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I was on a Blackberry for ages and, after a slight accident (OK....was extremley tired and walking into the bathroom to brush my teeth in the morning, replying to an email whilst walking I dropped it into the toilet after losing my grip on it and trying to juggle it into some sort of safe place like an idiot...) I need to claim on my insurance and get a new phone.
As all the Blackberrys available were touch screen only (I dont mind touch screen but I prefer having the 'backup' of a keypad too) I decided to review the other options. I had heard great things about the Nokia N97 and so decided on that.
The applications on phone are great - on your home screen you can personalise to have Facebook and Myspace streaming live with regular updates and the email as well which updates as and when you get an email (being in a band, its quite helpful really!).
The main problem when you get the phone originally is memory issues. If you do get this phone its really important that the first thing you do is go into your applications on the file manager and DELETE all of the ones you can THEN go into the Ovi Application store - change the settings to save to your downloads to the E:Mass Memory. Then re-download everything you want such as Facebook etc. As well as this, go to your message settings and change that to the same.
You will occasionaly still get memory error messages - you need to make sure you keep clearing your internet cache - otherwise the memory will go regardless.
The phone is very easy to navigate and use the functions, however if you do use your phone for more than the odd call or text, so to look at facebook etc - take a charger everywhere you go. I would charge over night, go to work for 9am and have to put it on charge by 3pm at my desk.
Now, as I said it had applications such as Facebook - however it doesn't seem to be 100% compatible with the phone....I have to 're-boot' my phone quite a bit.
It does seem to be quite 'fickle' as well - I am currently on my 4th handset (in just 8 months) - and no, there has been no toilet accidents - and my current one wont charge. It happened with a couple of my other handsets of this phone where it was difficult to get it to charge as the connection seems to get damaged very very easily. The only thing stopping me from getting another handset.....? I can ow updgrade.......and I am getting a Blackberry......
In overview - it IS a good phone, easy to use and has amazing inbuilt memory (I had about 1,000 songs at one point on it!!) BUT the battery life is poor (especially if you do use it to listen to songs when walking) AND wrap it in bubblewrap!!
I can remember the time as a something year old boy, sat in my room with my Sega Mega Drive. The only way my parents could tell I was still alive was when they could hear Sonic's achievements or the Casio keyboard music of Italia '90.
So, when I heard about the release of this game it was actually enough to make me put down GTA IV and Mercenaries World At War on my Xbox and go out and get it. Looking at the games on this collection; Alex Kidd, Altered Beast, Bonanza Bros, Columns, Comix Zone, Decap Attack, Ecco The Doplhin, Ecco II, Ecco Jr, Kid Chameleon, Flicky, Gain Ground, Golden Axe I, II & III, Phantasy Star II, III & IV, Ristar, Shinobi III, Sonic I & II, Super Thunder Blade, Sword of Vermilion, VectorMan I & II and Virtua Fighter 2.
No, if you're an 'old time' gamer of the Mega Drive years the first thing you will get, in the shop, is the memories - just looking at the game times and taking you back to those times you should have been doing your maths homework, but that all to well known opening sound "Seeeeeeggggaaaaaa" was just too tranquil to ignore.
Once you get it home, out of it's shiny wrapper and into your games console of choice (mine is Xbox, but yes I have played this on not just the PS2 but also PS3...don't worry I have a life outside gaming too!) you notice a few different things at first. 1) they aren't as shiny, graphic gasping and complex as today's games and 2) you remember a hell of a lot more of them than you thought!
Whilst the graphics, game play and general game plots aren't as in depth as today's games, sometimes though this is just what is needed (especially on a lazy hung-over Sunday afternoon). You might also think "Well, when I have all these great shiny games of today, why would I even want to consider playing these old games?". Well, I had similar thoughts, but the chance to play some of these great old games again was just too good to pass up.
With so many years passed since originally playing them, although the surroundings of such games as Sonic are familiar, it's almost like a new game to you. I sat down thinking I'll just play 20 or so minutes of Sonic, then I'll eat. 6 hours later not only was I hungry but I found myself getting frustrated at that damn metal sonic on the last level that has been unleashed on me.
