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The Talented Mr Ripley was not a film I thought I would love. I've avoided it for years (hence only just seeing it this weekend) along with The English Patient - but that comes next.... I had seen Ripley's Game and wasn't too impressed, so avoided anything Ripley related 'Mr Ripley' came out in 1999, and even though is set in the late 1950's, is just as relevant and the film, which is shot beautifully has barely aged. Anthony Minghella directs Matt Damon as Tom Ripley. Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf and Gwyneth Paltrow as Marge. Amongst other fantastic actors such as Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cate Blanchett and Jack Davenport. The lead actors are not my favourites, and possibly why I've avoided this film for 11 years! But I have been pleasantly surprised, Tom Ripley is a toilet attendant in New York his life seems to be going nowhere. Until he fills in playing piano at a party for a friend who has broken his arm also sporting the friends Princeton jacket. Wearing that jacket changes his life and is the catalyst for what follows. Mr Greenleaf - a wealthy ship builder approaches him asking if he knows his son Dickie, also a Princeton grad. Tom lies and Mr Greenleaf offers him $1000 to go to Italy and bring back his son who is more about sailing boats than building them. Tom agrees and sets sail to Italy, convincing Meredith Logue that he is actually Dickie Greenleaf, the first part of stealing Dickie's identity. Tom finally meets with Dickie and eventually tells him that his father had sent him, but seemingly Tom had fallen in some sort of 'love' with Dickie. Mirroring his likes, so that Dickie would like him more, he becomes part of Dickie and Marge's life. Getting upset when someone else comes along who Dickie showers attention on. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Freddie who is one of those other friends and sees straight through Tom Ripley, which doesn't help him in the end. Without ruining the intrigue of the film, Tom Ripley doesn't bring Dickie back to New York, but has fun along the way. Tom Ripley is a very interesting character, devious for being so young, cold and heartless, but his 'friends' don't see this. Matt Damon does an excellent job being devious, but likable to the ones he puts his mask on for. Jude Law with an American accent, buts on a fab show of being a (slightly spoiled) young man who has the world and women at his fingertips. Gwyneth Paltrow, who I am not the greatest fan of, I have found her a bit wooden in the past, to play a complex character and the slight tear in her eye, wry smile conveys so much to the audience. Her character is the one you wouldn't expect to evolve but does. Initially she is relaxed in Italy, having a wonderful time, her clothes reflect this, cotton, loose fitting day wear. As Dickie disappears and she is getting more tense, and almost 'growing up'. Her clothes change into a modern 1950's siren, with gorgeous dresses and a sensual demeanor. One of the best bits in the film (I am a musical lover) is in a Jazz club in Italy, Dickie is invited onstage with Fiorello to play the sax and sing Tu Vuo Fa L'Americano, a fantastic song, full of energy. The DVD has the full version including Matt Damon joining them onstage, singing in Italian. This film is hugely underrated and falls under the category of a thriller, if you love this type of film but are out off by the age or the era, give it a chance ! There are twists and turns all the way to the credits of the film. This film is currently out of print (but not too expensive at the moment), so give it a try before it gets too expensive !!
