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Amy69

Amy69

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since 28/05/2007

1346

Angels in My Hair - Lorna Byrne 09/02/2013

A beautiful read

Angels in My Hair - Lorna Byrne As a Spiritualist, it is in my interest to read anything and everything that relates to the higher world and, as a personal interest, angels. When I learned that the inspiration for one of my favourite novels was actually Lorna Byrne's Angels in my Hair, I knew that it was something I was going to have to read. Angels in my Hair is spectacular. Lorna Byrne can communicate with angels, and has been able to do so all of her life. This book is, primarily, an autobiographical account of her childhood and her early adulthood, with the events of those years inter-weaved with her encounters and teachings with the angels. What I'd like to say first of all is that this is not one of those almost narcissistic books. I've read spiritual books where the writer is telling us about the Spirit World, but focuses too much on their own life outside of the connections. Byrne has the balance perfectly here - we get to know enough about her family and her early jobs, etc, so that we can start to connect with who she is as a person, and then heightens the emotions by incorporating messages she has received from angels. She tells us things that she wasn't allowed to share with other people at the time, and her experiences with Angel Michael. She doesn't reveal everything at once either. It isn't a case of "This is how I saw them, this is how they appeared." We embark on this journey of learning alongside Byrne as she developed her own abilities and understandings. Pretty much with every chapter ...

The Quiet Man (DVD) 07/02/2013

Don't keep Quiet about this one!

The Quiet Man (DVD) *FILM-ONLY REVIEW* Ireland is one of my main areas of research and interest, so when a friend suggested that I watched The Quiet Man, I knew that this was something I had to do. I would now like to ask everybody else to watch it - it is truly amazing! In the 1952 film, Sean Thornton comes over to Ireland from America to return to Innisfree where he was born. He has plans to buy the very cottage in which he was born, and while he is there sorting that out, he finds himself falling in love with Mary Kate. It is a beautifully romantic film that starts out with a "will he get the girl?" chase, but turns out to be so much more than that. The plot is absolutely beautiful. I found that it unfolded at a perfect pace. Just as I thought I knew what was about to happen, something else was sprung on me to take me by surprise and turn the story in a different direction to that which I had otherwise expected. In my opinion, I also feel that it captures the essence of the west coast of Ireland, which was exactly what I had hoped for. The cast is fantastic. All round everybody is brilliant; there wasn't a single person who stood out to me that made me question their abilities to act. However, it is the two protagonists that make this film something fantastic. John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, and he is very appealing indeed! It is Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate who is the star of this to me. Her accent is absolutely gorgeous, and for a brief moment she also speaks in Irish, which is the most ...

Carex Handwash Strawberry Laces 06/02/2013

Sweet and soapy!

Carex Handwash Strawberry Laces For months now I've been reading reviews about the sweet range of Carex hand washes. I had remembered seeing them in Wilkinson at one point but when I went back, they were gone. Finally. after much searching, I found the Strawberry Laces option - thankfully, the one I wanted the most - on offer in Tesco. What attracted me to the Strawberry Laces one is, admittedly, the colour. The hand wash, as seen through the clear bottle, is a gorgeous bright pink shade. It looks very sweet and delicious (but must not be eaten!). I don't have any particular attraction to strawberry laces sweets, but I do love the colour. The hand wash smells absolutely wonderful. It does, to my surprise, smell exactly like Strawberry Laces! It is a very sugary sweet artificial strawberry scent, a true delight. What also surprised me was how long the scent lingers. I can wash my hands, and then hours later still smell the product on there. I reckon that if I used Strawberry Laces for the rest of my life my hands would end up permanently smelling of strawberries! Just like the rest in the Carex range, and like most other liquid soaps, the hand wash comes in a plastic bottle that is almost square in shape, but with a slight little waist. On the top there is the hand pump, which must be twisted before it can be used. This is always a good way to detect whether or not anybody has used it in the shop! To release the hand wash you just push the pump down, and a pea-sized amount of the product is released into ...

