- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
I came a late to the Broadchurch party after missing the first series. However all my friends and family raved non stop about it so when the second series launch date was announced I thought I better right that wrong! Trying to get my hands on a copy of the Broadchurch Series 1 DVD proved more difficult than I originally thought. I think everyone else had the same idea so it was sold out everywhere, eventually I tracked a copy down on amazon for £9.
The DVD contains the eight episodes of the first series of this original ITV series in three discs, in addition there are a few extras including Broadchurch: Behind the Scenes; Cast Filmographies; Picture Gallery and Subtitles. I’ll be honest I was only interested in the actual episodes so haven’t looked at any of the special features.
The story is located in the Dorset town of Broadchurch in July. Local boy Danny Latimer goes missing and when his body is found on the beach the small community comes under scrutiny and secrets unravel. Local police officer Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)returns to work after holiday to find the promotion she was guaranteed has gone to an outsider Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and the two now must work together to solve the murder that is threatening to rip the town apart. I don’t want to say anymore to give anything away, trust me you’ll thank me for it!
From start to finish this drama is gripping I couldn’t stop watching and fired through the episodes in record time desperate to see how it unfolds. Broadchurch has an exceptionally strong cast with many familiar faces, the partnership pairing of David Tennant and Olivia Colman is genius and keeps you gripped.
I can’t recommend this series highly enough if you love a good drama then this is definitely for you. To make things even better you can see the second series as well and wait for the third to be shown.
I travel pretty frequently and am a huge fan of painting my nails but if you are anything like me will always chip your polish at the most inappropriate time! My normal nail polish remover is not very handy to pack as it is a 250ml bottle of boots essentials nail polish remover. not only does it not fit in the 100ml hand baggage limit it also has the potential to leak or burst in my baggage, it is the kind of thing that would happen to me!
So instead I always take a small tub of Boots Moisturising Nail Polish Remover Pads. They are a bargain at £1.50 and you probably get around 20 to 30 pads in the pack. The tub has a screw lid which helps protect against any leakage and is small and compact for travelling not taking up much room. The pads have vitamin e in them to help moisturise and condition the nails. I normally only require 2 - 3 pads to remove all my polish from both hands or feet, I tend to wear very dark colours so it can be harder to remove all the polish. however these pads work well and removes all colour efficiently and effectively, they are easy to use and wipes off even the most stubborn of polishes!
The only downside is that after using them your fingers tend to be covered in the remover and slightly stained with polish, but a quick wash removes that and my nails are in great condition ready for a new colour!
You can also purchase the Boots nail polish remover pads in a strengthening formula.
These are a great product and perfect for anyone who travels or who wants to carry a remover in case of emergencies.
I love to paint my nails and frequently change the polish dependent on my outfit and mood. In order to keep my nails in tip top condition and free from any chips I regularly use a nail polish remover. My product of choice is the Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover, I have been using this for longer than I care to remember (a lot of years) and find that it works brilliantly.
It comes from the Boots basic essentials range and does exactly what it says on the bottle and at £1 for 250ml who can argue about the price. The bottle lasts for ages even for someone like me who regularly changes my polish!
I tend to wear dark coloured polishes which can be more stubborn to remove however I find this nail polish remover does it with ease and doesn't leave any residue or colour on the nail. I also find that my nails are always clean and healthy looking after using the remover it doesn't dry them out like some polish removers.
My only issue with this product is that it is not particularly handy to travel with and it is certainly over the 100ml limit for hand baggage. So I tend to keep this bottle for the home and use the boots nail polish remover pads when away which avoids any leakages and is much easier to pack.
I cannot praise the Boots Essentials Nail Polish Remover highly enough it is efficient, effective and great value for money - what's not to love about it!
As you may deduce I'm a bit of a Jo Malone aficionado. Blackberry and Bay is one of my favourite fragrances so I was very happy to receive a bottle of Blackberry & Bay Body & Hand Wash as a present. (someone obviously knows me well!)
As well as complementing my perfume perfectly it is a fabulous shower gel and hand wash. It comes in a 250ml size in a clear plastic bottle with black pump dispenser in the distinctive Jo Malone branding.