I have just passed my driving test at the ripe old age of 29. It only took me 7 months after I'd managed to save up and get all of it done in one go. I was very lucky to be gifted a VW Golf (which is nearly as old as me) by a friend who had recently got a new car. So I am 29, I drive a 15 year old Golf, I have a mortgage, I am married, I have not had any accidents, claims on insurance, never been arrested, full time job, car parked off road in residential car park- I thought it would be easy..... My insurance was averaging about £1100 on the cheapest site. I added Dad as a named driver, this brought it down a bit, and with a few tweaks, I got to the lowest I could find. This was between Admiral and Diamond. I called Admiral and gave them the reference number. The lady I spoke to was brilliant. She gave me another option. Buy a 10 month bonus accelerator, this gave me a price of £728. As a new driver and not being 100% sure I'd filled in all the forms correctly on the internet, she happily went through any bits I was unsure about (because we don't want the insurance to be void!) and explained any issues I had. The downside was the payment. If I paid in monthly installments (which I thought you could do) they add 8.8% APR. Totalling over £1000- again. I said I would call back, and tried to see if we could pull the £700 in one go. Looking behind the back of the sofa, savings accounts etc. Luckily I managed to find the cash and could go ahead (Admiral still being the cheapest and with good customer service). Calling back I was met with a different sort of character, to the point, not very 'fluffy' in the customer service sense. But as I had all my questions answered I was pleased I didn't have to go through all of those questions with her. All I had to do was pay...... so I thought. However I was offered everything from windscreen cover to replacement car cover. I explained I have been using my legs for 29 years and I could manage without a car if something happened as I don't drive to work. But she kept on about how I'd get used to a car and what would I do. I laughed.... Expensive breakdown was offered (with a 20% discount for today only....) and horror stories ensued about if I was left alone at night. I reminded her I was 29 and have been alone in the dark before. I batted away about 3 or 4 different 'up-sells' and was on the phone about 5-10 mins longer than needed. If i'd have wanted those things I would have asked for them. Aside from that- all my paperwork came when they said it would, along with not one, but 2 phone calls from the same call centre asking if i'd received the paperwork and do I want Breakdown cover for 20% off the normal price......... Funnily enough, I've not broken down yet (I do have cheaper cover!), had my windscreen chipped, or not been able to use my car for a significant time. I WIN !!!!! Hopefully next year it will be easier..... !
I had heard, like many others about Approved Food from the MoneySaving Expert website. I was intrigued a few months ago and planned all the lovely things I could buy. I enquired about postage and whether it all could be delivered on a Saturday, as me and my husband both work. I was told that the postage is high for a Saturday delivery, but they can leave it with a neighbour. I made a mental note to self that I would order from this powerhouse of Cheap as soon as either myself or hubby dearest was going to be off work. This week it happened. I ordered £40 of shopping from Approved Food on Saturday, It arrived the following Wednesday evening. For my £40, I got so much stuff, Hubby was unpacking as I got home from work and it looked like the best hamper EVER. Most of the things they sell, as have been noted by other DooYooers, are all the stuff that is bad for you! Crisps, Chocolates biscuits etc, and as hard as I tried to look past what value it was, I came home and realised I had ordered about a million bags of crisps. It is really difficult not to see the value. or example 'just' out of date Kettle chips. Normally nearing the £1.50 mark per pack. 2 for 99p. I know. Amazing. I will have to test of of these things before I take them round to friends houses for a night in, but all seems good. Also 2 x 12 packs of hula hoops for .99p (i won't even tell you the rest , you would be so ashamed!) I also have a major passion for CousCous. You would have been able to see that had you looked through my kitchen window at 6pm last night. Instead of paying 79p in my local Aldi for 2 x 100g sachets of couscous, I paid 99p for 3 boxes (6 individual packs of couscous). I also bought snack packs of couscous (to take to work) 19p each ! Cans of Diet Coke 10 for £2 (yes the normal sized ones), 6 x 2L bottles of water for £1, Big bottles of 7Up, snack packs of Soreen and loads of other lovlies. I also purchased 10 (I know) tubes of wasabi paste - for 49p. The reason is that we both love Sushi, and love wasabi. I went into a shop a few weeks ago and saw wasabi powder that you can make into paste and it was about £4. I didn't buy it as we had no real need. And I'm glad i didn't, I have saved loads of cash! The only thing I need to do now is make sure all the wraps, couscous, crisps and coke get used in a positive way and before they all go green (wasabi paste