- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
This book was loaned to me from my sister as she knows I like fantasy books. This one is certainly different from those I've read before.
As I've mentioned this is a fantasy novel. Based in the modern day, it has a very dark age twist. Imagine, if you will, life as we know it turned upside-down, when ancient beliefs and gods once again dominate the Earth. All modern technology, including electricity and mobile phones have been destroyed and Man must go back to farming to stay alive as the shops fall empty, apart from the looters, hoping something has been left behind. The Christian Church is under threat and mysterious creatures roam the streets, attacking at will. Salisbury Cathedral offers the only hope for those who still have faith and the Knights of the Templar are reinstated to help fend off the creatures, which pound the cathedral walls night after night. The Christians look on in terror as a "fabulous beast" circles overhead, breathing fire, whilst a group of pagans tap into the Earth's natural energy and recapture the magic our ancestors would have held so dear. Can normality be restored? And has mankind learned its lessons?
The story begins with Mallory as he journeys to Salisbury, where he's heard that the cathedral is allowing sanctuary to those willing to help reinstate the Church. Despite being a non-believer, there is one thing Mallory does believe in - self preservation, and is willing to do anything to stay alive. He is a complicated man who is reluctant to reveal anything about his past. I can't really say too much about him without giving away the plot.
===Ease of Reading===
I have to admit I found this book quite hard to read at times. Even the first few pages I had to read over again, as the image of orang-utans with the faces of children baffled my mind. The chapters are very long and I found myself in a battle with the book. I wasn't overly interested in what happened next, but was not going to be beaten! As Magnus Magnuson would have said, I'd started, so I would finish. Chadbourn isn't an author I'm familiar with, but his writing style is certainly one of detail. Although it wasn't an easy read, he certainly transports you to Salisbury and you see all the weird and wonderful creatures thought up by the writer.
I am not a religious person, but I did feel, at times, the book was very "anti-Christianity" whether that was intended or not. Some of the issues tackled in the book, including sexuality, leaderships and death are taken to quite a graphic level, which can be uncomfortable to read. The book does become slightly easier to read as you progress through the pages, but I feel the ending - which I won't reveal - is both confusing and disappointing. If you enjoy fantasy novels and feel you would like something a bit different to the usual kingdoms of long ago, then I would recommend you give this a try. I wouldn't suggest this book for those under 15 really, owing to the challenging and sometimes disturbing nature of the plot.
Priced at £7.99, this might be one to consider if you're heading away for the weekend.
Also on ciao
Just to clarify, I am reviewing the spray on version of this product.
I have always liked Dove products and if I see their deodorant on special offer, I will stock up, regardless of which fragrance it is. As I had not tried this one before, I thought "why not?"
Like all other Dove sprays, this has a slight, what I call, high waist, which enables you to have a more comfortable grip on the can. However, if you've got wet hands, expect to part company with the can once you go to use it!
I have to say, this is not my favourite scent from Dove. Just named Beauty Finish, it doesn't claim to have any particular smell. To me, it is a mixture of talc and roses - rather old ladyish in my view. It is quite a strong smell too, which does linger wherever you've sprayed for quite some time. Admittedly is does tame down with time, but I find it can interfere with my perfume choice.
Yes, I'm sorry to say the dreaded white marks do appear with this deodorant. A good 10 minutes after using it, I put on a black T-shirt, only to find white marks all over the top. So, not a product to reach for, if you're planning on wearing that little black dress to an important occasion.
===Claims Made By The Product===
Beauty Mineral Enriched - apparently these are meant to "enhance the natural look of the skin". I have been using this for a few weeks now and I can honestly say I have noticed absolutely no difference in the skin under my arms.
One Quarter Moisturising Cream - This is a major part of all Dove products and I must say, my underarm skin does remain soft when I use this product, just like when I use their other deodorants.
24 Hour Protection - I may be missing something here, but for me, it only works for a couple of hours, when I need to re-apply, meaning I have to choke on the intoxicating fumes again! So this falls a long way short of the 24 hours it claims to keep you dry for.
===Use After Shaving===
Being alcohol free, this product is fine to use after shaving. There is no mad hopping around the bathroom where it stings, in fact, it feels quite cooling after shaving.
I normally pick mine up when the big 250ml cans are on half price offer, or two smaller cans, 150ml, are two for £3. Normally a 250ml is about £3.44 in Tesco or £2.99 for a 150ml can. The roll on comes in around £2.
Owing to the lack of protection and horrible (in my opinion) smell, I would have to say no unfortunately. It does leave your skin feeling soft, but as I previously said, I can't see any great improvement to my underarms through the minerals that are in the product. The white marks are also a big mark against this as I do wear a lot of dark clothing and the last thing I want to do before leaving the house is to perform an emergency white mark removal.
Sorry Dove, but I shall be returning to other fragrances from you in the future and leaving the Beauty Finish to glam up the shop shelf.
Also on ciao
I have been a fan of Ant and Dec since I was 11-years-old, although the obsessive fan in me was put to bed when I was around 14 or 15. I didn't rush out to get this autobiography when it was first released as I've never really been into autobiographies or biographies and only received it as a present this last Christmas.
====About the Book====
The book follows the Geordie duo from their early childhood auditions and how they got into showbiz, through their Byker Grove and pop days through to the light entertainers we all know today. It comes across to me that they are almost embarrassed about their pop days, which to the young girl in me who spent her pocket money on their singles, feels a bit insulting, as let's face it, without Let's Get Ready to Rhumble, they almost certainly wouldn't be where they are today. I know I'm going against the grain there in finding a fault in the book, but I have to speak my mind.