The pump dispenses just the right amount of gel so it lasts for ages and produces a luxurious lather and scent that has real staying power. The top note of the fragrance is Blackberry with the heart notes Bay Leaves and Cedarwood. The 250ml size is priced at £28, cheaper if you manage to purchase it in one of Jo Malone's duty free outlets.
I tend to use the body & hand wash as a shower gel and layer it with my perfume for a stronger longer lasting fragrance, my mum on the other hand loves it as a hand wash and it lasts for several months.
You can also purchase in the Blackberry & Bay range the Body Crème, Home Candle, Fragrance in two sizes as well as the Body & Hand Wash. Jo Malone also recommends that the combines well with Orange Blossom for a warmer fragrance or Lime Basil & Mandarin for a fresher fragrance meaning you can use the hand & body wash in combination with those fragrances.
This is a lovely treat and lasts for ages combining well with the Blackberry and Bay signature scent as well as some of Jo Malone's other scents.
I recently had a real problem with my bathroom sink. The water was taking ages to run away and the sink filled up very fast but drained at a snails pace. To try and sort this I made a visit to the cleaning aisle at my local supermarket.
After pursuing all the available products I realised I needed something heavy duty to solve the problem and settled on the Mr Muscle Dual Force Foamer. It definitely seemed more potent and powerful than the rest. At my local Asda it was on special offer at £3 it is normally priced around the £3.75 mark - a bargain if it worked!
The bottle contains 2 separate liquids each in their own separate compartments in the bottle. When mixed together they activates on contact to unleash a powerful foam that gets to work removing whatever gunge you have clogging up your pipes. You then leave it for an hour then run warm water down your sink to get rid of the foam and any residue.
The only problem I had was that my bathroom sink is fairly average in size but when you position the bottle over the plughole it doesn't quite fit and the 2 liquids started activating quickly at the plughole rather than in the pipes. It meant that I ended up doing this process twice using half the bottle on each occasion. However having said all that it really did work and I now have a sink that drains quickly just like new.
A word of warning the liquids can be quite corrosive so be careful when using this and keep it our the road of children.
This really works and I'm going to used it on my kitchen sink next!
Anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of Jo Malone and my new favourite is the company’s original fragrance – Nutmeg & Ginger.
Nutmeg & ginger was launched in 1990 and was Jo Malone’s first fragrance. The scent was originally created and hand blended as a gift for Jo’s clients after their facial. Twenty five years on and it is still one of the company’s top scents.
The fragrance has the top note of ginger, the heart note is nutmeg and the base not is sandalwood which all combine to make a perfect scent from the spicy family. For me it is a real autumn / winter warm fragrance and is perfect for sweaters and party dresses. For the summer I tend to change to a lighter fragrance.
I always get comments when I wear Nutmeg & Ginger which is really nice particularly as I love the fragrance so much.
The cologne comes in two sizes, 30ml for £40 and £82 for 100ml. the 30ml size is perfect for your handbag and travelling while the 100ml is better value for keeping and using in the house. A word of advice if you are travelling through Heathrow check the shops in your terminal as there are several Jo Malone outlets and it saves you about 20% on the cost – worth remembering.
I always find the fragrance lasts well but if you are keen to maintain your scent Jo Malone is big on layering your fragrance and you can also purchase Nutmeg & Ginger in a Bath Oil and Body Crème to keep your scent lasting longer.
As I write this its snowing outside and is the perfect winter day for a Nutmeg & Ginger day!
Tucked away in Glasgow’s Merchant City is Pancho Villas, a buzzing Mexican restaurant. Situated in Bell Street across from the bars and restaurants of Merchants Court this restaurant holds its own with a lively atmosphere, great frozen margaritas and some sizzling Mexican food.
It is always best to book ahead particularly at the weekend when it can get very busy. The restaurant has two levels – street level and the basement, if you can I would ask for a table on the street level it is much airier and more spacious.
I have visited Panchos on many occasions it’s a great place for big groups as it has a good atmosphere and is not a quiet restaurant.
The owner is Mexican born Maya NuAtez who has brought to Pancho Villas her home cooked Mexican food.