excluded of course!) We also love wraps. So a case of 12 packs of old el paso wraps were only £1. Again these need to be tried, but they will go out of date shortly, but they are vacum packed and can also be freezed! They have also started doing veg. I got 2 massive spanish onions (the ones the size of a childs head) for 20p, I also got some carrots, sprouts and parsnips. All were pretty good value, and looked and felt fresh. My best bargain- and something i do genuinely buy a lot of is tartare sauce. I tend to make my own fishcakes and the sauce is perfect! The cheapest and best quality I had found so far was Aldi (Bramwells) for 45p each. I was blown away when I ordered 6 of the same size jar... for 99p. I did stay away from the chocolate, as the price was not enough of a bargain for me to buy in bulk. Also it will just get eaten very very quickly !! You do have to measure up how you will deal with all that bad food in the house if you are anything like me! But coming up to Christmas I thought a few bags of crisps won't hurt, and if people don't like crisps, they can have some couscous ! I also ordered some cleaning products i usually buy from the 99p shop for the same price (just so i didn't have to carry them!). These came in a heavy sealed plastic bag - presumably if they got crushed they wouldn't damage any of the other goods, which i think is an excellent touch when you are putting cleaning spray in with food. The day before I was told that my delivery would be the next day (via e-mail) and that I could track the parcels on the internet. I also received a text message int he morning, giving me an hour slot of when they would be delivered (and they were bang on time). There is nothing bad to say about Approved food, the only slight issue was when contacting them via the website, I received no e-mail back regarding Saturday delivery- it was only when I e-mailed the boss directly (Dan) that I received a reply. Hopefully if anyone has issue with their orders, they will get sorted quickly, or use the old fashioned method of calling to get in touch with them ! The other good things are that you are told the RRP of the items, so you can decide whether it's good for you, also when ordering the delivery (usually £5.25 for a 29kg box) is totted up alongside each page, so you can get the most for your money (eg lots of water would be heavy and counter productive, but couscous and crisps, you would get more of !) I am off to find couscous recipes that involve a bit of wasabi, crisps and tartare sauce !
You are right I did! I am getting on (in terms of not driving) and I decided this year to just learn to drive. More opinions on how I passed to come. However, a friend bought the Driving test success for me to help me pass my theory and Hazard perception tests. Boy am I glad I revised. Whilst the theory questions are 'easy' if you rehearse them enough you will pass, as they are worded in the same way and often questions are asked and re-asked in a different way. I found with the hazard perception that it was a minefield of do's don't and watch out for the barmy people on mobility scooters crossing the road without looking - Believe it or not this actually happened to me on a driving lesson. I had to laugh! Anyway - the theory sets of questions are set out in different catagories, you can review and revise as much as you like and be 'taught' the content. Everything on the CD ROM is brightly coloured and set out in an easy to understand way. The installation on your laptop/PC takes minutes and you are ready to go. The second disc is full of the hazard perception clips, so you will need both. There are theory tests which you can take time and time again to make sure the highway code is being sucked into your brain. The hazard perception tests were a life saver. I'm sure I would have failed had it not been for the several dress rehersals I did beforehand. The second disc is full of clips of potential hazards and it is your job to 'click' when you see a hazard. You normally have a 5 second window - just like in the real test, to click and on this you will get points. The more points you get - the more likely you are to pass. The hazards will come in different guises. There may be one to do with animals, people pulling out without indicators or lights on, children appearing in the middle of the road. And again like the theory test you can go over and over the hazards. Even though I found that sometimes you weren't quick enough to spot the potential hazard, sometimes you were too quick. I'm sure there must be an art to it, but I found myself aceing the Theory and just scraping by the Hazard Perception. So if you think you will be fine, i would recommend that you spend most of your time getting used to the hazard perception tests and how they score it. One of the great things is that you can review each clip and see where you went wrong. You can also see when you should have clicked, which really helped me to cement things in my brain! All in all this was an excellent course and even helped with 'what's under the bonnet' and other practical driving things. I think this was purchased for under £10 from Amazon and should I have had to choose one of these myself, I would have been pleased to use this version.
