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I was very keen to read this book for many reasons. Firstly the stories of Jaquetta of Luxembourg (The Duchess), Elizabeth Woodville (The Queen) and Margaret Beaufort (The Kings Mother) are very interesting and I have enjoyed reading many fiction and non fiction books about them so I thought that I would give this book a go to see if I could learn anything new about the three women and have the three authors take on the women as well. When you look at this book everyone instantly thinks that it is by Philippa Gregory herself but if you look closely at the cover there are actually two other authors of this book not just her and I assume the publisher would have made her name the biggest on the page simply because she is most well known and they know that her name will probably sell a lot more books than the other two would. Furthermore the book is split into three sections and each other writes and essay about on of the women and they have been put together in this book. Phillipa Gregory writes about Jaquetta of Luxembourg who was the Duchess of Bedford and later Lady Rivers, David Baldwin writes about Elizabeth Woodville, the daughter of the previous women and also Queen of England and finally Michael Jones writes about Margaret Beaufort who was mother to King Henry VII and probably the most influential women in her time period. Another reason why people may want to read this book is because despite the two latter authors already written non fiction books, this is the first ever non fiction work written by Philippa Gregory and I guess that many would like to see if see is actually a good historian as she has been heavily although in my opinion unfairly criticized for her historical inaccuracy despite her novels never being massively incorrect and Gregory admitting that she has to use a lot of her own judgement when evidence is not there or there is not enough of it to be certain and so I wanted to see if she could really pull off a non fiction book well but also get an insight into the two other historians work which I have never really come across before. I will be reviewing the essays both on how much I enjoyed reading it, how much I have learnt from it, if it uncovers any new evidence or comes to any new conclusions and how useful it would be as a historical source as it is a history book.
The introduction to this book is written by Philippa Gregory and actually turns out to be a very interesting read and not just a short i boring intro to why she wrote the book like most introductions are as she talks about many different things within this introduction. Firstly she asks the questions _What is history?_ and although I think to myself that I will struggle through her answer to a question which seems pretty obvious, she does go on to answer the question in good detail talking about how we may never know the full history and that no one account can tell the whole truth and all the facts about a particular subject and I find I quite enjoy it. This then gives me a bit of hope for her next question which is _What is fiction?_ which again she does go on to answer in a very interesting way talking about how usually most fiction will relate back to reality some how such as how science fiction obviously traces back to research about the different sciences although this time her answer is not in as much detail. She does then go on to talk about historical fiction in detail and I really enjoyed reading it as she talks about the differences between how a historian would writes and how a historical novelist would write. She also talks a lot about how much of the critism towards historical fiction does not have much substance due to the fact that fiction is used to create an entertaining and gripping novel because we can never really know the thoughts and feelings of those people so it does have to be created by the authors judgement and that fiction can also fill gaps in evidence for this purpose as well. In fact this small section of the book is one that I think the critics of Gregory's work should read as it does justify why she writes how she does. Finally she talks about how women are often harder to find evidence about and how in the past were often not recorded barely at all leaving many of today's historians to base judgements on little evidence. A very interesting part of this section was also where she talked about even now how one small piece of evidence maybe from someone such as a king is seen as more important than other pieces of evidence that obviously are more useful. For example she talks about how Anne Of Cleves (Wife of Henry VIII and Queen Consort of England) is often described as 'fat' and 'ugly' by historians because of one comment by her husband whereas her portrait in fact shows a young, slim and pretty women. Overall to my surprise, I really enjoyed this introduction to the book and it was a great opening. However the only criticism I have for the introduction of this book is that there is a big historical error within it when Philippa Gregory states that Jaquetta of Luxembourg was the grandmother to Henry VIII and great grandmother to Elizabeth I when this is incorrect and a very obvious and silly error which is probably there due to it not being noticed in the editing process. Jaquetta of Luxembourg is actually the great grandmother of Henry VIII and the great great grandmother of Elizabeth I (Jaquetta -> Elizabeth Woodville -> Elizabeth of York -> Henry VIII -> Elizabeth I)
==Jaquetta of Luxembourg (The Duchess)==
The first section is written by Philippa Gregory about Jaquetta of Luxembourg who is said to be descended from Melusina, who goes on to be the Duchess of Bedford and later the Dowager Duchess and Lady Rives when her husband the Duke dies and she later marries Richard Woodville. In my opinion I think that Philippa Gregory should have written about one of the other women within the book because she has only just started writing non fiction work with this essay yet she choose the hardest of the three women to write about as she is the one with the least evidence available about her and her life as she simply was not as important as the other two and so much less documented however that does not mean that her story is not as interesting but I do think this lack of evidence may have hindered her as it could probably hinder any established historian (Such as when Alison Weir attempted a biography of Mary Boleyn when the evidence just wasn't there really). The section of the book was something that I really enjoyed reading and I found Philippa Gregory's writing style to be very easy going which is a good thing when you are reading about facts. Also within her essay on her chosen women I didn't really find any historical error's within it and found the information within it to be correct to my knowledge and also presented and written in an interesting and page turning way which is a great thing for a history book. However I cannot say that Gregory really presents any ground-breaking evidence or comes to any new conclusions about Jaquetta's life within this essay and so may just be repeating what some other historians have already mentioned. An example of this is where she sometimes uses the phrase, "historians think" suggesting that she maybe has not done that much of her own research into the evidence although this is a speculation. As a historical source, her essay I think would be useful because although it doesn't really provide much in the way of new evidence or information, there is no biography for this women ever written and so this essay can serve as a place where all or most of the information about Jaquetta is all together and can be found. Despite this Gregory uses words such as 'maybe' and 'perhaps' quite a lot within her essay and it gives a sense that she is uncertain about the information she is presenting however this may just be due to the lack of evidence about this women and so I cannot blame Gregory for this. Another thing which I would like to comment on is the use of 'or' a lot where she will show two conclusions about evidence but doesnt really come to her own conclusion about that evidence. However overall I do believe that her essay was a good start for this author into non fiction history writing as the essay was enjoyable to read, easy going and despite the lack of evidence about Jaquetta and her life, you can learn a lot from it and I think it would be great for anyone who wanted the 'real story' or summary to Gregory's historical fiction book 'The Lady Of The Rivers' which is about the same women.
==Elizabeth Woodville (The Queen)==
The essay written about Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of England and wife to King Edward IV is written by David Baldwin, an author who I have never previously come across before however I tend to dislike reading about Elizabeth Woodville in many cases so I was hoping that he would maybe bring something to the essay which I would enjoy. I found that while is writing style may not be as easy going as the previous essay, the essay was a relatively easy read and to my sup rise for the most part of it, I did actually enjoy it as Baldwin went into areas of Elizabeth life which I have never knew as much about or had heard much about before making the essay much more enjoyable than some biographies that just stick to the stereotypes associated with this women. Furthermore he also went into detail about Elizabeth's character and relationships with certain people at the time such as her in laws Duchess Cecily, King Richard III, George Duke or Clarence but also other influential people at the time such as Margaret Beaufort however I was expecting something about her relationship with Anne Neville but that was not included in the essay. Despite this, those sections of the essay gave me a bigger insight into Elizabeth and I learned quite a lot from them such as how she seemed to be much more generous than I had previously thought and how she is sometimes portrayed. I was happy that some of the stereotypes associated with this women were explained by Baldwin and that he didn't just stick to those but also challenged some with the evidence he had found as it made the essay a much more interesting read. Overall I would say that the essay was fun to read, easy going but also very informative giving a lot of information which I didn't know and didn't include any historical inaccuracy's that I could see so I will definitely now be looking to find more of David Baldwin's work and would definitely recommend this essay to anyone who would like to find out a bit more about Elizabeth Woodville or for people who want to know the real story behind books such as 'The White Queen'
==Margaret Beaufort (The King's Mother)==
Michael Jones wrote the essay about Margaret Beaufort, the once heiress to the Lancastrian claim to the throne of England and then mother to King Henry VII of England, one of the most powerful women of her time, arguably more powerful and influential then both Elizabeth Woodville, Jaquetta of Luxembourg and also Elizabeth of York, wife and Queen to King Henry VII. Because of this and her very determined, strong and complicated character, her story is a very interesting one which throughout the essay, Jones is able to capture her personality well in places while describing the history well as well. I do have to admit that the essay did start of a bit hard going but as I read more into it and started to learn some new things about her family the essay became a lot easier to read and more interesting. What I really liked was how Jones considered how Margaret would have felt and what she would have been thinking at different parts in her history using either evidence or just speculation however this was at times patchy as at some key events in her history he just left this out which was a disappointment and it tended to make the whole essay more easy going and did manage in places to make the history more interesting and give more of an insight into the actual character and personality of this women and so more of this would have been quite beneficial in my opinion. Another thing that I enjoyed about this essay was how when evidence was uncertain or not very concrete, he would explain more than one interpretation of the different evidence that was there taking into account Margaret's character and beliefs to give the reader better knowledge of what could have been going on and what Margaret's intentions could have been for doing different things which I found to be a good thing and could increase it usefulness as a historical source especially as throughout the essay I could not spot any historical errors such as the one Gregory made in the introduction to the book. Although the essay was a good read and one were I was able to find out a lot more about a women I already thought I new a lot about, it did seem to miss out a few key events at the time such as the execution of George, Duke of Clarence and brother to King Edward IV, the death of Queen Anne Neville, wife to Richard III and also how her husband was the one who effectively decided who would win the battle of Bosworth which put her son on the throne. I have mentioned these moments as I think that they are events which would be very important in the life of Margaret Beaufort both positively or negatively and it would have been interesting to find out her reaction to these events and the effect of them on her both politically and personally but this was not included. This gave me the sense that the essay seemed a bit patchy as I have said before but also like it was missing something when I finished it. Despite this overall I would say that the essay was good, reliable and entertaining to read. I would recommend this essay to anyone who doesn't have much knowledge about this women as an introduction to her which is quite easy going and also to people who may want to find out the real story behind Philippa Gregory's popular novel 'The Red Queen'.
