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cha97mw

cha97mw
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Member since: 22.03.2010

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      12.06.2014 21:39
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      Advantages

      • " believable characters "
      • " engaging plot"
      • "well written"

      Disadvantages

      • " and I felt a little let down "
      • "ending was not quite what I expected it to be"

      A stunning debut novel

      I downloaded Fractured recently as part of the Kindle Owners Lending Library that comes as part of an Amazon Prime subscription. The brief description had me sold, and when I started reading this, I could not believe that it was the authors debut novel as it had such well developed characters and a plot that engaged me from start to finish. The story reminded me tremendously of the film Sliding Doors that I had seen quite a few years previously, though not in a way that was predictable. The story starts with central character Rachel aged 18 years old. She is having a meal at a restaurant in her home town with a bunch of her close friends before they all go their seperate ways in life. Only things don''t go to plan. A stolen car crashes through the window. Rachel''s friend Jimmy is killed attempting to save Rachel. This is a life changing moment for Rachel as she faces an alternative destiny to what she had planned as she comes to terms with the aftermath of the accident. 5 years later, Rachel returns to her home town for the first time in years. This time she is in another accident. She wakes up in hospital and life is not as she knows it. Somehow, she is in her first destiny - working in media, dating the same guy she was seeing at 18, and most crucially, she has no scar and her dead friend is very much alive and kicking. We see a confused Rachel trying to pick through the fragments of her life to work out what is real and what she wants to salvage. I absolutely loved this book, and I never did figure out what was going on until a point very near the end of the book. I found my brain was very engaged trying to solve the mystery, and at the same time I was very emotionally engaged with the characters. I am so impressed with this author I am going to be looking out for her next novel which is due out in 2014. This is going to be a hard act to follow however. I''d give this somewhere between 8 and 9 stars.

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      • Robosapien (DVD) / DVD / 18 Readings / 17 Ratings
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        07.06.2014 14:12
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        (Rating)

        Advantages

        • " very entertaining "
        • "good family friendly plot"

        Disadvantages

        • " so hardly anyone knows about it . "
        • "not well publicised at all"

        Cute family film featuring an interactive robot

        Robosapien is a 2013 film that probably would have completely passed me by if my kids had not come across it on our lovefilm subscription back at the start of this year. The film is a story based upon a real life toy. If I had known this before watching, this probably would have been enough to put me off, but it is a very entertaining film which is suitable for family viewing, and we have watched it a number of times now. I think it is a real shame that it is not more widely known about as there is something fairly endearing about it. The star of the film is a little robot called Cody. He as been invented by a guy called Allan (David Eigenberg from Sex and the City) who has very honest intentions of this highly intelligent robot being used as a search and rescue robot. However, his less scrupulous boss wants to use the robots intelligence for bad, using it as a weapon instead to be sold to the highest bidder. When Allan finds this out, he steals the robot, and in trying to hide it from the criminals, he ends up losing him. This could have been catostrophic for Cody as he ended up broken, but he was luckily found by a young boy called Henry who is a bit of a science geek. Henry manages to fix Cody, though they are never far from danger, and Cody has a sense that there is something important that he has forgot. The developing friendship between the robot and the lonely child was a lovely relationship to watch, as was the relationship between Cody and Allan. Cody seems to have a lot of human characteristics like a cheeky yet well meaning child, and he was really amusing to watch on screen. Rather than coming across as low budget, I did find this a genuine pleasure to watch. The acting within it was good - especially from young Henry and his school friends. The story is well written, and believable enough for a kids film. Normally my kids want to watch things that I have little interest in joining them for. With this, I am happy to watch and rewatch it. The 86 minute run time passes by very quickly. It is available for quite a low cost on amazon of around 3 pounds. I would happily buy it at this cost.