The menu is fairly extensive starters include soup, quesadillas, nachos and taquitos among other things, starting from £3.75 up to £9.95 for a combination sharing plate. My favourite is the chilli con carne nachos with sour cream, just the right amount of spice and cheese.
Vegetarians are catered for with a selection of starters and four main courses including a Quesadilla, Fajitas and Enchiladas. The main course selection includes everyone’s favourite Mexican dishes including Burritos, Tacos, Chilli, Enchiladas of every variety (including cracked crab and various chicken styles), Quesadillas, Steak, Lamb, Salads and the perennial favourite fajitas either with chicken, steak, king prawn or a combination. I have to admit my dish of choice is the chicken fajita which always comes sizziling to the table with a good portion of chicken, peppers and onions. Sometimes the accompaniments can be a little lacking and I've had to ask for more guacamole and tortillas. Friends of mine had the spiced meatballs which they said was really spicy, the only thing missing from the menu is wee chillis to mark how spicy the dishes are for the more sensitive palates.
I’ll be honest I don’t think I have ever had a dessert in Pancho’s as I am always so stuffed after my starter and main although I do make sure that I always have room for their frozen strawberry margeritas, which are particularly drinkable!
The cocktail list favours Mexican and holiday specialties and offer an extensive range of normal and frozen margaritas either by the glass or pitcher. They also have a good range of Mexican style beers and tequila as well as your normal drinks and are always good at bring pitchers of tap water to the table too.
I would recommend Pancho Villas for a friendly tasty and buzzy Mexican it also is fairly reasonable and makes for a good night out.
I have to say I have a soft spot for Panchos they are consistently good and the cocktails are pretty darn great – what more could you ask for!
The Glasgow restaurant can be found at Bell Street, they also have an Edinburgh outpost which can be found at Canongate, the Royal Mile.
Jo Malone has been one of my favourite perfume brands for a very long time and over the years i have had many of their fragrances. Two of my particular favourites were Vintage Gardenia and Verbena de Provence, both of which were fabulous, however I was very disappointed to find out last May that both of them were being discontinued at the same time!!!!!!! What was i going to do!!!!!!
Back to square one for me, so I started my search for a new favourite and I didn't have to wait very long, Jo Malone launched last Autumn their new fragrance Blackberry & Bay. On first smell I loved it - it was fabulously fruity and after trying it on my skin for a day, always best to make sure it suits you before buying, it is amazing how often i smell a perfume love it then try it out and hate as it does't suit my skin, however I needn't have worried the Blackberry & Bay smelt amazing.
The fragrance top note is overwhelmingly Blackberry, bursting with fruity juiciness and a tart accent, the heart notes are Bay Leaves bringing a green aroma to the perfume and the base note is the mossy inspiring Cedar Wood. The fragrance is clean, refreshing and juicily fruity just like you are in a field of blackberries picking & eating them. The fragrance comes in two sizes, the first is the 30ml cologne which is perfect handbag or travel size and comes in at £39, the larger size a 100ml cologne is probably better value but not quite so portable and comes in at £78. Both come in clean minamilist glass bottles with silver lids. (If you are flying through Heathrow there are several Jo Malone shops in the various Terminals including 5 where you can pick up all the products at duty free prices, which makes quite a considerable saving).
Also available in the range is the Body & Hand Wash in a 250ml plastic bottle which looks similar to the perfume bottles and comes in at £32. The very luxurious Body Creme comes in a 175ml jar and is priced at £50, a fabulous gift to receive, and finally the last in the Blackberry & Bay collection is the Home Candle at £39 for 200g.
The Blackberry & Bay is an amazing all year round fragrance and also is recommended to combine well with Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom & Honey Cologne. I love my new fragrance and am keeping my fingers crossed that they don't discontinue it any time soon!
I found Mark Gimenez books a while ago when I read his The Colour of Law, it had some references to one of my all time favourite books To Kill A Mockingbird. I have since read several of his books and in my ever increasing reading pile was his latest paperback Accused.
I was pleasantly surprised to see he had gone back to the original characters of his first novel The Colour of Law, the one that started it all for me.