==Availability and editions==
This book is available both in paperback and hard cover which is good as I know some people do have preferences about which they would rather read like me who prefers hard cover. Also the book is available in Kindle edition on Amazon for all the people who prefer to read the electronic version. I have also found the book on most online sites such as Amazon but also in bookshops on the high-street such as Waterstones so the book is quite easy to find if you do want to go on to read it.
===Value For Money===
Its retail price on the high-street is £9.99 for paperback which is quite a reasonable price taking into account the price of books in shops and is a price that I would not mind paying for this book as I did thoroughly enjoy it. However the hardback edition can be a bit more expensive at £18.99 as its retail prices although you can find them for much cheaper both online where the Paperback is £7.99 which is a good price and the hard-cover edition can be found at £12.72. The Kindle edition is much cheaper than both of these and is only £1.99 for the ebook and so anyone who wants to read it on their Kindle or e-reader will be getting much better value for money however even the physical versions have good value for money as the book was a good read.
Overall I did really enjoy reading this book and was able to be entertained by it while also learning new things about the three women it describes which is key to a good history book in my opinion. It was interesting to see Philippa Gregory's first attempt at writing history rather than a novel but despite thoroughly enjoying the easy going essay, I do have to admit that it is probably the weakest of the three essay's which may be because she picked the women who has such a small amount of evidence about or including her to write about. In my opinion David Baldwin's essay was the strongest as it managed to take the history of Elizabeth Woodville which previously I have disliked and managed to write an essay on it which I really enjoyed, learnt a lot from and managed to change my mind a bit about her history. Michael Jones essay was also enjoyable as the other two were and so as a whole, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn some more about these three women and especially to anyone who has read books such as 'The White Queen', 'The Red Queen', 'The Lady of the Rivers' and 'The Kingmaker's Daughter' but also to anyone that has watched 'The White Queen' tv series which was recently on BBC One.
This review may also appear on ciao and goodreads under the username alexcatt97
I bought one of these for my two pet guinea pigs from Pets At Home for £7.00 after trying to find one for ages as I had seen many guinea pig and rabbit owners using the product and their pets really enjoying it so I thought that my guinea pigs would as well. To give a short description it is a very long tube as shown in the picture which folds down for storage but can also be bent into many different directions. They are widely available in many pet shops such as Pets At Home but also on online shops like Amazon so they are quite easy to find for any one looking to purchase one for their pet.
Firstly I want to talk about the size of the product, when it is stretched out into its longer tube the product is very large and so when you buy the product it is definitely not one that you will be able to use as a boredom breaker within your pets cage or hutch as you would need a massive hutch to be able to fit that in and your pets actually being able to move around. This can be a disadvantage for any pet owner who is looking for a tube or hiding place for their guinea pig which they love to fill their hutch or cage as it simply wont fit. Also if you put the folded down tube into a hutch it is often to the other extreme and not really long enough for the guinea pig to completely fit. Therefore the tube is really only suitable for use in outdoor runs and play pens for the guinea pigs but this means that during rainy days or the winter/cold months, you will often not be able to use this tube as you cant really put your guinea pigs outside during those times.
The tube can be stretched out but also bent in different directions so that it can go around the edges of a run or playpen which is useful but can also be bent into a zig-zag shape which my guinea pigs love but really any shape you want which is really the unique thing about this product and why I think it is so good for guinea pigs or rabbits. This is because it means that their run is not just a patch of grass but they also have a tube to be able to run through and if it goes in loads of different directions and bends it makes it really fun for them because it gives them the sense of adventure and exploring which is something that my guinea pigs especially love and so this makes this tube really good for these types of animals. It also means that in their run the guinea pigs have somewhere to hide away for two reasons. The first is that guinea pigs and sometimes rabbits are timid creatures and so are quite scared of a lot of things and therefore love somewhere to hide and feel safe if they feel like it and this tube allows them to do that in their run. Also the tube is quite wide and so usually it can fit two guinea pigs(although probably only one rabbit) in it especially if they are small and so if they want to hide away they can often cuddle up together which makes them feel a lot better and safer as well which is a good advantage of the tube. This tube is my guinea pigs favourite thing that they have in the run for the reasons I have stated above and they really love it which is really the point of the product and why I would definitely recommend it. It is also in my opinion very unique to anything else I have really seen anywhere else as it is the only one I have seen that folds down and can be bent.
The fact that the tube can be folded down to have a much smaller area means that even though it is very large when it is being used by your pets, after use it can then be folded down and so this makes it much easier to store without having to fit in a massive long tube and without it taking up loads of room which is a good advantage of the product. However the fact that it can be folded down means that the product has loads of concertina's to allow it to do this but this means the dropping from your pet can often get stuck in them and it can be very unpleasant and so a disadvantage of the product especially as I have found that it means it needs to be cleaned after nearly every use which takes a bit of time due to the shape and length of the product. The length means that it is hard to reach most parts of it with a sponge to try and clean it which makes it an awkward product to have to clean so I have found that the only way of doing it is squirting it with some pet disinfectant followed by pouring some hot water down through the tube to try and clean it. This in itself is a very unpleasant and annoying process but now that the product is wet, it is also very hard to therefore dry as the water now gets stuck within the concertina's and your cant really get into it with some paper towels to dry it due to its length and you cant really just hold it upwards to wait for it to drip out and the only real way of doing it is leaving it in the sun to dry which takes time. All of this is a big disadvantage to the product and something that annoys me on a regular basis but I put up with it because of how much my guinea pigs love the tube.
Also a trait of guinea pigs and rabbits is that the really do love to chew and eat and this tube is made from plastic to allow it to bend my guinea pigs usually chew holes in the tube and especially like it chew at the sides of it which does massively damage the product and mean that it is not that durable and will have to be replaced if it gets to damaged from them eating it. However they are more durable than other tubes that are available usually made from cardboard which does last that long at all with my guinea pigs so overall they are not massively durable but more durable than others.
The tube costs around £7 in shops like Pets At Home but could probably be found on websites such as Amazon for cheaper and in my opinion for the amount of use that my pets get out of the product, its uniqueness and how much they enjoy the tube, I believe that it is a very reasonable price which isn't really relatively expensive especially compared to some of the prices you find elsewhere in Pets At Home and so I believe the the tube is great value for money for a pet owner with small animals such as guinea pigs or rabbits.
Overall I think it is a great product which ultimately my pets really love and enjoy using it completes its purpose for a good price even though it is not that durable and quite difficult to clean. I would definitely recommend this to a friend with small animals.
You may also find the review on my ciao account under the same username.
Sirenia are a Norweigen symphonic metal band and released their fifth studio album named 'Enigma of Life' back in 2011 on Nuclear Blast Records. This is the second album released by the band with their current Spanish vocalist Ailyn with Morten Veland on the instrumental side, programming, producing and doing harsh vocals. Throughout the review to compare the album to other albums I will use 'The 13th Floor' which was their previous album released back in 2007 and 'Perils of the Deep Blue' which was the album which followed this one released in 2013.