I have heard many people say they find parts of the book "boring" as they didn't know Ant and Dec were in Byker Grove or had pop careers. I have to disagree with this point. The book is written from the heart and all of the stories told help you to have a greater understanding of the pair and how they've risen to their position on the television. For me, the point of an autobiography is to learn facts about a person that you didn't know before and this book will certainly help you know more about Ant and Dec. I never watched Byker Grove, but still found their stories from their time on the show interesting.
They do share some comical moments and a few tender ones too involving their other halves, whether current or past. There are some lovely photos dating back to their childhoods through to the more recent events in their lives.
====Highs & Lows====
One lovely aspect of the book, is that it's written exactly the same way that the boys speak. There's no "tidying up" to make it the written word. It truly is their spoken words and you can hear them bickering in your head at times. There are several laugh-out-loud moments.
The unusual format of having a dual autobiography does work in this case, as most of their lives have been shared so closely. To make it easier for the reader, all contributions from Ant are in italics, with Dec's in normal print. However, I did notice a couple of occasions where it was obvious who was "speaking", but the wrong font had been used!
One point that does wind me up throughout the book is the Americanised spelling of words such as organised, which is constantly spelt with a "z" instead of an "s".
If you are expecting scandals and kiss-and-tell stories, I'm afraid you will be sadly let down. Ant and Dec remain true professionals throughout the book and don't reveal anything of that nature.
Yes. I would say anyone who likes Ant and Dec would enjoy this book, regardless of what point of their career you discovered them. It isn't just a book for the girls either. The book really portrays them both as blokey blokes, which I think men would enjoy. For £7.99 this would make a great holiday book. I also believe everyone can learn an important lesson from the book; grab every opportunity that comes your way - you never know where it might lead!
Also on ciao
I have bought Bonios in their various sizes and flavours for my dog ever since he was a puppy and in all of those 13 years, I have never known my particularly fussy dog to turn his nose up at these biscuits.
==What are Bonios?==
Bonios are made by Purina, so straight away, you have reassurance that this "should" be a good product, as Purina do have a good reputation. Each Bonio biscuit is shaped like a 3 inch bone, with BONIO printed down the centre - other bone-shaped biscuits don't do this!!
The distinctive red box cannot be missed on the shop shelf. The name "Bonio" is very clearly visible along with a Basset Hound with big, "please give me my Bonio" eyes! "The original" is also on the front of the box - this lets you know what flavour you're getting. Information on the back of the box contains ingredients , a bit about Bonio, a bit about Purina and also HM The Queen's crest, showing it has royal appointment. And if it's good enough for the royal corgis....
Brandy (my dog) has two of these with breakfast and two as a before-bedtime treat. Being a Retriever, he falls into the over 30kg feeing guide, which is four per day. This drops to 2 for dogs over 17kg and just the one for dogs up to 7kg.
I can pick up a 1.2kg in Tesco for £2.98, which I don't think is too bad, especially as they're so well received when I get home. You can get them at pet shops loose, where you can also mix and match with the other flavours available, but this does tend to be more expensive.
I just have to say "would you like" and he's there! He's at the cupboard, barking, tail wagging. And he can count! He knows how many he gets and won't sit down to eat them until he has them both. There is never a crumb left when he has his Bonios. If I run out and forget to get more in, in time, he does sulk. So I can honestly say he loves them.
Anything that my Brandy enjoy this much gets the thumbs up from me. For me, there is the added bonus that Bonios contain antioxidants, wholegrains and helps to clean his teeth. It even states on the box that they can help to keep dogs' teeth and gums healthy.
The box says "keeping tails wagging" and I couldn't agree more. Try them on your dog and see what he or she thinks.
I am a huge fan of the River Cottage series, both on screen and the books.
==About the Book==
"Preserves" is the second handbook in the River Cottage series and contains everything you can think about to give your fruit and veg a longer life span. The book is written by Pam Corbin, or Pam the Jam, as she's known on the River Cottage TV show. This lady does seem to the Queen of Preserves and is incredibly knowledgeable as to what will and won't work when making a jam or marmalade. If the thought of making your own jams fills you with fear, then this book should really help to put those nerves to one side. It is not just a recipe book, as it has information as to what equipment you will need, how to sterilize jars and bottles and how to store the finished product. The "Rules" section is vital to any would-be jam maker. Of course, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a say in the book, with the introduction written by him, before handing of the rest of the book over to Pam, who talks you through seasonality of fruits - complete with a useful table of what fruits are available when - how to set up and then into the recipes. Don't be deceived into thinking this is a book just about jams and marmalade though- oh no! Preserves also covers making oils, sauces, ketchups, alcohol, fruit leathers, pickles, chutneys, relish, the list goes on and on. Towards the back of the book, there's a directory outlining where you can buy equipment and a very comprehensive index.
As I've mentioned, there's much more than just strawberry jam in this book, although, of course, there are a couple of versions of this favourite in there! The recipes aren't just for fruits and vegetables; there are suggestions for nuts, wild herbs and flowers. All of the recipes are introduced with a bit of history and each recipe is nicely laid out and is very easy to follow. Many of the recipes are offered up with variations, giving you even more possibilities for your gathered goodies. There's also no need for guess work as to how much preserve you're going to make, as at the top of each recipe it gives you a guide as to how many jars/bottles it will make and what size jars/bottles you will need. There are sure to be ideas for everyone and if you grow your own fruit and veg, there's bound to be inspiration as to how you can prevent a glut of goods from going to waste. Whilst some of the recipes can look a little daunted with several ingredients, others only have two, so you can start simple and grow your confidence before moving on to something more challenging.