A.Scott Fenney is still a practising lawyer in Texas, now for his own small law firm, he looks after his 2 daughters Boo and his newly adopted . He receives a distressing call from his ex wife Rebecca, who left him in the previous novel for a professional golfer - Trey Rawlins, but she is now accused of murdering him and is being held in a police cell in Galveston. Rebecca is now begging Scott to defend her, something he can't say no to as he doesn't want their daughter Boo growing up with her mother in jail and he still has feelings for her. If found guilty Rebecca would be sentenced to life imprisonment. Scott moves his family and associates to Galveston to try and prove Rebecca's innonence and find some flaws in the prosecution's case and some new suspects.
There are plenty of twists and turns in this book and it is fast paced, while it was 576 pages in the paperback version I raced through the book, it is a real page turner and it was also great to welcome back familiar characters.
Although not strictly necessary it is adviable to have read The Colour of Law first to completely understand the references and characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it maybe didn't quite hit the dizzying heights of the Colour of Law but was an excellent read that kept me guessing right to the end. I enjoyed seeing how the characters had developed and would love to see more books about them.
Gimenez is often compared to John Grisham but I think he stands by himself as the author of excellent legal thrillers. Keep up the good work. You can purchase it on Amazon for £2.99 the rrp is £6.99.
The Fighter - A Knockout Film!
The Fighter has had some great reviews and awards buzz so I had fairly high expectations when I went to see it at the cinema. I have to admit I wasn't disappointed!
The film is based on a true story about two brothers from Lowell, Massachusetts. Dicky Eckland (played by an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale) has had his chance in the boxing ring and famously knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, a story that is relived on a daily basis even although he has become a crack addict and a somewhat fallen hero. His brother (or half brother to be more technically correct) is Micky Ward a journeyman boxer who has some talent but lives in his brother's shadow and is always seen as a step up fight by opponents looking to hit the big time. He is managed by his mother Alice Ward (played by the brilliant Melissa Leo) who is a true matriarch in every sense of the word, mother to 9, seven of which are possibly the scariest girls to grace the cinema screen, their hair is back-combed and bleached within an inch of its life and to be quite honest I think you would prefer to come up against Dicky & Micky instead of them. While Alice is the manager, her focus is always on Dicky and you feel she doesn't always have Micky's best interest at heart.
Micky, who is played by Mark Wahlberg, has not much time left to crack the big time and his coach and brother Dicky while a great tactician cannot always be relied upon to even turn up for training sessions. Micky's barmaid girlfriend Charlene (played by the superb Amy Adams) has Micky's best interests at heart and goes head to head with his family (even giving a mean right hook too) to release him from their hold and give him his best chance at a title fight. Throughout the film a documentary film crew follows Dicky on what is thought to be about his potential comeback but really ends up being about his crack addiction.
This film is more than just about the boxing it is about family, relationships and all their ghosts that haunt us. The cast is quite literally superb and I was certainly not surprised to see it nominated for so many Oscars and for Christian Bale and Melissa Leo to pick up gongs for Best Supporting Actor and Actress - both very well deserved. The film has highs and lows and you are taken there with each character. You care what happens to them and there is also plenty of humour along the way to lighten the mood on occasion.
I would thoroughly recommend this film for the engaging performances of a stellar cast, a well made film that leaves you still thinking about it hours and days after seeing it. It deserves all the awards it gets.
Morning Glory has a pretty impressive cast with Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton, Jeff Goldblum and Rachel McAdams starring in it. The film follows Becky Fuller (Rachel McAdams) an ambitious hard working early morning television producer who is all about her job with little or no work life balance at all.
Becky in the opening few scenes is fired from her New Jersey early morning tv job, after a great deal of searching and a certain amount of desperations she eventually lands a job and a huge challenge at a struggling breakfast tv show called Daybreak (ironic eh!). In her first team meeting she has to win over an unimpressed and jaded crew and fire the sexist / lazy co-host, all in the first days work! Her only problem is to then find Colleen (Diane Keaton) a new co-anchor. Becky has her eye on Mike Pomeroy, a distinguished and serious broadcast journalist who is contracted to the network for millions but see's Daybreak as early monring fluff, beneath him and definitely not worthy of his considerable experience or attention. After much persuasion Mike is signed up and Beky now has the unenviable task of keeping him under control while trying to save the show from plummetting ratings and its demise! In between all this Becky find romance in the office and a sympathetic ear with Adam Bennett (played by the very cute Patrick Wilson) who is a network employee and former colleague of Mike Pomeroy.