My attack on the shopping list is in full swing, I have tried and tested various brands and stuck with a lot of smart price and value items. Another one I have stuck with is Smart Price Sweetcorn from ASDA. Dressed in an ordinary tin can with a green and white label, it proudly declares it is a cheap brand. Who cares eh, it's only sweetcorn. Usually used for salads and pasta dishes this tin lasts me 2 days and at around 30p a tin (prices fluctuates from time to time by a few pence) and it is an excellent buy, especially when its competitors charge double or more for the same product. The clear difference on the tin is, of course the sexy label, the advertising campaign and children wondering if they will grow up to be Green Giants. Of course if you are what you eat, children who eat this will grow up to be savvy shoppers not led by expensive and unnecessary advertising campaigns. The other difference is that there wasn't enough in the budget to give you a ring pull top, it's doing it the old fashioned way with a tin opener I'm afraid. But since opening a tin takes a ordinary person of average strength 10 seconds or much less, I generally don't mind using my muscles to open a tin and generally saving lots of money at the same time. Opening the tin, it looks like sweetcorn, nothing hideous or green is growing inside and the only addition is slightly salted water which can be drained or left with the sweetcorn if you are heating it up. ***The Taste Test*** It's a vegetable, it tastes like sweetcorn and it looks like sweetcorn. The salted water has not detracted from the slightly sweet taste of the corn. I have recently tasted frozen sweetcorn which tastes a lot more watery than this type and will carry on buying this brand as I can see no real benefit from eating this to big brands.
Beans - used to meanz Heinz. However the price of baked beans in a tin (Especially branded versions have shot up at an alarming rate. Through my credit crunching research I have come across Smart Price Baked Beans from ASDA. The packaging is not as sexy as the big brands, the tins are often on the bottom shelf and they are not advertised -ever. But I have sneaked past the marketing people, the ones who say Heinz is the only way, the ones who say that you can tell the difference between the sexy brands with millions in marketing budget to the Smart Price brands. I have proved to myself and my family that paying double for beans is ridiculous and makes the bigger brands taste worse as you hear your hard earned cash being flushed. Back to Business. The tins of beans currently are 33p in ASDA, available in store or online. I have noticed that sometimes as with smart price or budget products the store does run out sometimes, so you need to be quick. The price fluctuates by a few pennies from time to time. They come in a normal sized tin with a green and white label. Clearly stating you are buying cheap beans! You open the tin with a tin opener and inside you will see what I am talking about. The beans are plentiful in the ordinary can, with a lovely thick sauce, but not thick enough to be congealing. When pouring out the beans into a saucepan or microwavable container you will see that perhaps he sauce is a little thicker than Heinz, which is only a good thing. Taste-wise , it is a pleasure, whether on toast, with a fry up or on a jacket potato with cheese, these taste lovely - you can always add a squirt of Brown sauce for BBQ beans for a change. The beans are al dente, not hard and chewy like some cheaper brands and not mushy, just right. These should at least be tried by everyone including sceptics as beans are such a national staple and to pay double the price for almost the same item is daylight robbery, and we the British people are much smarter than they give us credit for - right?
I have just closed my account on Toluna. I joined back in the days when we first discovered we could make a bit of cash on the internet. I had not used this for a few years and remember going back to it about a year ago to see how many points I had accumulated. Imagine my joy when I saw about £7. So I started on the Toluna wagon again, sure that the more surveys I did, the more points I would get. I was in a really boring temporary job at the time, so thought I could add all my energies into survey sites while I was being paid to answer the phone.... On the website you could answer sponsored quick questions for 15 points a time, so I did those as often as I could remember. They do have a place on their website where you can ask questions to the Toluna members and conduct your own poll. This never appealed to me as you get nothing out of it, so unless you are genuinely interested in people's opinions, or need some sort of help, I was not interested. The website itself is lazily set out with no thought for format, or even updating it from time to time, it still looks the same as when I joined all those years ago. Anyway, so I threw myself into it. When there is a survey which may match your profile they send you a link, you then click in and answer some profiling questions, which may or may not phase you out of the survey. More often than not I was phased out. But the more surveys I did, the more came through. I was overjoyed, I could make my millions after all! It only struck me 2 months ago (5 months after rediscovering my £7 Toluna Account) I had only made 60,000 points in total. I know, that is a hell of a lot of points, which only equate to £10 in Amazon vouchers. I was horrified and after the amount of time i had spent on there, in the same 5 months I had £10 from Ipsos, £8 from Lightspeed. 6 days ago I received my Amazon voucher - via e-mail. To add insult to injury, I had ordered this 7 weeks ago. Apparently they are well known for being very slow with payments to their members, it wouldn't be so bad if, by the time you had received your voucher, another was ready to be sent to you, however this is not the case. One star for Toluna as I did get my voucher within their allotted 8 week time frame, but all the tickets I purchased for the prize draws and the competitions are not worth it, there are so many millions of members aroudn the world you may as well start walking the streets and picking money up off the floor. I think you would get a lot more than wasting your time on Toluna.