The games are worth getting, not only do you get a silly amount of games for the price, or in some places less than the price, of a game today, there is actually days (or for the 'normal' gamer) weeks/months of game play in all of the titles. It takes you back to that simpler time, you find that you have a hell of a lot more in common with your mates than you thought you had and above all its old school gaming that too many producers of games today have forgotten about. Too many games now have free roaming, and whilst this is good ask yourself, how many times have you found yourself lost and bored in the streets of GTA? Not knowing where to go or what to do. In these games, the outlines are simpler, you know where to go and what you need to do - the challenge in these games is what it should be, not finding where you need to be or what you need to do - but doing it.
This collection of games will keep you, and when you have friends over trust me it is an amazing evening keeping you all, entertained for hours and frustrating you just as much as it did when you were just a wee nipper scratching at your parents ankles for more pocket money to go and get another game.
This game collection has also put me in a bind - do I go and but the 'new' Sega Mega Drive console and head down to Gamestation and buy all those old Sega game cartridges they have...as it closes to the weekend I'm thinking I know what I'll be doing...
Whenever people ask me "have you seen the Punisher sequel?" I always give the same answer "No - but mainly because there isn't one..."
I'll admit, it's a bit of a smart alec answer, however for me - and I'm sure as is for all comic book lovers out there - is an important one.
Before we start - for those that may be new to the Punisher thing - here's a very quick 'tutorial'. The Punisher, aka Frank castle, was an agent with the FBI. Now, depending on which comic/film you read/watch there are some differences but basically his family was killed by gangsters. In the comics, his daughter and wife were killed when they walk in on a Mafia execution in the woods whilst out for a picnic - in the first Punisher film, his whole family (distant relatives, aunts, uncles, parents - also son rather than daughter) who happened to be conveniently all vacationing in one location are killed. This was done by the writer to give the Punisher more 'reason' for the way he was - you know, just in case having your wife and daughter murdered wasn't enough...so, following this he becomes a vigilante (as he now has nothing to live for) and decides to bring down a) the Mafia members that killed his family and b) anyone else that's a little bit naughty and bring the justice to them that the law enforcement cant.
Now, if you were a fan of the first Punisher, or even weren't but thought you'd watch it before this one so it makes sense, my advise is don't. The Punisher and Punisher: War Zone (note it's not actually called Punisher 2 - only in some reviews, some stores etc. but not on the actual film, title or by the directors) are very different films, and there are reasons for that.
It was rumoured that Tom Jane (Punisher in the 'original' film) walked out on early productions or rejected the script because the directors had taken the Punisher away from what he stood for. However, it is not totally true.
The Punisher film was based on Marvel comics Punisher - the mercy bullet, only knocking people out cold almost 'cuddly' Punisher, which was basically kid friendly. But Marvel has another side, a darker side for the 'adult' comic lovers - and it's called Marvel Knights. In Marvel, the Punisher is calm, collected and thought out in his attacks - with Marvel Knights its kill now, ask questions later.
In just the opening scene you get this impression as you see The Punisher hanging upside down from a chandelier, twisting around shooting everyone he can, and also killing someone by putting the leg of a chair through their eye. Now, if you are like me, you will sit there and go "AAAAHHHHHH YEAH!". If not, you may find it slightly gruesome, either way one thing you can probably agree on - is the death scenes are not just awesome, but relatively funny.
If you have watched the other film, you will notice there are also changes in some of the back story - in Punisher: War Zone they have stuck to the comic history of Frank Castle's family and their death. But the premises stays the same, the Punisher is ultimately a good guy - and when he accidentally kills a undercover FBI agent in War Zone, you see a side to the Punisher you don't see when he is wielding his gun or fixing his broken nose with a pencil.
All the while he is off running around bringing down evil single handed, the policy force have a special 'department' for hunting down this unlawful vigilante and bringing him to justice - however, as I'm sure you can imagine this is taken about as seriously as the department ordered to bring down Batman.
Now, in this film - following a chase, one of Mafia members is pushed into a glass-recycling machine, and although he survives, is hideously scarred, especially around the face. Hence, 'Jigsaw' is born who, yes you guessed it, swears to bring down the Punisher. However, before he can do this, he wants to release his brother 'Loony Bin Jim' from the asylum and the go about recruiting a crew.