Rachel McAdams is excellent as Becky she shows passion and tenaccity in the role and while the romance with Adam is very underplayed and in all respects is a by the by. Her best chemistry is reserved for the relationship with Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford) and this is what saves this movie from being distinctly average.
This is certainly not a role i would have expected to see a modern day Harrison Ford, but he is back to his early comedic best and he plays the grumpy news journalist with a glimpse of a heart perfectly. Diane Keaton as Colleen is a perfect foil and they work brilliantly together as co-anchors although not always, if ever, see eye to eye.
This film was an easy going, light hearted comedy. I initially didn't have high expectations and came away from the cinema after and enjoyable non taxing couple of hours. You don't need to think too hard about Morning Glory just sit back relax and let the film wash over you. The film had some top class stars but also an excellent supporting cast who really made the movie, watch out for the weatherman, he had some challenging forecasts!!
This is another book that has been sitting around my house gathering dust. I tried to read it a few months ago got 2 chapters in and for whatever reason gave up. My friend raved about it so I thought I would give it another try.
I had heard a lot of good things about Mark Billingham and his novels everyone raved about his DI Thorne novels, In the Dark is his first novel without his main character.
I have to admit is took me a while to get into the book, the first few chapters jumped around the different characters setting the scene but it felt kind of slow and I felt I had to stick with it.
It is kind of hard to describe what the book is about without giving anything away but also because it was a bit all over the place, well written, but not what I was expecting. In the Dark is a crime novel that follows different stories that are all connected in some way. There is a young couple of police officers about to have a baby with a load of their own problems, when one of them dies in unusual circumstances. There is a crew of drug dealers in Lewisham who live on the wrong side of the law. Some hardened old timer criminals who know more than they are telling and a number of police who have jobs to do and questions to answer. All of these stories are connected and many in surprising ways.
I am still not 100% sure about this book, however I stuck with it to the end as I wanted to know what happened but I didn't feel engrossed in the story and didn't relate or really care about the characters.
Many of the reviews and comments about the book went on about a clever and shocking final twist and while the book had many twists by the end I wasn't too bothered and didn't think it was that dramatic a twist. I was actually quite disappointed by this book which is a real shame as I was hoping to like Mark Billingham's work. Maybe one day I'll read one of his Tom Thorne books but not any time soon.
If you are a Mark Billingham fan this might be up your street it just wasn't for me.
Never mind you win some and lose some, on to my next book.
The book is available to buy on Amazon for £3.98 with a recommended rrp of £6.99.
The Next Three Days is a Hollywood remake of a recent French thriller Pour Ell. The film is directed by Paul Haggis, the writer & director of Crash, the film stars Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks as husband and wife John & Lara Brennan. Their life is turned upside down when Lara is accused and convicted of the murder of her boss, whom she'd had an argument with, a crime she says she didn't commit. However she was seen leaving the scene of the crime and her fingerprints were on the murder weapon.
John, her husband spends the next three years fruitlessly trying to get her released and find new evidence to overturn or explain the existing evidence. However when the many appeals fail the strain gets too much for Lara, she misses her young son Luke and husband John and attempts suicide. John takes matters into his own hands and decides the only way forward is to break her out, but as a Lecturer in a Community College he has very little or no experience of this and needs to learn fast.
He starts his research by meeting with a man who has broken out of prison several times and has written a book on it. The man is played by Liam Neeson in a cameo role that only lasts a few minutes. John maps out an intricate plan which obviously has many complications and obstacles to overcome, which all has to be speeded up dramatically when Lara gets notice of a prison transfer in the nest three days, hence the name of the film. Nothing of course, as can be expected, runs to plan.
I enjoyed this film with its many twists and turns that kept you guessing and hooked right to the very final scene. It is a dramatic thriller with an excellent cast. Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks are impressive in their lead roles, as is Brian Dennehy's performance as John's dad.
In the trailer and posters Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde are advertised but both are merely cameo roles and not in it for very long although they have important parts to play in the story.
