Welcome! Log in or Register

tiger645

tiger645
  • 12
  • 44
  • 2
  • 695
  • 7037
  • 4143
  • Crowns
  • Premium reviews
  • Express reviews
  • Comments
  • Reviews rated
  • Ratings received

Member since: 24.02.2007

People I trust

Users that trust you
  • Sort by:
    • More +
      30.01.2011 18:06
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      3 Comments

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      Occassional treat.

      Walls Magnum Temptation Caramel and Almond

      When I saw this product my heart sank a little. Back when I was about 8 years old my father used to eat magnums very often whilst working in the garden. He always asked my to get him one, so I used to run to the freezer and run back, a cold Magnum ready for him. One day I decided I wanted one, it was a caramel one. I sat in the garden and I ate the magnum but not in a normal way, I first ate the chocolate and then the licked the caramel. After a few licks I felt sick, a few licks more and I felt very sick and physically wretched. I threw it in the bush and never ate one again. Since then even the thought of eating a magnum makes me feel ill. Today I decided, it was an ice cream and I shouldn't let one bad experience put me off. So here's what happened to that magnum.


      About Walls and Magnum

      Magnums are sold in the UK under the well known Walls brand. The Wall is an English brand founded in 1796. Since then Walls has grown from strength to strength and is now a global company.

      The original Magnum came out in 1987, and since 1992 every year a different flavour has come out expanding the appeal of Magnum to everyone. The actual Magnum idea is owned by Unilever which is both a British and Dutch company. Magnum is actually a Latin word and it means great, something the brand overall has lived up to very well it seems.


      Availability

      Magnums are available in nearly every supermarket as well as most of those pesky ice cream vans that go around playing their annoying music even when it's raining. Anyway I got mine from my local Tesco express which were stocking them, althought it is worth mentioning that they did not have every flavour so it may have just been luck they had this one. From a little research I have found out apparently both Tesco and Sainsbury stock them although Asda do not. They cost £3.49 for a packet of three which is quite expensive for an ice lolly. The price does not vary between major supermarkets but may at local smaller shops or ice cream vans.


      Packaging

      As I mentioned before they come in a pack of 3. This is rather an annoying number for most people but that of course is Magnum's choice. The ice-creams come in a box which is the same size as all the other Magnum boxes. It is a reasonable size to put in the freezer but we always take ours out first. The box itself is a brown colour and has a picture of the ice cream on the front and has nutritional information on the side of the box so you can know exactly how fat you will be after eating one. Once you open the box each ice cream is also individually wrapped in that lovely Magnum silky paper. I really like this paper and I feel as though it shows the quality of the ice cream, and I certainly feel as though I deserve something special after I've paid so much.


      What Lies Beneath the Packaging

      The ice cream has a strong chocolate sweet smell. The smell is not that strong but I smelt it for quite a while as I usually like chocolate but then my fear of magnums swept back I felt a little nauseas. So I recommend don't stand there smelling it like I did, but I needed the time to prepare. The ice cream itself is completely coated in chocolate so is totally brown with a small stick coming out the bottom with the Magnum symbol on. Not overly exciting but perhaps a sign of class and quality, I certainly hoped so.

      I was half expecting, to quote the manufacture "a decadent combination of Madagascan vanilla ice cream with Californian almond pieces smothered in dark Belgian chocolate and luscious swirls of smooth, soft caramel sauce all coated in a thick milk chocolate shell." Yet another half of me was filled with dread but I shut my eyes and took a bite. I took the smallest mouse bite ever so all I got was a bit of chocolate. So not quite what I had expected, but then I decided to take a large bite after I had to give it a chance. I was pleasantly surprised. My mouth was filled with what tasted like creamy vanilla ice cream (not sure what the difference between normal and Madagascan is meant to be but just tasted normal), a little bit of tasty chocolate and finally just the right amount of caramel that it wasn't over powering but it had that sneaky caramel taste to it. Then suddenly crunch I bit into an almond. I'm not the biggest fan of any sort of nuts in my ice cream and although I would preferred it without nuts it didn't taste as bad as I expected. It's an interesting experience, the smooth caramel and ice cream with melting chocolate and then the surprise of a crunch with it.

      So the first couple of bites were surprisingly good, I had enjoyed the textures and the taste. The ice cream cooled my mouth beautifully in the hot weather. Several bites later I thought I was doing well, however about half way through I was full and started to get a little fed up with the ice cream. Now don't get me wrong I am a huge fan of chocolate but on a hot day I just want coldness. Now this ice cream has coldness but it is very sweet and after about half the ice cream I was feeling as though the sweetness was getting the better of me. The ice cream itself is very filling and so I decided I really didn't want to eat any more and so the ice cream ended up where it had all those years ago...in the bush. I enjoyed this magnum much more than the one all those years ago and had managed to eat more of it but once again I was left feeling slightly sick. I left the other two in the box and within the day they had gone, my father ate them both. As I said before he liked the original and he enjoyed these even more. So if you like the original you will probably like these.


      Ingredients/Nutritional Information

      '''Main Ingredients'''
      It says on the pack that the ice cream contains Vanilla ice cream, Californian almonds (4%) with Belgian chocolate coating (6%), caramel sauce (11%) coated with milk chocolate (23%). I think this is important because overall the ice cream is 29% chocolate which I think is quite a lot of just a coating. I personally believe this is what eventually made me feel slightly sick, so perhaps that is something for people to look out if they aren't the biggest fan of chocolate. I thought the caramel sauce was a good proportion, not too much to make it overly obvious but you could definitely taste it. There were enough almonds that you aware that they were there but unlike many ice creams with nuts in they weren't too prominent. Although if you don't like almonds they can definitely be tasted so this is something to be aware of.

      '''Nutritional value'''
      Now I would like to explain how healthy one magnum is in proportion to the guideline daily amounts for an adult which is becoming increasingly important for many people. Before I start I would like to emphasise this is for an adult thus for a child the percentages wouldn't be significantly higher. Each magnum contains: Energy: 240kcal (12%), Sugar: 22g (24.4%), Fat: 16g (50%), Saturates: 10g (6%), Salt: 0.1g (N/A). As you can see from that breakdown that these magnums are very fattening and not overly healthy. This may be something people may want to be aware of whilst eating several a day (like my father). However as the occasional treat there is of course no harm.

      '''Ingredients'''
      Just in case anyone is thinking about buying one but is allergic to anything in particular. Reconstituted Skimmed Milk, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Vegetable Fat, Skimmed Milk Powder, Glucose- Fructose Syrup, Almonds, Cocoa Mass, Butteroil, Emulsifiers (E471, E422, E476), Stabilisers: (E410, E407), Flavourings, Madagascan Vanilla Bean Extract, Colour (E160a).


      Overall

      This ice cream is a highly priced one in my opinion and with the quality of ingredients and the wrapping as well as the brand I can see how they do have quality. But personally I felt as though the ice creams were too rich and as I have said before I could not finish it so as what happens with all my magnums the bush got the rest. I have to say this Magnum tasted far better when I ate is properly rather than eating each individual layer on its own. So overall a better experience than last time but I still wouldn't buy them for myself. However my father really enjoyed the ice cream and will be buying them again. Maybe the best advice would be if you like magnums give it a go otherwise like me give it a miss.


      Thank you for reading.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        09.01.2011 12:19
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        3 Comments

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        An affordable tasty pizza for everyone.

        A blast from the past - how did it all begin?
        ------------------------------------------------------

        In 1981, Dr. August Oetker founded his company in Bielefield, Germany. He was a pharmacist and developed the baking powder from raw ingredients in his pharmacy. He calculated the exact ratio of ingredients required and claimed to guarantee that housewives would have the perfect baking results every time. To get his business more popular he began to release recipe books, advertising and even recommended recipes on his flour products. At the turn of the century the company managed to open a food factory and soon after they began to expand to other European countries. They began to expand the types of food they made and soon frozen food was on the menu! The company is still owned by the same family but four generations later. Furthermore it takes great responsibility for its products as well as its employees. The company is environmentally friendly producing many products from recycled goods (not the food though!) but it also takes great pride in securing jobs for people. Now, the company produces a huge variety of goods such as baking powders, baking mixes, dessert mixes, cereals, conserves, frozen pizza, frozen pizza snacks, yogurts and chilled desserts. Clearly this review will focus on his Mozzarella Pizza which wasn't launched till 2003, quite surprising since I believe it to be quite popular.



        Types of pizza available - which one to choose?!
        -------------------------------------------------------------

        There are six different types of frozen pizza available from Dr Oetker. So off we went to the frozen section to have a look for a pizza. The first one is Pizza Spinaci which is quite like how it sounds, it has a topping of mainly spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella. Well personally I don't like spinach and I couldn't think of anything worse of putting it on top of a pizza, way to ruin it! So this one was struck off the list of choices. Next was Pizza Funghi which is pretty much the mozzarella pizza put with mushrooms on, this one looked very tasty to me but my sister doesn't like mushrooms so we decided against this one. However this would definitely be my second choice pizza. So we moved on to Pizza Vegetale, yes a pizza with vegetables on. It has peppers, onions and chillies. My sister hates peppers and to be honest I'm not the biggest fan of vegetables on my pizza so this was a definite no. Pizza Generosa was next, a yummy looking pizza with pepperoni, peppers and red onions. Well my sister loves pepperoni and I don't mind but the combination with peppers we just couldn't not take! So we were down to two different pizzas, Pizza Quattro Fromaggi which had mozzarella, Edam, Emmental and blue cheese and Pizza Mozzarella. Well we both knew we liked Mozzarella cheese and so being the boring people we are we decided to go for that one!


        The packaging - we just pretend looks aren't important
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        The pizza comes in a box, made of recycled cardboard in accordance to their pledge to help the environment. The box is about 15 inches by 15 inches and a few centimetres deep. The box has a huge picture of a cooked version of the pizza on the front (which is an accurate representation of how it looks when cooked). It has the brand name and "Ristorante Pizza Mozzarella" written across the front in big letters. It clearly says on the front to keep frozen before serving. The sides of the box are quite small and as a result don't have much on. On the back it has the cooking instructions as well as the ingredients and storage instructions. All very simple to understand and very standard. Since it is an international company the information comes in a variety of languages which takes up the back of the box. Inside the box is the pizza itself. The pizza is wrapped in cellophane to protect it from damage in case the box gets the damage. The cellophane is quite thick to provide good protection but it can be torn with either your bare hands or scissors. The cellophane is also really useful if you don't have much room in your freezer as it allows you to throw the box away and have a slightly smaller product which to store.