300ml of handwash £1.... £2... Try £14. This is one of those luxury products that us mere mortals cannot afford, or we would never buy for ourselves. However whenever birthday time comes around I know I am bound to get a luxury item. This year I received the Blu Maquis Handwash. It has Corsican Fir and oils of rosemary, nutmeg and patchouli incense. Corsican Fir is known for its skin purifying and deodorising properties. The smell is what can be described as masculine, it smells very clean and earthy, it foams very well on your hands, whether oily, covered in make up or dirt it cleans very well. The smell seems to zoom around the whole bathroom, so while the smell is very clean, it does smell like the type of scent you would have in your bathroom (but not like Pine toilet cleaner!). If you can afford this on a regular basis, you probably would try a few versions of this, otherwise, going into high class restaurants in London, they will have the handwash and hand cream for you to try, or ask a friend nicely to get it for you. Molton Brown can be bought on the internet, House of Fraser, TV shopping channels and of course in their own stores. From previous experience this bottle used perhaps twice a day, will last up to a year, which is pretty good. The dispenser will not squeeze out more than you actually need to get a good foam on your hands, so while expensive is not wasteful, however I would not replace this myself, perhaps filling the bottle up with a cheaper brand will suit me better !
Toilet roll is one thing people talk about when discussing which brand they buy. I used to buy Morrison's own brand loo roll, not as expensive as the brands, but did a good enough job. Then the credit started crunching and I was trying to find ways of a) not shopping too often to save cash and b) trying to find cheaper alternatives. The first place I turned was ASDA (delivery via the net) and one of the things I could save on was toilet roll, you only wipe your a** on it - right?! ASDA Smart price toilet roll for 12 rolls was an amazing £1.25. So I put 4 packs in my virtual trolley pleased that I had spent the same amount of money on 48 toilet rolls as I normally would on 12. The day of reckoning came when my shopping was delivered. The first thing I noticed was that the toilet rolls are smaller (in width) than usual toilet rolls. The paper is not as soft or bouncy and you need more toilet roll than usual to deal with your ablutions. However, I experimented spending the same amount of money, just on a cheaper roll to find out whether I would use loads more, therefore being a false economy. I was pleased to find at the end of the month I had 20 toilet rolls left, therefore saving me money. Now these toilet rolls won't go down in history as being the best purchase ever, however, they are currently saving me a small fortune and surmising that you only wipe and throw away, these have been a great buy for me and I notice the money I save more than the smaller rolls, or the speed at which it runs out. Each 12 roll pack is about £1.25, each roll has 200 sheets of 2 ply tissue and the sheet size is 120x96mm. We are also told o the no frills green and white wrapping that the tube is recyclable, but the plastic wrap is not widely recycled. All in all I would definitely recommend this toilet roll for you to try, especially if you are trying to save money where you can.