There is some lovely photography throughout this book, really showing off the finished product, the process or the main ingredient in its natural state. Everything looks really tempting, even a shot of empty jars sparkling in the kitchen makes you want to grab a spoon and get cooking.
This book is just packed with inspiration. Whether you have been making jams and preserves for years or never tried before, I think you will definitely find a new idea or two in this book. Fruit leathers for example, intrigue me. They involving a drying process as well as sugar to create a sheet of chewy, fruitiness. I am yet to work up the courage to try this, but I'm itching to give it a go. Pam is obviously very passionate about preserves and her enthusiasm jumps of the page and carries you along into the world of jams and more. I think this book would be a welcome addition to any kitchen where cooking is a passion or for someone who's looking to try something new in the kitchen.
The RRP is £14.99 but there is no need to pay this. Ordering through a site like amazon.co.uk will see the price drop by half!
Also on ciao
Having grown up right opposite Pevensey Castle, I feel I should write a review on it.
Pevensey Castle can be found in the historic village of Pevensey, East Sussex. The castle is actually two castles. The outer walls were built by the Romans in the 4th Century, whilst the inner walls were built under the order of William the Conqueror.
Sadly, much of the original stone work has worn away over the years, with just a crumbling shell left. To access the Roman castle, entry is free as a public footpath runs right through the grounds. You can see where the gate house to the west used to be and archaeologists have unearthed Roman baths towards the north walls. The eastern gate is probably the most impressive part of the original castle to remain standing, with a grand arched opening leading you from the road through to the grounds, or indeed out into the village of Pevensey. There isn't really that much information dotted around the grounds telling you about the history of the site, which is a shame, as I am sure when it was built, it would have been a grand site to see. These Roman walls have a much more modern threat these days. Lorries still pass through the villages of Pevensey and Westham and with the main road right next to the walls; the lorries sometimes scrape the walls, damaging them as they go. There has been a lot of protest against this in recent years.
After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror gave Pevensey to his half-brother, the Count of Mortain, who ordered the construction of Pevensey Castle. (There is the Robert De Mortain pub over in Hastings named after him) William had previously used the castle as shelter, having landed on the beach of Pevensey Bay (some argue it was Norman's Bay just a mile or so away) before marching to victory over King Harold. Before the conflict, the then Duke of Normandy had his army construct a dry ditch inside the west gate wall to provide some protection, should they be attacked whilst saying there. The original walls were kept as an additional strong hold and bailey, with a wooden structure - the basis for the new castle - being constructed around 1100AD.
Most of the Norman walls are still standing. The remains of a moat have been left in place, with a "draw bridge" leading you across to a mighty portcullis. Inside the Norman walls you will find the outlined remains of a chapel, complete with the font. There is also a very large cannon and a pile of cannonballs. There are a few dungeons to explore and a modern wooden structure has been put in place to enable you to see the view from what would have been the battlements. Unfortunately, there isn't really much to see in the dungeons, as they are just open rooms. The most impressive dungeon is on the outside of the Norman walls. After going down a dark, stone staircase, you will probably be met with about a foot of water. During the Norman times, the sea level would have come right up to the castle and prisoners would have been chained up and left for the tide to come in and drown them. I have seen evidence of this old tide line, as after during the Great Storm of '87, a large tree was felled, roots and all. Under this tree, you could collect seashells and the sea these days is about 1-2 miles away. You will also notice by the entrance to the Norman castle, a grid in the floor. This is where people were thrown down - breaking numerous bones, and then had boiling oil thrown on them, or just be left to starve to death in their extreme pain.
You do have to pay to access the Norman building.
Before the Normans moved in, historians believe there was a Saxon fort on the site.
The site has seen plenty of conflicts throughout the ages, including the Rebellion of 1088 and an attack in 1264 when Henry III took up residence after the Battle of Lewes. Elizabeth I wanted Pevensey Castle to be torn down, as did Oliver Cromwell, but neither one was successful. The castle also played a part during the Second World War. Used by the Home Guard, you can still see the gun slats carved into the walls to defend the coast from invasion.
Like all historical sites, Pevensey Castle can also boast a ghost or two. The best known is the Lady in Grey, who is often seen down by the water. A row of Roman centurions still patrol the castle and have been seen from the waste up where they are still marching on the old road. A piper is said to patrol the battlements, whilst a drummer is said to be heard in the dungeons, drumming the prisoner to their execution. The most recent sighting I've heard of, is of an entire Roman battalion, seen marching and some on horseback towards the west gate. I myself, have never seen any ghosts in the castle, but it is a very creepy place to wander through at night and I have seen things in my home, which I cannot explain.
The site is owned by English Heritage and whilst the Roman walls are free to wander, you do have to pay to go inside the Roman walls. The cost at the moment is £4.80 for adults, £2.90 for children and £4.30 for concessions. Family tickets are available £12.50 and obviously if you're a member of English Heritage you can visit for free.
The castle opens between 10am-6pm all week, but these times change throughout the year.
You can take your dog to Pevensey Castle, but you will have to keep them on a lead in certain areas - mainly inside the Norman Walls. The site is generally suitable for wheelchairs, but some areas will be out of bounds as they aren't easily accessible. There are no toilets on site, but there are some just outside the castle, next door to a pub - if you want to use them!