        What's cooking good looking - dad's bad joke
        ---------------------------------------------------------

        When I took the pizza out the cellophane it didn't look like the best pizza but it didn't look bad. The base and the crust look crisp and are a thin dough which looks very tasty. There is a tomato paste with both Mozzarella cheese and Edam cheese on top as well as patches of mixed herbs. There are about seven circular patches of Mozzarella cheese which are about four centimetres in diameter. As well as this there are also hunks of tomato which aren't big in size but are topped on the pizza. It says cook the pizza for 10-12 minutes at about 200 degrees in a fan oven. However we felt as though ours needed cooking for 15minutes for it to be crisp and the cheese to be totally melted. When the cheese has totally melted it spreads more around the pizza causing the majority of the pizza to be covered with the cheese. There are also clear small patches of herbs and lumps of tomato. The smell of the pizza was gorgeous, my mouth was almost watering from the smell and it looked very tasty. We split the pizza between two of us. It was easy enough to cut with a pizza cutter into slices and it did not stick to the pizza tray at all.



        Take a bite - the verdict
        ------------------------------

        The pizza was very tasty the crust and the base was of perfect crispiness for it to be crunchy but not overly so. The tomato paste was of a good consistency, not liquid but not so solid that it's unpleasant, it's the perfect constancy. The cheese is well melted and soft. It is very hot when it comes out the oven and I often burn myself on the cheese. I can't really taste the herbs to be honest but I'm not the biggest fan of herbs so I don't mind. The tomatoes are soft and juice and fit well with the pizza. Overall I thought the pizza was really tasty and my sister agreed although she does prefer a pepperoni one. This is definitely my favourite pizza and I find it very tasty. We ate half a pizza each and didn't have anything else after it. We were both full after half a pizza and we are both normal sized girls. Men may need more or something with it. This pizza is also very tasty when it is cold, quite often I leave it for a couple of hours and am more than happy to go back to it when I'm ready and it's cold. The difference (except is being cold) is that the cheese is much harder and the crust doesn't taste so crispy. I find overall that this pizza isn't too cheesy which can often happen and the balance is just right. One thing to bear in mind is the pizza is only a Mozzarella pizza so if you are looking for a pizza full of flavour and excitement then this pizza isn't for you but I believe that's the type of pizza rather than this brand. However if you like Mozzarella then I do recommend this pizza.


        Is there any more?
        ------------------------

        We get this pizza from Tesco as it is usually on offer of two of £4 which I believe is a fairly good offer seeing as I think the pizza is filling and very tasty. The price does seem to vary quite a lot it seems from every shop so it may be worth shopping around to find the best bargain. They are available from nearly every main shop but I haven't seen them in small local shops.



        Watch what you eat - Ingredients and all that jazz (feel free to skip this part!)
        ----------------------------------------------------------------

        The pizza contains, just for those with allergic reacions: Wheat flour, mozzarella cheese (milk, salt, bacterial culture, microbial enzyme or rennet), water, tomato puree, edam cheese (milk, salt, calcium chloride, beta-carotene colour, microbial enzyme or rennet), canola or soya or sunflower oil, frozen tomatoes, vegetable and palm oil margarine (contains one or more of the following: sunflower oil, canola oil, palm oil or soya oil), yeast, salt, spices, sugar, modified cornstarch, spinach, parsley, garlic, lactose, maltodextrin, lemon juice concentrate, hydrogenated palm oil, dried carrots, dried onions, potato starch, glucose-fructose, hydrolyzed soya protein, autolyzed yeast extract, artificial flavour, caramel colour, mono and diglycerides, monoglyceride citrate, lactic acid.

        But what I believe is more important is the nutritional value. A whole pizza contains 870 calories, something to be aware of if you are watching your weight! It is also very high in saturated fats at 75% of your recommended daily allowance if you eat the entire pizza. Furthermore it contains 27% of your recommended carbohydrates, 24% of your recommended cholesterol and surprisingly 72% of your sodium. Although most people wont eat the whole pizza I think this is very important for people who like to watch what they eat.


        Overall
        ---------

        Definitely recommended for those who like a good Mozzarella pizza. Although it isn't the cheapest pizza out there I think it's well worth it.


        Thank you for reading.

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          03.01.2011 12:36
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          Great stories for kids.

          Cherub: The Killing


          THE CERUB SERIES

          The Cherub Series started in 2004 and since then have grown in popularity. The books follow two main characters over the years and with each book they grow older. Although each book is a story in its self, there are issues which follow throughout the books and sometimes references to earlier books. The whole Cherub series are written by Robert Muchamore and the books in the series are as follows:
          1. The recruit (April 2004)
          2. Class A (October 2004)
          3. Maximum Security (April 2005)
          4. The Killing (October 2005)


          CHERUB BASICS

          Cherub is a secret organisation which helps adult intelligence such as Scotland yard but the difference is Cherub uses children between the ages of ten and seventeen. However the kids aren't agents until they've been through an initial examination testing their intelligence and their potential to do well as a spy. Following this once they are old enough they must go through 100 days of basic training which ensures they are ready to undergo missions. Two of these Cherubs are James and Lauren Adams, the series follows the stories and missions of these two mainly as well as others around them. All the children live together on the Cherub campus where they have exceptional facilities to develop their skills.


          THE KILLING

          At the beginning of the book James Adams gets into serious trouble after hitting a younger agent. Because of this he is punished severely and finds himself very lonely as none of his friends are speaking to him. However the chairwoman starts to feel sorry for him and allows him to go on a low risk mission, something James is not used to. Just like in the last book he goes on mission with Dave, a much older Cherub agent. They are sent to south London to investigate Leon Tarasov who runs a garage. The two Cherubs start to become friendly with the locals and stumble across the death of Will which was thought to be an accident but the more they find out the more suspicious it becomes. They also discover a robbery of a casino is not all as it seems. As the investigation grows two more agents, Kerry Chang, James' ex-girlfriend and Lauren Adams, James' sister are both bought into the mission. As the plot thickens and the death of Will becoming more and more suspicious the Cherub agents have to try and find out everything they can to help capture the culprits.


          OPINION

          I like all the Cherub books and I think the whole idea behind them is great. However I didn't really enjoy this book as much as the others. I felt as though the plot was slightly weaker and at times difficult to follow. It was quite complicated and quite a few villains were used making the plot slightly more difficult. I thought the mission itself was not as exciting as usual with it dragging on slightly since the story behind the mission wasn't great. There were very many twists and turns in this story which could be very interesting for some but I prefer stories where you build on the bases of one story and then have the occasional twist.

          However don't be fooled by my negativity as I am comparing it to the other books in these series. The story line is still exciting and different to other books out there and there are many people who really like this one. The beginning of the book about James on campus was very interesting and the way we learnt more about him was good and helped build up the character we already knew quite a lot about. The idea of Cherub is exciting and I believe children love these books because they feel as though they can relate to them. Although I thought it was the weakest book yet I would still recommend reading it. I would say this because the series all follow each other and it's helpful to read this book before starting the next one so that you are aware of what has just happened. This book is especially important in terms of James' relationships, thus if you miss it out you might not understand what is going on in the next one. As usual I would recommend reading the previous three books because as I said before it is part of a series.

          Just like all the other Cherub books, this book is aimed at both girls and boys. By including both James and Lauren Adams as main characters it allows both genders to feel as though they can relate to the book. I would say this book is aimed at ages slightly higher than the previous books, this is due to the themes covered and the complexity of the plot. I would say children about thirteen years old would be the right age for these books. With the previous books I recommended them to children younger than this age as well but for this book I wouldn't say it is really suitable for children much younger. I think the minimum age would be ten. The plot is slightly more complicated but I think children will be ok with it. However themes such as violence and murder occur and are quite graphic.


          ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

          Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
          Price - The recommended retail price is £6.99 but as usual amazon has the same book for a fiver brand new.
          320 pages which is slightly longer than the other books in the series.

          For more information on the characters in Cherub and also information on all the books visit www.cherubcampus.com. There are also preview chapters and extra mini stories on there which are quite good to read.



          Thank you for reading.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • Microsoft Kinect / Game Controller / 57 Readings / 54 Ratings
            More +
            26.12.2010 13:56
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            4 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Not one I would suggest.

            The Kinect
            -------------

            The Xbox Kinect was released this November and there have been numerous advertising campaigns to persuade people to try buy one, after all $500million was invested into advertising. With so much money in gaming there is constant competition in gaming for who can be the best. We've gone from controllers that have to be plugged in to wireless controls to now seemingly no controls at all. The wii stormed the market with its capability to play games from the persons movements but never become a hit with hard core gamers. The real competition for gamers has always been between the xbox and playstation.

            The kinect allows it to be taken to a different level. It now appeals to more people including the population who previously may have bought the wii. The kinect allows 'full-body 3D motion-capture, facial recognition and voice recognition', a huge step up from the wii which just sensed the controller.

            I won't go into the technology of how it works as few people will be interested in this and I don't actually fully understand it. However it involves three (yes three!) cameras in a sensor bar tracking your every move (little bit scary).


            *Set Up*

            The xbox and kinect itself belong to my friend, I wish I had the money to buy one, sadly I can barely afford a game for his birthday! When he first got it I decided to run away very fast and let him set it all up. After all I am hardly ever allowed to play on it. However I was told to look after it over Christmas and so I took it home and then realised I would have to set it up (oh how I wished I had watched him a couple of weeks previously!). From what I understand it is very easy to connect it to the slim xbox, just connect a USB cable but of course my friend didn't have that. Actually I'm not too bad with technology and it's really easy so I probably shouldn't have complained. Plus the kinect into the wall (this involved my needing an extension lead as I only have a 2 plug socket which had the xbox and the tv connected to) and then connect the xbox to the kinect. So basically it was as easier than a normal games console. And voila it's set up and ready (sort of...)

            Switch on. Now the kinect was already installed when I plugged it back in obviously. But first time it was switched on by my friend it insisted on doing several installing processes and updates. We left it half hour before going back to find it done.

            So now it was time to set it all up. First you must confirm the sensor is placed on a sensible surface like the wii. You're not meant to put it in the floor and it needs to be a hard flat surface so we threw it on the table (I use the word throw loosely, we actually placed it very carefully). It then makes you be silent so it can check background noise which happened to be the boy next door playing his guitar really loudly which the kinect didn't like too much and first time asked us to be quiet again. Probably not helped by me giggling as I was being tickled. But we eventually managed to be quiet long enough to get it to work. Then we had to configure chat which involved saying xbox. Very strange I though as I cant imagine the word xbox needs to be said for many games (turns out I was wrong as I'll explain later). Then you have to say a couple of basic phrases. It's quite boring and takes quite a while. On top of this if the microphone can't hear you, you may have to edit the settings on the xbox so it can.