The film has the usual twists and turns that any action film of its type has - protect the girl, rescue the girl, beat the bad guy, and on and on - but it's the way its delivered. This film mixes comedy (although quite dark/twisted comedy I'll admit) and action perfectly. And Ray Stevenson, as the Punisher, delivers a good performance (although a little put off that he reminds me of Ricky Gervais and keep expecting him to shout "You having a laugh?!").
One thing I quite often judge a film on as well is the all too generally fated 'last line'. If you think about your top 10 favourite films, and think about the last line in that film - they are generally quite corny, cheesy or vomit worthy - however last line of this film will keep you laughing through the credits and closes the film pretty well.
My overall verdict is it is definitely worth a watch BUT don't in anyway be thinking of the first film, or watch it straight after IT WILL ruin the film for you - take it from someone who knows...
I was browsing through the general discussions in speakers corners and happened upon this - I have read a few of the reviews and I'm not going to tell you his life story, club history or similar - I am going to tell you why I respect him as a person and an athlete.
Obviously for myself, especially when David Beckham was just starting out, I had the inherent feeling about David Beckham as many non Manchester United fans of - git. Good looking, good footballer and the rest,
And of course, living in London there were quite a few 'true' Man Utd fans who could explain in great detail why they supported Man Utd because there great uncle's twice removed second cousin's sister's boyfriend once went to Manchester for a 2 week holiday in 1982.
Anyway, there is no denying his talent - even as he is ageing, he is still performning, personally I think at the top of his game. He is quite similar to Teddy Sheringham in the way that no-one really noticed Teddy getting older because he didn't run that much in the first place - he, like David Beckham, is an intellegant player who can pin-point a pass anywhere you want it.
So, my respect for him - and why.
In 1998, a fairly young (23) and still relativley inexperienced, on the international scene, David Beckham had a moment of the 'red mist'. He was fouled by Argentina's Diego Simone, and whilst laying on the floor, in full view of the referee, David Beckham lifted his leg to kick out, and trip up, Diego Simone as he was backing away from the referee defending his foulf on Beckham.
This turned Beckham from the victim to the attacker in an instant, and he saw straight red. With that red card, the face of every English man everywhere turned the same colour in anger, and I even remember myself being slightly 'miffed' - and the Beckham hate campaign started - especially after England lost.
The papers for months to come would be filled daily of Beckham hate, targetting him, watching his every move, waiting for a slip up making it almost impossible for him to go anywhere, or do anything. every stadium he went to was full of boo's every week, every time he touched the ball, every time his name was called, everytime he scored a goal. Every time he so much as touched another player - chants of 'Off, Off, Off' were heard from everywhere.
Personally, I got sick of picking up the paper everyday to the Beckham hate campagin, and I wrote to the paper complaining. That day, a lot of people must have felt the same as the next day, the paper in question had a 4 page spread of people's letters and asking 'Was it time to forgive and forget'?
In the 1998/99 Season, the year of hating Beckham - he played 35 games scoring 6 times. That was only 2 games short of the previous season.
So, all the time he was being mobbed in a barrage of hate - he was out doing his job - business as usual. His head never dropping, his determination never stopping - his love for the game never dying.
He also played 4 games for England.
Hossam Ghaly of Tottenham, about a year and half ago was subbed, and in anger he threw his shirt down at the feet of the Tottenham manager. He hasn't played for Tottenham since. About 2 weeks ago, Harry Redknapp named him on the subs bench - when his name was called boo's filled White Hart Lane from Spurs fans - when he got up to come on - boo's filled White Hart Lane from Spurs fans. Do you know what happened? He put his jacket back on and sat down because both he and Redknapp did not want him going through that.
39 times Beckham went through that in the 98/99 season - and if anything, it made him stronger - and it gained him the respect of so many people - including me.
So in 2000, when Beckham was announced the captain of the England team - I thought 'Yes, he deserves that'. I truly still believe that to this day. He has earnt his England spot, he earnt the captaincy.
In 2002, when Beckham and co. met Argentina again a tear almost came to my eye when he scored that penalty to give England the win.
What it meant to England fans everywhere to get one over on them, and what it meant to Beckham to banish all his demons for good.
