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m_illie

m_illie
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Member since: 10.01.2012

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      15.03.2014 17:21
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      Good exfoliating gloves

      I've been suffering recently from very dry skin particularly around my forehead and hair line, but also on other random parts of my body like at the ankle, probably due to the change in weather. Its really uncomfortable and something I have tried numerous exfoliating scrubs to get rid of. I know exfoliating gloves are primarily made for the body because they are quite rough, but I tend to use them briefly at this hairline part as I seem to get such tough skin here that scrubs and a flannel won't fix. I wouldn't recommend using them anywhere else on the face though, unless you want a pretty sore face. At Christmas I bought a pair of exfoliating gloves from Boots to try a new method of exfoliating. The pair I bought are a white pair, although I have also seen a blue option available for sale also. Looking back I probably should have opted for the bright blue pair actually as they have gotten a little mucky due to the dead skin and the creams I've used when wearing them.

      To use you simply put on the pair of gloves (I recommend putting them on dry as its easier) and then rub the area in little circles. This can be a little sore if you go over the same area repeatedly, but its a necessary evil for me to remove the dead skin. I think its very easy to remove the skin and its a pretty quick process. I haven't had to use any exfoliating gels with the gloves as the gloves and water alone have proven to be an effective means of removing the dead or dry skin. After using my skin feels very soft (if a little red) and is very smooth to the touch.

      The gloves cost £2.69 which is a very reasonable price for something I use quite regularly and get a lot of use out of. I think they are a good quality product as they have lasted a long time and are still good as new once washed. The gloves are machine washable so they're very easy to get clean once again.

      I would recommend these exfoliating gloves, especially because of the price, but also because they are a high quality useful product to have. They are fast acting and always good at removing dry skin, as well as helping to alleviate things like a coming in-grown hair which I have once used to attempt to prevent.

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      • Nestlé Aero Bubbles / Chocolate / 37 Readings / 37 Ratings
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        13.03.2014 21:30
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        Tasty mint chocolate

        Aero Bubbles are one of my favourite types of chocolate and to my dismay shops seem to stock them far less often than they used to, or only in the share/multipack variety. They are a round version of the typical Aero chocolate, which is a mixture of milk chocolate and mint typically found in a bar shape.

        When I first tried Aero bubbles half of the bubble would be a pale green and the other brown, and this would be the same inside once taking a bite, but more recently I realised the inside is now entirely brown. I'm not actually sure how much this affects the taste as I don't recollect there being a mint and chocolate taste distinctively. Recently I have noticed in the chocolate and sweets aisle a new variety of this flavour in orange. I haven't yet tried it and I'm not quite sure if I like it as I am quite hit-or-miss with chocolate and orange (except in Terry's Chocolate Oranges which I love) but I thought it worthy of note. The taste is very morish, as is the format which I can easily find myself eating one after another due to the shape and size of the 'bubbles'.

        In the small and larger variety I think a good thing about this quality is the amount of 'bubble' pieces you get to a bag. Its actually quite a lot, particularly compared to the shrinking size of chocolates these days and the great lengths distributors appear to go to to sell you less for the same price. The price of a small bag of Aero Bubbles is usually 60-80p although like I said I haven't been able to buy it in this size for a while due to the lack of stocking in this size, so I'm unsure if it still within this range, but based on similar items I imagine it is. I have to buy the share pack (although I'm hardly complaining because I really enjoy the chocolate anyway, but I digress) which is typically £1.50 in most supermarkets when I have noticed.

        I would definitely recommended these chocolates as they are a tasty treat with a relatively unique taste. The size of each bubble is great to eat and like I said almost invites you to keep eating. The size of the small and large pack is great for a quick treat for yourself or to share with others, although at present I'm unable to even find the smaller pack, which I hope doesn't mean they are no longer stocking it temporarily. The price isn't cheap but its what I've come to expect from chocolates now and so is what I have to be willing to pay.

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          10.03.2014 17:33
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          Great tasting light yoghurt

          I have found myself buying Muller Light tubs a lot more recently because I've tried to settle into a pattern of eating more healthily and they are also on offer when I buy them so are never too expensive either. They are very convenient to eat as you simply just peel off the foil lid and dip in, so I can have them as a quick breakfast, snack or on the go if I've got a spoon with me. This is ideal as I often skip breakfast or snack on crisps throughout the day when I later feel hungry.

          I like this flavour as with vanilla and chocolate you can't really go wrong. The flavours work together well and have a more luxurious taste than what you might expect of a low fat product. The consistency is easy to eat and thick and creamy tasting. The ratio of chocolate is also quite good as I didn't really expect much due to the fact it was so low in fat, but there was plenty mixed in. In general the taste is quite sweet and rich tasting.

          The value for this product is pretty good. As I mentioned earlier, I can often get them on offer and as I have taken to buying online as I can't drive and the supermarket is quite a distance its very easy to take advantage of Asda's 10 for £3.00 deal as I don't have to worry about carrying them all the way home, not to mention the deal being very good value for money. This deal is a significant increase on Tescos 5 for £3.00. A single tub is 165g which is about right for a portion although I actually find it looks quite large compared to other similar products so it feels as though you get more for your money. Muller Light comes in lots of different flavours so its possible to mix and match with other flavours, although this one is my favourite.