            Then you have the joke of setting up the play space. The thing they forget to tell you is you need really big rooms. You have to follow the directions on the screen which are fairly simple like stand up, move, stay still etc. The annoying thing is you can do one person at a time, great fun when people keep moving in and out. You can upload loads of people but each has to be done individually and if someone interrupts your upload you have to start again. The other incredibly annoying thing is that we had to move everything out of the room for it to be clear to set it up. This took ages and to be honest was a joke. So unless you have a huge space be prepared for house moving. The whole set up process took about two hours. Possibly because we were messing around a lot and kept wandering off but the xbox clearly was not holding our attention! But in all fairness it is very easy.


            *Play time!*

            You can control the menu with your arms, actually amazing but the novelty wears off and it takes too long so actually in the long run the controller is easier. It's a little fiddly with the arm and if you're a bit shaky forget it. This is made for the young fit gamers. There are various games that you can play with the kinect, note not every game can be! They are generally sports games that use this method. These games are great fun family games, again as I have said appealing to the wider audience. However the guys found these games very boring and weren't interested in playing them at all. What annoyed them the most was the lag from when they did something and the console censored it, this meant it wasn't totally accurate and this really annoyed them. Finally you look like a total idiot when you play, a bit of laugh you may think. Well for me it was but the lads got a bit sensitive and didn't want to look stupid and stopped playing. Probably not the only reason but I'm sure it contributed.

            The most annoying thing the xbox does is beep when you are too near. This meant we could only play it in the biggest room in the house. We had to move furniture, move the tv and set it up in a room not of our choice. The beeping noise is annoying, after all I'm not a total idiot I know if I'm going to hit the tv! The kinect only allows 2 players to play, whereas the playstation and wii allow 4 people, in this aspect the xbox have missed a trick. Although to be fair you would probably need a field to be able to play with four people with the amount of space this thing demands (and it does demand it with it's beeping!)

            However what the guys and everyone else did enjoy was the voice control aspect when using the xbox. The xbox can be used as a DVD player and instead of using a remote you use "xbox" followed by what you want to do e.g. play, pause etc. This was amazing! When you say the word xbox it bring up the menu automatically. The tv has a dvd player anyway so we didn't really need the xbox to watch them but we enjoyed this control. Well we did until we all decided to annoy each other by shouting "Xbox Pause" every two minutes. Annoying as. So goodbye using the xbox as a dvd player (unless alone).


            *Cost*

            The Kinect costs £130 and is avaialbe from a variety of stores both online such as Amazong and Game as well as instore. Many shops sell it instore such as Argos and HMV. The price varies slightly with Amazon being the cheapest at £127.99. However importantly you must remember to add on the price of an xbox on top of this which will set you back about £200. And then unlike the wii you don't even get a free game so you must then buy a game which is between £30 and £40 depending on popularity. So as you can see the price is building very quickly.


            *Conclusion*

            Simply it is not worth it in my opinion. If you compare it to the wii and playstation move it is far more expensive when you take into account the price of the console. It is the most interactive by far and takes the whole body into account more than any other console but I can not justify this slight increase in interaction for the price.

            If you already have an xbox then I would see why you would get one as it would be cheaper than buying a new console. But I believe the kinect is designed for family play and not really teenage boys. In my opinion xboxs are big in serious gamers and boys who like playing what they call "proper" games. These sort of games do not appeal to them and as a result they would not want to buy the kinect. I believe the xbox is not really a family console and is far more expensive to buy all the things.

            So basically if you have an xbox and like these sort of things then perhaps invest in the kinect although the time delays are annoying and it isn't perfect, so serious gamers watch out. If you do not have a game console and want something like this then I don't recommend the xbox is for you. If you really do like playing games though the xbox is the one to have and I am very jealous of my friend for the xbox but not so much the kinect.


            Thank you for reading.

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
            • More +
              20.12.2010 13:33
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              3 Comments

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Great lotion to use if you have had the misfortune of being burnt.

              Nivea After Sun Lotion Sensitive
              -----------------------------------------


              Heading abroad this summer? No? Same. Time to leave the suncream, sunhats, water guns, paddling pools, after sunlotion all in the garage. Then we remember we live in England and although we like to think the weather will be miserable every summer it has that cheeky trick to sneak up on us (mainly during exam time as I'm sure every student will agree with me!). So you think you have one day of glorious weather and you go outside to make the most of it. A few hours later you realise you look like a lobster and the next day its gloriously sunny again. Well at least we can complain it's too hot as well! Enough of the story telling, a bit more about this product!


              The Product

              The lotion comes in a 200ml bottle which is a fairly plain bottle with not much writing on the front and a list of ingredients on the back. The lotion itself has a slight tinge of yellow to it, plain white would have probably looked nicer but it's not really that important. It is fairly thick like all after sun but unlike most does not take a fair amount of effort to rub in. This means application of the lotion is painless and easy. Unlike most sun creams and after lotions it's surprisingly not greasy so the worries of it going all over your clothes is not so bad. Also since it is easily absorbed by the skin less cream seems to transfer onto your clothes which is very useful. The lotion has a distinct smell which is quite nice, I would say rather fruity more than anything else. The after lotion is also suitable for sensitive skin which is great as at times my skin can become rather sensitive. I personally suffered no problems but you should always read the label just in case.


              Application

              The bottle has a nozzle at the stop which you press down to get lotion. This allows easy use without getting too much cream, a problem I always seem to have and then have to wipe it on other people to get rid of it! I find it also keeps the bottle cleaner as well as the surrounding area. The lotion should be applied to everywhere on the body where you are burnt and I would advise places you think you may be burnt just in case. The product cools the skin making it feel far less painful. What the lotion actually does is desensitises the skin to the burning sensation so although the pain is still there in theory you can't feel it as much.


              The Result

              As soon as I applied the lotion onto my shoulders they felt soothed and cooler. The cream also works to moisturise to allow vital vitamins and rehydrate the skin. The pain was taken away and unless I pressed down onto the area it was pain free, I thought this was absolutely fantastic as I haven't yet used a product that works that well. I did not peel at all, my skin was restored to a suitable state after a couple of days. No peeling is a great advantage and shows how well the cream really works. Further to this the cream maintains your tan, probably through the fact it moisturises your skin so you get to keep your tan which for many will be a great benefit. So overall no pain, no peeling and you get to keep your tan!


              Recommendation

              My advice is don't get burnt. Everyone is aware of the health risks and we all know we should wear sun cream or keep ourselves covered if the sun is powerful enough. However everyone slips up occasionally so it's always handy to keep a bottle of this spare just in case. I definitely do not recommend thinking it's ok to get burnt and then use this every time because the more you use it the less it will work to desensitise the skin and eventually you will start to feel pain again. But if you do ever find yourself in a situation where you are burnt definitely grab a bottle of this. 200ml of this stuff costs just £4.99 at Boots and the 400ml is £7.99. The pricing for this product is about average but definitely worth it.


              Thank you for reading.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                06.11.2010 13:20
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                It's a bit better than alright

                Alright, Still by Lily Allen

                Lily Allen is an English pop singer who started to make a name for herself in the singing industry in 2006 with her number one hit song "Smile" which is in this album. Alright, Still was Lily Allen's first album, it took a while to take off starting off on social internet sites such as myspace. However soon her album became increasingly popular and has sold 2.6 million copies worldwide.
                I do like Lily Allen but I do think she is a pop singer who appeals to girls. Her songs are very catchy and are easy to listen to and sing along to. Her songs have a variety of themes, from boys to fights she covers a variety of normal problems that girls go through but almost makes them comical through her songs.


                Tracks
                (If you do not wish to read about each track individually please skip to the next subheading titled Themes)

                Smile
                Not only is this the first track in the album but also this is the track that was released first and soon become number one in the UK. It was in the charts for many weeks and was very popular when it was released back in 2006. I did get a little annoyed with the song when it as overplayed on the radios but once they stopped playing it so much I reverted back to liking it again. The song is about splitting up with her boyfriend. The backing is simple but effective whilst the lyrics are catchy and in my opinion are a bit of fun. I choose these lyrics to be my favourite:

                I couldn't stop laughing
                Nah I just couldn't help myself
                See you messed up my mental health
                I was quite unwell

                I would rate this song 9/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WxDrVUrSvI


                Knock 'Em Out
                This is a bit of a fun song and Lily Allen doesn't really sing it but rather speaks it. The backing track is a basic drum beat which the same piano tune playing with it. This song is about one of those dilemmas girls face. It's about a guy who wants her but she clearly doesn't want anything to do with him. The whole song is about making excuses so that he will leave her alone. The lyrics and whole feeling of the song is a bit of a laugh and a little bit of fun. The following lyrics are great because I'm sure every girl has been in that situation!

                And no you can't have my number,
                Because I lost my phone

                I would rate this song 8/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEkglpOTVCw


                LDN
                This song, LDN (short for London) is about a bicycle ride through London and the sort of sites that can be seen in the city. She describes scenes set in London but then explains each one may have a darker side to what is actually being seen, thus not everything is what it seems. This gives the song a sense of seriousness but the tune in the background is light and cheery. The lyrics are catchy but I feel as though they have a deep meaning to them showing how we subconsciously choose to ignore what really is going on, whether Lily Allen meant for this is debateable. I like the opening lyrics to this song:

                Riding through the city on my bike all day
                Coz the filth took away my license

                I give this song 9/10 for it's catchy tune but meaningful lyrics.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmYT79tPvLg&feature=related


                Everything's Just Wonderful
                This song is about how everything is not wonderful. It's about a variety of problems including money but Lily Allen sings that it's just the way life goes. The backing tune is lively but steady. The lyrics itself are quite repetitive and catchy. The following lyrics are my favourite as I think it's a good reflection of teenage girls these days:

                I want to be able to get spaghetti bolognaise
                And not feel bad about it for days and days and days
                In the magazines they talk about weight loss
                If buy those jeans I can look like Kate Moss

                I give this song 8.5/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPmH1fzZ-zk


                Not Big
                This song is all about boys. Basically her boyfriend has split up with her and this song is telling him all about how bad the relationship was how she is going to tell everyone about him. I think this song is actually showing how she is trying to get her own back on him for splitting up with her. The accompanying music is simple but effective and ensures Lily Allen's voice isn't clouded. The lyrics are quite good but rather crude in places. The lyrics needed to be taken with a bit of a sense of humour otherwise they sound very harsh! I like the following lines:

                In the year and a half that we spent together,
                Yeah, I never really had much fun.