People still question whether Capello should include Beckham in the England squad and I hear so many people say no, he;s too hollywood, he doesn;t love the game anymore, he;s not good enough. I suppose, if you don't want someone that breaths, lives, eats and bleeds England then OK no, don't include Beckham.
Unlike the majority of the England squad, Terry, Gerrardm, Lampard, Rooney, Ferdinand, Cole - at least he doesn't presume he'll be in the England squad - at least he works hard for his country when he is there and never shy's away from a challenge or a tackle.
In my opinion, he has been one of the most influenctial people in the Englanfd set-up since being named captain and when the day comes he hangs up his boots will be sad day for the world of football, and every youngster coming into the game looking for a role model.
Dylan Moran stand up presents you with one important questions - is he a comic genius with perfect timing or a drunk irishman with a microphone.
Either way - it's brilliant.
I'm sure those of you familiar with Dylan Moran are also familar with Black Books, and how similar his comedy is to his character in the show - in fairness, he did write Black Books!
For those of you not so familiar, allow me to acquint the two of you.
From the word go, Dylan Moran has you laughing - but you don't really always know why.
His comedy style is, well like I say either genius, or due to alcohol. He seems to ramble on and on saying the next words that come into his head and sometimes, stays on subject.
He tackles some of the great dilemas we all face, the struggle of using a cashpoint at 1 am when drunk, your potential and how you should stay away from it, insults the French, Germans, Americans, English, People and more.
It is the unexpected that is funny with Dylan Moran, when he is talking you sometimes think to yourself "Ah, I know where this is going" and then by the time he has finished it is so 'the other way' you just don't see how he got there but you don't care you are laughing so much.
In the background behind him, he also has little pictures that he has drawn, which are just as odd.
I think he really hit the goldmine when he recorded this one though, as it was recorded at Vicar Street, Dublin - one of the best places on earth for comedy - especially when the comedian is Irish.
This is definately not one to walk past when in the shop, so get it, watch it - you will enjoy it. There is no if, but or hmm - it is a magical show, he is a magical comedian - he is brilliant.
I have spoken :o)
Come with us now on a journey through time and space...
I got this present for my birthday (Sunday just gone) and I promptly put it onto my computer to transfer to my mobile so I could listen to it on the way to (and, I'll be honest at) work.
Vince Noir (Noel Fielding) and Howard Moon (Julian Barratt) are zoo keepers at Bob Fossil's (Rich Fulcher) "Funworld"/"Zooniverse".
The CD contains a few episodes, closely based on the first series shown on TV. Vince and Howard are sent on adventures to all sorts of places, such as the Arctic to find snow leopards and through the jungle to deliver a killer prawn to the zoo of repeat animal offenders. On their travels they encounter many obstacles such as a lonely polar bear and the 'cockney geezer' hitcher, who traps them in a box.
These are the versions written for radio, which were aired on BBC Radio 4 and contains 3 hours of material.
As well as the episodes, it also includes interviews with the Boosh boys giving you an insight into when and how they met and the birth of the Boosh. You can also find out a little more about the making of the radio series.
If you are an already made Boosh lover then this is ideal to add to your collection for those long journeys in the car. There is enough difference between the TV shows and the radio shows to make it interesting and funny still. I have seen the first series of the TV show a fair few times and have not got bored with the radio shows.
If you are new to the Boosh, I would recommend strongly watching the TV series first, as their humour is quite bizarre at times and can come in handy if you already know what to expect and can imagine a bit more what is going on.
I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and I really recommend this to keep you going at work/in car.
One of my friends let me/forced me to borrow this DVD of this 'great new comic' and ordered me to watch the DVD.
That was about 2 months ago...when he came over my house for my birthday on Saturday, he asked 'so, have you watched it yet?'.
No, I hadn't - actually it was still in my boot from when he had given it to me.
So we (well he) decided we were going to watch it there and then - determined to prove a point that this guy was funny.
Russell Howard is another comedian that has got his name about a bit through Channel 4's 'So You Think You're Funny' which goes to show that if you are actually any good - you might just get somewhere off of the back of it!
Since then, he has been on TV quite a bit on shows like Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Would I Lie To You and Live at The Appollo, which until recently was hosted by Jack Dee.