The nearest train station is a good mile away on foot, but this is on a main line from London. Buses seldom pass through the village anymore, with the nearest being about half a mile away in the opposite direction and this is a major route between Hastings and Eastbourne. Otherwise, by car, is quite easy to find with good signage and a reasonable carpark just outside.
==Worth a Trip?==
I am a complete history fan, but I do think it is overpriced to go inside the Norman castle. There really isn't that much in there, just a few sign posts with some information about the history. The castles - both Roman and Norman - are now ruins. They're not at all like Hever Castle, which is still a grand and marvellous site to see. If you can find a time when a re-enactment or other themed day is taking place there, then I would go along then, as it would be much more fun. I would hate to see the castle lost, as it is a major part of the coastal defence story for centuries, but I do feel they could lower the cost a bit. There is nowhere to have a tea or coffee, unless you bring your own picnic or leave the castle for one of the local pubs or Castle Tea Rooms, which are currently shut, awaiting new owners I believe. Children would soon get bored here, but adults may well enjoy a look around. I would not say this is a place to have a day trip, but would suggest it become part of a day trip around the area.
Also on ciao
After running out of shaving foam, I spotted this product on my next trip to the supermarket. Given the choice of a more expensive foam, or Tesco Moisture Rich for Women, for just £1, I knew which one fitted my budget and thought "let's give it a go".
====Look & Smell====
The gel is quite thick when it comes out of the can and remains so until you start to use it. It is purple in a appearance but turns white as the foam starts to activate. The fragrance, which is berry flavoured, reminds me of the cherry jelly sweets I used to get for a penny as a child. It is a very sweet smell, which probably wouldn't appeal to men, which is just as well as it will keep it safe for us girls!
====Application & Use====
As I mentioned, the gel is quite thick and for want of a better word, firm. I would recommend applying this into your hand, as it doesn't stick to your leg on application. Instead it will slide straight off into the water - what a waste! It lathers up quite quickly into a lovely, creamy foam that doesn't disintegrate in a matter of seconds as some foams can. When shaving, it provides a lovely close shave and so far - touch wood - I have never cut myself whilst using this product. The lather allows you to easily see where you have already shaved, reducing the need to go over and over the same spots again, just in case you missed them. Once you have finished, any remaining lather easily washes off with warm water.
My legs are left feeling lovely and soft and hydrated from the moisturising effect of the shaving foam. My skin is left feeling very smooth to touch and has a healthy glow. The can says this product is suitable for use on legs, bikini area and underarms and so far, I have had no irritation after using the foam, which is always a plus.
This is very girly, being in a lovely purple colour. It's a standard can, with a button at the top to dispense the foam. It will easily jump out of wet hands, but for £1, you can't really complain! It is easy to use and to control how much foam comes out.
Yes, definitely! This product is affordable and it really works. I am all for the cheaper option and if it performs as well as more expensive brands, then why pay more? I have sensitive skin under my arms and have had no problems with this product at all, so would say if you have sensitive skin, then give it a go.
Also on ciao
After using the Aussie Frizz Miracle Shampoo and finding it really helped to tame my curly hair, I thought I would combine it with the matching conditioner.
====Look & Smell====
The conditioner is fairly thin in consistency and is a lovely blue colour, with a shiny effect. The fragrance is fairly sweet, but subtle - it is hard to put a finger on what exactly it smells like, but as it contains Australian Blue Gum Leaves extract from the eucalyptus, it must be that. The thin consistency can mean the conditioner will happily run about wet hands, which could lead to some waste if it runs off your hand and down the drain. The consistency can also mean you pour out more than you actually want or need, so have a gentle hand when squeezing the bottle.
====Application & Rinsing====
Like most conditioners, this doesn't lather on application. However, a little goes a long way. I probably use less than a five pence piece amount on my hair which is shoulder length, but I don't condition all the way to the roots, only midway to the tips. The reason for this is the conditioner has refused to wash out of my hair at the roots before today. So I give the ends a good rub between both hands to really work the conditioner in and leave it for about 30 seconds, whilst scrunching my curls to help further define them. The bottle suggests a "splodge" for your hair, so you'll have to interpret that to your needs! If I only apply the conditioner to the ends of my hair, it will rinse out very quickly, but as I said, you could be in for a long rinse if you apply to your roots. I had to shampoo again to get it to rinse out of my roots.
This is in the Aussie colours of creamy with a purple lid and writing. It is cylindrical, which when wet will happily jump out of your hand in the shower, which can make for some fun! The lid is the tricky part; you have to press one side of the cap to get it to pop up the other side so you can dispense the conditioner. This cap can clog up very quickly. I have found the easiest way to unclog it, is to hold it upright so no conditioner can come out, hold one hand fairly close to the cap and squeeze the bottle hard with the other hand and this will force any dried up conditioner to jump out of the bottle into your hand - one unblocked conditioner bottle! As the cap is flat, it is perfect for standing the bottle up-side-down when the conditioner is getting low so you can get every last drop out.
This has certainly helped to tame my frizz. I noticed a difference with just the Frizz Miracle Shampoo, but by adding in the conditioner, I can, on occasions, not bother with a styling product and just let my hair do as it pleases. My curls, which used to disappear after combing into a big puffball, now sit perfectly defined and look healthy and bouncy. I have a nice shine to my hair now and less split ends, which is always a good thing. I must say, however, that although my frizz has been dramatically tamed, it is still there. The product claims to "smooth flyaways and control frizzes" - not quite in my experience with still those few annoying hairs doing just what they like.