                I think this song is just a bit of fun so I would rate it 8.5/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zarl1kTCjco


                Friday Night
                This song is all about going out, drinking and what goes on when young girls have a little bit too much to drink. This includes fighting, trying to get boys and insulting other people. The backing music is constant and simple. The lyrics are a bit of fun in my opinion, I don't think the issues covered are meant in too much seriousness. I think it is just meant to represent a night out for a girl who has perhaps had a little bit too much to drink. I think the lyrics are quite funny rather than serious to be honest, I think the best lines that sum up this song are

                Don't try and test me because you'll get a reaction
                Another drink and I'm ready for action

                I like this song, I think it's all of a bit of a laugh to be honest! So I would rate it 9/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0K5KjxVhEc


                Shame For You
                Another song about boys...This is about a boy who wants her but he's not up to her standards mainly because he sleeps around. She the goes on to explain if he keeps harassing her about continuing with the relationship then she will have to take further action. This song is quite slow compared to the others and a bit more laid back. The backing beat is much slower but like the others is simple and repetitive. The lyrics are also quite repetitive, but they are quite good. Shame there aren't more really. My favourite two lines are:

                You'll be crying like a baby
                A sea of tears they'll call the navy in.

                This song is slightly different to the others in terms of the pace but the themes are quite similar throughout the album as you may have guessed! I don't think this song stands out either way, good or bad but I must admit I quite enjoy listening to it. I would give it 8/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrhjhAhw_bk


                Littlest Things
                This song (surprisingly) is about a happy relationship, well it was until it ended. For once Lily Allen seems to regret that it ahs ended and wants to go back to the way it was. I think this song is a nice change to all the insulting songs we've had before! This is another slow song but it has a sad tune with it. The sad tune goes ironically with the happy memories making you feel somewhat slightly sorry for her for once.

                I'd tell you sad stories about my childhood
                I don't why I trusted you but I knew that I could

                I think this song is quite cute, I would rate it 8/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czm4qGZmC2Y


                Take What You Take
                This is my least played track from the album. This song isn't really about anything just a little bit of advice and insulting, I don't feel as though it really has a theme. It could be directed at someone in particular but I just felt as it was a track she had just randomly produced. I feel as although the backing is plain and the lyrics are as well. With the other tracks the lyrics were good which meant a plain backing was complementary. However I didn't really think these lyrics were interesting. After listening very carefully I decided my favourite lines were the opening ones.

                A picture paints a thousand words,
                As one door closes, another door opens,
                And two wrongs don't make a right

                This is definitely my least favourite track, however it's not terrible. It's listenable but I felt compared to the rest of the album it was a let down. 4/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRdUDdkZW-w


                Friend Of Mine
                This track, as you can probably guess about "friends" who turn out not be so friendly after all. The lyrics are quite catchy although they are fairly repetitive. The backing is simple, a steady drum base allows her voice to stand out and doesn't cloud the song. My favourite lines from this song were from the chorus,

                Tell me what do you expect?
                Have you got no self respect?

                I enjoy listening to this song, not my favourite but it's quite good. It's not a track that can be listened to very often due to the lyrics being quite repetitive. I would give this track 6/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NROBm0FPxiE


                Alfie
                This song is about her 'younger brother Alfie' who is growing up to be a slob. This song basically describes how he is taking drugs, unemployed and lies around all day. In my opinion the whole song is light-hearted and funny. It combines all the complaints the older generation seem to have about youths these days and puts them all on this kid Alfie. The whole song is fun and makes me laugh but my favourite lines are,

                My little brother's in his bedroom smoking weed
                I tell him he should get up because it's nearly half past three,
                He can't be bothered because he's high on THC.

                I like this track, although it may be unsuitable for younger audiences and others may frown about how readily she uses such issues in a song, I personally think it's not meant in all seriousness. I would give this track 9/10.

                Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRX57zprNdw


                Themes

                As you've probably gathered from the individual tracks, there are many themes covered in Lily Allen's album. These include violence, drinking, sexual references and swearing. Although I don't think any of her songs are particularly explicit, they may not be suitable for younger audiences and I would recommend parents perhaps taking a listen to the album to decide whether they think their child should listen to it. Personally I think this album is suitable for children over the age of twelve. I would definitely say this album is more suited to girls rather than boys, in fact I haven't met a lad who readily admits they listen to Lily Allen.


                Overall

                I think this album is quite impressive from Lily Allen. Each individual song has something to offer, my only criticism would be some of the tracks are fairly similar and after a while may start to sounds too similar for my liking. But if you listen carefully each track does cover a slightly different theme. In this one album she has managed to cover some serious issues but more frequently has turned serious issues into laughable material which I think is great. This album was released back in 2006 and so is rather old now, however this means it is cheap to buy and can be found on amazon for as little as £3.98, a bargain if you consider how many good tracks there are on this album. So overall definitely recommended, especially to young teenage girls.


                Thank you for reading.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • Outnumbered - Series 2 / TV Series / 83 Readings / 79 Ratings
                More +
                07.07.2010 18:09
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                8 Comments

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                Try it out.

                OUTNUMBERED - Series 2

                After the success of series 1 in 2007 the show was granted a second series which was aired on the BBC in 2008 with the DVD being released in 2009. Outnumbered is a partially improvised comedy about the problems encountered by parents in normal family life. The series is about a fairly normal family with two parents who are "outnumbered" by their three children. There isn't really a plot us such, just every day life such as trying to get your children to go to school and explaining difficult topics to them. However it's done in an amusing way from the awkward questions the children say to the amusing comments they come out with.

                ~~~Characters~~~

                Pete Brockman
                Pete if the father in the family and works as a history teacher in an inner city secondary school. He has lots of problems with the school he is at and has been accused of being racist. He is most concerned about his older son and constantly tries to be friends with him. Pete is played by Hugh Dennis who I think fits the role well. He often gets frustrated at his children and improvises along with them quite well although clearly sometimes what the children say stumbles him. It is a different sort of comedy than he usually does and the focus is far more on the children being witty than him.

                Sue Brockman
                Sue Brockman is a part time PA who has to deal with the pressure of being a mum as well as working. She is far more calmer with the children than their father and tries to respond to all their questions no matter how difficult. However we often see her getting stressed and annoyed with the whole family including her husband. Sue is played by Claire Skinner and once again is very good at the role she plays. Everything she does follows on well and she fits into the role as a mum with ease.

                Jake Brockman
                Jake is an thirteen year old boy who is in a different secondary school than the one his father teaches in. We see a lot more of Jake in this series as he brings home a friend who happens to be a girl resulting in lots of questions from his parents. Jake is starting to hit puberty and we can see him getting increasingly frustrated not only at his parents but also his younger siblings. Jake is played by Tyger Drew-Honey and he plays a role somewhat between the adults and the children. He plays it well and adds to the family dynamics but I would have to say he isn't particularly funny but I do not believe his character is meant to be.

                Ben Brockman
                Ben is nine years old and definitely the child who causes the most number of problems. Not only does he say really awkward things at the wrong time but he also finds everything funny. He has a great imagination and can make nearly everything into a game. Ben is played by Daniel Roche and he is a great actor. He fits into the role perfectly, a young boy with too much energy and a big imagination. This of course results in destruction, mess and very embarrassing situations. He is very funny and can improvise very well coming up with very clever comebacks to his parents suggestions.

                Karen Brockman
                Karen is seven years old and asks lots of embarrassing questions to which her parents struggle to answer honestly. She will happily tell people what her parents have said about them as well as seeing and hearing things that her parents don't want her too. She then will question her parents relentlessly often on subjects which a parent would rather avoid. Karen is played by Ramona Marquez who is incredibly cute. She plays the part very well and you can't help but admire her, her comebacks are witty and she wont be ignored.

                Others
                Angela is Sue's sister who is off travelling the world. They don't get on very well and Sue resents Angela's lifestyle and the choices she has made. Frank is Sue's father who suffers from memory loss thus Sue has to take care of him to make sure he doesn't forget to take his medication and to try and prevent him from hurting himself. Jo is Jake's friend who happens to be a girl, although they aren't in a relationship their parents seem to think they are.

                ~~~Episodes~~~

                Episode 1
                In this episode Sue's cousin Julie is getting married. The episode starts with the problems of getting ready for a wedding and Karen manages to get herself stuck in the bathroom. At the wedding Karen questions the bride relentlessly about love causing Julie to doubt her own wedding. At the party after Karen and Ben question the priest about Jesus, asking deep questions which the priest tries to handle the best he can. Meanwhile Pete is trying to keep the peace between Sue and her sister who are getting on particularly badly. This episode is very funny and I think Karen and Ben questioning both Julie and the priest are the best parts. 8/10

                Episode 2
                Karen is very angry at her parents in this episode for killing a mouse in their house. She mourns the dead mouse whilst accusing her mum a murderer. Ben is trying to get elected as class president by using persuasions such as offering money and proving he can do lots of different impressions. In this episode Jake brings his friend Jo home and his parents are suspicious they are more than just friends. Karen also has a friend over and it becomes apparent that this little girl is always being looked after my Sue and Pete much to their disgust. This episode hasn't really got a main theme just a general family day however is still quite witty. 7/10

                Episode 3
                In this episode it's Sunday and Sue speaks to her next door neighbour who always seems to be doing very well and informs her that they ban television on a Sunday in an attempt to seem as good as her. Thus the family have to endure family games, something which quickly leads to arguments and the children making up different rules. Eventually they play hide and seek but the parents are too tired to look for them so the children start to argue with them only to result in the ban on tv being lifted. I would say this is another standard episode and although there isn't really a great story line the children are still witty. 7/10

                Episode 4
                In this episode the family with granddad are coming back from holiday but get stuck in an airport for hours on end with very little to do. Not only do the parents have to look after the children but also their grandfather who is becoming increasingly forgetful. Jake and Ben share a double expresso and decide to play a game of how many words can you say that you shouldn't such as "dynamite". Meanwhile Karen questions the thought processes of Al Qaeda. Later they play a game of eye spy which causes more problems when Karen decided "Muslim" is one of her words and her parents try to explain that she can't use that. This episode is hilarious and is definitely worth viewing. It's very funny and the children, especially Karen ask really awkward questions. 9/10

                Episode 5
                Sue and Pete decide to go out for a night leaving the children with a baby sitter but before they go they discuss their financial difficulties. Karen has lots of useful suggestions to save money such as not buying broccoli. The children are left with the babysitter Draxi who manages the children very well but lets them eat chocolate and doesn't make them go to bed. This means when the parents get home the children are still up and hyper. 8/10

                Episode 6
                This episode opens with Ben being very angry with his father who has refereed his match and sent him off. He is in a bad mood and successfully manages to kick his way around the kitchen. Karen starts to ask more difficult questions about God and Satan, something her parents don't really know how to explain to her. Not much really happens in this episode, once again it's just an average family day where they don't really do anything except hang around the house. 7/10

                Episode 7
                This is the final episode in the series and it starts with Ben returning from AnE, somewhere he has been familiar with. Pete tries to explain that his son is careless and is not being abused, however the nurse does not seem convinced. When he gets home he explains he has "a pattern of unexplained bruises" however his parents tell him that he knows exactly how he got them. Karen has had a disagreement with her teacher and writes to the prime minister to explain that she wants her teacher sacked. The family are also visited by the police towards the end of the episode. An episode which covers many serious topics in a light hearted way whilst conserving the humour the show entails. 8/10

                ~~~My Opinion~~~
                If you are looking for a show with a great story line then this isn't it. This programme is just about everyday life of having children and the problems faces by a normal family. It is a comedy and is designed to make you laugh, and that without a doubt it does. The way the story is acted out through awkward questions, statements and actions makes the whole series hilarious and you can't help but laugh at how the parents struggle to cope with their children. I don't think I'm alone by saying this really is a great, laid back comedy.

