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Barbsie

Barbsie

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since 30/01/2003

66

Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure - Dave Gorman 26/02/2004

Are You Dave... Sorry, are you a Googlewhack?

Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure - Dave Gorman Okay, I am meant to be doing my dissertation, so what am I doing instead? Yes that’s right, I’m writing a review (oh hear, I’m going to fail!) The idea of Googlewhacking was first thought up by Gary Stock, who runs the website googlewhack.com, and you can go there to view any current googlewhacks, and add any that you find. Googlewhacking – what’s that? I hear you ask. Well it’s fairly simple really – “Googlewhacking” is an internet phenomenon, that takes up a few minutes whilst you are bored in the office – to play you simply need to go to the internet browser “Google” and type in two dictionary words – if you get one solitary hit (1 of 1 of about 1), and it is not a word list (or similar), and both of the words that you have typed are underlined (that means that they are in the dictionary) then you have a Google Whack! (You’re also not allowed to use quotation marks). I bet you’re thinking “that sounds like an innocent diversion”, and you are probably right, unless your name is Dave Gorman. Dave thinks that he has grown up since his last adventure; he is now 31, and he has now ended his flat-share with Danny, and all that is left is a bottle of Tequila with a note on it reading “For Emergencies Only”. Dave decides to prove his new “grown-up” status by growing a beard and getting a deal to write a novel. One day whilst sitting at his computer trying to start the novel (he had got as far as writing “chapter one”), Dave receives an e-mail saying “you are a Googlewhack”. ...

The Chronicles of Narnia (DVD) 10/02/2004

A Magical Series

The Chronicles of Narnia (DVD) The Chronicles of Narnia – something we all loved as kids right? Not only were they brilliant books, but four of them were also made into TV programmes. I remember sitting round the TV eating Sunday dinner watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and being scared witless of the White Witch, in awe of Aslan the Lion and wanting to be one of the children. So you can imagine my delight when I saw a four DVD box set containing all three series of the Chronicles of Narnia – I know that this category isn’t specifically aimed at the DVD, but I might as well tell you about it anyway! -=The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe=- This was the first book out of the seven that C S Lewis wrote, and is also the first series of that was shown on TV – it first aired in 1988 on BBC1 and was an instant hit with both adults and children. Although I was only 6 in 1988, I still remember it like it was yesterday! The main premise for this story is simple: whilst staying in the countryside with an old professor during the war, four children enter the magical word of Narnia through a Wardrobe. Whilst there, they meet Aslan the Lion (the true king of Narnia), the White Witch (who has made herself Queen) has cast an enchantment over Narnia, making it forever winter, but never Christmas as well as an assortment of talking animals (including Mr and Mrs Beaver) who help them on their adventures. The four children are brothers and sisters; Peter is the eldest, followed by Susan, Edmund and ...

Heinz Big Soup - Lamb and Vegetable 05/02/2004

Big Soup won't give you a Big Belly

Heinz Big Soup - Lamb and Vegetable Normally I’m a Cream of Chicken kind of girl when it comes to soup – it’s the sort of thing that I only eat when I’m not feeling well, but with the recent cold weather, I’ve been looking for something to warm me up at lunchtime, so when I saw Heinz’s “Big Soup” range, I couldn’t resist! I’ve tried quite a few now, but I thought I’d give you a low down on the Lamb and Vegetable today… -=The Tin=- To me personally, all the Big Soup tins look identical (green tin with a picture of the soup on the front), so make sure that you read the label carefully – the Chicken and Vegetable one in particular looks very similar; I only say this because (for example) if you’re a vegetarian, you don’t want to be going home with a meat product… -=Taste/Texture etc=- I’m finding it difficult to describe the initial taste of the soup; the best thing that I can come up with is a mild tomato flavour mixed in with gravy – it sounds horrible, but it is actually very tasty! The liquid is fairly thick, but it looks pretty unappealing because of the colour (which is a brownish red by the way), but don’t let this put you off. One of the most noticeable things about this soup is the size of the pieces of vegetables floating around. You can actually recognise what you are eating, which I find is a rare thing in shop bought soups. There are plenty of peas, chunks of potato and lumps of carrot, which is interspersed with a fair amount of pearl barley. Yummy. There are also some lima beans in the soup, ...