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        06.06.2014 23:11
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        Advantages

        • " a little goes a long way ."
        • "exfoliates at the same time as cleaning"

        Disadvantages

        • "I find it too drying on my skin . "

        Exfoliating brush and wash in one

        I came across this product through reading product reviews. I was intrigued by the product design, and as I have spot prone skin, I thought I would buy it and try it out for myself to see what it could do to my skin. The product is fairly unique I think in the way you are meant to use it. The liquid wash is inside a bottle which has an exfoliating brush attached to the top of the bottle. The product is dispensed by rotating this lid to open a small hole in the top, then a gentle squeeze puts some product on the brush. The lid needs twisting back to closed before being used. The brush is an excellent method for applying the product to your skin. It foams up well, and the brush allows you to brush the product aross your face while getting into all the contours like around the sides of your nose. I find applying the product with the brush makes my skin feel really clean, and I like the thought of not using my fingers on my face. I think this helps with making the skin less spotty. The wash itself is blue in colour and I find a little goes quite a long way. It contains salicylic acid which is known to act on unblocking pores and is an anti bacterial agent. It also has an ingredient called HerbaSoothe from blueberries. Although the wash is good at making my skin less spotty, my skin is left quite dry from it and I couldn''t skip moisturisation after using it as I have patches of skin which look awful after it. I have a very mixed opinion about this product. At around 6 pounds, I find the price very reasonable for a product that works. I also really love the design of the bottle and think it is an excellent way to apply and use this product for best effect. I think the brush is really hygienic and its nice and soft on my skin while having a gentle exfoliating effect. For me, it is no more effective though than any other brand of wash I have used in terms of keeping my skin clear, and I don''t like how dry my skin is afterwards. I don''t think I would repurchase it as a result. I think it might be better for people who have skin that is more oily naturally. Even though my skin is spot prone I do have very dry skin including on my T zone. So overall, its an ok product in a fantastic package.

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        • More +
          03.06.2014 19:24
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          Advantages

          • "character looks very true to life"
          • "nice little set"

          Disadvantages

          • "not much to do with it once built"

          Harry Potter can get to Hogwarts but can't do much else

          I spotted this item while browsing on Amazon and thought it would make a lovely little stocking filler gift. I bought two of them at 3 quid each - this is now much higher as the product is rarer, and I am not sure I would have bought it for 12 pounds. The toy came in a little bag, and inside was a Harry Potter figure with wand, an owl, and the lego blocks needed to build a little trolley, and a trunk. For those who have seen the Harry Potter films, it recreates Harry being at Kings Cross Station when he goes to catch the train to Hogwarts. The bag had a picture of the model on, so it was really easy to get it built and was suitable for a child of around 4 plus if they recognise the character and can be trusted with the small pieces. The little figure is very recognisable as Harry Potter. Once you have built it, there is not particularly a lot you can do with it if you don''t own other sets, so we tend to treat it as a bit of a display item. The trolley does push along a bit, but there is limited play appeal with the number of pieces you have. My kids have played with it previously with other lego sets - we have a farm with carrots, and they saw on the lego Harry Potter computer game that you could have a setting where you swap your wand for a carrot, so they did this for a bit. The wand piece fits well into Harrys hand, though it is just a straight pole. The little trunk also opens and closes so you could put something inside if you wished. Overall, a lovely little pocket money set that would appeal to fans of the character. I think it would have more play appeal if you owned some of the larger sets like Hogwarts or the train, but as these are now not being produced the ones that are available are ridiculously expensive. You can also get a little lab set which looks like Harry is in a classroom, and buy other characters from the franchise.

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            07.05.2014 17:37
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            Advantages

            • " told from many angles so you never get bored . "
            • "fantastic story telling"

            Disadvantages

            • "Still rather hard to keep track of all the characters as you read through "

            The Winter is Coming, can swords save anyone?

            A Storm of Swords is the third book in the ever popular series, A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. The book is split into two halves, which I think was a smart move as it allows the author to continue to focus in detail on the lives of his characters in this fantasy novel, but allows the pace to work a bit better than it did for me in his second book in the series.
            We continue in a familiar format - the story is told a chapter at a time from the viewpoint of different main characters in the novel so you get to understand not only how a character thinks, but also how they are seen by others around them. This can be interesting as even the most despisable charcters have some redeeming qualities when you see them from a different view point.