                I don't think this comedy is suitable for everybody, I certainly don't think children would necessarily understand it and it could raise awkward questions in their families! However apart from children it really is suitable for everyone else. I love the programme as do many of my friends, we find it very amusing even though we don't have children. I also showed it to my mum and my younger sister who is a couple of years younger than me and they both loved it. I think parents will find it very funny but equally I think those without children, such as myself, find it equally funny because the scenes are just comic.

                I haven't yet met someone who doesn't like it so it can't be bad! I recommend the DVDs because I have now watched them several times and I still find myself laughing out loud at them, thus I believe they can be watched several times. It is very hard to describe the comedy in a review without giving away the lines so I would say it's worth trying.
                I believe this series is even better than the first series which is quite an achievement. The first series was a great success and the second series even so more. The show received 3 awards at the comedy awards which I believe shows how fantastic this show is.

                ~~~Extras~~~
                There a couple of extras with this series such as the comic relief special which isn't as good as the other episode and Sue and Jake are both missing from the episode, however it is still worth a watch. You also get outtakes which are quite funny and mainly involve someone laughing midday through what they're saying. Finally you get deleted scenes which are generally a longer version of what is shown in the episodes but there is a little new material.

                ~~~Additional Information~~~
                The total running time for both discs is 200 minutes. It is available on amazon for new for £10 which is a great value. There are two discs with all the episodes on as well as the extra features. If you have any doubts about whether you would like show or not there is a preview on amazon if you follow this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Outnumbered-2-DVD-Hugh-Dennis/dp/B001PIJ7RI . The BBC often air repeats of the show and sometimes they can be found on iplayer or there are clips on youtube.

                Recommended very much!

                Thanks for reading.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                • More +
                  05.07.2010 14:00
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
                  4 Comments

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  Pop up this tent.

                  Chad Valley Pop Up Play Tent

                  I have had this pop up tent for as long as I remember, I grew out of it years ago, moved house and still for some reason the tent came with us. So let me tell you how the story of the pop up tent that never left the family came about as well as some useful stuff about the product of course! We'll start with the facts before embarking on the story of a lonely tent!


                  Setting Up/Taking Down

                  The tent comes in a small circular bag which is ridiculously small compared to the size of the tent. All you need to do is unzip the bag and take out the product. At this point the tent has already grown in size as when you take it out the bag it unfolds itself. The tent is then folded so all you have to do is grab either side and pull it apart slightly and the other two sides will pop out very easily to form a tent. It is exceptionally easy to do this, you don't require any strength and children are also able to do it. So it is now set up and ready to play with.

                  The taking down part is slightly harder although not that difficult in my opinion. All you need to do is fold one of the edges into the opposite edge and then in half and you have a flat object. However this may be years of experience speaking because I watched one of my friend's attempt to do it and after about ten minutes they gave up. But once I showed her the technique she was fine, it was just a laugh to watch her struggle for a while! Personally we leave the tent like this in the garage as its flat and can be put away easily and taken out again easily. However you can put it back into the bag which involves folding it back into a small shape, something which is really difficult. We tried once and didn't bother again however if you do want to then all you require is a fair amount of force and a little patience. The product is fairly easy to clean as well and a damp sponge would be fine to clean it out or more easily just get the hose onto it!


                  The Product

                  Basically the name is fairly self explanatory, a pop up tent! It comes all folded up in a small circular bag. The product itself once opened is just over a metre high so children can stand in it and adults can sit in it. The tent itself is pyramidal so has a square at the bottom which is about one metre squared. The four sides are then triangular and meet at the top so it's narrower at the top. I found it was the perfect size for children however adults obviously can't stand in it but sitting it is fine. You can fit two or three children standing in it and probably four or five sitting down. The tent is made out of a synthetic substance and is flammable but like all children's toys it shouldn't be placed near fires. The plastic is strong and we've had this tent for many years and there are no tears and it does not look worn out. This shows how strong the material is and allows children to be as rough as they like with the tent.

                  The tent is brightly coloured with two opposite red walls and the other two yellow. The base is blue and the very top of each wall is blue. All the colours are bright and fun for children which I think is always great. As I mentioned before there are four sides to this product, each one is something different. One of the walls has nothing on at all, another has a window which is just made from see through plastic, it can not be opened but allows children to look out. Another side has a small circular outlet which has a flap over the top which is square. The last side has a triangular door shaped entrance which is much bigger the circular one. Children can easily get through the circular one however adults may struggle but everyone can get through the triangular one. The flaps use Velcro to hold them in the position you want them. You can either have them down so that the entrances are covered or you can roll them back so that the tent is open to the outside.


                  Safety

                  I would say this tent is very safe. The sides are made from wire making it fairly sturdy so it doesn't fold up once opened without purposely trying to put it away. However the wire it covered an protected so children won't hurt themselves on it. The tent is not overly sturdy and if you run into it whilst it is empty it probably would fall over. Personally I've never had experience of this mainly because there's usually someone inside it! The material is flammable but like most toys you wouldn't put it near a fire anyway. The tent can be used inside or outside but it should be placed on a flat surface and preferable on carpet or grass so the children are comfortable when sitting down.


                  My experience

                  As I mentioned before I've had this tent a very long time and I've grown up with it! When I was very young we used to take our toys inside and play inside the tent, the only thing it if all the flaps are down and there are lots of children in there it can get quite warm inside especially when it's outside in the summer. As we grew older we got bored of just one tent so we went out and got ourselves a couple more tents and a few tunnels (one was a four way tunnel, very cool!) We were then able to connect tents up together by tunnels. A standard tunnel fits very well into the circular hole of the tent. I generally found this tent was a great opening tent as it had the bigger entrance and then from this tent you can connect a series of other tents and tunnels. I have to say this was the best this about this tent, to create such a network was very cool and it took me a long time to grow out of this. We used to play with this quite a lot especially when my cousins came over.

                  Once we placed a beanbag in this tent and my youngest cousin who was just over one years old actually fell asleep in there so we just let her sleep whilst we carried on playing. Sadly we grew up again and we decided once we were to big for tunnels to include it in paddling pools and so it got very wet but its fairly waterproof so it remains it good conditions. We often used it as bases in water fights, great fun. However once we moved house it remained in our garage for a few years until one day we were building an assault course and out it came again, at this point we were quite big and the fact we had to get through the circular hole was a challenge. As you can see I have used this tent in so many different ways over the years and the incredible thing is that except being a little dirty and times dusty it is still in a very good condition and can still be used. Definitely has come in a lot of use over the years and I am glad we still have it, never know when it'll be used again!


                  Recommendation

                  Definitely recommended without second thoughts. It costs about £10 and can be bought in places such as Argos and of course Amazon. However you can probably get it cheaper from other sellers like ebay as I'm sure a few people have grown out of them and want to sell them. Personally I wouldn't sell mine! I hope I have explained how great this is for children and how throughout my childhood I loved playing with this. Whether or not you have other tents or tunnels it is still worth it as it can be used on its own and still provide great fun. I recommend buying it when your children are fairly young as it is safe and can be used for children when they are crawling.


                  Thank you for reading.

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                  • More +
                    29.06.2010 14:45
                    Very helpful
                    (Rating)
                    5 Comments

                    Advantages

                    Disadvantages

                    Worth investing in.

                    Gazillion Bubble Sprinkler Play Pool


                    Product

                    This paddling pool is a fairly small paddling pool, about 3m in diameter and not deep at all (approx 70cm). It also has a slide and a sprinkler (which also causes bubbles). The slide is about a metre and half high so is a perfect height for young children. The paddling pool and slide are green and purple but quite bright which makes it more fun for children. You also get two inflatable "bubble bats" which float in the water and help create bubbles. You get two bottles of bubble mixture with the paddling pool however these run out quickly, another alternative which I found works well is washing up liquid which basically does exactly the same thing! The slide is detachable which is very useful if you just want a paddling pool otherwise it can be placed anywhere on the paddling pool by just slotting it over the top. The slide has a rope to climb up which isn't overly useful since the age of the children using this would not be able to climb up. I would say this paddling pool is for young children up to the age of 2 to 3 years old at which point I think they would have grown out of it.


                    Set Up

                    Well like most paddling pools it is very easy to set up. However there is one exception you do not get a pump with it which is slightly annoying. Luckily we had a pump from a previous paddling pool. Otherwise I can imagine it would take quite a while to blow up! The slide and the pool have to be blown up separately. Then the slide can be easily placed onto the pool. The sprinkler can be easily attached onto the paddling pool and should be attached to the hose to allow a constant stream of water to be produced. The paddling pool doesn't take too long to fill either, obviously this depends on how much water you want in it. But I find 5 minutes with the hose in the pool is a sufficient amount of water.


                    Safety

                    Firstly I do not believe the rope to climb up the slide is very safe especially when children are wet, they are very likely to slide down. However for the age of children this is suitable for I would say most children would have to be picked up to get onto the slide anyway as they would not be strong enough. The slide isn't so high that it's dangerous but it is high enough for children to gather enough speed for it to be fun. The slide also has raised sides to stop children falling off it. I recommend the sprinkler not to be placed directly opposite the end of the slide, just slightly to the side. This is because I found with the older children they can slip all the way across the pool which is great but a slightly concern in case they hit themselves on the sprinkler. Thus I suggest the sprinkler is not directly opposite. The sprinkler itself however is very safe. The pool has a very good thick side to stop children falling out the side and can easily support the weight of children, something I believe is very important as children always slip around in pools!


                    Price and recommendation

                    The paddling pool costs around £40 which is a fairly reasonable price to pay for a paddling pool. However its high quality is worth paying for. Also I believe the added extras of the slide and sprinkler are great fun. Although children grow out of it fairly quickly I think this is the case with every paddling pool. I do not believe young children should have a huge paddling pool to start with due to obvious reasons thus a small fun paddling pool like this is perfect. Also the added benefits of the slide and the sprinkler mean children play for it beyond the age they would otherwise. So I definitely recommend this!


                    Thank you for reading.

                    Comments

                    Login or register to add comments
                    • Inglourious Basterds (DVD) / DVD / 50 Readings / 49 Ratings
                      More +
                      27.06.2010 13:19
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      A great remake of an old film.

