Whitby for another visit, although I’m not sure whether my gracious hostess would be quite as keen :O) We had a wonderful time, and I’m sure you will too....just look out for the man with the camera! :O)
Anybody who is interested in British politics will find this site of great interest. Anybody who is interested in British politics and wanting to earn a bit of extra cash will find it even more so! YouGov.com is a site dedicated to the latest political news, policies and changes. In addition, they offer polls you can take part in where you will be paid anything from 50p to £1 (although £2 and £3 polls are promised but yet to be seen!) for each one, in exchange for your opinion on the hottest political topic of the day. Polls change regularly, sometimes daily, more often 2 or 3 times a week. Most are relatively short and should take no longer than a few minutes to complete. So what can you expect to find at the site? Well, at the top of each page you will see the latest political news headlines scrolling on a banner from left to right. Just click on the subject of your choice to find out more. This is also where the paid polls are to be found, just look for the titles that are headed with PAID FOR POLL. Current news highlights include The Full Saturday Briefing, 3 paid for polls (parts 1 and 2 of the British Political Parties Polls, and a poll concerning the subject of A-Levels), and the latest on Foot and Mouth in the UK. In order to earn cash from the polls, you will need to register on the site and then log in to complete the poll to receive payment. Registration is very straightforward, just click on the Register link on the left hand side and provide a user name, password, email address and your postcode and that’s about it! You can also elect to receive a monthly newsletter from the site if you wish (optional). To take part in the paid for polls and become a member of the polling club, you need to click on the link and supply a few further details, name, address, date of birth etc. You are automatically credited with £1 simply for registering. Payment isn’t made until you have amassed a balance of £50; so
complete with questions, suggestions and feedback for YouGov. See Us On FreeServe – Here you can view the site, but on FreeServe’s server and pages. The layout is slightly different, but does seem faster to load and access information. There are also additional links at the top and foot of each page. Just under the scrolling banner at the top you will find links to the home page, latest news, YouGov shop (where you can get your hands on the latest political ‘bestsellers’ and resources), GovDoctor (which was offline when I tried to view!) and People’s Parliament where you can vote as being in favour or against the latest hot political debate (currently whether farmers should receive more compensation from the Government for loss of livestock due to the foot and mouth epidemic). At the bottom of each page are further links you can follow. Most are duplicates of those already mentioned, but with the addition of the all important Terms and Conditions – we Ciao-ers know all about those!! Have your dictionaries ready! YouGov is a very promising looking site indeed, with lots of interesting information and debate, with the added bonus of the chance to make a little money if you’re prepared to wait for it to build up. But what lets it down is its speed, it crawls at snail’s pace sometimes and error messages are all too common. One thing in its favour is that YouGov mail you when a new paid poll is up for grabs (this seems a bit hit and miss tho!) so you shouldn’t have to keep trekking to the site to see if a new paid for poll is ready. And they do regularly poll their members for ideas and suggestions for improvements. I will certainly be keeping an eye on the site for the latest changes.