1. The End of it All
2. Fallen Angel
3. All My Dreams
4. This Darkness
5. The Twilight In Your Eyes
6. Winter Land
7. A Seaside Serenade
8. Darkened Days To Come
9. Coming Down
10. This Lonely Lake
11. Fading Star
12. The Enigma of Life
===The End of it All===
The album starts with their first single from the album called 'The End Of It All' and ever since it's release I have pleasantly enjoyed this song and think of it as the strongest on the entire album and one of the strongest songs they have ever produced which cannot be said for many of the songs on this album despite this songs simplicity instrumentally. However even though the instrumental work on this song is simple, I find it still to be quite enjoyable with a mix of guitar, drums and violin working well together but ultimately it is the angelic vocals of Ailyn that really make this song the strongest on the album and from this song you can see that her voice has developed since their previous album and what I do enjoy is that they have not tried to get rid of her beautiful Spanish accent like some bands have done with their vocalists. This is a very good start to the album. 8/10
Fallen Angel as track two on the album starts very well with the violin creating a good intro which becomes even better with the introduction of the guitars into the song. However this song both instrumentally and vocally while enjoyable does not really match up to the standard set by the first track. Overall I cannot complain about the vocals on the song too much as they do show some skill on Ailyn's part and are good but they just do not really compare as well as the previous track to their earlier work. The instrumental parts of the song again are mostly quite simple and although not always a bad thing, on this song it kinda just seems to drone on and on with the same simple things mainly from the guitars and it just seems really repetitive and so this song is one on the album that tends to bore me a bit. 4/10
===All My Dreams===
However the instrumental work suddenly seems to improve as we move onto track three of the album named 'All My Dreams' which makes my hopes improve and again as the vocals enter I am again impressed as the two parts work very well together to produce a very solid and enjoyable song even though I cannot say it is to the same standard of the first track. The choir at to the already enjoyable atmosphere of the song and by the end of the song I am not bored like I was with track two and the track ends with very impressive violin work making it as song to enjoy start to finish. 6/10
'This Darkness' as track four on the album again is one that impresses from the start as the guitars open the song very well and instantly hook me and thankfully keep me hooked for the rest of the song and as the impressive vocals intertwined with the violin enter the song I again become even more hooked as the two work brilliantly together to produce a thoroughly enjoyable song with some very high notes from Ailyn really portraying her vocal range very well. An enjoyable song but again I cannot say that is is to the standard of their previous work and far from the very high standard and complexity set by their newest album or albums by other bands in the same genre such as 'Imaginaerum' by Nightwish. 6/10
===The Twilight In Your Eyes===
The problem with lack of complexity is improved both instrumentally and vocally from the start of track 5 of the album named 'The Twilight In Your Eyes' from the start of the song with instrumental parts which compared to the other songs of the album are amazing and a massive improvement from the previous songs of the album and a match to their previous album intertwined with again more complex and enjoyable vocals on the song but still nowhere near the complexity and skill shown in their most recent album. However this is one of the strongest songs on the album. 6.5/10
Track 6 of the album called 'Winter Land' is a track which is like the album good but not amazing as it does portray some enjoyable vocals and instrumental parts including a keyboard part at the start of the song which is enjoyable and in my opinion they do not use enough on the album as you barely hear it on many songs whereas on 'The 13th Floor' and 'Perils of the Deep Blue' it is a component of most of the songs on those albums and enhances them extremely greatly and is something this album lacks so it is nice to finally hear it in a song on the album. Unlike the other songs on the album I do have to say that this song is vocally not as strong as the others in my opinion although it is not instrumentally strong either and so overall is a song that bores me quite a lot and therefore one that I often skip. 5/10
===A Seaside Serenade===
Track 7 on the album is a massive surprise as suddenly that standard of the song improves massively from the past few tracks and the complexity that I thought the songs lacked is suddenly there is that song both instrumentally with the use of keyboards and violin again there and the use of my complex guitar and drum work with clean female vocals which perfectly match the atmosphere created by the instrumental work on the album but also the choir add to this atmosphere very well and the harsh male vocals also fit very well into the song. What I like about this song is the amount of elements that the song has unlike others and all of the different individually impressive elements fit so very well together to produce on of the strongest songs on the album and also one that can finally be compared positively to other albums by the band. 8/10
===Darkened Days To Come===
The introduction to the 8th track on the album named 'Darkened Days To Come' gave me good hopes for the song with good keyboard work but this hope is ended when the clean male vocals enter and in my opinion I just find them weak and so not very pleasant to listen to and although the female vocals from Ailyn on this song are better than the male ones and are enjoyable the atmosphere is just destroyed when you hear the male vocals again in my opinion. Also again the instrumental elements of the song are mostly quite weak and really overshadowed by the vocals from Ailyn and so this song is quite a disappointment for me. 4/10
Track 9 is similar to the last in the fact that it is opened extremely well and with very impressive instrumental elements from the guitars and drums but again this enjoyment is destroyed by the use of the clean male vocals again at the start which I was not happy to hear after the poor standard of them in the previous song and to my further disappointment they become even weaker in my opinion. However I really do have to give credit to the instrumental work on this song especially from guitar and violin, the female vocals and the harsh vocals on the song which are performed to a high standard making the song very worth listening to despite the poor clean male vocals. 6.5/10
===This Lonely Lake===
Track 10 called 'This Lonely Lake' returns to the lower standard seen on songs such as 'Fallen Angel' which bored me quite a lot as simply the instrumental parts of the song are just to simple to really grip me and make me want to listen to the song and they just seem quite weak and although the vocals on the song are not as bad as the instrumental work, they are not brilliant on the track and so this song really does not interest me that much and is one that again I frequently skip although I do ultimately have to blame that on the extremely weak instrumental parts especially from the guitars as the dont seem like anything that different from other tracks that have bored me previously. 4.5/10
'Fading Star' as track 11 on the record considering the standard of the previous track is a relief and starts in a very impressive way with some brilliant guitar work which to my delight was continued throughout the song making it quite enjoyable. With the again impressive vocals from Ailyn and the choir all intertwining very well in the song along with some very nice and enjoyable violin work, the song is one that I enjoyed listening to and one that I can actually say was better than some of the songs on the bands previous albums although however not as strong as any of the songs of the bands most recent release but again an enjoyable song on the album. 7/10
===The Enigma of Life===
As the last track was named 'The Enigma Of Life' and so the title track and lasting 6 minutes which is longer than average, I was expecting big things for the end of the album but however I was disappointed as even though the vocals were good and instrumental work was not at a bad standard, in my opinion the song just sounded very repetitive and so I was not as impressed as I was hoping. However even though it did not exceed the expectations I had of it, the song was still enjoyable and a relatively good end to the album. 6/10
==Cover, Artwork and Title==
One aspect to a good album in my opinion has to be the atmosphere that it creates and in my opinion the cover artwork, title and design of the cd are all important to this. Firstly the name of the album 'Enigma of Life' I find to be very interesting and intriguing and also quite suiting of the artwork of the album. The artwork is very important as it is what really attracts me to an album and as the artwork of this album is quite artistic and again intriguing and so it was part of what that actually led me to pick up the album and want to listen to it. In my opinion the artwork is definitely better than that of their previous and positively comparable to the artwork of their most recent release.
Overall with this album I did find it mostly enjoyable to listen to with some very strong song but I got a very big feeling of weakness within this album due to some of it's very simple and therefore very forgettable songs as well as songs that I just could not enjoy. A key aspect to the bands two others albums with their current vocalist is keyboards and in those two albums specifically 'Perils Of The Deep Blue' and they massively enhance the songs and make them so much stronger and complex than the would be without them but that aspect is just heavily lacking within this album and when they are heard, they are mostly not as good as on other albums and this makes the album seem as a whole a lot weaker and so less enjoyable than others.
My problem with many songs throughout the entire album is that they lack any complexity and are way too simple and generally this does not sound very good apart maybe from songs like 'The End of it All'. This really brings down the standard of the album especially as their most recent release contains songs with loads of different elements and aspects all performed to extremely high standards and with a lot of skill to produce an amazing album for that genre and we catch a glimpse of that within this album with the song 'A Seaside Serenade' but unfortunately the complexity in this song is generally just not there on the rest of the album like it is throughout other albums by Sirenia. Another thing that is quite specific to the band and what made it stand out in the genre with other albums is that in many places, it could be very heavy while still going well with Ailyn's angelic vocals but I cannot find much heaviness at all on this album. This really is a disappointment to me and means that often I will go for other albums rather than this one.
However I do have to give credit to Ailyn on this album because even on songs where instrumental work has been quite poor, her vocal work has been consistently good throughout the album making many songs more enjoyable and I admire the band for keeping her Spanish accent and not trying to get rid of it as I think it really enhances her voice. I also think that her voice has progressed from the previous albums and even though her accent is the same, she has tried hard to pronounce words correctly so that the lyrics are clearer which is good for the listener.
Overall I would recommend this to Sirenia fans as it does contain some strong and enjoyable songs despite not being near as strong as the bands most recent release. I am not sure that I would recommend this album however to someone not already a fan of Sirenia due to the fact that it is not as good as other albums by the band and therefore I would recommend those instead. I would recomend the album to people who are fans of the bands such as After Forever, Stream of Passion and ReVamp.
Strongest Tracks: 'The End of it All', 'Fading Star' and 'A Seaside Serenade'
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This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. This album is the third album by rock/metal band Evanescence who are well known for their debut album "Fallen" and debut single "Bring me to Life" which have received major worldwide success both selling millions of copies. Evanescence also have many Ep's and a demo album which before they were signed with Wind up so they can be downloaded for free on the internet. Their second album was achieved major global success in 2006 but after the album the band went into Hiatus until recordings for this album started in 2010. In my opinion this album has elements of the previous albums in it but slightly different from them.
Not much happened in those five years between albums except for the guitarist John LeCompt and drummer Rocky Gray being fired and the new lineup being formed which is the one which recorded this album.