Wrigleys Extra Mints 03/02/2004

For Extra Fresh Breath, Suck!

Wrigleys Extra Mints I hate losing that ‘just brushed’ feeling in the morning, but I also hate having to chew chewing gum in public, I think it looks so common and unsightly that I think that it would be hypocritical for me to do the same. I can’t take my toothbrush everywhere I go, and since I don’t want to chew, what’s the alternative? Well I’ll tell you – the clever people at Wrigley’s have brought out some new mints, with all the flavour of their gum, but without any of the chewing! They are available in two flavours – Peppermint and whatever green is… The “flavour” that I will be concentrating on today is Peppermint. Peppermint is blue NOT green…. I say that only because I am forever getting them confused… -=First Impression=- After lifting up the little flap on the side of the box, I was actually quite surprised by how large the mints were, although on closer inspection they are only about 1.5cm in length, and they are sort of rugby ball shaped. I just noticed that on the side of the box is a picture of one of the mints, so I shouldn’t have been surprised at all really – maybe I had my eye shut at the time… *Anyway* I popped one into my mouth, and my first thought was “wow, these are strong”, they are almost identical in flavour to the Extra Thin Ices that Wrigley’s bought out a couple of months back. However, unlike the Thin Ices, they do not dissolve away instantaneously, and you get to suck on the mint for ages, unless (like me) you can’t stand the extreme minty-ness anymore ...

Cheaper By The Dozen (DVD) 02/02/2004

You can count me in

Cheaper By The Dozen (DVD) Another day, another freebie – this time tickets to see ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’! -=What’s it about?=- To cut a long story short; Tom and Kate Baker have twelve children, they live in the country, and their chaos is bliss. Then Tom gets his dream job – coaching his college football team, the job comes with more money so they will all be able to have the things that they always wanted, and they will have a “better and happier life”. Sounds great eh? Well for Tom it is, but it means relocating the entire family to Chicago, which none of the children are happy about… …The unhappiness is enhanced when Kate goes to New York to promote her book “Cheaper by the Dozen”, and this is also when the mayhem really starts…. That really is a cut down plot, but I was criticised slightly in my last film review of giving away too much of the plot! -=Cast List=- Tom Baker – Steve Martin Bonnie Hunt – Kate Baker **The Kids** Piper Perabo – Nora Tom Welling – Charlie Hilary Duff – Lorraine Jacob Smith – Jake Alyson Stoner – Sarah Kevin Schmidtt – Henry Morgan York – Kim Forrest Landis – Mark Liliana Mumy – Jessica Blake Woodruff- Mike Brent + Shane Kinsman – Nigel + Kyle -=What did I think?=- Despite my pre-conceptions about the film (thought it might be a bit rubbish because it has Steve Martin as the main star), it was actually quite good. There are some rip-roaringly funny moments, as well as some sadder moments. Because this is a PG there is nothing offensive or ...

School Of Rock (DVD) 29/01/2004

Lets Rock at the School of Rock

School Of Rock (DVD) Like many other member’s here on Ciao, I like a good freebie – about two weeks ago the Radio One website (along with some others come to think of it) were giving away ‘Special Advance Preview’ tickets to see Jack Black’s new comedy “School of Rock”, so never being one to pass up a good opportunity I entered the draw for a pair of tickets, and then last week they landed on my mat via good old Royal Mail. So last Saturday (at the god-unearthly hour of 10.30am) I sat back in my cinema seat and watched, with a smile on my face knowing that it didn’t matter to me if the film was rubbish, because I was seeing it for free! Here is my review. -=So what’s it about then=- The basic premise is simple: Dewey Finn (Jack Black) is a guitarist/singer in a rock band, he is a bit of a show-off (causing the band to be rubbish and look stupid), and when the rest of the band want to start taking things seriously, they fire him. Finn is distraught at being fired, and ends up getting drunk, depressed, and lies in bed all day. The rent is due, and his flatmate’s girlfriend (Patty, played by Sarah Silverman) harasses him for the money, his flatmate Ned Shneebly (Mike White) is willing to let him off of the money, but Patty is having none of it, and coerces Ned into standing up for himself. Patty tells Dewey to get a real job and “be like Ned”…. Whilst Patty and Ned are out at work in “the real world” (as Patty calls it), Finn receives a call to from a prestigious Prep school asking if Mr ...