I do love Kit Kat's, from the days they were made by Rowntree until today's Nestle version. A Kit Kat is one of the most iconic sweetie wrappers you are ever likely to see. In a red and white wrapper, which is now made from foil, to make it taste fresher, it is a chocolate delight. This has to be one of the less sinful chocolate bars on the market. The four fingered version comes in at a rather sinless 233 calories. Helping the calorie counter are strips of wafer in each bite, which sinfully is covered in milk chocolate. The taste of a Kit Kat is really lovely. The wafer inside breaks up the chocolate taste, and therefore is not sickly. I however like to eat mine by breaking off a stick and biting all the chocolate off it from all the way around and the top then I guzzle the wafer, I think it makes it last just a little longer. In general circumstances I am not the biggest fan of Nestle Chocolate, I am a dark chocolate girl at heart. However the chocolate here does not have the sicklyness of a Cadbury's item, and seems to be a shade darker than its rival, which is great for my tastebuds !! On the packet there is helpful nutritional information, contact information for Nestle and tips on how to eat your Kit Kat. My current pack say 'Have you tried The Share?' My answer to that is no I haven't... ever and don't plan to thank you very much. It's mine.... all mine !!
linked in You may not have heard of Linked In, It's all Twitter My Face and Spacebook. But 40 Million people worldwide have heard of it.... where have you been! I have now got myself a new job as a job searcher for an outplacement company. One of the things we are teaching our candidates to use and grow to love is Linked In. Linked In is a professional networking site. You will hear that between 60 and 90% (depending on who you talk to) of jobs are gained through networking, and the rest through adverts and agencies. A shocking statistic if you are only looking for jobs in the papers. Linked In is like a grown up's Facebook, while not being a Facebook fan myself (or any social networking for that matter), I was given the Linked In presentation at work, and have not looked back. It is easy to navigate, easy to understand and it helps people more than a newspaper or an agency would. I struggled thinking of people who may be on Linked In, I'd never heard of it before, and no one I really knew talked about it (apart from at work). So on advice I sat and wrote a list of everyone I know. Family, friends, ex colleagues, current colleagues, associates.... the list goes on. In two minutes I had a list of 30 people. A great start. Also they allow you to import your contacts from your address book on your e-mail, this is quick, painless and you can select who to send an invite to. From this list you can also see who is already 'LinkedIn'. Linked In focuses on 3 degrees of contacts. 1. People who know you 2. People who know the people you know 3.People who know the people your 1st contacts know. After you have invited people you know, you should get started on your profile, this is based around your CV (especially if you are job hunting). From there, the world is your oyster. It also has a jobs section, with jobs athat are exclusive to Linked In, you can also see if you are connected to the hiring managers by someone you know - hence the networking aspect. You can join groups, old companies you have worked for, associations, trade unions, and even jobs for the industry or type of work you do (HR, Marketing, SAP etc). This gets you into groups of people who may be able to help you. There are discussion forums where people are more than happy to help. The key differences are -On Facebook you can add photo's and write on friends walls, on LinkedIn you edit and publish what you think should be there -You can only add one profile photo on Linked In From your list of contacts you will be able to see who your contacts know and then be able to contact them through your connections, this may help you tell what your interviewer is like, or who the best person is to approach for a specific type of job. Conclusion: As you can tell, I love it, it is easy to use, clear and has a great customer service section. You get replied to within a couple of hours when you hit the help key, whcih is a lot more than most internet sites these days. The replies are not robot speak- they answer you and your question like a real person. It is a professional way to get yourself across to someone who hasn't met you yet. Recruiters and hiring manangers will check Facebook and other online sites to check you are 'ok'. When they come across something as special as Linked In it adds kudos to your application, especially if you have all important recommendations. This is not a site to collect friends, your connections should be people who could help you find a new job. You should nourish your connections and take it seriously. Otherwise you will be bored. It's also a way to find information about people you may be interviewed by, so this is a good tool for everyone. I have 43 good connections, this reaches me out to over 300,000 people (over the 3 degrees) who may be able to help me with queries or finding a new job, or helping someone else find a new job.
