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The end of an era for Ciao. But at least I went out on a high.

Reviews written

since 17/06/2010

300 27/11/2017

Nice Fanfiction Site AO3 It doesn't feel like Archive Of Our Own has been around since 2009. It makes me wonder where all the time has gone? It's one of the many projects owned by the Organisation For Transformative Works, who are a non-profit company who aim to preserve the history of fanworks. Many fanwork archives from the 1990s and 2000s were disappearing because the sites they've been hosted on went out of business and eventually closed. Archive Of Our Own has been aiming to find these and other old fanfiction sites and import their stories onto their site, along with allowing members of the site to post their own stories. Archive Of Our Own specialises in fan fiction, but unlike, it accepts original works as well. It's often referred to as AO3. Getting An Account At the moment, AO3 is an invite-only website. There are ways around it. If you know somebody who already has an account on there, you can get them to send you an invite. If not you can request an invite on their site and be on their email waiting list. At the moment there are about 10217 people on their waiting list. They say that they aim to send 5000 invites a day, so they should be able to be allowed in a few days. I remember getting one from a friend. Once you've got the invite link, logging in and out is straightforward after that. Navigation The layout of the site is a lot nicer than's in my opinion. The red in the layout brings it all together and the layout feels modern. I found the site ... 16/11/2017

Consise Pokemon News Serebii is a comprehensive site for pokemon fans, bringing the latest news about any upcoming updates for everything coming out of the pokemon franchise including the games and the anime. The amount of information on this site is exceptional and it's very clear that all the volunteers behind the site work very hard and there's evidence to suggest that it is updated daily or at the very least a regular basis. I've known about the site for years, and was once a very active member on their forums. The site's webmaster is Joe Merrick who is known as Serebii himself. He's got a good reputation. I've never met the bloke nor had much of a personal chat with him, but he seems to be busy all the time as he also does freelance work outside of the site. The name Serebii is derived from the Japanese way to say Celebi, which is the site's Celtic mascot. Which explains why the site is so green. Navigation The site is pretty easy to navigate. It's got a nice minimalist layout. Whilst the colour scheme isn't quite my cup of tea, it brings the text out well. On the forums, you have the option to change your theme to another colour which is handy. Shame you can't do it on the main site itself. I've had no issues with getting help on information, but I've found the text on the site to be really small. The only reason I'm about to read it is that I've got my glasses on. And if I'm looking for something specific, I can always ask on the forum. I like how they have pokemon of ... 14/11/2017

Steamy Games Introduction is Steam's official website. It's a PC platform that allows you to download and play games on your PC. Steam is to gaming, what iTunes is for music. It's been an important establishment for modern gaming and has changed the way that many people play games today. The app itself is free to download, but the prices of games vary. There are however constant sales and deals going on. For example, during the Halloween season, they had a sale on all their horror games. The software is owned by an American company known as Valve Corporation. They've been around since the late 1990s and have been on a steady rise with Steam. Steam has become a beloved platform for its huge catalogue, exceptional multiplayer games and bringing in mainstream games to the PC at a fraction of the original retail price. I've been using Steam for a few years. I've started using it more than some of my other consoles due to being addicted to several of its games in its catalogue. At the moment, I've been playing a visual novel called The Letter. A few months ago I was spending a lot of time with the first three games of the Princess Maker series as they've been released on Steam. Another game I'm fond of is Long Live The Queen. The last game I bought was Corpse Party for £10.99. Store Going through everything that Steam has to offer will take longer than going around the world and back. It's got lots of mainstream games like Call Of Duty and Bayonetta. It also showcases ... 12/11/2017