This album took a long time to be released and the date was pushed back many times due to vocalist Amy Lee being unhappy with it, problems with the label and a change of producer. The album was set for release in 2010 but these factors pushed the date back to October 2011 when the album was finally released when the band where happy that it represented Evanescence which is the reasoning behind the eponymous title. The album is available in standard edition with 12 tracks or as a deluxe version with 16 tracks and an extra DVD which I shall be reviewing.
Evanescence on this album includes:
Amy Lee - '''Vocals'''
Terry Balsamo - '''Lead guitar'''
Tim McCord - '''Bass'''
Troy McLawhorn - '''Rhythm guitar'''
Will Hunt - '''Drums'''
===What You Want===
The album starts with the lead single and very catchy song called "What You Want" which was released as a single before the album release. From the release of it, I have loved this song and still listen to it regularly but the things which really do stand out in this track are the drums which you can hear from the onset and also the vocals from Amy Lee which are outstanding in my opinion on this song. The chorus of the song I think is the reason why this track is so catchy with the lyrics, "Hello, hello remember me? I'm everything you can't control" always getting stuck in my head when I have recently listened to this track.
===Made of Stone===
"Made of Stone" is the second track on the album which at first I was unsure about but have grown to love. It is one of the heavier tracks on the record and I love the lyrics on this song and they are again brilliantly performed by Amy Lee whose vocals on this track seem a lot angrier and I think this fits with the heavier sound on this track. Also I think this is one of the tracks where the guitar work really stands out. I was hoping for this to be one of the singles from the album because of it's heaviness.
"The Change" is the third song on the album and has always been one of my personal favourites on the album but in my opinion is not as powerful as the two previous tracks but is good in its own right. The whole band perform this to an equal excellence and in my opinion everything on the track works brilliantly together to create a great song.
===My Heart is Broken===
The fourth track on the album is called "My Heart is Broken" and is the second single from the album. When I saw the title of the song before the albums release I was pretty disappointed because it sounded a bit cliche and poppy but I have found that it's meaning is a lot deeper and so are the lyrics which are about victims of sex trafficking. The one thing you can hear more prominently on this track which isn't so much on the previous three is piano work which features throughout the song and is quite enjoyable and one of the things that stands put on the track as well as the vocals especially in the chorus.
===The Other Side===
"The Other Side" is the fifth song and has been released as a radio single so unfortunately it will not be getting a music video. It is not one of my favourites on the album but an enjoyable song to listen to with impressive guitar and drum work throughout. The riffs on the song work brilliantly in my opinion and especially along side the vocals from Amy Lee.I also enjoy the lyrics in this song but I cannot quite understand the full meaning of them. I would have preferred this song to have been the third single and to get a music video over "Lost in Paradise" (track 7) in my opinion.
"Erase This" is track 6 on the album and one that stands out lyrically and vocally on the album showcasing Amy's really powerful voice and the bands excellent writing. This is one the tracks on the album where everything works together brilliantly and I also really enjoy the piano work featured on this song. This has to be one of my favourites on the album.
===Lost In Paradise===
"Lost in Paradise" is the third single on the album and is due to receive a music video. I think it was a good choice for the band as a single as the very prominent use of piano may remind old fans of the very successful sing "My immortal" from the bands debut album. I really do enjoy the use of other string instruments such as the violin which really make the track a bit different from the other songs and could also remind fans of previous work where those types of string instruments have been quite prominent.
"Sick" is the next track on the album and another which feels a lot angrier than the other songs which is shown by the vocals and lyrics mainly which work great with the guitar and drum work on the track to produce that affect. When I say it is quite an angry track, it is quite different from Made of Stone which is good because it gives the album a lot more variety.
===End of the Dream===
"End of the Dream" is a track which starts with quiet heavy guitar work although it gets softer through the song but is something I enjoy on this song quite a lot which manages to work well with the vocals in this song. I think that the song can be a bit repetitive at times and therefore sometimes a bit boring but Amy's vocal lines on this track manage to keep me quite entertained.
"Oceans" is not one of the tracks which really stands out instrumentally although guitar/drum work is good. Despite this it is one of the song that really gets stuck in my head because of the lyrics and vocals throughout the song which in my opinion are really impressive and enjoyable which is the reason that this is one of my favourites on the album.
===Never Go Back===
The eleventh track is called "Never Go Back" and is the opposite to the previous track in my opinion as it is one that really stands out instrumentally especially with the guitar work which is heavy throughout which I enjoyed. I do also enjoy the lyrics which are about the Japan disaster and Amy's vocals performs the quiet deep lyrics with power and emotion. I do have to say again that there is some repetition within this song but not as much as track 9.
"Swimming Home" marks a good end to the standard edition of the album and a lyrical masterpiece that I think is about death and because of this the lyrics really stay with you and get stuck in your head. This song is a lot calmer compared to the other songs and has a more electronic influence that other songs. In fact this song is like nothing I have heard from Evanescence before and that is one of the reason I enjoy this song so much because it is something different but still has Amy's brilliant vocals.
That is the end to the standard edition of the album and a great one. The 12-track album is definitely a strong one and one that compares very well to their previous work and to other artists within the same genre. The album has also spawned very good singles and I hope that it may at least spawn one more in the future because of the quality of the album
So the Deluxe edition album has four extra tracks which are not included in the standard edition. Many people think that extra tracks are never as good as standard edition one but on this album this is not true with it consisting of four incredibly strong tracks.
===New Way to Bleed===
"New Way To Bleed" is the first of the four bonus tracks and starts them off very well. Its not my favorite of the four but a very impressive track especially instrumentally although vocals on this track are pretty great as well. This track has also been remixed for the very popular film "The Avengers" and is included in the soundtrack to the movie.
===Say You Will===
"Say You Will" is the next one which is again really enjoyable and one where the guitar work and vocals are brilliant together. I think that the lyrics on this track and not as good as some of the album which is a disappointment but a good track.
"Disappear" is by far the best of the four extra tracks with the use of piano and guitar work really standing out on the track. It is hard to understand why I love this track so much but it is one where pretty much everything about it is incredible and one I listen to every day.
"Secret Door" is the end to the 16 track album and it ends on a high note. This is the track which is really different from the others and the reason for that is Amy's use of the harp throughout the song which is her new found talent. I think that the harp in this song makes it a really calming end to a brilliant album.
If you have purchased the deluxe edition you will receive a DVD with the CD. The DVD was a great watch and good edition to the deluxe edition with videos from the What You Want video filming, photo shoots, the studio and Amy Lee explaining all the songs. These things in my opinion were worth paying a bit extra to buy the deluxe edition although I especially enjoyed the part where Amy Lee talks about the songs as it gives you a new insight into them and from it I have listened more to the lyrics of the song to see the meaning of it because of watching that part.
Also watching the studio footage on the DVD was also very interesting because you see how the album came together and how the band really are like while recording and I learned more about why the producer was changed and why the album was released later than it was said too. Overall the DVD is a really good edition to the album and really entertaining and interesting thing to watch once you have finished the album and I would really recommend getting it.
==Cover/ Inlay Design==
The cover design is the same on both editions of the album and is the bands name written in their usual font and is quite mysterious which is quite effective with 'waves' (I don't know to describe it but look at pictures below) of colour lighting the band name which I think visually looks awesome. The name of the album is also written at the bottom in very faint font spelled backwards which adds to the mysterious effect. I think it really represents the whole band because the focus of the cover is just Evanescence unlike the previous two album where the covert has been a picture of Amy Lee.
The standard edition is in a normal jewel case with a lyric booklet whereas the deluxe edition is in the form of a digipack to hold the two discs. The cover on the digipack is shiny unlike the standard one with makes the cover look really cool and effective really brings out all the colour within it. Also when you open the digipack you see the main promotional picture for the album and this really drills in that the album is about the band and not just vocalist Amy Lee. The only small criticism for the deluxe edition case design is that both cd's fit into two slits in the digipack instead of being secured in like a jewel case. Because of this the cd's are more prone to scratching and can easily fall out which could cause damage to the cd.
Both versions also contain a lyrics booklet and both a very similar, the only difference between the two is that the deluxe version has more songs in it as expected. The lyric booklet contains full lyrics for the songs unlike some booklets I have seen before and also feature the many promotional pictures for the album which I love.
==Value For Money==
The prices for the album on amazon are as follows: Standard - £4.99 and Deluxe - £13.39 which seems like a big difference but the standard editions price has been dropped recently so the gap is bigger but the price for the 12 track album is very cheap and for a great product by a great band so you cant really go wrong. The deluxe edition is obviously going to be more expensive but in my opinion the price is reasonable and worth the extra things you get with it. Overall which ever version you get I think that you will have spent your money well and you will enjoy it.
Overall this is an album that really represents Evanescence and the talents that the bands have and therefore I see it as a must listen. Obviously it will not be everyone's cup of tea because of the genre but I would recommend this both to old fans of the "Fallen" era and people who many not have listened to the band before because the musical talent on this album in my opinion is outstanding and hopefully you will not be disappointed. Please take some of your time to listen to this album because I have to say it is one of my favorite albums of all time passing all of the bands previous work and hopefully if you hear it you will see why.