          I would recommend this as its a yoghurt I enjoy and is a high quality, good tasting product. It can often be bought on offer which makes it worth its price, which individually is about 68p. It contains 0.5g fat (0.3g saturdated) and so is great for those who are looking to eat more healthily.

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        • Oasis Summmer Fruits / Soft Drink / 46 Readings / 46 Ratings
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          04.03.2014 19:17
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          Great tasting drink

          Recently I've been trying to have less Diet Coke because it has become apparent to me I drink far, far too much of it. I figure the most successful way to achieve this is to substitute it with lots of other drinks so that I don't also create a habit with these new drinks also. One drink I have always enjoyed, and have replaced my Diet Coke drinking with is Oasis. Oasis comes in two flavours which I just call the red and the yellow colour, but they are actually summer fruits and citrus respectively.

          I happen to like Summer Fruits more because I like berries a lot and the fruit from concentrate within it are strawberry, cherry and redcurrant, plus apple. The colour too is very appetising, with a very rich red colour that is dark enough to suggest flavour and not too light to suggest it is mostly watered down. Oasis though a soft drink isn't necessarily a drink I would consider wholly natural either. The fruits within are concentrate like I said, and the sugar is 4.6g per 100ml. This isn't so bad when you compare it to another drink like Coca Cola however is 10.6g per 100ml.

          Oasis comes in a slightly different bottle to most fizzy drinks. I tend to struggle with the lid a little as it is quite wide and I only have quite small hands so its a little difficult getting the grip all the way across. Another problem is that when the seal does break a little the bottle almost collapses because it is quite a thin plastic, and so I sometimes spill some of the contents on myself. It comes in two quantities, an ordinary 500ml bottle, and a larger 1.5l bottle. The cost of the smaller bottle is between £0.80 to £1.00 and the larger is normally £1.50-£2.00. I don't normally spot the larger bottle in most stores, and have only really seen it in big supermarkets, which is a little annoying as I would probably purchase it more often if it was more widely available.

          I would recommend Oasis because it is a tasty, refreshing drink that is a nice alternative to the many fizzy drinks available. The taste is very thirst quenching, and I normally have to slow down my drinking as I tend to just chug it down in one go otherwise. The price is what you would expect for a drink of its size, and it is about average really, although more often than not it is more expensive than Coke in most places I have visited. It is a very light drink that is as close to squash as I can get when I'm out on the go and looking for something to drink.

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            23.02.2014 21:05
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            An effective drain unblocker

            Recently the water at the bottom of my shower wasn't emptying fast enough and was pooling around my feet. It meant that if ever I moved a big swish of water followed and a wave would pour out onto the floor. Not only is this dangerous because it was wetting far enough out of the mat's reach, but it could also leave some water damage because so much water was spilling out. After about two weeks of this I decided enough was enough and went to Wilkinsons in search of a plughole unblocker. The section I found was only very small and the three variants were this, a cheaper white bottle from the Wilko brand, and a Mr. Muscle version. I was planning on buying the store brand version but the size of the bottle was a little misleading even though it was 300ml also, it just felt a lot emptier and I felt safer buying this option instead. I think another thing that lay in the back of my mind was I really needed this to work first time and wasn't sure if the Wilko version would be a little more watered down and weaker.

            Anyway, so I ended up purchasing this in a nice black bottle with blue writing and imagery. The front cover of the bottle listed what it claimed to do, from breaking down hair to stopping slow draining water which were my main issues with the shower. It was £3.30 when I bought it last week so this is the most current price for it. As mentioned, the carton is 300ml which I first I worried wouldn't actually be enough. It seemed a little light and I thought what if it all simply pours down immediately as I wasn't sure of the consistency. Once having poured it down the drain however it pooled in a little soapy formation in the pipe and I could see it going to work. I left the door open to my bathroom in case it suddenly steamed up the room and because of the chemicals involved, but it didn't create a bad smell or do as I'd feared anyway. I left it in for around half an hour before coming back to check and running some water and the problem was totally gone, the water no longer collected and was draining away easily.

            One thing I think worth mentioning is the corrosive quality of the product. It needs to be obviously to dissolve any hair stuck in the pipes, but a bit naively on my part I actually applied this barefoot and got a little bit on my foot. I rinsed it for a while but there was still a bit of a sting. It does specify on the bottle to keep out of reach of children and that it is corrosive, so be careful.

            I would buy this again as the price is reasonable for its effectiveness and it was very fast acting in my opinion. The store brand version I could have chosen from was £2.00 which is quite a significant drop, but I was happy with the results I got regardless. The quantity was the right amount for what I needed, but in future I would probably buy two bottles as they are good to have around in case any issues arise.

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              20.02.2014 23:24
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              An effective headache painkiller

              I suffer from headaches quite often and end up with quite a heavy blocked feeling head that feels quite tight, particularly behind the eyes or just above the ears. I have trusted Nurofen for many years now, having used a lot of their products in the past, but more recently when I was in my local pharmacy I asked the woman behind the till if she could recommend something specific for tension headaches and she offered me this. Previously she had recommended a type of vitamins for me to use that worked a treat, so trusting her opinion I bought a pack of this.