Today I watched the Movie Adulthood, I really enjoyed the movie Kidulthood and thought this would hopefully be just as good. The review is great if you have seen Kidulthood, if you haven't it may spoil the first movie for you. Noel Clarke, the writer and director and lead actor of this movie comes back as Sam Peel, 6 years after the end of the previous movie, he's been in prison for murdering Trife. He is trying to get his life back and this movie is just a day in the life of. Set in West London, it shows the grit of gang life and some of the aspects we never read about in the newspapers. He wants his life back and goes to see his mother, who has not visited him in prison, he wants to make his peace, however Trife's best friend Jay is out for revenge. He finds out Sam has been released an goes on the hunt to find him. We see ex gang members from Kidulthood who have tried to get on with their lives after the murder of someone they knew, and struggling to come to terms with the fact his murderer is free. This film really struck a chord with me, with the stabbings and shootings that go on in London are testament to the fact that this movie, while not based on a true story are probably true to someone's life. It shows the next generation of thugs and the ones who haven't grown up, or learned from what has happened previously. Sam sees that his younger brother is trying to emulate him before he went to prison. This movie does not glamourise gangster life, all the people who are drug dealing and planning murder live in filth. They may have a nice watch, but where they live is nothing to aspire to. One of the last scenes of the film is Jay and Sam fighting it out and is one of the most powerful moments in a movie I have seen. It mirrors the moment when Sam killed Trife, but Jay attempting to kill Sam. Trife tried to tell Sam to get out of the life and stop violence, he was killed. And Sam now was trying to tell Jay. He shows him the scars from his own self harm and suicide attempts in prison, because he wasn't a hard man in there, he was just a boy with big ideas. Aside from the very gangster language and tone, you may need the subtitles and a glossary, it is gritty, to the point, and you feel gripped from start to finish. Noel Clarke leads the cast well. His demenour has changed from the previous film, and although he killed, you warm to his character and feel like he has changed. I think this film would appeal to anyone that can get over the language barrier, it alsowould appeal to the teenage generation as it would corrctly portray the world they live in and the challenges they have to face. It also shows that anyone can get sucked into being a part of it, from the really 'posh' to the average Joe. Well done Noel Clarke.
At over 80 years old Walls have been producing ice cream for as long as I remember. I also remember the Vienetta being a family staple as I was growing up. It is still one of my true favourites! The Vienetta is a rectangular shaped slab of chocolate and ice cream. It is layered with chocolate and white vanilla ice cream (my particular favourite!). The layers of chocolate are very thin and break easily with a spoon. It is a frozen dessert and will be found in most freezer aisles of any supermarket any will often be found in corner shops as well, as they are easy to pack, popular and relatively cheap. Vienetta has been in the shops lately as a special offer price of £1, well that's as good a reason to buy as any. Usually it will be around the £1.50-£2 mark. When out of the box, it is wrapped in a white plastic wrapper and the bar sits on a brown plastic tray (I wonder how many of us thought it was chocolate !!) This will (apparently) serve 6. Not in my house, 4 at a stretch! It has 250 calories per 100g and 16g fat, so not for a low fat diet. But this is perfect for a treat and one I really enjoy. It has also come in a variety of flavours at one stage or another, mostly special editions. But I have seen the mint version as a regular on the shelves, but this is not as good as the original. In my opinion, this is a great treat for the family. It is not very healthy, but if you love white vanilla ice cream (as I do) and you love chocolate. You will love this and at £1 a large bar, you can afford to treat yourself. I have a thing about eating Vienetta, just like Cadbury's crème egg, I often wonder how people eat theirs? I tend to scrape each layer off, so a mouthful of ice cream, then that lovely wafer thin chocolate, I mostly succeed with each layer until I get to the slightly thicker one at the bottom, yummy !!