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (DVD) 05/02/2013

Could it be the greatest adaptation?

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (DVD) *FILM-ONLY REVIEW* I have to confess that I am a huge fan of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The novel itself is amazing, the event that led to its creation is one of my favourite moments in history, and any interpretation (good or bad!) gets me impossibly excited. The 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of my favourites. True to the novel, Victor Frankenstein leaves Geneva to study science at university. Various events in his life previous have left him heartbroken after he'd had to witness too many untimely deaths, and he decides that he wants to put a stop to that. So what does he do? Well he takes life into his own hands and tries to create a being who defies the constraints placed on humanity. Such experiments are never safe, and Victor's successes quickly become great life-threatening problems when the creature he has brought to life escapes... The interpretation is fantastic. I have watched far too many where the story is similar but with alterations that annoy me, but this one stays true to the story. I did find. however, that emphasis was placed on particular scenes that makes it very unique to other interpretations; it helps bring the original story to life whilst making itself stand out. It is directed by Kenneth Branagh, and I have to say that it is beautifully done. The pacing is fantastic and really helps with the emotions - just as your heart is racing with fear, you're forced to weep in sympathy. It's quite an adventure, to say the least. The cuts ...

The Libertine (DVD) 04/02/2013

Oh my heart!

The Libertine (DVD) *film only* There are three reasons why I wanted to watch The Libertine: 1. Johnny Depp 2. I've just started studying Renaissance literature so decided it might be a nice idea to get a little introduction to John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester 3. Johnny Depp The 2004 film The Libertine looks at the life of Rochester, a seventeenth-century writer. He is asked by the king to write something - something good - which is a wonderful platform to highlight how his excessive drinking and insane lifestyle gets in the way of him writing masterpieces. Meanwhile, he decides to help out an actress named Elizabeth Barry. Elizabeth isn't exactly a good actress, but with Rochester's help she will hopefully improve. But when Rochester finds himself starting to fall in love with her, who knows what direction things will take... I have to say that the film was quite an enjoyable watch. Rochester is such a dark, daring, and dangerous character, and I have been informed by somebody who absolutely loves Rochester that this is a very accurate representation. With that, I feel satisfied with having received my initial introduction to his character through this film. The character is great and makes the film watcheable. The plot, however, I was not too impressed with at times. The first half was great but I felt it was a little slow in progressing as it went on. However, the personality of Rochester is enough to keep you hooked and wanting to continue watching it so it's not too bad. Johnny Depp ...

Byron and Scotland - Angus Calder 03/02/2013

The cover represents the content...

Byron and Scotland - Angus Calder It was the cover of Byron and Scotland: Radical or Dandy (edited by Angus Calder) that first drew me to it. The book dons a gorgeous image of the statue of Lord Byron as found outside of the grammar school in Aberdeen where he had his early education. I've pranced in the rain beneath this statue, and seeing that I am fond of the writing of Calder, I knew I had to read this book. The book contains eleven essays across 160 pages, which is about average and what I had expected. There is a variety of contributes, all of whom bar one are Scottish themselves. Among them can be found greats such as J. Drummond Bone, and Angus Calder himself. Each essay takes quite a different angle. My favourite out of them all would have to be either Byron and Catholicism by William Donnelly, which studies the religious representations in Byron's writing against the poet's own Calvinist upbringing, or Byron: An Edinburgh Re-review by Jon Curt, which primarily looks at Byron's relationship with the Edinburgh Review and, in turn, Edinburgh as a city. Other essays include Lord Byron and Lord Elgin by Douglas Dunn, and 'The Island: Scotland, Greece and Romantic Savagery by Angus Calder. Others look at his relationship with Sir Walter Scott, which is certainly very interesting. It would be ideal if you knew a little about Byron's background before reading this,but it is not necessary; you will still be able to follow it, but I expect a lot more would be gained if you knew his chronology. It is well ...

The Woman In Black (DVD) 01/02/2013

A wonderful film!