Ciao Nano! Introduction You might have noticed that I haven't been posting much this month, this is because Nanowrimo has been taking up a lot of my time. But once December is here, I think I'll be back to fully rating and reading and writing again. November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is simple: complete your first novel draft within a month. Target word count: 50,000 words. I can tell you that this is a lot easier said than done. It's a challenge for any writer, whether you're a budding beginner or an excellent expert, this challenge is a real challenge. Whether you reach that target word count or not before December, you can learn some valuable skill sets as a writer. As they always say, it's not the winning but the taking part that counts. I would say this is very much to say with Nanowrimo. The Actual Site has a plethora of resources available. They're pretty accessible all over social media and they always have a strong presence in November. The main site itself has a small selection of stock and a place for members to donate if people want to give them money to support the site's ongoings. Donations are completely optional though, and they always seem to do quite well with them.They've raised over £800,00 and I think their biggest goal is a million. The site is quite easy to use and has a pleasant and clean design. It's pretty easy to navigate and there's quite a lot to navigate. I've been a member of the site for years but this is the first time ... 07/11/2017

101 Stories in 101 words 101 Words Flash fiction has risen in popularity to the point that writers are challenging themselves to write stories in certain word limits. Zero Flash has a limit of 300 words. A few sites that do 100 words. It varieties depending on what the editors and publishing houses want. 101words wants 101 words: nothing more and nothing less. I believe that this is one of the more well-known flash fiction sites as its one that is mentioned in a lot of writing circles I partake in. They update the site regularly: between one to five stories per day. You have the option to ent on stories and also share them on your social media pages. They are always open to submissions and aim to offer feedback on every submission. I quite like this site and have enjoyed some of the stories there Some I can remember off the top of my head was the one about the girl in the hospital with the chewing gum and a tree that's fluent in Latin. Some literary sites charge a fee for submissions, especially the writing competitions. Those that don't charge normally either don't pay or pay a small payment. I've seen the biggest writing magazines offer up to £150 for competition winners. The site does have the rare opportunity to receive payment for works. If the work is selected to be in their anthology you get $10. There are some rules for the submissions, but I have found them easy to follow. Submissions Naturally, the story has to be 101 words. You can only submit one story a ...

Stratford-upon-Avon (England) 04/11/2017

Chilling At Shakespeare's Place

Stratford-upon-Avon (England) Introduction Being the birthplace of one of the most famous playwrights of all time, Stratford-Upon-Avon has become an extremely popular destination for tourists. I've visited the town many times, and whenever I've been there, it's always been very busy. I've seen a lot of tour groups travelling about, especially Chinese and American groups. The last time I was there, I saw some students taking pictures of the Shakespear statues near the river Avon. The market town is famous for historic buildings, nice shopping areas and scenic views that could take your fancy. I've found the town pretty accessible with plenty of trains and buses that stop there. It's quicker driving (car parks can be pricey), as I have to change trains and the bus route from Banbury to Stratford is slow and stops pretty much at every village, especially on the school run. It's still an easy place to get to with plenty of ways to go. I think the best time to go is around midday on weekdays as it's not so busy and it's easier to move around. Things to do There's quite a lot of stuff to do in town. The boat trips are popular, especially in the warmer weather. I remember as a kid my nan and I feeding the ducks with bread, but I don't see it being done so much now. They now say don't give them bread as it's not good for their health and it pollutes the water. Oats, corn and peas are fine though. There's a good mixture of shops and plenty of restaurants about. There's a couple of theatres that also look ...

Lady Vengeance (DVD) 20/10/2017

Applause For Lady Vengeance

Lady Vengeance (DVD) Information Title: Lady Vengeance Country: South Korea Other names:친절한 금ìžì”¨ (Chinjeolhan geumjassi) Kind-hearted Geum-ja & Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Director: Park-chan Wook Stars: Lee Young-ae and Choi Min-sik Certificate 18 Running time: 115 minutes Introduction Lady Vengeance is one of my favourite films for its beautiful pacing and artistry mixed with the little bit of violence now and then. This film was a Christmas present for me. I saw an extensive review of the film in Neo Magazine about eleven years ago that made me really want to see the film. There was just one problem that made mum consider not buying for me: I was 14, and the film was classified as an 18. I remember watching the film on youtube before Christmas and really enjoying it when I finally got to watch it on the full screen, it was brilliant. It made Christmas in the household a bit more lively. This film is part of Park Chan Wook's vengeance trilogy. Whilst Sympathy For Mr Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance aren't connected, they share the similar theme of vengeance. Lady Vengeance is less violent and gruesome out of the three but makes up for it by its compelling characters and cinematography. Price & Availibility Despite being a Korean film, it's a very accessible film. This is thanks to its high praise and modest popularity around the world. It means you can get it for quite cheap in some of the shops, but if you find it for a higher price. The cheapest price I've found for ...