            This novel is a bit hard to peg - there is a note at the start of it that some events run parallel to some of the events of book 2. Understandable as there are so many characters that you just cannot cover what everyone is experiencing and containing it within one book. I do think perhaps though that some of the more character driven plot would have been better in book two, and moving some of the more heavy going battle scenes into book three. This would have made book two a bit of an easier read I think, and helped it have a bit more reader appeal for me.
            It is nice in this book to get back to some of the characters that have been languishing in book two - Jaime Lannister being a prime example. Instead of wasting in a jail cell, we see him released as a hostage in the hope of Catelyn Stark being reunited with her daughters.

            Seeing Jaime interact with Brienne of Tarth, his escort, we get to see a totally different side to him. It's interesting to see this character being a bit vulnerable and losing some of his swagger as his life changes.
            I also like the fact that we see a bit less of Sansa being a simpering girl and start to open her eyes a little. While I can never see me fully warming to this character, she does start to grow up a bit. I much prefer seeing chapters that feature her sister Arya, a very gritty character who is determined to take control of her own destiny.

            Daenarys Stormborn also seemed to not be part of much of the action in book two, but now she is focussing on amassing an army. You can see that she is growing from a child into a strong woman.
            Most interesting for me is seeing what fate has in store for Jon Snow. Believed to be a traitor, he is acting under cover to assess the danger to the North from a group of Wildlings - free men who live without any rule. While he is in a very dangerous position you wonder how it can possibly turn out.

            The magical element to this book does not really entice me so much, but I do like when the Stark children can use their minds to share a body with their direwolves that accompany them. I can't wait to see how this special relationship pans out in future books.
            I have tried to deliberately keep this review vague in terms of plot points because I know a lot of people are fans of the TV show and books. I personally hate it when there are big plot spoilers within reviews, and my own enjoyment has been spoiled by seeing spoilers on the internet.

            This book is a fairly integral part of this series to me, and as usual Martin's writing is engaging and I was kept engaged throughout the book. There is a strong sense of threat upon the realm, and a real power struggle in the South is stopping anyone being prepared for it. It leads to you constantly wanting to read just one more chapter to find out just what will happen as no character is 'safe' at any point in the story.

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              27.04.2014 15:06
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              Advantages

              • " strong story "
              • "incredible character driven plot"

              Disadvantages

              • " lots of characters to keep track of"
              • "very emotionally hard going"

              Oh I just cannot wait to be King!

              I first read this last August hot on the heels of book one, a Song of Ice and Fire. The first story had set the scene of a mystical world of Westeros, a vicious yet intriguing world where a Kings rule is with a sword.

              After the true King Robert died in book one, the realm had fallen into severe disarray. Robert's son sits on the throne currently, but popular belief is that Joffrey was not a trueborn son, so others also claim the throne for their own. Hence the clash of kings in the title, as all these self proclaimed kings are trying to win the realm.

              The strongest candidate is Robert's younger popular brother Renly, though we also see Robert's older brother Stannis want to do his duty. There is also a third claimant in the form of Robb Stark who has been declared King in the North even though his father was beheaded for being a traitor. And finally, across the seas is the Khaleesi, otherwise known as Daenarys Stormborn. The sister of the King before Robert who was violently removed from his throne, and she is determined to reclaim it as hers.

              If it sounds complicated, that is because it is. There are a large number of characters in the different houses vying for your attention. This is not a book to tackle when not able to give it your full attention.

              It takes the same format as book one - each chapter is told from the point of view of one of the main characters. In this book there is a palpable sense of fear that builds as the story progresses. Anything can and will happen. Martin is not afraid to kill off fairly major characters when the story suits it.

              At points in the story my heart was in my mouth as horrible things befell my favourite characters. Martin is an expert in creating suspense as I really could not predict what was coming next, and there are many misturns in the plot that are really hard to pick up on.

              I found this story emotionally exhausting to the extent that even though I had been fully engaged with what was going on, by the time I got to the end of it I really could not face going on to book three for quite a while after. I needed a break to recover a bit.

              This book was not quite as good as book one for me as there was too much focus on individual battles and quite a lot of cruelty. I think it could have done with a little bit of lightening up in places to ease the flow of it. It's a necessary read to understand the overall plot, but it is not as easy to read as other books in the series.