                      Inglorious Basterds


                      PLOT

                      The film is based in Nazi occupied France during world war II and opens with a member of the SS, Colonel Hans Landa cruelly interrogating a farmer about a suspected Jewish family he is said to be hiding. Eventually the farmer succumbs and the family in hiding are killed with the exception of Shosanna Dreyfus, a young girl who manages to escape.

                      The film then jumps three years, here we see an American Lieutenant Aldo Raine with his eight specially chosen Jewish Americans who are later known as the "The Basterds". They have the mission to parachute into the France and kill as many German Nazis as they can to cause panic. They are savage in their methods, killing brutally and only leaving one survivor to torture information out of them. Meanwhile Shosanna, with a new identity runs a small cinema in Paris. A German, Frederick Zoller falls for her and persuades Goebells (the Nazi propaganda minister) to show the new propaganda Nazi film at her cinema. Suddenly Shoshanna sees a perfect opportunity to gain revenge for this murder of her family. The "Basterds" also find out about this film and send in one of their own to infiltrate within the high ranking officers. Of course the plans don't go quite to plan and suddenly everyone realises you never know who to trust.


                      MAIN CHARACTERS

                      Shosanna Dreyfus- Played by Melanie Laurent. As I've already stated this is a young girl who escaped the Nazis and eve once successful has an instinct to get revenge upon those who killed her family. Personally I think the role was given well, she plays Shosanna well and you feel as though you can connect well with her and her emotions.

                      Lieutenant Aldo Rine - Played by Brad Pitt. A strong hearted American man who forms "The Basterds" in order to try help bring down the Nazis. I think Brad Pitt lives up the roll, his acting is brilliant without a doubt in this. Certainly a powerful performance, full of talent.

                      Colonel Hans Landa - Played by Christoph Waltz. Also known as the Jew Hunter, the cruel SS guard who shamelessly kills so many without a sense of remorse. This performance by Christoph Waltz is fantastic. A stunning display evoking such strong emotions. He manages to build tension and keep the watcher amazed throughout his performances. In my opinion he has done a fantastic job with this one, definitely a great choice of actor to play the Jew Hunter.


                      OPINION/SUITABILITY

                      I don't usually watch and enjoy these sort of films. However I thought I may as well watch it since we had it on DVD. I must say the plot was actually quite clever and the acting certainly helped in keeping me gripped. Personally I spent a lot of the film feeling quite sad, it isn't a film for the faint hearted. However the heaviness of the story line is somewhat combated by some of the light hearted speeches and witty scenes. The film was different to most scenes I have seen due to the fact the characters spoke the language where they were from, this mix of French, German and English results in the watcher having to read subtitles for quite a lot of the film, however I don't feel as though this was a problem.

                      This film isn't one of those light hearted films where you don't really need to watch thus having to read subtitles doesn't impact the overall quality. The music which went with this film was great. I felt like it had been carefully selected and really emphasised the mood. Finally the violence, I felt like this was very realistic and graphic. There isn't a ridiculous amount of violence throughout the film and it somewhat builds to the final scenes. I personally agree with the 18 rating due to the graphic violence at the end which at times I found quite horrible. Overall I thought the story line was good, lthough not historically accurate, it was well acted. However there were times when I personally thought the film could have moved a little faster and I didn't enjoy all the violence as I thought it was a little too gruesome for me.


                      OTHER INFO

                      Price - £9.99 - available on a variety of sites such as play and amazon.
                      Classification - 18

                      Extras
                      - Discussion with the producer and Brad Pitt - admittedly I didn't enjoy this very much, but for those particularly interested might be worth a watch.
                      - The original film is also covered in the extras. This was quite interesting, I didn't realise bfore watching the extras it had been out before.
                      - Nation's Pride - the film which is shown within the film can be watched in full in the extras. I found this very interesting and definitely would recommend this.
                      - There are also extended and alternate scenes which could be quite intresting to fans, I personally thought the DVD was enough.
                      - Trailers from both the UK and abroad.


                      Thank you for reading.

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                    • More +
                      22.01.2010 17:59
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      12 Comments

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      Buy this and travel with the doctor!

                      Doctor Who - Series One


                      Who?

                      If you haven't heard of doctor who then I have no idea where you've been! However this could be due to be obsession with the doctor. Doctor who is a British production which is broadcast on the BBC and has been since 1963 inconsistently. Sadly I wasn't around when doctor who first came out and I started watching it when series 1 first came out. So after 16 whole years (apart from the one off movie) the doctor returned in 2005 with Series 1 of what ended up being a very successful series and fortunately resulted in many more series.


                      MAIN CHARACTERS

                      The Doctor

                      Doctor Who had been around for so long that this doctor would be the ninth one. Christopher Eccleston was the lucky actor who took up this role and for the entire series he played it wonderfully. His acting of the doctor was really good and this was the first time I met the legendary doctor and he definitely made an impression. The doctor is a fun and exciting individual who travels around in time and space. He is the last time lord in existence and takes on the responsibility of saving different races and planets from attack at various time in the past and future. The doctors planet Gallifrey was destroyed in the great time war and being the only time lord left he is now lonely and can get quite upset thinking about his past. His sense of humour and quirkiness is brilliant and spreads a great sense of adventure however the doctor has been through a lot and sees so many sad tragic incidents that he also has a very serious side and can become very sad when life is at stake, perhaps due to the fact his entire race were killed.


                      The Companion

                      The doctor travels with a companion the majority of the time, in this series Billie Piper plays the role of Rose Tyler, the companion. Billie Piper is actually a better actor than I expected and in my belief, not that I know any other companions, I believe that she takes on the role of the companion well. She is excited by travelling in time and is eager to see all the places the doctor has to offer. She also turns out to be quite helpful and quite often helps the doctor out of sticky situations. However back on earth she left school early, works in a shop and has no particular intentions. So when the doctor arrives she can not wait to take up the opportunity to go travelling. Rose Tyler has a mother, Jackie Tyler, a single mother who at first is very suspicious of he doctor and doesn't want her only little girl travelling around with this stranger. Rose also leaves behind her boyfriend Mickey whilst travelling, he is often hurt when Rose leaves him to go travelling with the doctor but always supports her and provides a lot of comedy to the show.


                      TARDIS

                      Tardis stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space and is basically the doctor's time machine which allows him to travel through space. These time machines can not built and have to be grown making them very precious. The tardis looks like a blue police box on the outside however on the inside it is much bigger and contains the heart of the tardis.



                      THE BOX SET

                      The newer box sets are just a normal se of DVDs as you get in normal series with the picture around the box being the tardis with the doctor and Rose standing in front of the entrance. However I believe the old ones are square in shape and open up to reveal the inside of the tarids with the discs attached to the walls. I think the older box set was much cooler but the newer one is easier to store especially with all your other DVDs. Each of the discs contains different episodes in order and also has extras. Although there is an overall story and themes running throughout the whole series, each episode can be watched separately and doesn't require previous knowledge from the others (except for the occasional story that run over two episodes). Episodes are usually 45 minutes long which I find is a good length as you can usually find the time to watch them without them being so short that you can't have a really good story.


                      Disc One

                      Rose
                      In the first episode Rose meets the Doctor when she is trapped in the shop where she works surrounded by mannequins that seem to have come to life. The doctor helps Rose again when the real Mickey is kidnapped and replaced with a fake Mickey. The Doctor and Rose found out that the fake Mickey was controlled by the Nestene Consciousness and it's up to them to try and stop these monsters before they kill the entire human race. I thought this episode was a good introduction to doctor who and set the scene well for the episodes. I gave this episode 8/10.

                      The End of the World
                      In this episode the Doctor and Rose go into the future, to the year five billion, and land on a space station where they meet a range of creatures as well the "last human" who is just a stretched piece of skin with a face on, her name was Cassandra. She is a really annoying character and you can't help but dislike her. It isn't long till death occurs and the Doctor has to save the Earth from the sun. I thought this episode was quite good, it was very imaginative with all the different creatures and great special effects. The episode shows the sun burning up and it is a really emotional part of the episode and was done with great thought. I would give this episode 8/10.

                      The Unquent Dead
                      This is the first episode where the doctor takes Rose back in time, all the way back to Charles Dickens. In this episode there are gas creatures which are attacking the dead and causing fear amongst the population. This was a great episode with the dead coming back to life. This episode was quite scary but definitely in a good way. I love the episodes that go back to the past and the use of a historic figure combined with the increased fear was great. 8.5/10.

                      Extras
                      To begin with there is an interview with Christopher Eccleston about becoming a doctor and what he wanted to bring to the show. It's an interesting interview and explains the some of the characteristics of the doctor, well worth the watch. There is also an interview with one of the writers, Russell T Davies, on "Making the Doctor" and gives a great insight into the writer's opinion behind it all and how he wrote the scripts and filmed the scenes required. Interesting watch for those interested in the behind the scenes work. Another interview is held with the writer Mark Gatiss about the last episode on this disc and how he bought the whole episode together through a variety of ideas. Another interesting extra for those interested on how writers get episodes together. There is another extra which is very similar to this which covers the original idea. Another extra is the advertising campaigns used by the BBC to promote the return of doctor who, exciting but brief. There is a storyboard of one of the trailers which I didn't find particularly interesting. Finally there is a brieg interview with Mike Tucker.


                      Disc Two

                      Aliens of London (part 1 of 2)
                      A spaceship controlled by a pig hits Big Ben and crashed into River Thames. The pig however leads to further alien activity, the Slitheen family, a horrible monster species which look like green sludge in my opinion. However they have infiltrated the government as they take the shape of people and are planning to destroy the world. I didn't like the slitheen monsters and thought in some aspects they were slightly childish however I think the episodes vary ranging to a wide range of people. I would say these monsters appeal to the younger age groups. 8/10.

                      World War Three (part 2 of 2)
                      This episode continues with the doctor and Rose trying to save the world. The battle turns it attention towards 10 Downing Street and the Slitheens attacking there. The doctor realises that the fate of the entire world rests on Mickey Smith. This episode is a good conclusion whilst keeping up the excitement and pace. Even though the storyline was spread over two episodes, the pace of the story was still very good. 8/10

                      Dalek
                      Another episode set in the future. The doctor has to introduce Rose to the Daleks. From my mums reaction I realised these are something special about these creatures and I wasn't disappointed. The time war comes back to the present except this time instead of both races taking part it's just between one dalek and one time lord. Both were destroyed last time. I think this episode is less about battles and more about death, destruction and the true doctor. 8.5/10

                      Extras
                      The extras include Billie Piper's take on these episodes combined with a little from Christopher Eccleston. It's a little more exciting than usual as Billie Piper is quite funny, also I never realised she had to change her accent for the series. There is also a reconstruction of the destruction of Big Ben and how a model was used. It's quite an interesting watch. And of course the adverts for the episodes, a little tedious after you've already watched the episodes.