Vampire Princess Miyu (1-4) (DVD) 19/10/2017

Fun Old 80's Anime

Vampire Princess Miyu (1-4) (DVD) Introduction A couple of years back I reviewed volume one of the TV series, Vampire Princess Miyu. Recently I reviewed the entire series. I've mentioned the superior original series several times and I'm finally getting round to reviewing it today. Compared to other anime shows, the original Vampire Princess Miyu series is short consisting of only 4 episodes. Most anime season tends to go on for 13, 26 or 50. Some of the big ones can go on for 1000 episodes. The original series of Vampire Princess Miyu cuts out the waffle and boosts the tension. Prices & Availibility I own volume one VHS tape, I chose to keep it as I had a feeling this would be hard to find on DVD. I've had high hopes to find volume 2 online, but no luck. I've been looking for the DVD for a while, but I've had no luck finding a physical copy that's both in English (or at least has English subtitles) and region 2. If you're fluent in German, you can get the whole set for £10.25 on eBay. Amazon has the Italian version. There's the French version on both and I'm sure the original Japanese DVD is lurking around. All the episodes are on youtube. The one with the best quality is in Japanese audio with Spanish subtitles. Ladymillerna has all the episodes in Japanese audio with English subtitles. John Stack's youtube channel has it in English, but the quality has been deliberately cut to avoid the copyright sanctions. It's not on Crunchyroll, and I doubt it will be on Netflix either. It's a shame as it's a ...

Lush Big Shampoo 17/10/2017

Big & Beautiful

Lush Big Shampoo Introduction Here I am again with another Lush review. I think this will be the last one for a while. I've bought many lush products over the past few months. So far this is one of the few products that I've bought twice. Don't get me wrong, I love Lush and the majority of its catalogue. I love its ethics and beliefs, and how they use natural products. But let's be frank, they charge some high prices. I would buy the whole shop if I had the money, but somethings can be really nice, but they're not quite for you. Or you take a risk and buy something expensive and you don't like it. Thankfully Big is one of those products that I love. The concept of a salty shampoo is one I haven't heard off before and made me curious to try it. I'm glad I did. Like many of the products, they come in three sizes. I always opt for the big ones as they provide the best value in the long run. 130g= £6.95 (£5.35 per 100g) 330g= £13.95 (£4.23 per 100g) 600g= £23.50 (£3.92 per 100g) It's exclusive to Lush shops and their online store. I wouldn't bother trying to get this elsewhere. had this on sale for about £60, but whilst writing this review they put it down to £51.30. eBay has some listings, but they are well above the retail prices. And Amazon has issues with this product due to illegitimate listings. Ingredients Hand Harvested Sea Salt, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Fresh Organic Lemon Infusion, Fresh Sea Water, Toothed Wrack Seaweed Infusion, Lauryl Betaine, Fresh Organic Lime ...

Lush Ocean Salt 15/10/2017

Ocean Scrub!