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              • Lego Movie (Blu-Ray) / Blu-Ray Movie / 7 Readings / 17 Ratings
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                11.04.2014 23:34
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                1 Comment

                Advantages

                • " catchy soundtrack "
                • " great action on screen"
                • " good story"
                • "very rich world"

                Disadvantages

                • "storyline is a little predictable and does refer to other films "

                Everything is indeed awesome in this fab movie

                The lego movie was released in UK cinemas on the 14th of February . I went to see this in the cinema last weekend, so my thoughts cover my experience of the film only.

                Firstly, this film had a pretty clever trailer which meant we had been looking forward to it for absolutely ages before it came out. It features many cool familiar characters such as Batman, Abraham Lincoln, Superman, The Green Lantern and Gandalf and Dumbledore to name a few. The people who have made this animation have gone to great effort to create a rich world made entirely of animated lego. For the benefit of younger fans, it is mostly set in Lego City which is instantly recognisable to any child who has an interest in Lego sets as a lot of the common best selling sets are from this range.

                The film starts a bit like Lord of the Rings. There is a battle sequence between Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) - a wise wizard type character, and President Business (Will Ferrell) who is the Bad Guy of the film. President Business steals an ultimate weapon called the Kragle from Vitruvius leaving him blinded in the process. Vitruvius comes out with a prophecy about how the world will be saved. (Nice parody of Harry Potter there.)

                We then meet main character Emmett (Chris Pratt). A very plain character who is trying his best to fit in with all the other subservient members of the Lego City as he goes about his job at a construction site. All things are built following a plan.

                One day, he notices an intruder at the building site. When he follows her, he finds himself falling down a big hole, and when he wakes up, he has something strange attached to his back and he is being interrogated by a Bad cop/Good cop combination. Here the voice is provided by Liam Neeson, and it is a very fitting role for him.

                Ordinary Emmett is an unbelievable candidate for the Special from the prophecy. Someone who is capable of being a Master Builder and saving the world from President Business. However, he is willing to give it a good go with all the Master Builder friends he meets along the way.

                This film has such a richness to it. Not so much from the plot, but I found myself very engaged with it taking in all the little details from the world surrounding the characters. From the songs the radio station plays, to the TV show they all like to watch, to the Wild West where Emmett meets Vitruvious, and the Cloud Cuckoo Land where he meets all the other Master Builders. There is so much going on the film managed to maintain my concentration throughout the whole film (run time of 100 minutes) without any effort. I noticed my kids were engaged the whole time through as well, and we have been singing 'Everything is Awesome' from the film all week too. It has a strange addictiveness to it that is irresistable.

                I loved seeing how the Master Builders saw how to make things with bricks becoming sketches on screen with a product serial number next to them. It really did make me think about how kids see lego pieces and how we see them as adults.

                The story line was good - looking back, I should have perhaps seen where it was going, but I didn't at all, and as it developed I just found myself laughing and going along with it the whole way through, and it was almost a disappointment to find that we had reached the end.
                I found it far more engaging than I thought possible - hence the high rating. It really did entertain children and adults alike, and I can't wait for it to come out on DVD to watch again. I honestly think it would be just as engaging again to look at the world some more and see what I missed first time. We've already been watching clips on you tube this week. It will take something really special to impress us more than this in the rest of 2014.

                I highly recommend this for kids and adults. It felt a real treat to see this at the cinema. There were even adverts for well known companies like Confused.com and BT infinity that had been converted into a lego format before the film, and touches like this just made you remember it even more.


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                • More +
                  06.04.2014 23:02
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                  3 Comments

                  Advantages

                  • " emotive "
                  • " very real characters and events"
                  • "thought provoking"

                  Disadvantages

                  • " written very factually rather than emotionally . "
                  • "very hard to get into this story"

                  Something I felt I should honour by reading

                  The holocaust is a period of history I am interested in, but its a hard area to read around due to the atrocities that happened to Jewish people through the war. I spent most of the time reading this thinking it was a factual account due to the author and the main character sharing a name. Our Holocaust is however fictional, but the stories it features are events that you can fully imagine happening. It is not always an easy book to read, and it took me nearly a whole month to work through this book as I had to be in the right frame of mind.

                  Amir and Effi are siblings. They are descendants of holocaust survivors. The story is clearly divided between a time when they are children and they are trying to work out what life is about, then as adults when they are finally old enough to know what happened.