Holly Lane Toffee Bakewells 29/01/2004

They're Bakewells Jim, but not as we know it

Holly Lane Toffee Bakewells Having a both a boyfriend and a son with a sweet tooth, I am always looking for treats to fill their sugary desires, so the last time I was in Aldi, I was in no hesitation in purchasing this variation on the classic Bakewell Tarts. -=What are they?=- These tarts are based on Bakewells Tarts (pastry case, almond flavoured sponge, plain icing and a cherry on the top), but instead of being the aforementioned combination they are toffee flavoured! Simple as that really. Well, sort of – read the rest of the review to get a better idea! -=Toffee Bakewells=- ~Smell:- as soon as you open the box a strong smell of toffee fills your nostrils; it is quite a sweet smell, but not unpleasant in anyway. ~Appearance:- like the traditional Bakewells, they come in a little silver case and they have a pastry base, but that is really where the similarity ends. The icing is brown, and instead of being topped with a cherry, there is a generous helping of little fudge pieces on the top – they are meant to be caramel flavoured, but I’ll give you my view on that in a moment. ~Taste/texture:- the pastry is really “firm”; it almost reminds me of shortbread biscuits, and has a similar taste. The layer of icing is fairly thick, and it is very sweet, but I think that this is true of normal Bakewells as well. There is clearly a toffee taste to the icing, when you bite into the tart you suddenly realise why the toffee smell is so strong. The texture reminds me of fudge. Like the pastry, the ...

Garnier Fructis Intense Anti-Split Ends 28/01/2004

Three squirts of cream ought to do it....

Garnier Fructis Intense Anti-Split Ends You know me, I’m a sucker for hair products, so you can imagine my joy on Christmas morning when I got one for free in my Stocking! Thanks Santa! The real reason why I was so happy to get this though was because I have always “suffered” with split-ends, if I keep my hair short they are not a problem, but since I *hate* having short hair, I am forever looking for ways to sort them out, I have tried loads of shampoos/hair treatments/products, but I have never really found anything to keep them at bay, short of having regular trims. Recently I have been growing my hair longer (than normal) and I have been increasingly aware of my split ends, and although my boyfriend says that they are not noticeable, he was sweet enough to remember about my moans and bought me this to try and help me out. -=Packaging=- I know it isn’t exactly en vogue to describe the packaging of a product, but since it is a little usual, I thought you better know what to keep your eye out for! Unlike other Fructis products, it does not come in a normal bottle – instead the “bottle” is a ball about the size of a cricket ball with a large-ish nozzle protruding out of the top. It is however Fructis’ trademark fluorescent green, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble in spotting it! -=So what is it then?=- Well when I asked Ciao for this category, I described it as a leave-in conditioner, but I wouldn’t say that this was strictly true; I have since found that Fructis do in fact have a “leave-in” ...

So Much for the Afterglow - Everclear 27/01/2004

You Try to be Everything to Everyone

So Much for the Afterglow - Everclear I was flicking through my CD collection today, in the hope of finding something that I had not listened to for a while – I came across Everclear’s “So Much for the Afterglow”. Whilst listening, I became inspired to write an opinion, and so here goes. Happy reading :o) -=The Band=- Everclear hail from Oregon in the US; and the band is made up as follows: •Art Alexakis (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard, banjo, etc) •Craig Montoya (vocals, mandolin, keyboard…) •Greg Eklund (vocals, slide whistle, drums, keyboard etc) So Much for the Afterglow is the follow up to their album Sparkle and Fade, and it was released back in 1997. The best way to describe their overall sound is grunge, but I don’t like associating myself with that title, so we’ll loosely call them “rock”. -=I better talk about the actual album then=- The first song on the album is the title track (So Much for the Afterglow – just in case you weren’t keeping up). The song lulls you in a false sense of security by being really quite at the beginning, and is solely made up of Ahh, ahh, ahhh’s, Wee-eee-eee’s, and some vague humming. This goes on for about forty seconds before there is a big burst of guitars and drums, and the lyrics “This is a song about Susan” come crashing out of the stereo! This song is really upbeat, and for the most part comes out of the speakers at about 100mph! When the song gets going I can’t help but want to dance/jump about like a thing possessed – if I try to stand still, I feel ...