Lush Ocean Salt Introduction When I go to Lush, I always end up buying lots of stuff. This was one of them. I bought it because the title and ingredients really appealed to me. I like getting wet in the ocean, so I thought this would be an ideal product for me. Because I paid £15.95 for a 250g tub, I expected to experience the joys of the beach in the shower. I had high hopes for this product cause I liked their sea salt shampoo, and I've been meaning to try sea salt ice cream for awhile but never got round to trying it. I don't think I've come close with this face mask and body scrub. But I do think that I've found a product I'm likely to stick with. This is exclusive to Lush. I wouldn't bother looking for it on Amazon and eBay as the prices seem to flactuate and all the ones I spotted seem to be over the £30 price tag. 120g-£8.95 250g-£15.95 600g-£28.95 Ingrediants Fine Sea Salt, Fresh Grapefruit Infusion, Hand Harvested Sea Salt, Stearic Acid, Fresh Organic Lime Extracted in Vodka, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Glycol Cetearaten, Triethanolamine, Avocado Butter, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Lime Oil, Seaweed Absolute, Violet Leaf Absolute, Glycerine, Lanolin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Colour 42090, Methylparaben and Propylparaben. Looking at all the ingredients makes me think, "Oh gosh, this is really posh." The ingredients give me this vibrant image of swimming in a tropical beach with a cold drink in my hand. And with seaweed hanging around my ankles. Nice ...

Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo 15/10/2017

I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts

Lush Curly Wurly Shampoo Introduction I think it's pretty safe to say that I have caught the lush fever. My last couple of reviews have been about Lush products, and I feel that they've given me a real motivation to write recently. I love the fact that they use natural products and also agree their ethics against animal testing. Even though not all their products are 100% organic, I think their stuff is really high quality and sometimes is worth the asking price. It's even better when you get it on sale though. Curly Wurly is exclusive to lush, but if you have any of the ingredients lying around in your house, you might be able to make it yourself at home. These come in three sizes and have a set price. It is higher than the average shampoo. 100g tub - £6.25 220g tub - £12.50 440g tub - £19.95 I had a look on Amazon and eBay to see if they had this product in their stock. It didn't seem to be worth the effort. Nothing on Amazon at the moment, whilst eBay has one at £26.95. Both sites seem to list lush products higher than they are in Lush stores, so it's best to go straight to Lush. I always go for the big tubs as I've found it cheaper in the long run. It also helps that I love coconuts. One of the reasons why I chose to buy it. It's expensive compared to other coconut shampoos. Herbal Essences and Garnier both have their own coconut shampoo that you get for £3. Then there's Alberto Assam's coconut shampoo that you can get for a £1. Ingrediants There's a lot of ingredients in this, so I'm ...

Lush Shampoo Bar New Hair 11/10/2017

New Hair Drier

Lush Shampoo Bar New Hair Introduction What better way to treat me then to have a little spree at Lush? A friend of mine raved about Lush and she said the shampoo bars lasted for ages. This was before I was a fan of Lush. It's now one of my favourite shops. I admire its brave stance against animal testing and I like the advertising and how it considers soap as an art form. This is one of the first shampoo bars I purchased. I think I am likely to purchase another one of these shampoo bars in the future. It might not be this one though as I think I would like to try some of the other ones Lush have before buying this one again. This isn't because I dislike this product, it's mainly because the other ones sound interesting and I feel like I need to try them all before I chose which one I'll end up using regularly. It's £6.50 for a 55g bar. If this bar is indeed equivalent to 3 bottles of shampoo, you'll be saving money depending on which shop and brand you go to for your shampoo. It sounds like you're saving money, but when you can get a bottle of shampoo for a £1, it's not as much as a saving as one would think. New? When I first bought this bar, I was under the impression that this was a new thing. The previous reviews, some dating years back, soon made me realize that it was called new hair because it promotes hair growth. Sounds like one way to rub it in for bold people. It's designed to promote hair growth and stimulate blood flow. And can last up to 80 washes, which apparently is ...