                  As children, they are part of a community that clings together after the horrors. They partake in the rituals and ceremonies of their religion. They adopt elder members of the community as worthy members of their family to replace those they lost. This part of the book was harder going for me as it was less interesting from the child's perspective.

                  Later, as Amir reaches adulthood and has his own family, he starts to chronicle the stories of his surviving family. The things he uncovers are quite horrific, although told in such a detached way that my emotions were not quite sure what to think. It was very descriptive in a factual way. This mimicks the way that people must have detached themselves emotionally while all the atrocities were happening in order to mentally survive. (I think this may be emphasised as well by the fact this book is translated from Hebrew to English.)
                  It is such a hard book to evaluate. It was very difficult to read due to it covering such a long time span and it being so factual while being a fiction book. However, I did feel I should read it out of respect to people who suffered, and there was actually a lot of factual information in the book about camps and how German people were treated during the war. I felt it made me more aware and also more open minded about this period of history. It's not all black and white.

                  It is a book that will stay with me a long time, and probably one of the most thought provoking books I will read this year. It has made me want to find out more which can only be a good thing. I would rate this somewhere between 6-7 out of ten due to being well written but very difficult to read.

                  It was worth persevering with, but its going to be a Marmite type of book and you will either be awed by it or unable to read it I think.

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                    18.03.2014 11:06
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                    This series has got my kids booked.

                    When my eldest son was first starting to read I picked up some packs of early reading books from the Book People quite cheaply. My sons really enjoyed the books, particularly the ones from Oxford University Press's Project X series. When I looked into it more, they were a series written with the aim of helping more boys to be engaged with reading.

                    Each book is matched to a reading level as used in schools in terms of its difficulty. This particular book is aimed at those at level 9 or Gold level - My eldest son is 7 and past this level in school, but there are not many kids in his year 2 class at this stage, so I would put this at approximately 7-10 years old if the child is reading alone, but a younger child would enjoy having this read to them.

                    It has 24 pages, but these are also divided up into 5 chapters. It has quite a large number of words per page, but there is still a large colour CGI style animation on each page and it doesn't feel like a chore to read it either as an adult or child.

                    The book features the 4 familiar child characters of Ant, Max, Cat and Tiger within a school setting of a drama lesson. The story starts when Tiger gets his football confiscated in class and put in a cupboard. Rather than try and win it back, he uses his magic watch to make himself small so he can sneak in and get it.

                    Things don't go to plan because there is a thing in the cupboard that scares Tiger. He gets more drama than he could have possibly imagined.

                    This is obviously part of a series as the last page tells us what book comes next if we want to find out more.

                    I really enjoy this series of books. I think the characters and situations that are used are fairly recognisable to children, and it is presented in an attractive and entertaining way which fully engages them.

                    As a parent I can be reassured that the material is age appropriate, and it has been matched to their ability levels, and it is a big bonus that it is also fun for them to read.

                    Each book seems to cost somewhere between £2 and £4, and although it is expensive buying a set, it seems worth it as they are read a lot and we will be able to keep them or sell them if we choose. The content is not really something that would date. We highly recommend the series for kids of primary school age.

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                    16.03.2014 13:00
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                    I feel like for dry skin it is not as effective due to the other glowing reviews on this product.

                    I purchased this after seeing a review about it and reading that it was meant to be good at removing blackheads from your skin. This is something I do have a bit of a problem with around my nose area, so I thought that I would give this a try.

                    My skin is troublesome. I have very dry patches on my face, yet I also still get a number of blackheads and spots around my nose and chin area. Using anything too harsh can make the dry patches worse, and applying anything too rich for the dryness can make the spots first, so I have to be really careful.

                    The packaging is quite premium looking I feel. It is all green in colour to match the green tea in the ingredients.
                    The tube has a screw top lid, and feels nice in the hand.

                    This product is a gel. I can only describe it like snot. It has a green tinge to it, but it is fairly transparent and has no discernable scent.

                    You take some of this gel onto your finger tips and then rub it into dry skin with dry fingers. As you rub it, it starts to turn into a slightly different texture, and you start to see green bits that are more solid and this is the skin being exfoliated. By around one minute, there is no evidence of the original gel. I wash all the flakey stuff off my face at this point with warm water and then pat my face dry with a towel.