Progressive History XXX - Fluke 22/01/2004

Just one memory would be nice

Progressive History XXX - Fluke For those of you who don’t know, the Saturday before Christmas I went to see Travis and the Kings of Leon in concert at the Alexandra Palace. It was an excellent concert, and by the time Christmas was over, I had gone and purchased the two most recent albums by Travis and the debut by Kings of Leon. Now I was going to review the Kings, but Andy.mack has already written a superb one, so it’s not really worth my while trying to top him! This meant my attention was turned to my trio of Travis albums (I already had one before my shopping spree) – “The Man Who” and “The Invisible Band” have both been covered numerous times, so my only option left was the album “12 Memories”, and here we are. This is my first music opinion, so please be gentle. -=The Band=- Fran Healy – Vocals, Guitar, Piano Neil Primrose – Drums Andy Dunlop - Guitar Doug Payne - Bass -=12 Memories=- The first song on the album is “Quicksand”. Not be honest, this is not really one of their best songs – it’s a relatively slow number and is full of “hey, hey hey(s)” – it really gives the song a downbeat feel, a bit like sinking in quicksand I guess! It starts in a fairly upbeat manner with guitars/drums/piano all coming in at once and Fran Healy jumping in pretty soon after the music starts. “…Everyday sinking in the quicksand Follow me down the drain…” Whilst listening to this I wish I was hiding in the drain. Well that is actually quite harsh – when I am not listening to this with a critical ...

My Ciao'ing 16/01/2004

I hate making up titles...

My Ciao'ing i. Full name: Barbara Morgan ii. Ciao Username: Barbsie iii. Date when you joined the Ciao community: 30.01.2003 – it’s my first birthday in a fortnight (Remember the presents please :oP) iv. Why did you join Ciao? Um I don’t remember! I think it was probably just a way of making a fast buck (out of the surveys). How wrong was I? I’ve made a few quid out of Ciao, but not half as much as I thought I would! v. Are you a member of any other review sites? No. Well actually yes, but I’ve never actually posted anything anywhere else other than here – wasn’t going to post anything here either, but somehow I was suckered into it (I think the allurement of making more money must have done it… again I haven’t exactly made a nest egg out of it!) vi. Reviews written to date: I have written and posted 55 to date (this makes it 56). In theory there should be loads more, but I took a five month summer break, and since I’ve been back, I’ve seriously cut down on the amount I post – on my strive for gaining a red dot I was posting nearly every day. vii. How many ops/reviews do you write in average a week? Since I’ve returned you’re lucky if you get one a week from me, but to be honest I’ve already posted one in the last seven days, so this one is a tiny bit early. I would write more, but I should honestly be getting on with my final year project for uni, although when has university stopped me from writing reviews before? viii. How long does it take you on average ...

Gadgetshop Dance Mat 3 13/01/2004

Just Plug and Play

Gadgetshop Dance Mat 3 Here’s another one of my Christmas presents laid before you as an opinion! -= What is it? =- The Gadgetshop Dance Mat 3 is basically a home version of the dance machines that you see now at many arcades/funfairs and similar. For those of you who are in the dark about this latest “craze”, I will enlighten you. The Dance Mat is about 80cm x 80cm big, and has four arrows on it (the same as on a keyboard – up, down, left and right) – these arrows are the main part of the mat, and are pretty crucial, but I’ll explain that in a moment. There are also A and B buttons, plus a button with a butterfly on it and one that has two feet on it. There are two further smaller buttons – Start and Select. The main “game” on the dance mat is to try and step or jump on the arrows as the scroll up the screen and reach the top. Sounds simple eh? Well, for some of the songs it can be, but for certain songs/levels of difficulty it can be pretty hard! This mat (and ones like it) promotes itself as being a good way of keeping fit, but I will give you my verdict on that in a minute. The home version of the mat is soft and made of plastic (which can be folded away), which is in opposition to the arcade version, which for fairly obvious reason is made mainly out of metal, and is a permanent fixture, just like the rest of the machines! -=Dance Mat 3=- Okay first off, I have no idea what happened to Mats 1 and 2, but presumably this is just an improvement on those two! For that reason I cannot give ...