                      Disc Three

                      The Long Game
                      In this episode the tardis arrives on Satellite Five which controls the broadcasting of all channels. It isn't long until the doctor finds out about mysterious happenings and disappearances on floor 500. The doctor and Rose become very curious and embark upon getting up t this special level where they discover more than they were expecting. I thought this episode was ok, not the best by far but it was exciting but I would say it was slightly predictable. 7.5/10

                      Father's Day
                      In this episode the doctor takes Rose back to the sad day when her father dies. The doctor warns Rose not to meddle with the past and that she can only look. However Rose can stand to watch it and saves her father from being run over. However as the doctor would say "someone exists that shouldn't". This messes up time and allows the Reapers to enter to try and fix the wound in time, this is done by killing everyone. The doctor has no idea how to stop them and as they run out of ideas the situation only gets worse when the doctor is attacked. This episode is very emotional and just shows the love of a father for his daughter. Although I don't think very young children would really find it very sad, I found it quite distressing but at the same time it was wonderful and very cleverly though out. 9/10

                      The Empty Child (part one of one)
                      London, World War II, bombs dropping everywhere but somewhere a foreign object fell. It fell onto a little boy wearing a gas mark. He walks around saying "Mummy, are you my mummy?" If he touches you, you become like him. Rose meets Captain Jack who join them for this story and adds extra twists to the plot as well as competing subtly with the doctor. Fantastic episode. First time I watched this I was scared, I will admit it. I loved the whole war theme, added excitement and I felt as though I knew a bit about it. Definitely a favourite. 10/10.

                      The Doctor Dances (part two of two)
                      A continuation of the previous episode. The story explains further about the child and what's wrong with it. The tension between the doctor and captain jack intensifies especially concerning Rose. The little boy in the gas mask suddenly becomes more dangerous and the doctor has no way to help. We know the Germans are defeated but can the doctor save the British from this little boy? A gripping conclusion which intensifies the story and has lots of twists and excitement in it. The story continues with its fast pace and frightening scenes. 9.5/10

                      Extras
                      There aren't many extras on this episode with just a brief insight into the production of some of the scenes, a good watch but not an essential watch.


                      Disc Four

                      Boom Town
                      This episode is based in Cardiff and includes the Slitheens once again this time one of them is the Mayor of Cardiff. The plan is to build a nuclear power station in Cardiff for alternative fuel, slightly odd you may be thinking, but she is a Slitheen. The doctor tries to find out her true motives for this plan. I feel as though this episode is a filler between the immense excitement from the last one and the season finale. However it is a comical episode and worth watching. Once again the doctor has to face moral dilemmas, I particularly like it when this happens as I think we learn something about the doctor every time. 8/10.

                      Bad Wolf
                      The episode starts with Rose and the Doctor being thrown in normal television games as participants but with a fatal twist. They realise if they lose they die. Based in the future, the doctor thinks there's more to this satellite hosting thousands of television channels and he embarks on finding out where all the people who lose the games go to. I think the start to this episode is very exciting and well done. However after the exciting start I thought the episode slowed down and wasn't as exciting as I was expecting, however admittedly it was a set up for the next one. 8/10

                      The Parting of the Ways
                      Good old Captain Jack is back for the whole episode. The group have made it up to floor 500 only to find that they are under attack from Daleks. The doctor has to make a decision concerning his own life, Rose's life, the future of the Daleks as well as the future of the human race. With the doctor's life on Rose's hands, she shows her love and devotion to the doctor as well as her intelligence. She realises the words "Bad Wolf" have followed them the entire time they have been travelling throughout time and space, but will she work it out in time to save the doctor? A brilliant episode, very emotional at the end and I found myself deeply saddened. I though it was very well written and the bad wolf idea was very clever. 9/10.

                      Extras
                      John Barrowman gives a lovely talk about his character Captain Jack, if you have a soft spot for him like me it makes an interesting watch and he even talks about a possible spin off. Very exciting, or most honestly drooling stuff. There is also a feature on the tardis and its construction, this is interesting but quite long and I must admit I didn't watch to the end of it. Finally of course there are the trailers from these series, I didn't bother watching these as I had seen them on television many times and had already watched the episodes.


                      Disc Five

                      Confidential
                      Doctor Who confidential was shown on BBC3 after every episode of doctor who and covered the makings of the episode and the special effects used. These were very long on tv and have been cut down for the DVD. They are actually surprisingly interesting and are well worth a watch.

                      Commentaries
                      Each episode is run through with someone talking about the episode. The people can include the actors and more commonly the writers. They run through the episode sharing their thoughts, for example what was difficult to act or what they really enjoyed doing. My favourite commentaries have to be by Billie Piper and John Barrowman who really got me laughing. The ones by the actors are definitly worth watching.


                      SPECIAL AFFECTS

                      Some of the affects in this series were fantastic, from ugly aliens to destruction of buildings they did a fantastic job. Everything looked so life like it was incredible. They really deserve praise for the fantastic job. I hadn't seen doctor who before but I thought compared to other programmes it was original and sci-fi without being too ridiculous. I think this is very important in attracting females to watching the show. The whole mix of sci-fi and reality was just perfect.


                      MUSIC

                      The soundtrack at the beginning is memorable and as soon as you hear that you know it's time for doctor who. Very exciting and upbeat music ready to start the adventures of the doctor. I also think the sound of the tardis is key, that sound is the sound is also the sound of the doctor. It features in every episode and is definitely a strong link to the tardis. The use of this associated sound allows the watcher to associate and it builds up even more excitement. There are other soundtracks heard throughout the episodes. I think the use of music was very clever and wasn't overused.


                      SUITABILITY

                      Some of the scenes are quite scary, I got quite scared in the Empty Child in particular although it is my favourite. I think younger children may get a little scared in some of the episodes however I think children around the age of eight or nine and above should be ok. Any younger and I would advise watching the series with your child just in case they get scared. The box set has a rating of 12, only because I think the scary scenes, there is no foul language, nudity or inappropriate language. So in my opinion it is suitable for children younger than that.


                      SUMMARY

                      Doctor Who is brilliant, I love it a lot! I think the story is wonderful and exciting, the characters are just perfect and the whole idea is brilliant. I think everyone should try and watch some of the better episodes as some of them such as the Empty Child are really good. The extras on these DVDs are well worth the watch and are really interesting. Although I would say not so avid doctor who fans may want to buy the DVDs available in four separate volumes which only have the episodes in as it works out cheaper. Also the all the doctor who confidentials have been aired on television. I would say this series is definitely aimed at families, the range of stories and styles reflects the huge range of people watching it. However I would say everyone can find something they like in every episode. So in conclusion brilliant!


                      Thank you for reading.

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                        More Comments
                      • More +
                        03.01.2010 15:07
                        Very helpful
                        (Rating)
                        5 Comments

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        A great rocking horse for the young ones.

                        Little Tikes Rocking Horse


                        THE PRODUCT

                        The rocking horse is of a green colour and is made from a strong plastic. The two handles, one on either side of the head, are also made from plastic and are yellow in colour. The horse is very simple with a face on the front and a tail at the back. The seat is in the middle and is completely flat. It is an all in one piece that comes in a box. Thus once purchased there is no effort on the parents behalf trying to put it together. However this can mean storage is a little difficult however it isn't that big so can be placed in the corner in the room or in a cupboard. Just take it straight out the box, place it on the floor and it's ready to play on. Along the sides of the rocking horse on the floor are small ledges for the children to put their feet on whilst they are playing. It weighs almost nothing and it is really easy to move around, this is very useful as it can be used outside or inside. Even young children can easily push it around if they want.


                        SAFETY

                        Safety is always an important feature for any parent for their precious child and luckily in that aspect this product is great. The seat on which the child sits on is flat and low to the ground and so it is safe and even if the child falls off their isn't very far to go. The back support behind the seat is good as it is quit high to stop them falling backwards but not so high that they hit their head. The ledges for their feet means they aren't dragging along the floor. The whole product is smooth with no sharp objects or small objects for children to swallow making it safer. There are a couple of drawbacks though. Very small children may struggle to get on and off the horse easily and may need help. Older children can apply enough force to cause the rocking horse to rock forwards and backwards quite a lot however I haven't seen anyone fall off yet so I would say it is pretty safe. However when rocking with a great force the horse does have a tendency to move. This won't cause any injuries to the child because it only moves slightly and also the front or the back will bump into something before the child. However you may want to move fragile things out the way in case they knock them over.


                        SUITABILITY/DURABILITY

                        The rocking horse is meant to be for children between the ages of one and three. I would say these ages are about right. Children who are one should just about manage to get themselves on and off the horse, depends on how big they are. However this toy is very strong and much older children can play on it and it definitely wont break. I have sat on it, and maybe have rocked on it a bit and it hasn't even shown signs of weakness and we have had it for several years and it was used every day. It has also been thrown around quite a lot and still shows no sign of damage and so is very durable.


                        CLEANING

                        If the horse gets dirty it is very easy to clean just like all little tikes toys. The plastic means a damp cloth can be used just to wipe down the whole toy. If the garden means it gets muddy then a hose pipe is a quick solution just to clean it off before taking it indoors. It can however be left outside as the plastic means it wont be damaged.


                        COST

                        This product is £17.99 and can be bought from places such as amazon. However a little bit of shopping around or buying it second hand means you can get it in a very good state for relatively little. It is a great toy and lasts for ages as it is very difficult to break. Kids will outgrow this after a few years but it's always good fun to use and can always be sold after.


                        Thank you for reading.

                        Comments

                        Login or register to add comments
                        • More +
                          26.12.2009 18:28
                          Very helpful
                          (Rating)
                          2 Comments

                          Advantages

                          Disadvantages

                          A good read.

                          Cherub: Maximum Security


                          THE CERUB SERIES

                          The Cherub series first came out several years ago and the first book caught my attention and after reading that one I was hooked. Maximum Security is the third Cherub book written by Robert Muchamore and by this time the books were becoming rather popular. The books up to maximum security are as follows:
                          1. The recruit (April 2004)
                          2. Class A (October 2004)
                          3. Maximum Security (April 2005)


                          CHERUB BASICS

                          Cherub is an intelligence organisation but with a twist, children between the ages of ten and seventeen are the spies. Cherub agents are specifically picked using criteria which includes things like being orphans or having parents who would not track them down, high intelligence and shows good potential to be a spy. The Cherub books focus and James and Lauren Adams, brother and sister who joined Cherub many years ago after becoming orphans. Every lucky chosen child must go through 100 days of gruelling basic training at the age of 10 or above where they are physically, mentally and emotionally put to the test. Before the age of 10 the kids live in the junior block where they train and learn in order to become more equipped for most basic training and life after. All the children live and train on the Cherub campus which is very well equipped for all their needs.