                    Inspecting my face, my blackheads did not appear any less in number or visibility but my dry skin does always look improved. I don't find it eliminates it all completely though.

                    Overall, it is a nice gentle exfoliater. It is pleasant enough to use, but for the price I paid (£22.99) I was expecting a lot more from this product. I use a Dermologica product that leaves my skin silky smooth. This product just cannot compare to the result I get from that product. The only real advantage is that it is gentle enough to not worry if it gets near my eyes and I could use it every day if I wanted to.

                    To me, this is more of an average product because it just does not make any difference at all to my blackheads however pleasant it is to use. It's ok if you have money to waste on products, but most people I know want the best value for their money and I just don't think I have had this from this product so I cannot really say go out and buy it.

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                      15.03.2014 13:13
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                      Getting boys in interested is solved with these engaging books.

                      When my eldest son was in nursery, I bought him a couple of sets of phonic books from the Book People so we could read them over the summer holidays and stop him forgetting all he had learned. One of these sets was a Project X set. My children took to the 4 children characters in the book and enjoyed the adventures that the kids had when they turned small using watches.

                      The first books we had were very basic, covering the early levels of reading, so when my boys got beyond this level, I was looking to expand our collection of books to keep them interested. The Project X books are not available at all in school, and they are designed to get boys motivated in reading so I thought this would be the ideal choice for my kids.

                      They are printed by Oxford University Press, and the books are banded the same way school reading books are banded. This book is band 7 or Turquoise, which is where my youngest son is currently at with his reading. I would correspond this in terms of age with children who are between 5 and 9 depending on their ability.

                      This book has 24 pages, and covers how the children originally came across a silver box. When they managed to get inside, they discover 4 magical watches which enable the wearer to become very small and then have adventures using things that are every day objects.

                      My children both engaged really well with the 4 characters, and they were very excited because they could read it themselves and do so well. There is a hint at the back of the book of what comes next in the series. The last page shows that the children are going to have adventures, and there are some bubble pictures with exciting things happening in them - like rafting, or being chased by a giant rodent. Straight away my boys were asking me to work out what books they were as they wanted to read on.

                      I think it helps that the stories are well written, they are genuinely interesting even for me as an adult reading them, and each page has a fantastic animation which reminds me of modern cartoons as it shows CGI type drawings of the 4 children making it all look quite real.

                      The cost of the books ranges from £2-4 each. It is steep when trying to build a collection, but from my experience of how the children enjoy reading them and how well matched it is to the school curriculum, I find that it is really worth it. Highly recommended from us.

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                        08.03.2014 14:49
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                        There is more to Betty than first meets the eye.

                        Ugly Betty is a TV show that had 4 seasons screened from 2006. It was shown on channel 4 I believe, and although I watched it at the time it was aired, I recently decided to give it another watch when amazon prime launched its online digital service.

                        The show is centered around character Betty Suarez. A young woman who is of Mexican descent and currently living in the Queens area of New York. She has always longed to work for a magazine, and she is offered a role as assistant to the Editor in Chief for Mode magazine - a well respected fashion magazine. Only thing is she is so out of her depth, and then to top it all of she finds out she was only hired because her boss's father knew that he wouldn't try to sleep with her.

                        It is based upon quite a cringeworthy idea - that someone is valued more for their looks than their skill. However, Betty (played by America Ferraria) is an amazing person. Incredibly upbeat, and able to ignore the extreme bitchiness that is directed at her at work, she actually wins people round with her values and attitude.

                        If this were just based in the office, I don't think I would have been quite so fond of it as it is quite a parody of the fashion world. However, we spend just as much time with Betty in her home. The relationship between Betty, her father Ignatio, her sister Hilda and nephew Justin, is what makes this show for me. Justin (Mark Indelicato) is brilliant as Betty's camp nephew. He has an obsession with all things fashion, and it always makes me chuckle when he is so aware of the fashion world, and Betty works there but she is rather clueless about it.

                        Against the fast tempo of the office and meeting deadlines there is the dynamics shown within the family as they deal with issues such as relationships, living with very little money and the fact that Ignatio is an illegal immigrant.