Best Tracks: What you Want, My Heart is Broken, Erase This, Swimming Home and Disappear.
For fans of: Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain and We are the Fallen.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. In this review I shall judge this cage on 5 different criteria which Design and Look, Durability, Cleaning, Hamster enjoyment and Value for Money. This cage is sold for an average price of £35.
===Design and Look===
The cage is designed very well with lots of space on the base of the cage with a tube going up to the second story and ladders going up to the other three stories with a wheel on the fourth story and a hideaway for the hamster on the fifth. Because of the amount of stories the hamster would be able to explore a lot in the cage and will have lots of room for things like card tubes and toys. Also you can buy extra tubes which can fit on to the cage for more exploration. As the base of the cage is a simple rectangle shape the cage is very easy to store.
The first story in this cage is the base which is the largest floor and where you would normally put the wood shavings on and where the hamster would usually go to play etc. It is a good size which is sufficient for the hamster to have enough room to be able to play and move around and have exercise with also room for things like toys, tubes and a food bowl so I was happy with the overall size of the base although some cages do have larger bases.
The second and third are accessible to the hamster through a tube from the base of the cage but the tube in my opinion may be hard for younger hamsters to get up. The floors are significantly smaller than the base and you can see this if you look at the picture of the product on this website and the hamster can get too and from each one by two ladders which are not that steep which is good. The second floor doesn't consist of anything and is really just there so that the hamster is able to get to the third which consists of the exercise wheel. The wheel on this cage is a good size for an adult hamster in my opinion and was easy to use for my hamster as it was not stiff like some wheels I have found in other cages so it is easy for your hamster to get exercise in this cage. From the third floor there is a ladder which leads to a hidey hole which is great for the hamster to sleep in although quite far away from the base where the wood shavings in the cage are. Overall for the second and third floors they are alright but nothing really special as they are pretty small but well designed add more space to the cage which is better for the hamster.
This cage has lasted a very long time for my hamster as the wire bars are very strong and so are the tubes, ladders and the upper floors. The plastic used in this cage is a plastic that hamsters are not able to chew on so that adds to how durable the cage is. The wheel is very strong and so is the hide away but sometimes you need to re attach the house to the cage but the hide away its self is quite strong. When i bought the cage, it came with a bowl which was not that strong so i suggest you get a stronger and heavier one. Overall the Durability of the cage is very long.
The base of the cage and wire part of the cage is very easy to clean as the wire top comes of when you take the clips off. The other floors are harder to clean but still quite easy as that part of the cage just comes of. The tubes are harder to clean but I found that you can just soak them in a bucket of hot water with a mild disinfectant. Overall, the cage is not the easiest to clean, but is still quite easy but just takes some more time to get the job done.
The cage has loads of space and loads of floor's I could fit loads of toys and chews for my hamster and he loved it. Also he loved the amount of space and the amount of floor's there were in the cage as it meant that there was more to explore within the cage which is always good because that it what hamsters love to do. As hamster's love to explore getting a cage like this one with loads of space and tubes is a good decision.
===Value for Money===
Considering all the different criteria I have talked about in this review, £35 is a great price for loads of room, floors, tubes and a easy to clean and strong cage. So if you are looking for a cheap cage with all of these things the Ferplast Olimpia Hamster Cage is definitely the cage for your hamster and I definitely recommend it.
I had came across these many times in pets at home but I finally decided to get them because the hamsters that I own are quite old now so I thought these would be a great treat for them to instead of the regular ones I find on the shelves. They are suitable for rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and mice and come in 30g packets although a packet lasts a long time for a packet of treats in my opinion so you wont be buying them all the time. There are not many treats that are that similar to these so they are quite unique and chances are your pet hasn't tried something like these yet so that is beneficial because it is better to give them new types of treats once in a while. The price that I paid for one packet is £1.99.
The packaging in my opinion is not one that really stands out on the shelves as it looks very similar to many other pets at home brand treats so it isn't the easiest thing to find. The packaging does feature a picture of the treats on the front which in my opinion is an accurate portrayal of the actual treats which is good because then you know exactly what you are getting. Another beneficial thing to the packaging is that to shut the bag of treats there is a seal instead of just leaving it open or having to use something like a peg. This is useful because it means that the treats will be fresher for longer. The back of the packaging features information about the treat, feeding guide, ingredients and contact information of the manufacturer which is all pretty useful especially to new pet owners or someone who hasn't bought these treats before.
The main reason why I bought this treat was for it to be healthy and beneficial to my hamsters so I was hoping for it to have a great nutritional value and I wasn't disappointed. The treats are mainly made up of alfalfa and wheat grass which are both very natural ingredients and they are very beneficial to a small animal because they support a healthy immune system which is especially good for older and younger pets. Also the ingredient alfalfa is good because I know that my hamsters love it anyway because I give them it to them directly and they love it so the fact that it is in these treats is a benefit. Another thing that impressed me about these treat was the fact that they contain no added sugar and only 0.1% fats and oils so the fat content of the treats is extremely low unlike many treats so this makes it and ideal and healthy treat for a small animal. Other ingredients include protein, fibre, calcium, iron and zinc so overall these treats are a great healthy treat with a brilliant nutritional value so on this criteria I would definitely recommend these treats.
As I knew how healthy and beneficial these treats were for my hamsters I was really hoping that they would love them and again I was not disappointed. Both of my hamsters loved them and went straight for them after one smell of them when they were in their food bowl. You can only give 3 of them to your pet a day so my pets were left disappointed when I couldn't give them any more. They are also a great treat to feed to your pet by hand because again they will just go straight for them. This is good because obviously they enjoy them and then get then get the benefits of them but if you feed them by hand it is great for bonding with your pet especially if you have recently got a new pet it is great for them to get to know you and familiarise themselves with you.
===Value for Money===
I was skeptical at first about buying these because of the price but I no longer have that feeling because I have found that they do last a long time unlike other treats so the amount you spend on them (£1.99 per packet) overall is not that bad especially when you consider the nutritional value of the treats, the benefits they can give and obviously the fact that your pet will loved them. So overall I was happy with the price of the treats even though they are more expensive than other treats.
Overall I was very impressed with these treats as they did exactly what I wanted them to do, my pets loved them, they had a better nutritional value than I thought and all for a good price so I was very happy. I would definitely recommend these to any small animal owner looking for a healthy or new treat for their pet but especially to owners with very young or old small animals as these will be very beneficial.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. This EP was released in 2000 and contains 5 songs.
1. Halflife - The song is started well with great guitar work and drums followed by impressive vocals and after the opening the guitars gets better and along with both the female and male vocals sound great with along with it. Especially in this song the male and female vocals work very well together to create a great gothic sound which sounds really effective. The short guitar solo in the middle of the song is again very impressive and both vocals still sound great throughout both the chorus and bridge which are both equally as good as the rest of the song. The song sounds great as you nearer to the end and the song is ended well with the guitar work being faded out which creates a good effect. (8/10)
2. Trance Awake - This short, 2 minute track is an instrumental one but still a very good song to listen to in my opinion. There is not much you can say about it as you can hear drums and keyboards but there is no guitar work or any vocals but it is still an impressive sound despite it being mostly the same the whole way through but getting heavier and louder. The point of this song is to be able to lead directly into the next song "Senzafine" very well and it does that very well which was very effective. (7/10)
3. Senzafine - This songs intro is quite impressive with soft guitar work and again the fact that it leads very well from the previous song creates a good effect. The lyrics in this song are written in Italian and that creates a good effect on the very well performed vocals even though I cannot understand them as it makes the song a lot different from the others. The chorus works very well and is one of the best parts in this song where the male and female vocals work very well together and very well with all of the instruments to make a great sound which continues throughout the whole song. The female vocals could be improved slightly but overall, this is a great song with a great sound throughout. (9/10)
4. Hyperfast - The song is opened very softly with soft but effective guitar work but instantly gets heavier after the introduction as both the drums and vocals enter creating a great, heavy and gothic sound. The female vocals are great throughout the song although the male vocals by Ferro could be improved in places but still good overall, the bridge is very impressive and the female and male vocals in the chorus are very impressive and both work very well together with the all the instruments. The song is great in its second half with very impressive instruments and vocals and the song is ended very well with the sound of guitar being faded out which sounds great and a good ending. (8/10)
5. Stars - This in my opinion is my favourite song on this EP and it is introduced very well with all the instruments although it is not as heavy as other songs and is quite soft but not too soft and vocals have been lowered there pitch which makes them fit in to the song and makes it really effective. The chorus of the song is great and very impressive and the bridge, equally as impressive and both produce a great sound. The second half of the song is especially good and even better than the first and despite the fact that there are no male vocals in this song, it still sounds like Lacuna coil and the song and EP are ended very well by the very well performed female vocals by Cristina Scabbia. (9/10)
I have been very impressed by this EP and the great music on it and I think that this band have a great, gothic and original sound which is shown throughout this great EP like it does in most of their music and a great part of their original sound is the duet of vocal lines by Scabbia and Ferro.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. These treats you can find in a pets at home store for a price around £1.39 for one pack and each pack contains 7 peach flavored treats. They are only for guinea pigs although I have given them to other small animals and it has been find. I had never before seen this brand of treats or used them so I was a bit skeptical whether to buy them but on the shelves they seemed pretty good so I bought a couple of packets. I do not think these treats are widely available in shops as I have only seen them in my local pets at home shop and on their website. The treats themselves look quite different to many other treats I see on the shelves in my opinion and I have included a picture to the review. This made me more optimistic about the product before giving it to my guinea pigs as I was hoping the wouldn't find them boring.