              The thing you want most when you are suffering from a headache is relief. This means you ideally want a very fast acting medication that can get to the problem quickly and sooth any pain. These tablets tend to work in under an hour in my experience, and last for about 5 hours also, unless I happen to be suffering from quite a severe migraine, in which case I take a second dose. They advise to take one or two every four hours, although I usually stick to one and find them quite effective. My main reason for doing this is because it helps the pack to last a little longer, which is important as I like to make things go further. The pack contains 12 caplets which are not too large and fairly easy to swallow I find. However, due to the fact I take medication for another ailment daily I'm quite used to taking medication anyway, so don't often use water to help. I think a bit of water for those who find swallowing caplets difficult would make these very easy to take.

              A pack costs £2.69 in boots for 12 caplets which is quite reasonable for a branded product, although I spent around £2.90 as it was from an individual chemist and they tend to be a bit pricier. I don't think there is a huge difference between this and shop brand pain killers, although it was effective enough and warranted the recommendation. I have seen it in my local supermarket, as well as the two pharmacies I have listed, although I'm not entirely sure if this was just good luck, or whether all supermarkets stock this specific version for headaches and migraines. I am often a little skeptical of these types of pain killers verses the store brand versions as in my experience there isn't a great margin between them, however it did the job and fast so I consider it a good product, not to mention it is quite cheap compared to some other pain killers. It was effective and quick working, easy to swallow and very useful to have, so for that reason I would definitely recommend.

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            • Defendor (DVD) / DVD / 63 Readings / 60 Ratings
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              19.02.2014 17:36
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              A different kind of superhero

              Perusing my Netflix account I happened upon this film which I had never seen a trailer, review or even heard of before. The name suggested to me it would be some kind of action film and despite this genre not typically appealing to me, upon noticing Woody Harrelson in the cover image I clicked open the link regardless as I tend to enjoy his films and so I thought I would give this a try. As expected, it was a kind of action film, wherein the lead Arthur 'Defendor' Poppington (Harrelson) is a quite poor and relatively ineffective vigilante superhero who by chance finds himself closer to solving his most serious case of Captain Industry, a man he believes to be a super villain but is in fact a drug lord working in cahoots with a corrupt police officer.

              The method of story telling is mostly through flashbacks, with Arthur sat on a sofa in custody recounting his efforts to capture Captain Industry to his psychiatrist played by Sandra Oh. It is clear from these conversations that he is a little uneducated and perhaps also a little naive. In fact, the purpose of his expeditions and his life work even have evolved from a misunderstanding between he and his grandfather wherein what was described as his mother leaving due to the captains of industry, is interpreted by a young Arthur at the time to be an actual villain. This method confuses time a little as it actually occurs in the middle of the story as events occur later on following this discussion. Though a nice effort in telling the story in a more inventive way, it wasn't entirely necessary to interject the story with this, as flashbacks alone would probably have done, and would have been less confusing at first.

              Set and costume design were both fairly good throughout the film. The design of Arthur's superhero costume, a simple set of black clothes he has taped in grey duct tape at the wrists and ankle, as well as a large poorly written 'D', are comical and sweet, suggestive of Arthur's personality. His hidden lair is particularly interesting. There are bits and pieces everywhere of interest, that all demonstrate his quite complex personality in a way that talking wouldn't do. They really crafted his personality well and everything you need to know about Arthur is within his home. 'Angel' whose real name is Kat, (Kat Dennings) is a down on her luck prostitute who also enables his character growth and the interaction between the two is sweet, almost in a motherly sense despite the age difference. For example, she looks through his comic book collection and finds a first edition copy, which she intends to sell before returning back and changing her ways, in quite a cliche sense. This action alone demonstrates how the relationship between the two was important for both of their sakes, as well as portraying how Arthur developed his sturdy morals of good and bad from reading comics at a young age.

              The film is quite violent but mostly in a light hearted way. For example, when confronted by a group of large men out to attack him, Defendor releases a small swarm of wasps he collected from the nest he has stored back in his lair. It was quite a witty but ridiculous method of escaping, and again helped to show Arthur's more childish side. His weapons are all mostly made by himself, other than his club he has from his grandfather, that is revealed to be a WWI weapon in a conversation with a sympathetic police officer who lets him go early on in the film.

              The story was relatively good but I do feel it could have been better. There was a lot of potential but something was missing, particularly in dialogue. Due to the nature of the film, it is easy to make parallels with Kick Ass, but whereas that had wit and humour, Defendor sometimes felt a little flat and not fleshed out entirely. Also, the action is quite slow and drawn out at first, and the balance between emotional and dramatic scenes with action is a little too weighed towards the former for my tastes (though this was intentional on the part of the director), despite the film ultimately being about a super hero. This made it a bit frustrating at times as I suppose my expectations were a little too high. Overall however, the sweetness of Arthur and the relationship with Kat was interesting, and the story though a little basic, was still relatively fun and easy to watch.