                        Something about the show really warmed me. No character is quite as shallow as they might at first appear - watch long enough and some layers start to peel away and the characters become less like caricatures.

                        The show is not one of these that will have you rolling around laughing, but there was something to amuse me in every situation - even the serious ones.

                        With a season length of 23 episodes - each episode running at just over 40 minutes, there was plenty to keep me hooked. I found there were plot lines that ran throughout several episodes - such as who was the mysterious woman in bandages that we kept seeing trying to influence things from the background. While I at first thought the show was quite frivolous fun, by the end of the season I was well and truly hooked, and left quite emotional at the shows cliffhanger moment at the end of the season.

                        For those who enjoy shows like Desperate Housewives or Sex and the City, I would say it is worth a watch. It has a 12 rating, so the content is never too racy, but there is plenty to keep the average viewer entertained. And unlike some shows, I didn't feel this had dated badly at all 8 years after filming.

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                        • The Art of Getting By (DVD) / DVD / 56 Readings / 56 Ratings
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                          05.03.2014 20:33
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                          A fairly decent film to pass the time.

                          This 2011 film, originally titled with the much less catchy name, Homework, is a romantic comedy drama. Starring Freddie Highmore and Emma Roberts, it features teenagers in a school environment. This might make me far from the target audience to the film, but I spotted it on my amazon prime account when they started streaming live videos and decided to give it a try as something about the name really got my attention. After all, we are all just trying to get by in life the best we can.

                          Highmore plays George - somewhat of a slacker and a loner. He is shown always on his own, always in bother in school for not attempting his homework, and constantly doodling pictures over his books. His teachers are at a bit of a loss how to get him to use his talent.

                          Roberts is Sally. A girl in George's year. One day he goes up on the school roof, and when a teacher smells smoke, he pretends that it was him who was smoking up there to save Sally getting into bother. She later stops him to thank him, and the two strike up an unlikely friendship.

                          The more time George spends with Sally, the more he starts to be attracted to her, which is actually good for him for a bit as he starts to try to fit in and do better at school. However, when he introduces him to his artist friend Dustin, jealousy creeps in.

                          George hits a crisis point in his life, but the viewer is unsure about what path George will take in life. You can really only find out by watching yourself to find out how he reacts.

                          Highmore and Stone are a fantastic combination in this film. If I can criticise slightly, George is not quite geeky enough and he fits in too readily with the more popular crowd when he hangs around Sally, but this didn't put me off the film. George is a very likeable character, and he has good chemistry with Stone. I found myself really wanting George to confess his feelings to Sally and see if they could work out as a couple.

                          The film was a bit slow moving at points, but overall I found myself enjoying the pace and just enjoying the story for what it was. It was rather true to life I thought, with the angst that teenagers have about finding their place, and it worked quite well for me.

                          I was a little distracted by Elizabeth Reaser being Sally's slightly slutty mother. I am very familiar with her role as Ava/Rebecca in Series 3 and 4 of Grey's Anatomy, and personally I found that hard to get past while she was on screen. Otherwise, there was not one weak point in the cast for me.

                          This film is probably not for everyone, but I would give it around 7/10 for me.

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                          03.03.2014 10:54
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                          High quality means a premium price for this brand.

                          I came across the Forever Living range of products when my friend told me she had become a rep. I had already been drinking an aloe vera juice drink from Holland and Barratt which had been very soothing on my tummy, so I was interested to see how this version compared.

                          I got my gel as part of a detox kit, but you can also buy it individually from a rep or from amazon and a bottle is between £18-20 for a litre. This seems a lot but the product is much better quality than the Holland and Barratt version in my opinion as it is 100% pure aloe vera juice, and it is much more effective in my opinion.

                          The bottle can be stored in a cupboard till its open, but in my experience it is much better to store in a fridge once opened as it keeps better and is more palatable when served cold.

                          Firstly, I know a lot of people find this a very difficult thing to drink. I belonged to a facebook group for a while of people who were completing the forever living detox. A lot of the conversation was about how to drink this without being or feeling ill. I must be a little odd because I didn't find the taste that bad. It is quite a citrus based taste, almost like if you drank the juice of a whole lemon in a cup of hot water.