The Woman In Black (DVD) *FILM-ONLY REVIEW* As a devout Spiritualist I take an avid interest in anything that involves the paranormal. For this reason, and the fact that I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I was very much looking forward to watching The Woman in Black (2012). Having finally seen it, I can now confirm that it has been worth the wait! Arthur leaves his son and his nanny down south as he travels up North to sort out paperwork connected to an old house. When he is there however he starts to get the feeling that he is not alone. Meanwhile children in the village seem to be dying under rather horrific circumstances. Throughout the film we begin to make connections between the two. The film is directed by James Watkins. The opening scene itself is so incredibly beautiful and intriguing that I found I was drawn in from the second it began. Thankfully, it's also all uphill from there. The script isn't too powerful, but it doesn't need to be - this relies on the visual impact on the thrilling building and the impact with the ghostly woman in black that will always take you by great surprise. The costumes, too, are simply gorgeous and very realistic. The cast and characters are great. Daniel Radcliffe plays protagonist Arthur, There were, admittedly, a few times when I thought he was perhaps too young for the part - whenever he referred to his wife or his son - but I got used to this. I also didn't once (okay maybe once, but that's it!) see him as Harry Potter. This is the first of Radcliffe's ...

Byron - Catherine Peters 30/01/2013

A wonderful surprise!

Byron - Catherine Peters I'll be honest, I didn't think it could be done. Surely a successful biography of the great poet Lord Byron cannot be delivered in just 105 pages? It turns out...it can! 'Byron', a Sutton Pocket Biographies book by Catherine Peters, is a watered-down version of the poet's life. It seems quite shocking to think that his entire life - bearing in mind he's one of the most eccentric, adventurous, colourful people ever to live - could be covered in so few pages, but I am more than impressed. The book is split into several chapters: An Orphan of the Heart (1788-1805), Youth (1807-9), The Isles of Greece (1809-11), Fame (1811-3), Sister and Wife (1813-16), Exile (1816-19), and The Revolutionary (1819-24). I found that these sections were very well organised, going from his birth and early days, to his education, then through to his early travels, beginning of his career, into his marriage, and then his exile, finishing off with his death. These are clear marks of Byron's life which easily lead to further, more organised dissecting of his life. This doesn't go into too much detail about his poetry. It doesn't really mention any short lyrics, apart from the odd one now and then to help support a statement about his affair with his half-sister, or his passion for this or that person. It mentions his long narratives and most successful works, but again this is only briefly. It is definitely more a biography of an adventurer rather than that of a writer. I wondered how much I'd ...

Coraline (DVD) 28/01/2013

Sweet Coraline...

Coraline (DVD) *FILM-ONLY REVIEW* Coraline is based on the book by Neil Gaiman. When Colraine and her family move into their new home, Coraline goes exploring out of boredom. She finds a little door that had been sealed off, and discovers that it actually leads to a parallel version of her own home. In this parallel world is her Other Mother and her Other Father; they seem to care a lot more about Coraline in her eyes than her own parents too, and it's not too difficult to look past the fact that everybody in this other world has buttons for eyes. Life seems great, but suddenly things start to take a rather disturbing twist for Coraline... I love anything that deals with other words, and this is great; it started out exactly like my childhood dream of finding tunnels in the walls of my house, so I was hooked immediately. I found that the plot develops at a fantastic pace and provides just the right amount of information without making the ending too obvious, but doesn't leave you baffled mid-plot either. It's heart-racing a lot of the time, and has a wondrous amount of surprises along the way. It really is very exciting! The film is directed by Henry Selick. A lot of people think that it is directed by Tim Burton, which is also the case with The Nightmare Before Christmas, also directed by Henry Selick. However, it is fair to say that such a mistake is easily made, for there are many aspects of this animation which would appeal to the Burton fan. There are a few unique aspects though too ...

Beetlejuice (DVD) 26/01/2013

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice...