These treats come in a cylinder like shape packet which is blue and green with the brand name in massive font in blue and yellow but from the shelves you would not be able to see what it is, so it doesn't really stand out that much on the shelves. Despite this it does have a part which is clear so that you are able to see some of the treats before you buy them which is good as you can see what you are actually buying for your pet. The part saying "for guinea pigs" is in very small handwriting and barely noticeable to it would be easy to buy the wrong one instead especially for someone with bad eyesight. At the back of the packaging it has all of the nutritional info. The annoying thing is that it has about nine different languages on the back and barely any way to specify where each one is so it took me a while to find the English one which was quite annoying in my opinion.
Once I had found where the English part was I found that these treats were quite healthy and better than many other treats that you will find. Obviously it still had things like sugar and fat in but some ingredients were quite good such as many different fruits, dandelion and wheat which is very beneficial and some such as apricots and dandelion I have rarely ever seen in other treats before. Another thing that impressed me about this treat was that it didn't have any artificial colours or flavours in which most treats have in and also it contained vitamin C which is especially great because guinea pigs are not able to produce their own vitamin C like us so this makes it a good healthy treat for guinea pigs if they eat it.
===Guinea Pig enjoyment===
As I was so far impressed with this treat I was looking forward to giving to to my guinea pigs. I assumed they would like them as it was fruit flavour and they love fruit. I was wrong. I tried to give these treats to them by hand first and both just sniffed one of the treats and left it alone. I then tried to give it to them by putting some into their food bowl with their normal food but again this didn't work and they actually pushed the treat out of the bowl to get to the normal food and other treats so I was very disappointed by this treat as it had failed its original purpose.
Even though these are for guinea pigs, they didnt like them so I tried them on my hamster. He had an opposite reaction to them and loves them. If I break them up so they are smaller he loves them either by hand or from his food bowl so at least one of my pets liked these treats. They are also quite good for hamsters because it is something they can gnaw one and break up which is good for their dental health. Despite all of this I already have loads and loads of treat for my hamster so I was looking for one that I can give to my guinea pigs so although my hamster loved them it has failed it's original purpose.
===Value for Money===
For one packet you pay £1.39 and it contain 7 treats so if you are giving these to a guinea pig they may not last that long and therefore could work out expensive if you continued buying them especially when there are many other cheaper treats that guinea pigs actually enjoy. Despite this I have not wasted my money as my hamster did enjoy them but if you were to buy this treat for a hamster I would recommend the actual hamster version of it instead.
Overall I wanted a treat that I can get for my guinea pigs to enjoy so I could continue buying the same treat for them but I did not get this as they did not like these treats at all which was annoying especially as I was so impressed with them before. Even though my hamster enjoyed it, these treats were bought for my guinea pigs so they failed their original purpose and it you can buy hamster versions of these anyway so I would not recommend this particular pack to hamster owners or guineas pig owners.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. The Gerbilarium is a spacious gerbil tank with wire top and is sold in Pets At Home for an expensive price of £46.99. The tank has a wire part attacked to the top bit which adds two floors to the tank and give the gerbil space to be able to climb on the wire part, space for toys on the wire top and loads of room or burrowing in the deep tank which they love doing. I will talk about Design and Look, Durability, Cleaning, Gerbil Enjoyment and Value for Money in this review.
===Design and Look===
The Gerbil home has a very simple design which is better than most other gerbil homes which only have a tank for the gerbil but this tank has a wire attachment on the top with two extra floors which provides more room for the gerbil and a place to climb which they also love to do. The wire part is only slightly smaller than the tank it-self and looks very good with a deep tank for the Gerbil to burrow under saw dust which is their favourite activity. On this criteria, I would recommend this gerbil home and overall on the design and look I give it a 7/10 because it is very spacious and different to other tank's but to make it better it could have a few tubes so the Gerbil can explore.
The tank it-self is very strong and everlasting, so that is definitely another good point about this cage. The wire part is obviously not as strong, but is still very strong and a small animal such as a gerbil would not be able to barely any damage to it so that proves that the home is very strong with great durability with very long life before it would get damaged. This criteria makes the tank very recommendable and I would give it a 9/10 for durability because overall it is very strong but the wire bars could be thicker.
The wire part can be easily removed when be cleaned by removing the clip's which attach it to the tank and overall the wire part is very easy to clean and probably easy to clean than a hamster cage. The tank is very easy to clean as it's shape is a basic cube with are very easy to clean by either using a sponge, hot water and pet disinfectant or just pouring a solution of hot water and pet disinfectant in to the tank and using a sponge again to clean it. Overall I give it an 8/10 on cleaning because the basic cube shape is very easy to clean and it does not take very long. I would recommend this tank because of this criteria as well.
This tank is perfect for a gerbil as it is very spacious with the tank and two extra floors which means lots of room to explore and loads of room for toys for them to be able to play with while in the tank. Also the wire part allows them to climb along and up it which is very fun for small animals and because of the extra room because of the wire bit they can explore more. Also the tank is very spacious and deep you can fit a lot of sawdust in there which allows the gerbil to do their favourite activity which is burrowing. There are not downsides to the cage on this criteria so I give it a 10/10 for gerbil enjoyment and it is very recommendable on this criteria.
===Value for Money===
The price of this tank is £46.99 in Pets At Home which in my opinion I find a bit expensive although it is a great home for your Gerbil. In my opinion £40 would be a good price for the tank and I think that if you shop around you could probably find something similar to this for a cheaper price. In Pets At Home this is their cheapest gerbil and the other home would set you back £69.99. Overall I give the value for money on this tank a 5/10 and i would not recommend it on this criteria.
In summary, the gerbilarium is a great home for a gerbil with loads of space, Good design and it is very strong. Despite it having its many good points it is quite pricy and if you shop around you could find something similar for cheaper.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. When I bought this hutch, it was when I first got Guinea pigs so I got this one on an offer at Pets at Home, I thought this was good and it looked like a nice hutch so I bought it. There is nothing really eye catching about this hutch so It doesnt stand out in pet stores. My first impression of the hutch was that it was very simple in design and nothing really interesting to look at but for what it was, I thought the price was very good at around £50. The hutch comes flat pack with instructions for it's assembly although not very useful in my opinion.
===Design and Look===
The hutch doesn't have a very complicated design as you can see in the picture. The design is very simple having two main parts, one for where the Guinea pigs usually sleep which is about half the size of the other part and has a separate door leading to that part. The door on this section is solid and opaque so no light is able to enter the sleeping part through the door. There is a a wall separating the two sections of the hutch with a small hole allowing the guinea pigs to be able to get through. This wall also means that not much light can get through to the sleeping room from the wire door on the other part. Both this wall and the door mean that the part where the animals are meant to sleep is more insulated that the other part so that the animals are not really cold when sleeping and this is especially beneficial in the winter season where you need to keep as much warmth in the hitch as possible. In my opinion the wall separating the two rooms makes the overall design of the hutch better as it means that the guinea pigs have a more complicated hutch, not one with just one room for them to use.
The second part to the hutch is probably around double the size of the sleeping area so they have a good amount of space to run about and play inside their hutch and as the hutch is also quite wide this also increases the size. This is always beneficial to the guinea pig as they are quite lively animals and I think they were quite happy with the amount of space they were able to use in their hutch. Despite this, this I would say is one of the smaller hutches that you can find in pet stores but overall I was impressed with the size of the hutch. The door on this part is different from on the sleeping area and is a wood frame with metal wiring which means that light and air is able to flow into the cage which is especially useful on a hotter day. The wiring is also useful as you can attach a water bottle easily to the cage which obviously you will have to have if you own a guinea pig.
Both doors can be shut using a plastic latch that they have on the hutch although I would not say these are the most secure things to keep the hutch shut especially as I have noticed that many other hutches have slide in barrel locks which seem a lot more secure although I didn't seem to have any major problems with the latches. Also like most hutches, it has legs keeping the hutch off of the ground which I like because it prevents loads and loads of insects being able to get into the cage which you do not want so I am happy that they are there and they are quite useful. Another thing I think is beneficial about the design of the hutch is that the roof is meant to fit onto the hutch on a slide down so that it is higher on the front of the hutch but lower on the back and this means that when it rains water can slide right off of the roof onto the floor and this them minimizes any leaks which you might have in heavy rain.