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            • Skittles Sours / Sweets / 56 Readings / 54 Ratings
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              17.02.2014 21:35
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              A sour version of Skittles

              When I was younger I didn't really like sweets and much preferred chocolate. As I have grown older though I have started to enjoy the sweets I used to think were only ok and find myself wanting them more and more. One of these such sweets is skittles. I more usually eat the original flavoured Skittles that comes in a red packet, but from time to time I do like to have the sour version as its nice to try new things.

              Sour Skittles are as the name would suggest just a sour version of ordinary Skittles. They come in a crunchy brightly coloured shell attached to whichever flavour they happen to be. The flavours are Grape, Lemon, Strawberry, Orange and Apple. My boyfriend assures me they are distinguishable flavours but I personally can never really tell the difference and tend to eat them in groups of a few colours anyway. You can taste a difference between them, but I never seem able to actually work out which is which when they're in my mouth. The sour flavour isn't exceptionally strong, unless you eat a significant amount of skittles in one go. The sour taste is pleasant and sweet, and works well with skittles due to the small shape and size, so you get just the right amount of sour.

              The cost of Sour Skittles depends on the size of the bag you happen to purchase. There is the ordinary size which is around 60-70p and a large share pack for £1.50. I say this a lot about confectionery but I am certain they have recently reduced the size of skittles packets. The shape is definitely smaller and there are fewer skittles to a pack. You do tend to get less air in the packet though as they dont simply fill it with air, and so it is a tighter fit.

              I would recommend Sour Skittles as they are a pleasant treat to have for Skittles fans. The quantity is about right, but you can always just fold over the packet if you are done eating, and as they come in a shell they stay fresh for a long time anyway. You can buy them in corner shops and supermarkets also in their sweet aisles or sometimes beside the till. I have been able to buy both the smaller size in both places, but it is sometimes more difficult to find a share packet as Sour is less popular than the original flavour. The price is also good and they are very easy to nibble at as a nice treat.

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              • Heathers (DVD) / DVD / 64 Readings / 61 Ratings
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                14.02.2014 16:01
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                A light hearted black comedy, if that was possible

                Heathers is one of those films you often hear referenced, sometimes in conversation though rare, or more likely in tv shows or other films. It has a semi-cult following and is an atypical high school movie somewhat comparable to the Breakfast Club. There is plenty of bitchiness, angst and unexplainable friendships despite quite clear disdain for one another. The film stars Veronica (Winona Ryder) who has assimilated into the most popular clicque in school, the Heathers. So named as the three of them are all quite conveniently called Heather. They are led by queenbee Heather Chandler, whose position allows her alone to wear a red, a motif that is played upon throughout the film.

                Acting wise the film is ok. It is a black comedy and as such there are random instances of imposed jokes, but other than that it is mostly funny incidentally, when quite ridiculous things occur or events turn sour. Winona Ryder is her typically self, and acts in her own self styled way that she appears to act in almost all of her films. She is somewhat similar to her role as Lydia in Beetlejuice, which is ironic as the actor who stars as a recurring priest is also featured in that film, although this film came after. Christian Slater who plays J. D., the rogue kid who moves from city to city featured in almost every teen movie, was quite hit or miss. There were times were I actually fast forwarded through his dialogue as I found it awkward and clumpy, but that was mostly when he alone spoke. Later in the film as he took on a more significant leading role his character made more sense and those awkward moments began to explain themselves. It was one of those cases where if he is acting that way, then he is excellent, but I fear it was just poor acting.

                There were quite a few unexplainable things in this movie that annoyed me, as they so often do. Having been a teenage girl myself (well, I still am for another few months) I understand some people's need to be popular, but not at the expense of being miserable every day and going so far as to write in your diary how you wish your 'friends' were dead. I suppose this made sense in the dynamics of the film, but it annoyed me regardless. Furthermore, Veronica's decision to stay with J.D. when he became increasingly more volatile made little sense to me as they attempted to portray her as a powerful, independent woman. If you take the perspective that she has simply been caught up in the moment in a kind of Bonnie and Clyde-esque scenario this is somewhat more explained though.

                One thing I enjoyed about the film was subtle moments which were very clever. For example, there were two scenes were Veronica spoke to her parents that followed the exact same format, with the words only slightly altered, to demonstrate her quite mundane home life. Perhaps this sought to explain her desire to be with J.D. who offered a more spontaneous, risky way of life. Later they characterised her parents a little better by giving them a longer talking role each, although they still were for the most part quite inconsequential, but this was intended. The 'devious' plans of J.D. and Veronica were quite well thought out too, and clever in a 'eureka' sense. I missed the explanation of a later plan however and so either this was intended and it did unravel in quite a shocking way, or else we were supposed to know what was expected to happen and have to watch in anticipation. Either of these were effective in keeping interest and clever from the director.

                I did quite like Heathers, but I must say this kind of film is just not really my thing. The comedy was infrequent and for the most part the film was quite ridiculous, although it made up for it by those moments actually being subtle moments of genius (the bedroom scene with J.D. and Veronica being one example of this). The acting was effective enough, portraying the three Heathers as ambitious air heads, and Veronica as the bitter poetic girl who for some reason chooses a life that she happens to hate (perhaps just to have more things to complain about, as it seems she enjoyed this despite having created much of it for herself!). Christian Slater, like I said, was probably the weakest actor, which was annoying as his character played quite a significant role, although I appreciate it was difficult for him to convey his character in a subtle way at first for it to suddenly then dawn on us the worrying reality. Its difficult to really create a good high school movie I think, probably mostly because what seems like confusing behaviour is actually quite realistic behaviour from people at that age. I would advise you not to expect a lot from this movie, but it is still mildly entertaining and very easy to sit through.