To be honest, when it comes to comedians I am pretty much set in my way of following Jimmy Carr, Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran and Jack Dee and not really allowing anyone else to amuse me in the slightest...however this little skinny Bristolian messed it all up as I thought he was brilliant.
From the word go it is like someone has pressed the on button located at the back of his head and released him from where he has been on charge for the last 72 hours.
It is amazing the amount of energy as he almost runs around the stage in excitement trying to say everything that is in his head at once almost seeming like his head is going to explode with jokes.
There is a fair amount of random comments that do come out from Russel Howard - but they oddly never seem too far out of place.
What I like from most comedians I am into, and he is the same, is that a lot of his jokes are made up of observational comedy and or events that have taken place and looks to point out the funnier, more obvious and at times ironic side of the item.
When I did start watching this, it did dawn on me that I had actually seen him on an episode of Live at The Appollo a few weeks before - at the time I thought - yeah, would make quite an effective support comedian for a more established act - however, after watching him in more than a 20 minute slot, it has really changed my mind about this guy - a definate must see and laugh!
The Big Bang Theory is an American sitcom that has hit UK viewing through E4.
Physicists Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki) share an apartment together and spend the majority of their time arguing between themselves and with friends and co-workers Howard (Simon Helberg) and Rajesh (Kunal Nayyar) about all sorts of scientific theories, and also looking at ways to destroy each other through the powerful world of Gears of War etc on the X-Box 360.
When Penny (Kaley Cuoco) moves in across the hall, it causes all kinds of trouble for the 4, socially awkward, sexually shy, intelligent men are faced with trying to impress and even just talk to their new attractive, female neighbour.
Rajesh is so shy he is unable to even talk when Penny is in the room.
It is a fantastic sitcom, which also manages to re-unite Johnny Galecki and Sara Gilbert who appeared together as boyfriend/girlfriend in Roseanne.
The humour mainly features on the 'nerdiness' of the characters and features some great jokes with over-used language on a very simple sentence and sometimes too informative. For instance, Leonard saying to Penny:
"I just know that moving all day can be stressful and I just thought that good neighbours and some Indian food might be just what you need... plus, curry is a natural laxative and I don't need to tell you that a clean colon is one less thing to worry about. "
Another example for me of the fantastic writing is the character Sheldon. He is possible the most self-obsessed, inconsiderate person you could ever think of meeting who never says anything right at the right time - and yet, you still love him and could never say a bad word to or about him.
For most, I think this is a 'glimpse' into how the other 'more smart kids at school' live their lives and just what their lives might be like and you can't help but notice - under all that education and well spoken ways - we're all just the same nervous kids looking for a good ride in life and love.
This sitcom is definitely going to take off soon - it is currently in it's second series and I have a feeling it could be started again and put on Channel 4 soon but I would take this opportunity to snap it up on DVD.
It is truly a cleverly written fantastic comedy -and it has every thing you need from a comedy - a great story, brilliant characters, and hilarious plots/jokes
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is the bizarre rise to fame of Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly) as a musician.
After accidentially killing his brother, Dewey flees home, marries young, and has children.
Sounds like a familiar story, except when he does marry and start a family I think is about 15 - but 12,13,14,15 and so on year old Dewey Cox is still played by John C. Reilly and the comedy genius writing of Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan really pull it off.
Dewey gets his break on the big stage when he asked to support Buddy Holly and Elvis - but ends up having to follow Elvis so he can get out earlier.
It's no looking back from there and we are taken on the very bizarre rise to fame of Dewey and are let into the life of a true rock and roll star with his bedded 411 women, 3 wives, 22 children and 14 step-children, prison and rehab.
Dewey's journey also see's him link up with The Beatles Paul (Jack Black), George (Justin Long), John (Paul Rudd) and Ringo (Jason Schwartzman) - honestly worth it just to see these guys impersonate The Beatles!
It is a silly comedy in reakky every way imaginable, but also throughbly enjoyable. It's almost Spinal Tap meets Anchorman - would definately reccomend.
I usually don't read that many books - and when I do, autobiographies are not my automatic choice.
However, with Gordon Ramsey's autobiography, Humble Pie, I was finding it difficult to put down.