In my local Tesco, this comes in at nearly £4 a bottle, which is not cheap! I will only buy this when it is no offer and I've found one bottle of conditioner can happily see me through two bottles of shampoo, so it lasts twice as long if you like. Tesco regular have Aussie products on buy one get one free, or three for two, so if you like the products, do as I do and stock up then.
If, like me, you have mad hair that won't do as it's told, but flies where it likes, I would suggest you give this product a go. If you are expecting the miracle as suggested on the bottle, you might be left disappointed as it certainly won't completely cure the problem - well as far as I've experienced anyway. But yes, do give it a go and see if you are as pleased with it as I am.
Also on ciao
I bought this product as it was on offer, I now know what it was being sold cheap!
Well, according to the can, this should be violet scented and I suppose it does smell vaguely of those palm violet sweets I used to have when I was little. It is a ghastly sweet smell, which has a strong hint of talc. It really sticks in the back of your throat and is far from the "delicate flower fragrance" promised on the can. It also lingers in the air.
A very poor performance here I'm afraid. Obviously this is the key area for any anti-perspirant and it was a massive let down. I have an issue with staying dry, so I never expect a product to work as well on me as it would other people, but feeling damp about an hour after applying is a bit much really! The claim on the can is 24 hour confidence, so only 23 hours out in my experience.
====The "Double Effect"====
The other claim made by this product is it will leave your skin smoother, making for a closer shave, resulting in "smoother underarms for longer". Really? Well my underarms must have misunderstood that as I am still shaving as often as I have done before. I haven't really found my underarms feeling any smoother, and having used Dove products, the comparison is very poor for smoothness after use.
This is the usual hold 15cm away and spray can. However, when you spray, a chalky/silly string substance builds up around the nozzle. Under my arms, a white film appears as I spray, which will rub off on to my clothes. After spraying, I feel damp and uncomfortable, not secure as a deodorant should leave you feeling.
You can at least use this product after shaving knowing it won't sting you, as it's alcohol free. It also contains avocado extract, but I don't quite know what that adds to the product. Usefully it does tell you that this is an "anti-perspirant not shaving product"!!
I picked up a 250ml can for around £1.50 when it was on offer.
I'm sure you know the answer already, but no. I would not recommend this to anyone. The smell is horrible, it feels sticky and damp and it just doesn't work at all. There are much better anti-perspirants available.
Also on ciao
I have had an interest in my family history for many years and about a decade ago, started to quiz by only surviving Grandparent about her side of the family. After jotting down numerous notes, I didn't really know where to turn next. So for nearly 10 years, all my findings sat in a notepad, just gathering dust. Then, just over a year ago, I discovered ancestry....
====What Is the Site?====
Ancestry is available around the World, so has people researching their family trees in various countries. Family history seems to be all the rage now and knowing how to put the information you have into practice can be the hardest thing. Ancestry helps you start to build your own tree, entering the details you know and then it will offer up suggestions for historical hints and tree matches.
Ancestry boasts a huge collection of historical records, including census records from 1841, Births Marriages and Deaths, pallot records, military records, Wills & probate, criminal records and immigration and travel. The records really are extensive and are constantly being updated. Unfortunately, at this time of writing, the 1911 census still isn't on the site, only part of the Summary Books, which is annoying as other sites already offer the full 1911 census.
====Family Tree Builder====
This facility is so simple to follow on the site. Starting with yourself, you can add any information about you that you would like, then simply click the relevant box to add your mother, father, spouse, siblings and children. Once you have added details about a person, a green circle will appear in the top right hand corner of the page and a shaky leaf will appear if hints have been identified. Clicking on this will show you what suggestions they have, whether it's historical records which might be your ancestor (or you!) or a match from another person's tree on the site. It is entirely up to you as to whether or not you accept the hints on offer. You can choose to dismiss them or review them. Once reviewed, you can then choose whether you want to attach the record to your tree or not. If you choose to accept a match from someone else's tree, you can also choose to add/alter that ancestor's closest relatives, including their parents, spouse and children. If you come across a record that you're not entirely sure about, you can save it to your "Shoebox" so you can think about it again at a later point in your research.
====What Can You Add to Profiles?====
Obviously adding a date of birth and death where applicable are the basics for forming your profiles for people within your tree. Say you are doing your own tree, you might like to add how much you weighed when you were born, or which schools you went to, as well as any other significant events in your life. You can add anything you like as there is the option to add custom events to your profiles. You can also upload photos or scanned documents to back up your story and help to bring it to life. Or write stories to add, which tell of a specific point in a person's life. For example, on my own page within my family tree, I have a photo of me as a baby, my weight, my Christening with a photo of me with my parents, the schools I went to, my jobs over the years and any teams I was part of. The possibilities are endless really.
====How Do Other People's Trees Help Me?====
In my case, I could only go back a very short way on my Dad's side of the family, having to stop at my grandparents. However, by finding other people who were also researching the same branch of the tree, I managed to take the family back another generation, allowing me to find historical records to verify my findings. Once you have connected with another person by accepting hints from your tree, you will receive updates as to any additions they make to their tree. This can be found on your home page under the title "Member Connect". This will give you a day-by-day breakdown as to what records, photos and people have been added to these trees which you have already found helpful. It will also alert you if anyone has used your personal records to enhance their research, which can provide you with the perfect ice breaker should you with to contact them and ask questions.