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                • Good Will Hunting (DVD) / DVD / 54 Readings / 53 Ratings
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                  12.02.2014 15:48
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                  A surprisingly good drama

                  I have had Netflix now for about 4 months and it was only really in the last month or so that I realised I actually wasn't using it that much considering the amount I was paying for it. Up until then I'd only used it to watch TV shows, so I decided to look for some films to watch instead. There are some films that you hear people talk about often, especially ones that win academy awards, and that was probably the main reason I decided to click and watch this film.

                  Based on name alone I'd assumed the film to be a fairly mushy, idealistic romance drama about hunting for 'good will', hence the name, but after a few minutes of watching I realised my quite rookie mistake and that the name was actually much more obvious, the lead's name is Will Hunting. Will (Matt Damon) is a rough and tumble genius from Boston who peruses through life looking for fights with guys in bars, and solving unsolvable maths questions in famous movie scenes.

                  The acting is particularly good in this film, even if I found the accents to be very strong and a little parodied of the Boston accent (saying that, I've never met a real life person from Boston so perhaps it wasn't so bad to Damon who is actually from Massachusetts). There is a slow progression where we learn more about Will in time with Sean, his therapist (played by Robin Williams in one of his 'serious' roles). Their chemistry in particular is excellent, and the father-son style dynamic they had was intriguing as well as endearing. They don't suddenly lay it all on you in this film to make you feel sorry for Will. If anything, despite the tragedies in his life, namely his childhood, we are made to resent his spoilt-brat attitude, particularly when best friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck) lays into him for his laziness at not attempting to better his life when he among all his friends has the best opportunity at doing so. Will is often prone to treating others as if they should value his company, particularly his childhood friends, who despite his genius treat him just like anyone else. He talks a lot at first of growing old in Boston, that is until he realises he was made for something more. Sean is another interesting character who we learn about throughout the entire film. His marriage is that mushy romantic type I'd worried the film would centre around, but long gone in the past. He is troubled like Will his patient, and this leads to many arguments and revelations between the two that if done in any other way could have been ridiculous for how cliche they were (the scene I'm referring to here is the quite infamous "Its not your fault" scene). The acting and dialogue was what made it however, and these scenes though frustrating, kept my interest throughout.

                  The 'look' of the film is also interesting. In particular I really liked Sean's office, which was designed to look like the inside of the real technical college it was based in in Boston. There were sentimental and personal artifacts all around, ones that were never even mentioned at times and so sat there as though they were part of someone's personality on show. The film didn't rely on obviousness or spoon feeding its audience which I liked, so paintings and books in the background were flashed across screen, telling us director Gus Van Sant wants us to notice them, but not screaming out exactly what that message is.

                  However, there are some instances of obviousness and where the film doesn't seek to be discreet, especially in its plot. There are no sudden twists and everything is tied up quite nicely, although we never do find out what happens to the (sometimes)happy couple, but that doesn't necessarily need to be answered. They don't suddenly bang out a shocking twist which infuriates the audience, but equally it doesn't baby you and I didn't find it to be all that predictable either. The only frustrating thing in the film is Will really, as much like a friend you might have in real life, he seems to resort to the easy option instead of something challenging and risky. The film if anything is Will learning to get past this and to acknowledge his gift rather than use it as a method of picking up women in bars.

                  I would recommend this film as it was surprisingly interesting. It is positive and invoking, but also complex and very human. The acting is probably the best feature of the film, but also the dialogue is very wordy and heavy in a way that makes you feel like you are there standing in the room a midst their frequent arguing. Even lesser characters such as Will's girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver), and two other non-best friends, have a perhaps in shaping his character. There is nothing meaningless or to fill time in the film which I appreciated, and it felt like everyone was gearing him towards a life changing revelation, which he did experience but in a subtle way without screaming about it. Typically I don't enjoy dramas as they leave me having learnt nothing or without having experienced anything new, but in this film something makes it feel valuable and worth watching again.

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                  • Nestle Cheerios / Breakfast / 47 Readings / 47 Ratings
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                    10.02.2014 18:06
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                    Tasty breakfast cereal

                    I always find myself snacking throughout the day and attribute this to my forgetting to eat breakfast most days so I still feel hungry later on. I'm currently on a mission to eat breakfast as much as I can and before I'm in that routine, I'm sticking mostly just to your standard cereals. I only ever buy Cheerios or Corn Flakes really. They are quite plain, wholesome cereals that I've enjoyed since I was young. I don't really like to put things on my food as I usually don't like the taste, so sugary cereals or the Cheerio with honey flavour isn't really for me.

                    Cheerios have a slightly sweet flavour that is still tasty without anything added to it. They come in small hoop shapes which begin to soften in the milk of your bowl, but usually not too much so there is still a bit of crunch which I like. There are four different types of wholegrains which I think I can taste, although I'm sure if they were all the same flavour but in different colours I'd trick myself into finding a non-existent difference.