Beetlejuice (DVD) For whatever reason, despite the fact that I'm a huge admirer of Tim Burton, I hadn't seen the 1988 film Beetlejuice until today. However, it was certainly worth the wait. After Adam and Barbara die in an accident at the beginning of the film, the find that they become trapped in their own beloved home in their ghostly form. When a new family move in though they go to extreme lengths to try and scare them away. The plot is comically horrific, and horrifically comical! It's visually such a beautiful film. You'll find that it's full of surprises - certainly for me, at least - and is wonderfully very creative. The supernatural and the paranormal are very much at the heart of my existence, and this is a unique take on the afterlife, very mad and wacky! The casting for Beetlejuice is wonderful. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis are fantastic as Adam and Barbara, and play the characters as very likeable and easy to relate to. Catherine O'Hara shines as Delia - a character who I don't really like, but I enjoy disliking her, and she certainly adds to the story. Winona Ryder is the wonderful Lydia, who happens to now be one of my favourite film characters ever, and Michael Keaton is the eccentric, terrifying, and all-round fantastic Beetlejuice. Directed by Tim Burton, the film is naturally going to be perfect (in my eyes), but even to a non-Burtonite, the expertly paced, heart-racing story is going to be a winner. It throws its madness at you and sucks you right in. Of course, it ...

The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons - David Crane 24/01/2013

A very creative book!

The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons - David Crane I'd heard great things about David Crane's The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons, so decided to put it to the top of my list of books to purchase. Having now read it I can certainly see why it received great praise. The Kindness of Sisters looks at the relationship between Annabella Milbanke, Byron's wife, and Augusta Leigh, Byron's half-sister., To give you very brief background information, it is widely acknowledged that Byron had an affair with Augusta - daughter Elizabeth Meroda being the product of such incest - and this is one of the factors that led to the breakdown of Byron's very short marriage to Annabella. This book looks at the relationship between the two parties either side of Byron and analyses it. The book is quite creative, which is one of the reasons why it is often recommended. It begins with describing the last ever meeting of Annabella and Augusta at Reigate - this is something that few Byron books ever bring up, so certainly it is unique in that sense. It then takes us through the run-up to the marriage, and then the marriage itself, and the years after, finishing off again with the final meeting. It is very well presented with a lot of facts, and extracts from letters, diary entries, and poems to support what is being said. However, in the middle you also have a playscript of a conversation between Annabella and Augusta. This is very interesting to read and helps to put you in the shoes of both ladies. The ...

Fight Club (DVD) 22/01/2013

One of the best films ever?

Fight Club (DVD) I don't know where I've been, but it is only now that I have finally seen Fight Club (1999). Sure, I only initially wanted to watch it because of the fact that Helena Bonham Carter is in it, but having just finished watching the film, I can honestly say that everybody everywhere must see it regardless of whether or not they care for anybody in it! Jack, an insomniac with an averagely dull life, meets Tyler Durden. Together they set up the Fight Club. Tyler's philosophies are a little unusual though which results in Jack embarking upon a rather adventurous journey that is certainly a world away from his usual day-to-day activities. At first it is not clear what the intentions are, but it is impossible to turn your attention away from this mind-messing, multi-dimensional plot. The plot here is one of the most phenomenal things ever. I've never been so hooked on any film before, however action-packed, as I was with Fight Club. It's directed by David Fincher, and a lot of heart-racing fantastically paced scenes are presented. it really digs deep into the mind. The script, based on the book, is written by Jim Uhis. It contains several powerful speeches, and puts forward quite a few important questions, the sort that we can never really answer, but those that can still have a huge impact on your own life and the way you go about. I have no complaints at all. The cast is equally pleasing. Helena Bonham Carter is breathtaking, and to those who says she always plays the same ...

Unmanageable Revolutionaries - Margaret Ward 20/01/2013

A Manageable book!