Vampire Princess Miyu Complete Collection (DVD) 05/10/2017

Make Way For The Vampire Princess

Vampire Princess Miyu Complete Collection (DVD) Introduction Vampire Princess Miyu is a thought-provoking and mild horror series produced by Narumi Kakinouchi and Toshiki Hirano. It originally started out as a manga series in Japan and was adapted into two shows, one in 1988 and a TV series in 1997. This is the boxset for the 1997 TV series that was originally aired on Toonami. I first saw it when I was at school when my interest in anime began to unfold. It remains one of my favourites. Prices & Availibility The cheapest one I could find on Amazon is about £20. Your best bet with this is to look on eBay or the DVD stalls in conventions. Amazon seems to only have the imports in with different languages or play regions that don't work on a UK DVD player. eBay is offering lower prices. It seems it's cheaper to buy the volumes separately as opposed to getting them in a box set. Most of the episodes are on youtube though. I don't have Netflix so I can't say for sure if you'll see it on there. If it's not there, they may add it sometime in the future. It's not on Crunchyroll. Story Stray demons known as Shinma who feed upon negative human emotions are wreaking havoc upon Japan. Miyu is a vampire/human hybrid has been granted the title of The Guardian. Miyu's job is to hunt these Shinma out and seal them back into the world of darkness. And for some reason that is never explained, she can summon fire with her hands. She is assisted by her loyal servant/possible fuck-buddy Larva and Shiina which the anime opening calls a ...

Leerdam, The Netherlands 04/10/2017

Party Like We Don't Give A Leerdam

Leerdam, The Netherlands Leerdam One of my biggest regrets of going to The Netherlands last year is staying mainly within Amsterdam. So this year's trip to The Netherlands was very different. I got to explore more of the country and also got to peep out in Germany as well. I can say it was one of the best trips I ever had. One of the first cities I explored was Leerdam, located in the south of Holland. I remember changing trains from Utrecht and getting a direct bus from Utrecht to Leerdam. So what if I was to tell you that Leerdammer cheese was not from Leerdam? Would you nod and agree? Or say that Schoonrewoerd is technically Leerdam. Leerdam's main attraction appears to be its local history and the glass centre. There are some nice boats and scenery by the boat yards, but I think Leerdam is too quiet for tourists searching for a buzz. The Locals I didn't get a chance to talk to a lot of the locals, other than the shop workers in town. They all seemed quite friendly. Leerdam has a very strong Christian community. This is evident in its big churches. To be precise, they have a strong Protestant faith and can be compared to the Bible Belt region in the south of the US. The Netherlands has their own Bible belt community which when you look at the map, actually looks like a belt around the country and Leerdam falls very strongly into that. Which is why my friend, suggested to go to Leerdam on a Saturday and not a Sunday as there's a chance we'd be dragged into a church. And it also means that the ...

Lush Cup O' Coffee Exfoliating Mask 04/10/2017

How Do You Take Your Coffee?

Lush Cup O' Coffee Exfoliating Mask Coffee Mask I've got a soft spot for Lush. I've heard about them for years but I've only started using them regularly last year. I've always heard good things about them. How they vow to protect the planet and use natural products and their passion for stopping animal testing. I think it's quite an admiral trait. We don't have a Lush store in Banbury, so whenever I see one out of town, I'm quick to go in and have a look. One of the last things I purchased from Lush was this coffee exfoliating mask. Being a coffee lover, it really appealed to me and I couldn't wait to try it out at home. I can honestly say that I really liked this product and it would be something I would consider buying again in the near future. Ingrediants Organic Agave Syrup, Kaolin, Glycerine, Coffee Infusion, Talc, Ground Coffee, Bentone gel, Perfume, Vetivert Oil, Vanilla Absolute, Roasted Cocoa Extract, Coriander Oil, Caffeine Powder, Coumarin, Limonene and Linalool The agave syrup gives it the sweet swell gooey texture. The vanilla and cocoa give it the wonderful smell and chocolate vibe to it. The ground coffee gives it the exfoliating effect because of how coarse it is. These, along with the rest of the ingredients work in harmony to make the product easy to apply on the skin. People with sensitive skin might not find this suitable. Some have found the ground coffee a bit too harsh for them. I personally found it to be okay. For me, I've found it to be just right. The coffee grounds do scratch ...
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