                    The price is usually dependent on the size, and there tends to be two varieties I've seen, a 350g version and a 600g version. I have no real preference as to which one I buy, although when I buy the 600g I find this too big to fit in my cupboard and so have to pour out into a box to store away and keep fresh. The larger option is around £3-4 whereas the smalle one is around £2.50. I don't think this is that expensive, although a store version would definitely be cheaper. But I find Cheerios to have quite a distinctive taste and so I prefer to buy the Nestle version.

                    I would recommend this as it is a tasty breakfast to have and one that has served me well for years. The flavour is strong and quite sweet, but not sickly so, and the texture is moist but with a nice crunch to it also. The price is reasonable compared to other similar named brands, and I do think you get value for your money.

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                  • Cadbury Crunchie / Chocolate / 55 Readings / 54 Ratings
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                    07.02.2014 23:00
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                    A tasty different kind of chocolate

                    Crunchies have always been a chocolate bar I have enjoyed. The feel very typical of what a chocolate bar should be. The shape and size is perfect for dipping into when you feel like to have a quick bite, and you can just fold over the foil outside to keep it fresh for later. The wrapping is very appetising and all those years ago when I first tried a Crunchie, was probably the reason I picked it up at all. It has a nice gold shine to it and purple edging to echo the Cadbury logo which is also positioned in the top left hand corner. The ends of the wrapping are very easy to rip an so I tend to open up a small triangle, and open it from the fold from them, trying to open as little as possible as I have seen the effects of a left out Crunchie, and it isn't exactly appetising.

                    The typical ordinary sized Crunchie bar is about the length of my palm which is quite long for a modern day chocolate. Every time I find myself in that chocolate mood in my local corner shop, the size of each sweet and chocolate seems to slowly shrink with every visit. Perhaps its life's way of telling me to eat less chocolate. There are also miniature versions which come in multipack selections, the kind you get around Christmas, which are probably a bit more adequately sized as that's how much I tend to eat in one sitting.
                    The Crunchie itself contains milk chocolate and honeycomb throughout the middle. The milk chocolate glaze is the perfect thickness so that you get a good amount of both flavours, and neither overpowers the other which would make it too sweet for my tastes, or too dry. Together they have a moist, chewy taste that is perfect for the occasional treat. I do find it a little difficult to finish because of the consistency of the chocolate, as my teeth tend to hurt if I eat too much of it and the Crunchie especially has this effect.

                    The cost of a Crunchie varies depending on where you buy it, but for me it is usually 60-80p, although my shop is quite expensive. For what you get that's not too bad, although I do tend to prefer chocolates that have kind of portions, like the rows on an Aero, as it guides me how to eat it and makes it seem like your money has gone further. You can buy them pretty much anywhere, from supermarket to corner shop.

                    I would recommend as the taste is excellent and it is quite a unique combination I enjoy. The wrapper and chocolate itself are both appetising and often encourage me to buy just from looking at it across the selection of chocolates below the till. If I am buying a chocolate bar, I often act on impulse, and so the appealing nature of the wrapper is especially effective. The taste is the most important thing though, and the honeycomb and milk chocolate, especially the composition, is very tasty and is something I will continue to buy.

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                    • Ye Olde Oak 8 Hotdogs / Meat / Fish / 68 Readings / 67 Ratings
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                      03.02.2014 17:32
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                      Tasty hotdogs

                      From time to time I buy a tin of hot dogs so that I can use them typically in my lunches by either having proper hot dogs in rolls, or chopping them up into small chunks and putting them in a pasta salad. I'm not entirely sure if that sounds particularly appetising, as hot dogs (particularly the tin kind as opposed to the sealed packaging kind) are often like marmite, and people have strong opinions either way. I happen to really enjoy them, but they are definitely something I only eat occasionally. I don't eat value range meat products, mostly out of habit as my Mum never bought these either, so that only really leaves this brand for me. Luckily, its one I happen to enjoy and so I purchase either this variety, or the 'American style' product, which is essentially identical but the hot dogs are a little longer in size.

                      The packaging is a little different to the main image here, and is a quite rich green colour with a picture of piping hot hot dogs once cooked. I don't find it that appealing, despite enjoying hot dogs myself, simply because its very difficult to make a hot dog look that appetising really, as the colour is quite matte and brown. It is a pull lid which I prefer to tin opening kinds, as my wrists are too weak to wrench at my hand operated tin opener, and I find I spill the brine on myself which isn't a very pleasant experience, especially as the brine smell isn't one I happen to enjoy.

                      The tin contains 8 hot dogs. This is usually a bit too much really, as myself and my partner only really use half the tin, so I have to come up with other recipes. I have left the remaining hot dogs in the brine before, but that involves trying to measure out half of the brine to keep them fresh, and have enough to cook the others in. Instead, now I just cook them all in one batch and refrigerate the others once cooled to use in another meal throughout the day or the next.

                      Cooking is very simple. You simply pour out the contents of the tin into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for around 5-7 minutes. This means this is a product you can have as a quick snap as the time it takes to cook is usually about the same time it takes me to chop some onion and slice my rolls in half. Its all very easy to do and is nice when you're feeling lazy.