Overall the design of the hutch is good and there are many beneficial things to it that are very useful such as the slanted room and sleeping area although I wouldn't say that there is anything really different about this hutch compared to others or that it has anything really special to it. The look of the hutch is good but again I wouldn't say it has anything special about it.
There isn't loads of things to talk about in this section because the hutch is quite simple but there are a few. The first thing I will say is that generally the whole time In had this hutch which was around 3 years, it has lasted well and has stayed in a good, usable condition with few problems so I would recommend this hutch to you if you want it to last a long amount of time. There are a few minor problems which I had with it's durability but small problems. The first problem was that the wall separating the two rooms sometimes gets gnawed on by the guinea pigs meaning that the hole in the wall became larger letting more light in although again that is only a small problem. The second is to do with the roof as it is covered with roofing felt to stop the rain getting in. Despite this during a period of very heavy rain that roofing felt then begun to come off of the roof and peel old letting rain in, meaning small leaks in the hutch. This was easily fixed with a few nails and we never had the problem again although it was an inconvenience. Other than those I did not really have any other problems with the hutch and overall the durability of the hutch was excellent so I would definitely recommend it to guinea pig owners.
===Value For Money===
I had this hutch for three years with only some small problems and ultimately a good design and look and a hitch which my Guinea pig's seemed to enjoy I think that £58 was a very good deal for this hutch. I would have been prepared to pay more for a Guinea Pig hutch so I was definitely surprised to see the price of it in store when I bought it and it turned out to be worth it so overall the value for money of this hutch is good which is obviously very beneficial especially in a the current economic situation.
Overall I wanted a hutch that my Guinea pigs would enjoy, that would last a long time and to have a good design and I got it and for a cheap price as well so I am very happy with this hutch and would definitely recommend it to any Guinea pig owner looking for a good hutch for their pets.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. You can find these treats in pretty much any pet shop you go into such as pets at home or at most supermarkets such as Asda or Tesco and everywhere the price you pay is at a very cheap price ranging from around 40p to 75p dependent on the shop. This particular bag of treats I have been buying for about 5 years now ever since I bought my own hamster this was the first bag of treats I bought and now I give them to all of my pets as I own a Syrian hamster, a Dwarf hamster and 2 Guinea pigs and it is they favorite. You can buy these treats in chocolate, yogurt and milk flavor but my pets love all of them. The treats are small circle shaped drops as you can see on the picture and pets should only have at the most five each day.
I really do love these treats myself (not to eat) as they are great for hand feeding as you can place a few in you hand when you are with your pet and they will pick them off and eat them really quickly or if you hold one they will take it straight out of your fingers. This is great for bonding with your pet especially if you have recently bought a new pet it is a great way for the pet to get to know you and how you smell so that they can recognize you in the future. It also means that when you have your pet out they are more relaxed around you because they begin to associate you with the treats.
This treat has the same nutritional value as most treats on the market containing mostly oils, fats and sugar among with other ingredients such as protein and fibre. Many other treats on the market also have many additives and coloring's within them but the only one in this treat is the chocolate flavourings which I found beneficial and it didn't have any E numbers in either which I have found in other treats. Really this treat doesn't have a massive nutritional value to your pets health but it is a treat so you are only giving them around five a day which isn't much although I have seem many other treats around which are quite healthy so that is probably the only downfall to this product but again it is only a treat so it is not much of a disadvantage.
===Guinea pig enjoyment===
My guinea pigs love these treats so much and I know this as a fact because when I get the bag of treats near their hutch and they can hear the treats shaking in the bag they come running up to the door to get some and when I give one to one of them the other tries to steal it until it gets one of it's own. With guinea pigs I think it is better as a hand fed food because if you pet some in their feeding bowl if you have multiple guinea pigs it is always a competition to get there first and eat them all and the other is left with none and also because it is a great way to bond with your pets. I would definitely recommend this to any guinea pig owner.
I bought this treat primarily for my Syrian hamster as I bought these treats when I got my first hamster so I was hoping that he would love them. He did and never stopped loving them as they were his favorite treat and he would stuff 5 of them into his pouch and even expect more from you and they would be the first things he would go for when he went to his food bowl. And now with a different hamster he does exactly the same so I think it is safe to say that most hamsters are going to love this treat just like mine have and if you have a hamster I really recommend that you pick a pack of these up at a pet shop as your hamster will love them. My hamster's have loved each flavor of the treats.
===Value for Money===
Now for a treat to be worth the money you pay all you want is for your pets to enjoy them. With this treat as I have said before they have and I was extremely impressed with the cheap price tag on these of around 40p - 75p (dependent on what shop) and I would be willing to pay a lot more for these if they were expensive because they are great. I have found that these are extremely better than many of the other more expensive treats so a larger price does not always mean a better product and this is the case with this treat and with they are a great way of saving money if you buy the more expensive treats because in my experience they have been better than the ones with larger prices.
Overall this has been a treat which all of my pets love and enjoy and for a great price so I don't know what treat could be better than these especially as they can come in three flavours so they don't get boring to your pet. The only small downfall is that they are not as healthy as some other treats you can get on the market but despite that they do not have a lot of the additives in that most treats do which is good. I would definitely recommend this treat to any small animal owner.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. The FOP Dixie Hamster Cage is a good cage and comes a long with Play Tubes, food bowl, water bottle, play wheel, wooden bridge and wooden hideaway home. I purchased this cage for an average price of £41.99. I will be talking about Design and look, Durability and value for money.
===Design and look===
The cage is designed very well and there is lots of space for a hamster to move and there to be lot's of toys for it to play with and for a wheel, hide away home and play tubes. As the cage has metal bars the hamster will be able to climb it which they love doing so the hamster can have a lot of fun. The very simple base and shape of the cage is good as you can fit it in to many place where ever you want to put the cage without it getting too much in the way. The base is also quite deep so the wood shavings should be able to easily spill out of the wire bars. The wheel is good at first but could be bigger as it became to small for my hamster and I had to purchase another one for my hamster. As there are play tubes my hamster loved the cage and loved going in them but they can be a pain to clean. The cage is very easy to clean with exception of the play tubes as you just simply remove toys etc and you pour in a solution of hot water and a good pet disinfectant and leave it while you clean using the left over solution the things such as the hide away house, wheel and play tubes. The water bottle is also very easy to take off and put on when the water needs to be replaced every day. The only improvement to the design of this cage is too add a second floor as hamsters love to explore and it would make the cage better for the hamsters as they have more room to move and play. Overall, I give the design and look an 8/10 and i would definitely recommend this cage on this part of the criteria.
For £41.99 I expected the cage to last quite a long time and it has done just that as the plastic is very strong and same for the metal bars and plastic tubes. So the actual cage is very durable and will last a quite a long time and you will probably be able to keep it for at least a couple of years. Despite this, I did have to replace the hide away house, wooden bridge because they were made out of wood and my hamster kept chewing away at them so they had to be replaced. The exercise wheel also had to be replaced as it was too small for my hamster after a year or so once it had reached it full size as an adult so they things that came free with the cage had too be replaced so it was sort off did what i expected but the i do like that it is wood as it is more natural for the hamster and looks good but if your hamster keeps chewing away at the house and bridge mine did than they may have to replaced. The play tubes also lasting very long as they are also made out of plastic. The hamster probably gnaw at the wire bars of the cage so if you get it some chew toys it should hopefully stop but overall i give the durability of this cage an 7/10 as the cage itself is very durable but the things that come with it are not so durable so £41.99 is a little bit expensive if you have to carry on replacing things.
===Value for Money===
Well the designed look of the cage is very good with only some improvements that could be made it is a good cage to spend your money on but as it only has one tier and some parts will need to be replaced £41.99 is not the best price that you could find and i think that a price of around £35 would be a lot better value for money so the value for money is not the best as you should probably look around before purchasing this cage but I do like the fact that the cage looks a lot more natural than many other cages and it is better for the hamster but the wood can be chewed on and may need to be replaced. Overall i give the value for money of this cage a 6/10 as it is bit expensive for the durability of it and the fact that you will have to replace many of the wooden parts of the cage the maybe the wheel but on a good note it has a very good design and a nice simple shape which is very good.
If you want a hamster cage which is strong a looks natural, this is a good cage is you are wiling to pay £41.99 for it. If your hamster cage has to have a upper tier, and you do not want to pay a high price for your cage then this is not really the cage for you so in summary i recommend to some and not recommend to others so I am going to put it as undecided and overall I would give it a three out of five as it has good design but the price you pay is expensive and you will probably need to replace things after you buy the cage and once you have bought all of the food, wood shavings etc the cost can be a lot.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. This treat was a real disappointment for me as when I was looking at the shelves at Asda and saw a carrot treat for my guinea pig I just had to buy it as my guinea pigs love carrot. I don't really like the Waggs brand that much as I think the food is pretty dull but I had to get this and was hoping my pets would love them. I bought it for £1.40 for a 100g bag. The treats are suitable for most small animals (Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils) and this was ideal as I could give it to all of my pets, my hamsters and my guinea pigs instead of buying separate treats for each and spending more money.