I was bought this present for Christmas, and on a quite, cold, hung-over Boxing Day I decided to start reading it.
I am not a very quick reader, it normally takes me about 3 or 4 weeks to finish a book. Humble Pie however, took me about 4 hours to finish. When I started reading this, I could not put it down.
The style of writing, again something I normally steer clear of, was as if Gordon Ramsey was sat across the table from you, telling you it all. Similar styles I have found is in Catcher in the Rye - which I just couldn't read.
I have always had respect for Ramsey following his Kitchen Nightmares show where he helps failing businesses turn everything around. Almost like a more masculine food version of Gok Wan.
When I had finished reading his book, my respect for the man went through the roof.
He gives you a great insight into his life growing up, his many family issues, a failed football career and getting into cooking. He also takes you in full detail through how he got to where he is today - and who he had to screw over (get his own back on?) to get there!
It is pretty much widely reported that Gordon Ramsey's brother is a drug addict, and you find out almost the full extent of what Gordon and his family have been through with him since his teens.
You also see another side to Gordon Ramsey in this. He has always come across in his shows as a bit of a family man, but you see the deeper extent of this in the book.
It really cracking story of how a man that nature seems to have always wanted to put down and was determined would not become successful got past all of his, and his families demons and refused to die.
This really is something that once read, will make you sit up and take stock of everything that's important in life.
OK - so following on from my other review about the theme park - I thought I'd write seperately a little about the hotel.
As we were having 2 days in the park itself, it seemed like a sensible idea to stay in the hotel that is right on the addmission gate (pretty much).
We arrived at Chessington WOA for the morning, and although we couldn't check in to the hotel until about 1pm, they were happy for us to be able to park in the hotel car park - which made things a lot easier as the car park to the theme park is manic!
When we checked in, it was easy enough. Gave our name only and they found the booking very quickly with no problem - you have to let them scan either a debit or credit card for any bills you might runup, and then you get your key.
So, off to our room. We booked a family room as there were 4 of us in total - 2 adults a 7 year old and a baby.
The room was very spacious and lovely. The main part of the room had a double bed for the adults, and about 2 minutes after getting into the room, a porter arrived with the cot we had reserved.
There was enough room for the cot next to the bed, and enough space to still walk all the way around it.
The room was equipped with a lovely wide screen flat TV, which you could also gain access to the internet on. It had some standard Sky channels, and also movies on demand.
The movies on demand though, are the same price as it costs to buy the film in the shop so it may be worth taking a portable DVD player if you have one - there is room on the screen to put it in.
The bathroom was also very spacious, bath and a shower.
Now, this is the bit I really liked. From the main part of the room, you head down the hallway, past the bathroom and then to the left, the rooms goes off a little bit. Now, in this little section is two single beds and another flat screen TV on the wall. This is the kids bit, and the TV has a seperate link up the TV signal, so hey don't have to watch what you are and visa versa.
This is lovely as our eldest was so taken back by a TV in his own room we hardly saw him!!
We enjoyed our days in the park, and the evening retired to the hotel for dinner.
Now, this is the only bad thing I have to say about the hotel. The evening buffet was not nice. It cost around £17.99 per adult and £11.99 per child. At first, I was overjoyed by this as I am a buffet king. For some reason, it takes aruond 6 plates of buffet food to fill me up - so I was happy to pay the money.
However, the food was not nice. What wasn't overcooked was undercooked and as for the taste, I can only assume that they had mistaken the dog food for the human food and put the wrong lot out. The other problem was when we complained, we were met with a very arrogant manager who clearly was too big for his own boots, and we complained in the morning to the hotel manager, he was a lot nicer and very apologetic. We weren't there to make a scene, we just wanted to make it clear that it wasn't nice.
So, in the end I ended up having mainly burgers and chips from the buffet.
Hopefully it was just bad luck, beacuse everything else in the hotel was excellent.
After our dinner, we made our way to the bars balcony section, from which you are at the back of the zoo and can see it over the way - which is quite relaxing.
The hotel is also equipped with a swimming pool, which is easily accesable and a good swimming pool with good changing facilities.
The hotel is defnately a very nice place to stay and good value for money. It (mostly) has very friendly staff, who never make you feel like any request, how small or silly, is unwelcome.