                      The ingredients don't exactly make for the most attractive list. They contain quite a few E numbers, as well as 55% chicken, an unspecified amount of pork, and some salt, herbs and flavouring.

                      The product is very cheap, at around 50-70p depending on where you buy it from. The contents are obviously not 100% pork, and so long as you are aware and ok with this, then its an excellent product for those who like the hot dog taste. The texture is smooth and there is a nice consistency, although they can burn if you heat them too high, and I tend to just cut off these parts as it comes away very easily from the rest. It is available in most supermarkets in the tinned goods aisle and so is a perfect case of an impulse buy for me, when I see the tin and just fancy having them. I would recommend them, but only for those who are assured hot dog likers, as like I said hot dogs are often a polarising food.

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                      • The Cabin in the Woods (DVD) / DVD / 73 Readings / 73 Ratings
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                        28.01.2014 23:56
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                        An interesting take on horror

                        In search of a good film to watch I was reading lists of the best horror films according to year recently and in many of these lists, the Cabin in the Woods came top place. I didn't know much about the premise of the film prior to watching really, I thought it was about a big brother scenario where the horror aspects were shown publicly like a reality tv show. I wasn't quite off, but the film was certain to throw in many twists and turns, making it wholly unpredictable.

                        The film surrounds five friends who go on vacation together to one member of the groups' cabin owned by his cousin. We find out later on in the film that this character, Curt, played by Chris Hemsworth of 'Thor', doesn't actually have a cousin he says in passing, but that must have just slipped his mind when he was handed the keys to this already furnished reclusive retreat out in the middle of nowhere. One by one they are targeted by a surveilance watching government-type body, who we receive frequent cut-scenes to as they endure an office party 'wherever' they are stationed. They offer a lot of comic relief, and I thought the Gary, a high-positioned manager within the company involved, was particularly good and played his role very effectively, having a subtle arrogance as a career man, as well as fear at the 'unknown', the part of the film that is carefully hidden away from us until the final third.

                        The horror aspect of the film is slow and unwinding. It doesn't really totally begin until everyone is at the cabin having settled in for their stay, and the relationships between the characters as well as some brief characterisation has occurred. This was slow and drawn out I felt, and not really fleshed out. For example, the effective lead, Dana, mentions quite off-handishly in the beginning what I assume was an affair with one of her teachers at university and this is never really touched upon again, and so I don't really understand its inclusion at all. Perhaps it was a justification to get her to agree to the trip, but I think something more reasonable would have sufficed. There are also other instances where things conveniently happen, much like the cousin incident. Jules (Anna Hutchison) has recently dyed her hair she explains, a point which is later poignant when it turns out this has been tampered with by the film's antagonist. I obviously look into films far too much, but when could this have been done without her knowledge, or how could she have gotten it from someone who had already done so.

                        These conveniences can be forgiven if you interpret the film as a kind of satire of the horror genre which as it went on I found myself doing. The gore and violence near the ending is excessive and seemingly unending at one point. A barrage of stereotypical villains from the nurses in Silent Hill, cenobites, a tooth-faced ballerina, zombies, and an illustrious mermaid, all fill a small contained space and commit a spree of murderous rampage, so that by the end of it the room is entirely covered in blood. It could have been a grotesque sight, but the sheer speed of it all made it so ridiculous that it was almost humourour instead, hence my opinion it could be satire. In the same vein, the characters all represent a cliche of sorts, a virgin, jock, 'whore', intellectual, and fool, a horror film token that is used over and over. This film utilises this in quite an ingenious way however, but its presence is still important. For example, the jock and promiscuous character find themselves wondering the woods in search of sex in the outdoors, a scene where the audience always seems to find itself screaming 'don't do it/go there/he's behing you' etc. Its quite overdone, but the plot of the film manages to explain away this so that it seems worthwhile rather than just plot filler.

                        The best thing about this film is its lack of predictability. It uses all of the cliches and tried and tested methods of ordinary horror films but in a new and clever way. I can't say it was that outstanding in my opinion, but I can also recognise why others would view it as such as there was nothing inherently wrong either. The twist is a shock, but it is also so unrelated that it is arguably a bit annoying that they take such a strong veer away. Though, once it is revealed, you can put together all of the subtle pieces from the earlier parts of the film so it makes sense.

                        The acting was ok but that's all I would describe it as. It depends really, if the director was instrument in making the actors portray their characters as they did. For example, Curt, the jock, was a little boring and didn't really do much other than pop out and in at convenient times when needed, and this was either because Hemsworth was told to act this way, or he was just doing a very basic job at characterisation. In the same way, Holden, the intellectual, goes from a quite suave cool guy at first when flirting with Dana, to suddenly wearing glasses at all moments in order to portray his stereotypical nerdy personality. Unless I missed the justification, I struggled to understand this sudden change. The interaction between the characters was also very different. At times they looked to be quite a close, tightknit group, particularly Marty (the fool) and Dana in the later scenes of the film where there is almost a tension between them as they fight off the film's antagonist. However, there are also times when the group is very quick to just make Marty a pariah, wanting him to leave or no longer being interested in him at all, without any real explanation. One that I can presume myself is the anxiety of the events are supposed to lead to a conflict between the characters, although it is only realised between Marty and the rest.