====What If I Don't Want the World to Know My Story?====
Not a problem. Simply choose to create a private tree when you start. People might still see your tree as a suggestion as they search through the records, but they will only see a couple of people, with no geographical information. If they want to know more, they will have to send you a message, when you can choose to invite them to your tree or not, or to supply them with the information they are hoping to find out. The same can be said of photos, as any within private trees will show up with a no entry sign on them, telling you to contact the photo's owner should you wish to try and see it.
There's reassurance that no one, unless invited to your tree and given permission to see living people, will see your home page. Or indeed any page for any living relative. This is intended to keep your personal life just that, personal. This security covers photos and stories also connected to a living person. The site only knows if someone has passed on if you give them a death certificate, or if they were living over 100 years ago from my experience, although I have had the odd person born in the 1700s flagged as still living!
====Contacting Other Members====
This couldn't be simpler, you just hit contact this member and you can send them a message direct through the site. You have your own inbox where people can reply or send you messages and it's up to you if you wish to swap emails so you can keep in touch away from the site. I have found distant cousins around the world, which I now have built up a relationship with and to me, this is amazing!
There is a forum, or message board, as it's called where you can post a question and hopefully it will be answered. Again, I have been lucky here and always had my queries answered allowing me to expand my search and tree.
====Your Home Page====
I have already mentioned the member connect, which is a big part of the homepage. You will also see any news about collections which have been updated or recently added. There's a short breakdown of your tree, telling you how many people are in it, a shortcut to any family members with automatically sourced hints for you, how many photos you have, a link to your homepage and the last person you viewed. On top of that, you can see the last few records/photos/people you added to your tree, there's your shoebox, which records you most recently looked at, a search box and links to every other section of the website.
Many of the certificates can be ordered direct from ancestry.co.uk. I have done this on several occasions and only once have been disappointed. Sometimes you will have to guess as to whether you think you have found the correct certificate and only once it has arrived, will you know if you've ordered the right one. Thankfully, I have been lucky so far with this and this can really help you to take your tree back yet another generation. The only let down I had was when I tried to order my Great-Grandmother's death certificate and was told they couldn't find it. I went on to order it from the Free BMD website. And this is where I found a huge flaw in ancestry. The other website is so much cheaper when it comes to ordering certificate. On ancestry, you will be looking to pay around £24 for a certificate, whereas the other site has them available at under £10! That's a massive difference. Whichever site I've ordered from though, there is a sense of excitement as I open the envelope to see what new information is about to be uncovered.
There are several tutorials to help you understand what you sort of information you need to get your tree going. These are presented by Time Team presenter, Tony Robinson.
====Can I Only Have the One Tree?====
No. You can create as many as you like. So if you wanted to do one for your mum's side and one for your dad's, that's not a problem. Just remember, the more trees, the more maintenance!
====Inviting Others/Being Invited====
You don't have to do your research alone. You can invite your family to your tree through an email sent out from the site. You can also choose what involvement they can have, whether you just want them to be able to see how you're doing, if they can contribute new information or give them total control and let them edit the tree, adding or deleting people and events. Choose carefully! But that said, you can always alter their control or delete them from being able to be involved - at the end of the day, you have the overall power. You can also decide if they should be able to see living relatives or not. I only allow people I know to see this and not other members of ancestry.
You may also find you want to invite other ancestry members to your tree if you have a common ancestor. This is simple to do, either through email or just invite them through username. If you are invited to another tree, this will appear on your home page under My Trees.
====This All Sounds Great, But What Does It Cost?====
There are several options available on this site. Whichever level you choose, it works out cheaper to pay for a year in one go, as monthly it will cost you more. I bit the bullet and went straight in at the top level, which grants you access to all the records they have from all over the World, meaning you have access to global records, which as I have found ancestors in India during the Mutiny of 1857, has proved very helpful to me. Costs start at £83.40/annual one off or £10.95/month for the basic, the middle cost is £107.40/annual or £12.95/month or for the top level £155.40/annual or £12.95/month. They will email you ahead of your subscription ending to let you know they will automatically renew your account, giving you time to cancel should you so wish.
====Ok, So I've Built My Tree, Now What?====
That's up to you. You can print individual pages for ancestors off the site, just as you can do with census records. The site also offers you the chance to have posters, books and other keepsakes created. I've not done this yet as I'm not ready, nor do I have the money. There are lots of options available and all have different costs, none start particularly cheap, but I think they would make lovely family heirlooms, along with the certificate and other bits and pieces you've put together over the years.
You can request DNA tests through the site - again, not an area I've explored - and for another charge, you can look for living relatives. I've not gone down this route yet either. If you find yourself confused when trying to figure out how your great-grandmother's, uncle's, son's, great-grandson is related to you, don't panic. There is a new facility on everyone's page which you can click on, and ancestry will do the head scratching for you!
====So, After All That, Do I Recommend Ancestry?====
Yes! I have used a few family tree sites and I have found this to be the most helpful. The layout is easy to follow, the records easy to search and their suggested hints are generally quite helpful. On the rare occasion that I have had to contact their customer support, they have responded quickly and politely, being very helpful in their reply. This can become addicted and I have been known to sit up most the night where I've become so excited as to what I was finding out. I'm now back to 1600 on many branches of my tree when before I only knew of a couple of generations.
====14 Day Free Trial====
We all love to try before we buy, so if you're tempted by what I've said, you could give it a whirl without paying a penny!