Boots Eyelash Curlers 05/01/2004

Sexy Eyes

Boots Eyelash Curlers Christmas was great wasn’t it? It meant that everyone was handed tons of ideas for opinions absolutely scot free! One of the gifts that I got for Christmas was Boots No 7 eyelash curlers – not very exciting you might think, but I still think that they are opinion worthy! -=The Box=- I have had loads of eyelash curlers in the past, but never have I had a (pair?) before that come in a box! The box isn’t particularly exciting though – just the usual black and gold that No 7 seem to house most of their products in! There is just a simple picture of the product on the front. -=The curlers=- These eyelash curlers aren’t quite the same as “normal” ones since instead of two little handles that you poke you fingers though, you have one long black plastic handle that has a button on the side that you push up to make the curlers clamp together. These eyelash curlers also have two different attachments that you can interchange. The first head is just the normal one that you see on all eyelash curlers – nice and wide, but you don’t necessarily get all of you lashes in it at once. Boots have come up with a solution to this – a smaller “precision” head that you can use for the corners of your eyes. If you want to use this, you simply twist off the other head, and twist on this one instead! -=The Heat=- The other difference with these eyelash curlers is that they are heated! The handle twists off so that you can place in 2xAAA batteries, which Boots thoughtfully supplies for you! ...

Teachers - Series 1 (DVD) 13/12/2003

I wish I had Teachers like these

Teachers - Series 1 (DVD) Thought I’d write about a DVD for a change, since I don’t do many of those! This time I’d thought that I’d take a look at a series, one which in my opinion is highly underrated. What series is that do I hear you cry? Well it’s Teachers – it’s just finished its third series on channel four, but here I’ll be concentrating on the very beginning – series one. -=The Box Set=- This is a two DVD set – there are four episodes on each disc (so eight in total), and one DVD extra on the second disc, but more about that later. Each episode is divided up into eight chapters, which is nice because you can then jump to a fairly specific place on the DVD. From the menu, you can either “play all”, or select just one episode to watch. -=The Setting=- Teachers is set in Bristol at a fictional school called Summerdown, where some very strange and unexplainable things sometimes happen – don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean anything extraterrestrial, just stuff like random sheep wandering around the school for no apparent reason! The teachers are like students and (some of) the students are like teachers! -=The Characters=- Simon Casey (Andrew Lincoln – This Life; Love Actually) Simon is the main character of this series – he still lives at home with his dad, and believes that he is “way too young to get married”. Simon is an English teacher and he is popular with the students, and they all call him by his first name instead of Mr Casey. He never seems to do the work that is expected of ...

Clairol Herbal Essences Fruit Fusions Condtioner 05/12/2003

Freaky Fruity Fusions

Clairol Herbal Essences Fruit Fusions Condtioner Okay, I’ve been away for a while, and although I have written one solitary café op, I have as yet written any new “product” opinions (or are we calling them reviews these days…) Anyway, I digress – here is my first product op in over five months! Enjoy. -=In The Beginning=- This was part of an excellent freebie that I got from the Herbal Essence website – I applied for it about a million years ago, so I’m not sure if it is still there, but it is worth having a look – the freebie consisted of three sachets of shampoo and three sachets of conditioner – not bad for filling in one little online form! Each sachet contains at least 2 washes, so you probably have enough shampoo/conditioner to last you for over a week! There is 10ml in each sachet. To me this is an extra good deal if you’re a student, as this would save you quite a bit of money! -=The Present=- •The packaging: I could go on for ages about the packaging, but really what’s the point? It’s basically a white sachet that has a picture of Herbal Essences on the front! Not very exciting eh? If you want to spot it on the shelves (if you can’t get the freebie), it has a green flip top lid and a pale pink bottle with the Herbal Essences logo, as well as little pictures of fruit surrounding the logo. •The Conditioner itself: nothing particularly amazing – it’s the usual consistency of other ‘normal’ conditioners, although it is slightly pink – perhaps that’s the blackberry extract in it, but I’ll mention more about ...
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