                        I didn't hate this film but it isn't one I'd go running back to watch again any time soon either. I think because of the nature of the twist, once you know what it is, much of the interest is gone, and to my shame I can never watch a film without reading the synopsis beforehand, so perhaps that just made me lose out on the jumps and turns throughout. It was good as a horror film, but also quite satirical, in a clever and subtle way. There were moments were things were too excessive and too stupid really, where I don't believe ordinary people would behave that way or act like that, that made it difficult for me to really engage with it. On the whole though, it is worth watching, even if just that once, as it is an interesting take on the genre, and attempts to take it somewhere new. I would probably rate the film itself upon first viewing a 4/5, but because it did not fulfill the high expectations it gave me, I'd give it a 3.

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                        • Maniac 2013 (DVD) / DVD / 65 Readings / 65 Ratings
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                          23.01.2014 16:22
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                          Excellent remade horror film

                          I accidentally found myself on an Elijah Wood marathon of films when having watched around 4 in the last week I suddenly came to the conclusion he had been in 3/4. He's not an actor I would necessarily label one of my favourites, but equally I still find him a very provoking and successful actor nonetheless. As I perused my Netflix albums and found myself in 'Psychological Thrillers', I saw the title and thought what better title could convey exactly what was in the film and so it proverbially spoke to me.

                          The brief description explained that this film was a remake of the 1980s cult slasher film with the same name. It included the same lead, Frank Zito, and essentially the same premise also. Elijah Wood plays lead character Frank, a troubled and emotionally fragile man whose life and thoughts are perpetually concerned with the mannequins he works with and his relationship with his mother. It has all the hallmarks of your cliche, overdone psychotic killer, but something is different in this film. Elijah Wood is excellent at conveying the subtle tendencies of Frank, from his fumbling of words around women when asked what he considers to be embarrassing questions, to his full blown mania when everything spirals totally and completely out of control. The film is an exaggeration in every sense. The slasher genre is really utilised, and so though it arguably relies on gore and shock tactics, it is still a kind of parody of such films which made it much more invoking in my opinion.

                          Not wanting to give away the entire plot of the film, Frank, by chance, happens upon a photographer with a liking - verging on obsession - for mannequins also. Has Frank finally found his soul mate with an equal blood lust and myriad of delusions concerning mannequins however? Not so much. Anna, played by Nora Arnezeder, the French photographer of whom I speak, is a caring but ultimately naive woman. She befriends Frank, most likely out of pity, but ignores his quite obvious signs of delusion and paranoia. She encounters him one day when he has a panic attack of sorts, not having taken his migraine medication and just brushes this off as acceptable behaviour when he runs away grunting, clutching at his head in agony. This seemed a bit too accepting in my opinion, not necessarily his actions there but when putting this together with his other bizarre behavior, and is one reason I struggled to ever really connect or understand her character.

                          Much of the film is filmed from the perspective of Frank. Typically this is one film format I absolutely hate, I find it too shaky and disorientating and don't think it adds enough to the film to warrant this, however in the case of 'Maniac', it does. There are moments when viewing through the eyes of Frank I felt a little disturbed. When he was particularly rough with women or moments before their death, it was almost as if you were the one committing the acts. You are only able to see Frank in this part of the film through brief glimpses of his reflection, a way to suddenly remind you of this good-guy-gone bad baby faced Elijah Woods was the one perpetrating the acts. This is one thing that almost disturbed me about the film, but it was excellent in a cinematographic sense. One thing I thought was exceptional about this technique is later it replayed events from the film, but from an outward viewpoint so we were now watching Frank. Moments that seemed like subtle glances in the middle of conversation were actually complete staring and lusting at Anna for example, Frank with his entire body turned towards her as she tried to watch a film. It was shocking to suddenly realise how unsubtle his behaviour had been, and a good trick from the director I think. This does however go back to my point of Anna's naivity, at her just being able to ignore a man she met within the past week staring at her every move and facing her for the duration of a film smiling.

                          The music was excellent and had a clear 1980s influence, clearly referencing its 1980s original. An array of synth and prog rock perfectly backed the sequence of events and I think was a very important part of the film. At times the style reminded me somewhat of the score from A Clockwork Orange, particularly as it mirrored the music playing at times of evil in a regal, powerful manner. There is even a scene that includes Q Lazarrus' Goodbye Horses, the song used in the famous Buffalo Bill scene of 'Silence of the Lambs'. I found this creating a panto 'he's behind you' moment for me, as you knew something bad would soon occur.

                          This film is probably my favourite horror film of 2013. I found myself thinking back to disturbing moments of the film even days after, but not in abject terror, but with appreciation that it had had such a great effect on me. It was definitely creepy, and Elijah Woods was also definitely excellent, but the plot and style of the film were what stood out for me. I am not a huge lover of horror films, but I also don't shy away from them, but this wasn't just a typical horror film. It was hugely gory, but because it was indeed a slasher film and so this was actually a method of demonstrating this, rather than just laziness from the director. Its not often remakes are as good as the original, but this film is.

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