As this is a treat I do not expect to see it being really healthy for the pet because it is a treat to be given occasionally but for a lot of the treats that I buy especially ones from pets at home I have noticed they have a lot of things which are good and complementary to my pets diet whereas this treat doesn't have any of that except for 5% dried carrot (only 5% when it is a carrot treat? Sounds a bit odd) which is pointless because I give my pets fresh carrots all the time. The rest is really just compiled with the same stuff as you would find in most treats such as fat and protein as the main ingredients so not the most nutritious or healthy treat around but again that is not the most important thing about the treat however I was surprised to see that it didn't have any artificial flavours or colours which is good.
===Guinea pig enjoyment===
As I know my guinea pigs love carrot as I said before I had to buy these for them and was looking forward to giving them to them and them enjoying them. I did not get to experience them enjoy these treats because they didn't eat them at all, whether I feed them from my hand or if I put them in their bowl they don't touch them and all they do is sniff them once and leave them alone which I think is because the treat is actually only 5% dried carrot and they don't smell like carrot either so I am not surprised they don't go to eat them. I was pretty disappointed with these treats because of that and now I know just to buy the normal non branded pets at home treats fro my guinea pigs because ultimately they are healthier and my guinea pigs will actually eat them.
I knew my guinea pigs were a bit fussy with treats so I gave these treats a shot with my hamsters to see if it was just my guinea pigs being fussy or if they are actually just rubbish treats. I gave them to all three of my hamsters in their bowls and feeding them buy hand and each one again didn't touch the treats at all and went for the treats that they normally have. I know that my hamsters love treats and the fact that all three declined the treat obviously means that these treats are not very good and pets wont enjoy them - my hamsters definitely didn't and nor my guinea pigs.
===Value for money===
I paid £1.40 for this bag of treats in Asda so prices will probably be around that mark in various places but really I don't want to pay that money for a bag of treats which has no nutritional value and that my pets wont eat so the value for money on this product is very poor.
Overall I never really liked the Waggs brand very much but this has just reinforced the opinion as my pets hated it. This treat compares very badly to many on the market and in my opinion I would rather buy a non branded bag of treats than these because most of them my pets will eat and enjoy but will actually be a benefit to them unlike these. Because of this I would not recommend you buy these for your pets.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. This packet of treats was 40p in my local Asda store so I picked it up from the shelf and put it into my basket without really looking at it in detail but looked good from the shelf and had a very cheap price so I bought it. This bag of treats contains hard (good for gnawing) treats in the shapes of oranges, peas and bananas. This treat is for all small animals and can be found in many pet stores. I have come across this brand before when buying milk drop treats for my pets which they all like so I had good hopes for this treat with my pets and there are not many treats which look that similar to it so again I had good hopes for it. Obviously for 40p I wasn't expecting it to be the best treat in the food but I was expecting for my pets to enjoy it but their were mixed feelings with my pets.
The packaging does stand out quite a lot on the shelves which is good and so it is easy to find when looking for them as they use a lot of red with bits of green and yellow and make the packet shiny as well. This was one of the reasons I noticed it. On the front it has a cartoon picture of a rabbit with a ball which I didn't really pay attention to in the shop but also has a picture of the food which isn't a good representation of the treats but still looks good on the packet. The food on the packet is shows as a different colour on the packaging which in my opinion is not really beneficial because it shows an orange as green and the peas as purple and in my opinion the food just looks better when you actually open the packet and look at the food. The brand name is also on the front of the packet in a large font so it is easy to known what the manufacturer of the treat is and this was beneficial to me because I recognized the brand and therefore bought the treat. The back of the packaging is just the standard with all the ingredients, contact information and tips for the use of the treat.
From seeing the ingredients in some of the other treats by this brand I was just expecting it to have a normal nutritional value of a treat but I was happily surprised when I looked at the ingredients. Obviously it still had the fats and the colourants that most treats have but I also found that it had the vitamins A and D in which is obviously beneficial and it also had a good amount of fibre and minerals in which are complementary to the guinea pigs diet which is also beneficial. Overall even though the nutritional value is not as good as some treats you can buy it is better than most so I pretty impressed with the treat on that part.
===Guinea Pig enjoyment===
These treats were not bought primarily for my guinea pigs but they are suitable for them so I thought I would give them some of the treats as well and see if they like them. They didn't at all. I out them in their feeding bowl with their food and some of the other treats they like and they ate the rest and left these. I then tried to feed it to them by hand but again that didn't work so I gave up trying with the guinea pigs so I was pretty disappointed on that front seeing that the preferred their other treats.
I then tried to give them to my Syrian hamster which was the main reason I bought these so I put them into his bowl with his food and his other treats like I did with the guinea pigs and he ate them pretty quickly which was good and it meant I hadn't completely wasted my money although it was only 40p and obviously he enjoyed them which is the main part of a treat.
===Dwarf Hamster enjoyment===
After seeing that my Syrian hamster enjoyed these treats I thought that I would give them a go with my Dwarf hamster as well to see if I could buy the same treats for two types of pet. The answer to that was no. My dwarf hamster doesn't seem to be very fussy about what she eats and because of that she will eat most treats and food that I give her. I put these treats into her feeding bowl, and she ate part of one and left it and the rest of the treats and she never touched them from then so again I was disappointed.
===Value for Money===
As I only bought them for my Syrain hamster and they were only 40p I guess for me the Value for money was pretty good as my hamster loved them and for a very cheap price but if someone was going to get them for another small animal the value for money would not be as good although again even if you pets don't like the treats you have only wasted 40p so it is not a massive loss but still annoying but overall I would say it was good for the money I spent on it but if the price was more I would have wanted my other pets to enjoy the treat as well.
Overall the treat was good for my Syrian hamster who enjoyed them a lot and has them pretty much every day but I was not impressed that my other pets did not even eat these treats. I was also impressed by the nutritional value of the treat being better than most other treats you will find on the shelves and having a smaller price. Overall I couldn't complain too much about the treat because it did what I bought it for. I would recommend this treat to hamster owners definitely and for owners of similar small animals like the gerbil or the mouse but not for a small animal such as the guinea pig or rabbit.
This review is also on my ciao account under the username alexcatt97. I was looking for a new toothbrush too replace by old manual one and saw the Colgate Actibrush for only £4.00 in Asda which is very cheap for an electric brush so I purchased that and I have not had many problems with it yet. It is sold in many supermarkets and shops such as boots, Superdrug and some pharmacists.
==Ease To Use===
This tooth brush is very easy to use with two clean buttons for on and off and is the right size to get into every bit in your mouth and around your teeth with no trouble and the tooth brush does not weight very heavy so it is easy to hold and easy to brush your teeth. In my opinion, it is easier to use than a manual brush as you can get into more places and the actual brush is better designed and has a better shape to be able to get into every area in your mouth with no trouble. The toothbrush requires two AAA batteries and you do not have to leave it on a charger. When the head needs to be replaced, the head off the tooth brush easily comes off and goes on without too much difficulty so the toothbrush is very easy to use and easier to use than a manual brush in my opinion. I give the ease to use with this tooth brush a 9/10.
===Improvement on Teeth Condition===
This actual brush part of this electric tooth brush has two main parts. The first which is the smaller of the head cleans where most manual brushes won't get to which between teeth, in all gaps and around and on the gum line which is very important as the gums are the part that actually holds the teeth in so it is very important that the gum line is healthy. The larger head does what most manual brushes do which is to sweep away all the plague on your teeth and gums and to whiten your teeth. The combination of both of these heads makes a great toothbrush and since I have been using this tooth brush, I have seen the differences and my dentist has actually commented about how my dental health has improved so I am very happy with this product because of that reason and this shows that there is excellent improvement on teeth condition when using this product or many electric toothbrushes and that there is not as much improvement with manual brushes because they do not have the two separate heads like a electric brush and overall, I give the Improvement on Teeth Condition a 9/10.
===Value for Money===
Now a days, for a electric toothbrush, the average price is about £10.00 but this tooth brush is a lot cheaper than that at only £4.00 and considering some Electric Toothbrushes can cost up to a very high price of £40.00, £4.00 is very cheap and usually the price i would expect to pay for a good manual brush but this is very well performing electric toothbrush so as I am very impressed with the value for money on this great product as it has also lasted for quite a while so overall, I give the Colgate Actibrush a great 10/10 for Value For Money and I would definitely recommend.
In summary, I think that this a great product that will improve teeth condition, is easy to use and is very cheaper so i would definitely recommend it too anyone that is looking for another tooth brush to replace and old one or just because they would like to have an electric one because it can definitely help if my dentist has noticed an improvement in my teeth because I have used this tooth brush. It is sold in many supermarkets, shops such as boots and some pharmacists and in my opinion it is the best tooth brush I have ever had and I would definitely recommend it.