Unmanageable Revolutionaries - Margaret Ward I love the writings of Margaret Ward. She wrote my favourite biography of Maud Gonne, for one thing, and when I read that I knew that reading her Unmanageable Revolutionaries would be invaluable. Thankfully, I was right! Unmanageable Revolutionaries, first published in 1983, looks at the role of women with Irish Nationalism. Ireland is one of my main areas of research, and more specifically women and their role during the road to Easter 1916. So this was going to be very exciting. It is broken down into three main sections: The Ladies' Land League of 1881-82; Inghinidhe na hÉireann (1900-14); Cumann na mBan (1914 onwards). Maud is the founder and president of the Inghinidhe so that was naturally going to be the section that I was looking forward to reading most. I found it to be very information, and is not just a replica of the information about the Inghinidhe that can also be read in Ward's biography of Maud, so that was a relief! The other two sections I knew a little about so was not going in clueless, but I wasn't that familiar with them. I found that the book goes into fantastic detail, easing you in gently with basic information to give you a general feel for the movements and organisations, and then begins to look at the more deeply so you can get more out of it. It's certainly great for any levels. The book has just over 250 pages so it's not too long, nor is it too short. I did worry that I wouldn't learn much about the Inghinidhe or Maud since I have many other ...

Frankenweenie Unleashed! (Original Soundtrack) - Various Artists 18/01/2013

I can't understand why it exists...

Frankenweenie Unleashed! (Original Soundtrack) - Various Artists As a huge fan of Tim Burton's 2012 film Frankenweenie, I was naturally going to buy the soundtrack CD to add to my Burton collection. When I went into HMV I found the Frankenweenie: Unleashed CD, and before I continue with this review I want to point out that this is the only CD that I've ever seen in stores. And it's not very good. Credit where it's due, the cover is very pretty, with a gorgeous grey image of Sparky on the front. Above him is the title in a bright green writing, true to the films colours. Inside the CD case can be found a small booklet with some pretty images. This, although not necessary, is always a nice little touch. I'm afraid that the majority of the delights stop there. It came as quite a surprise when I realised that not all of the songs on the CD - in fact, very few - actually come from the film. Sure, it contains the 54-second Praise Be New Holland, which is sung by Winona Ryder in the film, and maybe one or two more that are so dull that I don't remember them being in the film, but the rest are 'inspired' by the film, or just have themes that are appropriate. Now this is not all bad. Out of the fourteen tracks, I don't mind a handful of them. My most listened to according to my iTunes, to which I uploaded the album, is 'Pet Sematary' by Plain White T's (yes, it has the peculiar spelling of 'cemetery', and the misplaced apostrophe in Ts...), which has the fun lyrics "I don't want to be buried in a pet cemetery." Given the film, this is ...

1001 Shampoo for Carpets & Upholstery 16/01/2013

A miracle product!

1001 Shampoo for Carpets & Upholstery I promise I didn't mean to spill the sweet and sour sauce on the beige carpet. Honest! Regardless of whether or not I did it on purpose, the fact of the matter is that sweet and sour sauce creates a bit of an issue when spilled onto a pale carpet. A friend recommended I use 1001 shampoo to try and remove it, so I went to find a bottle. I am very impressed with the results, having how used it on the mess I'd made. The bottle is a bright yellow colour so it is easy to catch your eye on the shelf. There are various options - some in spray cans - but I went for the bottle with a blue cap at the top.It says that it is a 'large area cleaner for carpets and upholstery', and this is exactly what I was looking for. The instructions on the back tell you to mix 1 parts shampoo with 6 parts warm water and then whisk into a foam. Well I filled the sink with hot water, and added about eight or nine capfulls of shampoo, and then used a fork to whisk it up. This seemed to work well, and created the foam on the top. This needs to then be massaged into the stain on the carpet. Don't drench it though! I gave it a little rub too, and found that this worked quite well. Now it says that you hoover it once the patch is dry, but I didn't do this (where I live we have a shared hoover, and I just couldn't find Henry anywhere). Instead, I reapplied the foam for a second time, gently rubbing again, and I found that this pretty much removed the stain completely. It had faded the first time, but after ...
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