If you are looking for an intelligent dramatic thriller that will keep you entertained then The Next Three Days is worth a watch!
One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to read all the books that have been sitting around my house for ages, which there are many I may add, this resolution may take all year to complete but I have to it as I am going to be lost under a pile of books soon. So you have been warned it looks like I will be writing plenty of book reviews this year, second week in and I am on my 4th book, so far so good if only this can last then I may be ahead of schedule!
One of the books in my many piles was One Day which was written by David Nicholls who also wrote Starter for Ten, a friend had given me this book and told me I should read it.
One Day starts on St Swithan's Day the 15th July 1988, don't worry I don't know what St Swithan's Day is either but it is mentioned in the book several times. Emma and Dexter meet on their graduation night in Edinburgh on this day. Tomorrow the rest of their new lives and adventures begin and they will go their separate ways but they have this night together which is the start of a beautiful friendship.
The novel revisits their lives and follows their careers, friendships and loves on the same day (15th July) each year for the next 20 years. Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew are opposites in every sense, Emma wants to save the world while Dexter wants to enjoy it. But from that first day in 1988 a friendship blossoms and stands the test of time and many trials and tribulations.
Each chapter covers a year on and it is a fairly addictive read, as you learn what has happened to them in the intervening year, where they are and all about their ups and downs. It is written very cleverly as it never feels like it stops and starts but flows nicely given the time lapsed between each chapter.
Emma and Dexter are real character, well written and emotionally involving, throughout the book you become firm friends with both of them and like real friends sometimes you love them other times they annoy you.
There are also plenty of supporting characters throughout the book which may make the cut for only one chapter or several and even a couple that make the journey over the 20 year period but that's what makes it real and enjoyable it is just like real life. What I also loved was all the references to each year from technology, marketing trends, TV programmes, etc.
The book is classed as a romantic comedy which I suppose it is but I don't want to put people off with this tag. It is to be released as a film later this year with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as Emma and Dexter.
I enjoyed this book and read it very quickly, as each chapter represents a new year it feels well paced and not drawn out in any way. I kept wanting to find out what happened next to Emma & Dexter.
This is an easy read and would make an excellent holiday read, I would definitely recommend it.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett draws you in to the life of Jackson, Mississippi in the early 60's where there is a deep segregation between the races and the civil rights movement is gaining momentum and where black maids raise white children but often have to put up with appalling behaviour from their white employers.
The book follows three people and the amazing story they have to tell. There's Aibileen who tragically lost her own son but has raised 17 white children and currently is employed by Miss Elizabeth Leefolt. Her friend Minny has her own problems, while she is an excellent cook she's been fired from 19 jobs and her sharp tongue has not helped particularly as she has made an enemy of Jackson's Queen Bee, Benefit Chair and Country Club member Miss hilly Hollbrook. The last is Miss Skeeter, otherwise known as Miss Eugenia Phelan and friend of Miss Hilly. She has recently returned from College to the mysterious disappearance of her beloved maid and no-one will give her an answer as to what happened to Constantine. She is single (her mother is so not happy about this situation) and is a little lost in Jackson living back at home on a cotton plantation and wishing to be a writer.
These three characters come together with the help of other maids in a project that could change all of their lives dramatically. You will need to read the book to find out what happens as I don't want to give anything away.
The book is written throughout through the eyes of Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter, each in their own distinctive voice and about each of their perspectives of the story and how it integrates into the bigger picture. It is so well written that you can easily empathise with each character sharing their joy, tears, anger and sadness. You are transported completely into their world and form a soft spot for each of them.
It is a real page turner that keeps you hooked to the very last of the 464 pages, and I have to admit I was actually sad to see the end of the book. It is not always comfortable to read some of the stories but the book is so well written that it pulls you in sweeping you through a myriad of emotions along the journey.
I couldn't put this book down and read it in a matter of a few days often putting off things so I could escape to Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter's lives and see what was happening to them.
I would thoroughly recommend this book, it transports you to the Deep South and a very different time and way of thinking but you gain friends and a couple of enemies along the way and a great read!
The book costs £3.99 on Amazon with a recommended rrp of £7.99.