I've run out of Muller rice, I bought a load recently when 'Buy 4 get 4 Free' offers were on at various supermarkets. I used these for my breakfast at work so I wouldn't be tempted to snack. Now the offer is over. I begrudge paying 54p per pot - tight maybe - credit crunching - definitely. So I went to my local Tesco and tried to find an alternative and I find Muller light yogurts at 3 for £1, I'll have some of that I thought to myself. I picked up a selection including the limited edition Summer Berries with Elderberry. I love fruity yogurts and despite the presence of Aspartame (one of my pet distastes) I was pleasantly surprised along with saving about 120 calories per pot, it was very tasty. This yogurt is fat free (hurrah) but does have sugar and sweeteners (boo). There is 8% fruit in each pot which contains strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. The elderberry comes from juice which is added to the yogurt. There is a teeny 88 calories added to each 175g pot, which makes it a pretty healthy snack. They also let us know that there is 128mg of calcium per 100g This is the second limited edition to join Muller's light yogurts. Released in April this is Muller being seasonal (a lot of what we hear on the TV) and it replaces Lemon and Passionfruit flavour. This will be advertised heavily in slimming magazines and women's magazines to support the launch. I have not seen any advertising, but you may well have. This flavour will be available until the autumn when it will be replaced with another new flavour, so grab them while you can. You will spot these by the slightly different foil lid to the usual Muller Light Yogurst, this one has black on it and is covered in berries. ~The Taste~ Yum. Peeling back the foil layer revealed a purple creamy yogurt with pips in. I love to see the pips then I know it's real fruit. It tastes lovely, I'm not sure what elderberry tastes like, but all the flavours of the berries mixed together gives a subtle tang to the yogurt. Aspartame is present in this yogurt, but doesn't affect the taste too much like in other 'light' products I have tried. I have another one in the fridge and can't wait to have it (maybe in the morning). The yogurt, as always with Muller is fresh and light, the fruit adds a new dimension to the taste. This is available at an RRP of 54p, but offers are usually on such as 3 for £1 etc.
Has Britain got any talent at all? Well if you have seen the programme, clips of the programme, or even read the newspaper you will have seen that yes indeed Britain does have talent, from dancers and singers to acrobats and animal trainers. We have seen some fantastic talent from all around the UK in the first few shows of the programme. Ant and Dec stand next to the stage cheering on the contestants and make us laugh with their funny quips, while Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell judge the talent. Anyone of any age can attend to showcase their talent and sometimes we get some big surprises. I was shocked at my own stereotypes when Susan Boyle walked onto the stage. She looked like your average wannabe with no talent at all, and then she opened her mouth and gave us the most beautiful voice I have heard in some time. It was refreshing to be shocked by my stereotypes, and that of the participating audiences. There are few surprises like this, you can often tell how someone talks or acts that they will be great/ good or not so good. One thing that does distress me about these types of programmes is the age of participation. I don't think it's the best thing for a child to be told how fabulous they are or how rubbish they are. I saw 3 girls get on stage that were about 16 years old and they were told in no uncertain terms they were rubbish. The audience was laughing at them and shouting 'off, off, off'. They might be misguided, and one of them was a bit lippy, but is that the breed of people we now are. The stocks have not been used for a long time, but it seems that this is public humiliation that people are likely to put themselves up for, just for 5 minutes of fame, which by today's standards is trickling to more like 5 seconds of fame. I know a man who does not watch any reality type shows, he hates to see any form of bullying and I agree with him. I used to love reality TV and watched it with a vengeance, but as time has gone on and people allowed to enter are younger and younger, it seems to be getting out of hand, just to line someone's pockets. While it is funny and we do laugh when people put themselves on the public stage, but if people are really rubbish at something and they live in a distorted reality, they will be even more disappointed and with a crowd jeering, it will never help anyone's self esteem. On the up side, it does discover some hidden talent the UK would not have experienced otherwise; who knew a mobile phone salesman would be the next operatic voice? I think we have come to the end of reality TV and I think it should have gone along with Jade Goody, she was a prime example of how reality TV works, she was hated, loved then hated again and lived her life in the public eye, we watched her rise and then fall so dramatically, the audience couldn't believe it. Unfortunately this is all lining Simon Cowell's deep pockets, but until the public refuses to watch I'm sure it will stay around for a long while yet!