Also on ciao
I must admit, I have always been dubious when it comes to spending more than £10 on beauty products, as I have always found cheap and cheerful ones to do the job just fine for my liking. However, as I have always had "problem skin" and still do, my Mum thought this product might help.
Philosophy state that they believe make-up should be optional so their products claim to make not wearing make-up easier for women to achieve.
The moisturiser is pure white in colour and not that thrilling to look at. It is fragrance free so only smells like an E45 or similar product smells. It comes in a small plastic jar (56g) with a screw top lid. The moisturiser is very light to the touch and soaks into the skin very quickly, without leaving a greasy feeling. Philosophy says this product is suitable for all skin types and mine is combination, prone to spots and I have not had any problems with the moisturiser. Hope in a Jar has won awards and was originally created for the medical market. It also provides antioxidant protection.
=====Ease of Use====
As I just mentioned, the cream goes straight into your skin. I have found it to leave my skin feeling healthy, soft without a sticky or greasy after feeling. And this feeling lasts all day. I really don't put that much on either, using just a light dab of a finger for each cheek, another for my nose and chin and one more for my forehead and I still have enough left to do my neck.
After using this for a couple of weeks, I did notice a difference in my skin. I looked healthier and my skin tone became more even. A 56 gram jar will last me at least 6 months, but I do use it very sparingly. I am not a big make-up wearer anyway, so whether I would choose not to wear make-up because I've used this product, I couldn't honestly say.
=====Cost versus Value=====
I was given my first jar as a present, but as I liked it, I looked it up when the jar became low. I was shocked to find it on a popular shopping channel's website for £35 a jar, plus p&p! "No way!" I thought and promptly returned to my cheap and cheerful moisturiser, which I have to say, did work just fine. A small tube of regular moisturiser can last me just as long as the Hope in a Jar did and overall, I couldn't really tell the two apart, so stuck with the cheap range. I have since been given more Hope in a Jar as a present, which is fine, but I could not justify that amount of money on face cream.
Yes and no. Yes it is a lovely product and it does leave my skin feeling fresh, light and hydrated, but as to whether it is worth its hefty price tag, the recommendation would be "no" I'm afraid.
Review now on ciao under the same user name
I cannot walk down a high street without having to visit Past Times. This shop sells a wide range of products, dating back to mainly War Time Britain up to the 1970s. I will be looking at my local shop in Sussex for this review, as I am sure products may vary from store-to-store.
They have a lovely range of jewellery, which is in sterling silver, so more affordable! A lot of the designs feature butterflies ad dragonflies and come in a range of sizes, so will suit little girls or great-nannies! Other designs are of a Celtic or art deco nature. There are also some pieces that look antique and not in a tacky way. For the gem lovers, there are larger pieces made with stones such as amber and turquoise, along with chunky chip bracelets. At Christmas time they bring out a lot of lovely festive broaches, which make ideal gifts for my Nan, who is now in her 90s. They often have good sales on for their jewellery, which helps!
This is one of the main areas for stock in Past Time stores. They sell a lot of trinket boxes and jewellery boxes, many of which are mirrored. It is what I would call "very girly" and probably many men's nightmare. Ladybirds also feature quite heavily in this range, along with butterflies and dragonflies. It is certainly somewhere to go if you're looking for something different for a friend or family member. One product I particularly like, is the family tree ornament - which is a tree of photo frames for you to slot in your own pictures. Traditional telephones are always on show too.
A range my Nan loves. Lots of gorgeous bath oils, made with real lavender oil, heat packs for the microwave, pretty satin pillows stuffed with dried lavender and so much more. They do a very similar range in Rose and Lily.
I find it very hard not to spend hours just gazing at what I could put in my garden - if I had one! Beatrix Potter lovers will be in heaven here as they do a lovely range of varying sized garden ornaments on the characters in the Peter Rabbit stories. Fairies play a big part in the garden section, with fairy doors and solar lamps. For those who maybe aren't into fairies and children's stories, how about a gargoyle? They do those too!!
Mrs Beaton makes a comeback at Past Times. I have bought three of her cookery books over the years and I love them all. As well as cookery, there are many books on aeroplanes, cars, trains, World War Two and some amusing books, which poke fun and sports, men, women and just life in general . Senior Moments is now a proud addition to my friend's husbands coffee table, after a jokey 35th birthday present!
For the younger generations, there are things such as Bagpus toys, The Clangers and various other classics from the 1970s. They do occasionally bring in other ranges, such as The Wizard of Oz. Beatles memorabilia can often be seen on the shelves.
Again, lots of war time classics available here. I recently bought my Nan some CDs with the likes of the Andrews Sisters and Dame Vera Lynn featuring. I was also given a CD with three Beatrix Potter stories recorded by modern day Hollywood stars, including Ewan McGregor. The DVDs tend to be along the lines of planes and old fashioned cars.
As well as their extra jewellery lines, at Christmas they bring in a lot of traditional decorations for the home, including large glass baubles with little ornaments inside, baubles of traditional toys like rocking horses and lovely big carousels, which play carols as they turn.
Shop Layout & Staff
In my experience, the shops are always easy to navigate and are always clean and tidy. It is easy to see right the way around the store, so you can see where you want to head. The staff that work there all seem to be genuinely happy, which in this day and age, is very refreshing when going into a shop. They are always happy to help and greet you with a smile.
I give Past Times two big thumbs up. Their products are always well made and good value for money.
I will start with a warning about this product: it smells so delicious; it will make you very hungry!