                          The juice is quite thick, and although it is a slightly tinged transparent liquid, there are specks of solid particles floating around in the juice. If you want to imagine the texture - it is just like the juice you can squeeze out of an aloe vera plant in your home. (I am saying it is thick in comparison to other brands I have tried. )

                          If you are taking this for general health, the dose is 60ml. When I was doing the detox I was having 120ml a few times a day. I found it quite easy to drink this in one go, and it was much better to do so before food and follow it with a glass of water.

                          I have a lot of digestive issues where I can get quite constipated. I find that this really does help keep the food moving along my gut, and I also look less bloated when this is a regular part of my diet. The thing that puts me off a bit is the high price, so I don't feel I can spend quite so much on something for myself on an everyday basis. I do take it now and again when money allows or my digestion is going through a rough patch.

                          Overall, I think it is certainly kind to my insides. It really seems to speed up my digestion when taking this daily in a natural way. I'm very aware the taste is awful to some, but I think it is ok. It doesn't leave any nasty taste after drinking it either. I am happy to use it occasionally, but its a luxury item for me.

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                            27.02.2014 20:03
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                            The kids like it, I hate it. A very challenging game even if you are a fan.

                            Knowing that my sons both love the Moshi Monsters franchise, my mum sourced this game for them for Christmas. The recommeded age for the game is 6 plus - and on first look at it without any understanding of the game I thought it looked quite mature. The box is quite plain looking in my opinion, a white square with a graphic of the 6 main Moshi Monsters on it.

                            The game is going to have most appeal to superfans who are familiar with the website rather than just the figures. The board game (Monstro City) features a few sites that you can visit on the site such as the Gross-ery store. You can play with 2-6 players, and the aim of the game is to go round the board via the 4 stores to pick up items to take home and display in your book shelf at your house. Along the way there are little shortcuts, and also chance to steal items from the other players. The aim is to be the first one to collect the 4 different pieces and then reach the treasure chest in the middle.

                            Playing pieces look really attractive - the 6 Moshi Monsters are the pieces, and they are gold to look like the Ultra Rare figures. The book shelves are made from plastic, and look ok - however it can be a little hard to push the pieces you collect into the holes provided for the job. There are also little buildings to represent the shops. These are card models, and a bit flimsy for my liking for a kids game. Ours already look quite trashed from limited play.

                            As you go round the board, at various squares you need to stop and answer a Moshi trivia question. My kids love this aspect of it as it really does test their knowledge as super fans. This is the bit that puts me off the most as my knowledge is sketchy at best, and it is so dull. My husband couldn't play it as he had no knowledge at all.

                            The rules seem quite complicated to me for a game that 6 year olds should be able to play. This means that an adult really needs to play with my 5 and 7 year old fans so that they know how to play it. I have a bit of a job following it completely. It is also supposed to take 30-60 minutes to play a game - we found it longer than this. I was bored to tears playing it, and although my kids will see it out to the end, I think the hour and a half it took us to play it last time did put us off. With 6 players rather than 3, I can only imagine this taking even longer.

                            Although my kids enjoyed this and were very keen to play it initially, they already seem to have relegated it to the avoid pile. For the age of fan it is aimed at, I think the branding is great, but there is too many things going on and it is just too hard to follow. I think older kids could play it better but then they wouldn't have the interest in the game. I think if it had stuck to a simple go round the board game it would have been fine, or if it were more of a trivial pursuit type game again it would be fine, but I am left confused by what exactly is meant to be fun about it. Normally we get most fun out of games that last 10-20 minutes with a chance to have a second game so the other child can win. Here, you aren't going to sit for hours playing it till everyone has that chance.

                            I would have to play it again if the kids wanted me to, but I wouldn't suggest to them in a million years that we played it together.

                            According to amazon, the RRP is £25. No way would I pay this for it. I've been watching over the past couple of weeks and it has been on sale at around £12.50, but even then I do think it a bit overpriced for how little play it is getting. It could be great, but its just not really well thought out.

                            I find it hard to know how to rate it. The kids still say it is great - so about 3 for them, but I would say it is awful and only worth 1 star. So I will compromise and give it 2.

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