My star rating would have been more if it were not for the night manager, but hopefully he has now had the operation to remove the stick from somewhere special...
I have always been a huge fan of Chessington World of Adventures. I was taken there every year by my Mum when I was younger, and so was my sister - although it was mainly just a zoo when my sister was really young.
So, now I have kids of my own, when we started talking about theme parks - for me, Chessington was my hands down choice.
We went a few times with our, now, Eldest from when he was around 4 or 5 - and he always had a really good time. We welcomed our second son at the end of 2007 so we waited until the summer of 2008 to go again as we thought he'd be OK - for all accounts - he was fine.
So, our eldest son's birthday is in September, so for his birthday we decided to book two days in Chessington and a night in the hotel, just outside the exit.
If you are planning on going with the kids, I would really recommend doing what we did - as it meant we did not have to rush around everywhere. The other bonus to this as well is that Chessington opened their doors at 9am - however the rides don't start until 10. So you can go round all the other bits before the crowds get there. We were able to wonder around the new Sea Life centre without having to worry about being hurried along as it was just us in there. The day before when we considered going, the queue was all the way round the corner - at a guess, would have been about an hour and a half to get in - at which point you wouldn't have been able to see anything!
Chessington have seriously done some work on their zoo as well recently. You can now go 'underground' and poke your head up in the middle of an animal's pen - obviously your head is inside a plastic bubble so there is no worry to you getting seriously hurt! There is also an enclosure you can walk into and you have little monkeys running around you - I actually had one run over my shoe, it really is amazing.
The great thing, I think, about there being a zoo is that it means you have something to do after lunch when you are waiting for your lunch to settle and not have to worry about throwing up over everyone underneath the Bat Ride.
There is also a great selection of rides that suits all ages, and also Chessington have some very good things in pace for parents with young children. For instance, if you happen to have a toddler you queue up as normal for the ride, when you get to the front, one of you goes on the ride whilst the other parent stays with the toddler. Once the ride has finished - you swap places - so there is no need to queue twice -w hich I really think is an amazing idea!
Like I said, there are a fair few rides you can go on as a family - like for instance, The Bubble Works. This is a personal favorite of mine where you are taken round a water track in a round boat to the tune of happy workers, now working in a rubber duck factory, where as before it was Professor Bubble's soda factory. They also have the 'classic cars' which is quite a relaxing time for the parents, and for the children - it is an oppurtunity to 'drive' Mum & Dad round something other than the bend.
Those that may have been before, will notice one difference for sure. the circus is no longer there. However, they have done well with the space for kids. This is now Dennis the Menance land and has bunper cars, a ball park and a couple of other things. Every thing in it as well is pretty much right out of the comic. Our eldest had wet hair from the fountain, so my other half asked him to go and dry off using the dryer on the wall. I came back over and asked - "Hey, where is Ethan going?". I was told, "Oh he's off to dry off on that hand dryer" - at which point I instantly knew - "Oh, the hand dryer on the wall that is going to soak him?". It surely did.
It's not a big worry if you do get soaked at Chessington on any of the rides though as they have a lot of places get dried off - for real. They have these huge 'human dryer' things that you just stand in and it blasts you with warm air.
There is much more than just rides at Chessington though, we also got a lovely family portriat done. We dressed up as cowboys - and wench - and had an old fashioned photo done. It's not overly excssive either though. I think it was around £40 for us to have 3 copies of the picture and a key-ring version so it was pretty good value.
One word of warning however, the 'family rollercoaster' is not for those with young families!! They have basically combined a rollercoaster - with the magic tea cups. There are 4 seats to every one 'pod' - 2 on each side. Now, it spins faster or slower round and round dependent on the weight ratio on either side. Whilst it is doing this, you are taken round a roller coaster track that goes fast, sideways and upside down!! I don't really like roller coasters, and my other half actually has to bribe me with the Bubblework, but this is a very good ride - one I would recommend if you do like roller coasters.
One ride to definately miss out though is the Rattkesnake. Not really scary, not really fast - just gives you a sore neck as it jolts around!