As the product picture is that of a "tart" I shall being reviewing that form of Yankee Candle over any other form available. A Yankee candle tart is a small cake-shaped wax disc, made up of thousands of little wax crystals. Each tart weighs around 22grams or 0.8 ounces. The idea is to burn this tart in a wax burner. You can choose to melt the whole thing at once, or break off a piece and just melt that. You could also melt it along with another scented tart to create a whole new smell. If you don't want to fork out for a tart burner and have an old oil burner around, that will work just as well as both burners rely on a tea light to provide the heat to melt the wax and release the smell.
The appearance of the Vanilla Cupcake tart is creamy in colour, not dissimilar to the colour of a cupcake batter. And the smell is divine. It is a sweet smell, but not too sweet. It reminds me of being a child, with Mum baking in the kitchen. Think butter icing being spread on a freshly baked and still warm sponge and that's what the smell is to me.
Unlike some products, once you have burned the wax into a pool, this isn't the end of its life. Once it has set, you can burn it again and again and the fragrance will still be there. Yankee says that each wax tart will provide 8 hours of fragrance and I have found this to be true. The fragrance will also linger in a room for a good while after you have finished burning the wax and doesn't linger as a "stale" smell.
The vanilla cupcake smell differs from other forms of vanilla on the market as it is slightly sweeter and in a way, not as harsh and over powering as the traditional vanilla smell can be.
If you are buying a tart to burn at a later date, Yankee advise that you keep it in a dark place. I have previously had a Yankee candle in a cupboard for well over a year and have now been burning it for over a month and the smell is just as strong and delicious as the day I bought it, so I would agree with their statement.
The cost of a wax tart where I get them is around £1.99, which considering the burn time you get, I don't think is too bad. You can get them cheaper online and off the TV with QVC and Yankee offer Scent of the Month promotions where you can get 25% off their chosen fragrance.
Wax tarts are an ideal way of trying out the Vanilla Cupcake scent, before deciding as to whether or not you like it enough to buy a full sized candle.
I feel it adds warmth to any home and will take you back to your childhood and would recommend the scent to anyone.
Having frizzy, curly hair, I am always on the lookout for a product that might be able to tame it. I saw the Aussie Frizz Miracle on offer in Tesco so picked up a bottle.
The shampoo is quite thick and a glossy blue in appearance. The fragrance is sweet, but exactly what it is, I could not say - possibly some kind of fruit?! You don't need much to get a good lather. I have shoulder length hair and use about the amount equivalent to the size of a 10 pence piece. The lather felt light in my hair and washed out easily.
This product left my hair feeling softer than usual and more manageable. I still use a serum to help shape my hair, but Aussie Frizz Miracle seems to have made this easier and on days (usually the weekend) when I get my hair a break from styling products, my hair is more controllable.
I have continued to use this product and after a couple of weeks, my curls were more defined and even started to fall into ringlets - something not seen on my head since I was a little girl! I have also found my hair has less split ends and is generally stronger, with less breakage when I comb my hair. The natural highlights in my hair also started to really show through. Normally I only get these in the summer after being in the Sun. My hair, which is quite often dull looking, now has a healthy shine.
The bottle is a normal rounded bottle, which can slip out of wet hands quite easily in the shower and the cap is a press top, which opens a small gap in the lid, which allows you to dispense the shampoo. If, like me, you leave the cap open, this can clog quite easily and it's not an easy task to clear it again.
This isn't the cheapest shampoo on the market, coming in at nearly £4 a bottle. I will only buy this when it's on offer. As far as calling it a miracle, I don't think I would go that far, is my frizz isn't completely tamed by the shampoo, but it certainly makes a big difference.
For me, Yankee Candle has to be one of the best available on the market. However, if like me you thought a wax tart was something completely different to a candle, then let me explain. The tart is a 2 inch disc made up of little wax balls. They look as though they have been cut out with your mum's cookie cutter, with a pinked edge. The Cinnamon and Sugar one is the colour of golden caster sugar and smells out of this world, even before you use it.
To use the tart, you need a burner - oil burners which were popular in the 90's work well, or you can get a specific tart burner from Yankee. The method is the same, whichever burner you use; you place the tart in the top part, and light a tea light below, which will gradually melt the wax, releasing the scent.
Yankee promise up to eight hours of fragrance from each tart, but, used carefully, you can squeeze more smell out. You don't have to melt the entire tart at once. Owing to its construction of little balls, it will break up fairly easily, meaning you can choose to burn only a little at a time. To get the best out of the tart, you must allow all of the wax in the burner to melt, or "pool" as Yankee like to call it. You can re-melt the tart once it has set again when you have finished with the burning.
The smell of this product is pretty much as it sounds. It's a sweet, but not too sweet, cinnamon scent, but owing to the sugar being added, it doesn't hit the back of the throat and smells like a cake baking in the oven, just as the sugar starts to melt.
What else is lovely is unlike some scented candles, the smell doesn't vanish as soon as you stop the burning process. Although the scent is strong, it is not overpowering. It quickly fills the room (and is a good way of fooling people into thinking you've been baking!)
Pricewise, these are usually around the £1.99 mark at the garden centre where I tend to get mine. However, there are good deals on QVC quite often and watch out for the "flavour of the month" deal direct from Yankee when they know 25% off the price of the chosen scent. I think for the length of fragrance time you get, the price is very reasonable and well worth the investment.
Since writing this review, I have now posted it on ciao under the same user name.