                          MAXIMUM SECURITY

                          In this book the British government is trying to track down Jane Oxford, an international arms dealer. James undergoes a mission with an older boy called Dave Moss and his younger sister which requires him to break Jane's son, Curtis out of a maximum security American prison in the hope that he will lead the intelligence services to his mother. Dave and James are locked away in the prison whilst Lauren is the Cherub to help them once they have broken out. However their plans start to fall apart when a huge fight breaks out in prison resulting in James being sent to solitary and Dave has to be rushed to hospital after he receives a very grave stab wound. This is huge set back before the planned escape even starts, perhaps this mission is just beyond James' capabilities.


                          OPINION

                          This book was fantastic and I don't use that word lightly. Personally I would say this was the best one yet, the main plot was fairly simple yet gripping and complications surrounded the whole bases of the story. I read this book twice within a week, mad you might say but I really enjoyed it and wanted to read it again straight away! At times you are left wondering what on earth could happen next and as a result you just can not put the book down. Be warned of this before you start reading! The story line and whole bases of the books is overly exciting to children, especially since it is something they can relate to whilst being (fairly) realistic as well as having an immense sense of adventure and excitement. I would say the main drawback of this book would be that it would be helpful to read the previous two as they are written in a series, perhaps not so much as the Harry Potter books but definitely there are issues which relate back to previous books. The books is fast moving and exciting making it so easy to read and enjoy.

                          I think this book is suitable for both boys and girls equally. Muchamore has carefully written these books not to exclude either one of the genders and has definitely written the books very well to target the right audience. This book does contain a large amount of violence throughout due to the nature and plot of the book so I would recommend this book to be aimed at about 12 years old. Children of this age should find this book at a reasonable standard to read. I think some children under this age would also be able to but due to the violence in the book I believe that is down to the parents on whether their child enough is emotionally mature enough to cope with these issues.


                          ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

                          Publisher - Hodder Children's Books
                          RRP - £6.99 however it can be found for much cheaper than this for example it's only £4.99 on amazon.
                          288 pages

                          There are two covers to this book, one is the original English version which has the picture of a barbed wire fence and the American cover which has one of those guard towers on the front and a slightly different layout to the English version.

                          More information on this book, the author , the other books in the series and preview chapters can be found at www.cherubcampus.com. I recommend reading the preview chapters if you are interested as these can help decide on whether this sort of book your type but I still recommend giving them a chance.


                          Thank you for reading.

                          Comments

                          Login or register to add comments
                          • More +
                            29.11.2009 21:17
                            Very helpful
                            (Rating)
                            2 Comments

                            Advantages

                            Disadvantages

                            Great fun for children.

                            Little Tikes Twin Slide Tunnel Climber


                            The product

                            The little tikes twin slide tunnel climber is a small climbing frame for children with a variety of added features to make it more exciting. At the back of the climbing frame there are steps going up to the platform which are easy to climb. The square platform is a green colour and is big and strong enough to fit several young children on at one time. The back side is red in colour and has the steps which are holes going up towards to the platform. The red side covers all the back (except for the holes for the steps) to make it more secure and stops children from falling off. On both sides there are yellow plastic pieces which stop the children from falling off the platform whilst up there. There are however slits at the top which children can look through whilst sitting down. When standing most children would be tall enough to see over the side. On one side there is a green tunnel which leads under the platform which makes a great hiding place for children. On the front side there is a green plastic plank across the top and then from the same level as the platform are two red slides. One slide is a smooth slide and another one is a slightly bumpy one providing even more excitement for the children. Underneath the slides are gaps where children can also crawl through to get into the hiding place underneath.


                            Safety

                            Little tikes products have always been safe and reliable. This product is no different, there are a variety of features which make the climbing frame safe. Firstly the platform is very strong as is the plastic making up all the frame. It is the typical little tikes plastic and allows there to be several children on the platform without any problems. Children also have a tendency to jump whilst on the platform and luckily with this product that is very safe. The platform is surrounded on every side by the strong plastic to reduce the risk of children falling off the platform. The holes going up to the platform aren't too high so children won't get hurt if they fall off. However younger children may find it difficult to climb up these stairs. The slides have slight ridges on them to stop your child falling off once they were on the slide. The green plastic plank above the slides ensures children sit down before going down the slides which is always safer. However the green plank is high enough so that children don't hit their head whilst sitting on the slides. The whole structure is very stable so will not fall over or move whilst the children are playing on it.


                            Setup/Cleaning

                            The climber comes flat packed in a box which measures 88 by 141 by 65. It is very easy to put together, all the pieces needed to be slotted together so no tools needed. However at first the pieces can be quite stiff so it is useful to have two people to push the pieces together. I found it was easier to put the two side pieces and then the back piece together, then to slot the platform in. Next it is helpful to put the ridge on the front on before the two slides and finally the tunnel on the side. Once setup the product dimensions are approximately 152 by 160 by 142. It is fairly small so can be used inside or outside. It is quite light and so can be moved between places which is always useful. If the plastic gets dirty it's easy enough to just wipe down with a damp cloth to clean it. However if it's been outside, it can just as easily be hosed down to clean it.


                            Durability/Suitability

                            Like many little tikes products this climber is very tough and will last for many years. Children will often outgrow it before it gets too old so can always be sold afterwards. The only thing is the colours start to fade after many years of being in the sun however of course it doesn't affect the strength. It is recommended for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old, however it is definitely strong enough for children above this age. Two year olds may find the climbing up a little difficult but after a little practise they should be able to manage by themselves pretty soon.


                            Cost/Recommendation

                            This climber costs £249.99 from the little tikes website however it can be found for £209.99 at the kids play store and if you shop around you may be able to find further discounts. It is expensive to buy new however all toys like this are now a days. It may be worth seeing if there are second hand ones going available as the plastic will still be strong and safe put the product should be cheaper. I do recommend this product as it is great fun and has more features than many and is great fun especially if you have more then one child. It allows children to have fun climbing, crawling, sliding and helps them develop better skills whilst having a great deal of fun. However if you only have one child it may be better just to get a climbing frame with one slide. Personally I still believe the jungle climber by little tikes is the best climbing frame available as if really provides a great deal of fun and it takes longer to outgrow which is obviously the main drawback of this climbing frame and many like it. However this is probably a better product for younger children.


                            Thank you for reading.

                            Comments

                            Login or register to add comments
                            • A Little Princess (DVD) / DVD / 142 Readings / 138 Ratings
                              More +
                              11.10.2009 19:26
                              Very helpful
                              (Rating)
                              8 Comments

                              Advantages

                              Disadvantages

                              A lovely film

                              A little Princess
                              -------------------

                              ***Story line***
                              A young girl called Sarah Crew who lives in India has to go to a boarding school in London as her father is fighting in the war. She has no mother but her father loves her very much and finds the best boarding school he possibly could. There she is treated as a princess and because her father is so rich she can have the largest bedroom and all the toys a girl could possibly want. She also has a locket which is very special to her and although she is not permitted to wear it she always keeps it on her. Sarah is called a princess by her father and proclaims to all the other girls that she is a princess which immediately gains her respect. She tells the other girls stories about when she was is India and most of the girls enjoy them apart from Lavinia. Lavinia is the only girl that Sarah openly quarrels with as they do not get on at all. Sarah is bright young girl but her best friend is a dunce, Ermengarde. However Sarah helps her by teaching her through her stories.

                              Lottie, the youngest girl has no mother and often cries about it but Sarah talks to her and says that she has no mother and acts like a motherly figure for Lottie. As Sarah is so kind she also befriends Becky who is the school slave and although she is only a girl she still has to do the cleaning around the school. Although the girls are forbidden to talk to Becky, Sarah does because she feels sorry for her and even smuggles her food.

                              Whilst Sarah is celebrating her 11th birthday one of Captain's Crew's solicitors arrives with the news that Sarah's father has died and that his friend has run off with his money. Sarah now has no money and Miss Minchin, the headmistress, is furious and wants to turn Sarah out onto the streets however she is finally persuaded to keep her as a slave. She seizes all of Sarah's belongings and forces her to sleep in the attic next door to Becky. Sarah has to earn her keep by doing errands and cleaning. She also helps teach French as hers is very good. Sarah does not have enough food and she is continuously cold due to her bare thread clothes and broken bed. To make the situation worse her enemy gets her room making Sarah feel more bitter and sad. Will Sarah ever escape such horrific conditions and her depressing situation?

                              ***Enjoyment***
                              Personally I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone. The story line is great and really interesting. It keeps you on your toes and would interest people of all ages. The characters are really interesting and there are a wide range of personalities which show through. It portrays well how different characters get along. All the characters are suitable matched with an actor and every actor plays their part very well. The children really get into their character well and act so brilliantly with no moments of lapses. The adults all suit their parts well and certainly act very well to the needs of that person. One of the best thing about this film is that the star is not stuck up even though she is rich and cares for other girls which immediately allows the audience to like her. She stands up for what she believes which makes the film more interesting and enjoying. However I must admit I still cry at the end, those who have watched it might understand where...

                              ***Actors***
                              Here are some of the characters, there are others:
                              Sarah Crewe - Liesel Matthews
                              Miss Minchin - Eleanor Bron
                              Capt. Crewe - Liam Cunningham
                              Amelia Minchin - Rusty Schwimmer
                              Becky - Vanessa Lee Chester
                              Ermengarde - Heather DeLoach
                              Lavinia - Taylor Fry
                              Lottie - Kelsey Mulrooney
                              Ram Dass - Errol Sitahal

                              ***Other information about the film***
                              Runtime - 97 minutes
                              Language - English
                              Certification - U
                              Directed by - Alfonso Cuarón
                              Released in - 1995 (1997 on DVD)
                              Released by - Warner Brothers
                              DVD regions - 2 and 4
                              Chapter - 31
                              Extras - None (unfortunately)
                              Genre - Family
                              Number of discs - 1
                              Subtitles - English, Spanish and French

                              ***Cost and availability***
                              This DVD can be bought from a variety of shops in DVD or video format. Including online shops such as Amazon and can be rented from Blockbusters. It costs about £7.99 from most shops and is defiantly worth it because it can be watched time and time again without children getting bored.

                              ***Suitability***
                              It is rated U and I believe this is the correct rating as there is nothing that is not suitable for children. Although it is a little sad, nothing a child well get that upset about especially since there is a happy ending! I think children between the ages of 5 and 12 would enjoy this film but I still enjoy it. Although it's not the typical teenage film it is still quite fun to watch and may even interest some adults (definitely for those with kids).

                              ***Worth it?***
                              Definitely a DVD worth adding to the DVD collection without any doubts. It is not that expensive and the story is great and well acted out. I recommend it as another one of those childhood films.

                              Thank you for reading.

                              Comments

                              Login or register to add comments