As for the hotel, it is a lovely hotel with a brilliant idea of family living! You have the main bigger room with the bed for the parents, with a flat screen TV and on demand movies (which are very expensive! You can plug a DVD player in so maybe take one!) Then, you walk down the hallway, past the toilet and the room has another section off the left separated by a little wall - which has 2 beds for the kids and their own flat screen TV on a separate link so they can watch kid's channels whilst you relax! I have written more about the actual hotel seperately on it's own page.
I thoroughly enjoyed the last time at Chessington a lot more than usual, as I had so much more time to take everything in and go on each ride at least twice!
I would seriously recommend a visit and a stay in the hotel - my only word of warning, don't have the evening buffet at the hotel - it is not nice!!
I'll be perfectly honest with you upfront. Not many films confuse me. There aren't too many where I'll have to have a real think about what just happened or sit hapily watching a scene knowing exactly what's going on, only for the last 3 seconds of it to confuse the hell out of me.
This one, well it kinda did. But, please please don't let that sway you away from this movie.
The Nines features Ryan Reynolds who plays 3 different characters - and really, they are different. Each seem to have ultimately the same goal and feature the same people in their lives - just all in different ways...
As the film goes on, you find out just what The Nines are, and their importance to everything.
I really would recomend this film to anyone and everyone - it tuly blew me away.
Word of warning though - do NOT drink much (or smoke you naught pot heads ;op) before this film as you'll end up probably confused to hell - and also, if you're going out of the room even for a 'quick wee' PAUSE IT!
You'll thank me later...
This one though does come high of my recomendation list as it is a truley great film that gets you thinking and really involved with the film and as you start to understand more, you start to get more engrosed.
We headed home from our New Year's Eve celebrations at about 1 / 1.30am - having a baby to get back to tends to make you leave earlier, especially when the other 'alfs Mum has stayed up waiting!
So, because he knows we've had a few to drink and that we just want to chill out, have a couple more and then head to sleep, the baby is of course having a terrible night and wont settle down well.
So, as we're awake, we decide to order a film from box-office, and as the baby is asleep - why not a horror film to finish off the evening.
It is a classic story of American teens going to some sort of party, on this occasion their proms and there being some sort of maniac there trying to kill someone.
And of course, what classic American teenager death film would be complete without the classic "Oh good the front door, no wait...the stairs leading up to where there is no escape - that's a much better idea!" from the ditzy woman trying to escape being hacked into a thousand pieces.
All in all - not the best, it's been done many a many a many a time before. Don't pay for it - if you really have the incling to watch it here's what you do:
1) drink lots
2) wait for the TV to show it for free/borrow it/steal it (kidding!)
3) watch it and be midly entertained as you would by any other film of the same
4) state 'it could have been better'
I think I covered everything...
Peace out until next time :o)
I went to see this with my eldest son, who is 7, at the cinema when my other 'alf was pregnent with our youngest.
Just like when I am preparing to watch any childrens film I looked through our DVD collection at home before leaving looking for a film I remember enough to be able to play in my head for and hour and half.
However, with this film - the pause button was used in my head for my choice (play was resumed later in the evening for conversations) and I sat actually enjoying this film.
Horton (Jim Carrey) is an Elephant in a jungle who teaches some of the children animals about the jungle and the surroundings.
One day, he hears tiny, tiny screams coming from a spec of dust which is flying in front of him - and so, he gives up what he is doing to give pursiut to try and catch it before it meets doom.
Once the spec is saved by Horton, he soon realises there is a whole community living on the spec - and he becomes friendly with the Mayor of Whoville (Steve Carell).
Horton must battle again jungle conditions, mean kangaroos and animal 'hitmen' as he takes upon his venture to place the spec in a safe place and save the world of the Who's.
Now, although this is not one of the best kid films about - it definately does not compare to Shrek (1,2 or 3), Wall-E etc for entertainment to adults - it is still worth a watch (if you have kids) for the pure fact that it keeps the attention (or did mine anyway) of the kids for the durartion of the film, and is fairly entertaining for Jim Carey and Steve Carell teaming up again (Bruce Almighty for anyone wondering).
Although I have said that it did seem to keep the attention of my eldest for the duration of the film, he also has not spoken about it since, nor did he request it in his, what I can only describe as autobiography, to Santa for Christmas and so I would say it is one for renting, not buying.